Tag Archives: Summer

Where does the Beach take you?

It’s turning into beach weather here in the UK…
though, in my opinion, all year is beach weather for me.
I love wandering a lonely, cold, winter beach as much as
paddling through the surf on a warm, summer evening.
But what entices you to the ocean, what floats your boat?

Where does the Beach take you... - The Last Krystallos

Is it the heat, the sun, and the chance to sunbathe, or family time and BBQs, building sandcastles, and jumping waves, or do you prefer to explore, climb rocks, and appreciate the beauty?

Do you enjoy the sounds of the ocean rolling across pebble beaches? I grew up in Brighton, and the sound of the sea turning pebbles brings back all kinds of memories.
I adore walking barefoot over sand, and letting the surf lap across my feet, so the gorgeous West Wales beaches, where I live now, fit me perfectly…

Pebbles-vs-Sand-The-Last-Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Do you like the flora that thrives in the salty air, and the seaweed decorating the beaches? I have a weird penchant for wearing seaweed hairpieces…

Flora-and-Seaweed-The-Last-Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Do you collect shells, do you search out conch, mussels, and pretty shells, and do you put them to your ear to hear the sea? Do you listen to the shrieking gulls with pleasure or irritation?

Wildlife-and-Shells-The-Last-Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

And speaking of irritation, do you feel compelled to share your chips with the local birds? Fish n’ chips on the beach can’t be beaten! Do you sit on the beach with can of coke and newspaper wrapped chips and watch the sunset? Do you embrace your loved one as the sun disappears below the horizon in a fiery ball and the stars begin to sparkle?

Sunsets-and-Food-The-Last-Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Do you love your feet in the ocean, do you paddle or dive right in? On the hottest days, dunking beneath the waves can be refreshing and invigorating.
Or do you prefer to sunbathe, lying on the beach worshipping the sun, or do you take a book and lose yourself in stories?

Feet-in-the-Sea-and-Relax-The-Last-Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Are you one of the lucky ones who can surf the waves – either on a board, or in a boat? Can you relax on board and let the ocean rise and fall beneath you?

Boats-and-Ocean-The-Last-Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Do you love to explore, to climb the rocks, dive from cliffs, build dens, and get creative? Do you take photoshoots of mermaids, dystopia, and conquer pirates?

Explore-and-Dystopia-The-Last-Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Are sandcastles your thing? Are you an architect of the golden grains? Do you build turrets, and moats, and make lolly stick flag poles? Do you sculpt the sand to your every whim, designing and creating with imagination and the salty breeze? Can you build towers of pebbles, balancing in an ever more intricate game of Jenga?

Fun-and-Craft-The-Last-Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

The Palace Pier, now the Brighton Pier – though I can’t ever call it that – was a haunt for my childhood self, walking along the wooden timbers watching the green sea swell beneath me, feeling the ocean in my hair.
Do you search for lonely bays, lost coves, quiet havens, and romantic harbours? Do you walk from one end of the beach to the other, kicking through the rippling waves?

Bays-and-Piers-The-Last-Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Or are you like me, as long as my feet are in the water, I let the siren call of the ocean beguile me, and I lose myself in the beauty of the sea?

Beauty-and-Waves-The-Last-Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

What is it for you? What draws you to the beach, to the salty sea?

What entices you to the ocean?

Art by Instagram – Sharing your Artistic Streak with the World: Colours and Seasons

I love images – photographs, paintings, evocative writing,
and art that create the essence of something real, whether abstract or realistic.
I’m an artist of words, pictures, photographs, and sculpture,
and Instagram has been one of the ways I share my creativity with the world.

art-of-instagram-sharing-your-artistic-streak-with-the-world-seasons-lisa-shambrook-the-last-krystallos

I enjoy capturing moments and photography is the easiest way to do that, even easier since the advent of digital cameras, apps, and editing software.  Beautiful images soothe the soul, and I love being able to share them so readily.

Recently, as I scrolled my Instagram feed, I noticed how the seasons rule the colours in my photographs. It’s easy to recognise the season by the colours rippling through the collections of pictures. It’s subtle, but it’s there…

instagram-spring-lisa-shambrook-the-last-krystallos

Spring © Lisa Shambrook

Spring erupts across the pictures in deep bluebell lilacs, pale pinks and white of daisies, and blossom and spring flowers, daffodil yellow and clean greens with new growth and hope.

instagram-summer-lisa-shambrook-the-last-krystallos

Summer © Lisa Shambrook

Summer hails with beaches, blue sky and crashing ocean waves, deep rose pinks, lilacs and summer flowers, and magical rays of sunshine.

instagram-autumn-lisa-shambrook-the-last-krystallos

Autumn © Lisa Shambrook

Autumn brings deep berry red, gold, russet, crimson, and brown of crunchy, fallen leaves, warm colours and cosy pets, scarlet apples and night lights, and shimmering silver frost.

instagram-winter-lisa-shambrook-the-last-krystallos

Winter © Lisa Shambrook

Winter arrives with night-sky indigos and blues, glittery frost and gleaming snow, jewel tones and hot chocolates, bare trees and the colours of cold and chill and warm blankets.

