Wednesday Wants…. Totes Amazing

I’ve had a thing about bags for as long as I can remember. I recall as a child I’d blow any money I had on a new purse or bag at the first opportunity….and with all my money spent I’d have nothing to put into it! The ‘problem’ once got so bad that I had to limit myself to buying just one bag a month!

I’ve rather curbed the habit since then, favouring buying ‘investment’ bags to last me forever, and I’m currently in the process of streamlining my collection (I have a walk in wardrobe dedicated to accessories and it could do with a tidy up!). I do think though that you REALLY can’t have too many tote bags. They pack down flat, they’re inexpensive, last well, don’t mind being chucked in the washing machine and are infinitely useful to keep around. I have a big one filled with lots of others, and they’re just perfect for using for supermarket shops, throwing parcels and purse in when going to the post office, and for carrying lunches and documents to the office.

I also think tote bags are a rather wonderful way of buying into a new trend you like, your new favourite style, or just to show off your love for dogs or knitting or whatever. The nicest ones in my opinion are the pretty illustrated ones by independent designers, and I do love to carry a piece of artwork around with me!

Koala Screen Print Tote by Depeapa, £14.11 on Etsy, via Craft Gawker

How could you not feel cheered on a shopping trip with this fellow on your arm?! I love a Warly Bear (or Koala Bear if you prefer) and this chap is so charming with his smart yellow jumper!

Rob Ryan Canvas Shopper by Wild and Wolf, £7.50 on sale from £14.95 via Bloomsbury & Co

I actually have this one and I love it! I fell in love with the design when I visited the Ryantown shop on Columbia Road, and the bag itself makes me smile each time I look at it….I think it’s a rather apt saying for me! It’s a good size with a gusset bottom and a little zipped pocket inside, plus it’s a really sturdy, heavy canvas….a total bargain at the sale price!

Dachsund Tote Bag by Jeff Josephine Designs, £10 on Folksy

I adore this little guy! He reminds me a lot of my Digby hound, with his little Queen Anne legs! I am crazy about his striped scarf too!

‘Bad Mother Knitter’ Bag by Kelly Connor Designs, £13.75 via Not on the High Street

Hehehe! I love a pun, and a shiny gold print….. not to mention knitting! This one would be super cute to collect all your yarns and knitting pins together in!

Tipsy Badger Tote by Sophie Parker, £12 on Etsy, via Boys with Banjos

This badger knows how to live! Look at his shorts! I love this guy, and I have a certain badger-mad friend who will go crazy for this I’m sure…. especially as she’s partial to a glass of vino too!

‘Ignition’ Illustrated Rabbit tote by Gallons of Ink, £6 on Etsy

Pretty sure this one is my favourite….there’s something about the juxtaposition of these cutesy little bunnies and the innuendo-filled R&B lyrics of R Kelly’s ‘Ignition.’ So much fun!

How about you? Are you bag mad? Do you have a stash of totes for running errands with and cramming treasures in?

Ems x


New Year Resolutions….or rather another ‘to do’ list

Last year I decided to keep it simple, and opted for just one New Year Resolution. I decided that I would visit EVERY room at the British Museum by the end of the year. And I failed miserably.

It seemed like a really good challenge at the time, but as usual, things conspired against me. And so I’m thinking that this year, I’ll make a few *actually* simple resolutions, so that I can at least stand a chance of ticking off one of them!…..

