Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Sunday, 16 April 2017


People say to me you need to RELAX, it's an easy word to say isn't it?  Everything will be fine, just relax.  For me to do this I need TIME, a luxury that I just don't have, but when I become snappy, over tired and feel as though my knuckles are dragging behind me as I walk, it's time to book time off and...


A week booked off after an exhausting time and deciding what to do sends my mind into a whirl.  With older teenagers that blissfully do not need me hanging around while they're both doing their own things, I have the luxury of having my own time off.  No offspring to entertain, just selfish me!

Long walks, catching up with old and new friends (bang goes the diet!) and retail therapy.  Things that make me happy along with planning to see historical buildings at the beginning of next month with incredible company.

Reading, photography, my pace.

Crossing bridges in my mind, some scary with no safety net.

This new found time in my life sees a new chapter, I was that feather in the wind that settled down and created a nest and now I'm rewarded with time that I can enjoy.

Don't get me wrong, I am a mother first and foremost and that will be my priority throughout my life, but I get reminded that "oh you have a BIG birthday coming up" again and again and then met with surprise when I say that I am REALLY looking forward to it.  Life is to be embraced no matter how young or old, we have one life and that should be full of colour, humour, positivity and company of people we really care for with the same outlook.

Yes life's not perfect, it can sting at times, but since the New Year I made a decision that from then, no matter what comes my way, I will embrace it, look at things as I always do, positively and with humour.  I am who I am, I will not change, not now.  

And so, this week I'm RELAXING, doing what I want to do, selfishly, happily, no stress.  Surrounded by positive people. laughter and things I enjoy.  I think I've earned it!  I'm also taking a mini blog break for a couple of weeks and come back with a few more trips.  Trips that are going to fill my mind with history, photography, humour, knowledge.  PERFECT!

Until then, have a wonderful Easter break along with capturing the growth of Spring or the onset of Autumn wherever you are in the world.

And remember...


Saturday, 8 April 2017

Spring in a Bottle

Looking across the Fen in the morning, it is evident that spring has sprung.  The Rape Seed fields swaying their pungent perfume to fill my nostrils and the inevitable hearty sneeze to expel the heady pollen.  Today, I kept away from those fields and took a potter around the garden to fill up my vases with far more local produce that had grown pockets of colour around the house.  Spring showing off its splendour to be displayed in a bottle.

Blossom circling the house like fireworks popping all around and attracting the smaller wildlife for pollination .

The garden has suddenly sprung into life, some plants a little stubborn, but most waking up and entertaining with their show.

The eight legged monsters that scare me to death have even produced their own art work, some obviously had alcohol last night and got a little lost with their webs, but producing a natural stained glass effect with the various colours in the background.




Fresh white and green...

 The fragrances sensual and heady.

More trips are planned over the next few weeks and my camera eye will be very busy, but for the time being, sitting down and relaxing the produce of my garden is enough...but keeping away from those eight legged monsters!!

Have a wonderful weekend and week ahead.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

My London Pride

Due to the terrible events that unfolded on Wednesday at Westminster, I wasn't going to post this week.  Too upset and angry that my home town had become vulnerable in a brief moment, a mindless act of violence taking the lives of innocent people, and a devoted policeman at the first line of defence.

Anyone who knows Westminster Bridge, or indeed has been a tourist there, will know just how frustratingly busy the bridge and the pavements are along here.  Tourists, workers, street entertainers, artists, as well as London traffic both on the bridge and the Thames boats beneath.

Within moments this iconic area of London was dealing with the aftermath, all races, all faiths pulling together to help those who were dying and injured.  My friends who work in the area were in lockdown, kept in their buildings, but safe.

My Grandparents lived through the Blitz, my parents and I lived through the IRA bombings, and now my children are growing up in an era of uncertainty of randomness of terrorist targets.  There is nothing more incredible than the resilience of Londoners.  Yes we get tarnished for being unfriendly, just worried about ourselves as we dash around the City, but that's because we're busy, we have places to get to and try and fight our way through the crowds.  But, when the going gets tough, we pull together, dust ourselves down and just get on with it, helping, talking, taking time to make sure everything that can be done is done.

As I watched events unfold, as well as being in shock, I was proud.  Proud of the strangers who helped each other and the emergency services carrying out their numerous drills of such an eventuality.

