A new start

So I haven’t posted anything for over 2 years!!! A lot has happened in that time, some good and some not so good but the allotment is still there (albeit rather neglected). I don’t do very much in the way of crafts or card making these days and we have gained a dog!

I’m not sure if the nature of this blog will shift slightly; I’m using it really to try and record what I’m doing and maybe encourage me to achieve things at home and on the allotment to have something to write about here.

Christmas has come and gone and the prospect of the new year feels like as good a time as any to re start efforts on my blog, allotment and home life. I must step up my ‘housewife game’ as I’m now home more. And I’d love to get back to the allotment – nothing gives me the same satisfaction as coming home with baskets full of homegrown produce and it’s wonderful watching things change and grow. Let’s get back to it!

Wild garlic abounds!

Hi there! How was your Bank holiday Monday? Ours wasn’t quite as productive as it might have been, but enjoyable nonetheless.

After a dreary and damp morning and the weather not looking likely to pick up any time soon, I decided to brave the elements and go outside to pot on some seedlings. The leeks (Sultan F1), tomatoes (Garden Pearl) and cauliflower (Romanesco) all got new pots and I sowed some radish (a black variety) and red spring onions into a couple of larger pots. Once this was done, the sun did actually shine for the rest of the afternoon!

Later in the day, Ashley and I went for a liAshley and the fallen Ash treettle walk around a friends woodland. There is a sizeable Ash tree that came down in bad weather a few weeks ago and Ashley has been given permission to cut up and take as much as he’d like – we are hoping it will be enough to  fill our wood store for next autumn and winter. We are down to our last few basketfuls of logs now! Apparently, Ash is considered a really good wood for burning as it has a very low moisture content even when freshly cut. So a summer of it drying in our wood store should be adequate. The woodland floor was carpeted in Wild Garlic (or Ramsons) which were looking particularly beautiful in the early evening sunlight. Every year for the past few years, I have intended to make something from wild garlic but have never got round to it. I WILL look up some recipes this week and go and collect some!

wild garlic

5 Things I’ve learned…

The first year on our allotment and chicken keeping has taught us many things, here are 5 that spring to mind:



You can’t plant leeks too deeply…  I thought I had planted last years plenty deep enough, but there’s not much white ‘stem’ on them and the exposed tops have really suffered over winter. If they were deeper, they would have been more protected – simple!

Nothing is safe from the chickens!



Nothing is safe from the chickens…  Chickens will eat, peck at, scratch up anything within their reach. And if it’s not in their reach, they will climb on and knock over things until they get there!


swiss chard


We don’t really like Swiss chard that much…  Or broad beans… or courgettes. They’re all easy to grow, so you feel ‘successful’ at gardening. But we just don’t use them and an awful lot goes to waste.


damaged brocolli


It’s worth protecting crops from the very start… This is an obvious one, but it’s easy to underestimate the damage rabbits, pigeons, blackbirds and those pesky cabbage whites (or rather their offspring) can do to freshly planted peas, just ripe fruits or brassicas that look like they’re doing really well. It’s so disheartening to lose crops like that. So cover early and properly!


BBQ on the allotment



Sometimes, just being there is enough…  An allotment on a sunny day is a wonderful place. And sometimes, even if there’s things to do, you just want to be there and sit quietly. I’d often wondered at people who go to their allotments and just sit – I always thought, what’s the point? Now I know!

An Eco-Friendly Christmas?

A little while ago I saw this article via Twitter about a ‘Merry Eco Christmas’ and it prompted me to think about my choices around this time of year. I’ve commented on a few of the points made below:

The first item on the least deals with food waste, something that I don’t think is any worse in our house at Christmas than any other time of year. That’s not to say that we don’t waste food, unfortunately we do, but mainly vegetables that can go into one of our compost bins. At Christmas, with it just being Ashley and myself (and occasionally a friend) eating Christmas dinner, I don’t bother with the traditional Turkey. Even a small one would be far too big for us and I’m quite happy with a good quality chicken on the table. Even so, there’s usually leftovers but a curry, risotto or stir fry usually takes care of that! This year we have our home grown parsnips to roast, but I don’t think our Brussels sprouts have grown enough to produce by Christmas – but you never know! I will try to make the effort to buy some local fresh veg – there are plenty of farm shops around here to choose from. To be honest, I can’t see any mince pies, puddings or cake being wasted around here! Ashley and I have made our own Christmas cake and I have promised myself I will make my own mince pies rather than buying them this year!

