Poor old Michael Finnegan…


….begin again! I don’t know the origins of the nursery rhyme ‘There was an old man named Michael Finnegan’ but since this post has absolutely nothing to do with that temporarily hirsute gentleman, it really doesn’t matter. It’s simply that the rhyme popped into my head as I was thinking that it was time to ‘begin again’ with my blog.

I can’t believe it is almost a year since I last put finger to keypad! It’s not as if I have had nothing to say (excuse double negative there). With my eldest son getting married a few months ago there has been plenty of material but somehow I haven’t felt a need to share it.

However, having just completed her Masters, my rather stunning and very talented niece has just joined the blogging community and she has inspired me to ….wait for it….begin again – are you humming the tune yet? So that’s it folks, no words of wisdom, no stunning revelations, just a few words to announce my reentry to to the blogosphere. Pop over to studiumliterarum and give her a few words of encouragement…maybe even a follow…whilst I get my act in gear for some stupendous insights into life, the universe and knitting (or not more likely ;-).


Golden rules of blackberrying!

Have just come in from picking blackberries in our garden – seems to be a bumper crop this year.  It is wonderful to be able to enjoy this free bounty – even if it does mean that autumn isn’t far away.

I’m sure that many of you will also be indulging in this pastime over the next few weeks so I thought it would be worth reminding you of ….

The golden rules of Blackberrying

  1. If you want to find the lushest and easiest to pick crops, make sure that you have absolutely nothing with you in which to put them when you’ve picked them. If you go out armed with boxes you are guaranteed to pick less than a dozen.
  2. No matter how many fat juicy ones are within easy reach, make sure that you reach into the densest group of prickly, scratchy branches and stinging nettles  in order to pick one more.
  3. Always ensure that the youngest member of your party is placed in the closest proximity to any stinging nettles.
  4. Do try to wear shorts and sleeveless tops so that the brambles have the maximum amount of flesh to attack.

I may have missed a few, but I think most of the essentials are there 😉

However, stick them in a pie or crumble with a dollop of ice cream or custard and the pain is all worthwhile – happy picking!

Window on the world

I think this bathroom looks stunning!


Unusually shaped windows in a home can be a wonderful feature – round, arched, trapezoidal – adding interest and charm. If you have them the last thing want to do is hide them away behind curtains.

But with so many simply stunning alternative window stylings available why would you want to? Depending on the location of the window and your individual design needs and taste, there’s really is a solution that is perfect for you!

Here are some examples………..


In this lovely bathroom, cafe style blinds have been used to great effect to maintain privacy, add a touch of colour, let in the light and retain the arched shape.


On the ground floor, more privacy might be required, so shutters would be a good choice. The shutters can be fitted flush with the window and shaped to fit the contours of the window as above.


Alternatively, cafe style shutters work particularly well…

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Great views – but presumably after paying for the apartment they couldn’t afford cupboards?



Seeing images of the new luxury apartments at Battersea Power Station  took my mind back to a previous life in the mid 80s,  directing a creative photo shoot inside the power station with the backdrop of huge turbines.  Even then, it was obvious from my early architectural training what a wonderful gallery space it would make – and its potential to provide luxurious riverside accommodation. I’m delighted to see this coming to fruition – even if it has been a long time in gestation.

What the architects  have done with the space is awesome however, I’m not too keen on some of the furnishings. The bathroom is to die for – although maybe I’d need a diving board to get into it! The huge windows are fabulous, but are crying out for powered Duette or Silhouette blinds to control temperature and light – whilst still allowing the fabulous view to be…

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Blue Sky thinking

I love the blue shutters – beautiful, peaceful colour!


A blog from Clever Designs plus a drive through Rugeley, Staffordshire today got me thinking about the versatility of blue in interior and exterior design.

Take the use of blue to disguise what is basically a tin shed! Amazon’s logistics centre in Rugeley, Staffordshire has been described as “a smear of summer sky on the damp industrial landscape” and as I drove past today I could understand exactly what they were talking about. I wish I could have got a picture but there was nowhere to stop – this artist’s impression at least gives a flavour of how the colour gradation blends into the skyline.

Soft sky blues can be used to create a relaxed and tranquil atmosphere anywhere in the house, not just in the bathroom, often associated with blues.  Here, Thomas Sanderson shutters have been used to great effect to add style and elegance to patio doors.

Midnight blue blinds have…

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Tu whit, tu whoo…too wow!


Since I’m blogging about something I’ve made, the title may sound a bit self important but the ‘wow’ refers to how amazed I am at what I’ve achieved rather than how wonderful it is…and besides I quite liked the way it scanned!

This is another example of how random occurrences coalesce into a project. My son tells me his girlfriend likes owls (fact 1 stored away)…weeks later someone blogs about a craft magazine which has a picture of cable owl pattern mitts on its cover (fact 2 stored away)….weeks later my son tells me his girlfriend would like some fingerless mitts for Christmas…bingo!

Of course its so long since I saw the magazine blog I can’t find it again but undaunted I simply made it up….sizing from one pattern, cable rib from another, owl pattern adapted from one I found on the internet. I don’t normally wing it – I prefer to have a real pattern to follow but I’m really pleased with the results and its definitely given me the confidence to have another go at making it up as I go along.

Probably you are all fantastic crafters who never bother with patterns but for any other humble beings like me out there who are nervous of winging it, all I can say is, like my little owls, spread your wings and fly!!

PS: Thanks to Jane my lovely hand model and work colleague who modelled these for the photo.