Cybermummy 2011 – Blogger to Blogger Inspiration

I’d love to pepper this post with photographs from this year’s Cybermummy 11 blogging conference, but unfortunately before my talk I was too nervous to take any, and afterwards I left the conference for a quick refreshment break with Hannah, Emily and the lovely (yes, it’s a pseudonym) Bumbling. The refreshments were rather, er, refreshing. And the evening photographs are rather, er, interesting.

I have to confess that the conference was more a chance for me to meet up again with some of the slightly deranged lovely friends I’ve made through twitter and blogging, and less a chance to learn about the mechanics of writing a blog (I think I’ve got that bit worked out – or at least this is as good as it’s going to get. Ha ha). So I can’t really review the conference itself. But I did love Jay’s photography workshop and I’m going to be stopping, dropping, and angling all my photos from now on. As well as figuring out ISO and, um, the other one I can’t remember the name of.

If anyone would like a write up of the talk, you can find it here thanks to WitWitWoo who live blogged the session with me, Tara from Sticky Fingers, Maggy from Red Ted Art and Claire and Lucy from Crumbs.

For those of you thinking I was really posh, having my notes on my iPad, a little confession: I had some written that tied in with the slides, but unfortunately I left them at home. The ones I used were cobbled together at the last minute on the train. I think I just about got away with it. Shh, don’t tell.

It was really lovely to meet so many people who read the blog over the weekend. If you’re new, you can add me as a friend on Facebook and also like Tales from the Village on Facebook for extra photographs, ramblings and chat, and you can also follow me on Twitter. And if you do all of the above, you deserve a medal. Hope you had a lovely weekend.

another weekend in London

Going to London again, this time to talk at the UK conference for bloggers. Exciting stuff. I’m going to be talking about how writing my blog helped my book to reach the top of the Authonomy chart for unpublished writers and how Twitter, blogging and Facebook help to get your name out there as a writer, and the 10 things I learned whilst writing a book.

If you want to look out for me, you will find me pulling faces, hiding behind things to avoid having my photo taken (not sure what to use as I can’t take the dog with me) and probably doing quite a lot of cackling as I catch up with old friends and some new ones. And as ever, taking notes.

And when I get home, I’m going to finish the edits and rewrites I have been procrastinating about for ages, and send the book off to the publisher who has expressed an interest. I forgot to mention that bit, didn’t I? Hooray.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

silent sunday


weekend bits and bobs

Pattern by Orla Kiely

This book arrived in the post this morning – Pattern, by Orla Kiely. It’s gorgeous, inside and out. I’ve been dying to get my hands on it and it is just as beautiful as I’d hoped. I’ve earmarked a sunny corner in the garden for later, and I’m going to sit down with a jug of iced tea (recipe here) and daydream about the look of our next house.

I’m thinking lots of bold prints and maybe some 1950s style wallpaper somewhere – I might have to take a few rolls of this one from the Little Greene Paint Company with me. I love it.

Better go and get cleaning – we’ve got viewings on the house even though it’s half term and most people are in holiday mode, so fingers crossed. Have a lovely weekend!

The Highlands of Scotland

I’ve talked before about how much I love the Scottish Highlands.

the scottish highlands

Even with skies grey with thunderclouds, just escaping from the stress of selling our house made it the perfect holiday.

rainbow - scottish highland cottage

And if you don’t like the weather in the Highlands, wait a minute.

Loch Ness Scottish Highlands

There’s a magic at Loch Ness. Huge water, huge sky. I’ve lost count of how many people have told me how much I’ll miss English village life when we move to Canada, forgetting that this is where I come from.

Taking my children to look for the Loch Ness Monster, just as my parents did with me.

looking for the Loch Ness Monster

And look, what’s that in the distance?

spotting nessie

It’s so beautiful. If you haven’t been, go and visit. The Highlands are good for the soul.

nairn beach the scottish highlands

Even the dog agrees. Look, she’s smiling.

