Saturday 31 July 2021

Playing with fire


Well, playing with candles really!  As if I needed a new hobby 😂

But I've had great fun today playing with soy wax, dyes and scents.  It seems simple enough, melt the wax add the colour and scent and pour into a jar.  I'm already obsessed with creating the perfect candle and I'm loving it!  My house smells amazing!!

Thursday 29 July 2021

Eating the whole plant


I planted nasturtiums in my wee polytunnel along with calendula as they're good companion plants for my tomatoes.  And they are thriving!!

Lots and lots of flowers from just 10 plants!

I knew the flowers were edible but I discovered that the leaves are edible too.  A bit peppery and delicious chopped up in a salad with kale and baby spinach leaves 😋

I'd also heard that nasturtium seeds could be pickled as a sub for capers.  I love capers and pretty much anything pickled so I'm having a go using this recipe HERE  Plus there's loads more info on nasturtiums too.

Basically you can eat the whole plant.  Now that's frugal gourmet stuff!

Wednesday 28 July 2021

New kitchen!


I am so excited to say that I'm finally getting a new kitchen in September!  I'm using the inheritance I got from my uncle and decided to splash out on something special that I normally just wouldn't have spent that much money on.  A kitchen is a good investment when it comes to selling a house so if I decide to sell somewhere down the line it will look good.

Over the past 8 years I've DIYed my wee kitchen to the point where it's all just starting to fall apart quicker than I can repair it as it's so old. So I've been doing my research and waited until there was a good sale on.  Units were half price and the appliances were 20% off with a price match deal on the day of dispatch.  It's actually the labour costs that are the biggest part.  But I think it's worth it to get it all done by one company and hopefully it's done in a week. 🤞

I've chosen simple cream units with a wood effect worktop as it's a small North facing room.  I've opted for no tiles but there will be a coloured glass splashback behind the hob. Fridge and dishwasher are integrated and I went for eye level ovens so I don't need to bend taking stuff out.  I love how the computer images look so realistic!

I just need to choose a paint colour for the walls.  Do I go colour crazy or keep it quite plain?  Undecided!! 

Monday 26 July 2021

Free plants


Today's soft fruits from my wee back garden.  The last of the raspberries, the only harvest of gooseberries as it's a very young bush and some blueberries that are now in full production.  No more strawberries though. 🍓 I eat some as I pick and then I pop the rest into the freezer.  The funny thing about all the soft fruit is that it ripens at completely different stages so there's never enough to do 'something' with it.  So all the berries are in the freezer to become either jam or used in smoothies.

Interestingly (at least to me!) the gooseberries are not the variety described on the label.  It says they are Hinnonmaki Gron (gron meaning green) and these gooseberries are definitely red!  They still taste nice even though they're quite small.  They were part of the fruit bush bundle I got last year from B&Q.

I'm currently garden sitting for my neighbours while they're away visiting family.  I'm pretty sure they said they'd be back on the 20th but no sign of them yet.  They have a greenhouse with tomatoes, peppers, chillies and some kind of squashes that they asked I water/check every day.  No problem except the last 2 weeks have been in the high 25+ degrees C or more every day.  So I felt I had to water their whole garden that is filled with fruit, veg and beautiful flowers.  Everything would be dead by now especially stuff in pots if I hadn't.  It takes me a good 30 mins every night to do theirs and then I do mine.  Luckily we don't have restrictions on our water use in Scotland and luckily I really like my neighbours.  They're very good to me. 😊 I have their permission to pick and eat anything that's ready.

I followed Monty Don's tip from last week's Gardener's World and stripped back the poppy leaves to let the seed heads dry out a bit.  Then I saved the seeds. There's millions of them!!  I've added them to my stash of saved seeds that include bluebells and aquilegia. I'm actively trying to save seeds this year to use next year and save money by getting free plants.  I've also had a go at taking some cuttings from my blackcurrant bushes.  Not done it before so it's trial and error but worth a go to save some money and get free fruit bushes!  I'll let you know if they survive!

Saturday 24 July 2021

Wee bee

My dear friend Jane who is my coach/mentor/counsellor is always encouraging me to stop and pause since I have difficulties with meditating!  I have found that the best place for me to stop and pause is on my allotment.

This morning while sitting on the bench on my plot having a pause/coffee break, I watched a wee tiny bee with full pollen sacs try to get through the fence to the nettle flowers on the other side and join her pals. The gentle hum was very soothing and when she succeeded my heart gave a wee leap of joy. Daft but profound nonetheless 🐝

Monday 19 July 2021


Last summer I wrote a post about how my local community food shop works HERE Today I had my first online induction session to join them as a volunteer in the fabulous work they do to make sure as much food as possible doesn't go to waste. 😀😀😀

I've volunteered to work a few evenings a week to drive the above van (it's electric!) round the supermarkets and collect their excess food that would otherwise go to waste.  Sometimes it's a few crates of fruit and veg, sometimes it can be as much as 20!!  On today's FB page they've just posted they have 12 frozen ducks available for collection tomorrow (bring your own bag!) 😂 Last Friday they had 6 large birthday cakes. 🎂 No questions asked, if you can use it up you can have it.

