Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Apples Apples Apples

I have finally got round to using up some of the apples that were brought to me by my parents the other week. I have adapted this recipe with  around 650g of apples instead of 900g, a bit more sugar (I might have misread the instructions to cook the apples with only a portion of the sugar!) And mixed the apple mix with the oats rather than having it in a layer. And as is always the way with my oven cooked for longer!

They turned out lovely, if a little chewey in the centre.

I also made a chai syrup from this recipe I stopped at the stage of adding milk. Strained the lot and added to a pretty bottle.
Put a little in a glass and topped up with milk :D Delish, and considerably less sugary than the starbucks version!

Now off to the first dance class of the new term :D

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Presents from home

Yesterday my mum came by to drop off some of my sisters clothing and other accumulated treasures and she brought some fruit from their garden with her.
Well I say some fruit. It was quite a lot!
Two a bucket of cooking apples, a bag full of eating apples, some Rose hips, a trug full of two different types of pears and yet another type of eating apple.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with them all!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Well I thought I would share a few photos with you.
I have recently downloaded the instagram ap onto my iphone and have had some fun with it.

The second of my orchids from IKEA has re flowered. I love these plants they are so bring and really have been worth the money. 
I have one that I cut down when the flowers were over and hasn't re grown yet, this one I didn't get round to cutting down in time and it sprouted a shoot from part the way down the stem. :D

I am getting slightly worried about my tomatoes not having time left this autumn to ripen, and if the weather does turn showery like it has been threatening then that is cause for concern about blight.So with this in mind I picked on of the tomatoes to have a go at ripening it inside. It is still green and solid so this experiment is definitely still ongoing.

This is a slightly more random photo and taken in my iphones normal (and not very good) style. But good news I finally found a coat I liked which didn't cost an outrageous amount of money. :D Autumn is coming fast and I am looking forward to this because I get to wear snuggly jumpers and ... warm coats, but I decided I needed a coat which was a bit brighter than my plain black one I already had. 
I have a white one with black polkadots :o shocking I know! But the sleeves are too tight on this to wear it with any form of jumper so it is more of a summer evening coat. 

Here is my new Autumn Winter coat:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Birdsong and coffee cups

Well hasn't the weather been interesting lately! What is it with us British and discussing the weather? But with hurricane winds and torrential down pours in the last week its not that surprising that it is featuring in a number of gardeners thoughts.

Thankfully today the weather is gorgeous again, and I have the doors and windows open to try and get the house a little airing. Although there is a little chill in the air at the moment. This is nice as it gives me excuses to wear nice snuggly jumpers and boots :D
Sitting in my kitchen next to the open doors just now birdsong in the garden caught my attention and I looked to see a robin perched in the plum tree singing its little head off. It is so nice to see that there is a lot of wildlife here still. And what is nicer than a short distraction from work in the form of birdsong. 

I have been making this morning and am in the process of creating a set of coffee cup sleeves...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering them...

Well it is hard to believe that 10 years have gone by since the devastating attacks in America on 9/11. 

Its one of those days where everyone knows where they were when it happened. We don't seem to have many of them now, and when we do they are only really for sad things. The other one I remember is the death of Princess Diana. The most recent one will be the royal wedding, it is nice to have a good date that pulls everyone together.

Remembering where we were when we heard the news is all part of remembering the people it affected most. 
I was 14 at the time and was in school, one of my friends was off ill that day and we kept on receiving updates from her as it was happening because she was watching the news. It didn't sink in properly that it was really happening until I was in the car on the way from the bus stop to a dentists appointment and heard it on the radio.

My thoughts are with those who lost people that day. Sue posted a lovely poem and I echo the sentiment.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Outdoor Tomatoes

I have tried growing tomatoes for the first time this year. Unlike a lot of gardeners out there I don't have a greenhouse, I have a weird plastic tent thing that I used to start some of the seedlings off this spring but that is no use for fully grown plants. And isn't very good in strong sunlight as it seems to melt slightly.
So I have had to grow my tomatoes out in the open and hope that they didn't get hit by blight or anything nasty like that! This does mean that my garden seems to be slightly behind other gardens as I have not had any ripe fruits yet.

But I do have my first ever green tomatoes growing nicely :D Happy days!

I do have my tomatoes growing slightly weirdly, I haven't taken out all the side shoots as I didnt have the support to grow them that high and am more interested in number of tomatoes than the size of each of them. 
I may yet regret this decision :p

And yes I do have bright orange nails!

Fruit on the golden cherry tomato plant still very deep green but hopefully lightening soon :D

Fruits on the Beefsteak tomato plant, some have started to lighten already but some are still a deep green colour. The fruit on this plant came out first and so is further along in the ripening process than the other plant I believe. 
The only down side is where the plant is located this one gets a few hours less direct sunlight than the cherry tomato plant. 

Only time will tell me how this will actually affect the fruits.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Recently I have not been on here at all. I have been having some personal issues and so have been hiding away in my own little world at home.
On top of this I have been ill too and was confined to my bed for nearly a week! Overall not so much fun.

I will be back soon with an update on the veg in the garden. What went well this year and what didn't.