The seasons have their own colours and tones and I love being able to scroll through them…

You can find me on Instagram @lisashambrook and I share more pictures on Flickr.

Which season owns your favourite colours?  

10 Late Summer Flowers – Beautiful Blooms

As Summer takes its leave let’s take in and delight in its legacy of beauty.

ten-late-summer-beautiful-blooms-title-090915Despite a wet and cool British Summer the season still enchants
with a bountiful spread of flora, what have been your favourites?

nigella, love in a mist, the last krystallos,

Nigella © Lisa Shambrook

Nigella Damascena: Often known romantically as Love-in-a-mist, this is one of my most favourite cottage garden flowers. Easy to grow from scattered seed, and they self-seed beautifully, they can decorate your garden with pretty pastels. They’re often blue, but I have a penchant for the pure white, and their narrow, threadlike leaves just add to their feathery enchantment. I even love their bulbous seedheads which can look stunning in a vase amongst other summer flowers too!

Lavender © Lisa Shambrook

Lavender © Lisa Shambrook

Lavender: I can never decide which lavender is my favourite, either delicate British lavendula augustifolia or French lavendula stoechas with its crown of purple feathers! I’m not actually a fan of its fragrance, but its silver leaves and simple purple flowers brighten my summer borders.

roses, rhapsody in blue, Louis XIV, blue moon, audrey wilcox, peach, iceberg, red rose, the last krystallos,

Roses © Lisa Shambrook

Roses: What can I say about roses? They need no introduction. It’s perhaps the world’s most romantic flower renowned for both its beauty and its fragrance. My particular favourites are purple, pinks and whites, and can you ever talk about roses without including red ones? Those pictured here are: Blue Moon, Rhapsody in Blue, unnamed peach rose from my parents’ garden, Louis XIV, Audrey Wilcox and the traditional Iceberg.

mock orange, philadelphus, mock orange flowers, belle etoile, the last krystallos,

Mock Orange © Lisa Shambrook

Mock Orange: the gorgeous philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’ has one of the most beautiful scents of summer. I adore this delicate white flower stained inside with deep red about its yellow stamens, and I look forward to watching my shrub blossom with buds. It’s sister ‘Virginal’ a double mock orange also claims the stunning scent and can quite easily steal the show in a bouquet.

paeony, paeonies, sarah bernhardt paeony, pink, the last krystallos,

Paeony © Lisa Shambrook and Caitlin Shambrook

Paeony: You can choose whether you spell them paeony or peony, I don’t think it matters. They are one of my husband’s favourites. We have an amazing red paeony which flowers early, and a beautifully subtle pink Sarah Bernhardt which flowers later. Paeonies like to be planted shallow so their bulbous roots can sunbathe just beneath the soil, plant them too deep and they won’t flower so prolifically. There are many varieties, from single, bowl-like, papery blooms to full doubles as big as your hand!

clematis flowers, Dr ruppel clematis, the last krystallos,

Clematis Dr Ruppel © Lisa Shambrook

Clematis: another flower with a multitude of varieties. You can find a variety of clematis that will fill your garden with flowers pretty much all year round. I’ve had tiny white freckled clematis right through to huge Dr Ruppel, pale pink with bright pink stripes. Blues, purple, pinks, white and reds dominate, but you can even find delicate green clematis too, and bright yellow bell-shaped ones which leave bearded seedheads once they’re finished – I delighted in the silver seedheads when I was small!

blue hydrangea mophead flowers, the last krystallos,

Hydrangea © Lisa Shambrook

Hydrangea: this is an odd choice for me, as I hated them with a passion as I grew up. I disliked the bog standard dusky pinks and dull blues, and saw no further than the dirty roadside shrubs in local gardens. When I finally got a garden which already contained a blue hydrangea, I began to appreciate them. They have large mopheads which blossom with tiny flowers and I noticed how my blue flowers began as tight green/white buds and opened into pale pink flowers and slowly changed to big lilac blue flowers.  I learned that the colour you get is often dependent on your soil. Blue most common in acid soil, mauve in acid to neutral and pink in alkaline soil. I would love to have a white hydrangea.