Christmas presentA few years ago, I decided to try to use mostly brown paper rather than pretty Christmas themed wrapping paper. I did add little bits of wrapping paper to brighten things up, but mostly it was brown paper. I thought that I was being more ‘eco-friendly’ and maybe I was, but realistically it’s down to the recipients of those presents to bother to recycle it. Our paper recycling bag sits in the corner of the living room each Christmas day to encourage us to put used wrapping paper straight into it.


The point about turning the thermostat down a degree is irrelevant to us! We don’t have our heating on at all as a rule! The wood burner in the living room does a grand job of heating most of the house (it’s only little), and we only put our central heating on if it’s unbearably cold – which is rare in Cornwall, and not generally until late Jan or Feb.


I must admit, I’ve never chosen Christmas cards based on whether they come from recycled sources or not! I usually buy a few at least, even if I’m making the bulk of them, so this year I will try to pay more attention to whether or not the card used is recycled. I always recycle cards that we receive though our normal council recycling.


On a final note, we don’t host a Christmas party or have friends/relatives to stay so no extra waste on disposable party plates etc!

All in all, I don’t think that we do too badly on the points mentioned in the article I read…..


There’s a lot more that I feel we could do; changes to how much we spend on presents and the types of things we buy, how much extra food we buy at Christmas (even though not much goes to waste!) and I’m sure many other things. I’m just not too sure on how prepared I am to make that leap into a much less commercial Christmas! But I must try…

Happy Anniversay!

Today it is 7 wonderful, busy, trying, exciting and love filled years since I married my best friend! Our wedding day was filled with love; our love for each other and our friends and families love for us. As a relatively young couple getting married, we didn’t have a lot of money. Without ever asking, our loved ones contributed in their own way to make our wedding day special. From an old school teacher who (along with his wife and father in law) documented our day in photos and video for free (the video was a blessing as my Grandad was too ill to attend after major surgery, and my uncle stayed to look after him) to our friend, Nathan, hiring a posh car and being our chauffeur for the day (we weren’t bothering to hire cars as my Mum lived right next door to the church – a hired car was a big expense that we didn’t feel was worth it). The vicar, who we were friendly with, did his best to keep all of the church fees as low as possible for us and (we didn’t know this prior to the ceremony) said that the collection for the church during the ceremony would go towards paying fees. Another friend kindly played the organ for us, and a colleague of mine did a great job of my make up (I’m useless at it!). There were many more acts of kindness from friends and family that really made our wedding day so special, and made love the focus of the day rather than money. I think it also set us on a path to a wonderful marriage, where we have been able to appreciate some of the simpler things in life. We have certainly had some tough times, and a man with less patience than Ashley may have left me long ago! If Ashley has faults, being loyal and strong are not amongst them! 

I don’t think we just ‘had a wedding’ or ‘got married’ – from the very beginning we created a partnership, a marriage, a life together. And every step of the way, our friends and family have been there for us and Ashley and I have been here for each other. May there be many, many more years of happiness and hopefully some more adventures to be had!

Celebrating my 30th birthday!

Ah yes, 30 years old…. Something I have sort of dreaded but also sort of not been worried about at all! I’m aware that doesn’t make sense at all, but there you go! As my birthday fell on a Monday, I decided to spread out the celebrations over the weekend before. Dinner was at my best friend’s house on Saturday, with flowers, fizz, presents (a gorgeous necklace and earrings), birthday cake and handmade cards from my Godchildren. Sunday saw a visit from old school friends; a Chinese takeaway, more cake and reminiscing over old photographs! Monday, Ashley pretty much waited on me hand and foot, we relaxed at home opening cards and presents (and stuffed ourselves silly with chocolates and leftover cake!) and went out to the garden centre to replace some pots that got broken recently – but once there, I had no desire to buy anything and was feeling a bit blue to be honest 🙁 Later, we went to the cinema to watch ‘The Martian’ in 3D (enjoyed very much) and stuffed ourselves with pick and mix sweets! Overall, a great weekend and so far, I don’t mind being 30 one bit! Ashley and I are both feeling pretty fat today though! And the diet starts again!