I also learned about the various small local community food groups that prepare free meals/food to distribute to families.  One of them operates in my school's catchment area so I hope to get involved with them too.

Really excited and looking forward to my next induction day on Friday where I'm going to the hub to see how all the projects are run. 😎

Saturday 17 July 2021

Fort Klux Upgrade


My chickens finally got an upgrade to their accommodation!  For the past 6 years they've lived in a converted dog kennel.  It's been patched and repaired many times.  The wood is rotten in many places and it won't see another Winter. It's been a great wee coop for my girls but it was time to upgrade!

I bought an Eglu Go Up, no wheels or run.  It wasn't cheap (gulp) 😦 but it's a long term investment.  Plus the second hand value is good if I ever change circumstances.  I actually bought it last October but I needed the ground to be dryish for a good spell (practically impossible in Scotland in Winter!!) plus my son to be around to assist with some lifting and shifting.  Our recent spell of scorching weather made it perfect timing today 😊

We did have an escapee situation when we were positioning it in the enclosure.  Tuppence made a run for it and evaded capture for a good while!! 🐓 I'm wearing gloves cos she's not the friendliest of birds!!!

When I caught her I popped her straight inside the Eglu.  She shouted at me for 10 minutes straight!! 😂  Poor old Penny just ignored her!

Friday 16 July 2021

Eating from the garden


Tonight's evening meal was really simple but absolutely delicious!!  Casablanca potatoes from the allotment; eggs from the girls in my garden; kale, broad beans and yellow courgettes from my neighbour's garden gently sautéed with garlic from the allotment.  

Raspberries from my garden, sweet and juicy 😋

All picked today, grown organically and very few food miles 😊

Thursday 15 July 2021

Garden time


I've been struggling with a sore back for the past week so have been spending more time working on my garden.  I do a wee bit at a time then rest. And repeat throughout the day.  Getting old sucks!! 😂 But it's been a good chance to take a hard look at my front garden as it was neglected last year because the front of the house was getting roughcast (the bit that's not white!) And thanks to the you-know-what that didn't happen.

You can see the black plastic membrane underneath all the stones has stopped doing it's job of suppressing weeds.

And it's bad for the soil anyway to be covered in plastic so my plan is to gradually remove it all and plant a more natural garden.  I'm not sure how long the stones have been in place (before I bought the house) so I'm guessing the soil is in really poor condition.

Although the heather border at the pavement side has thrived a bit too much!! It's about 4 or 5 feet wide despite me and my lovely mum trying to keep it in check.  It's beautiful when in bloom in Spring and the bees love it so it'll be trimmed back and kept.

I had a B&Q voucher so I spent it on some perennials to start planting.  I've put them in pots to begin with so I can place them in various situations as I put my 'design' together.  I have an idea in my head but who knows if it will work!!

There are 3 types of red roses, a verbena, a white hydrangea, a clematis (not in this pic), 4 dahlias and 2 pinks I already had in pots.  I also rescued some French lavender and pelargoniums that I've not potted up yet.

The colours are more stunning in real life!

Can't go wrong for 50p when all they needed was some deadheading and a good drink of water!  I don't normally buy flowers as I've always been more interested in growing fruit and veg.  Flowers are expensive!!  So I'll be trying to source bits of perennials from family and friends and having a go at growing some from seed as I've realised that I'm going to need a lot of them!! 🌷🌻🌼

Sunday 4 July 2021

Food and sofas


It's been a while but I got a large Approved Food order this week.  Lots of GF products at a fraction of the cost because they're either just out of date or slightly damaged packaging or the brand is re branding.  I was a bit annoyed that I discovered a huge part of my order was missing so I'm 'discussing' that with them by email as it's on the receipt as being in the box!!  They're a wee bit guilty of charging you for something when it's out of stock and only giving you credit.  My GF Old El Paso GF wraps were out of stock so I got credit for those but my protein bars aren't so I better get them as I don't want £30 credit!!

I cleaned out my kitchen larder cupboard in readiness to store it all.  I do love cleaning out my storage jars ready to refill.

Plenty of room for the things DS and I use daily.

And the rest is stored in my guest bedroom cupboard! 😁

I really need to get back on a healthier path.  I've let the GF part lapse a bit these last few months.  A pizza here, a bit of cake there.  My digestive system is really not healthy right now.  Nuff said!! 😧

I also spent a little bit of my inheritance on a new sofa.  I rather love it!!

It's girly pink and I love it so much I've ordered a matching footstool too!  I worked out I haven't bought a new piece of furniture in about 15 years.  Most of my furniture is either passed on from family or it came from the old marital home.  So buying something new, just for me without asking anyone else's opinion was really lovely 😊

Sometimes it's the small things that feel big 💗