Category Archives: Random

New bespoke sign for the house

It’s been more or less a decade since we moved to Willow Cottage and in all that time we’ve never had a house name on the building.

We’ve been through several postmen and postwomen and, after several trips round the village locating parcels, the’ve all learned over the years that we’re the ones tucked away in the corner.

One of our friends has just set up a new business creating beautiful bespoke signs from cut steel – so we thought this was the perfect chance for us to solve the house sign problem.

We comissioned a couple of signs – one smaller one for the house front:

…and one larger one for the garden (naturally):


We think they’re lovely. You can see more of Lucia’s products online at Wild Ink.



We’re back in action!

Phew! Well, it’s been a busy nine months or so, but we’re pleased to be back in action on what seems to have been the first sunny and warm(ish) day of the year.

Where have we been? Well, we mentioned a while back that we were going to have some building work done. We had great plans in place to blog our summer living in the garden. We had a bit of a go, then the building work took over…

The rain finally stopped and after a few weeks house-sitting for friends on holiday and sleeping on the living room floor at the in-laws me managed an impressive six weeks under canvas in the back garden.

The builders thought we were crazy, but were very good at leaving things like a pipe for water (operated by spanner), a toilet (open to the elements) and an electric socket so we could boil the kettle or operate the slow cooker (but not at the same time).

We had some particular highlights: the boy’s 8th campfire birthday party (no toilet access for the night but a bucket covered ably); drinking wine from jam jars because we packed all the glasses; and just generally going to sleep when the sun went down with the sound of Nature around you.

Lowlights, on the other hand, were: toilet facilities (for girls in particular), washing (people and clothes) and there are only so many variations on slow cooker food that one family can possibly enjoy (crunchy rice a particular favourite).

Building work

We’re pleased with the results…but just looking forward to getting back to the garden.

Him and Her x

PS. We’ll add some posts from garden adventures soon

Diamond jubilee village picnic

We have had a lovely weekend joining in all the village celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We shared a picnic in the park, had cake with friends and an evening BBQ in the rain. We didn’t let the rainy weather dampen our spirits too much. I thought I would share some of our day with you.

Jubilee strawberries:  red, white and blue! They are dipped in white chocolate and then blue sugar.

Some Hobbs House Bakery Jubilee bread.

Mini Pimms jellies.

The Great British picnic basket.

Afternoon tea with friends.  She made a great job of decorating the cakes.

Happy Diamond Jubilee to you all!

Him & Her x

Sunny dayz are here at last…here’s the latest pics

It’s been one of those all-too-rare weekends where the sun is shining and, apart from the three children’s parties for drop-off and pick-up in one day, not a lot else to do.

Most of the time, this kind of ‘not a lot else to do’ situation ends up being just as exhausting as a full-on project, what with all the little bits of garden pottering. But, having crocked my ankle playing football during the week, the doctor has ordered me to put my feet up for the weekend at least; and who am I to argue? (Another reason getting the grass cut early was worth it!)

So, enjoying the sunshine, I hobbled round the garden taking lots of pictures of the things that have burst into bloom over the last week or so.

Clematis montana Here’s the clematis in flower

Clematis montana in full bloom

…and with friends.

Daisy survivors
Daisies that survived the mowing this week.

Veg plot

Chives in bloom – Bob the scarecrow is doing a good job, judging by how well the other stuff is growing.

Chive baloon festival

Chives from an interesting angle…

Chive flower top down

and another.

Beans and sweet peas - companion planting

Bit of comapnion planting – runner beans and sweet peas…will see how that works this year.

Cow parsley

And behind the hedge…Cow parsley looking terrific in the Summer sun.

So, another sunny day beckons in the garden – and another excuse to put my feet up and just enjoy the garden for a change, rather than being lured into the never-ending list of jobs.


Versatile blogger award nomination

We’ve been nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award by the lovely Sarah the Gardener. She has an amazing project on her hands, turning her three acre New Zealand plot into a paradise. You should definitely go and check out her blog.

