Latest in: Features

  • We all want some figgy pudding

    Thank goodness for microwave ovens! Today we can achieve in minutes what our ancestors took hours if not days to accomplish. Our grandparents and even our parents might have invested an inordinate amount of time and energy in the Christmas pudding ritual, which would often include the whole family...
  • Fire Side fascination

    As the temperatures continue to dip your thoughts may have turned to your fireplace (if you are lucky enough to have one in your home). After all there is something completely romantic about a roaring fire in the darker, winter days. Many fireplaces however are non-functioning but this doesn’t...
  • A – Z

    A Four Shires A-Z of Christmas   A – Advent calendar Traditionally in the run up to Christmas, children will open one door a day until the 25th December. This will help them to channel their excitement on the build up to Christmas. If you are after something a...
  • What to do in the December Garden

    December signals the end of another year. It’s traditionally a time to party and for celebrations but let’s not forget the garden. It is surprising what there is to do at this time of year. There is the never-ending task of sweeping up leaves and twigs that keep on...
  • Step by step snow scene

    Step By Step Snow Scene  You will need: Watercolour paints – Cerulean Blue, Cadmium Red, Burnt Sienna (I used Mondeluz artists quality) 300gsm Cold Pressed (NOT) surface watercolour paper (I used A5 Bockingford) Brushes – Size 18 round, size 4 round, size 2 round, size 1 rigger (I used...
  • Knock, knock who’s there

    Walking in almost any street in the Four Shires you will be greeted by any number of interesting architectural details but one small addition may go unnoticed. The door knocker of someone’s home or business can be a work of art all on its own. Door knockers are more...
  • Tactile interiors

    Most of us will be drawn into the touchy, feely elements of any design scheme. For example you will probably be hard pushed to find someone that will look at the John Lewis building in Birmingham, adorned with thousands of shiny discs and not instantly want to touch it....
  • East to West Walk

    Without leaving the Four Shires we start with a view of the sea and end up at a lighthouse we take in a brewery, a ruined abbey, a full size train set and, of course, a bottle of red. We take the Broughton road out of Banbury and leave...
  • November in the garden

    …The Month to plant out your tulips…   This month the leaves will be falling thick and fast so sweeping them up will become a daily job to ensure that they don’t get too thick on the ground. Remember that all of the leaves you pick up will make...
  • The Darker Side of Art

    One of my roles as an art tutor is as an art history lecturer for adult education colleges, and whilst it’s always interesting to discuss paintings and how they are created, it is also extremely interesting to learn about the artists behind the canvas. One thing I have noted...