What I am Sowing and Growing

I have quite a few hobbies and interests, and growing my own fruit and vegetables is one of them.

My challenge this year is to grow as much as possible on the small patio of the flat we are renting. (We have our names on the allotment list, but it’s a long wait)!

The first seeds I sowed in February were
– Tomato – Yellow Delight
– Tomato – Rosella
– Aubergine – Long Purple
– Chilli Pepper – Long Slim
– Chilli Pepper – Early Jalapeno

All of these seeds came free with my monthly Kitchen Garden magazines. I have a great stash of seeds from the magazine subscription.

When I sowed the seeds I used wooden lolly sticks to label them. Unfortunately these went mouldy so I had to take them out! Because of this I then ended up with seedlings that were unlabelled. I have potted them on and don’t know which is which but I’m not too worried. I can tell which ones are the tomatoes and when the fruits set in then I will know – it will just be a nice surprise for me as they continue to grow! I sowed them in an indoor propagator and have now potted them all on.

I didn’t have any plant pots to pot them on to so I have been inventive with my recycling! All the food tins, butter tubs, fruit punnets and any other container suitable for potting seedlings into have been used! I used a sweetcorn holder to stab holes in the bottom of the containers for drainage!

The next seeds I sowed were in March – this time I used a dot of nail varnish to label the seedlings in the plastic seed tray. I sowed 4 different seeds so used four different nail varnish colours. I then put a dab of the corresponding nail varnish on the seed packet so I know which is which. When I pot these on I will use the varnish again on the pots!

In the propagator now are
– Lettuce – Little Gem Cos
– Pepper – Sweet Astor F1 Hybrid
– Tomato – Yellow Stuffer
– Spring Onion – Ishikura

The 5 tomato seeds have germinated quickly and so have the lettuces. The spring onions are beginning to poke through. The peppers are yet to germinate but I only sowed them 1 week ago so and they tend to take a little longer. Once seedlings are big enough I will pot all them on into my recycled containers. The lettuce and spring onion seeds were from the Kitchen Garden Magazine and the pepper and tomato seeds were purchased from Thompson and Morgan.

Here you can see the nail varnish dabs to denote which seeds are growing. If there are two rows of seeds I have put a dab on each row.

I hope to get the seedlings outside in April or May time – depending on the weather conditions and the plant type. Peppers need more heat so I will probably keep these indoors for longer. I also need to get prepared by buying grow bags and large pots for the plants to be growing in when they do go outside.

I am just looking through my seeds now seeing if there is anything else I can sow. Although I’m not sure if I will have room for any more!!

I can’t wait to get to a garden centre and have a good look around! I am hoping to buy some strawberry plants to grow out on the patio.

Thanks for reading,

Happy Spring and Growing Season!

Katie

Home Organisation – Rainbow Bookcase

I have spent today organising and tidying my home so that it is a more relaxing space to be in.

I don’t like clutter and love the idea of minimalism – I am slowly working towards that way of living.

I do however have quite a lot of books – I did have a massive clear out of books before we moved, so I have a lot less than I used to. There are also lots of children’s books which I love having as it’s great for children to be read to and have a variety of stories.

My bookcase was looking a little messy and disorganised. As it is quite a focal point in the room I wanted to smarten it up. Several years ago I came across a photo online of a bookcase organised by rainbow colour order. I thought this was a great idea and it is something I like to replicate on my bookcase.

I have arranged each shelf in rainbow colour order, after the violet or purple coloured books I have put white, brown and then black books. Obviously the colours aren’t perfectly in order and some books have more than one colour on the spine making it tricky to position along the colour spectrum!

I have matching oak furniture and wanted to make the sideboard look more attractive too. I brought in my yukka plant from the kitchen. The plant looks great on the sideboard – I definitely need to get more houseplants as I really like them and they add colour to the room.

I dressed the sideboard with some crocheted mats and then arranged some family photos on there. The photos are all displayed in different frames so it’s not too uniformed. It’s lovely to have somewhere to display photographs. My next step is to get a nice decorative pot for my plant.

I like to be surrounded by things in my home that make me happy but also have meaning and provide enjoyment. I am really trying to remove any unnecessary clutter to create a more relaxing living area.

Hope you are having a great Monday,

Katie

Toy Storage Bags

Today, I am going to be talking about toy storage and an idea on how to tackle toy organisation.

As a parent to two young children,I feel constantly surrounded by toys and I have been wanting to find a better way of storing them and keeping them tidy. So many toys are made up from lots of different pieces and it’s easy for things to go missing if they aren’t all put away in the right place!