Tada – here’s the award logo:

Versatile Blogger Award

The rules for the award say we have to nominate 15 bloggers we like – so here goes (in no particular order):

  1. Sarah the Gardener (of course)  – gardening and family life New Zealand stylee. She also likes Coraline ;).
  2. Attic24 – beautiful, homey-family things.
  3. The Garden Smallholder –  veg, fruit, chickens and kids (sound familiar?).
  4. The Pyjama Gardener –  -who’s also into simple seasonal and organic living; and pyjamas, aparently.
  5. Katie from Cambridge who – at Trowel to Table – doesn’t forget the important eating bit of growing your own
  6. Life on the allotment at Green Bench Ramblings.
  7. The diary of a small vegetable patch in Bath, England, with some beautiful photos to pot, at My Tiny Plot.
  8. Karen who cooks and brings people together at Karen Cooking.
  9. Liz who wants the best bits from both the ladies in The Good Life at Margot and Barbara.
  10. Lynn from Amsterdam who is cooking up a sustainable Low impact lunch  that is good for the planet as well as the stomach.
  11. Glenda, a home-schooling stay-at-home mama, who’s into surface hand embroidery and chickens at Wren and Stitchy.
  12. The wonderfully creative, crafty folk at The Bead Den.
  13. All the at goings on at Soulsby Farm in Hudson, Ohio
  14. All things chicken at Chicken Tales  particularly the goings on of the Harry Potter-inspired chucks.
  15. and finally….Promenade Plantings  ….Growing, Eating, Living, say no more.

No doubt our faves will change over time, but that’s where we’re at as of today. Next up we have to blog seven things about ourselves. So, here goes:

  1. Our garden was nothing but a field full of dandelions when we moved to Willow Cottage Garden about nine years ago now.
  2. The garden is all our own work, with a little help from Grampy and other ‘volunteers’ along the way. We’ve bought very little for ourselves – and re-home lots of plants that others are throwing away.
  3. The chickens were our first garden inhabitants. They manage to break into the veg patch at least twice per year. We love them, and their eggs, but it’s really infuriating when they wreck a month’s worth of growing in one go.
  4. We both find it really hard to throw seedlings away….and often over-sow our seedtrays in the greenhouse. As a consequence we never get the spacing in the veg plot completely right….but we love ‘em all.
  5. They haven’t featured much so far, but we also have two dogs in the family; a naughty but entertaining Jack Russell and an ageing but adorable Lab cross.
  6. We’ve got the builders in this summer. To save on rent we’re planning to live in our garden – in tents – for six weeks. Should be fun/smelly….but at least Hubby gets to shower at work.
  7. Finally, one day we would like to keep pigs…..

Him and Her

Garden picking flowers

Every year I try to grow a few flowers to pick and have in the house. Usually we have an abundance of Sweet Peas and not much else. This year I am pleased to say I have had a vase of home grown flowers in the house every week since July.

Roses, Lavender, Cosmos and Sweet Peas form the basis of each vase but if something looks good I pick a bit and add to the bunch. My Cosmos is mostly grown in pots but is flowering beautifully this year with a little help from the dead heading.

I think my filled vases look wonderful, cheer me up everytime I catch a glance of them and could complete with any bought flowers.  What do you think?

Her x

Getting started…

It has dawned on me that when it comes to starting a blog about family and food – particularly one that’s going to include lots on growing food – there’s never really a perfect time to start. Whilst it would be ideal to say, “right, we’re just about to get started, here is some mud and some packets of seeds,” the truth is that we’ve been doing this for a few years now and have invariably got something on the going, pretty much all year round.

The same goes for the family. In many ways I wish that we’d started this several years ago as our eldest arrived – but then who really has any extra time for this kind of thing with tiny ones around? And were blogs even invented then anyway?

So, whilst today has seen very little getting started in the veg plot or greenhouse, it has been a good day for getting started on WordPress – particularly as the weather today has been awful grim, and the promise of sunshine and warmth tomorrow looks like a much better option for getting outdoors.

Roll on tomorrow!