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

A quick blog post to get back in the swing of blogging after a long hiatus. My Mum died just before Christmas and so I hit pause whilst I dealt with the funeral and everything else that was involved.

My friends and family have been lovely and are taking great care of me. Today my lovely friend Ali took me to Cafe Murano in Covent Garden for lunch. We had a great time.

We sat at the bar and I kicked off the meal with a Negroni. Daytime drinking is a bold move for January but I am not stinting myself at the moment.

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The menu is amazing and we started off by sharing the Mozzarella with Prosciutto di San Daniele  (which was delicious) and grilled squid. We then moved on to Swiss Chard ravioli, a great choice, we chose the smaller portions so we had some space for pudding. We finally finished off the meal with vanilla panacotta and  Yorkshire rhubarb.

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After eating far too much we went for a stroll around London to work off some of the food. Even though the weather is freezing we saw some lovely places. I always love the flowers outside beautiful Liberty London.

We popped into the the temple of temptation, John Lewis on Oxford street, and did some window shopping. It was window shopping as I am avoiding clothes shopping until pay day. We are also trying to declutter the house and so I can’t bring anything else home until we get rid of all the clutter. A post to follow on that soon.

I love clothes and this Garden Posy Casual shirt caught my eye, love the pattern.

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This long sleeved dress from Selected Femme Gaila Printed Dress in dark sapphire would be a great addition to the wardrobe.

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So thank you lovely Ali for a great day. When times are a little tricky having good friends is a real blessing.

 

This year has been an interesting one, some great moments and some terrible ones.

Dwelling on the positives I went on some fantastic trips.

I went to Copenhagen with my lovely friend Ali. Ventured to Antwerp and Sicily with Joss. Plus we both explored beautiful Northern Ireland with my cousins. copenhagen

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A rather wild hen do in Sicily.

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So what will 2017 bring? It will definitely involve travelling. It may involve a move but I am sure it will mean some more gardening.

I also plan to have to perfect my watercolours since I received such a beautiful set from my brother.

We will see what 2017 brings. I look forward to sharing my adventures with you all.

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Today I went to a watercolour and modern calligraphy class at the Etsy Local fair taught by the lovely Shoshy Cadoodle, here is her website if you want to learn more.

It took place in Hornsey Town Hall in Crouch End alongside the Etsy Local fair. It was quite strange having people stand and watch you try calligraphy and paint but Shoshy was a great teacher.

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We learned how modern calligraphy takes some elements from traditional calligraphy and we were encouraged to try our unique style. The main rule was to make a light stroke on the way up and a heavier stroke on the way down.

We practised some of our skills and how mark making works. Here is Shoshy showing us how to make the calligraphy marks.

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Then we had a go and tried making the marks.

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I forgot how to spell, but managed to join up some letters.

Then we moved on to learning how to watercolour. First how to blend the colours together, painting a circle, letting it dry and painting another circle.

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We then drew a circle and illustrated the outside, here is my effort. Just need to add the calligraphy to finish it off. If you want to try you need a Tonbow Fudenosuke Brush Pen. I am going to be decorating some of my Christmas cards. Watch out friends and family.

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It was a fun class but it was quite odd having people peering over your shoulder as you painted.

I will be practising and getting myself some watercolours. Shoshy recommended Kuretake Gansai Tambi Japanese Watercolour Paints or Windsor & Newton Cotman Paints.