What’s Growing In The Garden

Eeesh, it’s been way too long since I blogged! Unfortunately we’ve still not got internet (or TV!) set up, and I’m getting a little bit stir-crazy – two months without internet feels like a lifetime!

The new house is brilliant – it’s been more than either of us could have hoped for, and that’s especially true of the garden. As mentioned in my last post, neither of us have lived in places with gardens for some time, so it’s been our priority. Stupidly, we were so excited to get started that we don’t have any proper before photos, but believe me when I say the garden was, to be kind, a patch of dirt with a shed.

I am not exaggerating when I say we spent hours picking stones, rocks, bits of brick and chunks of concrete out of the topsoil – it was in a pretty bad way. But with lots of TLC we got it to the point where we could get grass down and plants in, yesssss. Unfortunately there wasn’t any dollar left in the budget for turf, so we sowed grass seed and have spent the last two months literally watching grass grow (I told you not having TV or internet was taking its toll…)

Grass

First proper plant in – the apple tree.

Mini apple tree

We didn’t want a huge tree as it’s not a huge garden, so we opted for a miniature ‘family’ tree. This is the coolest thing, it will grow two different varieties of apple on the same tree. Mind. Blown.

Fresh raspberries (June 2015)

Next up was raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. The blackberries are only just starting to flower, but we’re already munching on delicious, sweet strawbs and raspberries 😀 We made sure to buy varieties that aren’t going to go mad and take over the garden; the raspberries are ‘Autumn Treasure’ and the blackberries are ‘Loch Tay’ – both varieties are thornless, which is another major plus.

Blueberries (June 2015)

I’ve wanted a blueberry bush for years, but I assumed they would be extremely difficult to grow. Myth busted; these babies are doing beautifully, and the only thing I needed to do was put them in a pot with ericaceous compost.

We’ve also got tomatoes, carrots, peppers and sweetcorn planted, although progress is a little slower with those at the moment – fingers crossed they’re doing OK!

And finally, we had a bit of space at the end of the garden, and the Roommate wanted flowers…

Petunia (June 2015)

… in his team’s colours, naturally…

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New House: Garden Must-Haves

T-minus 6 days…

As I mentioned in my last post, we have both been living in places without gardens (The Roommate hasn’t had a garden in 12 years!) so getting the garden ready to enjoy before summer arrives is high on our list of priorities. We actually bought a barbecue last summer, in anticipation of our ill-fated move, so we are bursting at the seams to finally be able to use it.

garden must-haves

  1. Madison Square BBQ – Homebase
  2. ÄPPLARÖ Folding Table and Chairs – IKEA
  3. Tealight Lantern – Amazon
  4. Turf – image courtesy of rukeri.com
  5. Apple Tree – B&Q

As our garden isn’t going to be huge, we really want to make the most of the space – for us, our priorities are to grow things to eat and have space to sit in the garden and relax. This IKEA table seems to be the perfect solution for a small space; flexible and compact, I really think it fits the bill for our petite patio area.

We had the option of having turf laid through the house building company, but we’ve seen the quality of the turf they’ve laid in the public areas of the development and it is already dead, so needless to say we thought we could do a better, cheaper job ourselves… They’re also planting a sycamore tree in the garden, so we’ve decided to replace that ASAP with an apple tree to maximise our growing-to-eat space. The biggest problem is going to be having to wait for it to mature!

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New House: Kitchen Must-Haves

I’ve really not talked about our new house on here, as seemingly everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong so far and I haven’t wanted to jinx it. We certainly won’t relax until we have the keys in hand, but tomorrow marks 2 weeks until we get those keys! A little background…

This time last year, the Roommate decided to start looking for a house to buy. The second house we viewed was, we thought the one. Our offer was accepted, contracts were signed and we were planning on being moved in by August. So we were disappointed crushed when the solicitor called to say that the sellers were pulling out, literally hours before we were due to exchange contracts.

However, after a bit of time (and a lot of bourbon) we realised that maybe it wasn’t meant to be. And after lots of very unsuccessful viewings, we decided to go for a new build. Seven looong months later (and plenty of squeaky bum time moments when it came to mortgage offers) we are 14 days away from completing and excitement levels are approaching DEFCON 1.

We’ve been visiting the site on a weekly (and now daily…!) basis since the beginning of the build last October and it’s been fascinating and so, so exciting so see the house go from a patch of dirt to foundations, to brickwork, to roof timbers and so on. For months we’ve had the furniture picked out and have decided exactly what to grow in the garden (neither of us have had a garden in years so we are VERY EXCITED to have outdoor space!) Amidst all the excitement, I thought I’d create a few collages of some of the items that are on our shopping list when we do finally get the keys! First, the kitchen!

kitchen must haves

 

  1. Lana Smoked Glass 5 Light – Next
  2. IRIS Pot Holder – IKEA
  3. STRÅLANDE Chopper – IKEA
  4. Bormioli Rocco Storage Jar – Tesco
  5. IRIS Oven Glove – IKEA
  6. APTITLIG Bamboo Chopping Board – IKEA
  7. Magimix Inissia Coffee Machine – Nespresso

I realise this is quite IKEA-heavy, but I actually plan on making the pot holders and oven glove myself – I’d like to make use of my sewing machine since it’s had a clean bill of health, and they seem like pretty straightforward projects to try. Famous last words… The chopper is a funny one. I saw an ad YEARS ago for a product called a “Slap Chop” (hilarious infomercial here) and thought it was utterly ridiculous.  The Roommate got a similar product as a gift and I’ll be damned, it’s amazing. So amazing that it’s actually gone blunt from being used so much, so a replacement is in order. While it’s been so fun window shopping for all the bits and pieces we need, but boy are we looking forward to actually buying stuff!

