Sorry I have been very quiet on the blog front, I was travelling in April and visited Myanmar and Italy. Since I have been back in May and June, life has rather taken over. How do other people manage to fit in blogging, working and seeing your friends and family? Is it down to better discipline and watching a bit less Love Island?

My mother died at Christmas and we are finally sorting out her house. My brother and I have been sorting through all her possessions, which is heartbreaking on one hand, but bringing back lots of very happy memories of my Mum and Dad (who died when I was 25).

Sorting out crockery

Spending a lot of time sorting out crockery

We are hoping to sell it over the summer but in the meantime I have decided to sell my beloved Brixton Hill flat where I have lived for eight years.

It has many happy memories, parties, endless hours lying in the back garden. It also really reminds me of my Mum who used to come up and help with the garden, often bringing plants.

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The flat went on the market on Saturday and apparently 18 people came round to see it, I wait to see tomorrow whether I get any offers! I have loved living here and I am sure someone else will as well.

So on Saturday we got up very early to hide all our possessions away and leave the house spotless before leaving the estate agents to it.

I had bribed my boyfriend to help out with the promise of breakfast. So we strolled down the road to the very lovely Stir Coffee to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine. It is on the corner of Arodene Road, with outside seating, and we had two beautiful coffees and bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese. One of the benefits of living off Brixton Hill is all the great coffee shops, Stir Coffee, F Mondays and a brilliant pizza place, Pizza Brixton. We are truly spoiled!

Stir Coffee

They sell delicious coffee and smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels.

So things I have learned so far in the process of selling my flat.

  • Estate agents are very charming and it is difficult to work out who to work with.
  • I went with a local recommendation and the person who seemed to have the best plan for marketing the flat.
  • You need to remove all your clutter to make the estate agent photos work, but the photographer used a bit of creative finesse to dress the space.
  • You need to be patient, I am desperate to know how the viewings went and whether there will be any offers ( I will let you know).
  • You spend a lot of money on flowers, but I love buying them so that is a good excuse.
House for sale

Buying flowers help you sell houses.

I will let you know how I get on tomorrow, next task is working out where we should move to. Anyone recommend their part of London? We are looking at South Tottenham at the moment, do you live there? Do you like it?

UPDATE: The flat is under offer and we are frantically searching for a new home. South Tottenham is still the front runner.

When I was small I spent a lot of time in the New Forest. The New Forest ponies would rest their faces on the gate and you could go down and pet them.

I still love the New Forest and a couple of weekends ago we headed out of London for a forest escape.

We headed out for a walk and made some friends along the way.

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Views across the New Forest

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Does anyone know what this beautiful lichen is called?

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We stumbled across this beautiful house, all very Hansel and Gretel. I would love to wake up and look across the beautiful New Forest.

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When we arrived back at the pub we found this beautiful blossom.

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So if you have a chance to go and explore the New Forest this Spring I would highly recommend it.

Last weekend I was up in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. We headed North from Kings Cross train station up to Leeds and then on to Ilkely, a pretty market town.

We were visiting a very good friend, but to give everyone some space we booked a very cosy and comfortable Ilkley Airbnb apartment, smack bang in the middle of town. Great for a couple or two friends planning a holiday in Ilkley.

We spent a lot of time catching up and on the Friday night we went out for a delicious curry at the Aagrah curry in Ilkley . Great service and delicious food, but we ordered far too much. It was very popular with families and groups of friends out for a night out.  I particularly liked the elephant out the front of the restaurant.

We woke up bright and early on Saturday and headed down to the park, followed by some cheeky bacon butties. Ilkley is a very pretty town. We took a stroll down the Grove, taking a look beautiful Bettys cafe window. A lovely place where you can stock up on baked goods, I liked the look of their famous Yorkshire Rascals.

I had a peak inside and saw the magnificent macaroon towers and beautiful loose chocolate counter. It is a beautiful shop and very hard to walk out without buying something.

Check out this spectacular Easter egg, not sure what I would do about that if someone gave that to me.

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We popped into the many charity shops, where I picked up some great paperbacks. I spotted that lots of the shops have some really beautiful tiling in the doorways. The below is a particularly beautiful example.

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We also popped into the Grove Bookshop with another beautiful window display. I wanted to buy most of the books. The ground floor of the shop is a general bookshop which caters for all tastes. We also carry a wide range of Yorkshire books, from life in Bradford’s textile mills to the stunning photographic landscapes of the Dales. Their travel section was pretty impressive as well.

Apparently Alan Bennett frequently pops in to sign copies of his popular books.

 

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On Sunday we climbed up the Cow and Calf Rocks on Ilkley Moor, they are a large rock formation consisting of an outcrop and boulder,  one is large, with the smaller one sitting close to it, like a cow and calf.The rocks are a great place to climb and the moor offers spectacular views of Ilkley and beyond.

It was a cold and windy day but look at that beautiful view.

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I did some shameless posing up on top of the Cow and Calf, with the Yorkshire Dales spread out behind me. It was very cold.dsc01183

There is a cafe up the top and we grabbed a coffee under the heaters and headed back into Ilkley. Where we went to Outside the Box cafe. A great community cafe with lots of toys for my friend’s children to play with. A nice spot and doing some great work.

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We had a quick wander before we had to make the long journey back down South.

 

 

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Valentines Day certainly divides opinion in my office, half my colleagues deliberately don’t observe it. The other half are far keener. I spotted some Valentines Day research today that showed over half of UK adults (52%) don’t plan to buy a gift for their loved one this Valentine’s Day. Almost half (48%) are not even planning to buy a card.

To me that seems a bit sad.

I am a romantic (I blame the books I read as a child). Looking back my most memorable Valentines Day when I was at school, I got four cards, one from my Mum, one from the old lady over the road and two from actual boys. I think my Mum and the old lady across the road were worried I wouldn’t get one! Plus my best friend’s little brother sent me a rose from the boy’s school. One of the boys who sent me a rose is still a good friend. I am having dinner with him and his lovely wife later on this week. The other ended up being my first serious boyfriend. That Valentines day has never been surpassed, although I have had some nice days.

Tomorrow I plan to bake some Valentines Day biscuits, which is on trend according to the research as people are most likely to select small personal gifts such as handmade items (21%). I gave my boyfriend some rather nice Paul Smith orange socks. I may get dinner out at the new pizza place down the road or dinner cooked for me at home. [He is currently in the kitchen making something complicated with aubergines.]

I have been reading a lot about Valentines day today and the wisest thing I read is that rather making a grand Valentine’s Day gesture if you must. But a real grown-up romance is built from 1,000 daily acts of kindness. So I am hoping for a card tomorrow and a cup of coffee in bed.

I love Spring and I am eagerly awaiting its arrival. I also love flowering bulbs and planted lots this Autumn. The hard work planting all your Spring Bulbs in the Autumn is always worthwhile when you start to see the fruits of your labour.

We are finally emerging from the grim winter weather. On Saturday we even had some sun. In my little spot in South London it has been raining relentlessly and I have not ventured outside for quite a while. One morning last week I grabbed my camera and headed outside.

This week I popped out to have a quick look around and it was great to see all the bulbs peeking up through the ground or from the Spring bulbs I had planted in containers.

I was delighted to see the Primulas has survived the winter and offer a bit of yellow cheer. Although they look a bit soggy.

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Not only the garden is full of spring flowering bulbs. Inside the house I am filling them with signs of Spring. I love hyacinth flowering bulbs and tulips at this time of year. Plus I try to buy Daffodils whenever I get the chance.

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But the garden looks like it needs a little bit of tidying up. A project for when the weather is a little better.dsc01103