Posts tagged Spring
Making Memories

Mr CC has been away with work this week, so it's been a bit of a strange one. I think the last time that we were apart for longer than a night or two was when he did his training to become a firefighter, so it's not something we're particularly used to. But it has meant that I've spent some quality time with Bella in the evenings, particularly on Tuesday when we ventured across the fields (with no coat on!) to enjoy the last flickers of the day's sunshine. Work has been incredibly busy this week, and I have felt very grateful to be able to escape for a while after being huddled indoors for so long.

As the days slip away and we fall ever deeper into spring, it's this call of nature that I'm trying to embrace the most, before another season is done and gone. The creamy daffodils in the corner of our garden are blooming now, and they bob and dance in the early evening breeze when I return from work; a welcoming and cheerful sight. In the hazy light of the dawn it is the sound of the birds' chorus that dominates, beginning softly and crescendoing as the white streaks of light filter across the bed sheets.

I've been wearing an unbuttoned coat to work - even on the morning where frost pricked the grassy hillsides and nipped the air - relishing the cool freshness of morning that a clear blue sky the day before brings.  The wind might be whipping around the hedges and whistling through the cracks in the windows, but it's also the instigator of swirling spirals of blossom petals that seem to almost shimmer in an iridescent light.

Sometimes, in the quiet weeks, I wonder if I have any memories to share, but then I realise that it's often the simple moments plucked from a seemingly ordinary day that are the ones I want to remember the most.

Escape Outdoors: The Beach

Living within forty-five minutes of the coast has always been one of the attractions of living in Lincolnshire. Don't get me wrong, the green rolling fields of the countryside are, without doubt, where my heart truly lies, but there's something about a trip to the beach that refreshes the senses and makes for a rather contented feeling. Last week we ventured to Theddlethorpe beach, somewhere we've not explored before, but a place I'd been recommended for being quiet and dog-friendly, and it did not disappoint.

This was Bella's first trip to the beach and she absolutely loved it; she spent the morning frolicking through the sand dunes and splashing through the waves, even braving a quick swim before feeling a little out of her depth. The best part? We had the beach pretty much to ourselves, and there was so much space! Spring had well and truly arrived so coats were off and we paddled with Bella before stopping just by the shoreline to enjoy a cup of tea and a mid-morning snack. We felt elated with sunshine, warmth and happiness and closed our eyes, imagining we were on holiday (which wasn't particularly difficult).

Another hour sped past and we wandered some more, fascinated by the debris left behind by the tides: crab's claws, starfish, razor shells, seaweed and even a ship's mast. The sunlight glistened on the droplets left behind in the rivets of sand. Sea birds sang with delight and flew swiftly across the haze of blue on the horizon. We left feeling rejuvenated and ready for whatever the rest of spring has to throw at us, content in the knowledge that we'd spent so little but gained so much pleasure from our morning.

Create: A Spring Wreath

I've mentioned my love for wreaths a few times before, and while many see them simply as a festive decoration for December, I like to hang them the whole year round. Creating my autumn wreath was so simple that I decided immediately that I would make another come spring, and this week that time arrived, just ready for the Easter weekend as well.

I started by browsing the local florist for a few select blooms, including one bunch from the reduced section in front of the shop. Although the flowers were already open, it didn't really matter as I knew the wreath would not last as long as a styled vase, and wanted the visual impact to be immediate. I didn't set out with a colour scheme in mind, but as these things often do it evolved naturally into a predominantly purple and yellow display - perfect to brighten our home and in keeping with fresh spring colours. I also picked up a couple of eggs as a homage to Easter and a reminder that new life is on the horizon.

Like last time, I used a willow wreath base, and you can pick them up from garden centres or online, or if you'd prefer you could use a wire base instead. I added the thistles and eggs first and then filled in the gaps with the rest of the flowers, making sure to slide the stems far enough into the willow so that they stay put (this way no string or other attachments are needed - so simple!).

