Like The Queen


Like the Queen, I had a big birthday in June and, also like the Queen, I managed to spread the celebrations throughout the whole of the month of June.  Unlike the Queen I at no point wore a tiara or lime green outfit and I didn’t turn 90 – but one day I just might.

Anyway, that’s my excuse for not blogging myself, not commenting on some of your blogs as much as I usually do and generally being out of cyber circulation.  In order to get myself back in the swing of things and start posting again on a vaguely regular basis, here is a brief whizz through some of the things I got up to.

I flew over to Bristol and met up with Mr. Tialys in the beautiful city of Bath , with its Roman baths and wonderful Georgian architecture, where we stayed for 3 days in a delightful ’boutique guest house’ called Dukes which is run by the most charming people and, if and when I am next in Bath, I will refuse to stay anywhere else.

Flowers & Champagne

A bouquet of flowers (from himself) and a bottle of something sparkly (from my friend) were waiting for us when we got into the room.

Here’s something I can cross off my bucket list.

Four Poster Bed Dukes Bath

The left hand pillow was not crumpled when we arrived but Mr. T. couldn’t resist flinging himself on to the bed when we arrived and I forgot to straighten it before the photo.  But you get the idea.

After a lovely weekend of eating good food, visiting the American Museum (mostly for the quilts but it was all interesting), admiring the city generally and avoiding the Euro 2016 matches being shown in almost every pub,  Mr. T returned to France to take over the dog wrangling from my friend who was house and dog sitting and I took the train up to London to spend some time with Mlle Tialys the elder who has just finished University and therefore not averse to hanging out with me for a bit.

We went to Camden Market and did five circuits of the street food market before we could decide what to eat but, on the actual day of my birthday we went to one of my favourite places (Brighton) and had fish and chips on Brighton Pier with a glass of sparkly.


I couldn’t eat it all 😦

…. and I certainly couldn’t go on the helter-skelter afterwards.

Fish & Chips on the Pier

My daughter wore a dress she had made herself which had a foxy print and people kept complementing her on it so she was very pleased and encouraged to keep on with her sewing.

Fabrics From Ditto

We went to Ditto Fabrics (as I always do when I go to Brighton) and I was very restrained and bought three pieces of fabric with a specific purpose in mind.  The purple jersey on the left (obviously Liberty but not priced as such), will be a sleeveless skater dress for my other daughter.  The middle navy and white cotton will be the backing for a quilt I’ll be making for Mr. Tialys and the one on the right will be a skirt.  Does anybody recognise it from the penultimate episode of the Great British Sewing Bee?  When I bought it the assistant told me it would be on the show that week but I thought she’d got it confused with the African Wax Fabric section in a previous week – not because it is wax fabric but because of the pattern – but then it appeared.

We went to see a girly film –  Me Before You – because we knew nobody else would ever want to watch it with us – and had a weep, along with the rest of the (almost uniquely female) audience.

I then went to see my Mum and had dinner with an old friend who I’m hoping I can persuade to come over to France for a visit now that her son is off to University.  I’m talking to you Alyson!!  We didn’t get anybody to take a photo – I refuse to take selfies – but here is one of us both in Brussels from back in the day when we both worked for an airline and got ‘staff travel’ so could zip off to European cities for a day trip at weekends for next to nothing.

Me and Alyson

We looked everywhere for that bloody Manneken Pis – expecting it to be much bigger (these were the days before Google!) – and were mightily unimpressed when we found it.  I have no idea why we are both wearing cords and something resembling a hacking jacket but it probably made sense at the time.

On the Saturday morning of my flight home, I had booked myself into a Tilly and the Buttons workshop on Freestyle Machine Embroidery.  I have messed about with it a bit myself but wanted to learn from scratch and pick up some tips and I do love a workshop.

Free Motion Embroidery Course

 We were given a choice of two designs to work on – a pair of scissors or a cat – but I went off piste and did my own for which I had a good reason – to be revealed at a later date.  It was good fun and we had a lovely, enthusiastic teacher called Sophia Palmer of Jessalli.   I will definitely be playing around with this technique on some future projects but am also hoping it will be useful with my attempts at free motion quilting.

