As I type this, there is a red mite crawling over my hand. Sounds horrible? It is! The little bastards infested our chicken coop and I’ve spent the evening nuking it with citronella and diatomaceous earth. They’re not particularly horrible, really. Give me mites over ticks any day, but even after a hot shower I still feel like they’re crawling all over me. Yet another reason why summer is my least favourite season. But fear not! Earlier this week me and Olive went to Hobbycraft (the land of dreams - if IKEA and Hobbycraft ever merged I think I’d die) and bought a load of Halloween tat, so we’ve got everything we need for weeks of autumn crafting: black pom-poms, ceramic pumpkins, ghostly cookie cutters, a découpage haunted house. Forget the bank holiday - spooky season has arrived! 🎃
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This week I finally finished the text for my next book! I just have a handful of illustrations to finish off and then I can submit everything and move onto new projects. It’s the perfect time of year, as autumn is the season of endings and beginnings; an invitation to finish an old cycle and start a new one. I’ve shared some behind-the-scenes updates about the next few books I’ll be writing here if you’re interested. Lots of cool stuff on the way! In the meantime, behold this cyanotype I created this week when I was trying to make a birthday card for my sister. It is a wild pansy I found in our road, and I was hoping to expose it long enough to get some of the petal detail in, but Pablo walked past it in the garden and jogged the glass so I had to bring it in and develop it early. But my favourite part is the PYREX label burnt into it because I foolishly used a glass bowl to keep the print flat. I kind of like it!
Tomorrow I’m making elderberry and plum jam for our local flower show on Saturday (first prize, here I come). I’ll share the recipe as a treat for my paid subscribers over the weekend because is there anything nicer than hot toast, salty butter and homemade jam? The elderberries have been amazing this year and I’m excited to turn them into a sweet, juicy pot of goo. I hope you guys have a great bank holiday weekend, whatever you’re doing.
Something I Made: ‘How Horses Shaped Britain’ in BBC Countryfile
The latest issue of Countryfile magazine includes my feature on the relationship between horses and the British landscape. It was lovely to write, inspired of course by my latest book The Bridleway (Bloomsbury, 2023). You can read all seven pages of it (including some beautiful photos the editors found) in the latest issue, or you can read the magazine’s lovely review of my book here, written by travel and nature writer Helen Moat.
Something I Like: Matcha Cake Handmade Nail Polish
I’m determined to grow my nails again once my book is submitted. I’ve bitten them all my life and extra stress never helps, but if I get in the right frame of mind, I can actually do it! The key is to paint them, so I’ve treated myself to this beautiful spooky shade for autumn - sage green with a copper sparkle. It’s cruelty free, 10 toxin free, vegan and handmade by Farbe Nostalgia on Etsy. Highly recommend!