Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Wonderful Wednesday #34

Hello and how the flipping HECK do you do?  Gosh doesn't ^THAT^ picture just make you fall even more in love with Autumn?  If it's possible to fall in love anymore that is.  This post is going to be pretty heavy on the Autumn…I am just pre-warning you.  But since when was that ever a bad thing?!?  This week has felt much more productive than last.  Why, i am not quite sure.  I feel as if this week i am just particularly 'ON it' , whatever 'it' might be.  I finished my latest piece for our local magazine last night and whilst i can't really reveal in toooo much depth what i am wittering on about, i found it a little bit CATHARTIC.  When i was little i could never talk about how i felt, so i would always write letters to my nearest and dearest.  Now i'm still a bit useless at it and so sometimes writing helps to fix the niggling worries in my little head.  I am digressing…as per usual.  This weeks Wonderful Wednesday comes at you with bags of energy, piles of positivity and general happiness on embracing one of my very favourite seasons of the year…

*  Golden hour WONDERMENT.  If that's a word..?  It is now.  This milder, sun-filled-come-sort-of-indian-summer we have been enjoying up north has brought about some of the most stunning early evening light.  We were driving back from our weekly food shop last night and i can kept yelping at the Mr (who was driving) to 'quick quick QUICK LOOK AT THE SUN!!' It's a miracle we got home in one piece.  I have been getting a little too excitable about it.

*  Apple COMPOTE.  Who am i kidding, EVERY compote!!  I feel like Autumn is definitely a time for jam and compote and all kinds of preserves.  It seems only natural to feel the urge to squirrel away the seasons' best bits and save them for the shorter darker days of winter ahead.  Soon the best crops of tomatoes, apples and rhubarb will be gone and i have been enjoying imagining concoctions galore.  On Monday evening i made my first apple compote of the season:  the two hugest, knobbliest and bobbliest granny smith apples and a beautiful red and green cox' apple cooked down with nothing but a good sprinkling of golden caster sugar.  It tasted AMAZING, gosh i can't even tell you.  All tart, rich and deliciously autumnal.  This week i have been having it dolloped into yoghurt with vanilla, or just on it's own right out of the jar and ice-y cold.  Once the mornings become cooler i can't wait to stir it into creamy porridge.  Mmmm!

*  Embracing a new 'WAVE.'  Naturally my hair sits in a way that you could only describe as 'straight and flip-ey.'  It really is just downright mischievous.  Lately it feels in desperate need of a good chop and so it is being extra difficult and rebellious.  Instead of fighting the 'flip' i have chosen to embrace it by twisting it in to the sweetest little bedtime bun.  A quick head upside down kind of a shake and a quick fizz of the lifesaver that is dry shampoo and i am good to go.  Well at least i look a bit more intentionally dishevelled!!

*  SUPER siblings!  I am the eldest of three and i have a younger brother and sister.  Like most brothers and sisters, we loved and hated each other in equal measure when we were younger.  Now we have all grown up a little, fled the nest and probably learnt a lot more about ourselves; our bond is stronger than ever.  I feel so lucky to have these two in my life and i love how we all look after and look out for each other.  We are a force to be reckoned with and i am proud to be their big sister…even if i still don't always know better…

*  Leaf CRUNCHING:  a childish, silly but so damned satisfying pleasure i shall never tire of i don't think.  Do you know what's better…?  Riding a bike through leaves.  I rode round and round our little park so much on Monday morning that i sent myself a little dizzy!

*  GOOSEBUMPS.  For (i think) the first proper time since Spring time.  I was sat tip tapping at our little desk with the attic window wiiiide open and the blue sky above and a sweet cup of lady grey to keep my company.  The breeze was much cooler and i very much enjoyed rummaging in the chest under the bed to dig out my very favourite rose pink woollen, oversized cardigan.  

*  Hanging on to the OPEN window for as long as is possible.  Is it just me or does anyone else love the much cooler and distinctly autumnal breeze tickling at their cheeks as they bury themselves under the heaviest, fluffiest of duvets…?  Absolute and complete heaven and a recipe for the soundest sleep you can ever imagine!

*  Wearing my NEWLY silver spray painted brogues anywhere and to everything! Well not really but man alive they go with everything!  I do so love them.  I love to watch my feet sparkle and glitter on my wander to work.  It's the little things people!

