Craft creator: Claire Mackaness
IN recent years, TV shows like the Great British Bake Off, the British Sewing Bee and the Great Pottery Throwdown have helped fuel something of a craft boom in the UK.
Indeed, the craft market in the UK is now worth a massive £3bn (and growing!) and traditional skills such as crocheting, knitting and sewing have seen a real resurgence.
Claire Mackaness, 38, of Gooseberry Green, Billericay, has seen first-hand just how popular crocheting has become. She runs workshops in sewing, dressmaking and crochet at her studio in Brentwood – and now offers classes online.
But why does she think crocheting has become so popular again? Continue reading
Life in Leigh-on-Sea…the UK’s happiest place to live
So the little Essex seaside resort that I call home has recently been named as the happiest place in Britain to live.
Leigh-on Sea (it’s just up the road to Southend for those of you that aren’t Essex-based folk) gained the accolade from Rightmove, after scoring highly on a range of stand-out features, including community spirit and a strong sense of belonging.
The hubby and I moved to Leigh-on-Sea two years ago. I’d grown up not far from the fishing village (on Canvey Island) and missed the seaside after eight years of living inland (in the TOWIE mecca that is Brentwood) so dragged my London-bred mister closer to the estuary side.
We’re super fond of Leigh-on-Sea so were not surprised that it was ranked so highly by the property website. But we fell in love all over again when we decided not to head abroad this summer and instead holiday at home with our baby boy. Continue reading
There are few things that signal spring as sweetly as the seemingly overnight arrival daffodils in our gardens, by the roadside and in woods across the county.
Never give just one daffodil…it’s considered bad luck!
Known as Lent Lilies, daffodils (narcissi if we are to use their formal name) are the most popular flower for Easter decorations, flowering anytime from January through to April. So bedded in tradition are they that Prince Charles is paid the sum of one annual daffodil as a rent payment for the unattended lands of the Isles of Scilly.
But like most blooms there are plenty of myths attached to them. Did you know it’s is bad luck to bring in a single daffodil into your home? Doing so, it is said, will bring misfortune upon the house.
So always bring a bouquet, if you intend to give daffodils as a gift, as this will bring good fortune to the house.
And even before they’ve been picked, daffodils are rife with superstitions. It is said if you step, stomp, or trample on a bed of daffodils, bad luck will find you. However, if you make a great effort to avoid stepping on a daffodil, you will be rewarded good fortune (so keep that in mind when admiring them in their hundreds at Warley Place Nature Reserve, just south of Brentwood.) Continue reading
I have ALWAYS wanted an apple tree. I know it’s not necessarily the most exciting of items to hanker after, but since a was a little girl I have dreamed of having a garden where an apple tree grows.
I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do – Willa Cather, 1913