Sunday, 27 October 2013

The good life

My dream in life has always been to live just like Tom and Barbara in 'The good life'. To be as self sufficiently as possible, putting in hard work to get something truly marvellous back.

 It's the hippy in me fighting to break free!

At the old house, I 'dabbled' in growing my own. There was already a greenhouse erected when we moved in so I tried my hand at peppers, rhubarb, tomatoes and potatoes. The potatoes were the most successful, only giving us one meals worth but did taste yummy. The tomatoes tasted awful and the peppers never amounted to much. Although I do believe this was a common problem with most growers and not just me being really bad at it.
The new house being rented, doesn't offer much scope for a patch. We have made a herb garden for the kids and the children managed to plant some tomato and bean seeds earlier in the year which we sent to Nannies to grow. Again, we managed a meals worth of each!

I am now getting one step closer to the good life. I am seriously looking to getting a few chucks early next year (thanks to our trip to Coombe Mill for making me thoroughly obsessed with the little things. Who new they were so cuddly?), I've discovered how to make my own butter (get me!) and bread and the biggie, I've managed to secure a plot at the local village allotment!!

SO excited! Every area I've lived in before has had year long waiting lists but here, the parish council has recently secured a piece of land to use as an allotment and I have managed to bag a plot.

The 'lottie' (as I've discovered those in the know affectionately call it after joinng a few very helpful facebook communities) is literally a 2 minute walk from the house, is ready to use now and is just £25 per year, so it couldn't be more ideal.

This is all very well and good, but obviously my past 'dabblings' in growing has not proved much and I am a complete novice at it all.

I have, like I said, joined a few communities, ordered some recommended books and subscribed to 'Grow your own' magazine in the hope of actually getting some decent vegetables out of this.

Main thing is really, that I wanted it for the kids.

I want them to get stuck right in with it all and really embrace the whole thing with me. To learn about where food comes from, how we grow it and to enjoy eating it all too.

They are both very 'outdoorsy' anyway - what kid isn't? And love to get their wellies on and get dirty so I think we could do well! They loved going up yesterday to see our plot and exploring others....

Aim is to have one half of the plot for the kids to experiment with and to keep them entertained enough for me to have the other half for 'serious' veg growing.

I have a raised bed on order for them and will aim for easy things like strawberries (or whatever else may be seasonal) to start them off.

I have the job on my half of getting the soil ready for planting next year now. It is currently grassed over, but I'm hoping to go with the 'no-dig' method of lasagne gardening which will require us to go on lots of woodland walks to collect lots of 'brown matter' to layer up and create some lovely fertile ground to work with.

As you can tell, I'm slightly excited about this whole new adventure and can't wait to get stuck right in. I'm hoping to bore you all and blog the progress as we go!!!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

A mini Autumn photoshoot

After being lured out from blogger hibernation last week to post about our fabulous holiday at Coombe mill, I was prompted to look back on my blog, what posts I did, which were my most popular, which were my own personal favourites and where is all dwindled out.

I discovered that most of my posts were in the Autumn months - Autumn: play dough meets natureDecorated pumpkinsAutumn is nighHalloween cornflake dragon nests. These were my most popular posts and my own favourites. Why is that? I just love Autumn and everything that it is about and I guess with that passion comes a want to write about it.

Golden leaves, conkers, scavenger hunts, halloween, bonfire night, welly walks, splashing in puddles, wrapping up warm, hot chocolates, stews and roast dinners, squirrels, badgers, foxes.....

The weather is so varied, which has been evident this week more than any.

Beginning of the week we were in the garden playing in water in just t-shirts, enjoying sunny park trips and walks along the canal.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Coombe Mill: A family holiday on a farm

So, it's been a while since I last blogged. It's really been a while.

No real reason why. The longer I didn't blog, the harder it became. I didn't feel like I had a 'come back' post. Although we have had lots of fun over the past 10 months, nothing seemed blog worthy somehow.

Until I went on holiday 2 weeks ago. I had the most amazing time, I just HAD to share!

We went to Coombe mill for the week.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

You, inside a snow globe!

Here's a really quite but cute Christmas craft we did last week. The kids had a helping hand in making them and they have enjoyed shaking them ever since!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Sharpie Pen Vs Porcelain Paint Mugs

Dare I say the dreaded word so soon? Well, it is November (already!) so I'm starting to think about Christmas presents.

Throughout the year me and my 2 year old have done a lot of home made gifts, mainly painted mugs and plates, which have gone down really well. My 2 year old loves painting full stop so it was great fun for her to do. Here are some we did using potato printing (bunting), hand prints, stencil (crown), finger print dots and free hand strips, foam letter prints, which I then 'tidied' up with a porcelain paint pen. Wrapped in cellophane and tied with ribbon they looked great! Vibrant colours, high gloss and went on easily. 

As fun as it was, it didn't allow for much detail so when I saw on pinterest that you could use sharpie pens on ceramic I was thrilled. I am going for a 'Tea for Two' theme for my mums presents this year complete with biscuits, chocolates, tea and mug cosies etc, all hand made. SO, I just needed to do the teapot and mugs. 
Again, looking for inspiration on pinterest I used a few designs that caught my eye and adapted them to my own. 
Here is the result.

Simple but effective I think. And will go nice with her red and white theme kitchen.

My two year old also wanted to get involved so she drew around her hand and coloured in the larger areas while I doodled in the middle. The pens were easy to work with and great for accuracy. No drying time but less vibrant in colour than the paints once baked and haven't checked it in the dishwasher yet.

Go on, give it a try for yourself. A mug for canvas - what can you design? 

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Halloween Spider Cake & Bonfire Cake

I baked a couple of cakes for Halloween and Bonfire night which were so easy, perfect for a novice (like me!) but looked great so thought I would share them with you for inspiration.

I won't go into the ins and outs of how to make them as I think they are fairly self explanatory, I'll keep it short but if anyone wants a full guide just shout!

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