Location:United Kingdom

An avid tea-drinker who likes nutmeg in her coffee and warm lavender-scented quilts. She knits, crochets and partakes in random acts of craftiness (and kindness). She likes obscure works of literature, philosophy and the idea that her mind exists separately from her body. She enjoys moving furniture around, literary criticism and baking bread. She writes haiku about nettles, would like to swim with seals and become completely self-sufficient. She writes as if her life depends on it, listens to beautiful music, and loves her darling husband Mr. VP.

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Saturday 26 September 2015

Three Months Later

Ahh, where has time gone?  Last time I blogged it was the start (or the height) of summer and I was enjoying the scent of roses and warm sea breezes on the air and now we have been catapulted into autumn with its long, dark nights and chilly days.  In the ten years (!) that VintagePretty has been running (I managed to spectacularly miss my own blog’s tenth birthday!) , I haven’t ever taken a break of such a length.  So what precipitated the break?  Well, quite a lot.  Things I won’t necessarily share on her immediately as I don’t feel quite ready yet to holler everything from the rooftops, but it is a Very Good Thing indeed and one that has been by turns anxiety-inducing, time-disappearing and life-changing all at once. Things are good, just unbelievably busy and my days are now full in a way that I didn’t know was possible until recently.

So a big thanks to all who have emailed and commented asking whether I am still alive – I am indeed, even though some days I can’t remember the month or the day of the week (so don’t rely on me for punctuality or ability to remember my own name half the time!).

Wednesday 24 June 2015

In the garden, the day before Midsummer

Oxalis that open and close with the sun.

Lobelia cheek-by-jowl with geraniums and fuschias.

A rose I’d forgotten all about until the other day; her name is Felicite Parmentier and she is an alba (old rose) x damask hybrid from the 1830s.  She smells divine and flowers at midsummer.

This is Rosemoor, never a health rose in my recollection, but it seems to be doing quite well, though it needs a jolly good prune.

Fox and cubs growing on what used to be one of the vegetable beds in the bottom of the garden…

…Which has sadly become overgrown with brambles and goose grass.  This is on next year’s to-do list, though I am looking forward to the blackberries!

Nippewort growing amongst the fox and cubs.

Finally, some of the proto-apples on our Katy apple tree that we bought home from our trip to Scotland.  With any luck, we’ll see fruit this year!

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Buttercups, Blooms and Blossoms

(Almost) all of the blossoms-proper have now disappeared and have been replaced by the blooms of early summer.  The hedgerows are full of Queen Anne’s lace, the beginnings of hogweed, buttercups, stitchwort, elderflower and the very, very last of the May blossom.  Roses, like the pink rugosa and the white rose (Rosa corymbifera?) are just coming into bloom and are flooding the hedgerows with the most wonderful scents.  Ferns and bracken are unfurling themselves while bees dance from flower to flower – what a selection they have!  The air is just alive with… well, life.  I do love June very, very much indeed.

Sunday 21 June 2015


Love is a funny thing indeed; it makes us do things we wouldn’t do, pushes us, nurtures us and gives us a place of refuge when we can’t see the good in ourselves.  It’s a pretty wonderful thing and something that can be so easily overlooked, however hard we edeavour not to.  I am extremely grateful for the love Mr VP shows on a daily basis and the care and dedication with which he nurtures our family.  In the last year, our lives have taken some very surprising and wonderful turns and I am so glad that he is a part of them and here with me to share these epic changes that neither of us could have foreseen.  I’m also hugely grateful for my best friend and soulmate at times when life pushes us to our limits and tests us to the nth degree.

Thursday 18 June 2015

Lilacs, Roses and Rhododendrons

Sunday 14 June 2015

Mottled Umber

Whilst going around the garden and doing a little inspection, which is the height of my gardening abilities these days, I came across this little fella on our Prunus incisa ‘Kojo No-Mai’ tree.  After much time spent searching for him online, it turns out that he is a mottled umber moth caterpillar (Erannis defoliaria – the ‘defoliaria’ is a wee bit alarming!) and is, like quite a few moth caterpillars, much brighter and more splendid than the moth he’ll become!  I think he really suits the tree he’s sitting on, though, as he matches colours perfectly with it.  One interesting fact about this moth is that whilst the males have wings, the females don’t!  I had no idea that wingless moths even existed, but apparently they do.  I’m sure there’s a gender-biased evolutionary thing going on there (hmm…!).  It really is true that you learn something every day!

Thursday 11 June 2015

Meadows in June

Is there a more beautiful sight to behold than this?  I mean, it’s not grand or austentatious; it doesn’t inspire awe to most as, say, a vast snow-tipped mountain range might.  But to me, this little world that barely breaches ankle-height is no less awe-inspiring.  It is the sight of June, these lush meadows full of green and growth and I realised it had been far too long since I last saw meadows like these.

This is the best bit of summer; before everything is crispy and brown, when everything is still gloriously green.

I still can’t get over a good larch, all pale green and softly-needled.

This beauty is a pyramidal orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) and was the reason for our evening walk.  I love our wild orchids and try to make it out to see them whenever they’re in season.  Having seen a few on the roadside verges as I whizzed past in the car, I knew it was the right time to seek them out.  Upon first scanning the meadow, I couldn’t see them, until I trained my eyes towards the deep pink-purple splodges of colour that could be nothing else.  After seeing one, I saw a whole meadow full.

I mean, it’s quite something, isn’t it?

When I say that this meadow was alive, I don’t just mean the flowers.  Bees, beetles (can you see the cardinal beetle on the clover?), spiders and all sorts of winged insects were busily going from a to b as we watched.

It’s also really nice to see that after May’s chill winds, we have gained a bit of warmth back, with evenings staying mild well into the night and days often too warm to stay any length of time in.

Clover love.  Our former neighbours used to cast aspersions at our lawn for having clover in it.  There would be the odd pointed comment about how nice lawns looked if they have only grass in them…  At which point I’d say how terribly fond I was of the pink and white clover that not only fed the lawn but helped to feed the bees that would hum busily around them.

This is a grass spider whose latin name, Tibellus oblongus, speaks of its long, oblong-shaped body.  At first, I thought it was a grasshopper moving through the grass, as it was so big (large house spider sized), but lo and behold, once we got up close to it, we realised that it was a spider and that she was carrying a huge ball of her eggs around with her.  Whilst I’m not a fan of spiders in the house (money spiders and zebra spiders excepted), I am quite happy to see them in their natural habitat.

Most of the May is finally over, but in shadier, cooler spots, there is still some to be found.  This  pink May is such a picture of beauty.

As we headed back to the car, I came across these pine trees and their showy pollen heads that will eventually become cones.  Don’t they look exotic?

Who says that pine trees are just green and brown?!  I think I can deal with all of the pollen dust on the car for a few weeks of tropical-coloured pine trees.

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