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!!

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!!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Down to Married Life!!

After the most hectic but amazing month, we are settling down to married life and it feels fantastic!!! We are pleased to say that the elusive Henry turned up this week, a day after we put the MISSING posters up!! Stu is convinced Henry can read, saw them and thought "ooh bugger they're getting worried, best show my face"!!! It has been highly entertaining observing his return and watching the 3 cats figure out some sort of rank and work out who is Top Cat!!!
The crop of toms may turn out to be a bit of a disappointment, too much rain and not enough sun (we felt for you guys while we were basking in the 30C heat of Thailand!!!) has left us with a huge batch of green toms with no sign of them turning!! Green tomato recipes welcome please!!
We are going to try our luck this weekend and plant some 'late' potatoes, carrots and some leek seedlings if we can find any!! Hopefully we shall have plenty of veg then for Christmas Day, as we will have a house full at The Lodge this year, yippee!! Looking for land too as we want to try and grow on a bigger scale next year, have signed up to http://www.landshare.net// fingers crossed!!
Well I must go and check on our two new additions, the hens, Pease and Pudding. They seem to be settling in with the other girls okay, lots of clucking going on out there so that should mean lots of egg laying!!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Return to The Lodge!!!

Life at The Lodge returns!! Its been a few months. I must admit that with all that has been going on around here, stag/hen dos, holidays and weddings and the planning that it has all involved I totally forgot my password etc and have been unable to access the blog!!! :S
Anyway some form of normality has returned this week. We are back after the most amazing time away (more of that later I'm sure) and are now a Mr and Mrs!!!!
I say some form of normality, but not quite!! Fluffy, Ethel and Lulu are still on their hols, living it up in a fancy hen house!! We are also minus one cat, who is 'stealthing' around the countryside somewhere after point blank refusing to go to the cattery!! Thank you to the various friends for staying and popping round to feed him. Payment included onions and beetroot from the garden!
Pleased to announce that the timed watering system worked a treat and the toms, sweetcorn and chillis are looking good!!
Anyway must get on, bit more planning this week for the BIG party. A last minute venue cancellation and a overly worried landlady  put paid to our plans for a rural/local theme, but it has all worked out. After marrying in the beautiful Thailand we just cannot wait to see all our family and friends this weekend.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Wonder Woman!!

Have arrived back at the Lodge after a week of fun and adventure!! Turned into Wonder Woman overnight and tried out rock climbing, gorge walking and swinging through the air on ropes!! The sight of me first thing on a morning and my distinctive squeals of laughter kept everyone entertained, I'm sure!!!
You would think a relaxed weekend would be in order, but oh no, plenty to do!! Toms all planted. Stu has also had much fun making/installing our timed watering system, cant let our Wedding/Holiday get in the way of another bumper crop this year!!!
Hopefully our hard work should pay off, the garden is slowly coming to life!!!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Wedding Fever!!

Life at the minute seems to be a blur of sowing seeds, transplanting seedlings, recycling and composting!! I was always a bit hit and miss with the old recycling but since starting this blog I have felt duty bound to recycle and reuse wherever possible!! Of course all the old wine bottles will be reused for this years wine making, if we can get the plum stuff to clear, any suggestions welcome!! Stu has also reused an old gas bottle to make our very own chiminea, a stunning piece of workmanship that looks like a cyberman from Doctor Who!!
Wedding fever has also hit the lodge!! Rings and cake sorted yesterday (amazed at how excited I got over cake!!). Onto invites today! Designing our own with the help of some creative friends!! Getting through the to do list slowly but surely.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Back to Reality!!

Another weekend at The Lodge over! It has been very productive none the less.
After I developed an irrational fear of the hens late last year (they were trying to land on my head honestly!!), it was left to Stu to see them through the winter!! He had his revenge though and the spring clean of the hen house was left to me, no amount of welly stomping was going to change his mind!! All that chicken poop will help with the composting though.
Most of the seeds have now been sown, I may have my first disaster! After listening to Monty Don for 5 minutes, Stu is now a gardening expert, advising me not to plant out my radish and spinach until the first proper leaves had appeared!! I am loath to say he may have been right, their not looking to happy in the planter!! You live and learn!


Well Spring has definitely arrived. We celebrated the arrival of the lambs next door with a BBQ and lashings of ginger beer (alcoholic of course)!! I really want one as a pet, but Stu reckons the farmer wouldn't take kindly to me hopping over the fence and pinching one!! Also after much deliberation, the hens are now free range. We have overcome our worries ( foxes, cats, will they run away, never to return?!!) and the girls are much happier for it. As from yesterday , 3 eggs a day!! Hopefully the start of my produce for my honesty box!!