I will leave you saying that there has been some progress on my tomatoes which is wonderful, there are a number of green fruits teasing me. I am waiting for them to turn red...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

London Riots

Well whilst I currently live in Southampton this is not where I am from. My parents live just on the outskirts of London and currently this is where I am! 
I have gone back to my parents for a few days to help out with work and bring my sisters hiking stuff up from Southampton.

I think it is awful what is happening in London and would like to extend my thanks and support to the Police officers who are trying to keep it under control, also to the fire fighters and ambulance/hospital staff out there. 

Last night I found it hard to sleep knowing that a number of my friends were in London at the time and a number very close to what was happening. 
Sometime after midnight I heard a series of loud bangs and knowing that some of the rioting had reached local towns I wondered if something had gone down near me. 
Looking out of my bedroom window I saw a plume of what could have been smoke against the orange glow from London (this is normal due to the street lights etc) but when my dad had a look it had spread out and looked a lot more like a cloud.

After this I had a very restless nights sleep, but upon waking up this morning the smoke/cloud was still there with barely another cloud in the sky and I realised I had been right in my first assumption that it was probably smoke. 
Driving to work this morning this was undeniably confirmed when huge clouds of black smoke were pouring off a nearby industrial estate.


Here is to hoping everyone I know and anyone you know is still safe xxx

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The weather...

The weather has finally broken...
It is pouring down with rain. And whilst this is good for my garden it did mean that I didn't want to get out of bed this morning! But it is at just the right time. I am going to have to go home for a day of work tomorrow and was really worrying about how long I could leave the garden for with out killing my veg.
Especially the courgettes, they are very thirsty and have been battling with a bout of powdery mildew. I have found the best way to fight this is to water them almost every day!

Thank you rain, although please stop for my dash to the train station later x

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My house smells of christmas

My house smells of Christmas, weird I know but its true...

I am making spiced plum jam and its is filling the house with a nice christmassy scent.
Oh my house is being spoilt by smells today.

Bubbly goodness

And on a happy note, Camera is back to talking to computer. But it does appear to be at the cost of my left mouse button (probably not related hey!)


Lately I have been lacking in motivation and therefore productivity. Hopefully this will be changing soon, I am slowly getting my motivation back and have been accomplishing things.

Yesterday I went into town and accomplished a few thing but most important was writing the letter to my nan which has been put off for a while because I didnt have time, and had lost my writing paper in the big kitchen clear up.
Before leaving for town I made myself a dress which was nicely satisfying to be wearing something that you had made that morning.

Here is a photo of the dress. It does look slightly like I am still wearing the duvet (or a hospital gown :p) but it was so nice and breezy which was amazing on the stupidly hot day yesterday.

Last night I made it through my Google Reader back log and came across this post which even though I almost never know which day of the week it is so Sunday doesn't hold a special place for me making bread certainly seemed like a good thing to do.

Waking up this morning I have put washing on, started making bread, harvested as many blackberries as I could (putting a step ladder in the veg patch to reach the blackberries with a unwound coat hanger is not something I would advise for any other reason than the comedy value!), a few plums and some strawberries. The strawberries went onto breakfast with a few from the other day. 

This mornings harvest...

Its not even 10 yet and the washing is out on the line and the bread is rising in the sun (as I can never find a place warm enough to rise bread in my house).

Next task is to make spiced plum jam and source some cooking apples to make blackberry jam with... That and cook the bread :D

Wishing everyone else a productive day. There should be a post on the Herb Garden later in the day, if I can get my camera working with the computer again :D

Monday, August 1, 2011


This morning I have a wonderful feeling of satisfaction. The last few days have gone well and I have actually got a lot of things done, although my To Do list doesn't seem to be getting any shorter! I keep thinking of more things to put on it!

Yesterday I decided to see what the potato plants had or hadn't done. Recently they keeled over, I think I may have neglected their watering a little bit as they are in one of the patio bags... Ohps. 
Well I dug around and transferred the soil into another container and low and behold there were a number of potatoes :o

Although a number had already succumbed to the slugs! Nasty little buggers...

Combining this with some Chard from my garden (I used the leaves for this meal):

Greek yoghurt pot for size comparison :p and yes I did take this picture on my floor...

These combined to make dinner where only the chicken didn't come from my garden (def don't have room for them here)

Again Blogger has rotatoed a picture for no reason!

Also I have made a dress this morning which I am going to be wearing when I go to town this afternoon :D 
Made along the lines of this pattern, but out of a gingham duvet cover :p lovely and soft but I definitely need a better belt to wear it with...

And to top it off I have a half full Herb bed. A blog post to follow on this shortly. (hopfully I will have my proper camera talking to my computer by then...)

Wishing you all a good day. xx

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Afternoon Snack

Hmmm nothing beats and afternoon snack of fresh strawberries and yoghurt. Especially when the strawberries have come from your own garden. :D

Over the summer (the next two weeks especially) I will be trying to diet. Just by trying to eat much more healthily and eat stuff with very little fat in it etc. So lots of salad in the future... 