Planning ahead

September is when I generally start thinking about admit that I’m thinking about Christmas! Sorry, I said the C – word. Some people can wait until December 1st to even consider it, but for me (and I’m sure many other crafty types), late September is the ideal time to start working on those handmade gifts and planning others. 

I usually try to make a bag of homemade food items for friends and family to add to their (often) shop bought gift. This year I hope to make many more presents than usual, alongside the usual food ‘hamper’ – wish me luck! 

  I’ve started with a couple of jams and jellies that have Christmas spice flavours, such as an apple jelly with cinnamon and cloves and a plum and mulled wine jam. The former has worked well and looks great in the little jars, but the jam hasn’t set properly and I think I may have burned it a little. ? I’ll have to try again I think. I’d like to find another recipe for something similar with Christmas flavours to make a trio of little jars to give. I’ve also started a gin flavoured with blackberries and apple. That was very simple to put together in a jar and needs to be left for about 4 weeks to infuse the flavours before bottling.

I’ve recently taught myself the basics of knitting and have a tutorial for a basic fingerless glove that I have tried so that’s probably going to be a gift for a sister in law or two (or three)! I learnt to crochet a couple of years ago, although never really made it past making blankets or other very simple projects. There are some great ideas out there on the Internet for crocheted gifts so I’ll probably look at those again. 

 I think I’ll be getting my little sewing machine out before Christmas too!

Cards are something else on the handmade Christmas to-do list. I started making my own greetings cards a few years ago and for a couple of years made all birthday, anniversary, Christmas and other celebration cards. For the last year or so, I’ve found it far too time consuming to make all of my own Christmas cards and have just made a few for immediate family members. These days I seem to really struggle for inspiration and motivation to make cards and have used a lot of shop bought birthday cards this year. But I will make the effort this year to make as many Christmas cards as I can; a few more elaborate cards for immediate family and I think I’ll try to come up with a fairly simple design that’s easy for me to replicate over and over for more distant family and friends.

I think my biggest challenge this year is going to be actually finishing all the projects that I start. I have a terrible habit of getting distracted by a new project halfway through the last, and ending up with five half finished things!  

Do you have any ideas for handmade gifts? What would you like to receive as a handmade present?

Home made shampoo update

I used my homemade castile soap shampoo for the first time this morning. Read about making it here. It’s certainly not perfect, but it’s a good start! My hair does feel clean, although a little greasy at the roots. homemade shampoo resultsMaybe given my hair type I don’t need as much of the coconut oil (if any) but I’ll keep using this batch for now. I have read about people using apple cider vinegar to rinse their hair afterwards but it seems a bit counter-productive to put something like that on after using something nicely scented and moisturising. I usually only wash my hair every other day so I’d be interested in seeing whether or not I feel it needs washing tomorrow. My hair smells good, there is a slight scent of the essential oils I used (Rosemary and Lavender) but it’s very subtle. So far, I’m quite pleased and can’t wait to try more uses for this fabulous stuff!

Have you tried castile soap shampoo? How did you find it? Please leave your comments and suggestions below.

Thanks for reading, have a great day!




11th June Update…

homemade shampoo 2

The day after…

Definitely an ‘up-do’ day! In this photo, I haven’t actually brushed my hair yet, just quickly put it in a loose bun.

I think it might be a little more greasy than normal the day after washing, but not much more. I’ve heard that your scalp can over produce on the oil front when using harsh shampoos as you keep stripping away the natural oils so more is produced to keep replenishing it. So there is a chance that my hair will become less greasy over time (that’s the theory from the ‘no-poo’ believers anyway).  I really think that I’ll be using this shampoo for a while at least. I’d like to give it a month or so before deciding if it is or isn’t for me.

My first blog post!

Well hello to you! Thank you for visiting my blog! Today has been a dreary day here in Cornwall so I haven’t been down on the allotment and the chickens are hiding from the wind and rain. They are good girls though, 2 eggs provided today. So I’ve spent today making some plans for this blog – I do like lists and notebooks so I’ve been in my element! And pretty coloured pens of course!