Tag Archives: Common Farm Flowers

www.nelliepompoms.co.uk

Standard

It’s all change!  I have recently started a website www.nelliepompoms.co.uk and am   s l o w l y   but surely moving the blogs from here across to there.  Huge thanks to Gabriella Buckingham who designed my original logo and Sarah at Studio Spence who has put it all together for me, if you’re looking for a website then do get in touch with Sarah, she’s very clever (and patient!).

The website has been an idea of mine for ages.  Drawing on my many adventures and journeys, shopping experiences and personal recommendations I have brought everything together and popped it all in one place.  It’s where you will find food and drink suggestions, recent book reviews, the Instagram feed, Twitter timelineNellie Pom Poms Facebook status updates, blog and shopping inspiration from some very lovely people and businesses like Common Farm Flowers, Myddfai, Bowlovers, More-Hall, Bodlon, 2 Little Boys, Hunter Gatherer and more!

So, this blog post is short and sweet (much like myself!), but I do hope you will bookmark www.nelliepompoms.co.uk, sign up to the blog on the website and tell your friends.

Advertisements

Ooooooh! A day at the Country Living Spring Fair

Standard

Oooh I’ve just had a lovely day at the Country Living Spring Fair with my flower ace friend that is Georgie of Common Farm Flowers.  She was giving talks on cut flowers and signing books whilst I was being her wing woman which was huge fun as I got to chat to lots of people.  Georgie’s survival guide is well worth reading as is the rest of her blog and of course her book of which there will be copies at her talks on Thursday!

In between talks we had a chance to mingle around and see lots of lovely people as well as meeting new people and there was lots of oohing going on I can tell you!

I approached the Nathalie Bond stand and said “ooooh I follow you and blogged about you in my candle round up“, she asked who I was so I told her and then she oohed.  It’s the simple things that make me smile!  Georgie treated me to a lip balm for my birthday, there’s lots of flavours but I chose rose.

I have known of The Linen Press for a while but hadn’t actually seen their products in real life …. oh but hello I was very soon smitten!  Totally smitten and came away with a green Foxglove jacket.  In her blog Georgie mentioned my brogues, which are none other than these from Its got soul.  There’s nothing worse than being too hot and uncomfortable when you’re on your feet all day so these shoes are ideal.

One of the new people I met was Rustique who has THE most stunning products, no seriously they are stunning, this chair for example!  The work that goes into such beauty must be hours but the end result is utterly amazing!

IMG_5156

Another business I had not yet met was Artbox who use recycled leather and their range and colours is a treat!  Talking of colours I soon found myself over at the Plooms stand where I admired the weight and colour of the pens before using one. That’s definitely on my list!

Pinny Pockets look great fun, an apron with detachable oven mitts in a variety of colours and designs.  How useful!

These Kirigami and Origami pop-up cards literally made us stop in our steps.  They are outstanding!

IMG_5177

Georgie and I also did some oohing at the amazing Shabby Sheep Crafts – I can guarantee you will too!  As much as I wanted everything I was very restrained and picked up a tiny acorn for my late friend’s mother.  I really do marvel at anyone who can create anything and it was uncanny that these stunners were infact handcrafted.

IMG_5187

I did rather love the badger!

IMG_5185

The quilts and cushions from Lisa Watson are exceedingly well made and in a variety of colours and designs, again I marvel at how much time, heart and soul goes into making such treasures.

IMG_5174

It’s well known that I have a thing for mugs and the vintage set from Jin Designs made me smile, ok they made me laugh loudly.  I enjoy browsing for items for my own home and for gifts in general and had a good long look at what was available from Luca’s Garden, The Stripes Company, The New Eden, Punica and Sarah Field Ceramics where I picked up a dinky bunny with a spotty tail.

I was particularly taken with the cushions from Ideal Grace, the green spotty dog collar and lead from BlossomCo and the cushions from Cwtch the dragon – funny that!

There was also a lot of food stands I walked very  S L O W L Y  past whilst stretching out my hand to try things, oh my gosh the chilli chocolate from Goupie was more than moreish I was almost tempted to don a disguise and head back under the cover of a beard!  I might just have cleared the display breads from Dassie and I could have been the one who was hogging the Cotswold Gold Chilli Oil!

It was lovely to see old friends like Eliza Wray, L & S Interiors and to see their new range Olive & Daisy and to finally meet the wonder that is Jane Means who so kindly allowed me to use a photo of her gorgeous dog in my wedding anniversary party planning blog.  I couldn’t resist the orange pom pom ribbon that is going to be part of a window display as opposed to adorning a gift!

