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Garden, Home and Garden, Personal

A Slow July

lavender plant

I have declared July to be the month of slow living in our house.  In other words, I’m quite happy to be a hermit this month, potter around at home and in the garden (and the allotment), and just enjoy the summer with my little girl and my other half.  Slowness is definitely the order of the day.

Here’s what we’ve been up to this July.

Our Allotment

Our allotment is overflowing with summer raspberries at the moment.  We didn’t plant them – the last allotment holder must have grown them – but we are very thankful for them.  Raspberries for pudding every night!  They taste especially good when you have a little helper picking them for you!

raspberry picking
raspberries freshly picked

Thanks to the last allotment holder, we also uncovered a ripe crop of strawberries under some grass!  I’m so glad we didn’t go in and willy nilly clear the plot because so many good things have popped up that we didn’t know about when we took over the plot in January!

strawberries
pick your own strawberries

Gardening This July

We’ve also done a bit of planting in our garden this July.  When I say garden, it’s really just a little concrete yard with some borders to grow plants, but we absolutely love it.  Our allotment is only two minutes walk from our house, so it kind of feels like an extension of our garden.  

I finally planted a hydrangea, which has been on my garden wish list for about 7 years!  Behind the hydrangea is a houttuynia – it’s actually edible.  My other half got the inspiration to plant it from James Wong (his all-time favourite allotment book!).  We haven’t eaten it yet – apparently, it’s good in stir-fries – so I’ll be sure to report back when we do!  It can spread quite a lot, but we’ve planted it in a very controlled area – it’s bordered on four sides by bricks so it should stay contained!

hydrangea

We also planted some lavender plants in the border for the bees.  The lavender is right by our back door so it’s really nice to walk out of the door and smell the lavender.

lavender plant

When we were planting the hydrangea we accidentally snapped a stem off of the hydrangea so rather than letting it go to waste, I popped it in a little vase I found in a charity shop.  In the same shop, I also found the old McEwans beer bottle which I couldn’t resist either.  My other half despairs sometimes!

hydrangea in vase

Snail Woes

Finally, for some reason snails absolutely adore our little concrete yard, even though there’s not too much greenery and a lot of gravel down.  As we’ve planted some nice plants that we really don’t want to get eaten, and haven’t had much luck with any other methods of natural slug/snail control, my daughter and I have started “Snail Patrol”!  Snail Patrol involves going round the garden every evening before bed, collecting all the snails we can find. We then pop them into a pot, and then deposit them in the woodland down the road from us.  So far we’ve removed about 30 snails, and my daughter loves it!  She’s absolutely fascinated by snails!

gardening with kids
snails
snails in pot

Needless to say this book – The Snail and The Whale by Julia Donaldson – is a new favourite in our house!  I love it as much as my little one!  Definitely one of Julia Donaldson’s best books.

the snail and the whale julia donaldson

What have you been up to this July?

Personal

Our Christmas

felt star garland

Hello!  Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year!

Ours was just as we like it – not too fussy, with lots of good food and drink, and our loved ones around.  We ended up hosting family over three days, which was good fun.

I didn’t take a lot of photos – I was too busy eating, or with a glass of prosecco in my hand! However I did capture a couple of snaps I thought I’d share:

A sneaky selfie from a work Christmas night out in the pinkest toilet I’ve ever been in (keeping it classy!)!

wendy

 About five years ago I found a load of vintage tree decorations in my local charity shop for the princely sum of 10p each.  They give me so much joy every year I unpack them and hang them on the tree.  This cheeky Santa is my favourite:

vintage santa ornament

My daughter says he’s her favourite too!  I think it’s his cheeky face that does it!

I got a couple of these bells in the same charity shop vintage bauble bonanza and managed to smash one a couple of years ago.  Devastated was not the word.  This remaining one is extra special:

vintage christmas tree ornament

I also had a few homemade decorations dotted around the place.  I made this little star garland two years ago out of scrap fabric, felt and a length of twine. I used a star cookie cutter set and traced out two large and one small star shapes.  I then just glued the small star shape on to one of the large star shapes, then glued the other large star shape on to the back, making sure I’d sandwiched the twine between them.  Hope I haven’t made that sound harder than it actually was to make!

felt star garland

My crafty endeavours don’t stretch that far though.  Every year I say I’m going to make a wreath and every year I never quite get round to it, so this year I admitted defeat and hung some mistletoe on our front door instead.

mistletoe

I never normally buy cut flowers, so sometimes I treat myself to one bunch of festive flowers for the house at Christmas time:

gold pinecone
cabbage flower

Over the festive period my daughter also had a birthday.  I decorated her cake with some bunting* and some felt bunnies* (* affiliate links) that I found on Etsy.  I bought the bunny cake topper for her 1st birthday cake.  Last year she went through a pirates phase, but this year I thought it would be nice to reinstate the bunnies as we are in a bit of a bunny phase at the moment.  Although annoyingly I could only find one of the bunnies!

3rd birthday cake

She had a wonderful day, and she said the best bit was the cake and having all her grandparents over to see her!

Finally, after her birthday it was Hogmanay.  We’re not big New Year kind of people, so ours was a quiet affair, just how we like, it with some wine and a film.   And that was our festive period!  I’m a bit sad it’s over, to be honest, and the tree is still up which is a rarity for us to be up at this point – probably because we’re in denial it’s over!

But 2015 is hopefully going to be an exciting year: I’ve got lots of great ideas for posts for the blog this year, and I’m looking forward to sharing my 2015 with you so do follow along.  Did you know you can join the Moral Fibres mailing list and receive every new post directly to your inbox for free?  I only post two to three times a week so you won’t be overrun with emails.  I’ve also recently changed the service which sends out the blog post emails, to one that has much more flexibility, so if you are a subscriber and you’d rather have a once-a-week digest then drop me an email and I can arrange that for you!

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ps: as promised, the blog has had a bit of a facelift for the New Year!  What do you think?  And apologies, I’m still having issues with commenting.  I’ve tried everything I can to fix it and I think there may be a problem with my web host so do hold tight.  You can still write comments and they’ll still appear on the site – you’ll just get a “no data received” error message which you can just ignore!