  1. Get organised! This year has been a brilliant adventure of discovery, and a wonderful chance to try out new ideas, but I really must settle down now and decide what I’m going to do with my time moving forward! Whilst I know it’s not in my nature to focus on one thing for very long, I do need to try harder not to get so distracted!
  2. Keep better accounts! As I build up my brand and sell more, I really must keep better track of what I’m spending and making. I know that it’ll make rather depressing reading as I’m currently making a loss, but it still needs doing!
  3. Plan ahead! I’ve pretty much decided to concentrate on my art work, rather than the jewellery making from now on, and so I really need to set up a diary of upcoming events such as Valentine’s, so that I can make things in plenty of time to sell them when they’re trending…..I must start working on those Valentines cards this week!
  4. Get listed as a wedding planner in all the local and London directories. I’m hoping to take on a few couples for this year and next, whether it be just to find a venue, run things on the day, or as a complete wedding planning service. I need to get myself out there though and will be offering free consultations to help get people started!
  5. Set up a new shop on Etsy! I’m planning to have another shop on Etsy, called ‘Under A Glass Star’ to sell all the antique, vintage and retro treasures I’ve been buying up. I have enough now to fill up a shop nicely, and a good range of things, so there’s no excuse! I also want to get onto Not On The High Street with my art work if I can!
  6. Improve my photography skills! I know I *keep* saying this, but I really must improve the photos I take for this site, as well as for my Etsy and Folksy shops. I’m looking into little studio lighting kits now to help me out, and will get lots of practice when I set up my vintage Etsy shop.
  7. Ask for permission from our landlords to get a dog! Our tenancy agreement states that permission may not be unreasonably withheld when it comes to getting pets, and we really want to start fostering dogs soon, so we must write to them to ask!
  8. Get back to exercising more! The rubbish weather has gotten me out of the habit of my daily walk, but getting a dog should change that! I really want to look into local yoga classes to, and maybe even some dancing classes for Adam and I!
  9. Finish those bally patchwork blankets! I’ve been meaning to make them for ages, and although I’ve made *some* progress this year, I am still yet to finish either the knitted one (which will be formed of little squares knitted in left over bits of yarn), or the actual patchwork one (which I am putting together with lots of oddments of fabric I have about the place).
  10. Get my blog hosted! I really want to be able to take up some of the sponsorship and advertising opportunities I’ve been offered, but I have to self host my blog to do that….I’m terrified of the process as I have to back up all the content before switching it and I can just see me losing it all, but I have to bite the bullet some time!

Are you making any New Year resolutions? Did you make any last year? How did you get on?!

Ems x

Wednesday Wants….. Christmas Tree Ornaments

I’m afraid I’m not one of those people who carefully styles their themed Christmas tree in matching colours and with perfectly chosen decorations. My tree always has been, and always will be, a mish-mash of home made bits and bobs of all shapes, sizes and colours. If I ever have a second tree for Christmas, I will no doubt dress it immaculately in coordinated adornments, but until then it’s home-made charm all the way! And so, with that in mind, I’ve been spying a few Christmas tree ornaments that would fit nicely with my no-theme theme……

I think these are just brilliant. Cute and funny, and sort of traditional in a quirky way, these sets of Victorian style chenille dog and cat ornaments are handmade and designed by Old World Primitives and sold on Etsy. Each little face is a Victorian era image, mounted onto little chenile bodies. They are just so wonderfully different and charming…..and they’d fit in with my other ornaments beautifully! The cats are £6.37 for a set of two (plus £4.43 shipping to the UK) and the dogs come as a set of three for £7.64 (plus the same shipping). I love them!

There’s something so wonderfully decadent about this beaded bauble by Creative Treasures on Folksy. Hand woven using tiny seed beads in a Russian Leaf design, it’s brilliantly Deco and rather reminds me of a 30s chandelier or head dress! Its utter glitzyness would definitely make it at home with my other decorations! It’s £8.50 with £2.70 shipping to the UK.

This last one is just so much fun! I love the idea of Father Christmas delivering presents on his own space rocket! The design rather reminds me of the little ornaments I made from model clay a few years ago….I made jolly, fat Father Christmases, snow men and reindeer….unfortunately they are all a little damaged now after moving house a few times so they need some TLC! In the mean time though, this personalised one by Chantal Davenport on Not on the High Street would fill the gap brilliantly! It’s £11.50 with UK shipping at £2.75.

How do you like to decorate your tree? Do you have lots of hand-made ornaments, or do you have a proper colour scheme and theme?!
Ems x

Christmas is coming…. And so are the Under A Glass Sky Christmas Cards!

I’ve been busy all week on a little festive project that’s had me singing Christmas songs and getting over-excited that it’s only 52 sleeps until the big day! I never need much encouragement to get excited about Christmas, but it’s even more exciting this year with a house big enough to have a tree and all my planned crafting projects!

