Last day of June

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I can’t believe we are in July tomorrow! Where is the year going?
I don’t know about any of you but don’t you think that the days, weeks and months just seem to fly by so quickly?

I have no holidays booked this year, usually I go the the Lake District in Cumbria to take lots of pictures but not this year. I think I’ll have lots of day trips to gardens & houses that I have not been to before or for a long time.

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The best place…

…Is the sunniest spot in the house! The Cat of the House by Ford Madox Ford Over the hearth with my […]

Spring 2018

Well another weekend (nearly) already! As there has not been any gorgeous sunrises or sunsets this week (or none that I […]

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Beningbrough Hall

Over the weekend I visited the National Trust property, Beningbrough Hall.

Beningbrough Hall is a large Georgian mansion near the village of Beningbrough, North Yorkshire, England, and overlooks the River Ouse. It has baroque interiors, cantilevered stairs, wood carving and central corridors which run the length of the house. Externally the house is a red-brick Georgian mansion with a grand drive running to the main frontage and a walled garden, The house is home to more than 100 portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.

The weather was just how I wanted it, warm and a bit cloudy. This is better for taking photographs as the flowers wouldn’t be too bright with the sun.

Elizabethan house

Ralph Bourchier inherited the Beningbrough estate in 1556 and began building the first house on a site approximately 300 metres south east of the present hall. This was the family home for around 150 years. Surveys suggest that it was timber framed with fine panelled interiors, some of which were re-used and can be seen in the present hall. In 1649 Ralph’s grandson, the puritan Sir John Bourchier, signed the death warrant of Charles I. He was too ill to be tried and died just before the restoration, escaping any punishment.

His son Barrington rescued the property from the threat of confiscation by Charles II, therefore keeping Beningbrough in the family.

The present hall

In 1700 John Bourchier inherited the estate, and in 1704 embarked on a grand tour of Europe, spending almost two years in Italy. 

On his return and inspired by the Italianate baroque architectural style, John planned and built the current hall, with William Thornton as his chief craftsman.

Thornton was responsible for the main cantilevered staircase and the fine woodcarving in the hall. Completed in 1716, the hall now stands proud at more than 300 years old.


Easter holiday in York III

As promised a few images from my ‘big’ camera when I visited National Trust property, Goddard’s the other day. The garden looked stunning in their April colours and blossoms. Goddard’s has five acres of garden […]

A Touch of Blue

Hope you all had a great Easter & didn’t eat too much chocolate? The weather in North Yorkshire has been glorious and I’ve been very busy in the garden tidying up and getting rid of […]

Easter holiday in York II

A few images from my camera phone from today. I visited National Trust property Goddard’s this afternoon. The garden looked stunning in their April colours and blossoms. Goddard’s has five acres of garden rooms to […]


It’s been a sunny but windy weekend. Getting back into the garden is a great feeling but I’ve embarked on a sitting out project which has made be think that it wasn’t such a good […]

Sunday Memories

It is Sunday so it must be Memories time again and hope it reminds you of warmer days. I can hear the rain battering by window and the wind blowing outside. I have fed the […]

Beningbrough Hall & Gardens

It was such a lovely day on the 1st January that I decided to have a ride out to Beningbrough hall & Gardens run by the National Trust. I also created a short time lapse […]

Goodbye October, Hello November

“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.” J.K. […]

Nunnington Hall

I had a visit to Nunnington Hall & Gardens which is owned by the National Trust. Their botanical displays were absolutely gorgeous. Here are just a few of the many, many displays. If you want […]

2021 2022 april archive Autumn beningbrough hall birds blossom blue botanical butterfly cards cats Christmas cumbria cyanotypes february Flowers gardening Gardens july lakes Landscapes macro march may memories months national trust nature Photography quote quotes reflections SJ Butler Spring summer sun printing sunrise sunset travels trees video winter Yorkshire

Pride & Floriography

Pride Day June 28.
Showing my support in a rainbow of flowers.
Pride Day June 28.
Showing my support in a rainbow of flowers.


Floriography is another name for the language of flowers. Within the art of floriography, every flower carries its own special meaning or symbolism, according to its variety and colour.

Some flowers even take on a new meaning dependent on the number gifted – for example a single red rose denotes ‘love at first sight’, whereas a dozen red roses say ‘be mine’.

The language of flowers is most commonly associated with the Victorian era. It was during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837 – 1901) that flowers were used to communicate feelings that the strict etiquette of the era would not allow to be openly expressed.

The flowers were sent in the form of small bouquets, known as tussie-mussies or nosegays. They typically consisted of fragrant herbs and a single, meaningful flower wrapped in a lace doily. Suitors presented tussie-mussies to their prospective lovers and watched to see if they were accepted.

So, how did you know if a potential lover accepted your advances?

Held at heart level – Well done! You’ve been accepted with joy.

Held downwards – Not this time. Better move on.

To answer ‘yes’ – Flowers are given in the right hand.

