Sunday, 25 January 2015

Goodnight Tomsky


This week we said goodbye to our beautiful shiny boy Tomsk. He got poorly and just wouldn't get better despite all the love that we and his twin brother Ollie could give him.

These guys have been curling up together for the last fifteen and a half years.

Can I tell you a story?

In June 1999, the year we moved to Hebden Bridge I lost a baby. I was twenty weeks pregnant and it was a huge loss for all of us. After we left baby Sam at the hospital and came home empty handed and heavy with grief, my arms ached for weeks with the longing to hold him. 'What you need is a cat' my Mum said wisely and the thought brought me comfort.  But we were just doing up our new house - laying floors and decorating, it was summer and the kids would be in and out playing. It just wasn't the right time. So I waited.

In September, when the kids were back in school I was washing up and I saw the opposite neighbours black cat chasing a fly in the kitchen window. I thought to myself  'Today is the day we get a cat' and I scoured all the notice boards around town until I saw 'Two ginger kittens, in Heptonstall, free to good home'. My partner insisted I only got one of them so after school me and the kids went up the hill to choose.

They were ridiculously cute. One (Ollie), sat in the middle of the kitchen floor meowing at us, unperturbed by our invasion. The other was in trouble for weeing on the carpet and was refusing to come out from behind the sofa. We chose the brave one and we carried him up to my partners Mum's who was giving us a lift home. 'What do you mean he has a brother and you've left him behind?' she said. I did feel terrible. 'But I'm only allowed to get one....' I didn't need much encouragement to drive back to pick up his brother.

Their owner looked worried as she found me at her door again but was much relieved when I said I'd come for the other one. She wanted them to go together as they made such a good pair. Bundling Tomsky into the cat basket I asked her when they had been born. She didn't understand my welling up of tears. 

They were born on the same day I lost my baby.


From the moment we got them home (I don't remember being in too much trouble) it was crazy to think of them not being together. They were a matching pair. What ever one was doing, the other one would be doing too. 


And when they had done chasing each other around the house, they would curl up on my chest in a big purring mass of ears and paws and tails and they have been doing it ever since.


They have been such fun together.


noisy,


silly,


adventurous (Tomsk loved coming for a walk),


cosy,


handsome,


and just always on my knee, any chance they got.


Ollie took such care of him when he became ill


and kept himself as close as possible, keeping him warm.


On Thursday I had to get the vet to put him to sleep. In the last few hours we had together while we waited for them to come I stroked him and told him all the stories from his life. He smiled at me and squeaked his squeaky purr right until the end. 


Ollie is doing ok I think. He looks a bit lost at times but is enjoying all the extra love and cuddles and there have been ALOT of them. We're cosying up together. 

Tomsky, your bright shining soul will always be remembered. Thankyou for the bringing such joy to our family for all of these years x

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Janice & Dan and the house of orchids


In December I left my capable team  looking after the Christmas orders (I have a TEAM - I am so grateful to them) and I snuck off to the States to do a very special yoga workshop. I'm building up to a post about that but for now I want to tell you about the Airbnb house that I stayed in.


I'm so lucky to have learned quite young that when you follow your heart you get to the right places and finding this house and these lovely people re-affirmed this. Ok, so when I searched for a place to stay on Airbnb I did search for 'yoga' in the profiles of hosts close to where I was going so I there was a good chance that I might find someone like minded, but I really did land on my feet here at Janice & Dan's.


You can tell a lot about someone by what's on (and in) their fridge right? Janice is a health and wellness coach and has recently and very excitedly left her job and started her business Savor Wellness. We had some great conversations and the healthiest, greenest breakfast smoothies!


 And Dan's passion is growing orchids. 


He nurtures them in a special room where the temperature and humidity is just right


Each one gets special care and attention every day


and when they flower they get to come in the house. 


They are so beautiful.


The house was beautiful too - as usual I have focused in on the tiny details and don't have any house photos but it was really comfortable, spacious and serene. The perfect place to chill after a yoga intensive. 


