August Favourites

While this year has truly flown by, August seems to have spread itself out longer than other months and I feel I’ve done a lot over the past month- here are my highlights.

Seasons changing– I’ve loved seeing the Autumn colours begin to appear all around me.

IMG_0664

Birding-I’ve been going out and about and helping out some local bird ringers- the highlight was not one but two tree pipits last weekend.

IMG_5689.JPG

Crafting– After a trip to the Festival of Quilts early in the month, I’ve joined my sister’s craft club and have finally started making a bit of progress on the quilt I started about 3 years ago.

IMG_5522.JPG

Working– getting outside more often has made me remember how much I do love my job despite having too much to do and not enough time to do it.

IMG_0820

Family time– we have a couple of birthdays in my immediate family so there has been a lot of catching up and celebrating.

IMG_0016

All in all, August has been a good month. I’m looking forward to what September brings my way.


Advertisements

Bird of the Month- August 2014

I’m hoping by starting a new series of Bird of the Month posts here, it’ll give you all a little insight into a new British/European bird each month as well as encouraging me to get out the art materials more frequently than I have been in the past. Each month, I’ll pick a bird which of note from that month and that I think is worth sharing with you all as well as a few birdy facts about the species.

There really was only one choice for my bird of August 2014…

IMG_5776.JPG

European Bee-eater

1. These colourful beauties are usually found across Europe although occasionally the birds appear in Britain.

2. This year, bee-eaters bred on the Isle of Wight (where I went to see them!). That’s only the third time they’ve ever bred in the UK. It’s likely that this was a one-off occurrence but we shall have to wait and see to find out whether the birds return again next summer.

3. The birds nest as a pair but may also have some ‘helpers’- other adult birds who haven’t settled down to breed themselves who find food, incubate the young and help make the nest along with the parent birds.

4. The birds nest in a long tunnel which they excavate themselves. The eggs are then incubated for around 3 weeks before the young leave the nest.

5. They don’t just eat bees- dragonflies, wasps and other insects are also favourite foods which they catch on the wing.

Seasonal Bakes #1- The Plum Crumble Cake

IMG_0014

Is it just me or does it feel like Autumn is here already? I spied this recipe in the freebie Waitrose Weekend magazine a couple of weeks ago and finally made it last weekend- it’s a good’un and perfect for a day spent inside hiding from the rain and grey skies (find the recipe here). Although an easy bake, it did create a fair bit of washing up, and if you also live with a nut allergy sufferer I can confirm that the recipe is fine if you just omit the almonds from the topping. Enjoy!

IMG_0017_2

The Summer Tag

I’ve seen this one doing the rounds, most recently on Louisa’s Blog which spurred me into action before summer is truly over (written as I look out on soggy grey skies…).

IMG_0653

1. What’s your favourite thing about summer?
Sunny days at the coast with the smell of the sea, blue skies and a refreshing breeze. That and sitting outside with a good book in the garden.

2. Do you have a favourite summer drink?
Last summer I’d have said a classic Pimms or a Hugo but this year I’ve discovered how refreshing an Aperol Spritz is and I’m addicted!

3. Is there a location you prefer to go to in summer?
I want to say Cornwall as it’s so beautiful in the sunshine but it has to be outside of season and away from the crowds. Other than that just being outside in the garden is perfection on a summery day.

4. Favourite make up look for summer?
I don’t like to wear that much make up in summer so keep it natural, beachy and a bit of shimmer on the eyes.

5. Dresses or skirts?
Skirts (although I prefer shorts over both in the summer).

6. Sandals or ballet pumps?
Sandals 100%

7. Do you prefer to wear your hair up or down for summer?
This summer mostly up as it’s been far too hot to have my in-need-of-a-cut hair down.

8. Deep smoky eyes or bold lips?
In summer, neither for me but bold lips are more summery than smoky eyes.

9. Favourite perfume for summer?
I tend to wear the same all year round!

10. Last but not least, favourite music for summer?
I’m not normally a pop kind of person but I love the radio on in the car in the summer and always Radio1.

Anyone else who wants to take part- feel free to tag on from here!

P.S. Louisa, you’re not the last person to complete this!

Nature Notes #1

IMG_0862

5 things to do this week:

Make the most of the light evenings while they last and take an evening stroll somewhere green.

Look out for local blackberry patches- my local ones are nearly ready to forage.

Keep an eye out for migrant birds- that may well be the last swallow you see in 2014.

Learn to recognise one new wild plant- mine last week was wild carrot (pictured).

Get out for some fresh air every day this week and see how it makes you feel.

Making a Change

cuppa

Hello. It’s been a while, I’m not sure you remember me?

I’ve taken a bit of a break lately to get things in order. Earlier in the year I found that I’d started to find my own blog a bit stale and with everything else going on, it took a back seat while other things have fallen into place. Way back in ooh, March I think, I went on a photography and styling course with the very lovely Emily Quinton of Makelight. I think the time has passed to share that day, but one of the things Emily said that day really stuck with me and made me consider my little corner of the internet in a different way.

One of the other ladies asked Emily about creating a brand, and her response was to remember that your brand is you, and the most interesting blogs out there are those with an identity that truly reflects the writer. I think its all too easy in this digital world to become so inspired by everything around you, to want to be everything, to do everything and to do it all perfectly. When I thought about it, what my blog had become was an amalgamation of all the different subjects I’ve felt inspired by across the blogosphere, and not what I originally designed it to be- sunshine, sharing and positive thoughts.

By taking such a long break I’ve had a long think about what I want this blog to be a reflection of, and I’ve had time to think about how to get it there. In baby steps, I’ve got a few things planned that I’m very excited to share with everyone, and I’m looking forward to making this blog a truer reflection of myself.

Thanks for standing by while things were a bit quiet.

Josie x