Saturday, 27 July 2013


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013.

30/52 - Wiggles Walks

30/52 - Back in the pool

So this week is just a little bit monumental!  Up until this point the highest number of steps Wiggles had ever managed unaided was 12.  This week she cleverly managed 64!  I'm not sure that this means she's "properly" walking still, but she's pretty much there, it's all down to confidence now.  This week's picture depicts her both walking, and asserting her authority by insisting on wearing a purple plastic hairband instead of a hat.  I have NO say in the matter.  In these pictures we were visiting a friend and once again the paddling pool was out.

In Biscuit's picture she clutches her precious watering can, dutifully wears her hat and manages to look sweet and patient and exasperated all at the same time.  Which is fair really with a Mummy that insists on taking photographs of her every move!

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Friday, 26 July 2013

Five Among Friends - Round Seven

Good Morning! Good Morning my lovelies! It's time for this week's round of Five Among Friends!

1)  If you could be famous for ONE thing, what would it be?
Being really flippin amazing at crochet! I am not. This is seriously wishful thinking! But if I was famous for it I'd be pretty chuffed, at least I'd feel a sense of achievement!

This week's crochet effort! 

2)  If you had a super-power, what would it be?  Why?
I'd be able to close my eyes and track my children and know if they were safe or if they needed me. If they did need me I'd be able to whizz around really fast Wonder Woman style to be with them in a heartbeat to help them out.

3)  When did you realise you wanted to be a blogger?
Around 8am on 2nd January 2013. No forethought prior to that was involved! 

4)  UPS or FedEx?  Which is better?
Ha! Royal Mail!!! I don't think I've ever used either UPS or Fed Ex! Britain's mail service is pretty impressive most of the time...

5)  What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Easy, easy, easy! Mint Choc Chip, every time!!!! And plenty of it :)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Great Fake Sophie Debacle ...

Two months after Wiggles was born I decided to invest in THE MOTHER of all teething toys.  The most famous, the most revered, the teething toy with the best reviews in the whole history of ever.... yes I spent several of my pennies on a Sophie the Giraffe teething toy for my baby girl, as quite frankly she deserves the best.

Vulli who make Sophie designed her in 1961, the design has never changed and she has a fabulous retro look to her.  All their Sophie's are made to exactly the same specification. We ordered ours from Amazon and I wasn't disappointed.

She LOVED her.  In fact it was love at first nibble.  She liked to squeak her, dribble on her, squeak her, wave her about oh yes, and squeak her.  In fact she loved her so much that I had to wash her several times as she'd got a little mucky from being dumped on the floor, stuffed under her bum and bounced on, you know, that sort of thing.  I don't know if you've ever tried giving Sophie the Giraffe a scrub, if you haven't but you need to here's a tip for you - cover the squeak up or it will suck water up into it's body and never squeak again!  Thankfully a friend of mine imparted this little nugget before our Sophie arrived so despite being washed a lot, she always retained her squeak.  I did notice however, that our little Sophie seemed to have faded quite a lot though, but I put this down to me scrubbing at her and didn't think much more about it.....


Two friends of mine popped over with their babies.  They both owned and had brought with them their little ones Sophie the Giraffe teething toys.  I had never seen another toy up close and was a bit concerned to discover that theirs were both identical, but that they looked quite different to my own.

Despite some pretty heavy gumming and subsequent washing theirs had all their spots and they were much darker in colour.  The shape of their toy's eyes were quite different and they each had very pink cheeks which our Sophie doesn't have. Their toys were also notably smaller than ours and the colour of the rubber was quite different.  Theirs were also almost white, ours is a yellow colour.  The legs of the other giraffes were also quite a different.


On the left we have Exhibit A - Sophie the Giraffe - photograph courtesy of the Amazon website.  On the right, our Sophie.  The suspected Faux-phie.

Alarm bells started ringing, if every Sophie was supposed to be made to the same specification how could ours be so different? I'd heard of knock off handbags, shoes and that sort of thing, but surely no one would stoop so low as to produce a counterfeit baby toy? I emailed Amazon as soon as possible, on the Sunday afternoon explaining my concerns. I heard back from them by 9.00 am the very next day saying that they had received my email, they were taking it very seriously and they would investigate and get back to me. In the mean time I was welcome to a refund, but they wouldn't be able to give me any indication as to how long this enquiry would take. I wrote back saying I was happy to wait. This wasn't about money, but safety, I just wanted to know my baby hadn't been poisoned with a counterfeit Sophie the Giraffe!

 By 1 o'clock the same day I received a response from Amazon. They had tracked their supply chain back to the Vulli factory in France and were happy that our toy was genuine. Not only that but they had contacted the factory and raised my specific concerns with them. The factory had advised that the Sophie the Giraffe toys are made in plaster of Paris moulds, each mould can make ten Sophie's before it needs to be replaced, hence the subtle differences in size and shape. Then each Sophie is hand painted, hence the differences in depth of colour.

