Friday 29 August 2014

it's crystal clear

Waking up from a nap I most certainly needed I was shocked to find my brain telling me 'this is where you need to be'. Usually my brain and I are at odds, it yelling that I can do everything and more and my body yelling out in exhaustion. This acceptance of my limits felt great.

Why are we so hard on ourselves? I feel so terribly guilty that
1 my house is a mess
2 I haven't been to the Lottie in weeks
3 there are projects laying unfinished
4 Maggie is bored
5 items need to be reviewed and some read

I have a temperature, can barely stand up but still until my sleep I had to fix all of the above...and all at once, all now!

The only reason I'm telling you this is because in this moment of clarity I want it noted - we need to look after ourselves. The desire to always appear busy, popular or some sort of superperson able to do it all, has to stop. We're only human.

Now, some more paracetamol and back to napping... :)

Thursday 28 August 2014

Plant Nutrient Deficiency Chart

This is not mine, Andrew saw it on Twitter coming from a Ben Dawkins (@Bennyd111) and we just thought it was fabulous. How useful to quickly see what deficiency your plant is suffering from; I think this is something to be shared, printed out and stuck up on the shed door. Praise be to the Internet, to Twitter and to Ben Dawkins whoever he may be....

For those of you who are a little rusty on the old chemistry you learnt at school, (haha) I have written out what each of the elements translates to....

Hope it helps you too
Love and hugs

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Wee trip to Rowallane

I'm writing from under a pile of tissues and paracetamol; coughing, sneezing and generally feeling very sorry myself. This cold is taking over my life and though it pains me to say it I have succumbed to the odd teary moment, I feel so pathetic. Barely the end of the summer and I have my first encounter with the cold and flu medication - why oh why!

So let's go on a quick wee journey to Rowallane on a sunny afternoon this time last week, eh? These photos were simply taken with my camera phone but they are colourful and cheery, I love how they mix purples, blues and oranges together, it seems to be a theme of theirs....

There were many volunteers there that day and it was evident that they had been working hard. Old plants were gone, the ground mulched and the paths tended too. Their compost heap must be fabulous :)

Rowallane visit - '' ~ an allotment blog
liking this colour combination
Rowallane visit - '' ~ an allotment blog
look at the size of  this rosehip!
Rowallane visit - '' ~ an allotment blog
just love how this climber is allowed to poke through a tall yew pillar
Rowallane visit - '' ~ an allotment blog
more purple and orange with a little yellow in the background
Rowallane visit - '' ~ an allotment blog
a small dog :) and a rhododendron
Rowallane visit - '' ~ an allotment blog
simple, effective edging protecting the new growth and naked ladies in this bed
Rowallane visit - '' ~ an allotment blog
stunning arch from one garden into another
Rowallane visit - '' ~ an allotment blog
chives are popular for wasps and butterflies
Rowallane visit - '' ~ an allotment blog
the stables and clock tower quadrangle 
Rowallane visit - '' ~ an allotment blog
hehe, found in the second hand book shop on site
Well I am off to snuggle under a blanket, keep on top of my fluids and try to cheer up a bit. All this sneezing and nose blowing is making reading my two 'for review' books very hard as my eyes keep tearing up...maybe a wee nap would help ;)

Love and hugs

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Helter Skelter

I've been having a hard time and haven't even been near to the allotments or even a garden center since I last wrote about that Saturday we worked so hard. Life truly has felt like a helter skelter; each move forward I try to take is like climbing a massive steep set of stairs, only to have the smallest window of joy as I inevitably slide back down to land on my bum again. Plus I am exhausted, mentally and physically.

I did have a lovely birthday day in Belfast (Sunday 17th) with shopping, lots of good eating, and a few drinks with even a friend coming up for a couple of hours. Andrew and I even stayed over in hotel and then had breakfast out on the Monday and saw some art exhibitions in the Belfast MAC. On the Tuesday we visited one of our favourite National Trust sites, Rowallane. Pictures tomorrow x

However, throughout it all the depression and the feeling of it all being seen as though it was a film, never left me. I slept the rest of the week.

There were extremely thoughtful gifts in the post that made me tear up and feel so loved but after a few moments I hated myself and felt unworthy. I've been so mixed up.

