Growing Up

At the end of last summer we were lucky enough to be gifted a much bigger greenhouse. I was thrilled as it doubled my growing space. Unfortunately Hubby was not so thrilled when he realised that it meant cutting the shed in half to accommodate it 😕

Last year we didn’t use it much as we were pretty much coming into winter by the time it was all up and running. I had high hopes for this year though. 

You know what they say about best laid plans and all that. Well I’m a bit behind. I haven’t planted half as much as I wanted to and was a bit late getting what I have got, into pots. Our garden is completely concrete so everything has to be grown in pots. I dream of the day we can afford to buy somewhere with a bit of land so I can finally plant my fruit trees in the ground. 

So what have we planted?


Cherry and plum tomatoes. We have 6 plants so three of each. That won’t really be enough to keep Little Lady in tomatoes as she loves them but it’s a start. 


A lone cucumber plant. I am always wary of cucumber plants as I haven’t yet managed to yield fruit from a cucumber plant. I’d love any tips you may have on how to keep it alive long enough to harvest the fruit. 


One tiny Sweet Pepper plant. 


Three Honeydew melon plants grown from the seeds of a melon we bought from the shop. Little Lady collected the seeds, gave them to my stepdad who has grown these little beauties and gifted them back to us. I’d love to think we’d get a melon growing 😀 


Strawberry plants are coming back strong. As are the herbs we planted. Chives and mint shown below. 


Tiny cherries starting to come on our cherry tree. Hubby will be pleased. And last but not least we have two pots of various weeds growing to feed our tortoise. 


I’d love to eventually grow enough to cut our shopping bill but that won’t happen this year. This year I’m just trying to keep everything alive. 

Do you grow your own? What to you grow? Any tips for me?

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Succeeding to fail??

Well this year I have been rubbish at achieving the goals I set at the beginning of the year. It’s not that we didn’t achieve anything, it’s just that I didn’t achieve these specific goals. Let’s look at an extract taken from the first post of 2014 (extract in bold)

1.Sew a lot more. I am hoping to get the attic sorted out soon enough for my craft space to become a reality. I would like to make more of my own clothes and also clothes for Little Lady and baby D. Hubby has a lot of clothes and wears either a uniformed polo shirt and shorts or wet/dry suit for work so I’m not planning to involve him yet.

I did sew a lot more in 2014. I made 3dresses for myself and another 3 for Little Lady. I also made what felt like a million snowflake dresses, a fairy godmother outfit, some fairy wings and various other craft items. I am taking this as ACHIEVED

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2.During 2014 I am planning to not buy any new clothes for myself and only a small amount for the kiddies. Exceptions include; underwear and shoes. I will not skimp on shoes for the little ones and the thought of second hand underwear……well let’s not go there!!

Major fail here. I bought a bit of running kit for me, school uniform for Little Lady and other bits and pieces. This one is definitely NOT ACHIEVED ✖️

3.Running. I want to improve my running and I have my eye on a few races I would like to sign up for over the coming year. Starting off I have a 5k Virtual Race in January. (More to come on that later on in the month) I have also set myself a target of 500km total over the year. This is to try to get me to go running more often. I have set up my runkeeper app to count every run I do from today to the 31st December.

I didn’t quite make the 500km target I set myself but I definitely improved my running. Both my 5k and 10k PB’s have come down by quite a bit and I ran a Half Marathon too. Along the way I also ran 8 races (although one didn’t give out medals 😥) which is 5 more than last year so a definite ACHIEVED

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4.Curtains for baby D’s room. I have seen fabric that I like and plan to order it asap. We have taken D’s cot away and he’s sleeping in a big boy’s bed now so it’ll be nice for him to have a big boy’s room too.

😳 Bad mammy alert. Major fail here too. D’s bedroom has hardy been touched as the kids now have a playroom. This will be rolled over for the 2nd year running. I think it’s best if we move on quickly NOT ACHIEVED✖️

5.Continue in the garden. We acquired 5 blackcurrant bushes to add to the fruit trees we already have. I want to plant more and use the harvest to make a lot of our food from scratch.

We did pretty well at the growing this year. Unfortunately the birds are most of our harvest. We had a tree full of cherries which they ate, they also ate our blackcurrants and a few other bits too. This was a kind of achieved

6.Decluttering and sorting. Ruthlessly. I really really want my craft/office space in the attic so I really need to get my bum in gear with this one. It will be a long slog as not only do we have a lot of stuff in the attic, but the spare room soon to be play room, has a lot of stuff in it, as does the space under the stairs. Our house is almost bursting with stuff, and we need to continue the work we started, and abandoned, pretty much this time last year!

This is another “kind of” one. We have been decluttering but not ruthlessly. I still don’t have a proper craft space in the attic and the house is still bursting with clutter. This will also be rolled over to next year! So kind of achieved

So 2 achieved ✅
2 not achieved ✖️
And 2 “kind ofs”➖
“Room for improvement” I think is the phrase here. Tomorrow I will try to post a round up of 2014 and then I will post my new goals for 2015. Hopefully I will do better this time.

