Monday, 31 August 2015

My Garden Harvest, August 2015.

My little garden has done a bit better this month!
My first raspberries!  These are the first raspberries I've ever eaten that didn't need sugar on them, they're sweet and delicious just as they are.

The variety is Autumn Bliss and I'll definitely be buying some more plants!
Raspberry Autumn Bliss. Home grown garden harvest. UK garden blogger

This is my first ever homegrown spring onion.  It was so sweet and tasty.  I ate it in a vegan quesadilla. 

Japanese Bunching Onion. Home grown garden harvest. UK garden blogger

I picked my first spinach beet.  And I ate it in a stir fry!  And I've had lots more spinach beet and rainbow chard too.

Spinach beet. Home grown garden harvest. UK garden blogger

Spinach beet. Home grown garden harvest. UK garden blogger

I picked my first lot of broad beans, and made broad bean falafel, with home grown coriander too!

Broad beans. Home grown garden harvest. UK garden blogger

Broad beans. Home grown garden harvest. UK garden blogger

We have lots of other herbs ready for picking at the moment,  I've been putting lovely basil and thyme in homemade pasta sauces all month.

A naughty slug has eaten all of my courgettes, which I am most upset about!

Have you harvested much this month?

Linking up with Harvest Mondays.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Photo an Hour, August 2015.

The 29th of August was chosen as photo an hour day this month!
Photo an hour is organised by Louisa and Jane.  Here's my day in photos,
9am - I made it out of bed, opened my post (something from Friends of the Earth) and the internet before setting off for work.

10am - I wasn't at my normal Saturday library, so my journey was a 10 minute walk rather than a 10 minute bus ride!  The hanging baskets outside work are massive this year!

11am - My break time snacks were not very exciting!

12am - The arts and crafts shelves are my favourite I think!

1pm - I only work Saturday mornings, so I'm finished by lunchtime.  I walked home past the Peace Garden.  You can see some construction work in the background, that's the old libray building that they're turning into flats and an employment agency.  I used to work there before moving to the new building a few years ago, and it's the library I visited as a child.  It's a super old, decrepit building (it used to be the workhouse!) so I'm glad it's having some work done to it.

2pm - I bought some violas from Wilkinsons on the way home.  I want to plant them in my plant pot shaped like an owl!

3pm - To be honest, I stayed on the sofa from the time I got in, until bedtime.  I had Monday off sick from work and I've not been feeling great for the rest of the week.  I caught up on a couple of episodes of Neighbours.

4pm - and I watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I love the sarcastic teacher (If you knew and I didn't know, then you'd be teaching me instead of me teaching you.  And for a student to teach his teacher is presumptuous and rude).

5pm - A Dip Dab to keep my strength up!

6pm - Still on the sofa, here's the view looking the other way.

7pm - Tea time, Joe had dhal and a naan bread, I wasn't going to eat anyting, but his naan tempted me into having one of my own.

8pm - I missed this out, but I was still on the sofa, watching recorded episodes of the Mindy Project.
9pm - Double mint imperial!  Sadly, highlight of my night I think!

11pm - Book, journal, bed.  Night night!

Did you take part this month?  Let me know if you did, I'd love to see your photos!
I'm trying to take part in #photoanhour every month this year, you can see my past photos here.  And you can keep up with me on Facebook too! 


Thursday, 27 August 2015

Things I Loved, Summer 2015.

This summer I've loved,

Watching - Series 1 of Merlin, Humans, Melissa and Joey (did anyone else freak out over the Halloween special?), Orange is the New Black, Pitch Perfect 2, Arrow season 2, My Mad Fat Diary, Big Hero Six, Anzac Girls (I sniffled my way through it!), Humans, The Clangers.

Reading - Nimona (best. graphic. novel. everrrr.),Grow for Flavour by James Wong, Edible Estates by Fritz Haeg, Peace and Parsnips by Lee Watson.

Listening to - Radio 2, all my CDs are still in boxes!

Moving - the sale of my flat went through this summer, and I moved into our lovely new home with my Joe.   

Home renovation-ing - pretty much all the heavy duty gas, electric and plumbing work has been done, we're onto the cosmetic stuff now, and I'm hoping for carpets really soon!