Never the less I have still been looking out for those happy moments in the days and trying to photograph them. I've mentally been dreaming about happy things to come and craft projects I wish to do.  Which leads me to my Happy Days 21- 40.

 21 Newest finished piece of sewing 22 The Maud's ice cream bears waving "hello!" 23 Stunning yellow and purple flowers together :) 24 Coffee at the new cafe in The Bank House! 25 New glasses today!! I can see :)

26 Our WW1 remembrance candle  27New pincushions being these buttons ;) 28  -Quickly made a black out eye mask, take that migraine!! 29I loves me a pretty candle or two 30 A damp old day

31Courgette and chilli omelette for late lunch ;)  32 - Maggie joins in with the #fatsit cool #schnauzer group :) on Instagram 33 Dried apricots, fresh blueberries and natural yogurt - lunch of champions!! 34 - (Maggie says..) 'She trimmed my eyebrows and brushed my beard....I gave her stink eye and went to bed. Gggrr woof! to grooming!' 35 Two big parcels posted off this morning :)

36 - Wall art in Carrickfergus Museum 37 - Gorgeous bracelet from Andrew for my birthday 38 Naughty breakfast in the MAC Belfast - yummy! 39 Spider in the keyhole..... 40 Maggie resting after her conquest over the evil purple dragon :)

I have so much to catch up on, the blog will be full stream ahead over the next few days, thank you for waiting for me xxx

Friday 15 August 2014

Saturday on plot 24a

Exhaustion as truly hit home this week; every couple of hours of each day I have had to take a nap, just in order to keep going. These periods come every now and then and though I do get frustrated and maybe a little scared, I know it won't last much longer. Giving in and feeling lazy are not my style but it's what my body needs.

Now any remarks on my birthday coming up and that this is all down to age and ...I shall look for you, I shall find you, and I shall slap your face with a wet lettuce leaf!

This is maybe part of the reason why I am so very tired this week - the hard work we pushed into a few hours at the allotment on Saturday last.

My work -
* Cut grass with push mower

* Weed leek bed, general bad spots on plot and the back bed (scary)

* tie back flowers and try to deadhead whilst being sniffed by bees

Andrew's work -
* rip out the second batch of broad beans now they are finished and get all last remaining beans off those plants, including seeds for next year :)

* plant out more broccoli under netting moved across from older settled in broccoli plants :)

* deal with bolted lettuces and spinach (which was a non-bolting variety!) It's my personal opinion that lettuces need to be in the back garden = easier access and used all the time.

Please do enjoy the other beauties in that bed (and further up plot). Everything has done well in 24a so far.. Only bad thing about it is us! We arent harvesting as we should and eating/sharing/storing! Ooops
Sweetcorn tassels; Kohl rabi; courgettes and flower; Autumn raspberry; Rudbeckia.

Love and Hugs

Wednesday 13 August 2014

WW1 How we dug for Victory - infographic

The lovely Kate Southgate (from Crafted), designer of this incredible infographic poster wrote to me a couple of days ago and offered to let me use it on my blog. I was honoured.

Kate is a very talented graphic designer indeed and the poster is a great quick historical and sociological look at the Dig for Victory campaign. I love having such arty friends :) I'm sure you shall all enjoy it.

  Victory Garden Infographic

I am in no way promoting Notcutts here, I have no idea who they are, though they sound nice in their write up.

Love and hugs
Carrie xx

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Carpe Diem (nothing to do with gardening)

I've been having some really bad bouts of depression for a few days in a row now. I haven't had the energy to change out of my PJ's or even think about washing my hair. The postman coming to the door terrifies me. Its just one of those periods; I'd rather live on the sofa under my blanket....

I did not know the actor Robin Williams, though I grew up with him on TV and  in movies. A few of my favourite films have him as a supporting character; funny, its his serious work I like ( The Dead Poets' Society, Insomnia and Good Will Hunting) I'm not fussed on his comedies. I always think funny people seem to have such depth and such resources of pain to tap into - making others feel happy gives you a sense of purpose.