To answer ‘no’ – Flowers are given in the left hand.


Wasn’t it a romantic era if all you had to do to ask someone out was to buy flowers and see how they were held! A lot easier I’d say!

Sneaky preview

Benningbrough Hall

A sneaky preview of the very beautiful Benninbrough Hall on Sunday. The weather wasn’t brilliant but it was dry and warm(ish).

The light was perfect for taking pictures as it wasn’t too bright and didn’t cause dark shadows.

More to come later as I slowly sift through them.
These are camera phone images so they will be of better quality.

Feeling Mellow

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Have you ever wondered what connotations of colours can mean?

Well here are a few positive, negative and how the colour makes you feel.

Hope you like the images at the end.

Yellow symbolizes: happiness, optimism, positivity, intellect

Effects of yellow: clarifies, inspires, amuses, energizes

Positive traits: creativity, perception, mentality, warmth

Negative traits: cowardice, deception, egotism, caution

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Big Butterfly Count

People across the UK are being asked to take part in an annual count of butterflies starting on the 15th […]

IGPOTY – Results

Hope everyone’s having a great week so far? We are in the final week of October as it is the […]


Well I have chosen some images for the square crop competition but bit unsure which 4 (if any) I should […]

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Weekend Vibes

Weekend Vibes

Well the weekend is here at long last and I hope you all have a great weekend planned. I have an outdoor concert to listen to and tickets booked to a National Trust Property that I haven’t been to for quite a while.

My camera is on charge and ready to take take some stunning flower and garden shots over the weekend. I will put a sneak preview up on Sunday evening.

Forest Bathing

What is forest bathing?

This Japanese practice is a process of relaxation; known in Japan as shinrin yoku. The simple method of being calm and quiet amongst the trees, observing nature around you whilst breathing deeply can help adults and children de-stress and boost health and wellbeing in a natural way. It certainly does me the power of good walking through the trees.

Now is a really lovely time to get out there and see the forest in it’s full greenery although I do prefer the forest in Autumn.

Shinrin yoku

Tips for beginners

  • Turn off your devices to give yourself the best chance of relaxing, being mindful and enjoying a sensory forest-based experience.
  • Slow down. Move through the forest slowly so you can see and feel more.
  • Take long breaths deep into the abdomen. Extending the exhalation of air to twice the length of the inhalation sends a message to the body that it can relax.
  • Stop, stand or sit, smell what’s around you, what can you smell?
  • Take in your surroundings using all of your senses.
  • How does the forest environment make you feel? Be observant, look at nature’s small details.
  • Sit quietly using mindful observation; try to avoid thinking about your to-do list or issues related to daily life. You might be surprised by the number of wild forest inhabitants you see using this process.
  • Keep your eyes open. The colours of nature are soothing and studies have shown that people relax best while seeing greens and blues.
  • Stay as long as you can, start with a comfortable time limit and build up.

If you want to find out more about Forest bathing go to the Forestry England’s website where you can find out more information and also download your free ‘Forests for wellbeing’ booklet.

Happy Forest Bathing!


Poppy Season

As a nature photographer I love photographing the different seasons, colours and flowers that it brings. Now is the time that beautiful Poppies form blankets of red across the fields.

The best time to photograph Poppies is either sunrise or sunset as the colours look stunning. The Golden Hour!

First thing when you stumble on a poppy field
is to respect the land.
It’s probably on farm land.

Close up of Poppy

Poppy waiting to emerge

Poppy & seeds photographed on a light box

Saturday Motivation

Sorry for the quiet journal. I’ve been busy planning my shop window at No3. And had a commission to photograph a beautiful garden. Images coming soon. Have a great Saturday.  

Bank Holiday Weekend

Hope you are all having a great Bank Holiday (UK) weekend? I’m having a lovely one: the weather could be a bit sunnier but at least it’s dry. I’ve spent most of the weekend in the garden and my garden project is nearly complete, I’ll put a before and after up later on. May 1st […]

Happy Halloween

Hope you all have a good Halloween. I’ll be sitting in front of a roaring fire watching something spooky on television with my pumpkin curry!

Indian Summer

Brilliant blue sky & hot Autumn sun today (Friday). How lovely to be sat basking in the garden. The term Indian summer reached England in the 19th century, during the heyday of the British Raj in India. This led to the mistaken belief that the term referred to the Indian subcontinent. In fact, the Indians in question […]

Red Leaves, Yellow Leaves

Day 6 post-surgery and the pain in my shoulder is a dull ache rather than not stop pain. It has been a most lovely Autumnal day so I decided to go for a short walk to collect some leaves to ease the boredom and to stop looking at my messy garden (thanks to the wind […]

Last day of September

Well that month seemed to fly by didn’t it? The past few days have been so cold and wet, I’m thinking about digging out my boots and wooly hats out again! The trees have started turned golden brown and Conkers have been lining the paths for quite a while now. A few pictures from September […]

2021 2022 april archive Autumn beningbrough hall birds blossom blue botanical butterfly cards cats Christmas cumbria cyanotypes february Flowers gardening Gardens july lakes Landscapes macro march may memories months national trust nature Photography quote quotes reflections SJ Butler Spring summer sun printing sunrise sunset travels trees video winter Yorkshire

Good Vibes

Well this morning’s cycle ride was absolutely stunning. Crows flying around and calling out to each other, squirrels running about the lush green grass and the warm sunlight shining through the leaves casting dappled shadows on the path.

