We moved into The Lodge a year ago and have had many adventures since then!! I keep friends and family entertained with stories of semi rural life (lots of space, no neighbours and we don't have a Tesco on our doorstep!!) We share our home with 3 crazy cats (George, Henry and Gracie) and our hens (Ethel, Fluffy and Lulu). Our dream is to become as self sufficient as possible, save money and help the environment that little bit!! I hope that this blog entertains and inspires!!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

All change!!!

So much has happened in the last six months and the blog updates have suffered slightly!! I have now found the time to give a brief update and post some new pics!!
The big news is that we have a baby on the way (affectionately known as bump at the moment)!!
So it is with heavy hearts (but positive, optimistic, looking to the future vibes) that we have decided to leave the Lodge!! But fear not, we may not be in the position to build yet, but we may have found a little cottage/smallholding that we can really call our own!! So fingers crossed over the next few weeks, that the dream may live on!!
We are having to downsize slightly (for the time being)!! Margo and Barbara (the ducks) have moved on to pastures new. I am kept up to date on how they are and believe they are very happy!! Gracie (our stray) is moving with them this week, the Lodge is starting to feel very empty!!
On a brighter note, my little chutney empire is growing!! Chutneys and jams are selling well and people are saying lovely things about them!! Still tweaking recipes and looking for inspiration for new and varied flavours!!
As we are moving, the planting and growing has taken a bit of a back-seat, but once in our new place we will be back on track with our produce!!
One thing we have been lucky with is rhubarb, it has taken over the planter!! Here are some recipes I have tried out/will be trying http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/6744/orange-rhubarb-jam.aspx http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/586947.


Sunday, 11 December 2011

Let the Festivities begin......!!!

Christmas has indeed arrived here at The Lodge! Tree shopping yesterday, it has to be a real one (never mind the needles on the carpet, you just can't beat the smell!!) We buy from a guy who sets up at a local fishing lake. I think I made the young fellas day as I skipped from the car shouting "Trees" and grinning like a lunatic, so much so that he gave us a discount!!! The tree was decorated while we listened to Christmas hits and drank non-alcoholic mulled cider (a clear head is needed whilst decorating!!). The cider recipe was thrown together but very tasty, we used Kopparberg mixed fruit cider with some cloves, cinnamon and orange peel, lovely!!
Christmas making and baking has also taken over!! The Christmas chutney is currently simmering and filling The Lodge with lovely aromas!! Check out my facebook page if you would like to place an order.
The yearly tradition of making salt dough decorations will also be happening later (the hubby cant wait!!!), http://www.channel4.com/4homes/how-to/craft/how-to-make-salt-dough-for-christmas-decorations-for anyone who isn't sure what to do!! I usually add some ground cinnamon to the mix then once cut  I place cloves into the shapes before air drying, again with those festive aromas!!!! I'll post pics later!!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


I'm not sure if it's because the winter is setting in or because we are an old (ish) married couple now, but the nesting instinct has kicked in!! It's home improvements all the way!! The hubby has gone through the list of projects for the coming month, he has gone all Kirsty Allsop on me and is re-upholstering my old couch (he had promised me a new one many years ago after the cats destroyed it when we first moved in together!!) but waste not want not and I'm sure his efforts will be much grander than anything you can buy new!!! Next on his list is DIY double glazing http://www.bbc.co.uk/bloom/actions/secondaryglazing.shtml, I think he is going for the film/hairdryer option, will let you all know how it works!!
While the man of the house gets on with that, I have been left with the fun stuff!! I have been searching out fabrics, accessories, paints, bed linens you name it!! Anything vintage, 'shabby chic', with that country feel or generally unusual will do!! Have come across some lovely websites, these included http://www.vintagelifestyle.co.uk/http://www.vintagefabricmarket.co.uk/index.html. Once I have found the perfect fabric, making my own curtains will be first on my agenda, before building up to the BIG one, making my own patchwork quilt!! Until then I have made do with this lovely bed-set http://www.marksandspencer.com/Marks-and-Spencer-Heritage-Bedset/dp/B003FWCRD8, not to everyone's taste but I LOVE it!!!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Afternoon Tea!!

I'm pleased to report that Afternoon Tea was a resounding success!! Everyone brought something home-made, one friends chocolate brownie style cake (with crushed Oreos) was amazing!! I'm sure she would have given me the recipe but then she would have probably killed me!!! After reading an article on how to make the perfect scone http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2010/apr/22/how-to-make-perfect-scones, I decided to combine a few of the recipes and they came out a treat!! I had wanted to serve them up with some home-made jam but things didn't quite go to plan!! After foraging for blackberries I decided to cheat and use the jam setting on our bread machine, the result was burnt blackberries (another example of me not quite managing domestic goddess status)!!!! I am now on the lookout for a reliable preserving kit, will let you know when I find one!!
In other news the lovely Sunflowers in the garden have now died off, but fear not I have been researching ways of using the seeds!! So far have decided to make bread, roast and store them for snacks and keep some for planting next year!! You could also give them out as wedding favours, as we did at our wedding party this year!!
Tilly the hen has also joined us here at The Lodge, she is a "funny looking thing" (the hubbys words!!), a bit grumpy and a bit of a loner!! Hoping that, after a few days of running around with the other girls, she will have cheered right up!!! Pictures to follow!!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Triumphs and Disasters!!!

It has been a baking and cooking fest here at The Lodge recently. What with an abundance of apples from the trees and in the end doing so-so with the toms, I decided to try my hand at making Chutneys and Sauces! Check out the Facebook page for more details http://www.facebook.com/pages/Life-at-The-Lodge.  They have been a real hit with friends and family!!
I have also developed a real baking bug. First off the tried and tested http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hummingbird-Bakery-Cookbook recipes, you can't go wrong!! The lemon cupcakes AND chocolate cheesecake cupcakes were a triumph and really brightened up my work colleagues day!! I was also very pleased with the http://feedingboys.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/banana-and-apple-loaf/ recipe, which I must admit I kept for myself hehe!! But before you all start to think I really am some sort of domestic goddess, disaster struck!! Shortbread made with riceflour (I won't subject you to the recipe) :S  I took the hubby a cuppa through with a sample, only to return 10 minutes later to find it still on the plate (which is not like him at all) I was so thoughtfully informed that he would more than likely lose a tooth if he tried to eat it!!!
I'm hoping for more luck at my Afternoon Tea with the girls this weekend, perhaps I should just ply the majority of them with fizzy and they won't notice any disasters!!!
Well I am off to see a man about an allotment!! Fingers crossed!!