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Updated: 2018-03-16T06:50:23.005+00:00




December. Christmas lights and Christmas walks, favourite card. Enough said.

if I'm not here you can find me on Instagram as driftwood_tess



November highlights. E had the lead in the school play. Shakespeare may never before been performed in Kermit the frog socks. I shall spare you the Madonna outfit...... More gorgeous skies. I may become obsessed.  J and I had a brief visit to the big city. Parakeets in the park, the Greenwich observatory and the most beautiful Christmas lights.



October's highlights. Finished my cardigan! Went to Oslostrikke fest. A month of incredible skies.[...]



September's highlights - a walk up Goat Hill - Yeavering Bell,  and Yarndale. plus a photoshoot at work featuring Miss K.



August. A month filled with beach trips and guiding trips and big skies. Perfect. we found the gruffalo,and sparkly seas,there were fluffy white clouds,and strange sea creatures,favourite cliff top walks,and special beaches,mysterious sunsets,and distant castles. August you were lovely. [...]



we took the youngest teenager and his friend to a concert. there was dancing on a piano. seemed a bit reckless.I tried to show respectable behaviour by casting on some baby socks.which caused the teenagers to despair.(might well have been what I intended!)it was a beautiful venue. the rest of this post will be fairly random, so here goes.random cat photo because there hasn't been one for a while!Malene hat from Laine magazine.Cassie, the smallest goat in the world.a spoon carving workshop. so much funso hard. mine is the one of the right. don't look too closely.this is dandelion. she wanted to eat me....Bamburgh beachBamburgh castle. We went to take photos for work, and had to stay for a picnic. the sun doesn't come out that often here, when it does you have to make the most of it!I also had to move my office outside. and admire the the weather is back to normal Northumberland grey and a bit freezing.better get on with my new cardigan. it needs to be much bigger if it's going to keep me warm![...]



June. summer apparently but not in Northumberland....
but that's ok, there's been more knitting.

and more photo shoots for work. this time we found a driftwood boat. 
I want one!

later we found a snake.
I think I can live without one of these!

I'm not allowed to post photos of the eldest teenagers leavers dinner, or youngest teenagers prom, so here's a selfie I took to show off my new jumper.

apparently you're supposed to be able to see your face in selfies....

bah humbug.



May was the month of the eldest teenagers last day of school, and revision and exams. none of which were photographed. 
but this stormy sea rather sums up everything.



knitting is taking up all of my time.
 I designed a sock pattern for work.
it almost killed me.

then we took it on a location photo shoot and a few hours in the hills of Northumberland and all was well with the world again. 

also cherry blossom,
and swings.
everything is better when there is cherry blossom.



It's a bit difficult to get anything done at work at the moment.there are far too many distractions.....tiny angora goats are the cutest thing possible. some of them are so adorable that you end up going to work on a Sunday morning and taking the family with you...this is Ethel. don't tell the others but she's my favourite x[...]

February already?


Apparently it's February already. I'm not quite sure how that happened. January got swallowed up with extended visits to my parents, my dad has broken his hip, my mum's Alzheimer's is getting worse.....On the plus side the lost cable sock was found and I finished it's friend so I have lovely warm toesI also knitted these lovely variegated socks in Hermione's everyday sock pattern from ravelry. So lovely to knit. So cross that I snapped my knit pro circular needle about ten minutes after finishing them. But at least it was after..............I also finished the daisy cowl for when I want to wear a cloud of fluff.Sometimes we need to wear clouds of fluff, it's kind of like pretending to be a unicorn. Yesterday the sun came out for the first time in weeks.I spent several hours battling with the mud in the garden and was rewarded with these snowdrops.They have a fine delicate perfume and such intricate details. Calming and restorative.Just what I need right now.[...]

new things and a new year.


New Year's Eve Knitting.New Year's Eve walkNew yarn photographed with new macro lens for my phoneNew crafts. lino cut goat anyone?New experiences. I am now the parent of an adult.  New traditions. 18th birthday =18 presents and a Fantastic weekend awayNew Year.I hope it is kind to you. thank you for being here this year. I know I haven't been around much.  t x[...]

knitting news


this week has been mostly about knitting. 
and mostly hats. Three so far.

hats and cats. 
this one is helping me wind a centre pull ball. 
he really is.... 

note to self. egg shaped balls are fine.... no you don't need to buy a yarn winder.....

waiting impatiently for postie to bring new circular needle provides ample time to mess about with knitting trying to photograph stylishly, or making Harry Potter symbols.

cat two, and hat two. 
cat in the hat. 

please excuse me, I'm off to cast on hat four......

