Monday, 5 October 2015


One of my favourite things is to shop at our local Farmers' Market. I am blessed as my nearest market is in Stroud, one of the first farmers' markets in the UK and winner of many awards. It is a foodie heaven with so many local producers selling their wares, from Days Cottage cider and apple juice to Hobbs House bread and cakes.

It is the epitome of slow living as it is often so busy you can't rush through the crowds even if you want to. I just go with the flow and meander along with my granny shopping basket stopping to buy bunches of gorgeous flowers and marvel at the stalls proudly boasting colourful vegetables. My three boys really don't share my love of the market but I find they are easily bought off with lardy cakes!

One of my favourite stalls is the Over Farm Market stall which at this time of year is piled high with home grown corn, squash and giant cabbages. I have been a customer of Over Farm since I was a little girl and love to know that the veg is grown just a few miles away by a local family. Shopping at the market helps me eat seasonally, something I loose sight of if I shop in a supermarket where everything is so readily available.

This time of year I get most excited about butternut squash, it's so versatile and I roast it with chilli, make it into soup and my absolute favourite is risotto so I though I'd share my recipe here.

Over Farm Squash Risotto

2 butternut squash - peeled, diced & roasted
1 glass of white wine
1 onion
1 garlic clove
1 chicken or veg stock cube - made according to instructions
parmesan cheese
1 cup of arborio risotto rice


1. finely chop an onion and add to a large frying pan with the crushed clove of garlic with a little oil
2. cook until the onion becomes transparent on a moderate heat (approx. 10 mins)
3. add the white wine
4. add the risotto rice and stir so it soaks up the wine
5. ladle the stock bit by bit, constantly stirring the mixture as it absorbs the liquid
6. after approx. 20 minutes add the squash (towards the end) and stir in to risotto
7. serve with parmesan on top to taste and fried sage leaves to garnish!

Sunday, 27 September 2015


Ever since I read about the Kings Cross Swimming Pond I've wanted to visit. The pond is part natural swimming pond and part art installation at the heart of the rapidly changing Kings Cross, London. So today my lovely friend B and I took advantage one of the last sunny weekends of the year to go for a wild swim. 

A short walk from Kings Cross and St. Pancras Railway Stations the pond is nestled in-between building sites, blocks of student accommodation and trendy flats, with the tall city skyscrapers peeping from behind the cranes in the distance.

The pond has a natural reed bed filtration system, so the water is recycled naturally. It was a chilly 17° today, but the sun was shining and providing plenty of warmth once I inched my way very slowly in!

The plants around the pond were beautiful, the central pool is surrounded by wild flowers, grasses and bushes so that the landscape changes with the seasons. The pond is open until December 2016 and a new sauna will soon be installed providing warmth for those brave to visit over the Winter months. 

After a whole hour in the pond and having squeezed our cold damp bodies back into our clothes, we ventured to Granary Square to Caravan for brunch and to warm up. We had to wait a while to be seated amongst the trendy city types but it was worth it for the Caravan fry-up of sour dough toast, scrambled eggs, slow roasted tomatoes, field mushrooms and bacon, washed down with a huge pot of tea. 

It was lovely to go adventuring in the big city and the pond was just a joy to swim in, a hidden oasis in the bustling city. 

Saturday, 26 September 2015


Oh my goodness this year has flown by, yet another year older and I'm starting to really notice the grey hairs and wrinkles! This is my annual tradition of writing a list of fun and aspirational things to do over the year ahead, my forty-one things to do before I'm forty-two! *wails*
  1. Walk through country lanes lined by cow parsley 
  2. Open an honesty stall or pop-up shop 
  3. Write a book 
  4. Go wild swimming at Dancing Ledge in Dorset 
  5. Enjoy a gourmet burger & Tunnock's milkshake! 
  6. Take the boys crabbing 
  7. Dine at the Towpath Cafe in Hackney
  8. Swim at sunrise on midsummers day
  9. Eat a croissant in France
  10. Take part in #30dayswild  
  11. Watch a film at the Electric Cinema in Portobello
  12. Camp in our bell tent 
  13. Runaway with the circus 
  14. Dust off my roller boots & go skating 
  15. Discover Wilton's Music Hall in London
  16. Make Stanley a whale
  17. Stay at 131 The Prom 
  18. Have a 'bring your own vinyl' party
  19. Dine at the Hidden Hut in Cornwall
  20. Learn to make cider
  21. Indulge with a REN detox wrap
  22. Take the boys horseriding 
  23. Grow a edible garden & plant a living tablecloth
  24. Enjoy some outdoor theatre 
  25. Have a green & homemade Christmas 
  26. Take photo's in the golden hour 
  27. Stay at Prussia Cove
  28. Make feather headdresses with the boys
  29. Hire a VW camper van for the weekend 
  30. Carve a wooden spoon
  31. Practice yoga & go to the Yoga Brunch Club 
  32. Go antique hunting in Bridport 
  33. Learn to cook with chilli 
  34. Make a gallery of mini scenes in matchboxes 
  35. Grow our own pumpkins to carve 
  36. Stay at this chic Paris Hotel
  37. Swim in the Kings Cross swimming pond ✓
  38. Make elderflower champagne
  39. Go on a jaunt in the countryside in a Morris Minor
  40. Bake a weekly loaf of bread #52loavesproject
  41. Holiday in a Danish beach house

