1. Daffodils. They are by far my favourite flower. Great big trumpeting bursts of yellow. I love them. I used to row when I was younger and I remember one day passing all these beautiful daffodils on the river bank and then from a distance watching two people run down and pick them all! When we came back there were none left. It was so sad.
But I think it’s what made me love them so much and appreciate a bunch when I see them in the park – unpicked.
2. Ducklingwatch! I get quite transfixed by the little ducklings round the pond – and really protective. I always do a quick count to check that they’re still OK and no foxes have got them!
3. The luxury of not having to carry gloves, a hat and a scarf – just an umbrella!
4. The magnolia tree I can see from my bedroom window. I watch the buds get bigger as winter fades and spring begins.
5. The smell in the air when you step outside in the morning. It’s the scent of bright sunshine meets cool dawn and green leaves. The drawback is that it always makes me feel like I’m going to school.
Let me know what I’ve missed? And what you love…
So I thought you might want a bit of a behind the scenes sneak peak at some of the inspiration behind the Cherry Pie Island series
Here’s five things that you may not already know about The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Cafe…
- I used to be a rower and The Dandelion Cafe is based on the cafe we used to go to between our rowing outings at the weekend. It was a tiny, dark little place that existed before all the trendy tea rooms and coffee shops started opening and was the only place to go. It had ripped red faux leather seats and served apple pie with fluorescent custard. We’d have mugs of steaming hot tea and toasted bacon sandwiches with ketchup and we’d sit and read the paper and do the crossword while truckers came in for a pit stop and clubbers stumbled in having not been to bed. We’d watch the rain outside – sick that we had to go back out on the river – or smile at the sunshine thinking how tanned we’d get during the next session. The cafe was tatty and run down and I don’t think it exists anymore but it was so cosy and friendly and the perfect place to escape the world for an hour or so.
- When I lived in Vauxhall, every morning I’d walk to the train station along a big, polluted main road. To make it a little bit more pleasant I’d cut through the park. In spring they had the most phenomenal blossom trees. I would stop and look up and the sky would be filled with pink frothy petals – just like the orchard on Cherry Pie Island.
- In Dandelion Cafe, Annie remembers discussions over the best way to eat cherry pie. Personally, I really like a teaspoon. So does my mum. My dad likes a fork. My husband thinks we’re all bonkers and should just eat with whatever piece of cutlery we’re given. How do you eat yours?
- Cherries are definitely my favourite fruit (close seconds: bananas, clementines and raspberries). Once, while driving through France, we stopped at a stall at the side of the road and bought a bag of the most exquisite, sweet, juicy, dark red cherries I’ve ever eaten. We still talk wistfully about them!
- The Dandelion Cafe becomes a tapas place in the evening. This is my dream cafe! Retro-chic cafe by day, cool little tapas bar by night. I went to Seville for my honeymoon and it fast became one of my favourite places – so friendly, exciting and beautiful. Orange trees line the streets and the little bars serve marinated anchovies, chorizo, pimiento de padron, serrano ham. It was food heaven. Hopefully I’ve captured a little piece of it for you to taste.
And if you like, take a look at the map of Cherry Pie Island!