Oooooooooh!  One product that I wanted to bring home and put straight on the wall was the laundry ladder which is the new approach to drying laundry from Julu.  Yes.  I know you want one too!

All too soon it was time to go home, my commuter days are long gone and I had no desire to be stuck on a train in crush hour so I headed off with my bags aplenty and a happy smile following a lovely day and sauntered onto the train where I read my book in peace before getting home.

Thanks Georgie for a lovely day once again I do so enjoy wing woman duties, hope it goes well tomorrow!  And if you are going to this fair or any in the future don’t forget Georgie’s survival guide ….. and I will if I may just add in just 1 little hint which is to suss out where the loos are furthest away from the entrance as the queue will be smaller and you will be happier!

Happy days and I hope you have gained some inspiration from this blog.

Gifts for mother’s day (and my birthday)

Standard

My mother likes to remind me that I was born in the late afternoon on Mothering Sunday and chastises me still (at very nearly 46) for keeping her waiting.  All day!  Well back in the day there wasn’t much on the telly box and maybe I wanted to appear in time for a nice cup of the and a sandwich spread samwich!  So arrive I did and as well as having my official birthday I also feel that I own a little bit of Mothering Sunday as well!

The lovely children of the house have been asking me what I would like for my birthday and I have to admit I am a little bit stuck between deciding what I would quite like and what I really need.  So far I have come up with a watch and a docking station/charging/alarm clock combo but there are some things that I do like and I am sure that some of these ideas could be on any mother’s list.

I could really do with a new blender as mine is groaning under the weight of hearty soups I have recently been making, a whizzer or chopper would cut down on the time I chop but would involve more washing up and I would probably lose the whizzy bit so I will shelve those ideas for another time.  Besides Big Welsh has a birthday in a few months and maybe he would like them?  The wok I bought him for Christmas was a great success after all!

Mook asked whether I would like some flowers from Georgie, well yes of course!  Doesn’t everyone want flowers on their birthday?  I particularly like Georgie’s creations because she grows most of them herself, Common Farm Flowers is a small British business with a big heart and I do like to support my friends.

IMG_1676

Having just spent the evening at Nirvana Spa with my stepsister as an early birthday treat I would thoroughly enjoy a day of pampering and relaxing, there are so many treatments to chose from and to be honest who wouldn’t want to float around all day in a nice big bath robe wondering which lounger to lie on!

IMG_4836

I’m not really a bag person.  I’ve yet to find a bag that I will actually use and use and use but I am rather partial to the bags at Pioneros and Cloudberry who I found via Country Wives.  My Mulberry purse is now 15 years old and is looking tired so maybe a new purse?  But saying that I do have a lovely green Ted Baker one with bobbles somewhere and I can’t for the life of me remember where it is and it does contain my Cath Kidston family and friends discount card so I must make an effort to find it as I am rather partial to the bedding!

Notebooks are also another favourite of mine and my very clever crochet friend Prettybea has sent me some notebooks from Bread and Jam which I love, Katherina from Ella’s Kitchen Company gave me a notebook which I also love and I do enjoy perusing stationery companies.

IMG_1765

Jewellery is always a nice gift, I particularly like Rococo in Wokingham and often nip in to see Juliette and ooh and aah over the displays.  Despite having my ears pierced years ago I don’t wear earrings much but I do like the simple ones from JojoJewellery.

IMG_3946

Sending a food gift is always a winner!  I am more than partial to Gower Cottage Brownies, to be honest I don’t know anyone who isn’t – they’ve just not found them yet.  Kate is THE Brownie Queen.  Fact.  As it’s mother’s day the rule is that the mother should be treated to mugs of coffee at regular intervals to go with said brownies.

IMG_1539

Then maybe a little glass of something with a fizz.  Last year Tiffinie came over for a fundraiser for The Brain Tumour Charity and HeadSmart and we sipped a dash of her Wiltshire Liqueur Blood Orange with Prosecco in the garden.

IMG_9157

Or how about a fizzy red, yes you read it right fizzy red, I like the Vultu from Zotta Deli.

IMG_9734

I’m very fond of the Gordon Castle Gin and Angus has suggested mixing it with Fever Tree tonic – what’s not to love?

IMG_2568

I love giving books to people and equally love being given books.  As a supporter of small local independent book sellers I don’t mind being given a book token so I can go and choose a book myself.  I am not averse to vouchers as they are such a convenient gift to send and can bring hours of pleasure perusing and choosing what you would really like.

Books really are my thing and when I see a book I remember where I was when I was reading it.  Another way to hold memories is with a Treasure Pod from the amazing Jane Rafter.  I have one with a birth stones and charms.  What would you choose?