I am currently living in a small flat so storage space is quite an issue. I keep most of the toys in plastic boxes but these always look messy and unorganised.

The goal is to probably get some wooden storage chests to keep the toys in so they are more hidden. I like the look of toy chests but I wanted the contents to be tidy and organised on the inside instead of it being a pile of toys….

So I decided to sew some simple drawstring bags and then used permanent markers to label the contents. I know these could have been made prettier and perhaps I could have sewn designs onto the bags. However I am in need of a solution quickly as my son turns 1 next week and I know there will be new toys!!

I used some thick lining fabric to make the bags and just sewed up the sides and then turned over the opening to the bag over a piece of twine to be the drawstring. I didn’t measure the fabric I just roughly cut the size of fabric I needed.

This was a very basic bit of sewing using the sewing machine. Any fabric could be used to make storage bags. I have some old children’s clothes that I may use to make some smaller bags to store things like jigsaw pieces and small Playmobil accessories.

I just like the idea of things being in the right place, looking clutter free and being organised. It’s also good that toys are grouped together so I know exactly where to find them and where to put them at the end of the day.

The drawstring bags could be used for a number of different items and can be made in all sorts of sizes. They could be made for storing makeup or hair accessories.

What are your toy storage solutions?

Katie

What’s Been Cooking This Week?

So this week has been a little more chilled and laid back. My husband has been off work this week so has been sharing some of the cooking. I also haven’t taken as many photo’s as I normally do so you’ll have to use your imagination a little!

So I shall begin with what I have been cooking…

At the beginning of the week I made a spaghetti and homemade meatball meal. This was really yummy and the sauce was made up of finely chopped vegetables mixed with tomatoes and herbs.

This was the spaghetti and sauce before the meatballs were added.

I have also cooked a bean casserole served with rice, a simple chickpea cous cous and a vegetable pie served with potato and sweet potato mash – I kept the skins on for this and it gave it a really great texture and flavour.

I made a pizza one night this week, which all the family love and topped it with passata, green peppers, sweetcorn, mushrooms, broccoli and cheese. I served this with seasoned sweet potato chips. I used paprika, oregano, salt and black pepper.

Last night I did a roast chicken dinner, however I cooked the chicken in the pressure cooker. This made the chicken really moist and tasty and only took 30 minutes! I look forward to using the rest of the chicken and the tasty stock over the next few days.

We had pancakes on Shrove Tuesday which my husband prepared and had these with Nutella and bananas!

I made a quick cherry crumble dessert using tinned cherries and a crumble topping made from oats, flour, butter and cornflakes. It’s nice just to have some tinned fruit in the cupboards for a quick dessert, especially in the winter.

I haven’t done lots of baking this week but did make some oat cakes, inspired by a blog post I read from Katie B’s Pantry…. https://wp.me/scqsj2-oatcakes. These are really tasty, I didn’t have rosemary so used dried thyme instead. I really like the fact that they are made with wholemeal flour which adds plenty of flavour plus increases the fibre content. I also made a honey and lemon traybake cake. It isn’t much to look at but tastes good, especially with the honey and lemon juice topping.

I mentioned in my previous post about trying to eat more healthily so have been enjoying a lot more vegetables at lunch times and had this tasty tuna wrap which had lots of celery, cucumber, green pepper and tomatoes in.

For breakfast yesterday I made us all a cinnamon and sultana porridge, this was a really good breakfast to start the day. I topped it with sliced banana. I mixed about 70g of porridge oats with 2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and about 2 tablespoons of sultanas. I cooked this in a pan with 400ml of milk. This served a family of 4.

So, there’s a bit of an insight as to what we’ve been eating this week. Hope you’ve had some good food and a great week.

Katie

Why I will be Celebrating Valentine’s Day

I have to admit, I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day! My husband and I have been together for nearly 10 years and have been married 4 and a half years.

I guess I thought why do I need to celebrate Valentine’s Day when I can show my love every day of the year and also saw it as the buying of unnecessary gifts…

But, I have changed my mindset. I think if we can celebrate something positive then we should! There are so many bad times in our lives that get us down that we really should enjoy and celebrate every happy occasion that we can. It also gives us a time to focus on those that we love. Valentine’s doesn’t have to be romantically linked, it can be a time to reach out to those who we love.