*  Discovering a generous number of LUSH BATH BOMBS squirrelled away from Christmas.  Not only does this get me excited for cooler evenings of candle-lit baths, but i have been wrapping my favourite underwear in them and burying them in my underwear draw for safe keeping.  It means i smell beautiful and just like i have had a bath all of the time.  

*  Sweet BABY SPINACH wilted with salty butter and served along side the best scrambled eggs i have ever made and some left over flaked salmon fillet.  It was one of those kinds of lunches i could have quite happily eaten again straight away afterwards.  It was that good!
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What has been making this week more BEARABLE for you my dear and lovely faces?  Are you still sleeping with the window open?  Do you love crunching through leaves just as much as me?  I'd love to know!  Please tell me about the best part of your weeks' below or tweet me with your #wonderfulwednesday .  I'm @sallytangle .  

Have a super duper rest of the week wont you!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Currently #22 - Some Thoughts on Cycling

 (All photos taken from Pinterest HERE)
I don't mind telling you i HATE exercise. I like moving don't get me wrong.  In fact i can't bear to sit still.  But the thought of any kind of exercise class leaves me running in the opposite direction.  At least it would if i COULD run.  I once tried and damaged my legs so much that i had to get the bus down the road to work each day and go down any kind of stair on my bottom for two whole weeks.  True story!  Turns out you need the correct shoes and a vague idea of how to warm up before you launch yourself head first into running.  

And that's also not my forte:  PATIENCE.  If i want to do something i want to do it yesterday.  It's not something that always works in my favour but it does mean i get stuff done (usually whilst inflicting various kinds of BUMPS and bruises to limbs).  I suppose i am lucky as in most cases (if we exclude walnut whips and chocolate. Oh and coffee or carrot cake) i prefer to eat healthy.  I enjoy my fruit and veg and i'd quite happily exist on nuts, seeds and healthy meats and fish.  But all through my life i have longed to find the right exercise.  I am not naturally slim or toned and i need to move to stay fit and healthy - or at least to feel that way.  I grew up never dieting but always yearning to find and exercise that i loved.   It never came.  Until three years ago i decided to get a bike.  
We had always had bikes growing up but i had never considered it in an EXERCISE sort of a way.  From the moment i rode those two wheels again i was HOOKED.  Something clicked inside and i was away.  Not only can i hop on Willow (that's my bikes name by the way.  She is a mint green Pashley Penny pushbike and as she has become such an important part of my life i had to name her you see) at a moments notice:  no silly stretches, clingy lycra anythings  or shout-y gym instructors.  
Of course i know WILLOW isn't everyone's cup of tea.  I knew when i had decided to get a new bike that i wanted something a little bit girly but not a typical 'bike with a basket pushbike.'  Willow is a Pashley Penny.  Pashley make all of their bikes by hand in Stratford-Upon-Avon and you can view their beautiful two-wheeled wonders HERE.  I liked the fact that she was British.  Her design is actually based upon and 1940's PARABIKE which were used throughout World War Two by British soldiers.  Since she is a road bike, she isn't really accustomed to big hills, rough terrain or going too fast, which suits me just fine - neither am I!  

I WISH that everyone had a bike and i can't understand why more people don't.  After the initial expense, cycling is a free and wonderful way to explore, exercise and adventure.  It's also the very best mood booster and de-stresser!  If i have had a long day, or feel fed up, a little TOOTLE on those two wheels perks me up no end.  I don't know what i'd do without her.  I have had the LOVELIEST summer of two-wheeled adventures and i am a little sad that the evenings are drawing in and soon i wont be able to squeeze in a little adventure after a long day at work!  I am just going to make extra sure that i cycle that bit further on my days off to make up for it!

Do you own a bike? If not have you ever considered getting one?

Friday, 12 September 2014

Bit of Glitter

It's been getting a bit SPARKLY around these parts lately.  Sometimes i fail to know quite where and what inspires me.  Often it just comes out of nowhere:  I'll be tearing, cutting and sticking and begin to see a pattern forming.  Or there'll be a similarity in what colours i opt for in what i wear.  Sometimes it's influenced by the seasons, sometimes it's quite out of the blue and catches me by surprise.  Lately has been just that:  a little subtle and I suppose quite un-seasonal hint at sparkle and glitter…
I fell head over HEELS for this Boden sparkle collar breton  when it first sauntered onto their website a few weeks back.  I couldn't resist such a natty and cute take on such a classic wardrobe staple and could already see myself getting wardrobe mileage from this little gem.  I've got a delightful pair of Boden tartan trews from last year it would look DREAMY with.  Or over a black and white spotty dress…or underneath a denim pinafore with tights and chelsea boots. …or worn with my beloved black skinnies and a bit of a heel. The possibilities are endless!

