DIY Jam and a Touch of Green Stuff

I’ve been spending my mornings inspecting my garden veg patch and I take delight in seeing my produce grow. This morning was no different apart from my poor tiny cucumber plant had been munched by some little critter (slugs I expect). So with a quick question to my Facebook gardening community, I got outside dug it out of its little space in the veg bed and re-potted it. Turna out it was far too early to be planting a cucumber outside anyway. Lesson learnt! It’s now safely inside the propagator/mini greenhouse with the hope it might survive it’s near death experience.

Miniature Cucumber plant; clearly the slugs had a party.

Lettuce, kale and radishes are doing pretty damn perfect in the veg bed. The peas are peeping, the carrots have started to sprout, rainbow chard is popping up left, right and centre too. Leeks are few and far between with only about 4 sprouting so far but beetroot looks good at the moment. My chillie plant on the other hand is inside on the kitchen windowsill and it is thriving. It makes me ridiculously happy to see it all doing so well.

Chillie plant.
Red lettuce
Carrot seedlings
Peas peeping

Today had been awfully miserable weather wise. We’ve been tuck inside our four walls, jigsawing and baking. Dee and I made some fruit and cherry scones and some homemade jam. Bit of a use it up/budget bake to be honest but after just paying for our new kitchen (doing a little dance) which has used up our savings entirely we should be watching what we spend so it’s not a bad thing.

The jam was easy. Frozen mixed berries I used about 500g from the freezer along with sugar to taste (about 2 tbsp) boil the heck of it. Mash the berries together a little Take it right up to 105c and then pour it carefully into a pre-serialized jar. We like the seeds in but strain it if you dont, but please be careful as it’s like molton lava when its finished cooking. But yum, how easy!

Mixed Berry Jam.

Happy jammin’

Love,

L, xox

Kindness

I spent yesterday being in a ridiculously grumpy mood. Everything was ticking me off, but then I suppose that’s nothing new a few days before the monthly visit from good old Aunt F. I needed to lift my mood, and I’d been seeing the twitter trend of gifting people others from their Amazon wishlist.

I gifted some small things and felt instantly better. Mood lifted slightly, now dont get me wrong ideas still stomping round the house like a mum-o-surus but I felt a bit more balance at least. I urge you to join in if you can. It is the sweetest way to brightens someones day, just a stranger making tiny wish come true.

Rocking the curly girl plop

If you’ve been keeping up with me on twitter you just know I’ve been trying out the curly girl method on my hair. I have nothing but love for this method. I’ll put a full update on my experience soon. But I would totally recommend from what I’ve experienced from my own journey with it so far. If your hair has ever been frizzy, I can’t think of anything I’d recommend more right now.

Talking of kindness, my husband brought home some flowers for me the day he went shopping. Beautiful spring tulips. Dee immediately ran over to daddy and says “oh daddy thank you. These flowers for me?” I mean how could he say no to that? She was beaming, totally full of smiles. He quickly told her they were for her and mummy, an answer she was very pleased with, especially when he said she could have some in her bedroom.

Dee’s tulips

All the kindness, all the smile. What are you doing to make your loved ones smile? Are you doing a good deed for anyone? I’d love to hear your ideas and what your doing to stay happy and mentally healthy during this time

Love and kindness,

L, xox

Garden Tales: The Watering Can Edition

Finally the post I have been most excited to write. I couldn’t because it hadn’t happened yet, but now it has. We have now got a filled and set up veg plot. When I say plot I do mean raised bed. It maybe small but it has been highly anticipated in my household, well at least by me.

We started with some old decking that was plaguing the garden when we moved here last year. We cut it into 6ft and 2ft pieces and joined with extra long screws (very technical I know, but we were winging it and didn’t have too much to hand). We’ve lined it with pond liner tapped in with some small nails and made drainage holes in the bottom. I’ve layered in some torn up cardboard because I had read that somewhere (admittedly I cant remember where now), then the compost. Since we’ve been on covid-19 induced lock down, we’ve been sourcing everything we can as locally as we can. When I found out our local garden place was offering a delivery service I got super excited. I ordered what I thought were going to be seeds, picking tomatoes, chilies, kale, lettuce and mini cucumber. They arrived at my door and they were not seeds in small paper packets, but seedlings; growing already and perfectly ready for transplanting.

Dee, of course, helped out. Sticking her dirt covered fingers in to the soil over and over. She was loving every second. She’s a little bit rough with the seedlings and determined to water them – a lot. More especially when my grandma sent over a small watering can for her that she no longer used any more, Dee will certainly use it. All the time. She is already trying, I mean we just had to go out and water it all again before bedtime.