So this year I am turning over a new leaf in relation to Valentine’s Day and I am going to celebrate it. I have decided that I will make some decorations to put around the flat. This is something I can do with my daughter and she loves the idea of being able to decorate again as it is like Christmas to her. It also teaches her about love which is a great thing for children to learn.

I hope to have a nice meal with my husband and maybe buy him a small gift to show my appreciation for him. Sometimes we get so caught up with what’s going on in life that we forget to just enjoy each others company. We take each other for granted and we all need that time to recharge and really appreciate each other.

So, let’s all spread the love and reach out to those we care for.

Katie

When Home becomes a Café

We are all very familiar with the current pandemic and have all been affected in different ways by it.

We are currently in a lockdown and are trying to find different things to do at home and ways to still have treats and experiences.

As a family we enjoy going out for breakfast for a treat. Having a cooked breakfast isn’t something we eat often and tends to just be reserved for when we go to a café for breakfast.

As going to a cafe isn’t currently an option and won’t be for quite some time, we decided we would have a cooked breakfast on Sunday Morning. My husband took charge this morning and cooked up a delicious breakfast for us all. I am very blessed to have a loving husband, it was so lovely of him to make this breakfast for us.

For the first time ever I ordered myself and my husband a dessert from a dessert only takeaway! We just fancied a treat on Friday night and decided we would give it a try! I ordered a chocolate cookie dough and a strawberry, banana and Nutella waffle. We both thoroughly enjoyed this. Obviously it’s not something we will be eating frequently but it was a much needed treat for us!

Also, hot chocolates are a favourite of mine to drink when out. I was fortunate to have been gifted with a variety of luxury hot chocolate powders for Christmas so I have been able to enjoy drinking those at home.

I hope you have been still finding ways to treat yourselves and provide enjoyment in these difficult times.

What treats are you making for yourselves at home during lockdown?

Stay safe,

Katie

A Summary of This Week

I’ll start with what we’ve been eating/ what I have been cooking.

– Monday – I made a lentil Bolognese served with spaghetti. I also made a quick garlic bread out of a tiger bread baguette and some garlic, parsley and butter mixed together and spread between the slices.

– Tuesday – I made a spinach, green bean, pea and feta pie. This was a puff pastry pie filled with the seasoned green veg, feta and an egg to bind it. I served this with sweet potato chips and made a simple tzatziki to go with it.

– Wednesday – Beef chilli was on the menu, I didn’t put a lot of chilli powder in as I wanted the children to eat it! I also made a bread to go with it, one so hadn’t made before called a Tuscan Schiacciata which is a type of flatbread. I made it with wholemeal flour and topped it with garlic butter, salt and rosemary. This was a good accompaniment to the chilli.

– Thursday – This was the scone base pesto pizzas that I posted about yesterday. I didn’t have time to make a bread dough up and have run out of baking powder to made a pizza dough with that so a scone base pizza it was! These are really nice and filling and I really enjoyed using pesto instead of a tomato sauce on the pizzas.

– Friday – Today I made a simple chickpea and veg cous cous seasoned with paprika.

– Cakes and Bakes – On Tuesday I made the custard butterfly cakes which were really tasty and definitely something I will make in the future. They didn’t last long! Today I have made a batch of ginger scones, I will keep some out for eating and put some in the freezer to save for another day as scones dry out really quickly and it’s great having things in the freezer for when we have run out of sweet treats!

I have kept up with my daily walks even though the weather this week hasn’t been great. There has been a lot of wind and rain, however today was lovely and sunny so a refreshing change.

My cross stitch is coming on well, I am making a little progress on it each evening.

I have been using my planner to set little tasks to do each day or achieve by the end of the week. I have generally been quite good at following this although there are still a few things I need to tick off. I am hoping to clear out and organise the drawers in the sideboard next and then put new photos in frames to display on the sideboard.

This week I started a little growing project with me daughter. There was an article in my Kitchen Garden magazine about regrowing vegetables from veg trimmings. We decided we would use the carrot tops from the carrot soup we made. I have put them in a little bowl with water and we await new growth.

I have a few repair jobs to do on a couple of soft toys for my daughter so I hope to get that done by the end of the weekend. Also I want to start planning what I am going to grow on the patio and what resources I need to do so.

As you can tell my mind is constantly busy with thoughts, ideas and plans and I am also constantly busy with my children, housework and cooking!

Hope you have had a great week.

Katie

(I realise my food doesn’t look completely refined! You wouldn’t see food like that in a restaurant but it’s homemade and tasty. I often don’t get time to take artistic photos as we are all hungry and ready to eat)!