Wednesday, 23 September 2015


We've just come back from The Good Life Experience in North Wales. The Good Life, if you haven't heard of it, is a small festival founded by Charlie and Caroline Gladstone, Cerys Matthews and Steve Abbot, which celebrates the good old days of culture, food and the great outdoors. It is in fact less of a festival and more of a party with all our favourite people and we spent most of the weekend catching with friends.  

It has grown considerably from last year but still retained a warm and friendly atmosphere with loads of little touches that make it utterly charming; the vintage canvas tents, bunting, flowers in jam jars and a whisky shack in the woods!

We caught up with our lovely friend Cerys who was so busy welcoming everyone, introducing guests and even singing with the band on Saturday evening. I don't where she gets the energy from as I was worn out chasing the three year old about, who was in a very tired tiz this weekend so apologies to those camped near us!

The Cuban band on Saturday evening were amazing and followed by Big Boss Man who had everyone dancing, although I spent most of the evening in the fun fair field with the boys to be honest, thank goodness the music was loud so I could hear!

There were lots of things to get involved in, from talks and demo's over the campfire to the lovely Jennie Maizels sketchbook club for the kids and a fabulous vintage cycle ride with some very dapper ladies and gents from Eroica Britannia.

I can't wait for next year already - although I will get there a lot earlier and pitch the tent in a better place!

Friday, 18 September 2015


Today the new edition of Crumbs magazine Cotswolds is out and it features our kitchen! I'm a huge fan of Crumbs Magazine, it's a really great read and always so beautifully designed so am honoured to be actually in the magazine! The magazine is available by subscription and in loads of fab foodie places across the region. 

Saturday, 12 September 2015


Forgive a deluge of Instagram pics but I thought you'd like to see the changes I've been making around the house recently. On a complete whim we painted the kitchen cupboards in Annie Sloan 'graphite' chalk paint, they're really dark but I rather like them. I've strung some circus lights in front of the doors, inspired by a recent meal at Giffords Circus travelling restaurant.

My lovely Avery shop scales are broken so they are now the fruit bowl and sit by my shop cupboard.

I've added a new (old) desk to the lounge, I bought it from ebay and granddad sanded it and fixed the drawer.

I wasn't loving the Welsh dresser, which had become a dumping ground for all our family clutter, so after a quick de-clutter I've added some of our books from the lounge. I'm not 100% sure about it so am trying it out for the moment.

So that's a quick nosey round our ground floor, still loads to do and I haven't even begun on the muddle that's upstairs yet! 


My mum gave me a newspaper clipping this week about the late English psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott who specialised in researching stages of a child's development and parenting. Published over 70 years ago he wrote about the 'good enough mother' - someone who tried their best but who inevitably failed at times.

I feel I'm the 'good enough' mother, as no matter how hard I try at this parenting malarky things just seem to go wrong. For example the first day back at school last week we turned the house over looking for number 2 son's PE shirt, couldn't find it anywhere even though I was sure I had vowed to wash it and put it back in his bag at the beginning of the school holidays. A day later and I've forgotten to take up number 1 son's school trousers so grandma had to save the day.

Donald Winnicott said that parenting failure made children learn to stand on their own two feet and produce stable adults, he believed that when mothers tried to do things by the book, "they loose touch with their own ability to act without knowing what is right and what is wrong."

My boys see me get things wrong all the time, they know that I'm often late, that sometimes tea is rustled up from rubbery veg found at the bottom of the fridge and when asked to help them with maths I use my fingers to count times tables secretly under the table (always have!) So based on my track record, surely they should turn out alright?

p.s. Do share your thoughts, what's your biggest parenting fail? Do you agree with Dr. Winnicott or do you believe in doing things by the book?
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