I flew back to France with a planeload of Welsh football supporters who were coming over for the Euro 2016 match against Russia – which was fun!

Then I had a birthday lunch with some friends here but the photos the waitress took of us are too terrible to be displayed in the public arena.  They were made worse by the fact that it was a hot, sunny day and we are all bathed in the blood-red light caused by the scarlet parasol shading the table so we look as if we are all having a hot flush at the same time – which could have happened actually but that’s beside the point.

The following Thursday I treated my friend and house-sitter to dinner at the amazingly beautiful l’Abbaye-Chateau de Camon and we were a little early so had our aperitif on the terrace in a bower of  lush greenery.

L'Abbaye Camon

Then, my birthday present from Mr. Tialys finally arrived home with him from the U.K.

Daisy Dog Sculpture

This is a sculpture by U.K. artist Christine Cummings which he had ordered back at the end of April in order for it to be ready for my birthday but, what with one thing and another, he didn’t actually receive it until a couple of weeks after my birthday so he wasn’t best pleased.  However, as I had used the fact as an excuse to keep on going with the celebrations until I had my present,  I wasn’t worried at all!   Isn’t he gorgeous?  If I could ever bring myself to buy a dog from a breeder  – this is the dog I would have.  As that isn’t going to happen, I will content myself with one that doesn’t dig up the garden, poop and bark at inappropriate moments as I already have three who fulfil that brief adequately enough.

My liking for these dogs goes back to when my daughters were tiny and I used to read this book to them.

Daisy Book

Which I still have – obviously! Along with most of the other books we read together.  Some things you just can’t part with.

The Queen at 90

Anyway, I might not have had as much pomp and ceremony as June’s other birthday girl but I enjoyed myself and, according to my mother who knows about these things,  managed to spread it out even longer than I usually do.  I can’t think what she means.



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  1. #1 by poshbirdy on July 8, 2016 - 12:10

    Nice to hear from you. I’d love a dog like that as well. Unfortunately not on the cards for me either 😦

    • #2 by tialys on July 9, 2016 - 09:13

      My mother always says they look like pigs but I love pigs too so, to me, that’s not a bad thing. I was sorely tempted during the micro pig phase but luckily came to my senses.

  2. #3 by katechiconi on July 8, 2016 - 12:55

    Really a case of Happy Birthmonth, I’d say, but congratulations on the landmark and on packing in so much fun. Now, get back to that sewing machine!

    • #4 by tialys on July 9, 2016 - 09:12

      Thanks Kate – I’m back on the ball now – with projects piling up due to new fabric purchases, not all of which were shown in the post.

      • #5 by katechiconi on July 9, 2016 - 09:29

        I shall sit back and await the visual feast…

  3. #6 by sew2pro on July 8, 2016 - 13:00

    Behomoth Birthday Month! What a lovely summation and I’m glad it went smoothly. I too decided to keep the favourite children’s books. One of my greatest wishes is to read them again, to my grandchildren, but no hurry!

    Mr T chose wisely; you now have a lovely terrier to admire and look after (basically, stop the other pets attacking it).

    (Love Mlle T’s dress by the way)

    • #7 by tialys on July 9, 2016 - 09:10

      I can’t see either of my girls getting round to having children until I’m far too old to care. However, I’m keeping those books just in case.
      The foxy dress is cute isn’t it? There is an open back going on with it too so she did really well.

  4. #8 by knettycraft on July 8, 2016 - 13:03

    Thank you for the detailed description of your birthday-celebration-circumstances!!!! It sounds all wonderful and the sculpture is gorgeous. .. so the bed is too 🙂
    I send you my best (belated) wishes Lynn… especially health, luck, creativity and the time to enjoy all that!!!
    Surely I would have loved to take that workshop too… recently I experimented with freestyle stitching too and I loved it.

    • #9 by tialys on July 9, 2016 - 09:08

      Thank you for your good wishes – I hope you continue on your road to better health too. I must set up my ‘spare’ machine with the embroidery foot so that I can just practice what I learnt in the workshop every now and again without having to take the walking foot off every time as I have to get the screwdriver out to do that and, apart from the embroidery, I use the walking foot for almost everything else I sew.