September so far


Sepember so far. I have a new part time job at a local farm where they produce beautiful yarn from their goats and sheep The sheep like to keep an eye on me to make sure I am doing everything properly. "No sheep, I never make your yarn into terrible tangles........ of course not........"The yarn dances around on these swifts looking like a circus field of carousels, and is measured onto the winder where it becomes lovely soft and squishy skeins. So soft. Such wonderful colours. I must learn to knit better so I can actually use some of it.....The children are back at school. It is Miss K's last year. How is that possible? It was surely only a few weeks ago that were buying her first ever school shoes... Now we are overwhelmed with UCAS applications or apprenticeships or ??? E has to start thinking about A level choices or college applications or ???Faced with the responsibility of such impossible parenting we did the only thing possible. Sent them to stay with friends for the weekend and ran away.....[...]



ok, so let's gloss over the 2 month absence and look at some lovely August happenings, list courtesy of Hawthorn Spellweaver.eye -  I may be little but I'm watching you....feet - my feet are a bit scary....button - a button like flower? happily growing in my garden. along with the nettles and the creeping buttercups..... which sound pretty, but trust me, you don't want them.....something handmade - well I made these skeins, and I made the most incredible tangle in the process. does that count?green - the lakeland fells, as seen whilst supervising a Queen's guide expedition. So green. So beautiful. And in case you're wondering, that water - So cold...... also pond weed. and possibly a lake - sweetie jars in an old fashioned shop on the Yorkshire coast that would be well suited to a home on Diagon Alley. (Harry Potter fans will understand....)floor - the paths at Saltburn are embellished with fossils, Huge ones!blue - skies above Whitby Abbey. We were so lucky with the weather this year. Glorious.Favourite - my favourite holiday destination. We've been to the same cottage for 8 years now, I checked in the visitors book. my choice - the view from Holy Island. or lack thereof. Still gorgeous. August you were lovely. xxx[...]

June's photos


I don't have the right words at the moment, so instead photos. Taken by E, joining in with Hawthorn Spellweaver.leaf  gate  sky dwelling stonetrees  waterhis own choice.we're missing "view" there isn't one in the garden apparently....and "garden". because all the photos are already in the garden..... more teenage logic.....[...]

catching up


good grief it's been a while since I wrote anything here. so quick updatemouse problem resolved. finally. the cat re caught it.....slugs - so far my yeast/sugar traps, and all the other protections seem to be just about I need to stop the pigeons eating all the spinach.I sang in a choir concert at the Sage, Gateshead - amazing place. Wonderful acoustics.It's allium flowering time. Oh how I love them.And cow parsley. love that too. although the pollen gets everywhere. even the cats have runny eyes.....yesterday was hubby's birthday. We carried a birthday picnic all the way to the top of this hill, which has amazing views over the Cheviots, and the Northumberland coastline. Also huge thunderstorms We got very rained on, and carried the picnic back to the car and ate in the car park listening to the rain hammering down on the roof.... although I was less worried about wet and more worried about the lightning...... I had to make an extra large cake when we got home to recover![...]



  1. I wrote a blog post about coeliac awareness week. and then deleted it. it was really boring.  you're much better off going to  they've got loads of great information.
  2. one of the cats brought in mice. two mice, at the same time. no idea how. whilst I caught mouse one in a box mouse two hid somewhere in the kitchen. he's still there, I saw him this morning run from under the fridge towards the washing machine. he is super fast and super tiny and occasionally the cat looks at the washing machine in a slightly puzzled way and then wanders off bored....... the teenagers want to keep it as a pet.
  3. the teenage boy had a haircut. after years of wanting to have long and shaggy curls he suddenly asked for it really short. . he has filled my phone with selfies trying to look at it from all angles............      when he walks into the room for a second I don't recognize him.... does that make me a bad parent.....
  4. the teenage girl has suddenly become obsessed with baking. I suspect it is because the exam revision is making her go slightly mad. 
  5. I am preparing to wage war on slugs. Claire has already had slug casualties. All slug repellent ideas welcome. Also mouse removal expertise appreciated.

    hope you have a lovely weekend, with lots of cake.  and no mice. or slugs......

    keeping it real


    everything I look at online at the moment seems a bit picture postcard perfect. exquisite flat lays on instragram. gorgeous gardens on pinterest. perfect meals, of well balanced superfoods and not a messy kitchen in sight.  nothing like online pressure to make you feel like your life isn't quite as it should be.

    Then Penny at homemadeheart posted a picture on instagram of her kitchen sink with the hashtag #reallifehome.

    Light bulb moment!

    I want to live a real life.
    in a home and not a show home.
    I never ever want to create a flat lay, my garden has the biggest crop of dandelions you ever did see, and I'm quite proud of that. and mess, oh I can create the best kitchen mess you ever imagined.

    so in the interest of "keeping it real", here are some bluebells I picked from my mother in laws flood battered garden.  Transported home, and still elegantly displayed in the takeaway tea cup that was in the foot well of the car because the journey there was extra long due to the road works, and we had to buy tea at Scotch Corner services after sitting in stationary traffic for nearly an hour .........