 So it transpired that I was having an irrational mummy panic and that I'd been accusing two perfectly reputably and frankly enormous bloody great big companies of flogging knock off and potentially poisoning my child.  Ahem... But instead of just ignoring me, or wafting me away like the wally that I am they dealt with my query sensitively, thoroughly and quickly. And I was really flippin grateful, if a little embarrassed!!! I am so pleased we have a Sophie and not a Faux-phie!!!

Have you ever been caught out with a counterfeit? Or made an international muppet of yourself? I'd really like it if someone said it wasn't just me!!

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Saturday, 20 July 2013


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013.

29/52 - Hat

29/52 - Hat, hat

It's been another deliciously warm week in which we've seen Biscuit hopping in and out of the paddling pool to cool down, it's been bliss! I love Biscuit's face in this picture, she loves the sunshine!  She's a little more cautious when it comes to sitting down in the paddling pool, but what does that matter you can have just as much fun perched on the side or standing up, if that's what you prefer!!

Wiggles crawling round the shady parts of the allotment trying to keep out of the sun.  This is a particularly unusual shot because she's actually got her hat on for a change!  Usually as soon as she realises there's an interloper on her head it comes straight off!

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Friday, 19 July 2013

Five Among Friends - Round Six

Hello to you!!

I've caught up and am on schedule with this week's Five Among Friends post. This week's questions are courtesy of the lovely Jules at My Mom's a Whack Job and I've really enjoyed answering them...

1. Put your iTunes on Shuffle, what are the first five songs that come up?
From The Lowlands - Tom McRae
Nirvana - Polly
Pixies - Tame
Maxïmo Park - By The Monument
Eels - Love of the Loveless

2. Who was the last person you held hands with?
My daughter Biscuit. I make her hold my hand as we walk to school, there are fast roads and speedy cars. 

3. Name two personality traits of yours that you love and explain why....
I'm very loyal to my friends and to those I care about. I may be useless at sticking up for myself, but slight a friend or someone I love and you'll know about it!! 

I also like to think I've got a good sense of humour! I can usually diffuse a situation with done carefully chosen words, or make someone smile. 

4. Who is your best friend?  How long have you been friends?  Where did you meet?
My very best friend in this world is called Tallulah. Biscuit and I were recently bridesmaids at her wedding. We met somewhere around 1996 when she was studying music on the same course as my (then) boyfriend. We were in touch, then out of touch, then met again and haven't been too far apart ever since. I love that girl like a sister. Even though we're both going straight to hell!! Tallulah if you're reading this, two words: Ability World!!! 

5. If you could do one random, crazy thing, with no fear of doing it or any lasting effects, what would it be?
Gosh, there's a question!! You know that feeling you get when you stand on the top of a waterfall, or a cliff and think to yourself, I could jump off, I could....well I'd jump! Just for the hell of it! If only to get they creepy feeling out my system.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Cheers darlin'...

My lovely husband is a thoughtful soul. Ever since we first met he's surprised me with sweet little gifts that he puts a lot if effort into choosing, really thinking about what I would like or enjoy.

He bought me a Zorbing experience once, which saw me rolling down a hill in a giant bubble of water, it was brilliant! We saw Othello at The Globe in London, and The Mousetrap and The Woman in Black. We've been on decadent day trips and lovely weekends away and created some lovely memories together. 

We still like to do things together now, though perhaps less often. Today my lovely Husband is treating me to a day out at the Warner Bros Harry Potter studio tour. I'm so excited I can't wait! Of course I'm duty bound to take lots of pictures and bore you all to tears with a post at a later date. 

So, what I really wanted to say was thank you, my love. You really are the best and I really am a very lucky girl. Although I confess I am a useless moth swatter!

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Tuesday, 16 July 2013


I am stupid, stupid, stupido!  I wrote my Currently post for last week and then completely forgot to publish it!  Rather than waste it, I'm doing it late!  So here goes! Look out Ot and Et and Harvesting Kale  this is LAST WEEK's Currently! In which I have been been:

Trying: I've been trying out cocktail recipes!! Last weekend I had a little cocktail party for some local girl friends, then we alll went off to watch some live music. Obviously I HAD to try out the recipes in advance to make sure they were ok. I have concluded that I do not like Mint Julep's but I do like Strawberry Woo Woo's.

Wearing: sandals and flip flops, a true sign of summer! I've been enjoying digging out long flowing skirts and cotton dresses to combat the heat. 

