Regular readers will be aware that last weekend I was engulfed by a) envy and then b) admiration for Sarah Raven at the Perch Hill Open garden.

Some of her style seems to have rubbed off on me!

I should say that I am possibly the least glamourous person in the world.  I don’t wear any jewellery ever.  One of my best friends is a hairdresser and she takes care of my cut and colour, otherwise that might be a disaster zone.  I would quite happily spend my life in denim shorts and a tee-shirt.  My dresses are likely to have rose-bites in them, as I can’t help just doing a little bit of dead-heading before work.  My make-up extends to eye-liner.  Mascara when I am really pushing the boat out.  The last time I wore a full face of makeup, by which I mean blusher, my youngest daughter (then six) said I looked “a bit like a clown, mummy!”

So it has come as a slight surprise to me this week that I did this:

Dahlia ‘Waltzing Matilda’, Zinnia elegans ‘Cupid Mixture’ and Oregano.

And then I did this:

Nicotiana ‘Purple Sensation’, Cornflower, Borage and Scabious ‘Fata Morgana’

And then I made this:


And then I photographed it all at weird angles.

I know, right?

And I was born in West Yorkshire.

Stevie and I have had the house to ourselves this week, all children having being farmed out.  It has been ‘glass of wine, darling?’ here, and ‘let’s have a lie in!’ there, and ‘Stevie, what do you think of the addition of capers and anchovies to this salad dressing?’

Stevie joined in with his supermodel tomatoes.


I even put cut flowers in the downstairs loo.

P7310202And moved the loo rolls before I took the photo.

I did a little photo shoot with my dahlias.

Dahlia ‘American Dawn’ with ‘Purple Dream’ in the background.


Dahlia ‘Ripples’
Dahlia ‘Isabel’
Dahlia ‘Blue Bayou’

I cut some Gladioli, the height of glamour.

Gladiolus ‘Black Star’

I realised I had a little stowaway.  Even he looks pretty dapper.

Gladiolus ‘Black Star’ and a cricket.


His chartreuse green is looking rather wonderful against the cherry red.


Once I had released him from his contract I continued the photo shoot with the Gladioli.

Gladiolus ‘Black Star’

OMG.  I love those purple anthers.

Gladiolus ‘Black Star’

Am I just in that sort of mood now?  Even fennel looks stylish.


And Oregano.



Scabious ‘Fata Morgana’

Am I getting carried away?

Don’t worry.  Next week I will be back to washing socks.  Just let me enjoy it whilst it lasts.

Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’, ‘Vino’ and ‘Waltzing Matilda’, Zinnia elegans ‘Cupid Mixture’ and Oregano.

Do you get sudden bursts of inspiration?  It might be in cooking, home décor, craft?  Even if it’s just for a week? 


27 Comments Add yours

  1. I can’t think what’s got into you 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      Don’t worry, it’s wearing off already! I was in wellies and a dress this morning moving my hose-pipe!

  2. Claudette says:

    Fabulous Dahling, Fabulous.

  3. Lee says:

    Beautiful photos – Inspired me to be more proactive getting flowers indoors, something I don’t do anywhere near often enough!

    1. Ali says:

      I am the same in summer! In spring I do cut flowers because I am more likely to be sitting inside, but in summer I forget.

  4. Love your bouquets Ali. I used to never make bouquets, mostly because I was too lazy. But this year as I post one bouquet a week, it has forced me to be more creative and look at my flowers in a whole new way. Not to mention how much they cheer up the house or my desk at work. I realize I will miss this when winter comes.
    Love your green grasshopper too. I don’t have them in the city, just crickets. But out in the country, they are alive and well.

    1. Ali says:

      I do love looking closely and often at a flower I have cut and put on the kitchen table; even if it is just a single stem.

  5. pommepal says:

    Enjoy being home alone, well not totally alone,. But you realise I am devoured with dahlia desire. How much longer will you be teasing me with these gorgeous dahlia photos. I think I will have to try growing them again. Maybe in a pot…. we also have something in common, I never wear jewellery, not even a wedding ring 🤫 we are not married. And a lick of lippie is all the makeup I wear!!!

    1. Ali says:

      Life is complicated enough, isn’t it?

      1. pommepal says:

        Anything to make life easier is good I say

  6. Rupali says:

    OMG, such beautiful settings. I am sure every corner of your house is wearing full makeup.
    Enjoy Alison.

  7. Enjoying your inspiration to make the bouquets and playfully photograph them. The post made me smile. Inspiration comes in many ways. I am glad you are making use of yours, even it it might only be for a week! I am getting the itch to plant some fall mums. I think you inspired me to do so with all the gorgeous photos! Thanks!

  8. bcparkison says:

    I have cabnet full of bottels and vases for just such. Fresh flowers,which I am out of at the moment, and fresh fruit and you are a wealthy person.

  9. I love the color of those gladiolas!

    1. Ali says:

      Me too. And they change with conditions. This morning it is misty and they are more of a maroon-crimson.

  10. Oh, those dahlias! Love…. I also can not help but smile when I read: whilst, dapper, loo, pushing the boat out and mummy!!! I just love your version of English! Unabashed Anglophile…me! I adore home decorating and one of my favorite pastimes is “arranging.” I’ve elevated it to an art form. And, as an expert, I’ll say that your arrangements are beautiful! Enjoy your spurt of creativity!

    1. Ali says:

      Aw, thank you Michelle!

    2. Ali says:

      Michele! Sorry!

  11. Heyjude says:

    Very crafty. Arty. So where in W.Yorks were you born Ali? Just wondering as I am originally a Wakefield lass. Though I have moved around an awful lot since those days! I might swing a paint brush around the conservatory – does that count? No, I thought not.

    1. Ali says:

      Holmfirth, near Huddersfield. I know Wakefield well!

      1. Heyjude says:

        And I spent a lot of time in Huddersfield when I was 17 🙂

  12. Ha! This post delights me. I love the combination of beautiful pictures and humor. I especially liked the part about removing the toilet paper roles before you took the picture. I can relate a lot to this post. I keep it pretty basic in terms of my self-adornment, and I get so distracted with reading and writing and drawing that sometimes I look up into the corner of my living room and suddenly realize a cobweb has been forming for some time :).

    1. Ali says:

      I tell myself I am so busy beautifying the garden I can’t do the house too.

      1. Yeah, exactly. Same here except I say, “I am reading and writing so much philosophy”. It somehow makes my house neglect feel noble to me :).

  13. Looks like it’s been an extraordinary week – love your inspiration!

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