I felt all kinds of inspired when i spotted this WONDERFUL light display at The Carlisle Living Awards last Thursday.  It made me wish i could have a light up 'S' on my bedside table all of the time!  I think its quite safe to say that the Mr might not feel quite so inspired by such a light up display though.  All the same after a few glasses of champagne i had to wobble my little self out and get a picture next to the big letter 'S'…Afterall, it would have been rude not to!
The last part of my GLITTER-ful journey had me feeling like updating a few old favourites.  I took a little silver spray paint to two old pairs of shoes and a much smaller (not light up!) letter 'S' to see how they would come out.  Minus the 'S' they were all heading for the charity shop anyway so i had nothing to lose. I am SO pleased with how they have all turned out!  I have purchased some delightful neon pink shoes laces for my new swanky silver brogues and that sweet little letter 'S' sits proudly atop my many magazines stacked along the wall in our livingroom.  

What can i spray paint next?!
What has been INSPIRING you lately?!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

A Magical Day

We're not particularly well TRAVELLED, and i'm okay with that.  We also don't really have a song to call 'our song' in the way that some people might.  But i think it's safe to say that we do have a 'place'.  It's not somewhere memorable for a special occurrence, a grand gesture or visited on any special occasion; it's just special because i think from the very first moment we ever visited, we both fell in LOVE with it in equal measure.  Not gradually, over time or after a few trips:  All at once and unexpectedly and maybe a little bit like how we fell in love ourselves.
*  *  *  
Lowther Castle and Gardens is a GINORMOUS castle ruin which dates as far back as the 1800's and was built by the Lowther family many, many moons ago just outside Penrith.  It is largely still a ruin but since 2014 has undertaken a massive regeneration and restorative programme which has seen parts of the original castle restored and recovered and free for exploration and ADVENTURE.  

We first stumbled upon Lowther Castle not too long after its gates had been re-opened and remain as in awe of its beautiful castle and grounds now as we were back then.  When the Mr learnt to drive, Sundays became our day to EXPLORE and adventure in a round the beautiful countryside we are lucky to call home and Lowther was one of the very first places we ever visited.  You can read about our very first visit HERE.  

(^How can you not feel in awe of such a beautiful view?!^)

Last sunday it was such a beautiful blue-skied day and a rare day where we were both free and plan-less and so it seemed a PERFECT opportunity to visit our very favourite place.  Each time we visit the castle, we are able to venture a little more inside and see a little bit more of what might have been so, so many years ago.  You can't help but be blown away by the magnitude of such a beautiful, dramatic and breath-taking building.  I feel like i could stare up at it's turrets and towers for hours on end and never tire of the VIEW.  The last time we visited it was early Summer time last year, and everywhere was green and full of blooms.  This time, the leaves were just starting to turn, and the garden and surrounding forest and grounds looked even more beautiful.
(^My favourite photo^ )
(^There is something ever so inspiring about miles and miles of perfectly symmetrical trees^)
(^Picnic place perfection^)
(^A tree so so tall^)

(^Wild flowers as far as the eyes can see^)

That's the very BEST thing about Lowther Castle.  Just when you think you couldn't fall anymore in love with it after you have spent time wandering through it's pretty castle and courtyard, you discover the garden and grounds that surround it.  For a twosome who aren't the walking 'type' a ten minute stroll usually suffices.  Then we need a cup of something hot and a piece of cake.  You know me, i spend forever on two wheels, and the Mr?  Well i don't think he can even touch his toes!  We quite happily strolled and STRETCHED our little legs for miles on Sunday though.  Just like we do every time.  Up and down hills, twirling and whirling through the trees and watching out for squirrels and exploring hidden gardens and secluded ponds.  It was PERFECT.  
*  *  *  
Each time we visit, i fall more and more in LOVE with the place.  We are already planing our next adventure, come late Autumn.  I can't wait to see all of the grounds in their full Autumn GLORY  

Lovely Lowther Castle, i think you shall always be our SPECIAL place.
(^You can find out a little more about this wonderful place HERE^)

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Wonderful Wednesday #33

Happy HALFWAY through the week dear and lovely faces!  This week feels like i have blinked and all of a sudden it is Wednesday! The kinds of weeks where all of the days merge into one and 'to-do' lists run on from day to day and you sort of wish there were 48 hours in a day and maybe ten days in a week and not seven.  I am sure you have had one of those weeks before too.  

