Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Preparations Inside And Out

Morning all.

Today I am having a Social Media-free day so have already got a lot done by 10am! Hubby and boys off for the day, bread is proving, had breakfast, boys' rooms dusted, run half a mile on the treadmill, chooks fed and had a chat to our Airbnb guests who, excitedly, are house hunting in the area. I told them they couldn't have picked a better spot!

This week I have re-discovered my gardening mojo a little enough to do some garden prep. With being do busy in the summer I neglected things a little as I think I have mentioned before. However, I manged to get outside on a couple of my favourite Autumnal days where it was dry and bright, if a little cool.

On Saturday I finished mulching all the six big tyres, 

oh and the bed behind the poly house is now covered. I have kept the frame on because it is quite handy for leaning against.

Then yesterday it was sooo very lovely that I would have felt very guilty indeed if I had not gone outside and done something! I gave the strawberry plants a haircut, still have a couple of other pots to do, 

mulched and covered the two massive tyres 

and prepared bed 2 for mulching by clearing all the leaves from it. 

That corner of the garden has about four trees in it and I'm looking forward to Jon cutting a couple of them down to reduce the leaf drop in the Autumn but to also open up a little more light in that area during the growing season.

The other thing I did was to cut all the loose polythene off the poly house where it has been battered by the wind. This happened last year and we are definitely using the roof from the conservatory, when that is refurbished,to cover it this time and not bothering with polythene again. I will HAVE to utilise the conservatory in the early sowing period until that job is done; there is always something to be done on our little homestead.

So that is preparations outside, now for indoors.

I know for some people it is a little too early to talk about the festive season. However, if anybody knows me well they will know I LOVE the preparations leading up to Christmas and luckily all four of us feel the same way!

The cake is made using Gluehwein and has been fed twice already with lovely spiced rum...

and is currently sitting in the cupboard wrapped up in grease proof paper, cling film and foil. I've made the required additions to this week's shopping list as I need to make the pudding, a request from Jon, and the mincemeat for the enormous amount of pies we get through during December! I have also decide to make a little hamper of edible goodies for some friends we are visiting just down the road on the weekend the boys and Jon break up. I used to make a lot of hampers, here are some I created in the past for raffle prizes or gifts, then whilst looking for the hamper photos I found photos of the craft fayres I used to take part in.


Right I'd better get on with something else.

Bye for now.


Thursday, 24 October 2019

Seasons And Colours Are Changing.

Autumn is in full swing now, and I love it! The colours around the house and garden are changing. The creeper on the front is this fab red.

Then the tree I always wrongly call a wonky Willow but is actually a Hazel is looking great and I can't WAIT to bring some of this in as part of the house festive decorations. Eeeek!

And talking of decorations the big, varigated holly bush is looking fab so there will be plenty for cupboard top and table centre displays. 

Can you tell I'm getting excited? 

I've already printed off my Christmas planning sheets - see here.!!! and created another decoration for the house.

On Sunday morning it was a little chilly so we lit the woodburner in the living room whilst we had out first brew of the day before getting on with a few jobs. Have to admit that this view, which is from my regular spot, will be even more wonderful soon as the tree will be placed for Christmas where the small table is in the far corner. I am getting excited which I normally hold back on until after Halloween but this year JUST can't seem to do it! 

Anyhow the weather for the last couple of days have been bright, dry and cool which I absolutely love but today is damp and we have a wet weather warning here for tomorrow and Saturday. The Rayburn is already lit, of course, but I may light the woodburner for when the boys come home; we are going nowhere this evening plus they break up for half term today so perfect night for a cosy time by the fire.

Cracking on. In the week I shunned the ironing board and headed out to the garden. I'd already cleared this bed, no. 3, so set about preparing it by filling it with a mixture of chicken poo/bedding, bought compost, some of my own made black stuff along with some I'd taken from planters to use as a mulch. This bed is now ready to plant with garlic and onions. (Please ignore the weeds surrounding this area!)

This is the bed behind the poly house. I've done the same preparing this one but it will be covered over soon ready for Spring.

I'd put two planters behind the lettuce sink which last year had tulips growing in outside The Snug. If you look REALLY, REALLY closely you can JUST see new shoots growing through! 

Talking of bulbs I did more preparation by clearing the planter outside the Studio. I  planted a selection there including some given to me by my lovely gardening next-door-but- ones.

I'm quite pleased how it turned out but obvs can't wait until we see the colours coming through!

Sorry if you saw this on my Twitter feed but for those who didn't....


Jon found on Facebook a Smeg fridge freezer that looked a bargain, to say the least!
It was priced at £62, apparently needed work as the thermostat wasn't working, the top cover was missing and one of the doors didn't close properly. It arrived home with Jon, confident as ever that everything could be fixed. After about an hour working on it, sitting over night then switched on for 12 hours or so... ta da!!

The blue lights, which apparently help to keep the fruit and veg fresh, flash on and off when you leave the door open for too long!

