Friday, 5 February 2016

Magical skies

Nacreous clouds over Norfolk
On Tuesday morning I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked out of the window and saw the sky alive with magical sparkling clouds! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be lucky enough to see such a sight. I'm fascinated by the Aurora Borealis and while it holds the only kind of lure which would make me briefly consider travelling to see it, does not amount to enough for me to make any plans. This is as close as I'm going to get to the dancing lights in the sky. 
I'll be honest, I had no idea what was going on. C advised me the light was something to do with ice crystals in the sky and the way the light is refracted, but I was too distracted to really digest it. Later on I looked up what on Earth was happening overhead and apparently these are nacreous formations which indeed are caused by water droplets at really low temperatures.  They are also known as mother of pearl clouds due to their iridescent sheen and thought of in the same breath as the Aurora Borealis. My heart is full of such love.
Incredible! We were so lucky to witness something so rare.
Did you spot magic in the sky this week too?
Sophie

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Too soon

Blossom in winter
It's happening too soon! The blossom is appearing way ahead of schedule with flower buds going off like popcorn in a hot pan; unpreventable erratic explosions everywhere. It's beautiful and mesmerising but of course it's all wrong and there will be consequences down the line. If we have a hard frost the delicate flowers will all drop to the floor like confetti thrown at a wedding; the petals get trodden in to the dirt and forgotten within seconds.
The startling way in which winters have changed in my lifetime alone is pronounced. I'm 30 now but when I was a child I remember winters with snow knee deep and temperatures so cold that I'd cry with the cold. The ground would freeze solid and our toes thus in turn. Frosty mornings were the norm over winter, not a rarity. Pavements were treacherous on the walk to school with ice and breath billowed with every exhalation.
Times have changed. Will winters of the past get left behind as a mere figment of memory?
Sophie 

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Dans le sac

Pinafore sack dress
There is something delightfully rebellious about wearing an ugly dress. This pinafore frock is a made from something akin to a Hessian sack, possibly a large potato sack with two utilitarian straps sewn on and a strategic zip sewn in up one side. A couple of nips in to the -frankly unfeminine- bust line are the only real detail to speak of. No, wait, POCKETS!
Being any colour other than this two tone industrial brown might have lifted it, but instead of hating it for being so ugly, I think I love it all the more. It's almost like the dress is saying "I know I'm a plain, unflattering colour, shape and my fabric feels rough, like it's already been worn out but I'm not denying it - let's embrace it"

Pinafore sack dress

Pinafore sack dress
Layering is still key while it's so brutally cold. I wanted to wear a cream roll neck underneath ideally but as I don't own one that wasn't on the cards. My compromise was this soft green long sleeved top with my cropped turtle neck underneath (plus a thermal vest that we won't mention). It looks plenty retro enough to look current and certainly countryside-y enough to be a look which I would call my own. Experimenting with cuts, textures and colours is all part of the fun of making the most of what's in your wardrobe.
I must thank Hazel for this pretty necklace she sent me for Christmas, I've worn it a few times already but this is probably the first occasion on which it's been visible in my photographs!

Pinafore sack dress
Pinafore sack dress
Do you have any ugly favourites? Go on, tell me.
Sophie

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Inspiration from the countryside in winter

Inspiration from the Norfolk countryside in winter
The countryside is my home. I can be found (or lost) in the middle of nowhere with my camera, exploring and evaluating, pondering and wondering as often as is possible. Yes, I love summer and spring but autumn is met with mixed emotions while winter steadfastly remains bottom of the pile. Admittedly, I wish the colder months away, longing for the promise that spring holds and the new life and optimism it offers. The past few years I have chided myself into seeking out the best in everything, winter included and in my biased opinion I consider myself to have done a respectable job. If you too struggle to enjoy the darkest time of year then perhaps I can convey a little bit of enthusiasm to point you in the direction of some positives. Even if just the teeniest, tiniest bit, then my job is done.
Inspiration from the Norfolk countryside in winter
Look up! Birds are sometimes out and about but it's a fair bet that the tallest trees will make a convenient lookout post. This delightful little crew were chirping away in such a happy manner it was a pleasure to listen to. I'm pleased with how much I like this quirky look up at them through the trees. It's a birds-feet view, if you like,
Inspiration from the Norfolk countryside in winter

Inspiration from the Norfolk countryside in winter

Inspiration from the Norfolk countryside in winter
Whenever I am fortunate enough to view a vista like this my heart just swells with joy. There is something so naturally beautiful about peering out through a hole in a hedgeline into the distance, it really is a sight I crave. 
Inspiration from the Norfolk countryside in winter
The late afternoon sun reflecting on steady river ripples. The flashes and sparkles are such a natural display of magic. You cannot help but smile with simple, innocent joy.
Inspiration from the Norfolk countryside in winter
Glimpsing a squirrel enjoying the sunshine, before scampering off to hide out of sight of prying eyes.
Inspiration from the Norfolk countryside in winter
No leaves means that the light floods in, flowing through into nooks and crannies it often wouldn't reach come spring. Admire the difference in landscape in places you visit all year round. The changes can be vast.
Inspiration from the Norfolk countryside in winter

Inspiration from the Norfolk countryside in winter
Now these two photos are pretty awful in quality but serve a purpose in that they illustrate that if you keep your eyes peeled and senses alert there are some gems to be found. Above, the barn owl hunted over the field with grace and strength. My 50mm lens and the rapidly setting sun ensured a good photograph was out of the question but witnessing the display with my naked eyes was a treat. Below, a deer froze as we approached. I would have missed it but C's sharp eyes spotted something. It's always lovely to see a deer. I saw a pair of huge deer gently crossing a road last week and four smaller ones grazing on a cropped field. They are wonderful creatures. 
Inspiration from the Norfolk countryside in winter

Inspiration from the Norfolk countryside in winter
 I adore the way this picture looks so white. The way the light can transform a scene is incredible.
Inspiration from the Norfolk countryside in winter
 A tiny little bird perches amongst a tangle of branches.
Inspiration from the Norfolk countryside in winter
This last shot is one of poor construction and quality but I adore the way the light beams in with such warmth and strength.
Have I given you any inspiration for heading out into the wild this winter?
Sophie