Happy new year everybody 🎉🎉

Starting a new page

Happy New Year.

We celebrated last night with a Chinese takeaway and a Peppa Pig DVD 😉 Oh the joy of being outvoted by a 2 year old! We didn’t stay up. We very rarely do to be honest. New year isn’t that big a deal for us. We don’t go out and we don’t really make resolutions either. We do, however, make a list of things that we want to achieve over the coming year and I suppose that is pretty much the same thing.

Last year I made a list on here of about 5 things I wanted to achieve. Out of the 5 I achieved 3! I didn’t manage to make D some curtains for his bedroom, neither did I re-cover our settees. I did, however, embroider the 2nd curtain and get the fireplace finished. You can see both in this post here. We also grew, and harvested, a lot more veg than we did in 2012. We stuck to growing the same things, with the exception of attempting bell peppers, and had a good harvest.

This year I would like to:

  1. Sew a lot more. I am hoping to get the attic sorted out soon enough for my craft space to become a reality. I would like to make more of my own clothes and also clothes for Little Lady and baby D. Hubby has a lot of clothes and wears either a uniformed polo shirt and shorts or wet/dry suit for work so I’m not planning to involve him yet. Which brings me to a big one….
  2. During 2014 I am planning to not buy any new clothes for myself and only a small amount for the kiddies. Exceptions include; underwear and shoes. I will not skimp on shoes for the little ones and the thought of second hand underwear……well let’s not go there!!
  3. Running. I want to improve my running and I have my eye on a few races I would like to sign up for over the coming year. Starting off I have a 5k Virtual Race in January. (More to come on that later on in the month) I have also set myself a target of 500km total over the year. This is to try to get me to go running more often. I have set up my runkeeper app to count every run I do from today to the 31st December.
  4. Curtains for baby D’s room. I have seen fabric that I like and plan to order it asap. We have taken D’s cot away and he’s sleeping in a big boy’s bed now so it’ll be nice for him to have a big boy’s room too.
  5. Continue in the garden. We acquired 5 blackcurrant bushes to add to the fruit trees we already have. I want to plant more and use the harvest to make a lot of our food from scratch.
  6. Decluttering and sorting. Ruthlessly. I really really want my craft/office space in the attic so I really need to get my bum in gear with this one. It will be a long slog as not only do we have a lot of stuff in the attic, but the spare room soon to be play room, has a lot of stuff in it, as does the space under the stairs. Our house is almost bursting with stuff, and we need to continue the work we started, and abandoned, pretty much this time last year!

I hope you will join me in 2014 and let’s see if I can do better than the 3/5 I achieved last year.

BEDN #8 A Day in the Life of

This is the post I was most looking forward to reading on other people’s blogs, mainly because I am nosey but also because I think it’s nice to have a peek into other people’s lives. See how the other half live if you will.

For those who don’t know me, I am a mum to Little Lady who is 6 and baby D who is 2 next week. (EEK!) I work for the Presbyterian Church as a youth worker and I am very lucky that I am able to fit my work around my family life. Little lady is in school full time and baby D goes to a childminder one day a week for me to get planning/paperwork done. Other days I work in the evenings once the kiddies are in bed. Today I was very lucky that he had an extra day at the childminders meaning I had a “free day” and didn’t have to sit down at my desk all day.

Welcome to my day.

Our morning routine is pretty much the same everyday as we need to be out of the house by 8.30am to get Little lady to school on time. My alarm goes off at 7am and I am always tempted to hit the snooze button. However, the days that I do, we are late for school so I can’t.

Morning Routine

Morning Routine

So my alarm goes off, I go down stairs, trying to climb over the stair gate quietly like I’m Catherine Zeta-Jones practicing dodging lasers in that film in a castle with the guy from Silence of the Lambs. I make lunches, have a quick shower and wash my hair. I go back upstairs, get dressed, wake the tribe and make my bed before going back downstairs for breakfasts, hair brushing, teeth cleaning, uniforms etc. Little lady’s school held a Grandparent’s day today so she could wear what she wanted (she chose her tinkerbell trainers) and my mum came down to take her to school so I didn’t need to do the school run this morning. 😀

Once everyone was out of the house I did a bit of housework and went down the garden to check on the plants and water the greenhouse. I was gutted to see that the wind has well and truly ripped the plastic cover. The door is pretty much hanging off. I may well need to relocate the plants that are still in there and put it down before buying a new one next year. Unfortunately buying a new greenhouse will be cheaper than just replacing the cover.

Housework

Housework and greenhouse

After a quick cup of tea I got in the car and drove to the cancer hospital in Cardiff. I am running 10k a week Sunday raising money for men’s cancers and my sponsorship money will go to this hospital who were fabulous when my dad died there almost 20 years ago. In return they offered me a free t shirt to run in. Never one to say no to a freebie this was well worth the trip.