I nearly always make our own Christmas cards to send to friends and family, and we’ve really enjoyed our finger-printing and stamping to get them ready to send! This year though I thought I could combine making our own cards with creating some to sell at my Christmassy craft stalls and on Etsy and Folksy. I’ve been mulling over design ideas for ages, but as it really is about the time people are starting to thinking about their Christmas shopping, I thought I’d best get on with it!

I knew I wanted to paint some pretty illustrations for the cards as that would make them easy to reproduce (much as I enjoy hand crafting cards, making a couple of hundred would take me until the new year at least!), and I had in mind that I wanted to paint some little woodland creatures, as I’m so nuts about foxes and deer at the moment!

So, after painstakingly painting about a gazillion leaves of holly….here they are!

I do hope you like them! And sorry to my friends who read this who have had the surprise of their Christmas card from us ruined!

They will be available on my Etsy and Folksy shops within a week all being well, and on my stall at the Riverside Craft and Farmers Market on 24th November, as well as at the Hitchin Christmas Gala on 9th December. They will be a standard 4″ x 6″ (A6) in size, printed onto good quality white card and provided with an envelope. They will be £2.50 each, or any four for £8 (plus P&P). The Under A Glass Sky logo will not appear on them as above, and they will be printed in a much higher resolution than you see here (that’s just me protecting the images!).

I am delighted to take pre-orders, and larger orders will attract a nice discount, so do get in touch!

Ems x

My cards are now listed on my Etsy and Folksy shops! I have also listed the original watercolour art and some full-size prints of the designs too! Go see!

A little more about me…..

…. I love rainbows and unicorns and fish & chips and crosswords …..

But other than that, well, I thought I’d share with you a bit more about me, as we’re friends now.

  • You’ll find that I have recently updated my About Page to tell you a little bit more about me, what I get up to and what to expect here on my blog.
  • I’ve also added a Shop Page where you can see some of the things I design and make to sell on my Etsy and Folksy shops, and where to find them.
  • And, I’ve added a Weddings and Events Page, where you can learn a bit more about my other day job as a freelance wedding and events producer.

As part of the development of my little site, I’ll be adding new pages and a few more personal posts too, in the coming months. As ever, do let me know if there’s anything you’d like to read about in particular, and do get in touch….I love comments and emails!

Ems x

Photos of photos

A little while ago I decided to add some of mine and Adam’s photos to my little craft stall, and so we’ve been getting them ready for the last few weeks ready for my first stall at Old Spitalfields Market on 18th August. We have chosen some favourites, got them printed, and have been busily backing them with fluorescent card and wrapping them in celophane. It’s also been a great excuse to buy another label maker, and we’ve been sticking little Dymo embossed tags onto everything.

We’ve been trying to find clever and pretty ways to display the photos on my stall too, and managed to pick up a nice old wooden drawer we hope to use, for just a pound at the Hitchin car boot sale. But we found something even better this weekend when we popped to the New Covent Garden Flower Market car boot at Vauxhall on Sunday….. it’s a 1950s index card drawer, and it has one of those little brass label slot / handles I love, as well as a lovely leather effect paper finish. It was the only thing we bought at the market (it was our first visit there and I’m not that keen if I’m honest), but I am dead pleased with it, and it only cost £8!

Here is how we’re using it…..

I thought I’d also show you some of the photos we’ve decided to sell…. initially we’ll see how they go at the fairs, but I may add some to my Etsy shop later too….

London, Ems, 120 medium format film in Diana F+

London, Ems, 120 slide film in Diana F+

London, Ems, 120 slide film in Diana F+

London, Ems, 120 slide film in Diana F+

London, Ems, Instagram app on iPhone 4S

Delhi, Adam, Olympus E-400

Delhi, Adam, Olympus E-400

Goa, Adam, Olympus E-400

Yorkshire, Ems, Canon G12

Petra, Adam, Olympus E-400

Vietnam, Adam, Canon Powershot A80

Easter Island, Adam, Canon Powershot A80

India, Adam, Olympus E-400

Berlin, Ems, Canon G12

London, Adam, Olympus E-400

London, Ems, 35mm film in Diana F+

Fountains Abbey, Adam, Canon Powershot A80

Oh, and I’m also selling some prints of a few of my paintings too!…..(you can buy the original water colours on my Folksy shop)

