Thursday, 24 April 2014

....inspiration for a calm Thursday.


Although I adore the Spring riot of colour in the garden at the moment, in the form of my wonderfully vibrant clashing mix of purple, orange and pink tulip mixes, I am now ready for a calmer Summer flower colour palette with shades of pinks and blues and of course my enduring love of white!  With the white rose garden looking lush and ready, we wait in anticipation for its burst of 'Iceberg' blooms which in the past we have picked right up until Christmas Day.  White clematis too is about to take off, scrambling its way over the pergola to create its lovely white cocoon to sit under. 

It is the white Hydrangeas though, that I most look forward to….this year especially, as we have added considerably to the number of plants in the garden…..a mix of 'Annabel', 'Limelight' and the magnificent 'Ingrediball' varieties, which I shall look forward to sharing with you when in bloom!

For me, there is something incredibly uplifting and calming about white Hydrangeas….

The perfect informal frothy contrast to beautifully formal clipped topiary….

Making a gorgeous floral hedge, and also stunningly illuminating at night...

I can never resist the chance to have one or two starting off inside to enjoy….before being planted out in the garden.

Stunning white Hydrangeas, inside and out...

Wishing you a beautiful and calm Thursday…

Sophia xx

PS.  For a little seasonal 'Bluebell and Asparagus' inspiration, hop over to the 'Sarah Raven' blog 'Garlic and Sapphire', for my recent post….xx

Wednesday, 23 April 2014



Happy Wednesday everyone!
Readers who have been following my blog for some time will know that I started a small 'Garden Club' last year….nothing too serious, but a fun periodic get together during the better weather amongst some keen gardening girlfriends.  A chance to see each others' gardens, share ideas and plants, occasionally visit larger well known gardens open to the public or for charity,  and of course, have lunch or coffee and a break from our busy lives and have a good chat!  I have featured the gardens of one or two of these girlfriends in the past, and I would like to share another with you today…. a very special garden with a very special view!  

Sarah whose garden this is in Sussex, very kindly allowed me to take some snaps with my phone the other afternoon when we were all given an enjoyable and inspiring tour of her garden in the early summer sunshine before lunch. 

Surrounding the beautiful Sussex farmhouse, lies the garden that Sarah and her husband have cultivated over the last twenty or so years, while bringing up their family. 

A series of interesting, different areas unfolding….some walled and others enclosed with mature yew.

I particularly loved this stunning rose arbour walkway lined with cream tulips, with its beautiful herringbone pathway….

 As you walk across the main lawn behind the house, a spectacular surprise lies in store….

Quite breathtaking….

Not everyone has a spectacular 14th Century moated castle at the bottom of their garden!  Imagine waking to this view each morning?

 Bodiam Castle, a treasured historical monument in the care of the National Trust….nestled in its quiet valley adjacent to the River Rother, and looking particularly striking surrounded by the rapeseed fields in full bloom at this time of year. 

When we could tear ourselves away from this wonderful vista, our tour took us in to a very pretty vegetable garden…laid out symmetrically and beautifully planned.  Broadbeans, rhubarb and herbs among a variety of healthy, tasty crops coming along nicely.

A beautiful old greenhouse has been restored, with new seedlings thriving within, along with a stunning collection of Pellargoniums on attractive white painted wooden staging.

Around a corner lead us to another fabulous surprise…..a very striking stainless steel obelisk rising out of the rectangular formal pond…a stunning piece, designed and created by Sarah's artistic husband.

A sheltered seating area by the back door…surrounded by tubs of tulips and hostas…perfect for a morning cup of coffee.

Beautiful pleached hedging,  shielding the driveway and leading the eye towards the pretty outbuildings.

Trellis and statuary offsetting the mellow brick walls and tile hanging of the house...

A much loved and cared for garden, in the most wonderful setting….

Thank you so much Sarah, for sharing your beautiful, inspiring garden with us!


I look forward to sharing more friends' lovely gardens with you soon….

Have a great day!

Sophia xx

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

IN SW6'….. 

Good morning!
How was your Easter weekend?  I do hope you all had a restful, fun and happy time?
Ours was a very happy one…..perhaps a little too indulgent on the yummy food, wine and chocolate front, but good intentions shall hopefully rectify things this week!

 Before our celebrations began back home in Kent, Friday found us in London, helping to move our eldest son in to our daughter's flat…a temporary move while his flat has some building work done,  and while youngest son, who usually lives there, is on an Indian travel adventure for a couple of months, leaving his room free.

  An early start meant all fetching and carrying was done by lunch time, and the four of us enjoyed our reward of lunch in what has been described as 'a little slice of the countryside in SW6'…..'The Sands End Pub' in Fulham.

With many a recommendation for this great place, tucked hidden away in a residential back street, we were expecting great things, and it did not disappoint….

A truly innovative menu, with inspiring combinations of ingredients…

 Fig, blue cheese and honeycomb salad...

…and a bay cream risotto were just a couple of the delicious dishes that we enjoyed.

So, if you find yourself in this little corner of London, and would like a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and something delicious to eat…head to 'The Sands End', which I would highly recommend!

'The Sands End,
135-137 Stephendale Road,
London SW6 2PR


Wishing you all a very happy new week!

Sophia xx

Saturday, 19 April 2014



Easter weekend….

 With a lovely houseful of family….

A Spring menu of recipes planned…

And of course….chocolate!


From my home to yours…..wishing you a very 
Happy Easter weekend!

Sophia xx

Thursday, 17 April 2014



The French 'Armoire', originally used for storing weapons, but now a beautifully, romantic addition to the home and the perfect stylish, storage solution….

Used by generations for storing linens beautifully…

A well organised linen collection is a sight to behold, too good to hide behind closed doors….

A beautiful place to display...

Bedroom, landing, drawing-room or kitchen….

A stunning and versatile piece of furniture….

Ahh, the Armoire… you share my love?


On countdown now for the lovely long Easter weekend….

Sophia xx