  5. #10 by claire93 on July 8, 2016 - 14:44

    wow what a lot of luxury and excitement you had for your birthday célébrations!
    and yep, I spotted the fabric from Jade’s dress on the GBSB ^^

    • #11 by tialys on July 9, 2016 - 09:05

      I liked the fabric because I am always tempted by African wax fabric but the designs are usually too large scale for me. I thought this design was similar but on a small scale and love those colours.

  6. #12 by mandymunroe on July 8, 2016 - 15:17

    What a fun time you’ve had, Happy Birthday! ….. and I was just thinking that looks very like the fabric Jade used on the GBSB…….:)

    • #13 by tialys on July 9, 2016 - 09:04

      Yes – an interesting dress she made. I only bought a metre so mine is destined to become a plain, straight skirt which will go well with something navy on top I think.

  7. #14 by nanacathy2 on July 8, 2016 - 15:42

    Well, I think I might just start having birthday months from now on. So glad you enjoyed the American museum! Love your daughters dress. Love Brighton too. Fantastic times! Happy belated birthday!

    • #15 by tialys on July 9, 2016 - 09:02

      Thank you. I did enjoy the museum and I enjoyed the quilts, even though I wouldn’t give house room to most of them. Give me modern fabrics any day 🙂

  8. #16 by sewchet on July 8, 2016 - 17:44

    Love the workshop projects – a woman with a yellow handbag? Nice! Bath is our nearest big city (Wells is so tiny and more like a large village) and I love it. Glad you enjoyed your stay there. Not so keen on Brighton (my step-daughters live there) as I get a bit claustrophobic with all those crowds. Quite restrained purchases fabric-wise – not sure I could be if I ever get to Ditto fabrics!

    • #17 by sewchet on July 8, 2016 - 17:45

      Sorry – I meant to wish you a very happy birthday!

      • #18 by tialys on July 9, 2016 - 08:56

        Thank you!

    • #19 by tialys on July 9, 2016 - 09:00

      I love Brighton because I’ve been going there since I was a child (being a Londoner) and I know it so well. I never go to the main shopping area – only ever to the Laines – and I find it really buzzy and full of interesting people. Ditto fabrics is a must – they pack quite a bit into a small space – but it’s best to have a project or two in mind before you go in otherwise it’s easy to go a little bit mad.

  9. #20 by jendavismiller on July 8, 2016 - 20:04

    Happy after-the-fact Birthday Month! Thank you for sharing the most magnificent celebrations. That terrier! He is superb. Your daughter’s foxy dress is just lovely (as is she), hooray and so sorry for Welsh revelers (lost over the weekend), great fabric choices, and one of these times you should throw on your tiara and lime green outfit just for fun! 😉

    • #21 by tialys on July 9, 2016 - 08:56

      I might well do that Jen and thank you for the birthday wishes.

  10. #22 by dezertsuz on July 9, 2016 - 02:56

    What a delightful catch-up! I’m so happy to read of all the wonderful things you have been doing. That is an amazing dog piece. I’m not sure if it’s carved or how it’s made, but it is a wonderful thing to add to your collection. How wonderful that your husband knows so well what you like!

    • #23 by tialys on July 9, 2016 - 08:55

      Thanks Susan. It’s a clay piece which is ‘raku fired’. I know she sent my husband photos of the dog coming out of the kiln covered in black stuff which she then appeared to knock off somehow. Here’s a description – just in case you wanted to ‘learn something new’ today 😉
      When most potters in the West think of raku firing, they think of what should technically be referred to as “American” or “Western” raku: a process in which work is removed from the kiln at bright red heat and subjected to post-firing reduction (or smoking) by being placed in containers of combustible materials, which blackens raw clay and causes crazing in the glaze surface. This Western raku firing process has a huge draw for many potters because of its excitement and unpredictability.

  11. #24 by lovelucie1 on July 9, 2016 - 09:27

    Many happy returns! What a wonderful month. I have fond memories of bath. I lived there for two years as a young engineer working on one of the then new viaducts over the Avon. 23 yrs ago! I must return.

