Helen Duncan

Helen enjoys the company of bumblebees and can often be seen, camera-in-hand, trying to improve her bee ID-ing skills. When the bees aren’t available she likes to spend her time hunting for treasures at antique fairs with her husband; exploring interesting places, museums and galleries; trying her hand at crafts; and catching up with family.

Helen shares her appreciation of the little things in life on her blog The House at Nab End, which is full of simple pleasures, seasonal observations and fabulous finds.

A few questions about nice things...

Who do you most admire?

People who have worked hard to learn a craft or skill, particularly those who are adept with their hands and who produce beautiful work of the highest quality. Closer to home, I admire my parents and brother for more reasons than there is space to list them; and my husband for running a successful business.

What are your favourite possessions?

My French Horn (we’ve been on many adventures together!); the photograph album my mum kept for me as a child – as well as the photographs, it contains her beautiful hand-writing in white ink on black paper; a tiny silver Murrle Bennett dish that my husband gave to me on our first wedding anniversary; and my collection of old, coloured glass hyacinth vases.

Tell us about your perfect day or weekend...

Sometimes just being at home feels perfect.  An early morning cup of tea in bed with the latest copy of Country Living magazine, a walk across the fields after breakfast, an afternoon spent baking, and an evening in front of the fire can all make for a lovely day.

But if I’m up for an adventure it would have to be a weekend away exploring a new part of the country. There are so many fascinating places to discover in the UK. I would choose either to be by the coast (we’d pack a flask and some treats and take a cliff-top walk somewhere with wonderful views and lots of wildlife) or to seek out a special place with a story to tell, like a walled garden or a stone circle, a castle or a church, preferably with a cosy tea room nearby.

What makes you happiest?

Apart from cake? Spending time with my family, long walks with my husband, chasing bumblebees, beach-combing (I find it impossible to walk on a beach without searching for sea-glass and shells), playing fourth horn, learning new things, being near mountains, watching weather fronts rolling in.

What would you like to do in the future?

To see more of the world and to make more time for all the creative pursuits I enjoy. And one day I’d like to keep my own honey bees.