Buying - Dowe Egberts Orla Kiely coffee jars, so so many plants for my new garden (mostly from the 'dead plants' section in Wilkinsons!), so so many boring house things, some exciting house things too though!  And lots of pretty dresses from the charity shop.

Guiding (I'm a leader at a Rainbow guide pack, the girls are aged 5-7) - we made sock bats, mine was called Bernard, made mud pies and had a lovely walk round a local woodland.  We're currently planning activities for our Unicorn badge (totally my idea)!

Auntie-ing - My biggest niece turned 2, she's so lovely and clever and she remembers anything anyone ever tells her!  She's also very bossy, I was pushing her on the swings and was told in no uncertain terms that I was pushing her with the wrong hand!  My littlest niece started crawling!  And she has teeth! So proud!

Socialising - Ice lollies in Mums garden, lovely meal by the river with Joe's family,  trying a new Japanese restaurant for a friends birthday, going to see Take That's concert screened at the cinema with Mum, my sis in law and her mum, trip to the seasonal fair in Digbeth to meet one of Joe's uni friends, IKEA shopping trips with Mum.

Hope you've had a lovely summer too!?

Don't forget you can find out what I'm up to on facebook and twitter too!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Charity Shopping, Terracotta Pot.

I'm trying to pick up a few things for our new garden, it's not always easy to find second hand garden things.

Charity Shopping, Terracotta Pot.

This little terracotta pot has some chives planted in it now!

50p, charity shop.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Garden, August 2015.

I bought two big teracotta pots from Ikea for either side of the front door, and Joe put some trellis up for the clematis montana to grow up.  I put a kale plant in each side, and planted red spring onion seeds in one pot and purple spring onions in the other.  There's a nasturtium in there too.  I'm quite pleased with my edible and decorative front door planters!  Even though I have to go out and flick caterpillar eggs off the kale every day!

Edible and decorative front door planter.

This little robin is so cute and such a good little companion in the garden.  His baby robin has been hopping around too, but is too shy for photos!

Fluffy robin.

I've been emptying some pots of used soil left by the previous owners of the house.  I've been putting the soil into my compost bin, so any insects or microbes in the soil can give my compost a head start.   I found this ENORMOUS worm!  I don't think the photo shows his true size, he was at least a foot long!

Huge worm.

I made some weed tea to fertilise my garden, as it was looking sad and things were growing sooo slowly. Pick some weeds and put them in a bucket with some water and leave to infuse for a few days.  It stinks, like manure!  But I think it actually worked!

How to make weed tea to fertilise your garden.

My sunflower flowered!


Everything seems to be growing a lot better this month!

Food and flowers, edible cottage garden.

We decided to cut down the big old lilac tree at the end of the garden, as several big branches were rubbing on the roof of next doors garage and looked likely to cause damage.  

You can see it in this before photo, at the very back of the garden, next to the shed.

In progress!  Joe did sawing and I did telling him what to do!

After!  It looks so sad at the moment, but there are new shoots coming round the base.  We're hoping it survives it's extreme haircut and we'll keep it under control as a bush from now on!

We're working on the front garden too.  This is a before photo for posterity.  I'm focusing on pulling all the weeds up from the gravel this year.  I may be some time!  Because the drive is so big, our long term plan is to make the beds bigger and plant a cherry tree in the front garden.

How do you gardens grow this month?

Saturday, 15 August 2015

What do Vegans Eat? Vegan Meal and Snack Ideas.

People always ask me about the vegan foods I eat, so here are some of the meals and snacks I've eaten this month, 

What do Vegans Eat?  Vegan Meal Ideas.  Onion bhaji wrap

Onion bhaji wrap.  I always buy an onion bhaji wrap from this Indian food stall that's at the German Christmas market in Birmingham (I usually get the tandori chips too, yum!) and then I think about it all year.  I decided it was time to make my own!  I made this one with a pre-made bhaji (from Morrisons), some lettuce and spring onions, a sprinkling of chia seeds and an Aldi garlic wrap

What do Vegans Eat?  Vegan Meal Ideas.  Garlic Bread and Garlic mushrooms

Garlic bread and mushrooms.  We like garlic in this house!  You can buy something called 'Garlic Toasties' from Aldi, that are slices of garlic bread, pan fry these and they become delicious and crispy, and serve with some fried mushrooms and garlic.  