I am a proud Londoner, and always will be. No matter how often others try to beat us down, we just get stronger.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

A Chocolate Box Assortment

As someone who gave up chocolate for my New Year's Resolution, a trip to Cadbury World in Bournville, Birmingham, was not one of my best ideas!  However, off we went and I discovered an alternative chocolate box assortment.  So, dear Readers, grab yourself a bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk, a cup of tea, and let me take you on a blog journey in two halves ("a glass and a half").  The first being my own version of a chocolate box full of different loves of mine, and the second being the real chocolate part!

Cadbury's was formed in 1824 by John and Benjamin Cadbury by selling tea, coffee and drinking chocolate.  With the success of the business, John's sons, Richard and George went in search of a bigger place to produce their newly found product of Cadbury's Dairy Milk.  They found a large piece of land with the river Bourn nearby and a railway.  Once bought the area was called Bournville, Bourn after the river and Ville to make it sound more French!  The sons then set about designing and constructing a model village, but I'll go into that a bit later in this post.  In the meantime, one of buildings in Bournville I was instantly drawn to is called Selly Manor.  This beautiful building built in 1327 originally occupied a space in Bournbrook in Worcestershire!  

The building was in an awful state of disrepair and was going to be destroyed until George Cadbury saved it for the new model village that he was creating in Bournville.  Each part was numbered, dismantled and then rebuilt as a centrepiece to the village in 1914.

Unfortunately, and I mean really unfortunately, the Manor wasn't open due to a book fair, so my own 'box of chocolates' was to look around the grounds.  Not disappointed though!  I have put a link here so that you can see inside.

As some Readers will know, I get very excited about old windows, doors, beams, roofs...  The Manor was everything I love to capture and my camera once again became very busy with recording the beautiful old architecture.  The hand blown glass reflecting its surroundings in fish eye form.

... door furniture, rusty, decayed, exquisite!...

... herringbone brick work against the old blackened timbers and leaded light windows...

...even seed heads looked incredible with the building as a backdrop...

With spring now well and truly singing in the fading light, the Manor provides the most exquisite backdrop.

To think that this historical building could have been raised to the ground and the beams etc used elsewhere made me very grateful to George Cadbury.

New growth surrounds each corner of the Manor, the old and new perfectly mixed, as the Manor did back in 1916 when the rebuilding was completed.

Also in the grounds is another saved building, Minworth Greaves, a medieval hall building, which was saved in 1932.  Again, painstakingly dismantled and rebuilt in the grounds of the Manor at Bournville, this time by Laurence Cadbury.

Inside the hall with it's incredible beams and vaulted ceiling ooze history.

Two incredible buildings, two pioneering members of the Cadbury family who saved these two gems of history.

One part of the garden that I felt I had to show you had to be this hedging.  Henry VIII and his six wives... seven topiary creations, two without heads!!

Bournville was full of beautiful architecture, including these mock tudor row of shops by the Village Green built at the beginning of the last century.

Of course the red telephone box has to make an appearance.

As promised at the beginning of this post, the Cadbury family decided to provide a decent environment for their workers, creating a model village with a hospital, housing, large open spaces for exercise and of course, work at the factory.  A scaled model can be found at the Bournville Experience within Cadbury World.

And so, to Cadbury World, set just next to the factory.

Luckily the smell of chocolate was virtually non existent for this abstainer!  However, freebies are given!!  Along with a little pot of melted chocolate and a choice of treats to go in with this (three teaspoons of oily melted chocolate doesn't count in my book... I didn't EAT any!).

The shop however didn't escape some purchases!!

Photography isn't allowed within this place, so I haven't much to show you but one of my pet hates is to be shut into rooms while on a tour until the next part of the tour is ready...

... I'm afraid this happened along with long queues where we didn't want to go into that part of the tour or the tour itself took you on long walks of empty corridors. 

Personally, if I came here again, I would go to the shop and then spend the rest of my time in the beautiful village along with admiring the distinctive purple lamp posts (be careful of the directional signs in the village though, they get turned by mischievous fingers!).

So I survived my demons!  Before my New Year's Resolution I would have probably bought up the shop and complained about the lack of melted chocolate in the free pot at the end.  I'm proud of myself!

I hope you enjoyed your own chocolate!!

Have a good week.

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