I absolutely LOVE it.

I've been suffering with swollen glands and a cough etc. for about a week and I still don't feel my best. I started my new Welsh class last Thursday, da iawn a mi, but I'm not sure I'm going to go today; piggin' shame as only week 2 and it's half term next week... I'll see.

The odd Airbnb booking is still coming in with three last weekend and one this weekend so the chalet will be ready for them shortly.

Well that is my little catch up.

By for now.


Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Stuff, memories, bad parent?


This is a really quickly thrown together post as I am just listening to something on Radio 4 about being organised, or not.

It made me think about other things.

The other day we were trying to remember where the photos were from our trip to Lapland in 2012. I can't find them. I thought they were on a memory stick but no. They used to be on my eldest's laptop but we bought him a new one.

Jon said it didn't matter because we have the memories and I loved that he said that.

I read, and have written here before I think, about, a book called Stuffocation.

In a nutshell it talks about spending time on experiences and not stuff. That we just have too much stuff and it leads to minimalism and ultimately me selling my wedding dress because on that occasion I did of course have photos of the day, and I know it was one of the best days of my entire life.

I am really a very organised person but I still have some things lying around that should be dealt with. These are generally items to do with my children. I no longer keep every school book they ever wrote in, just the yearly reports we get. But I still have their first, favourite toys, baby grows they came home from hospital in, their blankies from when they were young, stuff like that. I also have a box for each of them which contain the red books from the doctor, baby teeth and hair in envelopes and lots of other things.

Would I be a bad parent if I didn't keep SOME of these things, especially when my eldest is now 13 and taller than me and my youngest is quite easily able to take care of a school playground bully?

I guess this isn't to do with organisation but the stuff thing. 

How do other people feel about the things they carry with them? 

Do you think the wrench would be just too much and the guilt just too heavy if you threw out the first finger painting your children ever did?

Bye for now.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Where Has The Time Gone?

Hello? Remember me?

Image result for elmo waving

It has been just over a month since my last confession  blog post.

It has been one heck of a summer. My last post celebrated our 4 year anniversary of moving here to wonderful Wales but I didn't really chat about anything else so prepare for a ramble!

I have to say I'm enjoying a little hiatus regarding the Airbnb listings. The whole of July and August were mad months but by the middle of September things started to calm down. This does mean we can plan some maintenance, especially for the first chalet. We've had this listed since September 2016 and intend to give it a lick of paint, put in blinds to replace the curtains plus a new shower tray.

We've had family and friends visit recently, including a friend from London who I only saw last month for the 2nd time in 14 years, the day of her wedding, so it has been fab to catch up with her again, and her husband.

Next month we're so excited about welcoming Tracy of Our Smallholding Adventure, along with her family, to our little homestead for the weekend. After being What's App buddies for about two years we're stoked about actually meeting each other! We'll have a great time as Jon's cousin plus fella are coming, too, so we are in a for a riot of a time with any luck! 

Elsewhere in and around the house the log burner has been lit in the living room a couple of times when the afternoons have been a little chilly; the boys adore coming home to warmed slippers, hot chocolate and cake in front of it!


But the Rayburn is now being lit every day!

This means no immersion heater as it is now heating our water, the few radiators we have in use along with us enjoying using it to cook again. Can't wait to bake bread in it again as I always prefer it to the gas range for that and cakes.

Outside really has been quite neglected due to being busy with the Airbnb listings. (As I type this the rain is in biblical mode so even if I wanted to get outside today I don't think it would happen.) 

I will admit that harvests of some things could have been better if I'd had the energy to spend more time in my little patch of paradise, but there is always next year. I didn't do too bad with maincrop spuds, cucumbers (just picked the last one yesterday) onions, dwarf beans and lettuce. On the bright side they are things we eat a lot of so....

This year is the first time I've bothered to plant/grow more flowers and I was quite pleased with some of them, like these.

This was taken just over a week ago; things look a bit bare but I still love the view and feel very lucky that it belongs to us.

I've emptied most beds apart from some rogue celery, carrots and literally a couple of parsnips. I'll start mulching and covering them once we get a good amount of dry weather? When I look at a photo like this I see just how much growing space I have. I hope a trip out for the day in November will assist me further in making the most of it. I am very much looking forward to going to hear Charles Dowding talk about an hour away from us and very pleased to be going along with my morning coffee chum, Karen from @smallblacksheep on Twitter. We met on a couple of Green Rocket courses run by Kim of @BadlyBehavedOne and she lives just 30 minutes from me!

Talking of courses, I'm very excited as I've signed up for Welsh classes, again, at my youngest's school. It means I go once a week and will bring him home with me as they finish at the same time as the school day. I might meet some of the parents as I don't go to school very often with the bus taking him from right outside our front door!

Right, ramble over. Just listened to pop master but didn't score. I think I've peaked for a bit as got 36 one day last week.