Williams won an Oscar for Good Will Hunting, where in he plays a therapist better than any I've had. People laud the 'Boston Park Bench Scene' as the most powerful piece of his in the movie and yes, deservedly so. However, for me there is another scene which no matter how many times I've seen it, always makes me cry. I'm not a crier, but this, this has me ugly crying - heaving shoulders, runny nose, eyes so puffy....

Its simple but so effective -"its not your fault". It's something we all need to hear sometimes, and our lives are not notes contained in files either!.

So thank you 'oh Captain, my Captain'  for the phrase 'Carpe Diem' - I try to; for the ability to cry and to remember everything isn't my fault; and for the acknowledgement that beauty is important; the novels, the music, the poetry, love - that's what we live for, though sometimes we forget I guess....

Sunday 10 August 2014

Happy 6th Anniversary

Wow, so it's come to this....6 years of our lives we have been allotmenteers; I feel as though we deserve a badge or something, a medal. I know I'll have to make my own.....
Today is horrendous with heavy rain and general misery so it's a little sad that I can't take photos and I don't feel all giddy and summery on this occasion.
We were there yesterday though and met new plot owners and saw some old ones leave for good. That was funny - they hadn't been there in forever and one of the ex-owners loudly exclaimed that it was 'an absolute mess!'. What? like it was meant to look after itself?! I look forward to someone taking it on - it's the 'a' half of our 14b.

So here are some fun photos from a scrap book I tried to keep early on in the adventure. I am a terrible scrapbooker and in the end I simply took loads of photos and saved them on a hard drive. Well, that was until I discovered the magical world of the blog :)
the advert in the town magazine - our confirmation letter - the plan for the first year :)

looking so much younger and me lounging on the turf sofa , just getting stuck in de-turfing, the field as it was

Look here for my wee post on the how the story got started. It was written 6 years ago and I think I sound scared :) Back them I didn't know other people read your blog - wow, I knew nothing about blogging.

Oh and here is my first blog header, I think the title was below this  picture. We found this horse shoe whilst digging our plot = good luck :)

So that's or for now. As I said, all is depression and misery outside and in my noggin', sorry.

Much love and thank you for making my little journal come alive by your reading and commenting. I feel so much less alone with my lovely gardening online friends - you make life easier and fun and I can't thank you enough xxx


Friday 8 August 2014

the winner takes it all...

Well the flower pot never lies and I am delighted to announce that our winner is.....

YES! I shall be in touch Mr Flighty and your prize shall be on it's way to you (with best wishes) tomorrow morning. Though it is Royal Mail so goodness knows when you'll receive it, haha.

My blog's birthday is on the 10th which is Sunday but I promise to do a wee retrospective either on that day or Monday :) I hope you shall all be standing by a freshly baked cake on Sunday though, at around 2pm, the time I hit 'publish' for the very first time.


Apart from that joy with Flighty as our winner I just have a few photos of the back garden I would love to put here for prosperity. It is really taking shape with all this sun and heavy showers and feels a little like all this growing won't know when to stop and one day we won't be able to get the patio windows :)

I have a thing for the colours and textures of new growth on already established plants, please indulge me...

I just love these bronzes, lime greens and reds

And here is a wee quick overview, I just love the time of year when the stained glass window is covered in the creeper, love all the bright red top growth on the maple and oohhh, Andrew pruned the bamboo in the tea garden into the traditional Japanese shape :)

Love and hugs my friends
Carrie x

Thursday 7 August 2014

Last few hours

I haven't been particularly well but I am very aware that I have a wee giveaway to complete ;) My dear, lovely readers, here is what you are being tempted with....

A nice wartime growing book, 3 book plates I made myself and 3 instagram greetings cards with photos from the lottie on them xx

The flower is just for decoration...

And all you have to do is leave a comment and a way of contacting you and at midnight tonight a name will be drawn out of a pot! I shall reveal all tomorrow alongside my new photos of the garden - new growth :)

Hugs friends

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Another great reason to garden

I hope by now that all of my fabulous my readers are aware of my support for ecotherapy as a way to reduce stress and bring about feelings of achievement and hope. Okay so it didn't work out that well for me yesterday but on the whole I do find it extremely therapeutic.