    • #25 by tialys on July 10, 2016 - 11:39

      Lucky you! You ought to return – it would make a lovely weekend break. Good restaurants, upmarket shops, beautiful buildings, gorgeous public garden spaces, museums, galleries – you wouldn’t be bored!

  12. #26 by PendleStitches on July 9, 2016 - 15:39

    June birthdays are the best 😉 Sounds like you had a whale of a time. Your daughter really should stick with the sewing…that dress is lovely.
    I’m all for extending birthday celebrations as long a feasibly possible. Especially as you get older. My view is we don’t know how many we have left so we really do need to make the most of them.
    I too got a dog a little after the fact. Mine is 10 weeks old and snuggling me as I type. 😀

    • #27 by tialys on July 10, 2016 - 11:29

      I look forward to the photos!!

  13. #28 by Lynn on July 9, 2016 - 21:51

    I did keep checking to see if you had new posts, and now I see why there was a gap. Belated Happy Birthday, and I am so glad you spent part of the celebrations in Bath. I know it well as I lived there for seven years, met my husband there, married there, and had my first teaching job there. I’ll remember Dukes as an alternative to the Queensberry where we usually stay breaking the journey between Heathrow and Cornwall. We go there for nostalgia as the hotel was an my freshman year student dorm in 1967, and we met in what is now the spiffy bar, but then was the telly room where all the students gathered to watch Top of the Pops. it was the venue for an end of teaching practice party to which he came.
    Your husband is a very creative gift giver, and the dog is just perfect. It’s my birthday this month, so I wonder if my husband will be as creative!
    As I’ve said before, I am always awed by the sewing projects as I am a klutz with anything involving thread, needle or machine. Well done for passing your skills on to your daughter.

    • #29 by tialys on July 10, 2016 - 11:28

      Lovely memories and what a great place for your student dorm. Actually, we spent another significant birthday in Bath some years ago where my husband was creative again and had booked us on a hot air balloon trip. We had to get up at some ungodly hour of the morning and, even then, if the weather conditions hadn’t been perfect, it would have been postponed but they were so up we went. It was a great experience although the landing was a bit bumpy which isn’t surprising I suppose when, if you think about it, you’re just in a giant wicker hamper.
      Apparently I am very difficult to buy for – according to my husband, daughters and mother – whereas I think if I was buying for me it would be easy 😉 They say it’s difficult because I tend to buy the things I really want for myself and I have very strong likes and dislikes which I think are very obvious but, apparently, they’re not. I have taken to jotting things down on a ‘wish list’ now so that I have something to say if I am asked what I want for Christmas but I’d really prefer it if they could think of something themselves because that’s what gift giving should be about. For my birthday, my Mum ended up giving me the money for the workshop I went on which was sweet but, as I’d already booked myself on it and paid for it some months earlier was a bit of a cop out really but it took away the stress of worrying about what to give me and, as she’s 83, that can only be a good thing.
      I hope you have a good birthday this month and fingers crossed your husband manages to surprise you with something lovely.

  14. #30 by themateriallady on July 9, 2016 - 22:06

    I think spreading the celebrations around a significant birthday is an excellent idea. You clearly made the most of yours 😉
    Your doggy gift is wonderful – great choice Mr T.

    • #31 by tialys on July 10, 2016 - 11:10

      Well, according to my mother, it’s something I’ve always done – whether the birthday has been significant or not – but I think she’s exaggerating slightly and I’ve never stretched it out for most of a month before. It’s more to do with living in France I think as I had to celebrate it here as well as in the U.K. and I can’t be in two places at once 😉

  15. #32 by Dartmoor Yarns on July 9, 2016 - 22:47

    Mmmmm, most people make big birthdays last a week, you make yours last a month. Why doesn’t that surprise me? 😉 Wishing you a very happy belated birthday xx

  16. #34 by Thimberlina on July 22, 2016 - 00:28

    A very belated happy birthday! Sound like you’ve been well and truly, and deservedly spoilt 😍👑🐓💐🍸🍰🎂

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