Choosing: This week I have been choosing photographs to send off to be printed. Such a difficult task! Obviously as a mother I think every picture ever taken of my babies is fabulous. It's such a difficult task to choose between them. 

Laughing: at myself! Someone has to!! Twitter followers will know all about my faux pas at Biscuit's meet the teacher evening. It went a little like this:

Me: "I'm Kate, I'm Biscuit's Mum"
Husband: "I'm her Husband, I'm Biscuit's Dad" 
Me: "that's what he thinks..."
Teacher looks horrified, snooty Mummy to my right suggests "this isn't really the place" 
Husband plus a couple of friends laugh, but most people just looked aghast. I thought I was funny! 

Tasting: Nothing! I've had a cold, which is a bit rubbish. I can't remember the last thing I was able to taste. Bah! 

Next week: Loving, Losing, Remembering, Clearing, Picking.

Join in?

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Monday, 15 July 2013

Five Among Friends 4 & 5

I'm a little behind with Five Among Friends posts so I'm posting both sets of questions together to catch up, hope you can bear to read it all!. Here goes:

1. What is your favourite holiday and why?
I'm assuming this means holiday in the American sense, rather than the English sense so I'm going to say Christmas. I lost my love for it, but since having children I treasure every second of it. It's such a special time. I love the decorations, the food, the social occasions and I love watching my girls have fun. 

2. Do you have a special or favorite cartoon or cartoon character?
For me Cruella DeVille ROCKS!! She may be mean, but at least she's got character, not like some watery wafty princess. She knows what she wants and she sets out to get it. 

3. What was your reaction on your first born's first day at school? 
If I'm really honest I was ok with it, I've never really had a problem with her growing up, nor have I wanted to keep her a baby. She loved school, I was happy that she was happy.

4. What’s your preference: Swimming pool or beach, and why?
Neither! I'd rather get out there and do something or see something than park my bum on a beach or buy a pool. I'd rather stroll through the mountains or weave through the markets and have an experience. 

5. How do you schedule your blog post and do you use any type of system?
I like to keep my weekends quiet and share those times with my family, so weekends on the blog are all about photographs. The 52 Project with a picture of my gorgeous girls on Saturday and a Silent Sunday picture the day after. 

6. If you could switch blogs with another blogger, who would it be and why? 
I'd switch with the lovely Emma Kate from Painted Style. I wish I had her talent for restoration, she makes some beautiful things. I'd love to be half as clever as she is! 

7. What is/are your favorite bloghop(s)?
My particular favourites are Magic Moments by The Oliver's Madhouse and Currently hosted by Ot and Et. I try to join in whenever I can. 

8. What is the best thing that blogging has taught you?
That people can be truly amazing. Blogging connects me with brilliant and inspirational people I wouldn't otherwise know existed!

9. If you could turn back time, what would you change about your life? 
Nothing. If my life hadn't played out exactly the way it has I wouldn't be lucky enough to be where I am today. I've had hard times, but they've moulded me as person and taught me lessons. I am incredibly grateful for the blessings I have. 

10. Recommend 5 wonderful movies worth watching. Why do you love these movies?
I am a funny one when it comes to films, I'm not really in to Hollywood or blockbusters, I don't like anything too ordinary. I would recommend: 

Requiem for a Dream, Basquiat, 10 Rillington Place, Don't Look Now and Withnail & I.

Check out the others ladies blogs for their (far more up to date) responses! 

Saturday, 13 July 2013


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013.

28/52 - watching the sunshine through the trees

28/52 - My beautiful girl

This week we have had some truly beautiful weather, what a difference it makes to everything!  When the sun shines we all smile.  It was so warm that we decided to take a family walk up the hill outside our village to feel a little cooler.  Then we found a little wooded clearing and had a sit down to enjoy beautiful sunshine and warm breeze.  I love these days.  Wiggles crawled around unhindered watching the sun shine through the branches.  Biscuit had taken a liking to Mummy's cocktail umbrella straws and threaded one through her sunhat - her pretty flower apparently.  She may have looked a little bonkers, but I wasn't about to spoil her fun.  She's playing with my flip flops because toys are thin on the ground on top of a hill.  My word I love them.

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Friday, 12 July 2013

Adventures in Foraging: Strawberry Vodka

Things have been busy at our little allotment lately, we have been blessed with basket after basket of delicious strawberries. Strawberries are epitome of summer fruit, right? But now they're starting to wind down, the fruit aren't as lovely as they were at the start of the season. But all is not lost!! You can still use those fruit for something wonderful! I would heartily suggest using them up by making Strawberry Vodka....

