Fruit growing · Life in the Countryside · Raised beds

Just look how crazy the garden went when I was away…

We recently came back from being away from the cottage for almost three weeks and I have to say that although I loved our holiday, I was really glad to be home. Our garden was watered whilst we were away but any gardener know that no one looks after your garden as well as you do. It was so lovely to see how the garden has come on whilst I was away, and even better to started tending to it.

We had a courgette that had kept growing and growing, look how big it is compared to a normal sized one!

So now I need to find a good way to use up a marrow.

The plums weren’t quite right when we left for holiday and by the time we came back they had all ripened. We had lost some to insect activity and some had gone over but I managed to harvest a good amount.

Because of how ripe they were, those that weren’t to be eaten straight away were halved, de-stoned, vacuum sealed and frozen. That way when I have some more time I can use them up.

Some of our turnips and beetroot have also grown a bit ginormous. Hopefully they still taste alright.

It also looks as though somebody has been exploring our asparagus bed. Hopefully whoever it was (C suspects Peter Rabbit) hasn’t done any damage to the roots.

Craft · Parenting

Matching beach bags

It’s sad I know but I’ve been so excited about making C and I matching things. I know it’s ridiculous but I also know that there will only be a small window of time where she will actually let me have a say in what she wears or has. And I plan on taking full advantage of that window of time. Earlier this week I made myself a beach bag from some beach fat quarters I had for ages and wanted to use up (if I use up fabrics from my stash that means that I can buy more fabrics right?) So after washing and ironing the fabrics the other week (always an essential part of sewing preparation) I started to come up with a basic patchwork design. I cut out 4 inch squares and pieced them together until I had something which I liked the look of and seemed the right kind of size (very technical) which ended up being 5 squares by 4 squares and then sewed them together. I then added wadding and a plain blue backing for each side and the sewed them together incorporating some simple cotton handles that I happened to have left over (goodness knows from where). 

Not very exciting I know but perfect for keeping in the caravan to take on holiday and take to the beach or for a walk in the town. It will wash as well which makes it perfect for a casual holiday bag. Now when I brought it into the house from the cabin for the requisit praise from the hubby, C saw it and immediately wanted one. I hadn’t planned on making her one but jumped at the chance to create another matching item. I tried to get her involved in the process (as much as you can with an almost three year old) and so once I had cut out the squares I got her to arrange them. She loved helping to “design” her bag. I went for a 3×3 design for hers and had to make straps out of fabric as I didn’t have anymore to hand. I’ve attached her straps to the inside rather than having them in the seam as I feel I may need to change them at some point, either totally or adjusting the length so it’s easier if they are accessible. And the result….

…she loves it! And I do as well, they are similar with the same fabric and process but different enough so that they’re not to twee. Hopefully. Or at least I think so. What does everyone else think about matching parents and children?


A trip up North

So as you know last week C and I went to stay in the family caravan in Bamburgh. It is a place that I have fond memories of from my childhood and although the area has gone through a few changes since my youth many of it’s best attractions still remain. We weren’t alone for the whole trip as we had my dad and his wife visiting for the first two nights and then my mum visiting for the next two nights. This trip I was plagued by torrential rain at the start so on our first day we went swimming in the morning at a newly built spa complex in a local village called Lucker. It is part of a bigger building project and there are a number of cottages to rent, a pub/restaurant which we ate at one night and a pizzeria. I can’t remember what the place looked like beforehand, the pub had certainly been there for some while, but the new renovation is exceptional. The pub serves high quality locally sourced food at reasonable prices. The spa complex has been built with ultimate luxury in mind. The pool is heated to a good temperature and there is a jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and waterfall showers into the pool. There are also loungers on the side and a gym upstairs (although we didn’t try this out). There is also an extensive range of treatments on offer as well as spa days. I highly recommend anyone staying in the area to check it out for a bit of relaxation and a break from the busyness that can plague seaside resorts during peak season. 

During our trip we also went for fish and chips in Seahouses where C and I shared a portion of the north east’s finest. 

We visited our favourite bookshop in Alnwick, Barter Books and got a good selection of books which will last us a while. We also treated ourselves to lunch at their cafe where they have delicious hot and cold treats and meals with generous portions and reasonable prices. 

It does look like we spent all of our time eating food. But we also did a lot of pottering around encountering a lovely toy shop in Alnwick where I managed to get a couple of games for C for her birthday. If the weather had been nicer we would have probably spent all of our time on the beach but actually it was nice to have an excuse to go shopping and eat cake. The diet starts Monday!

Life in the Countryside

Missing home

So for the past week C and I have been up north visiting family and friends. We’ve mainly been based in the family caravan in Bamburgh and we’ve kept ourselves busy seeing some of the great places that the North East has to offer. I’ve loved spending quality time with my daughter away from the hubbub of everyday life where we can focus on having a good time and forget about chores. But do you know what? I’ve really missed home. J has still been at home and working during the week and when we’ve caught up via phone or text I’ve been bombarding him with questions about the chickens and the veg and what’s been happening. I should point out here that of course C and I have also missed J but given that he used to work away all week we’re quite good in some respects at being apart for short periods. It has been nice to put C to bed at 7 and then just chill for the rest of the evening. No watering or feeding chickens or weeding or washing or clearing up to do. Being able to put my feet up (I’ve massively missed having a sofa so it’s lovely to have one this week) and just watch TV and mess about on my iPad is lovely. But do you know what? If I was doing this everyday I do think I’d get bored. There has been no sense of achievement and seeing something which I’ve worked hard on being completed. And let’s face it there is a lot of rubbish on TV. If I was watching TV normally of an evening I’d also be doing a bit of knitting or something creative but in the rush to leave I forgot to pack the cardigan I’m working on for C. But in a way that’s been nice. A bit of time out has reinforced that I love our life and really want to keep on living it with my little family. I can’t wait to get back to it and J.