I’ve also planted some seeds, along side a kitchen scrap celery stalk. We’ve done some beets, radish and leeks. I am waiting for runner beans to arrive and a couple of other seeds. Feel like I’m starting a little late, but this is all about trial and error for us. I am seriously hoping that my Grandad is watching from where ever he may be now and is sending his wisdom about everything plant based. He passed just about a year ago this week, and my heart aches for him. I miss him dreadfully. I keep revisiting a post which I published last year close to him passing; My Grandad; Snippets from Charlie. I equally smile and cry when I think of him at the moment.

Watering (lightly) twice daily at the moment, results are anyone’s guess. I will however keep you updated. Keeping the little busy in between watering times feels like Easter exploded all over the downstairs of my house. We’ve been painting, sticking, making, baking, painting some more and of course eating our bakes. And that’s just been today. Please feel for all parents out there at the moment, not having the ability to take a walk to public park and let them kiddos run wild for an hour is a killer. Check on your parent friends, we are run ragged.

Off to sink some Gin, but I wish you all have the best Easter Weekend and stay as sane as humanly possible.

Love and Bunny Hops,

L, xox

The Broken Crayons and The Ginger Whale

Sorting out the littles colouring box and finding a hell of a lot of broken crayons. I’ve seen it countless times online, pinterest, and Insta ect when people melt down the old crayons in silicone moulds and reuse the results. Getting the best out of the broken bits. I’d just like to take a moment to drift back to my own childhood when the paper jackets on crayons would slip off countless times for you to be able to slide the crayon right back in, or they’d be easy to rip back the paper to expose more of the crayon. I remember the waxy smell of them and still to this day love it.

However I can confirm that crayons are no longer easy to separate from their paper jackets. As it took me a good 20 mins to take all the paper off before melting them. But its imperative you do so I did endure it. I filled up an old silicone cupcake tray with the broken old crayons and tried to keep similar colours together. Keeping them similar makes me smile but feel free to mix them up and put in all the colours you would like or stick to one colour per hole.

Pop them in the oven and bake till melted completely. On my lowest setting it took about 15 mins, but my oven is beyond ancient so isnt the best (roll on the new kitchen in the atumn – can not wait). All I can tell you is heat until melted, remove from the oven and cool till solid making sure they are thoroughly cooled before letting little hands touch.

Grab some paper or a colouring book and enjoy those new colours. Dee loved them, easy to hold and they look cute stacked because of the puck shape. I implore you to have a go, in the name of reduce, reuse, recycle and of course as a time filler if you’re lacking bits and bobs to get the little ones involved with.

Dee forever asks to make “gingermans” and today I folded and helped her make some. We made circles, gingermans, stars and whales which initially I thought was a strange looking bunny. Man put me right and hands up it deffo looks like more of a whale than a bunny. What do you think? I can kinda see both. Dee says it’s a bunny.

Recipe to follow shortly for these. They’re certainly a winner in my house. Crisp and spicy with a lingering ginger flavour, for lovers of ginger these are a must.

Love and wishes,

L, xox

The Beauty in Chaos

It’s hard to make sense of anything right now. On a personal level everyone is panicking, wondering how they will survive if they have to go into isolated or if they already have. This virus has a lot to answer for. I for one have had my hours cut dramatically so that the company I work for don’t have to lose any staff and to keep open. And although that impacts me on a financial level I am eternal grateful for the chance to hold on to my job. Luckily I work within the food industry, for a supply company so although my hours have been limited by job is still there.

There is however beauty in the chaos. And it’s the beauty I would like to focus on. Let’s carry forwards the positives!

It is so easy to get caught up in the panic and the mass hysteria of it all, and without taking away from the seriousness of the situation there is so much beauty which lies behind it. Neighbours coming together, support and love from families and friends helping one another. The community are really pulling their weight right now and I truly hope that this will last after the virus has cleared off. NHS Staff, I mean where do we start with you guys? – A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! There are just not enough words in the English language to thank you all for the utterly selfless and awe-inspiring work you do, and that’s all the time but more so in a crisis.

As some of my readers will know I am amidst the toil of recipe testing for my mini side biz, and through this I am offering a cake drop box for a heavily discounted price for my locals. I’ll be doing a contactless drop for this. Work have allowed us to order through them for our shopping so I’ve been able to buy bulk stock for some of my cakes and treats. Keeps me out of trouble and spreads a little sunshine at the same time.

For the moment we are not in isolation and while we are not, we are avoiding unnecessary outings and keeping busy in the house. There’s always plenty to do here. But putting a cake drop box in place is really going to focus my mind – my first stop (once my packaging has arrived) will be a care package for our most local hospital to say thank you and hopefully give back a tiny little bit. If you can, I urge you to give back to your community too. If that’s just checking in with your neighbours or calling up your grandparents to brighten their day, don’t think on it just do it. We can make our worlds a hell of a lot nicer with a tiny bit of kindness.

Stay well, stay safe and wash your hands!

Love and best,

L, xox