geranium johnsons blue flowers, geranium johnsons blue bee, purple flower and bee, bumble bee and flower, the last krystallos,

Geranium Johnsons Blue © Lisa Shambrook

Geranium: I don’t really like most greenhouse grown geraniums and prefer the hardy garden varieties, much like the bees do! When Johnsons Blue blooms it creates a cloud of purple and the buzz from bees is audible. The flowers are almost ultraviolet and they add a beautiful swathe of colour for the summer.

japanese anemone septembers charm flowers, japanese anemone, the last krystallos,

Japanese Anemone © Lisa Shambrook

Japanese Anemone: definitely one of my favourite late summer flowers. I love the white varieties like Honorine Jobert best, but the dusky pinks, of which I have September Charm, are glorious too. Japanese anemones’ green button centres surrounded by tiny gold stamens are quite bewitching! They have long wiry stems which let the flowers dance in the breeze, and they finish with the strangest cotton wool seedheads which float away once they’re done.

rudbekia flower, yellow flower rain, the last krystallos,

Rudbekia © Lisa Shambrook

Rudbekia: these are fun flowers that brighten up the end of the season. You can often find Rudbekia and Echinacea in the same gardens as they are both of the cone flower variety, offering late colour into the autumn. They’re often known as black-eyed susan and also come from the sunflower family.  Guaranteed to brighten your garden!

So tell me, what have been your favourite summer blooms?
If you had to pick a favourite rose which would it be,
and what colours your summer garden?

If you’d like to see more of my flower photography please take a look at my
Flickr page and The Shutterworks Photoblog

Summer SAD

Don’t get me wrong – I adore the sunshine and the gorgeous, balmy days of early and late Summer, but July and August…I could do without.
Give me a fresh Autumn, throw in some Winter fun and snow, give me a bountiful Spring and a hint of Summer and I’m okay. July and August drown me in the depths of hell…and feel just as hot.

Photograph by Lisa Shambrook and Instagram (Please do not use without permission)

Seriously though, many people, thought to be close to 2million in the UK suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as the ‘Winter Blues’*…but it is far less known that a Summer equivalent exists, affecting just 600,000 in the UK**. I happen to be one of this number.

Just as Winter SAD sufferers wish to hibernate and sleep, I feel the same during the hot, seemingly everlasting Summer months. I also thought I was the only one. When I first read of Summer SAD in Reader’s Digest, and mentioned it to my GP, I thought he’d laugh, instead he told me it not only existed, but was recognised.

I’d spent years suffering depression and thought my bouts of February/March depressive states were pretty much mild Winter Blues…and expected after the excitement and subsequent anti-climax of Christmas, but when I consulted my diaries I found my depressive states were more often found Mid-Summer, when we’re expected to feel sunny, happy and alive. The ‘hot’ months would find me exhausted, tired, irritable and very agitated.
My February/March bouts, when examined, were almost always part of a prolonged clinical depression and not confined to those two months as I’d mistakenly believed. This last Winter, for example, perhaps one of the longest we Brits have experienced for a while, was not a problem. I wasn’t keen on the excessive rain…who is? but it’s now, with Summer finally advancing, that my anxiety levels are creeping upwards and my loathing for Summer heat is coming to the fore.

Again, it’s important to add, that I love the sunshine and Summer warmth, and the long evenings…but when many are out sunbathing, lazing on the beach or just enjoying being outdoors, I would rather be inside escaping the Mid-Summer heat.
If we don’t like the cold, we can wrap up warm, cuddle beneath a fleece, sit by a warm fire, but if we can’t stand the heat we can’t always get out of the kitchen!
I am, however, learning to make the most of Summer, going to the beach in the evening, doing my ‘outside’ work early and appreciating the good things of the season: strawberries, watermelon, ice-cream and fresh salads…
I’m also working on my anxiety and panic levels, attending a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) course and hope that I can control my Summer month emotions much better.

My perfect temperatures are anywhere between 18 and 24˚C (64 – 75˚F). Thankfully, it’s only June and the temperature is a wonderful 20˚C (68˚F) and I’ll be enjoying the sun for a few more weeks yet. I don’t plan on moving anywhere the temperature tops 30˚C (86˚F) so I might be okay!

How hot do you like it?

Then again, maybe I should just take a siesta when it all gets too much, which could last July through August…waking me in time for a fresh September and the gorgeous turning of the trees!

Figures found here:
*www.sad.org.uk
**www.depressionalliance.org