Janice Issitt                    Life and Style

travel, interiors, photography, home, crafts, personal style

7 Sep 2018

Autumn New Beginnings

I thought it was time I made a return to my blog with an update from the last few months. As you may, or may not know, I moved to Suffolk  and we are so busy there's barely been a minute to take a photo. Half our worldly goods are still in storage while we build a big and beautiful studio in the large grounds of the new house. When I say, new house, I mean new to us that is. The house is over 500 years old and we have become the latest guardians of it's magnificent beams, some of which are so low that most people, myself not included, bash their heads on, including the other half.  

The Old Suffolk Cottage has carvings on it's beams from 1610 but it is thought to date back to hundreds of years before that. No walls or floors are straight or level, and while the house itself needs no major renovations, we have lots of plans for decorations and tweaks to the colour schemes and fixtures.  

The weather was glorious from the day we moved in so we have set to work digging some borders for flowers and clearing away overgrown areas of the grounds, especially around the small lake. The ground was very hard with the lack of rain so it was hard going, but I've managed to establish some flowers and add a splash of colour to the front of the house. I was a bit late ordering my Dahlias but I've managed a few blooms, and judging by other Dahlia fans, it's not been idea conditions for them in the UK this year.  

It's taken a few weeks but I've now got a decent cooker, a range style one but not an AGA. Mostly I've been busy on internal design and my biggest job so far was to remove the old varnish from the living room floor, with a hand sander because the boards are so warped. I've decided to leave the wood bare as every treatment I tried on it turned it an orange colour which I then had to try and remove again. 

The wood panelling around the giant inglenook has become a dark slate colour and I've highlighted the fire surround in a pale stone colour. We have trawled around many reclamation yards, found lovely old windows from a convent for the studio, and scaffold boards for shelving. 

Every weekend there has been some great event or other happening, mostly of the antique fair variety, the best being the yearly street fair in Halesworth but closely followed by the Brocante in Diss and the barn sale by new friend Liz. If you follow me on instagram then just ask me for a link to her - @lkmakes insta page for more info about her barn sales. 

Then, this week, one fine morning there was the most glorious mist, we can see for miles and miles from our cottage, just fields and fields of wild flowers and crops, with an ancient church somewhere over there in the distance. The mist brought with it an incredible dew, and just like that, there were thousands of sparkling cobwebs. I rush for my macro lens, and still in my dressing gown, spent hours in the garden desperate not to miss any of the wonder. 

One of my absolute favourite things about this part of the world, is the 'honesty box' stands of flowers and vegetables at the end of people's driveways. There's a lot of small holdings as well as farms and some experienced growers to meet and buy from. No chemicals and no carbon footprint, what could be better, and with my large kitchen and new stove, I'm getting set for some good food. There is an original bread oven here too, but more about that when I've worked out how to use it.  

At the Halesworth street antique fair, I found this cute side table and a set of Welsh studio pottery that will be getting it's own shelf in the kitchen. We also came across a shop in Harleston that was closing after being there for over a hundred years, some of it's stockroom clearance was old books from 1850 and Victorian ice skates  which we salvaged from a skip (with their permission), what an exciting find that was. 

The pumpkin bundt cakes seen above, are super delicious, they are a Nigella recipe https://www.nigella.com/recipes/pumpkin-bundt-cake  which I've not tried before and it was a triumph. Just to warn you the cake rises a lot in the oven, so don't overfill your bundt pan. I can also confirm that my new oven is great. 

This leads me onto some other news - food related - that from the October issue, I will be contributing a feature on historical food ideas in Reclaim Magazine, so hunt down a copy or order it online to see that in it's full glory. 

I kicked off a little used hashtag on instagram too which I'd love you to join me with, use #autumncloseup for anything you find that shows this seasonal shift. 

One last thing, I've been nominated for an IBA again this year, but because my blog has been dormant for a few months I'm not asking for votes, I'm in the wrong category I feel so I will leave it for another year. 

I'm not entirely sure I can commit to weekly blogging any more, and I don't want to put myself under any pressure as I don't really like competition with other bloggers when I feel that the web is big enough for all of us. Blogging is something for those who don't like the corporate world, so in the interests of sanity, I'm giving myself time to do more real life things for a while. 

Next week I'm doing a one day course in embroidery so hopefully I will be sharing some information about that in my next post. Until then, look after yourselves, and see you soon.  
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