That said it is jolly NICE to be back at Monsoon Towers surrounded by all of our Autumn lines and catching up with all of the lovely faces that work there.  I always miss them so much when i don't see them each day.  I feel grateful that i am lucky to call them some of my very best friends in the whole WORLD.  There has been plenty more keeping me smiling so far on this super quick week though.  Although i did have to double check it was Wednesday today as it really didn't feel like it shouldn't be yet…..dear me

*  Ed Sheeran.  I know his music isn't the most ground breaking or radical but i LOVE having his tunes tinkling away as i am pottering about after a shower in the evening or wandering to work first thing.  I also love to sing his songs too.  I just wish i had the patience to master an acoustic guitar too…maybe one day.

*  The bluest of skies for the longest of times!  Man alive we have been so LUCKY up here in Cumbria with some of the prettiest bright blue skies for days on end lately.  I cannot even begin to tell you how pretty it makes some of the first golden yellow and burnt orange leaves look.  I am crossing all that is crossable for it to continue because it's impossible to feel anything but cheery when you are surrounded by blue skies.  

*  Scented Candles.  If Summer is a time for tea-lights in jam jars on windowsills then Autumn and Winter are a time for decadently scented candles in every room.  I have just begun to light a beautiful candle i picked up in TK Maxx (of all places!) after dinner each night in our livingroom and it's beautiful!  It's described as 'Black Rose' and it's a deep, rich and slightly spicy rose scented WONDER that just fills the room with the prettiest, cosiest scent you can ever imagine.  I wish there was a perfume, for if i could smell just like that i would be as happy as can be!

*  Coal fires. Whilst i am not lucky enough to own a coal fire, wood burner or anything anywhere near as delightful (read: feet on a radiator is about as good as it gets in this little somewhere and let me tell you that's pretty alright really) a sure sign of Autumn is the faint dusty scent of coal fires BURNING in the distance and i love to watch smoke curling up in to the early evening sky just before the sunsets.  It's really rather pretty and gets me excited for Bonfire Night. Don't tell me you're not a bit excited too…?

*  HOT showers.  Just like having a really cool shower on a sticky summer day is little bit of lovely, as is the first few hot, hot 'rose-y cheeked, pink knees' sort of showers you start to have once September hits.  Or is that just me?!

*  Socks and the richest foot cream you can get your paws on!  I am not really a sock fan.  I find myself far more comfortable in dresses and so it's tights all the way for me.  Or bare milk-bottle white pins come Summer.  But another sign that the nights are getting cooler is when i can rummage out my FLUFFIEST angora socks and slather my feet in my richest foot cream and pop them on and curl up on the sofa.  I am eagerly anticipating the day it becomes cold enough to throw a soft blanket across my legs too……i sometimes wonder if inside i am a little old lady. Crikey!  

*  The ANTICIPATION of a new season.  Not necessarily new things, just new-ness:  new breakfast planning, new seasonal treats: squashes, the last of summer's tomatoes grilled and sticky with fresh herbs.  Chai tea at night.  Pies, casseroles and crumbles.  Mmmm!

*  The simplest most yummy fruit COMPOTE i think i have ever tasted.  Remember the glut of plums i said we were kindly given?!  Since they weren't the prettiest of plums, i decided they would make great compote.  Once i had removed the stalks, i simply cooked them down with a few table spoons of brown sugar and a star anise.  You would not believe quite how delicious a compote it made.  So much so that some mornings i have 'forgotten' to add any yoghurt and have simply eaten it straight from the jar with a spoon whilst waiting for some dropped scones to toast ever so slightly.  It might be my favourite yet.  Although i have got the nobbliest, bobbliest and ugliest apples from the market at the start of the week with plans to turn them into a cinnnamon and apple compote.  It's going compote-crazy at Tangle Towers this week i tell you!  It's the easiest way to make use of leftover fruit though, and there are so many things you can do with a yummy, sticky, sweet and jammy compote.  Mmmmm again!
* * *
Come ON then, tell me what's been HAPPENING in your world? What has made your week wonderful so far?!  Even if you feel like you have to dig extra deep, there's always something worth being grateful for and that's what these little posts are for.  I'd love for you to share.  Remember you can always tweet me with your #wonderfulwednesday too.  I'm @sallytangle.  

