Friday 25 January 2013

Our Shed Makeover pt1

Oh my the weather!! If you haven't already suffocated and frozen under the snow, then I guess you are like us and are just swimming along the streets and enjoying the glorious mud :) Yay!!  Either way I am sure the vast majority of you are feeling the low of not being able to do the gardening - goodness we can't even dig the soil here; getting to the plot from the car park is scary and exhausting enough, then the spade just gets sucked down into the depths of the earth by the 'quicksoil' (like quicksand but not really) and then you just want to cry but it's too cold and the tears freeze in your eyes and now you can't see, ho hum :( You become your very own plot Scarecrow.....

So here are some catch up photos of the plot from the last time I actually did any work and from the day when Andrew took me down to see his hard work inside in the shed.

The 29th of December - Andrew decided to rip off the big collapsible bench from the front of the shed and as it turns out, he did it just in time! The wood below was beginning to rot! This led to a furious conversation where we shared loads of ideas we had been playing with in our noggins and ultimately it was decided to turn the shed into a cosy hideaway.  Just like the Pinterest board I have been creating for ages now :D

First we needed to protect what we had so it was off to get paint and filler we went.... (all this took probably as long as it has taken to write it down).

You may like to see just how happy painting a shed can make a person - oh yes, just get some music on in those headphones and groove my friend - dance like no one is watching and what not. I also think it is highly important to choose a colour that complements your nail varnish and if possible, one that is the same colour as your handbag, lol. (Seriously we only noticed that it was exactly the same as my bag when we were leaving).

Ohhhh, look a  before and after type photo - really I want to get the rest painted but painting in the rain and gale force winds is not a good idea (so I hear), especially when the paint is water based.
During this day and the following when I was extremely ill with man flu/ the end of the real flu, Andrew was down there alone cleaning out the shed and then inside our shed here at the house being very manly with wood and power tools :) He built the basis of the best cosy shed interior ever!! The first photo in the following series was mind blowing but then it got better - eeek!!

So much stuff was able to go to the dump, lots came up here to the house where it will actually be used and the rest has been (very cleverly) hidden away in some super amazing storage. Yes everything we need is still in there yet there is now room for a person to stand, to sit, to lie down, have friends with them AND a dog. Basically it's a party shed, hahaha. Before hand it was either myself or Andrew got to stand in the shed out of the rain whilst holding Maggie.

It's just too ingenious to even explain properly but basically:
1) there is a huge storage bin on wheels with most of our stuff in it (including the lawn mower),
2) it has a little shelf above it,
3) then there's a fab higher shelf which also magically slides out (what?!!) and
4) when the box is brought forward the top shelf sits on top and is exactly the same height as the lower shelf = day bed! AWESOME!

Naturally this is a project that will have a few blog post instalments but fear not I shall share the glory of it all with you!!!!

Love and hugs, oh and may your bulbs be poking through and bringing you joy and hope my friends xxxx

Wednesday 16 January 2013

This is what it's all about

I have been tardy with my writing and I am sorry but I have been very unwell both physically (I still have the flu!) and mentally. In fact I have been so ill in my noggin that I was for giving up on life altogether and that my friends is a really frightening thing to hear yourself say, but I was serious about it.

I've got out of that particular downward spiral and now I feel I little stronger and able to fight. And I intend to win, in time :)

For now it is all about resting; just allowing myself some grace and cutting out the 'I have tos' and the 'I really ought tos'... Resting now will give me energy and strength and hopefully when I do recover the good times will last a while :) Wow, see how much more positive I am? - I never thought I would get here again.

You know one thing that has really helped? This....
Andrew told me they were coming out but I didn't believe him (I was in my dark place) until I went outside myself this afternoon. This is Ecotherapy it's purest form, a single bud resurrected from the depths of the cold earth simply to herald hope.

HOPE; it grows within me again.....

Namasté my friends xx

Friday 11 January 2013

Post-holiday Blues

I was in beautiful, truly beautiful Amsterdam with my hubby for a few days there and it was, well beautiful :D We didn't indulge in any of the 'herb' chill out remedy let me put that out there right now! We love Pugs not Drugs (not my drawing; the genius is Gemma Correll). But the beer and wine is oh so fine!

There wasn't a single in bloom Tulip to be seen but it was enjoyable, cold, very damp but lovely. I even saw some (out of season, naturally, but rather tidy) allotments from the train just on the outskirts of the city - yay!!

