Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Hot hot hot

It's hot in Kent today, I don't know how I managed to work in this heat. And it's still hot as I type this blog post (from my new iPhone) and the outside temperature is 30 degrees at 9pm!

This is my office temperature today with two fans going flat out.

Moss was feeling the heat tonight and Ian suggested using a cold wet wash cloth so I used one of my old ones, he enjoyed it and I didn't want to hose him down because he'd just smell of wet dog!

Doesn't he look cute?!

My plants are doing ok and we've been watering morning and night. The cucumbers are loving the heat and we ate our first one last night, really lovely.

As you can see they are growing really well. The plants my sister gave me are over taking the homebase grafted one!

Almost ready to eat.

The salad bar, cues, toms, purple teepee beans and salad bowl. And Moss hasn't touched any of it.

Enjoy the rest of your week and garden. It's too hot for crochet but here's a photo I took on Sunday. 90 granny squares

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

a little bit of catch up

It's been over a week since my last blog entry and I'm trying to find time to catch up. This week so far I have managed to swim 4 sessions (Sat-Tuesday) 202 lengths and now I'm having a couple of nights off to relax, knit, drink tea and eat chocolate biscuits.

I started a new blanket this evening, do you remember my sisters Christmas present? well I've started another one following this pattern but I'm knitting mine using some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran from my stash and I plan to use grey as the main colour, because I have more of this, dusky pink and lime green. I think I have a denim blue in the loft so I'll hunt that out over the weekend. I should have enough to make a bigger blanket as I've cast on 150 stitches and size 5.5 needles.

We took Ian out for lunch for Fathers Day, it was really good and the Dirty Habit pub in Hollingbourne was a great choice. The food was amazing and the pub was in a great location not a long drive from where we live.

Here are some photos ... warning it might make you hungry!

Bay trees underplanted with geraniums 

The Dirty Habit

Devon crab salad

chicken, pistachio and leek terrine

the garden terrace

Ian, Jack and me!

The garden is coming on well, but Moss has managed to trample on or eat a lot of the new veggie plants I planted. All is not lost because for some reason he hasn't touched the green beans in the plastic planter, or the cues, toms or salad. I have a plan for cloches for the veg patch but until I make them I have sown more beans and the Swiss Chard bright lights has germinated.

I now have a new laptop, a MAC and I'm slowly teaching myself and my brain to use it. I'm used to Windows so this is something quite new to me. I'm getting used to not using a mouse and I love the keyboard, its so easy to type, unlike my phone or Kindle. I'm upgrading my phone this week so I've decided on an iPhone 6 so it should work perfectly with the laptop. After years of saving I'm not going to be an Apple person, I've changed my mind.

I hope you are having a good week, gardening and crafting. Amanda

Sunday, 14 June 2015

weekend pottering in the garden

Sowing seeds

I spent a lovely Saturday afternoon pottering in the garden and veg patch. I worked really hard putting in rows of sweetcorn and dwarf beans. A bit annoyed that my Spaniel has run through it and damaged a few. That will teach me to remove the canes that seemed to be doing a good job, so back in they go!

Solar powered Mason jar

Today I managed to spend some time sowing more seeds, dwarf beans (again) some more climbing beans (Sultana) for another wig wam, Swiss Chard Bright Lights because the first lot didn't germinate in the ground and some herbs. I popped to Homebase and bought a Mason solar powered jar with LED lights, I saw it on another blog last night.  I bought the £9 large jar, really pretty. Whilst I was there I saw they had reduced all their tomato plants, so I bought three at £1 each. I now have five or six varieties (Sun Gold, Money Maker, Roma, Alisa Craig and Shirly F1), three in the grow bag frames on the patio that are doing really well, and three in the veg patch next to some pepper or chilli plants a friend donated. As they didn't have tags it will be a guessing game as to the variety, makes it more fun. I also found a 30m hose reduced to £20 with the frame wheel it around the garden, bargain and ours sprung a leak last night, great timing. I hope you had a good weekend getting some gardening jobs done.

sweetcorn and dwarf beans in rows, climbing French beans

In the evenings I've managed to catch up some granny stripe rows, almost 50 rows now so on its way to being finished, in time! Just the dreaded sewing in the ends but I think I will do that in one weekend before I chose the border. I'm a bit behind but still hope to have it finished fairly quickly so that I can start on another one.

Megan's uni blanket in progress

Mason jar lit

cold cider after working in the garden on Saturday


Sunday, 31 May 2015

Instant gardening in a grow bag

I know I owe you a Chelsea part II, and I will write it next week, but this is part of it and I wanted to highlight this first as I've been doing a spot of gardening (in the rain) today myself.

In my garden we have a garage wall that belongs to our neighbours. I've bought something at Chelsea Flower Show to use against this wall. We have a south west facing garden so the sun hits this wall in the morning then comes round during the day, flooding the patio with heat, which the wall and the house wall soaks up.

I've been thinking about buying a green house for ages and ages but 1. they are expensive 2. hard to put up and 3. not sure I have that much space for one. I was looking at the flower show for something to allow me to grow against this wall that was quirky, functional and cheap! I love gardening but I hate being ripped off with over-expensive items. Well.... I found the best find ever ..... let me introduce you to the British designed, British made Grow Bag Frame. Isn't it cute? I love the simple design that allows you to use a small space to grow veg in a grow bag. The frame is very clever and locks the bag into the frame on its narrow edge with strong vertical plant supports. Its made in the UK from 100% recycled galvanised steel, so I'm also doing my bit for the environment too. Its easy to assemble with the help of a helpful husband (cue Ian) and you can store it flat at the end of the growing season in your shed or garage. Even better still, using the grow bag on its side allows you to add more soil, your own compost, which should make your veggies grow even better. You can move it effectively but picking it up by the frame sides. I've found a good place to put the plant names, insert into the plant support pocket at the top! I added canes because I wanted to encourage the cucumber plants to grow a bit higher.