Organising, Walking and Cooking

Today I planned on clearing out my sideboard, going through what was in it and then reorganising it. Most of the things kept in there are the children’s craft items which can get very untidy.

I took everything out and then using some tubs that I had, I organised some of the craft items into them to make them easier to find and store. I also now know what I need more of and that it would be handy to have more storage containers for craft resources.

I have now got a container filled with colouring books, crayons and stickers, a basket with paints and paint pots and a container full of painting materials such as sponges. There is also a small pot with tissue paper and I have a bag with card and paper in too. There are a few other random bits and pieces in a small craft storage container. I also keep my art materials in the sideboard plus some photographs, games and a tub of playdough!

I really like to be organised and feel much better when things are tidy and have their own place to be kept. It is difficult trying to keep on top of everything with two young children, I am going to try each day to do different tasks and jobs to keep a clean and tidy home.

I am still keeping up with my daily walk goal. Today it was raining a lot! We had a walk around the local park and saw the swans on the pond. We were drenched when we got home but had nice time out. I made myself and my daughter a white hot chocolate with marshmallows to warm us up.

White Hot Chocolate in a pretty tea cup and saucer

For dinner I made scone based pizzas. I chose to make individual pizzas so that we could have the toppings we liked. I didn’t have any passata so used pesto as the base
The pesto worked really well and was delicious with the feta cheese that I topped mine and my husband’s pizzas with.

I am happy with my achievements today. Hope you have had a great Thursday
Katie

5 Personal Goals

This year I want to try to be a more productive and better version of myself. To achieve this I have set out a few goals.

1. Go out for a walk every day, rain or shine
It’s early days but I have been out every day so far and have felt much better for getting fresh air and excercise on a daily basis. It’s a change of scenery and is now part of my daily routine. I feel so refreshed when so get home from a walk and it’s also lovely scenery and the seascape looks different every day.

2. Use a Planner
As mentioned in a previous post, I bought myself a planner. It has calendar pages, weekly view pages, plenty of space for writing in and focusses on goals, achievements and personal growth. At the moment there aren’t many dates for my diary due to the pandemic but I am enjoying using it to plan daily tasks and think about personal goals.

3. Make time to do the things I enjoy
I am guilty of just sitting and watching telly most evenings and not using my time wisely. After a long day with two young children it’s definitely the easy option. There is nothing wrong with relaxing and resting but I realised how much of my time could be spent better. Last week I spent one evening painting a beach picture and this week I have started a small cross stitch(this one can be done whilst watching telly)! It is lovely getting back to the hobbies I enjoy.

4. Daily Bible Reading
I recently downloaded The Bible YouVersion app. I have a few plans on there that I try to do daily so that I can understand and find out more about God and the scripture. When my husband and I lived in our first house we became members of the Church there and it was a really great community, our daughter had a blessing there and myself so my husband went on to be baptised. After a few moves and now a pandemic, I am missing going to Church and really hope to get back into that when we are able to. My daughter is really interested in her children’s Bible so we read that a lot together. It is lovely for us to grow in faith as a family.

5. Keep Blogging
The last post I wrote was my 100th post. I actually started this blog in 2016 so 100 posts doesn’t seem like a lot! I took quite a big break from blogging when I had my daughter in October 2017 and only properly started blogging again in October 2020! My blog started out as the life as a housewife blog which documented my daily life – cleaning, cooking and home renovations. Things have changed a little since then but I am still happily married and I am now a stay at home Mum to my daughter and son. This blog covers a bit of all sorts really – food, home life, crafts, family, thoughts, personal interests. I enjoy blogging, it’s lovely to share things with others and great to know that other people enjoy the content of my blog posts.

Thanks for reading.

Katie

This Year’s Christmas Decorations

This year there is quite a homemade theme for the Christmas decorations. There are lots of handmade crafts on display.

Last year I made a Nativity set from some air dry clay and then painted it with acrylic paints. I made them up myself and wanted them to have a fun and child friendly appealing look to them. I created Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, 3 wise men, 2 shepherds and a sheep. I have displayed these on some crocheted mats which I inherited – they were made by my Grandma.

The Christmas cards are displayed on the sideboard behind the Nativity and also on the bookcase. It is lovely being able to display cards from family and friends.

The Christmas tree, which I have previously written about is a real potted tree on a small table which has been decorated with handmade baubles and also a few special baubles that we have collected or been gifted.

I hope you enjoy looking through the photos of my modest Christmas decorations and handmade creations.