Oh yes, and just before I go. I’ve been told off (or as we say back home, given a row*) for being a bit rubbish at the whole being-in-the-finals-of-blogging-awards thing. So if I can just say ooh, look at this:

MAD Blog Awards 2011

and ask you to go here and vote for Tales from the Village in the best photography section, that would be awfully nice. Thank you. xxx

*That’s row to rhyme with cow, not row as in rowing boat. That’s your Scottish language lesson for the day.


I have been tagged by lovely Josie at Sleep is for the Weak to help spread the word and get people to sign the petition for Save the Children here.

Here’s how it works…

1) Get your child to either draw or craft a self portrait of themselves now or in the future, perhaps imagining what they will look like or what they might do. Check out Red Ted Art’s self portrait post on some tips to get started!

2) Sign the Save the Children petition and share news of it with your friends.

3) Write a blog post about it as soon as possible, featuring your children’s pictures and perhaps how you made them together, and including info about Save the Children and the petition. We want as many people linked up AND signed up the petition by Sunday 29th May 2011

5) Tag 8 blogging friends to do the same – #passiton!

6) Come back and link up your posts, either here, or at Josie’s blog or over at Red Ted Art, so we can all see each other’s posts and if you have time, go and leave some comment love on each others posts! It’s a blog-hop link-up so you can even publish the list of entries on your blog too.

Here are my eight bloggers:

Heather at Home to Heather
Emily at More than Just a Mother
Cherry at Cherry Menlove
Nova at Cherished by Me
Becky at English Mum
Carol at Further South of Granada
Mary at Kyootycenter
Maxabella at Maxabella Loves.

Have fun. And don’t forget to sign the petition and #passiton!

Royal Windsor Horse Show 2011

I have a strange sort of pre-Canada bucket list going on. I keep thinking of things I want to do before we go (yes, I know, it’s not far away and we can come back, but still). So on Saturday I went to Stow-on-the-Wold with my friend Nicola, to have the best cup of coffee you can get in England at the gorgeous hidden gem that is The New England Coffee House.

Yesterday we went to Royal Windsor Horse Show. That’s been on my things to do list since I was small, and England seemed like a far away country.

The Queen was in. However she was too busy doing Queenly things to say hello, so we spent the day doing horse show things.

Spanish horses were dramatic and beautiful, and the minor incident where one of the Andalucian stallions got a bit, er, over excited during the class made everyone laugh.

No1 child, who has inherited my love of all things horse-related, sat with me and watched the showing classes. It’s funny but when I was in the horse world they seemed deadly serious.

Bowler hatted men, judges in funny hats, and rows of shiny horse bottoms*.

Hunter wellies, tea in polystyrene cups and overpriced, underdone beefburgers. Horse shows all over the country, even Royal ones, are pretty much the same. I love them.

That’s another thing off the list. Next stop a return to Hidcote Manor Gardens, one of my favourite gardens in England.

If you haven’t yet entered the draw for the Cath Kidston teapot, go to the main Tales from the Village page and scroll down.

*if that doesn’t get me some weird Google hits, nothing will.

after the rain

I’m not the only person who wanders barefoot around the garden in pyjamas, pulling out weeds and looking at plants at 6.30am. I’ve heard other gardeners confess to it, too.

Chickens – only two left, because Martha has moved to her new house with my friend. Oh help.

I’m going to make elderflower cordial – recipe later this week. And the recipe I promised for rhubarb and ginger jam, too. Yes, I am distracting myself.

The roses are on the way. Another couple of weeks, I think.

Love lies bleeding, wetly.

I’ve waited three years for these to flower: I moved them from the long border and they were not happy. But gardening teaches patience, and they were worth the wait.

It’s still raining, six hours after it started at 4am. I’m sitting here watching the grass turn green and I’d swear I can hear weed seedlings cackling with glee.

Tales from the Village – soon to be coming from a city, in a different country. Time for a change of name, or keep it the same? What do you think? Over at the Tales from the Village Facebook page I’m asking for suggestions.