But I had the flu the whole time and felt so ill - poor me. Today my temperature was all over the place and Andrew went to the Allotment without me! However he has done incredible things to our shed and tomorrow I am going, so yes I AM :D I have seen blurry phone photos of the amazing DIY construction he has achieved and you are going to be so impressed.

Yes, I wrote this short post just to tell you that.

Our shed is going to be the most a cosy hideaway ever (on an alloment).

Friday 4 January 2013

Remember Book Tokens?

So sweet gardening pals, are you the same as me, is the weather killing your dreams and plans for the plot? I am seriously fed up with the dull and damp and dreary skies and sodden ground - really Mother Nature is not playing fair. So I offer you a more comfortable alternative in this post - gardening books.

Remember when you did well at school and you got a book token? Oh how I miss those days. We didn't get a single book on gardening from Santa this year. Not that we really need any as Andrew has this habit of visiting a glorious second hand book shop close to his work and bringing home fabulous finds, even some from the 50s, which I love because they have detailed drawings over the often style-over-substance photography books we get now.
So here I would love to share with you some of my favourite gardening books from the Gault library.
First I feel I ought to do a little review on an equally little gift book I was sent to look at from Summerdale. Dig for Victory (Gift) is a fun little book that would have been perfect as a stocking filler for anyone. It costs less than a fiver and is beautifully bound with a cool retro cover. Basically it's just sweet with little one sentence facts and tips about growing your own interspersed with encouraging quotes. For a novice the hints would prove very interesting and sometimes rather quirky so for all the price it is I would definitely give it a thumbs up. (They also do an adorable looking 'Make Do and Mend' partner book which I think I would like too).

However, if it's the more involved book you are looking for with that War Era Ethos then you simply can't beat Digging for Victory: Wartime Gardening with Mr Middleton. I bought myself a copy of this about 2 years ago and think it's fabulous. It takes you by the hand (remember the original version was designed for home owners to grow their own in their own gardens out of necessity and Government decree) and guides you through the growing year with a charm that is so very BBC and 'proper'. I delight in it as an educational tool but also as simply an entertaining read to dip in and out off.

For Veggie growing in particular I have a super duper soft spot for The Allotment Book by Andi Clevely, it's the first one we bought specifically for the plots :) For a novice it is a life saver but we have found it still is a go to book and that is us in our 5th year, so I think it's  must have. I especially love the sections at the start of each chapter which detail so simply what you could sow now, plant now and eat now even throwing in a few easy recipes - it really makes the whole thing such fun, which is exactly how it should be!

Lastly for me the must have books are those written by the River Cottage people. They very cleverly mix knowledge with stylish photography, layout and gorgeous paper and covers like no other people I have seen yet. Yes I am one of those people to whom the texture and density of the paper is exciting. These could easily be coffee table books, so I like them okay!? First up for me is Veg Patch: River Cottage Handbook No.4 by Mark Diacono who is basically a genius. Who else can make soil types, pests and compost so interesting and bring out that inner geek in you? I love his personal twist on how we all have favourites and dream veggies to grow and he helps to calm you down and tell you what is best for where you are = I want him to live in my shed and just tell me stories whilst making me totally organic and knowledgeable; heaven.

This is one I shall be using this year a lot so you'll see loads of it - Preserves: River Cottage Handbook No.2 by Pam Corbin.... oh and this one  too- Hedgerow (River Cottage Handbook) by John Wright. I have my eyes set on making more of the food we grow and the berries etc that we see whilst out walking. 2013 is going to be a good one!!!
So I hope this inspires you to read up on new techniques, get cool recipes gathered together and prepare of an AWESOME new year. Here are some of the others that Andrew will be reading and I shall looking at the pictures in, lol. We sort of love books in this house :)

Love and Hugs x

Andrew has asked that his favourite book be highlighted and naturally I have had to comply :) He loves Grow Your Own Vegetables by Joy Larkcom as shown here >

He feels it speaks to him and has the most comprehensive, practicable and simple information on individual vegetables. Ms Larkcom has travelled the world and gained much knowledge on the topic of growing your own which she shares here with obvious enthusiasm. It naturally covers the areas of soil type, pests and tools as well. It's main ethos though seems to be getting the most out of the space you have and who doesn't like the sound of that?!

It's basically just his cup of metaphorical tea :)

"comprehensive and covers everything" - Mr Andrew Gault