Print of original water colour by me, Flamingo on the ‘Flamingo’ definition page of Pears Cyclopaedia

Print of original water colour by me, Peacock on the ‘Peacock’ definition page of Pears Cyclopaedia

Print of original water colour by me, Macaw on the ‘Macaw’ definition page of Pears Cyclopaedia

I hope you like them! And if you’re in London on Saturday 18th August or Saturday 15th September, do come and see me at Old Spitalfields Market, within the Designers Makers fair!

Ems x

Some more scribbles

In my quest to make my site more pretty and easy to use, I’ve been making a few changes and doodling some new buttons to link to the various places I also hang out. The first few went up a few weeks ago, but I’ve just finished drawing, painting, inking, scanning and widgeting a new set….and here they are!

I do hope you like them!

Ems x

100th Post Celebratory Give Away!!!

100 posts! Yes, I’ve now written 100 posts! Proud of me? I am!

And I’m going to celebrate…. with my first ever give away!

I’ve been amazed by how much my little blog has grown over the last few months…. since I’ve been posting more regularly I’ve been getting some great feedback, which is very encouraging! I’d like to thank everyone who’s been reading my blog and has contributed to it…. as well as encourage some more people to do so as well!

And so I thought it apt, that since I’ve been beavering away making things for my Folksy shop lately, that I make something special as a prize. I also wanted it to reflect my blog, so I’ve gone with a London theme….. and it’s even under its own little ‘glass sky’……

This ring is made on a silver plated, adjustable ring base, and inside is a snippet from one of the vintage maps I’ve found on my treasure hunts (from the Gazeteer section of my beloved Pears Cyclopaedia in fact)…. it’s protected by a glass lens so it is shower proof (just don’t do the washing up wearing it!). I’ve been working on a whole range of jewellery like this, with cut outs of music, maps and text…. and I’ve been preparing some with my own drawings and paintings to put inside too. But this is the first to be available, so quite special I think…. I hope to have the other pieces on my shop in the next few weeks.

So, to enter your name into the hat, you can…..

  1. Follow my blog by hitting the subscription button on the top right of the page…. this will send an email to you containing each new post as it is published
  2. Follow my blog using Bloglovin’…. I know I love this app which handily keeps together all the blogs I follow and sends me a daily round up of all new posts… there’s a button on the top right of the page to do this
  3. ‘Like’ the Under A Glass Sky Facebook page
  4. ‘Favourite’ my Folksy shop
  5. Share this post on Facebook, mentioning Under A Glass Sky within the post
  6. Share this post on Twitter, mentioning Under A Glass Sky within your Tweet

You’ll get your name in the hat for each of the above that you do….. please let me know you have by commenting on this post for each entry. So, if you subscribe and also share this on Facebook for example, you’ll need to leave two comments to let me know, and then you’ll get your name in the hat twice! Hope that makes sense!

The competition is open to everyone, including those in far off places internationally. Maximum of 5 entries per person. The competition closes at midnight GMT on 3rd May 2012. After that, I will write each entry onto a bit of paper and my independent adjudicator (probably Adam) will pick one winner at random from a hat (probably my top hat for theatricality).

Soon after that I will update this post to let you know who the lucky winner is! Please make sure you check back in to see if you won, or if you have a Twitter account please include your handle in your comments/entries so that I can let you know that way.

Good luck!

Ems x


Wednesday Wants…. all sorts in one place on Folksy

So I’m finding myself rather strapped for time at the minute…. getting things ready for craft fairs and getting ready for some very busy weekends coming up. And so this week I’ve had less time to get distracted by my virtual shopping habit. Still, if I need a fix, or even to buy something for real, I needn’t look any further than Folksy. Like its American counterpart, Folksy promotes and helps small businesses and crafty types like me…. just in the UK though for Folksy. I’ve found it great to use and I’m really enjoying having a shop on there (you should come see it some time!).

So, I thought that today I would share a few of my current favourites on Folksy….. enjoy!…..