IMG_2138

Smellies and candles are another firm favourite and the world is full of gorgeousness.  I love Jo Malone MBE’s new range Jo Loves and the fragrance discovery gift experience is an ideal gift, it is easily wrapped up and can be put in a pretty padded envelope from Hunter Gatherer.  I was fortunate to have facials over the years from Tracey Malone who started her own business called Lubatti which has the most glorious bath oils and skincare range.  Last year I found Noble Isle who have a delicious range of products that I am also fond of.

Being a spring baby I obviously feel the need for people to wrap up so have given a number of friends bobble hats from Forage Somerset as well as Powder gloves available from Ty Cariad in Brecon.

Of course keeping hands warm also looks after hands so I use Niki’s Warming Balm which is quite frankly gorgeous smelling and warming.

But what I love most about Mother’s Day and my birthday is that I get to spend it with the most precious people in my life

IMG_1980

and I know that come what may I will always be there for them, laughing with them

IMG_4621

and even though I might embarrass them

IMG_2477

I will always love them and I will always be their Mummy.

A party you say?

Standard

Not so long ago I had a chat with a friend who knows what she’s talking about with regards to weddings (having got married, written a book Wedding Season and whose daughter recently got married) and she (oh so) very kindly reminded me that with 3 girls I’d quite probably be involved in weddings.  I, of course, thanked her for this and worked out which arm and leg to sell to pay for them!  We also discussed the mother/daughter relationship and all about planning a wedding which led me back to my own wedding and prompted me to write a wedding blog.

If I was to be getting married now, knowing all the wonderful people and businesses that I do, then I would have a weekend festival of loveliness and quirkiness, a showcase of all those that are both brillYANT and in my address book!  I understandably would book amazing weather and all our friends and family would come along and celebrate with us!

However, I am not getting married – although it is our 18th wedding anniversary on Saturday, BUT it’s our 20th wedding anniversary in 2 years and Katie suggested renewing our vows.  Any excuse for a party!  So I did some thinking!!!

I’ll hold it at Mum’s as her field is the best place for a marquee and as it’s in the middle of nowhere then no-one will be disturbed.  There won’t be fireworks or Chinese lanterns but Helen will hang loads of glass jars around not with candles but with battery operated candles.

I’d slip my feet into my Slinks and would  probably find something to wear (on the morning of), whilst Big Welsh will be blissfully unaware of any kind of celebration and will cycle to Mum’s in a personalised cycling jersey!  The girls would wear what they’re happy in and I’d treat them to personalised Converses (with flowers in their hair making a nice change to hedges) and knowing Laree she would be barefoot, have muddy hands and carry a butterfly net within a few minutes.

Arthur would of course have a special outfit, a gorgeous bow and new collar and would be friends with everyone whose hands are at his head height!  He’d obviously need to bring a plus one and I can’t think of anyone smarter than Jane Means‘ labrador who wears a ribbon well!  I’d actually love to have loads of black labradors wearing gorgeous bows which would be hilarious, cut down on cleaning costs and waste and would be one for Shannon to tick off her bucket list of wedding photography!

Jane Means’ beautiful dog, a stunning companion for Arthur (thank you for allowing me to use this photo)

Georgie would of course do the flowers, big buckets of Common Farm Flowersjam jar posies on every table and doors would be adorned with British flowers.

Beautiful British flowers from http://www.commonfarmflowers.com

The tables would be gorgeous thanks to Time for Tea Vintage (I love photo no 5 th best, for the peacock feather and pom poms) and Hunter Gatherer’s Rechargeable cork bottle stopper lights on every table.  Around the marquee, field and garden there would be decorations from Giddy KipperCherry Pie LaneMoobaacluck and Bodlon, with Party Bales dotted around.

 I’d really like a “tuck in table” covered in cheese, hams, pates and pickles, Jane would whip up a croquembouche and there would be plenty of wine, gin, sloe gin, vodka and beer, with cordials in decanters and liqueurs to keep everyone happy.  My great friend Tara Daisy Icicles would be there with Daisy Ices and she will be delighted to know that I have overdosed on rose and violet flavours so none of those thank you!

 There’d be music,  lots of music (in my dreams ELO would reform, Abba would be a surprise part of the proceedings, I’d get R5 along for the children and would ask Joni Mitchell and Stevie Nicks to do a duet.  I’d also get Tom Jones to come along; maybe he could bring the inlaws from Wales with with him; they’d like a tour bus experience with Sir Tom I’m sure).  As Laree knows every word to every song I’d suggest she has a chat with Mike Read to sort the playlist!

