9 October 2015


 We're missing the Summer months and all that grows in the garden. 
 Summer favourites are fresh, juicy organic raspberries.

There is something lovely about taking a bowl from the kitchen, 
walking into the garden and picking homegrown raspberries straight off the shrubs they've grown on.

Simply gorgeous and so healthy. 

They couldn't grow fast enough for us. We ate them added to our breakfast cereal with yoghurt, or mixed into a smoothie. 

This recipe uses fresh raspberries and makes the most delicious cookies.  Very quick to make in less than 7 minutes - great for an afternoon 'pick me up'....

Ingredients (serves 6)

1 cup of cashew flour (cashew nuts powdered in a blender)
1/4 of a cup maples syrup
1/4 of a cup raw cacao butter, melted
1/2 cup of fresh raspberries

In a bowl mix the cashew flour with the maple syrup and the melted cacao butter.  Then add the fruits and mix evenly.
Take a tray lined with greaseproof paper and drop spoonfuls of the mixture and shape it to desired cookie size with a spoon.  Place the tray in the freezer to set and when the cookies are firm enough, remove them from the paper and place on a plate to serve.

Inspired by a Nama recipe.

2 October 2015


October is here and with that Autumn has arrived, luckily nice and slowly this year as we're still enjoying sunny days. 
It seems a time to reflect on what we've received from the garden and I'm amazed at how much we actually gain from it.  

There's always so many different varieties of apples...

gorgeous juicy eating apples,


to cooking apples (above), 
great for crumbles or stewed and used with muesli at breakfast.

Pears (above).  
Not the best crop this year but we still managed a few to eat.

Lots of tomatoes, grown in the vegetable plot.

even the odd blackberry or two.

In the greenhouse, there's a grape vine. 

 So many Mirabelle plums...

and an abundance of Victoria plums. 
Gorgeous, also stewed and used at breakfast.

The sweetest raspberries.  No need for sugar to be added! 

(if we're quick to get them before the squirrels do!!)

and lastly, a pumpkin which we'll pick for Halloween.

When everything is listed like this, I realise what lucky people we are to have all these free and organic harvests each year.

13 August 2015


 Adding a bit of colour to the main bedroom, in the form of a drying-out Allium. 

Grown in the garden this year and thinking it's far to beautiful to throw away, 
it now sits on the mantle piece in our bedroom. 

6 August 2015


The first time we came to this house, it was only me that wanted to see it.  

We'd all stayed at a friend's house for the night and were having lots of fun. In the morning we needed to leave early in order to arrive on time for our appointment. Our children had already seen a lot of houses and weren't happy with traipsing around another one. 

We debated for ages whether to cancel the viewing.... 

eventually we walked up the path to the front door, rang the bell and the door opened to this....

 Well, mostly this.  
(A green carpet was still down on the hall floor and the painting and wooden forks weren't there either). 

(below) Walking into the house and looking back at the front door, we saw this...

When I look at these photos now, I find it hard to imagine why we ALL fell so in love with this house. 
I knew the minute, I stood in the hall that I wanted to live here.
It seems that when you get that 'gut feeling' that something is right, 
it's hard to let go of it. This house was perfect for us and we had to have it.

It's easy to be impressed with a properties good points and completely overlook the amount of work that is needed to renovate it. Looking beyond what we could see, it was easy to see it's potential. 
The list of our 'wants' for a new home were easily matched and with great excitement three months later we moved in. 
This was only the beginning!

30 July 2015


Can you help me out with a dilemma...

do I paint this rocking chair in a dark grey or leave it as it is?

22 July 2015


In the cupboard (below) in the spare bedroom are a collection of 'things' that have been gained over many years. 'Things' that are still as important as the day they were bought, found or given to us....


Wooden 'Peace' sign from Emily Readett-Bayley - Handmade soap from Sara Maria Strand  

16 July 2015


The common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is one of my favourite flowers and suits an English country garden so well with it's grace and elegance.  It's stems are tall and stately, thrive in light shade and are known to attract bumblebees to the garden.


It's immaculate tubular flowers hang either side of the green stem, inside are tinged with speckled dots. They come in a variety of colours from purple, pinks through to white.