For my luggage / stamp obsession.....Around the World in 80 Stamps Upcycled Antique Luggage Suitcase, by Yasmin Bochi, £140

I'm so into stacking rings and pretty stones......Sterling Silver Opal Stacking Ring, by Deep Blue Silver, £18

And I love clever things to do with old books...Recycled Book Desk Tidy Business Card/Photo Holder, by The Bird & The Button, £9

Something from the weekend….. back oop North: a visit to Leeds

Did you have a good weekend? I certainly did! I was so busy yesterday though that I couldn’t share it on the Monday as usual…. I couldn’t wait to put my weekend purchases to use (more revealed later!).

On Thursday morning (starting the weekend early as ever), we packed ourselves some cheese sandwiches and a flask of coffee, and made our way to Kings Cross for another trip up North. Adam’s brother and sister in law live in Leeds with two wonderful dogs, so we were looking forward to a visit, and seeing some friends up there too.

Out walking the dogs, view from our window, snuggling up with the dogs

As soon as we arrived at the house, it was straight outdoors for a walk with the dogs….. we had left behind a foggy, grey London, so it was a delight to get outside into the countryside, under a much bluer sky. On our return, it was time for tea, and we began our weekend of gluttony with scones (with jam and clotted cream of course) and smoothies (to try to be healthy). We mooched about for the afternoon, chatting, putting the world to rights etc. until a supper of garlic and chilli pasta (I must get the recipe) followed by a film.

I’m not sure how we missed Warrior at the cinema (anything with Tom Hardy is usually prioritised), but I’m so pleased to have finally seen it. When I was asked if I’d like to watch a film about cage fighting, I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but as one would hope, this film has much more to it. Telling the story of two estranged brothers, and how they transpired to enter the same cage fighting tournament, it’s impossible not to grow fond of several of the characters…… By the time of the big fights at the end of the film, I was really rooting for them. The fighting itself is pretty compelling too, and I have to say I came away thinking I really must go and see some in real life! (I believe they often have events like that at the Troxy so will be keeping an eye out!)

Smoothie, Scones, Pancakes

After a breakfast of scrambled eggs, and another walk with the dogs, Friday morning saw us walking into nearby Farsley for a few errands. As we arrived to the bottom of the high street, we were enchanted to see the old fashioned grocers and DIY shop, and as we walked up the high street to the little Post Office, I was very taken in by this charming, Yorkshire village. Having posted my parcel (another order from my Folksy shop), we took a look into a little haberdashers I’d had recommended, R.L. and C.M. Bond Ltd. I was immediately blown away by the walls upon walls of buttons and ribbons, and soon began rooting through the little baskets of vintage haberdashery. I came away rather poorer in purse, although very much richer in buttons! I couldn’t wait to turn them into new treasures, on rings, cufflinks, bracelets etc….. and so that’s what I did for most of yesterday!

Farsley High Street, R.L. & C.M. Bond Haberdashers

We made our way into town on Friday evening, to meet dear friends Craig and Sheli. It was Sheli’s birthday yesterday, so we celebrated with dinner at Little Tokyo. We’ve all been meaning to go for a while, and it was certainly worth the wait. We started with cocktails in the little bar area upstairs, next to the cute koi pond…. Sheli had their Apple Mojo, Adam sampled the Blackberry Martini, and I went for a twist on my old favourite, their Bloody Geisha. I was pleasantly surprised to find I could really taste the wasabi used in place of Tabasco, without it being dreadfully hot…. in fact I really enjoyed this version so may well try it at home!

Little Tokyo, Bloody Geisha Cocktail

Next, we were lead downstairs to a beautiful dining area with chunky wooden tables and sunken seating. Adam and I shared a starter of perfect vegetable tempura, before our Bento box mains (Adam and I went for the tofu steak, Sheli the chicken teriyaki, and Craig the chicken katsu) all of which came with yummy rice, ginger-dressed salad and more of the wonderful tempura. Ours were about £12, and I can certainly vouch for their value….we were totally stuffed with the delicious meal and struggled to quite finish!

