Friday, 14 March 2014

Bath / Prior Park Landscape Gardens

One of our most favourite day trips in Bath is to catch the open top bus from the end of our road, which drives us up the amazing Skyline route of the city, and then drops us off at the top of Prior Park Road ready to enter the National Trust property of the same name. This bus is fabulous for many reasons. Prior Park Landscape Gardens doesn't have a car park (other than disabled spaces) so it's not the most car friendly of locations. B loves riding on the open top bus, and it's a little known fact that the normally highly expensive tourist buses only charge locals £2.50 for a short route instead of the normal whopping great £14. So all in all, a great start to the day.
After a picnic at the top of the grounds, we head down one of the steep winding paths to the bottom of the gardens, collecting twigs and swinging on gates as we go.
As we near the bottom, we spy the incredible bridge, standing majestic over the the lake and usually accompanied by the odd swan and a small handful of other visitors. 

B loves running over this bridge, and I love sitting on a bench with a coffee from the little refreshment hut, soaking in the tranquility of this beautiful place tucked mere moments away from Bath city centre. We really are spoilt for choice in Bath when it comes to National Trust properties - getting membership was one of the best purchases we ever made! You'll notice in these photos that B is attired in two different outfits as the photos were taken in Autumn and now at the start of Spring.
We normally exit the property from the bottom gate (it saves the steep climb back up the hill), and walk along the back streets of the Widcombe area of Bath, past some utterly beautiful houses and the picturesque Thomas a Becket church.
Then after an ice cream and a drink on Widcombe Parade or in Prior Park Garden Centre, we join the canal and walk home peeking at the boats and watching the locks in action. A lovely early Spring adventure.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Bikes and Flowers

I think I should really rename this blog "Mrs Biddle makes cushions" as I seem to make and post about so many. I made these two larger cushions to go on our bed. It's a regular sight late at night in our house to see me and Mr Biddle propped up in bed reading the paper or a book, and I felt we needed some proper cushions on which to prop. So I chose his and hers fabrics and used large inserts (65x65cm) from Ikea.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Superhero Capes

So my other handmade Christmas contribution was to make nine of these little dressing up capes - two for B and the rest as presents for all his little friends. I had so much fun picking out the fabrics and felt, mostly from my stash, and sewing these up, imagining little bodies running around pretending to be super heroes, kings and queens and ringmasters. 
The pattern I used for these little capes was found via Pinterest from here. The only change I made to this tutorial was to use felt for the stars and letters on most of the capes which saved having to use bondaweb.
The only problem now is that B refuses to wear either of the capes I made for him, preferring to wear the Wise Man cape I ran up in about three minutes for the Christmas Eve Crib Service at our local church. I'm sure he'll love them eventually!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Christmas Cushions

Cushions crafted for my darling sister as one of her Christmas presents. Both fabrics are by Kokka.

Friday, 6 December 2013

A Quilt for F

A very special baby arrived this Autumn - little F. A son for two of our closest friends. Mr Biddle will be F's Godfather and I made F this little patchwork quilt to celebrate his arrival before I headed North for six weeks with work.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Here's One I Made Earlier

I'm working away from home for six weeks, but before I left for the North, I ran up a few new baby gifts. We're experiencing a baby boom amongst our friends with many onto baby no 2. This little cushion, adorned with a cute alphabet hanky (from the Holburne Museum gift shop for about £1), went to find a happy home in the cot of Baby G in Cambridge.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Bath / The Holburne Museum

We've lived in Bath for exactly three years now, and we have loved getting to know this city. Full of character, culture and beauty, it really is a wonderful place to live and bring up a child. As we venture around this city of ours, I thought I'd create a little series to record the best places to visit in the area, just in case it's of any use for those planning a trip in the future. I'll start with our neighbourhood museum - The Holburne Museum
The Holburne is a petite art gallery situated just ten minutes walk along the majestic Great Pulteney Street from Bath's City centre. The Georgian building at the front hides a beautiful modern extension at the back, which connects the museum with Sydney Gardens just behind (where Jane Austen used to take her morning walks and is great for free tennis courts, train spotting, walking along the Kennet & Avon canal and going to the children's playground). 
The main collections in The Holburne are free to visit, and a lovely spiral staircase takes visitors up to the higher levels. I have to admit that the first time I visited the museum, I wasn't bowled over by the paintings - they are a touch too classical for my tastes. But now I return regularly with B in tow, I find that I'm drawn to the works more and more. There's something wonderful about reappraising what I've written off as a boring landscape or portrait through the eyes of a toddler.
The museum always has a special collection on display, and currently it has Characters - a collection of portraits by modern artists including Freud, Auerbach and Bacon. The special collection has a charge but I was lucky enough to be sent an Art Fund Art Pass which meant I could visit this exhibition for next to nothing, and I was so glad that we did (thanks Art Fund). There are some superb and bold examples of portraiture on display - some quite outside the box of what we think of as a portrait. My favourite was the Paula Rego piece. I adore her work, and B and I happily sat in front of this one for some time (B declared it was his favourite too!).
Also in the museum is a chance to view Paul Emsley's portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge although I must confess that I think it is pretty horrid. Her skin is so grey - she looks like she's had a 40-a-day habit for years. And B got to have a go at making his own portrait - here is what he came up with. 
If you're visiting Bath, I'd really recommend a trip to The Holburne. The cafe is very swish indeed, it has a lovely little gift shop, and the surrounding park is gorgeous.