The foxglove's in our garden are in abundance this year. Conditions under an apple tree are favourable. There is adequate light and moisture. Foxgloves are biennial, producing flowers its second year. We have planted them two years running to have them next year as well, in the meantime, we must enjoy these ones this year.


9 July 2015


A closer look at some of the flowers in the garden....

This year has got to be best ever blooms we've seen from the flowers.

This has to be put down to healthier soil. We have worked hard these past few years to produce our own compost by recycling organic materials such as leaves, vegetable scraps and grass cuttings.  We've made a habit of adding compost to the soil each season because it's rich in nutrients and promotes soil microbes that aid plant growth. We are now seeing the benefits of our hard work.  

7 July 2015


It always surprises me when I come across a photo of the house as we originally saw it...
above is the garden beside the conservatory as it looks now and below is a photo taken on the day we moved into the house.

Quite a few changes have been made since that day!

The original porch (built in the 70's) has been demolished and a new one rebuilt with the door positioned in the middle and windows at the side. 
The trellis has been taken down. Luckily, the honeysuckle growing up it survived its move and is happy in its new position. 
Patio and steps up to the conservatory have been replaced with York stone.  
The horrible crumbly brick path that went around the conservatory, has been turfed with grass. 
The conservatory has had a complete re-vamp (you can read about it here). 
All windows have been replaced and updated. 
One of the main improvements to the look of the garden, is the very tired, worn concrete paths have had gravel added.  It helps soften the area plus neatens everything up.

3 July 2015


We are so lucky to have beautiful and interesting views from each of our windows.
Take this one above...it's from the hall landing looking across at our neighbour's field.
The sun is setting after a warm summers evening, the grass has been cut
and bundled into hay bales. Is there anything more lovely to look at?
We look out of this window every morning as we walk down the stairs to the hall below.
Each day, after several years of seeing it, it does not disappoint. 

The lounge (above) looks towards the church across the road.  
You may not be able to see it clearly in this photo, 
as the shrubs and trees against the wall are growing fast but beyond them you can just see the roof of the church.

Richard's office has a special view looking past the conservatory onto the garden. 
The purple Catmint is in full bloom, lush green grass and a Corkscrew Willow.

We are very lucky to have dual aspect windows in the kitchen, offering us two very different views to look at. 
The sink (above) looks out over our neighbour's drive (always immaculately kept).... 

and the opposite side has views of our garden which has lots of green trees, bushes and grass too.

Looking through the windows every day brings a happiness....
it offers a new image to see as the seasons come and go.

24 June 2015


I've been influenced by a photographer that used our house as a backdrop for a photo shoot.  
Beth Botterill is a smart, witty and talented photographer.  She works fast and intuitively. 
I like her style and the images she got from our rooms. 
With her speed and impulsive style in mind, here are some details from our spare room...


4 June 2015


The easiest way for us to see our ideas for the kitchen renovations, was to make a 3D model of what it will look like when finished. This was such a useful exercise.  We could then look at all four corners of the room from north, south, east and west.

Using foamboard (5mm thick), which can be bought from any local craft or art shop, a scaled down version of the room was cut and stuck together.  The starting point were the walls, then doors, windows and flooring, after this the units and island added.  I printed and cut-out the hob, ovens and sink and made a little Smeg fridge!! ( I know Smeg's have rounded corners on the door but there is a limit to this model making!!!). Lastly, the concrete worktop was included.  

When it was finished, it gave us a great insight to what the 'proportions' of the room would feel like.  We answered questions that couldn't be answered by a flat drawing. These included - was the island going to be too big or maybe too small? 
Were the ovens going to be in the correct position with easy access to the hob? 
What about the sink - was this in the correct place in front of the window? 
And, the shelf....was it to be white and float or something else? 

Having completed the kitchen, (see photos below of it finished) we look back at the mock-up and realise just how useful it was to do. The island is in the correct position and right size, the pleasure we get from looking out of the window every time we stand at the sink, clarifies this as the best decision and the two ovens together in close proximity of the hob, makes for an easy experience when cooking...

The only answer we still needed to make was what shelf to have.  
This will be left for another blog post.