I felt like going the wrong way to work and going for a long cycle ride to nearby villages and country gardens.

Forgot to post this the other day but this was the gorgeous sunset on the 21st June, the Summer Solstice. Isn’t it stunning. I do love a good sunrise and sunset as some of you will know.

Sunday Memories

It’s Sunday so let’s me take you back to some stunning sunrises and sunsets from a few years ago!

Cat Sun Salutations

Two posts this morning! Thought I would share a picture of Z and J cat sat on their little yoga mats enjoying the morning sunshine. Oh to […]

Beautiful mornings

This week has been such a fantastic week of sunrises and colours! It makes getting out of bed so much easier when you know you’re going to […]

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Handmade Paper


Earlier this year I decided to give making my own paper a go after completing a course in the the Art of Washi Paper in Japanese Rare Books – Keio University. Where I deepened my understanding of rare books and Japanese culture.

Art of Washi Paper
in Japanese Rare Books.

This course looked at the history of papers used inside Japanese rare books, and in other cultures across the world.

I learnt about the materials and technologies used to produce Japanese papers, particularly the use of traditional washi paper and also the use of design and decoration techniques.

The hardest part was choosing the right mould & deckle which is what you need to make the paper. I chose an independent small business who makes them on Etsy but you could also make your own. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials out there using and old picture frame, wire and staples.

This is my mould & deckle below in the process of making paper with flower petals.

Types of Paper Used to Make Paper Pulp

Many different types of paper can be used to make paper pulp at home. This includes newspaper (although the newsprint will give a gray look to the paper), uncoated junk mail, tissue or even clean toilet paper. Some types of cards and card stock can also be recycled this way.

You can easily customise your handmade paper with additives, such as seeds, leaves, yarns, fibers, or a wide variety of other items you can mix in with the pulp. I’m using flower petals here.

Prepare the Paper

Tear the paper and card into small pieces and put it in a mixing bowl. Cover the pieces with water and leave to soak.

Soaking Time

The paper should be fully soaked within a couple of hours, however, you may want to leave it overnight or even for a day in order for it to be fully soaked. This helps to break down the paper to make pulp.

Pulp the Paper With a Hand Blender

Use an old hand blender to pulp the wet paper mix. Blend the paper pulp mix until all the pieces have been removed and there is a single mass of paper pulp.

After the paper is thoroughly pulped add it to a large container and fill with water.

  • Stir your vat of pulp.
  • Hold the mould screen side up, and place the deckle evenly on top.
  • Holding them together at a 45 degree angle, dip the mould and deckle to the bottom of the vat and scoop up, holding the mould and deckle horizontally.
  • As you lift it out of the slurry, give it a quick shake back and forth, and left to right to align the fibers and make a more uniform sheet. Stop shaking before the sheet is fully drained.
  • Let the water drain to a drip.


Pronounced coo-ching.

‘Couching’ means to transfer the wet sheet from the mould to a flat, absorbent surface. Wool felts are ideal, but there are many other options: wool blankets, smoother towels, thick paper towels or bed sheets. Set up your felt with a board underneath and soak your couching materials.

  • Remove the deckle from the mould.
  • Place a long edge of the mould on the felt.
  • In one smooth motion, place the mold face down, press down, and lift from that initial edge. Think of this like a close the door, open the door, motion.


Place a paper towel on top of your freshly couched sheet. With a sponge, press gently at first, then press firmly with as much pressure as possible I use a rolling pin to press my paper even more and get more water out.

Surface Drying

Find a flat, non-porous surface. I use a window or glass from a picture frame works well.

Take your wet sheet and gently press onto the flat surface. Make sure the edges are pressed down well.

When it is dry simply very carefully peel it off.

I love making handmade paper. Yes it is a bit messy but worth it! I think it is better to do this outside and when the weather is warm to try the paper quickly.

I like to stick it to glass (see below) that way it seems to dry better and also you have one flat surface and one rough (which I like).

I love been creative and it underpins my love of Nature, photography, sun-printing and any fine art practices.

The paper that is shown are available to buy in my online store as blank cards.

“When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something

Steve Jobs

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2021 2022 april archive Autumn beningbrough hall birds blossom blue botanical butterfly cards cats Christmas cumbria cyanotypes february Flowers gardening Gardens july lakes Landscapes macro march may memories months national trust nature Photography quote quotes reflections SJ Butler Spring summer sun printing sunrise sunset travels trees video winter Yorkshire