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PS. – Thanks to the ever-lovely and inspiring Dana at The Wonder Forest for her great Photoshop collage tutorial!

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Ombré Baby Blanket FO

If you’ve seen my Instagram, you’ll probably have seen my most recent project, an ombrĂ©-style baby blanket.

Ombré yarn

The yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash, which is a firm favourite and my go-to yarn of choice. I wound this into a skein folded in half, so I could knit double while only using one skein. This did end up in a hell of a pickle though, and took a whole day to fix -_- However, it was worth it because I ABSOLUTELY ADORE THE FINISHED RESULT <3

Ombré baby blanket

Ombré baby blanket

I genuinely cannot remember the last time I knit anything in garter stitch, and I don’t normally love how it looks, but I think in this instance it is perf and I want to smoosh my face in it <3

Ombré baby blanket

Honestly, dem stitches! I’m so enamoured with this that I have told The Roommate that we WILL have a grown-up sized version and it WILL be absolutely glorious (he’s fully on board with this, yesssss).

This baby version, which is 23 inches square, is up on my Etsy shop now, and I’ve got plans for lots more beautiful colourways 😀

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Recipe: Simple Healthy ‘Slaw

simple healthy slaw text

I was inspired to come up with this because I’m really rather partial to coleslaw, but the shop-bought kind is often packed with unhealthy mayonnaise, oil and cream, and I prefer to keep my vegetables on the healthier side. This recipe is pretty much fat-free, full of veg and really tasty without being gloppy and heavy. This makes quite a lot, so would be perfect for a big barbeque, and stores well in the fridge for a few days.

Ingredients (serves 6-8 as a side)

  • ½ red onion
  • 1 carrot
  • ¼ red cabbage
  • 3 beetroots, cooked
  • 80ml (13 cup) vinegar
  • 80ml (13 cup) water
  • 4 tbsp 0% fat natural yoghurt
  • 1½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Finely slice the onion, add to a dish with the vinegar and water, and allow to soak for 10 minutes.
  2. Shred the carrot, cabbage and beetroot into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Drain the onions and add to the mixing bowl.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix thoroughly and serve.

Red Onions

Soaking the onions in water helps to get rid of their harsh flavour when raw, and adding vinegar adds just a bit of tang (I love pickled onions). This was a revelation as I don’t mind raw onions but can’t bear that harsh taste that hangs around – blergh!

Simple Healthy Slaw
Finally, I absolutely love the bright and practical Joseph Joseph Nest 9 set and the Joseph Joseph Rotary Peeler for its julienne peeler blade – it makes shredding the carrot into cute little sticks SO much easier! (90% of the kitchenware in this house is JJ and it is ridiculous <3). x

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Recipe: Orange Hot Chocolate

Orange Hot Chocolate

I’ve really developed a taste for orange-flavoured hot chocolate this winter. I don’t normally drink hot chocolate but we’ve been making frequent boredom-busting trips to coffee shops and I don’t always fancy a coffee. Costa do a delicious orange hot chocolate using orange simple syrup and so I decided to make my own version, using orange zest instead of syrup to reduce the amount of sugar going into it.

Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

  • 200ml milk
  • 30g/3 pieces (approx.) chocolate
  • zest of ½ orange

Method

  1. Add milk and orange zest to a saucepan and warm through on a low heat.
  2. Strain the milk, removing the zest, and return to the saucepan.
  3. Add the chocolate to the pan and stir until melted.
  4. Optional: Before serving, whisk the hot chocolate until it is frothy – a balloon whisk will do it but I love using my Aerolatte whisk!

    Orange Hot Chocolate

    Deee-licious!

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2014

Happy New Year!

As usual, I’m a liiiittle bit late with my New Year post!

1. Beanie hat, 2. Mittens, 3. Mini Christmas stockings, 4. Fingerless gloves, 5. Vanilla syrup, 6. Mittens, 7. Ishbel shawl, 8. Bias-knit scarf, 9. Avocado + Beetroot Tartare

I’ll be honest, 2014 hasn’t been a good one. House purchases have fallen through, jobs have been lost and there’s been an awful lot of stress and ill health. My resolutions for 2014 have not gone well either. I didn’t graduate as anticipated, I’m finishing the year without a job and I’ve not read a single book this year. All in all, I’m really quite glad to see the end of 2014.

Onwards and upwards, however, and I shall still set myself goals for 2015.

  • Take better care of myself, both physically and mentally – Top of my list is to work on my health. It affects every area of my life and I need to take control of it. I plan on getting more exercise and trying yoga for a start.
  • Get more involved in blogging – I find that blogging (both reading blogs and writing them) sparks my creativity and encourages me to try new things, so I definitely want to blog more. Which leads me to…
  • Create more – whilst I’ve been knitting a lot in 2014, I really want to try creating different things. Whether I dust off my sewing machine, try something like hand lettering or even give a bit of woodwork/DIY a go (!), I’d definitely like to broaden my skills.
  • Graduate – this one appears again this year out of sheer stubbornness rather than anything else.

Come on 2015, let’s do this.

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