Category: Home & Garden

Pretty Flowers

Fabulous Flowers

I love flowers. It’s one of the reasons why I love spring and why I want to get the garden in order. But until then, we can have flowers in jars.

Fabulous Flowers

I bought these to go on my stall at the Bake Off. They are from the amazing Fabulous Flowers in Abingdon. They are so cute! x

Scrapbooking :: January in the Garden

January in the Garden

A little while ago, @ThePRMummy tweeted & asked if anyone would be interested in trying out scrap booking. Always ready to have a go at a new craft, I said yes. A few weeks later I had a package arrive containing a scrapbook and all the materials I could ever need for some lovely scrap booking, as well as a magazine from Do Crafts Creativity.

It’s taken a while for me to think about what to scrapbook. Then I finally had some inspiration! Our garden is in a bit of a mess & needs a massive overhaul. This year is going to be the year that it gets the face lift. I wanted to document the different changes that it goes through but didn’t want another blog. So I thought that scrap booking would be the way to go.

Each month I will take pictures of the progress we are making in the garden & scrapbook them. Then I will share my scrap booking on here! So here goes…

January :: In the Garden

January in the Garden

January’s page shows the overgrown & pretty much derelict nature of our garden at the moment. It shows some of the key areas that need changing e.g. the fence is broken & it needs to be repaired/replaced. I’ve also put some of the things I want to do, like plant sunflowers next to the shed and plant bulbs in the pots. First & foremost though, the garden needs weeding. Lots & lots of weeding! Better go & get started! x

River Cottage Veg

Cute Micro Pig

In case you hadn’t noticed, good vegetarian food is important to me. I am a vegetarian because of ethical reasons and have been since 2003. I don’t want animals to die for me to eat. This is my choice & I don’t impose it on anyone (well, maybe my OH because I won’t touch meat!)If people want to eat meat, that’s their choice. If they must, I’d rather they ate organic, free-range meat. I also wish that ‘vegetarians who eat fish’ wouldn’t call themselves vegetarians because they aren’t. They’re pescatarians. Anyway, I digress.

I do agree that meat-eaters should know & respect where their meat comes from. When I found out about the living conditions of mass-produced meat (this is pre-Jamie & Hugh F-W), it put me off eating anything like that. I know not all meat is grown in those conditions now, but when I think of tucking into a bacon sarnie, all I can see is something like the image below & I feel sick. No meat for me.

Cute Micro Pig

So when I saw that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was making a programme about veggie food & was going to be meat-free, naturally I was intrigued. As a veggie, you often feel like you’re an after thought in restaurants, which is why I like Atomic Burger, Atomic Pizza & Big Bang so much. There was actual choice. Sometimes you feel lucky to have anything that’s not just a broccoli & cauliflower bake (Gross!) I watched last nights episode and was really pleased with the food that they produced. I think that Hugh & River Cottage showed that being veggie isn’t about lentils & evangelising about the woes of meat.

The show has certainly encouraged me to eat a wider variety of vegetables (am in somewhat of a food rut) & I’d like to have a go at growing them too. I hope this show encourages restaurants to offer more choice for everyone, not just vegetarians. The meat industry is having an impact on the environment, health & people’s bank balances. As a nation we don’t eat enough veg so hopefully this will encourage us all to look at our diets and see if we’re eating the right things for us, for the planet & for the super-cute farm yard animals. x

Cogges Farm

Dream Kitchen

DamsonsA while ago I started following The Real Food Cafe on Twitter. They were opening up at Cogges Farm & celebrating with a food festival. I didn’t manage to get to that so on Bank Holiday my OH & I decided to take a trip to see the manor house at Cogges.

Cogges is trying to obtain charity status so we couldn’t pay by card, which meant a detour into the lovely town of Witney. I think the admission price is reasonable for adults (£5) but cannot understand why they feel they have to charge £1 for dogs! It’s not like a pooch is going to be bringing its pocket money! Weird! (Not that I have a dog…yet!)

I was expecting to see loads of animals but they only had guinea pigs, ducklings (super cute), chickens & turkeys. The guinea pigs were a bit shy so stayed in their cage. It was amazing to see that the chickens had previously been at a battery farm. They looked a bit worse for wear but it was good to see them out & about.

Dream Kitchen The best bit by far was the manor house. It had an amazing garden – full of veg & bee-loving flowers. Exactly what I want my garden to be like. Parts of the manor house are really old, like 1200’s kind of old, although the kitchens are currently dressed in the Victorian era. Just my cup of tea. In the kitchens were volunteers baking bread & welsh cakes and they had free samples for people to try. Bingo! They even had homemade butter & jam for people to try. They were all so delicious. The welsh cakes were cheese & chive flavour which I’ve never had before.

River at Cogges FarmThe upstairs wasn’t open to visitors so we headed out through the orchard & onto the river walk. There were bugs & flowers aplenty on the walk & we definitely saw evidence of otter activity! Something was making paths from the river, under fencing & across grass.

Pretty Flower at Cogges FarmHairy Plant at Cogges FarmThere were also loads of different flowers & plants that I’d not seen before but the bees were really enjoying.  My favourite plant was this hairy looking  one. I’ve never seen anything like it & would love to know what it is.

After all that it was time for lunch. We finally got a table & I had a lovely roasted veg & pesto sandwich on toasted bread. It came with a lovely side salad & coleslaw. The disappointing bit was the water. It tasted awful & was so bad you couldn’t taste the tea. There was also very little to see in the cafe or the shop. I’d hoped for some local produce/crafty bits. Maybe this will come later.

It’s well worth the trip, especially if you’ve got little ones as there’s loads for them to do. If you don’t have little ones (like us) then it won’t take long to get round Cogges & back in the comfort of the cafe! x