Bye for now, 


Thursday, 5 September 2019

4 Years, Is That All?!

Good morning! Time for a little anniversary.

Four years ago, TODAY, we arrived in wonderful mid-Wales. We fell in love with Aberystwyth and the surrounding areas before we properly moved here and we still feel just the same.

The boys, and us, knew about 10 words of the Welsh language when we arrived, This week they are back in school after the summer break speaking Welsh regularly and my youngest has begun his year 7 at a Welsh medium secondary school. This means only a couple of his lessons are taught in English! Children are so adaptable and we are immensely proud of their progress.

The first of these two photos was taken the weekend we arrived, sorry a bit blurry, and the second was taken in May of this year. I have very few photos in roughly the same location.

For the first 4 months or so the garden was a jungle at the far end, 

 and at the house end, too, so there was a bit of work to be done there, too!

Now the garden, my little patch of paradise, our outside space looks a LOT different.

It has been a hell of a ride for me, Jon and the boys. We now have a beautiful outside space, a growing area for fruit and veg and chickens.

One of the highlights of this year have been Jon bringing back from the brink one of the lambs that was born on our neighbouring farm. We have enjoyed being involved with the lambs, helping out since the first year or two we were here. This little thing, born toward the end of lambing this year, was not expected to last the night....

but here he was strong as an ox at the end of April and in June and he continues to thrive.

Also this year our Airbnb listings have gone off the chart with the inclusion of our first self-catering unit. 

We look forward to increasing to four next year hoping to add to the bookings we already have for the Eisteddfod which comes to Ceredigion for the first time since 1992.

As usual I could go on and on and one with before and after photos. I burst with pride really at how far we have come in just four years. Just the other day Jon asked me if it wasn't five years and I said nope, and look what we've done.

We look forward to the future and all it may bring us all.

Bye for now.


Thursday, 18 July 2019

In And Out Of The Garden


I'm still here. It has been a while since my last post but I thought it was time for me to have a bit of a ramble. I have some good things, hopefully you agree, to share. (Apologies to those who follow me on Twitter who may have seen some of my ramblings there.)

Of course let us start in the garden. (I'm doing the wordy bit first then will add the photos so if it looks a bit skew apologies but just want to get something down!)

Right, the veg patches are coming on well plus we've have had some good things to eat. These are the views from each end of the growing area a few days ago I think. I'm sure you can see the potatoes in the middle of the main patch; very pleased with these after total failure with maincrop last year.

The onions have been taken up and,along with the shallots and you can see they are now in the cellar drying out and will be ready to store very soon. I did see Darren Lakin, I think, on Twitter talking of pickling shallots for Christmas; I'd would be interested in trying that.

Other yummy treats we have had from the garden have been the early spuds, courgettes, cabbage, dwarf peas and I can't forget about the sweet peas (obvs not for eating).

However, one of THE most exciting things in the garden is this. People say they are very hard to grow and I have to say I have taken super good care of them and look -  a cauli!!!!!

And I have 4 of them I think!

Other seemingly successful edibles this year are cabbages,

garlic is now drying in the poly house due to the rain,not a massive harvest but enough for our needs,

and we are picking red and green lettuce bowl daily - this is my BEST year yet and proves I should not really bother trying to grow it in the poly house, much better result outside.

Also outside I have celery for the first time; these are looking healthy as are the other two plants in the bed outside the poly house. Growing this for Jon.

I haven't taken up any carrots yet; they've not been the most successful of edibles in the past and not all have taken this year but will take a look at them soon.

There are lots of flowers on my dwarf beans but nothing else yet. I did well with a smaller number of plants last year so I really hope to have a good yield this year.

Ah finally the PSB. Was very grateful to be given these plants, along with the celery.

Into the poly house now and the two Marketmore cucumber plants at the back are just flowering and the Butterbush squash is doing well, too. 

I have some seeds which have germinated, on the left are some more cucumber which I'm going to chance my arm with and plant out shortly where the onions were. Top left are cabbages and Kale at the bottom, again to see what they do outside over the next couple of months.

My basil posts continue to thrive. I've given some away and put one in the kitchen but I just like taking a leaf off when I pop into the poly tunnel, especially from the purple one which is delicious.

Tomatoes have, again, not been good for me this year. But, I have two fairly healthy plants - don't ask me what variety they are!

Lastly I have been given three red currant bushes and a goji berry one. I have them in the poly house as there is no way for me to net them; hope they survive.

Outside my wild flower chimney outside is proving very pretty. 

I've been working hard on the flowers outside the Airbnb rooms and have taken new photos to put on the listing details. The hanging baskets have wowed me and the planters are now full to the brim outside the first two rooms.

I'm going to have a brew now and then turn round the room from guests who left earlier this morning. My bookings have gone crazy; so good, so very busy for the next three weeks at least and it isn't even August yet!

Right, I think that is enough of a ramble for the day. Apologies again for those on Twitter who may have seen some of my progress.

Bye for now.