Tofu Bento Box, Little Tokyo, Vegetable Tempura

And we really would have left it there, had we not been presented with such alluring dessert menus….. (Japanese fortune cookies with sesame and coconut….. green tea ice cream….. ginger cheesecake with cointreau sorbet….. coconut ice cream….. lychee ice cream…..) but we really couldn’t turn down such wonderful sounding dishes, despite our groaning tummies. Sheli had a lovely strawberry sorbet, which came served in a bowl made from ice, in which were slices of kiwi and rose petals (will be copying that idea!)…. Craig went for the amazing ‘crispy parcels’ which are essentially marshmallow spring rolls (utterly incredible!)…. and Adam and I shared the delicious Japanese style profiteroles, which are filled with ice cream and topped with a yummy sweet seaweed and sesame sauce. We could not have been much more impressed…. I was particularly pleased to see Adam had enjoyed the meal, having spent time in Japan and struggling to find a good authentic Japanese restaurant in England.

Japanese Profiteroles, Strawberry Sorbet, Marshmallow Spring Rolls

The gluttony didn’t stop there though, as we breakfasted on pancakes with maple syrup on Saturday morning, before heading out to explore a newly opened exhibition at the University of Leeds. ‘Marks in Time’ opened on the Friday at the Marks and Spencer Company Archive, and is a permanent exhibition featuring just some of the amazing collection there. To celebrate the 100th birthday of Marks & Spencer in 1984, they began to collect together hundreds of historical items from all over the Company and created the M&S Company Archive. A dedicated team at the site has put together and catalogued more than 70,000 items from the last 128 years, charting the iconic brand’s history.

Starting with the company’s early years, large glass cabinets displayed cards of buttons, pretty tea cups, clocks and household necessities….. it wasn’t until the 1920s cabinet that clothing began to appear. The exhibition is a real reflection on fashion history though, as well as social history, charting trends throughout rationing, post-war optimism, and developments in food technology. True innovators, the display explains how M&S became the first store to sell fresh chicken using their ‘cold-chain’ method, and began to stock innovative new products such as Terylene and the chicken kiev!

It’s not a huge exhibition, but it is well curated and interesting, and with hands-on displays, dressing up and even a colouring in table, I’d say it’s well worth a look-in if you’re nearby. And it’s free to get in.

Next, we ventured back into town, and decided to investigate the Silver 70s exhibition at Leeds City Museum. Running until Sunday 22nd April, the free exhibition celebrates a highly eventful decade, inviting visitors to explore a house in 1970s Leeds. Filled with typically colourful and garish wallpaper and fashions, the exhibition features some very recognisable and much loved (by me at least) home wares, books and toys….. in each room I spotted memories in the form of Sooty puppets, a copy of Tufty, Fisher Price pull-along dogs, pastel coloured Tupperware (that my Mum still has!), stainless steel tea sets and that big plastic tree house toy that I think we had at nursery school.

Having been born in the 80s I was surprised to see so many things I recognised, but then I suppose things didn’t move quite so fast then….. and I’m not ashamed either, to say that I truly enjoyed the exhibition’s soundtrack of The Carpenters, Bee Gees, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac and The Commodores. I also loved the interactive elements….. design your own outfit and wallpaper based on 1970s fashion….. digging for fruit and veg reflecting the ‘grow your own’ culture and the wonderful ‘The Good Life’ show. I also got the chance to design my own Jubilee plate, next to a cabinet filled with Silver Jubilee memorabilia….. I can’t wait to see the equivalent collections for this year’s Diamond Jubilee! I wouldn’t at all mind a home filled with the gorgeous furniture and nick-nacks we saw though, and even the lime green kitchen units! Again, well worth a visit for anyone my age and older if you’re in the area.
By that time, we needed a sit down and some sustenance. We found both in the stunning Tiled Hall which sits between the Central Library and Leeds Art Gallery. Surrounded by gorgeously ornate green tiles, grand marble columns, a barrel-vaulted mosaic ceiling and the original parquet flooring (all only recently rediscovered), we ate yummy courgette and lime cake, and Caramac ginger fudge cake, along with great coffee. You can actually hire the hall for events….which I’ve mentally noted for future!