If you ever happen to find yourself in Takoma Park, Maryland then do stay with them. I really wish I could have stayed longer. I am so glad to have met them.


Here's another snippet from their kitchen. Can't argue with that!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

New year kitchen inspiration


So it's a happy new year and I have a happy new kitchen. Well, only some new shelves actually but they have given my kitchen and my cooking a whole new lease of life.


When I moved back to the flat I got rid of the old grotty  wall units with their tiny cupboards and I asked my friend Clare to make me some shelves.


I have a thing about jars. Spices are so just so colourful and textural. I want to see them. 




I want to see the beautiful soy sauce pot that Ai Kawauchi gifted me in that gorgeous cafe in Japan and the sweet bird salt and pepper pots that Matt brought me back from New York.


I love how green the wheatgrass powder is for my smoothies (thanks Rachel). It needs to be seen too.


I was given some inspiring cookbooks for Christmas and my birthday. It's been so cosy over the holidays, cooking and eating with friends and trying out new and healthy recipes.


The Green Kitchen is a gorgeous one. Simple recipes with straightforward ingredients and mouthwatering photos. We tried out their broccoli pesto and beet bourguignon. Nommmm.


I heard about this Salad Love by David Bez on a programme on radio 4 about salad. This guy decided to make a salad every day from scratch at his desk in the office. He has a desk drawer with his chopping board and knives and stuff and takes over a shelf in the communal fridge. He photographed all of his creations and kept a blog about it, which has now become a book. Lots of great ideas and tasty dressing to try.


Ffion took some great photo's of some of the things we cooked up for my birthday feast. This was Rachels chick pea salad preparation. Soooo good.


We tried the cauliflower couscous salad that Helen Dixon Hill showed us on her salad day last year. It was so fresh and delicious. You blend a raw cauliflower and add herbs and oil and lemon juice. The cauli looks just like couscous. A great alternative if you don't eat wheat.


We don't mind a bit of wheat though luckily so Rachel made Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's magic dough for this out of this world pizza. 


 It went down so well...and fast!


I recently met a health and wellness coach called Janice Levitt (more about that adventure soon) who recommended The Green Smoothie Prescription by Victoria Boutenko. My sister happened to buy it for me. You just want to get as many greens inside you as possible after reading it. I've been making green smoothies for a year or so now and I have never felt so nourished and well :)


It's a shame Ffion didn't capture pictures of the new years eve curry feast we prepared from the amazing Prashad book because it was soooo good.


I recommend the cinnamon spiced chick peas.


What a cosy and colourful time we have had.  


I've enjoyed having a house full of friends and family. I finally had enough mugs for everyone!


It was sad to see them all go home again but I've got my kitchen pin board to help me keep them close.


..and I've still got those cat boys insisting that sitting on the kitchen table is ok.


I hope you've all had lovely holidays too and I wish you a healthful, prosperous 2015 where all of your dreams come true!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Country Living Christmas Fair


We just got back from exhibiting at the Country Living Fair in Harrogate.


Usually I do shows with just my own work but Radiance needed a little boost after a very quiet summer (that's what we get when the sun shines a lot) so I thought we'd take the whole shop!


It was fun making a teeny Radiance and the stand was colourful and lovely.



SOOOO many people came, drawn to the lights...


and lots of them fell in love with my wallpaper.


We sold lots of things. Hooray.


And we gave away nearly two thousand postcards!


It was lots of fun. It always takes a lot of effort to get there and set up. How much stock to take? How are you to know when it's your first time? We have learned lots and we have had a little boost. People love my work. People love my shop. I have met lovely customers in person that I hadn't met before (so good to meet you Rachel Brown) and founds lots of lovely new ones too. I have also realised what a fantastic team I have to keep this show on the road. Thankyou so much Suzi, Matt, Emma and Dad. You have been and continue to be AMAZING! Thanks Lawes and Marcel for your essential van driving and loading too.

It was sad to pack baby Radiance away. Maybe we'll go back again next year :)

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