I you want to buy one or two you can here. I'm not paid to endorse products, I just like to give my honest opinion of a good product when I can. I'm going to order another two, because I like them and they are so handy. I've sown climbing beans to use for one of them.

Back to my garden ... today in the village I live in we had a house-hold sale from peoples houses/front gardens and the village hall. We have a Facebook page and someone advertised hanging baskets, they were in an unusual basket so I was intrigued, I bought one, came home and ordered another. Chris who is a talented gardener made one for me exactly the same and it was ready really quickly. Great service and a lovely selection of plants. I especially like the basket, it has and iron handle, I've never seen them before. So now I have two hung on my bird hangers which are just perect.

The front garden is doing really well, and the Ladies Mantle is about to flower. I like the way it softens the edges of the grey driveway. Most of the plants were seedlings from the back garden or bought in Morrisons, Aldi and the two bigger evergreens were 60p from Homebase about 5 years ago! The little bay tree was a bargain in Aldi last summer, and its having a growth spurt! This year they have twisted Bay but I've yet to find one. Gardening doesn't need cost the earth, its far better to find a bargain and watch it grow than pay ££ for a big plant. My sister always gives me cuttings and this year she gave me two tomato and cucumber plants because I hadn't got round to growing any. So its going to be a free salad later this summer. Enjoy your garden next week, I've heard the sun is going to make an appearance :-)

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Chelsea Flower Show 2015 (part 1)

What a great day we had on Friday 22 May, good weather, great company and lots of laughter. We arrived at North Greenwich station, parked Daisy Juke and took The Emirates Air Line cable car link across the River Thames to Victoria Dock. You get a great view of London and we booked a return flight, to see London at night on the way back!

me and my lunch!

The Dome Greenwich

Thames Barrier in the distance

night view of London and the cable cars are lit up too

We then took the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) to Tower Hill, walked to Aldgate and took the tube to Kings X. Ian wanted to see inside St. Pancras station, its like a shopping mall and has donated pianos for anyone to play, it was buzzing with lunchtime activity, people pulling their suitcases on wheels along and the usual long queue for the ladies toilets! Next off to South Kensington on the Piccadilly Line to eat birthday cake at The Hummingbid Bakery, I've always wanted to try their cakes, they look and taste amazing. The shop is opposite the tube station so not a long walk with our big cool bag full of yummy food for our picnic later at Chelsea. As you can see I opted for the red velvet cake, Ian chose raspberry with lemon, just as lovely as mine. All washed down with a huge mug o Tea Pigs tea.

Red velvet (triple layer) cake, yummy

That's part one of our Chelsea flower show trip 2015. Next installment over the weekend. So much to catch up on and tell you, including Moss and the bionic vet ....

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

all things Chelsea (Flower Show)

This week the world will be watching the Chelsea Flower Show and all things flowery are the hot topic this week. One step ahead of the UK bank holiday weekend and the weather as usual is very unpredicatable for Chelsea week. As you know I am off to see it for myself on Friday with my lovely husband Ian - can't wait!

Here are just a few of my flowery photos of things that I love at the moment. And of course some granny squares, a bit of lunchtime catch-up.

Links of London Daisy charm

favourite floral hand creams (hand bag size)
joining granny squares, maybe a new cushion?

my Cath Kidston work mug, 1 pint!


Monday, 18 May 2015

Bye bye blue, hello sassy red

A few weeks ago I did something maybe classed as a mid-life crisis! I went to test drive one car and bought a different one, a sassy red one. I don't buy cars that often, who does? I'd like to say I spent ages on my decision but the truth is I really only made my mind up to the night before prompted by yet another male driver flashing me whilst I was overtaking a slow lorry on a busy B road, when I was in actual fact doing just a tad over the speed limited. Fed up with agressive drivers making KA drivers life a misery I longed to be above the other drivers, in a high up driving position in a little fun crossover. I've driven the same style car for 13 years, it was time for a change, a grown up car with a quirky side to it. Well last week I did just that, I bought a Nissan Duke in Magnetic Red. I've had one fun week driving her, I've named her Daisy Duke! Monday morning last week driving to work was the best Monday morning drive ever, I couldn't stop grinning. So a week later I can reverse and the car is a lot easier to drive (and much more fun) that I could have imagined. Here she is parked at my in-laws last week when I collected her.

Daisy Duke

So what else have I been doing? Some gardening, sowing dwarf bean seeds (which germinated this weekend) Megan's crochet blanket is getting bigger and about another 14 rows to go (which is good news so that I can finish mine) Looking forward to RHS Chelsea Flower Show this Friday, it runs from 19 – 23 May. Normally I would be at the Press Day today but I wanted to share it with Ian this year, we have more fun going along together with a pic-nic, listing to the band, Ian talking to the Chelsea Pensioners whilst we wait to go in at 3pm, and some sight seeing in the morning. The last two visits have been fun on one hand but lonely on the other. You want to say oh did you see that ... but can't. And to be honest you see so many celebs its hard not to trip over someone you recognise!

You can find the garden information here over at the Galloping Gardener, Great photos - go and have a peek

We had a lovely family walk in Cobham Woods over the bank holiday weekend, sunshine and so many blue bells, such a lovely sight and smell you just can't beat it. I made some sandwiches and we had breakfast then a long walk back to the car, Moss was exhausted and slept the rest of the day, I think we were all tired. I read recently that if you find wild primroses in woods, it is an ancient wood. How every true of Cobham Woods in Kent. We love it there, you enter and your worries are left behind at the gate, three or so hours later you feel refreshed and stress free.

wild primroses

bluebells in the sunshine