Afterwards we wandered a little into the gallery next door (especially enjoying the excellent Stanley Spencer paintings on the staircase) before heading over to snoop about the shops in the Victorian Quarter. I love the old arcades and the pedestrianised high street, not to mention the excellent selection of shops there! The Harvey Nichols window display was as impressive as ever, but better still were the windows at Mulberry which I’m sure were designed to tell Adam to buy me one of the Alexa hand bags cunningly draped over giant ice creams. He didn’t take the hint though unfortunately!

Dolls in the window at Mary Shortle, Leeds City Museum, Window at Harvey Nichols

For dinner, it had to be a trip to Bradford for a curry. We were super impressed by the extensive vegetarian options and gorgeous dishes at Saffron Desi…. the best of which was probably Vera’s Lahore Nihari Special with lamb cooked on the bone. My Channa Paneer Biryani was delicious too, and it was refreshing to see so many options for the vegetarian biryani…. rather than just the same thing as the others with the meat taken out!

Heading home rather stuffed, we settled down to watch How To Train Your Dragon, which Adam has been going on about for ages. It didn’t disappoint, and he’s probably right that it’s one of the best non-Pixar animations of recent years.

Sweet Lassi, Lollipop reward at Saffron DEsi

It was a slightly earlier start on Sunday, so that we could eat our breakfast of pancakes before heading over to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in good time. I’ve been wanting to go for ages, and the clear day promised some good photo time. The park is a wonderful place that “aims to challenge, inspire, inform and delight”, and is visited by some 300,000 visitors every year. Open all year round, there is really nowhere like it I know of to see amazing artwork in the open air. The grounds themselves are worth the visit, and it was lovely to wander about with the dogs (who are allowed in nearly all the outdoor spaces whilst on a lead), especially on a gorgeous spring day.

There is certainly something about seeing such stunning sculptures in the remarkable landscape too, and in the natural light. I loved finding the next piece as we explored gardens, fields and woods. My favourites included Anthony Caro’s ‘Promenade’ which appears to be watching over the beautiful and expansive lake….. Antony Gormley’s ‘One and Another’ which is a surprise find atop a huge tree trunk, rather like those hidden on top of landmarks such as The Roundhouse….. Marcia Farquhar’s beautiful, giant rocking horse, ‘The Horse Is A Noble Animal’…… and Magdalena Abakanowicz’s ‘Seated Figures’ which preside in duplicated, rusted form next to the charming Camelia House. I also enjoyed spying at the menagerie through the trees (we had to take the route adjacent to the menagerie path with the dogs) and adored the almost secret grotto, Lady Eglinton’s Well, which is carved into rocks next to the reservoir damn. A little owl sculpture which used to sit above the stone dating the well to 1685 has long gone, but the spring it was built around still creates a well in front of the grotto, which was a gift to local people.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

As we crossed over the pretty bridge back to the car park, I was reminded of one of my interviews for my degree course, which actually took place at Bretton Hall, the house in the centre of the park. The others marvelled that I’d chosen London over this picturesque setting to go to college, and I had to rather wonder why I’d not been more tempted to spend my student days there. Still, things would have worked out rather differently I’m sure, so I’m grateful for my choice. We will certainly be visiting the sculpture park again though (which is free to enter…you just pay to park) as there is so much more to explore…. I’m hoping we can go in the summer for a whole day and take a picnic to eat on the lawn. I really can’t recommend a trip there enough.

Bretton Hall and Grounds at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

We drove home via Blacker Hall Farm Shop…. we’d foolishly hoped to have lunch in the restaurant there, forgetting that it was Mother’s Day. It was fully booked of course, but we still enjoyed pootling about the farm shop, tasting home made cakes and picking up some bits to tide us over….. including what is probably the best cheese scone I have ever tasted!

After we’d returned and packed ready to leave, we snoozed away the afternoon snuggled on the sofa with the dogs. But soon it was time to head back to the station to make our way back to London. The journey passed brilliantly fast as we watched a few episodes of my new favourite New Girl though, and before long, we were home for a much needed early night!

Ems x

P.S. My proper photos of the weekend are on my Flikr page, here…..

Sorting my growing button collection back at home