 I’d have to make sure that there were no sporting events taking place or Big Welsh wouldn’t be able to make it and neither would Ady who as well as being on the radio and telly is also an after dinner speaker – he has masses of amusing tales to tell (obviously not about my sporting achievements!).

The guest list would of course be an eclectic mix, we’d have “over the years” photos as table names and Shannon would take masses of photos on the day, the first time I met her she wowed me with her album books (I homed in on the black labrador photos!) – that way then everyone who is part of our lives is all in one book together, a pictorial address book!

 Guests would camp in the field next door, there’d be no need to bring anything other than bed, clothes and toothbrush as the “tuck in table” would have food throughout the day constantly replenished and changed so that no-one would get bored!  Tartiflette, chilli, risotto and various salads would feature.  I’d also like a Croqembouche oh look here’s the one I want from Jane Staunton!

croqembouche

 All I would ask is that everyone came along, raised a glass and enjoyed themselves – as I said any excuse for a party!

 Now I must phone Mama and warn her!

Not just any plant sale

Status

Friends and family have been aware of a date in my diary for a while and know that it’s one of those “tamper proof” dates, a date that cannot and will not be moved and why. That date was yesterday, the second Saturday in May, just incase you want to write it in your diary in INK for next year. The reason is the Plant Sale in Charlton Musgrove, Somerset organised by Georgie of Common Farm Flowers. This year it was in aid of the church and HeadSmart, where all the plants are £1. Yes £1 each.

I got up at 615, quick shower and coffee, cursory glance at the world in my phone and at 7am (on a Saturday) headed off towards the A303 where I was meeting Sally Swannell for a Little Chef coffee and the handover of a raffle prize. I also got a kiss from a the cheery Squire from Exeter Morris Men. Amazing what you can find in a Little Chef! A short stop in the lay-by as I chatted to Paul Ross on BBC Radio Berkshire about the £6 supper recipe and off I went.

The plant sale runs from 930 to 1130. On arrival at 931 the car park was full and my boot was empty. A quick hello to Georgie, Emily and Saskia and I browsed the plants. I wish I could say I was familiar with all the names but the beauty of gardening for me is to plant, tend, water and watch it grow in wonder and amazement! Georgie and the team know what they’re talking about and to be honest if Georgie says this is great, this smells divine, this will look good here, etc etc then it is needed for my garden.

20140511-002816.jpg

Georgie kindly suggested plants, I duly nodded, she put them to one side and she then introduced me to Sacha Langton-Gilks and we talked and talked, laughed and laughed, talking and laughing about everything and anything. Sacha is an amazing woman and it was fascinating to hear about everything she has been doing to raise awareness of brain tumours.

I also met Margaret Miller, who I know as drawmill on Twitter. Her drawings are stunning, do take a look.

In addition to plants there was a tombola with some amazing prizes, here’s one I picked up earlier

20140511-003417.jpg

and in the room next door there was a cafe selling delicious cakes. I rather liked the meringue. I liked it lots!

20140511-003125.jpg

My car was then loaded up and off I went to Shaftesbury for lunch.

20140511-003257.jpg

There’s plenty of planting to do!

If you’re keen to create gorgeous borders then I’d head to Charlton Musgrove for the plant sale next year! Let’s all meet up?

Poor communication

Standard

 It’s been an odd week not being able to pick up the phone and having a chat with Georgie because she has had no phone line. 

I returned from my weekend in Wales and saw her tweets about there being an electrical fault and that an engineer wouldn’t get to the small village of Charlton Musgrove until Thursday.  Thursday???  What kind of customer service is that?  I don’t know if you are familiar with Charlton Musgrove?  Well it’s tiny.  Georgie said in one of her tweets that there were residents who had no access to mobile telecommunications or motor vehicles and couldn’t just dash out and phone to report their fault, so I made contact with BT 151 who advised me to phone BT Openreach on Monday at 7am and report the whole village was out.  I also phoned the police to advise them that a whole village was without telephones and could they pay passing attention. 

Monday 7am.  Mr BT Openreach said that Mr BT 151 was wrong and that each customer had to phone their phone provider and tell them they had no phone.  Those phone providers would then advise BT Openreach and it would all be logged.  Again I explained that it wasn’t the case of just jumping in the car to find a good place to phone from a mobile as some of them were old and frail with no mobile phones or vehicles.  Mr BT Openreach said that even though I had given him the postcode and the name of the village that was not enough to report the fault as each customer has to phone their phone provider themselves.  Are you getting frustrated yet?  I thanked Mr BT Openreach for his time and fired off an email to the Chief Exec.

