• Allotmenting

    I have an allotment!

    With the council allotment waiting list at 10 years plus, I took advice from the allotment group on Facebook and looked in more unusual places such as Gumtree and Marketplace. I found someone advertising on the latter and got in touch. A week later (just when I’d given up!) the guy replied and we organised a visit. Now it’s not quite local – it’s a 20 minute drive in good traffic – but the site is nice. It’s next to a river, surrounded by countryside and once you’re working, you don’t really notice the motorway. The photo is actually the second plot I took on. The first proved to be…

  • Allotmenting

    Reduce Reuse Freecycle

    I love Freecycle! Not only can I get what you need for free, but by reusing items others no longer need, I’m saving those things from going to the tip. I get to do a little for the planet while I save a little money! When I started vegetable gardening, Freecycle was a briliant source of things I needed. Like the lean-to tool shed (left in the picture above.) All this cost me was petrol to pick it up and some new screws. The growhouse on the right was also a Freecycle find, though that needed a new cover. That was £6 from Poundstretcher, and I’ve plans to reuse the…

  • Mental Health

    Dealing with grief

    The past two years have been a constant grind, to the point I started counselling in February as I felt close to a complete breakdown. It all started 30 December 2018, when H had a stroke. He was relatively fit and there were no warning signs, and I still remember the utter shock of the neurologist informing us about what had happened. We were also told to prepare for the worse, and it was touch-and-go for 48 hours. At the time, I had all five children at home and, while three were adult, life still became something to survive, day by day. H came home July 2019 in a wheelchair.…

  • Mental Health

    5 Creative Shows to Relax and Inspire

    With the UK under lockdown 3, maintaining good mental health is quite the challenge, especially in the middle of a dull and dreary January. Finding a hobby – and therefore having something positive to focus on – is great for one’s mental health. If you’re struggling to find a passion, here’s five creative TV shows to inspire you. #1 The Repair Shop This is a must-watch show for anyone who loves old things. Each week, people bring in their battered and broken antiques, and the crew at The Repair Shop bring them back to life. Most of the objects have sentimental meaning, and I often find myself brimming when they…

  • The Shed

    Take Back Control

    After last week’s tale of woe, this week I’m sharing how I plan to take back control. Using my trusty bullet journal and a stencil from the wonderful Oops A Daisy*, I drew up a list of things to do to secure the shed. I think once this is done, I’ll feel better about moving forwards. #1 A decent lock The shed’s current lock is a padlock and hasp, which isn’t ideal. I did buy a key lock on Ebay some months ago, but despite following the measuring instructions to the letter, it didn’t fit. The replacement I plan on buying is from B&Q and made by Yale. #2 An…

  • Crochet

    No One Cares About Your Plans

    It’s talen me over a week to write this post. A week in which I’ve not done much. You remember my plans for this year? Well it turns out people don’t care about your plans. They don’t care about the months you spent building something you love. They don’t care how much you need that space. Why steal yarn? Somewhere between 11th and 12th January, a selfish little git broke into the shed. They took the sewing machine, plastic drawers full of craft projects, in progress blankets, and yarn. A lot of what was taken will have no value to anyone else. I hadn’t left notes as to what the…

  • Out & About

    Walk 1000 Miles: On the Linnyshaw Loopline

    I signed up for the Walk 1000 Miles Challenge last year, but lost enthusiasum when the UK got put into lockdown – I had planned on getting several miles done on our anniversary holiday to Derbyshire, but that got cancelled. Starting the challenge already in lockdown (more or less) meant I could plan around it. I downloaded an app called Footpath, which allows you to make your own walking routes. It also gives you the distance – very handy when you’re wanting to track miles. I’m fortunate enough to have some green land nearby. The old railway lines were taken up many years ago, and a series of walking/cycling tracks…

  • The Shed

    Plans for 2021

    For The Shed The Shed has been on hiatus since October time, or since the weather turned chilly. So my main plan for 2021 is to get it insulated. I’m debating pulling off the panels and replacing them with tongue-and-groove, with some kind of insulating material between the two walls. Given the lack of action, it has become something of a dumping ground, so I also need to get in and tidy it up. In The Shed I want to really get into sewing. My poor machine has sat mostly unused, which strikes me as a waste of money. As coronavirus is still very much a Thing, any lessons will…

  • In The Kitchen

    Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

    Cake – the best cure for a bad day. I decided to make a pineapple upside-down cake, using the Great British Bake Off recipe, but in a single cake tin as I don’t have seperate pudding moulds. I even did the caramel sauce! I goosed this on my first attemt, but the second was successful. As my cake tin has a push out base, I lined it with aluminium foil before putting the sauce in. Then I added tinned pineapple (sorry, not sorry, Paul) and the cake batter. I cooked the cake for about 30 minutes, on 160°C fan, testing the bake with a wooden skewer. The resulting cake was…

  • Tadah

    Highland Heathers Blanket

    I was desperate to try out Stylecraft’s new Highland Heathers yarn from the moment they shared photos. Then Deramores offered 20% off all Stylecraft yarn, so I bought a ball n each available colour! I’d seen the knitted projects, and Patchwork Heart’s granny shawl, so I wanted to make something different. I opted for solid granny squares edged in Shale. I used Shale to join, then crocheted a linen stitch border using all the shade. If I do another blanket like this, I’ll go up to a 4.5 mm hook for this, as it is a little tight. Stll, I was happy enough to post the finished article to Stylecraft’s…