If you don't understand what I am on about read the page above entitled 'Allotmentherapy ~ the wisdom of plants'.

I've always known it can be a tremendous workout too as evidenced by many a sweaty t-shirt and long afternoon nap. But yesterday I learnt about this side in more detail: the amounts of calories we burn off doing different gardening tasks.

I know we all wear crappy clothes when we're knee deep in the mud and compost, I know that secretly (like me, you too dream of a pair of funky dungarees to work in), you maybe don't even wash your hair some days and make up seems like such a joke but...what about those date nights out? We want to feel good then too, don't we? Well our plots/gardens want that for us too - to burn calories, to get fitter, to look sexier!!!

These eye opening statistics are brought to you by the Gardening Express website and I for one love reading them :)

'Weight watching Brits can burn almost 1,500 calories simply by spending a few hours doing the garden. That's according to a new study by online garden centre who asked a group of amateur gardeners to keep a record of their gardening chores over a week.'

'Among the weight busting activities were hedge cutting and clearing, mowing, edging and raking the lawn, digging over flowerbeds and watering.  Others which happen less frequently but were noted by the group included painting the fence and shed and trimming trees and big shrubs.' 
I for one am the mowing, digging over and painting type of person so but I fear I may need to more of the other stuff....let's see

'Chris Bonnett from said: “The group of gardeners we followed were fitting their gardening activities around jobs and other household chores so while this gives a good indication of how much you can burn, you can certainly burn even more calories than this.
“Gardening is great exercise for lots of reasons – clearly you can burn calories, it’s great for toning and you’re out in the fresh air enjoying all that nature has to offer.” '
So get out there, do something good for your soul and that tummy - then you get to eat an extra biscuit with your tea. That's what research like this is all about, right?! :)
Oh and don't forget my giveaway - there is slowly, more being added to the package - now some seed packets are happening too with some fave seeds for you :) So that's a book,  a book plate (like in school prize days), my photographic greetings cards and seeds!
Just gotta leave a comment below and a way to contact you!
Much love

Monday 4 August 2014

So much news

First may I say to you all...
Happy National Allotments Week!
The society only covers England and Wales but I am not about to let that stop me from celebrating my Plots! Okay so there are lots of events lined up for those who do live in those countries but it doesn't mean we can't all love our little patch even more and maybe allow ourselves a bit of cake so something ;)

In fact, though it was in hindsight a really daft thing to do, I visited my plots this very morning. I got a great haul of broad beans and some flowers for posies in the house. Was it worth the horrendous panic and now the exhaustion?? The jury is out. But in Maggie's case Yes, yes it was worth it, so much to sniff :)

selection of some of the flowers on the plots today - '' ~ an allotment blog


It's this very blog's 6th anniversary on Friday and I am hosting my very own giveaway. My giveaway isn't too fancy, I'm really not great a approaching companies for freebies. So this is a much more personal affair. I shall be giving a lovely book 'How to Grow Food - A wartime guide' with a personal book plate to glue into it, also a few of my own little greetings cards (from my online shop).

Giveaway prize to celebrate 6yrs of blogging - '' ~an allotment blog

 The entry for it starts today and the winner will be announced on Thursday. The competition is open to  all - simply leave a comment and an address of some sort to help me contact you should you be victorious.


This humble blog has also been nominated for blog award alongside some fabulous people. I am not one who goes all into for these things but just once in a while it feels nice to feel you're good at something. Everyone chosen is good in their own right and no matter who wins I shall be happy that has done this for us.

If you do feel the love however... Here is where you can vote for my work.


Love and hugs
Carrie xx

Friday 1 August 2014

Why, hello August!

August, the month of my birth, the month of this, my blog's birth. One of us is 6 the other, well honestly you dare ask a lady!? haha. It's also National Allotment Week next week (the first in August every year) and on the 10th I shall be doing a little personal giveaway to celebrate the blog birthday. It's a busy time in the old Grow Our Own camp :)

I hope we all have a fab new month and treat ourselves well! Less stress - more fun, less naughty foods - more healthy nourishment, less sitting about - more days out and gardening, etc. Take chances, say yes to life :)

Hugs and love