Being a Solutioneer I also phoned BBC Somerset to ask them to put out an alert that phone lines were down in Charlton Musgrove and could they advise their listeners that there was a problem.  Thanks for the shout out BBC Somerset!  I settled down and rang BT HQ and was put through to a very nice man called Stuart, who listened to what I had to say who explained that yes sadly it was up to the individual customers to phone their providers and their providers would call BT Openreach.  Whilst this wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear as it was coming from someone in HQ it had to be right!  I asked him to provide me with all the phone companies and their phone numbers.  He said that was doable but it would take him 1o minutes or so and do you know what?  Within 10 minutes or so I had a text saying he had tried to call but couldn’t get through (irony) and here were all the numbers.

Have you ever tried to get through to a phone provider?  Well I wasn’t going to be on hold for 15 minutes each time so I tweeted them and wasn’t that surprised to only get a few responses.  Each response said their customer needs to report their fault and no I can’t report a fault for a certain postcode in certain village.

I phoned the Town Council and Somerset County Council to advise them if they had not already heard.  I spoke to a very nice lady called Sally who was appreciative of my efforts.  Then I got a phone call from the Exec office and could I call him back which I did but he was away from his desk.  I spoke to Sally again and she told me that the MP was on the case.  Clearly he didn’t think it was acceptable for a whole village to be phoneless for the best part of a week and knowing the make up of his constituents he would know the vulnerabilities of them.

I eventually spoke to Mr Exec the next day and he was very apologetic at not being available the previous day.  I told him I was disappointed that Mr BT 151 had given me the advice to call Mr BT Openreach and that Mr BT Openreach had told me that Mr BT 151 gave me the wrong advice, I told him that I was disillusioned with BT not being able to get out for the best part of a week to look at their equipment and I told him I was annoyed that despite reporting a whole village without a working phoneline Mr BT Openreach didn’t consider this to be a major incident. 

Mr Exec said that this was being looked into and in reality Mr BT Openreach should have dealt with my request as it was a whole village afftected and therefore a major incident, I said it was a critical incident but we parted on good terms and I nicely suggested that some additional training was given to each department about what the other departments do.  Cheeky I know!

The reason why I got so het up about this was because I know how much older & gentlefolk rely on their telephone for communication and how frightening it is to need to use the telephone and the phone doesn’t work.  Just imagine if they had needed to dial 999, or someone urgently needed to contact them.  

I was able to report a fault from the comfort of my own home but what is the contingency plan?  Surely someone at BT should have seen that a whole village was out?  Surely someone from BT should have taken on board that a phone call saying the whole village was out would invoke some kind of disaster recovery plan.

I hope that things change.

Do one thing for me and any older gentlefolk you might care about.  Ask them who their phone providers are and make a note of the fault line number and account number so that if you can’t get hold of your older & gentlefolk then at least you will be able to get hold of their phone providers who will then contact Mr BT Openreach, because until something changes there is no way of reporting a major incident.

 

Adventures

Standard

I love time to myself, I yearn for what I call my running away adventures which obviously involve me running away and having an adventure! I also go on adventure journeys and visits with the children and the dog these are just adventures.

On Monday I ran away to Dorset for the afternoon en route to an evening with Georgie and Amanda. Well I say I ran away but in reality I loaded up Marple my little green Mini and drove down the A303. There were other roads as well but in reality my adventures start when I leave Berkshire and as I passed the sign that said Wiltshire I began to get excited.

Being a sucker for a peppermint tea I pulled over into the Drive In Costa and shared my status with Facebook, clicking on the share location which for some reason showed me as being nowhere near Stonehenge!

20140312-070650.jpg

How I chortled as I drove off to Shaftesbury to meet Harriet at the newly revamped Grosvenor Arms. Once there I duly updated Facebook and again it found somewhere not remotely similar to Shaftesbury. No wonder my friends and family thought I’d left home without the dog and jetted off.

20140312-072314.jpg

It was great to catch up with Harriet who is the marvel behind Hunter Gatherer and Bowl Overs, we go back years so there’s always plenty to chat about. All too soon she had to go so I went for a wander as I wasn’t due at Georgie’s for a couple of hours.

20140312-072545.jpg

I saw a sign for Gold Hill so I took a look at this beautiful hill that I knew as a child from the Hovis ads. What a beautiful and enchanting view. It was so peaceful. I walked down Gold Hill and then I walked up Gold Hill, stopping to take a photo of Updown Cottage.

20140312-072650.jpg

I’ve done Berkshire to Somerset and Dorset and back in a day so it’s doable but I always have so many people to see that I take a couple of days. I had a lovely couple of days, my batteries are now recharged and it’s not long until my next adventure.

Shaftesbury! In Dorset?
Yes I’d recommend it to anyone!!

20140312-073542.jpg