    As for the show home, well on Friday night it turned into a film studio for the teenage boy's course work, Every personal item, picture, cushion, plant and accessory got squirrelled away(stuffed in cupboards or dumped on my bed.............), to be replaced only by items suitable for the film's character - wine bottles, dirty dishes in the sink, takeaway menus on the fridge and a giant mess of dvd's on the floor..........  some of the furniture even got the dust sheet treatment.... thankfully the teenager put it all back again afterwards, and the house is mostly back to it's chaotic usual self, although there are still dirty dishes in the sink - guess that's my reality too.......

    an month of photo hunting - April


    joining in with Hawthorn Spell weavers photo scavenger huntcraftmaking progress with my hexagons. assisted by my ever present helper. Apparently this is His sunny spot....Horizona gorgeous sunset sky over the estuary.orangetulips mixing their fiery reds and yellows to glow orange in last weeks sunshine.something elseteenage boy's idea of how to cut a cake into 1/6ths. I told him to cut it in half and then cut one half into three pieces. This wasn't quite what I meant...........stickforaged beach treasures, a long piece of driftwood and some rope. looks like some kind of crazy crochet apparently. I have other plans for it.........growingtomato seedlings on the window sill. could be a while before they make it out to the greenhouse, it's freezing in there.memoriesthe aftermath of the flood at my mother in laws. We salvaged as many of the photographs as we could, these ones curled and needed carefully flattening..... freshwell it certainly feels fresh outside. It's May in two days......feathertreasures from the notice board, everyone has paper feathers next to the list of emergency phone numbers don't they.......wetoh look more snow.........hope you have a lovely weekend everyone, are you doing anything exciting?I'm looking forward to May.   Surely it won't snow in May.....Really don't want it snow on Sunday, K is running her first half marathon. I shall be waving and jumping up and down to keep warm..........[...]

    after the show


    Thank you for all the marmalade advice, I think I may be better at eating marmalade than making it. 
    I shall embrace my inner Paddington Bear.

    We arrived at 5.30 to find that although the program says collect between 5 and 6 they actually mean arrive at 5. 

    Then they start emptying out the uncollected flowers and throwing them away.... 

    It's ok though. If you apologise profusely for your lateness, and look a little sad that your very pathetic floral offerings have been disposed of, then the nice ladies will give you the uncollected tulips. All of them! 

    a feeling freezing five on Friday


    brrrr it's chilly. I've spent all week looking at pictures of sunshine and spring flowers  from the south of England on instagram and wondering why I'm so cold.
    oh that's because this is the north.....

    I am waiting impatiently for signs of spring. And warmth. The only spring there is round here is a new coil spring for front wheel of the car when it had it's MOT yesterday. The lady who rang me told me it needed it, how much it would be (ouch) and then that it wouldn't pass the MOT without a new one. So did I want it fixed? Urm let me think about that for a minute..... Honestly..... no I want to drive around with an unsafe and illegal vehicle........

    It's the local spring show tomorrow. I've just been out in my freezing garden (did I mention I was cold?) to try and find anything suitable to enter.
    Everything is either
    a) chewed - mice? pigeons? daffodil climbing snails?
    b) rain battered and mud splattered
    c) not flowering yet. it's too cold...............
    d) fairly pathetic but none of the above so it will have to do........

    I also found a jar of marmalade to enter.  (I found that in the cupboard not the garden by the way....)
    There seems to be a great deal of variation in marmalade recipes. Some chop the oranges, then boil, some boil them whole and then chop. Should the chopping be fine strips, or is it ok to throw the whole lot in the food processor and whizz it? Which is right? I have marmalade angst.

    I shall not be entering any baking.There are no classes for dairy free/gluten free cakes, and they never taste quite the same as a muggle* cake, so we'll just admire other peoples efforts. Also All baking classes at all the local shows are won by the same lady. I am somewhat baffled as to how she makes 15 or 20 cakes for each show. How big is her oven. Does she buy sugar by the ton? Does she make 20 of each at the same time, defrosting one each time she needs it? Or does she have a time machine?

    So any marmalade tips? Any signs of spring and sunshine where you live? And if so you can send some up here please! I'm off to make a pot of tea and try and get warm.
    Have a lovely weekend x

    joining in with Amy's five on Friday.

    *In the Harry Potter books a muggle is a person who lacks any magical ability. In our house a muggle is someone who isn't gluten free....

    not quite your normal game of monopoly.


    Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards Parade.The Planning. Sometime in January I signed E up to do an explorer* event in London. And promptly forgot all about it. Over the Easter weekend I got an email with details of the event, followed at 11pm on Sunday night by a frantic email from the main explorer leader, requesting parental help. He'd booked the event, but he now couldn't go, and neither could the minibus. He had one leader but would any parents (with DBS checks) be able to drive to London on Friday.... J and I had one of those crazy very very late at night conversations, which went mostly like, "well if we don't go then who will?" Cue frantic collection of camping kit, travel cards, phone chargers, food, extra food, emergency car snacks....From The Angel of the North to The Angel of Islington and back again.The journey.It's 313 miles from here to the scout park in north London. although if you don't check properly you think it's 270 miles, and when you realise with 30 miles to go that actually there's 73 miles to go everyone gets a bit tetchy with you. just saying.....J left work early so we left with a car full of explorers at 3pm instead of the scheduled 5pm. Two stops, five sets of road works, some crazy traffic, and 7 hours later we arrived.The most frequent saying of the whole trip was "Imagine if we'd left at 5 o'clock!!!!!!" We played eye spy, two letter eye spy (EP - electricity pylon, not elephant poo!) and the A-Z game, themed to the weekend, "I went to the shops and I bought an A-z map of london,  Bow Street, Chocolate, Diagon alley, Eager teens, etc" and sang loudly and tunelessly all the way.It took 7 hours to drive home too......The Beef Jerky Van. This bright yellow van, always parked at the edge of the A1 is the sign that you're nearly home. Everyone cheers when they see it!I took lots of photos of the milometer, and lots of photos of the teens (team name Eager teens) at each significant mileage. Blended into a photo film they tell a hilarious story of the journey. The Game.Monopoly Run.  This year over 900 scouts/leaders/senior section guides and crazy parents raced around London, seeing the sights, earning "£'s" taking photographs and tweeting them. Each team had a list of locations and challenges, you had to visit as many of the locations as possible, some of them at specific timings, answer the location specific question, take a team selfie, and tweet it with the location hashtag (#Trafalgarsquare) and your team number back to head quarters, and rush to the next place. You could do them in any order, more £'s were earned for further away or harder to get to sites, some were genuine monopoly board locations, others were changed in order to make it different each year, and to get a fantastically varied view of London. Team selfies had to be varied and include a variety of poses, and extra £'s were earned for "Chance cards" eg take a photo on a Santander bike, with a member of the public, with a police man, and everyone in your team in a phone box,  or "Community Chest" locations, eg The Royal Albert Hall, or a Trafalgar Square Lion.  You had 9 hours to visit as many locations as you can, before returning back to "GO" at the campsite.  Our explorer group fielded a team of 7 explorers who came 18th out of 142 teams,  and J and I and a leader made up an adult team. I learnt that my geographical knowlege of London is dreadful, and that I am much more comforta[...]

    mid week randoms


    Miss K and I took a train ride last week. We were gutted not to be able to make toast or style our hair........ We decided a microwave and curling tongs might be ok and will plan our next breakfast and fashion looks accordingly.J and I drove over to see his mum at the weekend, to check up on the status of the flood damage and to see what progress was being made. We found 3 wonderful layers of oh so stylish wall paper behind where the kitchen cupboards used to be. I can decide if I prefer the fake wood effect or the oh so stylish brown floral with boats and cottages..... I truly can't imagine anyone thinking orange was a good colour for the kitchen.........To say the house is looking a little sad would be an understatement, but after several hours work there are less skirting boards stacked up in the yard and a satisfying pile of firewood ready for next winter!Back home there is progress on a new flower bed, this side of the garden doesn't get much sun, this year I may throw several packets of wild flower seed at it, and see what happens, whilst I come up with a creative plan (work out what might possibly grow there........)and finally more blossom. just because. sometimes we need all the promise and hope of spring we can get.[...]

    five things


    this week I've seen.1. Rock of Ages - performed as the high school musical.80's rock - ripped jeans, band t-shirts, leather wrist straps, tattoos (sleeves and temporary!)Over 200 hours of rehearsals. Well deserved 5 show sell out. 2. Stowaway "A Boeing 777 begins its descent towards Heathrow. The wheels unfold out of the belly of the plane.  The frozen body of a stowaway is tipped out and cuts through the clear morning sky."Incredible production with beautiful choreography, thought provoking story, and a fascinating Q&A session at the end. If it's going to be near you I highly recommend it.3. RoomAn exploration of love between mother and child. Fascinating. Heartbreaking. Inspiring.Discover your strong.4. blossom. oh how happy this makes me.5. The northern lights. no photo. a faint green glow in the sky. the magic of the universe.joining in with Amy. what have you seen this week that's made you be proud, think, be grateful, smile, stop in your tracks and be in awe of the world?[...]