One of my main tasks will be choosing the right things to eat in between meals when I get hungry. And this snack ticked all the right boxes:

Fruit: (with a small gating of chocolate for good measure)

A large dollop of Greek Yoghurt:


A good chance to use up some of my lavendar sugar from last year. Has a very nice sweet taste with out being too sugary - if it is possible for sugar to not be too sugary. Basically you need less of it than plain sugar in my opinion:

A good stir and sit back and enjoy:

Dont ask my why blogger decided to put that last photo upside down, as few are rotated too... humph

Saturday, July 30, 2011


This week has been a busy week and has mostly been overshadowed by the fact that on Tuesday I graduated!!

Shocking to think that this day has finally come. I have been a student for so long that it is going to take me a long time to get used to not being one. And I am going to miss having all of my friends in Southampton, meeting up just got a lot more complicated :p

Actually graduating. Being asked what my future plans where by the Vice Chancellor.

Group photos were taken after much deliberation of where to take them :p :

Me with a few from our course, part of a larger photo but there are not that many on the course, only 16!

And a number of attempts were had to take the mandatory hat throwing photo:

(all photos have been taken by parents of my course mates, mine are still sat on the camera)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Divide and conquer

Yesterday I finally managed to get my claws into the garden after a forced absence caused by too much other stuff going on in my life. But now the kitchen has almost returned to normal, the parents have left and my sister has gone with them and I have finally left Uni. 
This is all combining to give me some free time.

I have been planting out some of the plants I have grown this year which was a very satisfying task. Once I had done those I decided that some of the other pots which either wern't ready to go in the ground or didn't have anywhere to go at the moment needed to be divided.

I divided the pulmonaria (possibly Trevi Fountain) into a number of pots. Recently I spotted that this has also managed to self sow itself into the edge of my herb garden which I am really happy about as this is a lovely plant with gorgeous long lasting flowers and really pretty foliage. 

On top of this I have divided one more of my parsley plants to see if I can grow this up a bit more.
In addition I have potted on the strawberry runners which I took from the purple flowered alpine strawberry and that my sister took from a white flowered one in my mothers garden. From these a few more runners had started growing so these are now secured into pots starting the process again. 

I am going to have to stop doing this soon as I currently do not have space for a strawberry bed which is what is going to be needed if they continue multiplying at this rate!

I am just going to show the progress of the chives which I divided In march (here) you can see the size of the two clumps of chives in the first picture in the original post.
Here is the size of the clump left in the window box (compared to my hand as a measure):

And this is the size of the clump which got divided into the bed (again using my hand as a guide):

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Recent Randomness

The last few weeks have been manic. I have been out on the solent helping out a friend of mine to finish the filming for a set of instruction videos to help people with basic sailing techniques.
During this time my sister has been refurbishing the kitchen, painting walls and doing all the other stuff that has been put off since we moved in.
One of these large tasks required re sealing between the floor boards:

I was out helping Pip on Wednesday and Friday and had been asked to sail in the all girls team for the Womens Open Keelboat Championships on the Saturday and the Sunday. This is an unusual event but is good fun and after the brilliant result last weekend in the IRC Championships we were lent the boat to see if we could get the trophy for this championships too.
Unfortunately we had a slightly unpredictable day on the Saturday because the winds were very changeable but a good strong day on the Sunday enabled us to log a second in our class which also converted to a second overall in the event.

Pip was the skipper for this event and did a sterling job of keeping us all in our place and not letting any of the very necessary command structure break down. Her account of the weekend is on her blog here.

When I returned from three days of sailing there was some nice suprises in the garden, one of the courgettes was nearly ripe and the plums on the trees that over hang the back of our garden had started to ripen. Together with some of the ripe strawberries these made some nice pickings:

I hope you all have had a nice but slightly less hectic few weeks than I have had...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Busy weekends

For most of us the weekends are the times that we can get out into the garden and sort out all those things that have been put off from last weekend. 

For me this is not quite the story at the moment, the garden has been put slightly onto the back burner as we are trying to get the kitchen redecorated before my sister returns back to the parents house. 

On top of that I have been in Cowes for a sailing event from Thursday evening through to Sunday evening in some of the windiest weather I have ever sailing in.
I would like to take this chance to say well done and thank you to everyone who sails on Elaine for a wonderful weekend and a brilliant time sailing. Also well done for winning our first ever IRC nationals. 

Here is a photo taken by Paul Wyeth jsut after we crossed the finish line and knew that we had managed to win the event:

I am off to try and get the windows painted before this evening as the parents are turning up for dinner and I am off sailing again tomorrow to help a friend out with a training session she is doing. 


Monday, July 11, 2011

Back in the land of the living

Back in the land of the living... Well maybe not living but at least phone signal!

A lot of stuff has changed over the time I have been away. 
The squash has taken over the bed and another courgette has ripened :) very tasty last night :D

In addition there is now some colour in the garden...

The various colours of lavender have opened up and are attracting a number of bees and the like :D

And the Yellow Chard is really getting hold and kicking off a good display:

Finally the lilly bulbs that I got from T&M have opened out to produce some gorgeous red flowers:

And the most fluorescent coloured flowers I think I have ever seen

Its good to be home. But now I have the huge task of the hedge to tackle over the next few days !! Wish me luck...