What do Vegans Eat?  Vegan Meal Ideas.  Spicy bean burger wrap

Spicy bean burger wrap.  Morrisons spicy bean burger, sliced up, with salad, sesame seeds and ketchup in a garlic wrap.

What do Vegans Eat?  Vegan Meal Ideas.  vegan samosa and pakora

Vegan pakoras and samosa.  I had these at the Seasonal Market in Digbeth, the samosa was pretty much all potato and it was the best!  They were from the Indian Rasoi, I also ate a vegan vanilla cupcake and some paprika sprinkled fries from a hotdog stall.  I missed out on the Budda Belly vegan Thai noodles, I'll have to have those next time!  It was so exciting to be somewhere were every food truck had at least one vegan option, all clearly marked, this sort of thing doesn't happen in my sleepy little town!

What do Vegans Eat?  Vegan Meal Ideas.  chickpea and couscous salad

Chick pea and seed couscous.  I'm trying to be one of those people who always has a big bowl of salad or left overs in the fridge, so I have something healthy to eat when I don't feel like cooking (which is often!).  For this I made some couscous with some vegetable Oxo stock cube.  I dry fried chick peas with cumin, coriander, black pepper and turmeric, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, then mixed it all together with sliced spring onions. 

What do Vegans Eat?  Vegan Meal Ideas.  new potato chips.

New potato chips.  Every year my local chip shop put a sign outside saying 'Now frying this years new potatoes', which causes huge queues!  I love new potato chip time, they're so yummy!  My local chippy's pretty good year round, and do huge portions (that's a 'cone' of chips, wrapped up!) but I find it hard to resist at this time of year.  

What have you been eating?

Linking up with Flaunt it Friday and Your Turn to Shine.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015


My garden has been very busy with bees!  

Bee on buddleia.

Bee on buddleia.

Bee on flowers.

Bee on flowers.

The buddleia and shrub with tiny pink flowers (anyone know what that is?) were already in my garden when I moved here, I found them under some weeds!

Do you have little fuzzy buzzy friends in your garden?

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Make One Small Change - Collect Compost at Work.

Adopting eco friendly habits, for me, is easier taken one small step at a time.  Lots of small changes add up to a big difference.

Now I have a new garden and a new compost bin I thought I should start collecting compostable waste from work.   

Compost caddy made from empty plastic box.  Composting at work.

My compost collection box is an empty washing tablets box (from my colleagues house), I stuck some instructions on it, and left it in our kitchen.

My colleagues kindly filled it with all sorts of compostable waste, especially tea-bags and some fruit peel.  Lovely for my compost bin, and saved from going to landfill. 

Composting at work.

Do you compost at work?  

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Charity Shopping, Retro Marks and Spencers Tray.

Here's my latest charity shop treasure!

Charity Shopping, Retro Marks and Spencers Tray.

The lady in the charity shop told me this was 'proper vintage' because it she was given it as a wedding present 42 years ago!  I told her I'd give it a good home!

£2, charity shop.

Linking up with Vintage Bliss by Woman in Real Life and Flaunt it Friday.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Easy Green Actions, August 2015.

Here's this months round up of easy, green actions and interesting eco articles.

Sign 38 Degrees' petition asking to keep the ban on bee-killing pesticides.  Sum of Us have a similar petition too.

Sign Friends of the Earth's petition asking the government not to overturn Lancashire's fracking ban.

The regulation that prevents wood from illegally logged forests being sold in the EU is currently being reviewed.  Use WWF's online form to tell your MP why forests matter to you.

This is a personal one, but it would make the world a bit nicer too, there's been a group in my local town raising funds to buy the derelict Art Deco cinema and turn it into an arts centre and cinema.  An offer to buy the building from another party has been accepted, so a petition has been set up to ask for council help to purchase the building for the community.  I'd be really grateful if you signed this one!

I've found these reads for you this month too!

This is an interesting article on ethical shopping.

Have you seen this documentary about smog in China?

Advice on eco friendly holiday souvenirs.

Would you buy a sweatshirt that was guaranteed to last 30 years?