If you're thinking of giving this very simple craft a try, here are my top tips for the perfect wreath display:

  • Invest in a solid base. I've used my willow base for a couple of years now and it's perfect for weaving stems in and out.
  • Choose a mixture of foliage and flowers for a balanced effect.
  • Start with the big stems first - these will be the trickiest to slot into place.
  • Don't be afraid to pull something out if it doesn't work - the beauty of wreath making is that it doesn't matter if you make a mistake.
  • Stand back throughout the process to check what the wreath looks like from afar.
  • Once flowers start drooping, simply replace them with new ones if you want to keep your wreath displayed for longer than a few days.

April is all about... new life and fresh beginnings, eggs (both chocolate and chicken), alfresco breakfasts, morning dew, raindrops and listening to the dawn chorus.

Something to eat: Easter tends to call for a roast dinner, so what better than a leg of lamb with baby potatoes and garlic crème fraîche, followed by profiteroles and lemon curd ice cream. Head over here for the recipes.

Something to visit: A whole host of National Trust properties that are offering Easter egg trails alongside Cadbury this month. This website offers you the chance to search for events in your area, and with over 300 there's bound to be something going on near you!

Something to make: A wreath for Spring. Be inspired by these ideas, or have a look at my Autumn wreath tutorial to guide you through the basics. Bringing nature into the home is something that I am really trying to do more of this year, and wreaths are a great way to mark the changing of the seasons.

Something to celebrate: Shakespeare would have been 451 years old this month. Why not read a play or sonnet in his memory? Or if you're in the area, join in the birthday celebrations in Stratford-Upon-Avon that include a parade featuring a 3 metre wide horse drawn birthday cake, workshops, readings and street theatre.

Something a bit different: Every been to an event based entirely on fire? Inspired by a traditional Gaelic celebration, Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh takes place on the final day of the month and sparks the beginnings of summer with a procession led by the Green Man and the May Queen, which is followed by lighting an enormous bonfire. Head over here for more information.

Flowers in Season in Spring

Buying British products and produce is something that I will be forever passionate about. If it's available in the UK, why waste time, money and air-miles on products flying in from far afield? Nearly 90% of the flowers we as a country buy are imported, often travelling thousands of miles before being packaged and placed in our shops and advertised to sell as 'fresh' flowers. What's fresh about that? Perhaps more importantly, why do we feel the need to buy in these exotic blooms when British flowers are so wonderful?

A posy picked straight from the garden is always going to make a house feel firmly rooted in the season. Failing that, a bouquet or small bunch from a local florist will do almost as well. They might be a little more expensive if you choose certain flowers, but go for the ones that are abundantly in season, and you'll find they're usually cheaper than any other flowers you can buy. In March, daffodils often go for a pound a bunch and can brighten up any frosty Spring morning with their vibrancy. As we get further into the season, tulips can often be just as inexpensive and can surely satisfy that need for pops of colour in our vases? You'll also be helping to support the habitats of insects in the UK; from butterflies to bees they all need flowers, but farmers will only grow them if there is the demand.

With this in mind, here's a quick summary of what's in season (florally, of course) during Spring...

  • Daffodils {so easy to grow in the garden}
  • Tulips {look for different varieties - there are plenty!}
  • Hellebores
  • Hyacinths
  • Irises {a particular favourite of mine}
  • Lilac
  • Bluebells
A Spring List
  1. Have a picnic at the beach (even if the weather is bracing).
  2. Visit somewhere new, perhaps somewhere you only normally visit in the summer.
  3. Make your own pesto – you could use wild garlic, nettles or spinach.
  4. Go for late evening walks with a flask of something hot and enjoy the starry night sky.
  5. Spring clean using natural products. You only need lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda, distilled white vinegar and a bit of beeswax.
  6. Buy a bunch of seasonal British blooms: look out for daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and irises.
  7. Plant seeds in the garden for flowers and vegetables. Even a tiny plot can yield plenty of salad for the summer months.
  8. Make a spring wreath.
  9. Challenge yourself to get outside for at least 30 minutes a day.
  10. Keep a nature diary of everything you see in your garden, or when walking.