Tag Archives: Wales

The Dutchman’s Gardens


On my trip to Wales I went to see the Cae Hir Gardens. This place is rather special, created in the early 80′s by a Dutchman with just a spade and a wheelbarrow on a steep hill in the windy Ceredigion it proves that beautiful landscaping can be achieved anywhere. We arrived to a display of geranium and alchemilla, lush green lawns and fields of alpine strawberries. The garden is surrounded by trees protecting it from the strong winds and creating a microclimate where plants seem to flourish. I was inspired by this place, it felt vibrant, healthy and fresh, and Freddie surely ate a lot of those strawberries!












Early spring flowers


We have enjoyed few balmy days as of late and since the cold is coming back and it is raining today let’s look back at the early spring beauties. I managed to visit few favourite places like Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park and Wisley.

We also spent a long weekend in Wales where I enjoyed the gardening festival and came home with a huge selection of cheap plants, just what I like. Apart from the plants we brought back all sort of stomach bugs (the boys) and the flu (me) so the last week was a complete write-off.

Everything is back to normal now and my task for this week is tackling all the sowing that needs to happen and getting a ton of horse manure to the garden. I better get started.







Dramatic skies and great bargains

‘Cliff-perched town at the far end of Wales’ as Dylan Thomas wrote in Under Milk Wood, New Quay is one of those picturesque tiny seaside places with colourful houses on steep cliffs. I went there over 10 years ago on a sunny day but this weekend we had overcast sky and muted hues of the sea.

The town used to have a large fishing and shipbuilding industry in the past but now it is mostly a tourist destination, a vast part of it is, sadly, covered with caravans making for a depressing sight. I loved the lobster cages, a small fishing industry still remains in this place.

Castell Newydd Emlyn is another place we went to for a stroll, it has got ruins of a 13th century castle, a dragon legend and the best junk shop I’ve ever been to.

The enamel rice pot will serve as a geranium pot next summer and the little blue pot is for salt. A grand total of two quid. I don’t even know the name of this place but I swear everything was between 50p and £1.50. There is also an antique center which is pretty good.

Apart from these two trips there was a whole lot of eating and family time, Freddie got to feed some sheep and chase a cat who had enough of him by the end of our visit. I submerged myself in a pile of interior magazines, read a year’s worth and didn’t even touch my book.


Bonfire night in Wales

We went to visit my mother-in-law in Carmarthenshire and join her annual Bonfire Night party. Freddie found the flickering bonfire hilarious but the fireworks failed to impress him.

My mother-in-law loves antiques, her house is like a treasure hunt, every nook has got something interesting. She restores and upholsters furniture so everything is unique.

Hubby’s college creation.

The great outdoors.

We also visited a great car boot sale, I wish we had a car! This is what we didn’t buy.

Escape to the country

Last week we had a long weekend here in the UK. M and I woke up on Saturday and the conversation went something like this:

- we have nothing planned

- no, isn’t it what you wanted

- yes…. why didn’t we go to Wales?

- because we didn’t get ourselves organised

- shall we go??

- yes, let’s see if we can book the tickets

We did manage to get train tickets (and seats) to Carmarthen for Saturday afternoon. I managed to squeeze lunch with a friend beforehand, the above is Gail’s brioche with fruit compote, delicious.

We got on the train and a couple of episodes of Sopranos and 2 sandwiches later we got off in unusually sunny Wales. I always enjoy the train ride from Swansea to Carmarthen as the train tracks go along the beach, in the evening when the sun sets it is pure magic.

We stayed with my mother-in-law where the nights are quiet and dark. A perfect rest from the city life. She fed us amazingly well too.

We didn’t do much. On Sunday it rained a little so we put our Wellies on and went foraging for food in the fields. We came back with a decent amount of Damsons and hazelnuts. This must be one of my favorite pastimes (yes, I am a country girl at heart).

The Damsons were turned into jam and the hazelnuts are drying. Pretty good result me thinks!

The afternoon brought sun and we went for a walk round fish ponds. The nature is Wales is breathtaking.

I could totally adapt Hugh F-W’s lifestyle treading through fields and woods picking mushrooms, herbs and wild edibles.

We saw this beautiful sunset from the kitchen as we had our dinner.

Remember, remember the 5th of November!

Last week I was working on a short film shooting in various London locations meaning getting up at ungodly hours which left me with a sore throat and quite exhausted.


Luckily on Thursday we finished early enough to get back home for the Bonfire Night on Clapham Common. I was very optimistic getting on the tube and thinking I will be home in 15 minutes, 4 stops is not very far, but lo and behold, everyone was getting to the same event and the trip took close to 30 minutes in extreme temperatures and carriages packed to their limits. The tube could not move any slower and the Clapham Common platform was so packed people could not get off the train. Don’t get me started on the sweat pouring off people’s faces, yuck, I so appreciate being back on my bike this week.


But I got there in time, we walked right to the fireworks and it was spectacular.


On Friday afternoon we got in a car and went to Wales for a bonfire night party at my mother-in-law’s. The whole village gathered, we had baked potatoes, mulled wine and hot dogs. Guy Fawkes effigy got thrown on the fire and we had some pretty fantastic fireworks. I got fed with lovely meals, slept a lot and came back to London rested.


Now I am trying to arrange last bits for our Paris trip, washing, repacking and hoping for fabulous weather.