Wednesday 30 September 2015

Deja vu!

You may be experiencing a little 'deja vu' at the sight of this fine fellow, but you can rest assured it is simply because he is a limited edition shop exclusive teddy bear and the third bear of his series!


 I am delighted to be able to tell you, 'Dustin' No.3 will be making his way to 'The Bear Shop' in Norwich tomorrow.


Friday 25 September 2015

Some Blackberry Crumble

An Autumn memory ... before my youngest sisters were born, Dad would take me and my sister Fiona along the lane near our house to gather blackberries at this time of year.  We carried pails to fill with good intentions, but of course ate more than we saved and arrived home with telltale purple juice stains around our lips and probably bellyache too!

Blackberrying with Grandad

Stuart and I have always enjoyed walking in the countryside with his grandson at this time of year, foraging for blackberries along the way.  When he was little it was fun to show him fruit didn't have to arrive covered in polystyrene trays!  We're looking forward to 'fruity foraging' with our younger grandchildren too, just as soon as they are tall enough to reach the berries safely ... 

13" Blackberry Crumble

For me, Autumn is very much a time for being outdoors with family.  I guess the beauty of childhood memories is that the best ones can frame what  becomes important in our future ... and in my case, can fill teddy bears with happy memories too! 

I finished 'Blackberry Crumble' today.
 I hope he makes you think happy Autumn thoughts.


Update: Blackberry Crumble has been adopted!

Monday 21 September 2015

Parental Advisory

It's been said before I know, but it bears repeating: new mums should be given a precautionary notice when first they take those precious little bundles into their arms.  Something along the lines of: 'Advisory: On loan'!

There was a feature about 'Empty Nest' syndrome on TV this morning and as I drank my first coffee of the day, I found myself murmuring in sympathy with the mums interviewed, whilst pondering my own job as a mum; after all, let's be honest, nothing really prepares you for the news your work is done, does it?  I don't mind admitting I found the rising panic and intense sense of loss, tough to handle both times.  Waving Anthony off first, followed by his sister Fay a short while later, with a smile and my blessing, was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. 'Independence Day' always seemed a vague horizon away, I really wasn't ready for it to actually arrive on my own doorstep ...

But now, both my kids have homes of their own, good jobs, lovely life partners and in the case of my son, a family too.  We share time often and have evolved a whole new grown-up 'us', which is very special to me.  It took a while, but I did eventually come to accept that my grandson's beautiful smile and my son and daughter's independent happiness, are a fair exchange for all the years I shared with them at home.  Naturally there are times when I miss their noise and banter, but even so I wouldn't change a thing ... they earned their independence and so did I!


Saturday 19 September 2015

Dish of the day!

I couldn't resist naming this little mushroom coloured fellow 'Stroganoff' ... after all, it is the season for dusting off the stockpot to make yummy casseroles and stews!

16" Stroganoff

He hopped straight off my website shortly after I popped him on yesterday evening.  It seems Stroganoff is a very popular dish!

Friday 18 September 2015

Dear Dad,

Dear Dad,

That fateful September morning when the 'phone rang and our world stopped turning was five years ago today.  Wherever you are, I hope you know we five 'girls' still talk about you often and the words 'Dad would have ...' punctuate our conversation, whenever we are together.

Needless to say, when we are together, we are every bit as loud as ever we were!  Fo 'n Simon invited us to celebrate their wedding in true Hoppé style this year and their special day reminded each one of us of the importance of making more time to spend together ... there is nothing quite like a dance floor and disco tunes to bring sisters together!

Naturally, everyone is busy with their own life these days, but as you always said, it is important not to forget that family is what truly counts in life, so maybe we need to try not to allow quite as much time to slip through our fingers in future ...

Your grandchildren are all doing really well ... yes, all ten of them. They are such a fine crop!  From youngest to oldest, you can rest assured they have all turned out to be vibrant, independent achievers, bright, compassionate, beautiful and interesting. They are so much fun to be around and most definitely grandchildren to be proud of! I think the last picture of the ten of them together, was taken in your garden a good few years ago, so perhaps we should update that, as they are all growing up so fast! Your Great Grandchildren are also beginning to explore the world ... I am sure little Toby will take his first solo steps any day now and would you believe, young Ella has just started nursery school! Fo and I are so proud of this precious pair.

Five years on and I still miss our chats Dad.  Most of all though, I miss being able to sit down quietly with a cuppa, just making make sense of life with you.

Time heals as the saying goes, but it doesn't fill the space.

Love always,

PJ xxx

Tuesday 8 September 2015

A Changing Season

I have several new bears in the proverbial pipeline, but as we didn't find time for a holiday this Summer, I decided to put work on the back burner last week and instead, enjoy some early Autumn walks with family and our goldie girls, Polly and Betty.

A special little man was left in my care on Friday and I couldn't have been more delighted to have his company on our first walk together in Mote Park.  I have very happy memories of walking with his daddy and auntie in this very park thirty years ago!

When his mummy returns to work in the next couple of months, Toby and I will be spending a day together each week.  I am so looking forward to switching off from the rest of the world on those precious days and just being Nana.

Stuart and I took off to Leybourne Lakes for a walk with Polly and Betty on Sunday.  The lakes looked beautiful bathed in early Autumn sunshine, so much so, Polly couldn't resist a quick dip.  She's a pretty good swimmer it transpires!

The weather was mixed when we took the girls to Riverside Country Park in Gillingham earlier in the week.  Warm sunshine as we walked along the coastline to start with, then our very own black cloud overhead all the way back to the car!  Thankfully it didn't actually rain. I always enjoy this walk with its starkly contrasting landscape - natural shoreline to one side and a power station on the other.  Polly and Betty loved following all the new scents and had great fun splashing in huge rain water puddles on the jetty.

We also took fun daily dog walks from our doorstep, through the local fields and woodland ... while we still can.  Sadly developers have recently been granted permission to build houses on our favourite field and others in the vicinity.  This will alter the landscape forever, threatening the natural environment dramatically.  It breaks my heart to see all the contractors vehicles driving along our sleepy lane, making ready to destroy yet another significant chunk of local countryside, in the so-called name of 'progress'.

As Autumn touches the land with gold and fills our countryside with wild berries and sweeping grasses, it seems to me, this most spectacular season will be granted one final blaze of glory before Winter this year, but thanks to man's unerring greed, it is unlikely we will witness the tender touch of Spring on this beautiful area again.


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