Friday, 5 September 2014

The Turning

^The first peepings of Autumn..^
I can't BELIEVE this wonderful week off work of mine is drawing to an end!  I feel as if it was well and truly needed:  sometimes you get to a point when you just need to step back, re-charge and re-assess quite how LUCKY you are.  Often i submerge myself so much in my job that it feels rather like there is not much room left for anything else.  This week has been about 8am wake ups (heaven), days spent cycling as far as my little legs would take me (read: mostly just many many times around that park of ours) day in and day out and sleeping so well because of it;  baking in abundance:  blueberry scones, wholemeal dropped scones and banana bread were all highlights.  And sorting:  sweeping, cleaning organising and tidying in readiness for that beautiful Autumn that is stretching ahead of us all.  

And do you know what that's been my very FAVOURITE part of this week.  Despite experiencing some kind of crazy heatwave for most of this week (which for the record i am NOT complaining about.  It's felt even more like a holibobs afterall!) in amongst the often cravings for citrus, for iced water and sorbet after every meal; it's happening:  The real feel amongst everywhere, that Autumn is tickling my toes and tugging at my heart strings.  Leaves are turning, starting to flutter gently towards the ground and the light - whatever time of the day, just looks distinctly more golden than this time last week.  
 ^first berry-shaped sightings en route back to Tangle HQ^
 ^perfectly pretty early evening golden light love^
 ^dreamboat skies to fall right into^
Whilst i reckon i am pretty good at realising and being GRATEFUL for all of the little things that make up being me; sometimes it's only when you really truly get the chance to slow down that you realise quite how grateful you should be, you start wondering if you're not nearly grateful enough and how much power the littlest things can have.  
* * *
Other THINGS that have been equally good and great about this week other than obvious Autumn-shaped goodness:

*  Finding a DRESS i had completely forgotten i owned (a sign that there is probably still far to much 'stuff' in those wardrobes of mine?which has perfectly fixed my 'i am at a hen party on Saturday and have nothing that i want to wear' - shaped dilemma.  Huzzah!

*  Attending Carlisle Living (the magazine i am ever so lucky to have my own column in) first ever AWARDS on Thursday evening.  This was one of the most surreal experiences in a long time.  To first of all be asked to be involved and to help judge some categories to actually attending the event and being seated at the editors table along with other judges and the host, none other than Grace Dent - well it was almost a little too much for me to take in!  On Thursday night i was recognised for my writing, for this little blog of mine and for being a creative person and that filled me with so much pride and happiness that i can't quite explain.  To actually have complete strangers and established creatives tell me that they loved both my writing and this little space fills me with so much thanks.  It was such a huge honour to be there and i cannot thank them all enough for making me feel so welcome.  

*  The Mr.  Do you ever just have certain weeks where you think you love someone even more than you ever have before?  This was just one of those weeks. Without going overboard, a man that purposely avoids speed bumps all the way home at 2am on Thursday evening because i so badly needed a wee is a man worth hanging on to in my opinion.  

*  Treating myself to the softest grey marl tee with the most perfect white font printed across its front, in H&M no less.  Its sleeves are just the perfect length, it dips ever so slightly at the back in a flattering cut and i just know the more i wear it the softer and more perfect it shall become.  It was perfect slung over a cotton sundress on Wednesday evening for an early evening bike ride.

*  Spotting the sweetest old man sat on a bench in the park yesterday morning, with a tartan blanket over his knees, a thermos flask and the local paper.  And his beautiful border terrier lay at his feet.  He said good morning too.  A true gent. My heart was warmed beyond belief. 

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So what do you all have PLANNED for this weekend?  Tonight i am excited for an evening of us both being home, of eating delicious chicken and red wine casserole and mashed potatoes and for catching up.  I am at a dear friends hen party all day and evening tomorrow which i am so excited for. Then i am crossing all that is crossable for this wonderful weather to last until sunday.  I am hoping for a lazy breakfast of banana bread and tea and then a little adventuring somewhere green with the Mr.   

Wishing you all the greatest most LOVELY of weekends and forever thankful to each and every one of you for dropping by this little place.  You're the kindest most wonderful bunch of readers!  Just excuse me whilst i go and find a tissue...


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