Velindre Cancer Hospital

Velindre Cancer Hospital

Here is me wearing my new t shirt. It took me ages to get a decent selfie. How do other people get a good picture without looking like a muppet? Answers on a postcard please. I do like the t shirt though.

In two weeks time I am, along with a group of others, taking the real Christmas story into local schools and I had been emailed the script I need to learn and the running order. As I had a bit of time today I decided to go upstairs to my office…*cough..the spare room…cough*…. and print them out.

Work and organising

Work and organising

While I was up there I decided I would do some organising and decluttering. The empty shelves you see in the picture? They are DVD racks that we never use. After raiding hubby’s tool box I found an allen key and took two out of the three apart and put them ready to go out/up in the attic. Whichever seems easiest at the time. We also have a big bookcase in the other alcove and I organised the shelves so that they look tidier, I can see what I need more easily, and it meant the floor is clearer now as all those books you see (and more) were in a pile on the floor (oops).

While I was busy upstairs I managed to fit in some step aerobics thanks to the postman and parcel force. Two deliveries at separate times although I didn’t mind too much as they are exciting parcels.

Exciting things

Exciting things

The one on the left is hubby’s birthday present and the one on the right contains 40 advent calenders for the youth at church.

I leave the house just after 3pm to pick up Little lady from school. It has rained for 2 days now so the walk was a bit muddy to say the least.

Muddy school run and overflowing river

Muddy school run and overflowing river

The river we cross was very high too!

Little lady collected from school, then on to collect baby D from the childminder before coming home for some playing time (them not me 😦 ) while I made tea. We had a lazy evening with no bath before bed. This happens most Friday nights as both usually have one on a Saturday morning anyway.

6.30pm starts bedtime routine and both kiddies are in their pyjamas. Little lady gets a choice of watching a short DVD, something on YouTube, or quiet play while I put baby D to bed and then once he is asleep, she goes up for a bedtime story. 

Bedtime bliss

Bedtime bliss

How cute are they? Some days this is my favourite time of the day. Now to enjoy some me time before hubby gets home from work.

Sleep tight my lovelies. Mammy loves you both millions and millions x

BEDN #7 10 Things

I do love lists so this topic is a good one for me. After yesterday’s post, I want to do a more positive one so today’s 10 things are going to be 10 things I am thankful for.

1. My family. They are EVERYTHING

2. My faith. I count myself lucky that I have such a strong faith. I know others may not appreciate the value of faith but to me it is such a comfort knowing I have someone who watches over me.

3. Our house. It may not be perfect but it is our home and we are lucky to have a house of our own.

4. My job. I am very lucky that I have a job which means I can work around my kiddies. I can be at home with them when I need to and I can take them to work with me if and when I need to.

5. Our garden. Again it’s not perfect. I would love a bigger garden with more room for the kids to play and more room to grow veg but what we have is serving us well on both accounts and we are very lucky to have any kind of outside space. 

6. The ability to sew. I haven’t always appreciated this skill but I have started to gain confidence in my ability again. I am falling in love with sewing all over again and it’s nice.

7. Quality time with hubby. Since having kiddies it has become so easy to fall into a routine whereby we don’t spend time together just the 2 of us. So I love it when the kiddies are in bed and hubby and I can just relax and spend time together as husband and wife. Even if this means cwtching on the settee together while we watch a DVD.

8. Good health. I am very thankful that all 4 of us enjoy good health. Baby D is full of a cold at the moment and we are both finding it hard while he is poorly but in general we are all very lucky.

9. Clean water and plenty of food to eat. I do sometimes complain when we have a tight month and we have to be creative with what food we have in the cupboards/freezer but thankfully we have never been in a situation where we have been starving.

10. We have a comfortable life. We don’t have lots of money – far from it but we have food, we have a warm house, we have each other and for this I am eternally grateful.

What are you thankful for today?

At the bottom of the garden

We were not as organised as we should have been last year and were a bit late planting certain things in the garden. Thankfully having the greenhouse and the nice warm summer we still did okay for vegetables.

We planted 4 buckets of potatoes and have been digging them out in small numbers. The carrots are still a little small for harvesting and our tomatoes are so much better than last years. We have been picking them as they have been turning red and little lady has been claiming them for her lunch box.

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As you can see there are still quite a lot still to change colour and the best bit? They are the size of shop bought tomatoes!!

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Our bell peppers are only just coming out. My stepdad told me that I wouldn’t get any as we planted them late. Can’t wait to show him this photo. Not that I want to say “I told you so” or anything 😉

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We have lettuce growing in the greenhouse and on the kitchen windowsill.

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Most of the lettuce we grow goes to feeding George – the 5th member of our family.

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I’ve just realised he looks as though he is looking at the lettuce in the photo above 😀

We also have a “weed garden” on our dining room windowsill that provides all the different weeds lovely plants George likes to eat.

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Our herb garden is coming along nicely too but they are all still in pots as I haven’t got around to arranging them in a proper herb garden yet. That’s a job for next year now I think.
Did you grow anything this year?