My recipe is wonderfully simple. Once you've picked your remaining fruit, check it and slice it in half. Discard any bruised or bad fruit. Place your berries into a clean, sterilised bottle or jar. Add sugar. If you like a sweet drink, add lots, if you prefer a sharper tipple then add less. I'd recommend erring on the side of caution, but this stage it really doesn't matter about specific quantities as you will taste your drink at a later stage and can always add more if you feel it necessary. As a guide I tend to half fill my jar with strawberries, then add sugar until its just under 3/4's full. Then pour in your vodka, until your bottle or jar is completely full. Vodka quality is not important, you can quite use a cheapy version (I'd recommend Aldi's own brand) as the finished product barely even tastes of vodka, just delicious strawberries. Finally give your bottle a good shake. 

Then store your fruity brew away in the back of a cool dark cupboard. If the glass is clear you may like to cover it as this helps keeps the colour nice and bright. Give it a swish every so often just to muddle it up a bit. Taste it and add more sugar if you feel it necessary.  

When it goes into your cupboard it should look a little something like this:

The very hardest part of this recipe is that you have to store your vodka away without drinking it for (at the very least) one month, but if you can bare to leave it for three or even six months all the better!

When it's ready, strain your mixture removing the fruit. Then put it through a muslin or coffee filter to remove any little bits, seeds it pips. This makes sure it's nice and clear.

Don't leave your fruit in the mixture for more than six months as it will spoil. It's quite natural for the alcohol to leach the colour from the fruit. Indeed, this is a very good sign!!

This drink is delicious on its own, as a base for cocktails and particularly in a hip flask for sharing with friends! It also makes a lovely gift if decanted into a pretty little bottle.

It's utterly delicious and so simple! I love strawberries and I love vodka. Mixing the two is pretty much my idea of heaven! So what are you waiting for?!! Give it a try! 

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P.S I will be sure to post some pictures if the finished product in a few months time...

Monday, 8 July 2013

Adventures in Foraging: Elderflower Cordial...

I mentioned in a previous post that I had been out and about collecting elderflowers. I LOVE elderflower cordial, in a big way. I love it's delicate summery and lemony flavour, I just can't get enough of it. It's like my secret squash just for Mummy. Plus those who know me know that I love a good forage, it gives me great pleasure to make something lovely from anything fresh, local and free! 

So here is my elderflower cordial recipe. First of all, find a tree with lots of beautiful fresh elderflowers. Make sure it's away from any roads and try to pick your flowers on a nice warm day when the blossom is open. Give the blossom a little shake just to make sure there are no little bugs hanging around. 

You will need approximately twenty large heads, with no brown flowers. 

Once home remove the flowers from their stems with a fork. There is a very small amount of a  cyanide-like compound within the stems, so best to chuck those! The flowers come off easily. You should be left with a lovely big bowl full of flowers which look a little like this.  

The remaining stems look like this. You don't need to be horrendously accurate and remove every single flower. They smell amazing! 

In a large, deep, clean pan dissolve 1kg of big standard white sugar into 1.5 litres of boiling water. Swish it around until its all gone. Then add 55g of citric acid and dissolve that too. 

Add your elderflowers and four lemons all chopped up. Then cover and leave it alone for 48 hours. Yeeps!! The elderflowers will steep, the lemons will release their natural oils and your kitchen will smell fantastic.

After 48 hours have passed strain the mixture through a sterilised muslin. Then do it again to make sure you have a lovely pale yellow liquid. Pour into sterilised bottles and store it somewhere dark and cool. It should keep for about three months. 

Enjoy diluted as an alternative to squash, add to lemonade or sparking water. Try it in gin and tonic for an unusual and refreshing twist. You can also drizzle it onto cake, add to gooseberry fool or pour it onto fresh fruit salad to make it summery. You can make fantastic ice lollies with it or even try it hot. Apparently it's beneficial for treating colds and flu!

Personally I like to take bottles to summer BBQ's as a gift for the host. It makes a nice change from a bottle of plonk and if you've made it yourself you feel like it's a bit special!

Have you ever made elderflower cordial? Do you have any other uses for it? 

To me it's like summer in a bottle. I've got to go and have some now, I've worked up a hankering for it now I've been talking about it so much!! If you're in the UK there's still time to get out there and snaffle yourself some flowers! 

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Saturday, 6 July 2013


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013.

27/52 - Hat fun

27/52 - Doughnut fun
We have had a couple of days of beautiful sunshine this week, and as every Mother knows sunshine equals; sun hats!  I put it on, Wiggles pulls it back off again.  I put it on, she takes it off.  Repeat on a never ending cycle.  But I can't be cross with her because she's just so cute and cheeky.  When she takes her hat off she thinks its the funniest thing she's ever done.  

Biscuit played the doughnut game and got herself covered from head to foot in sugar for her trouble. I tried to tell her that she looks like a sugary moose in this picture, but she didn't really understand!  Can anyone else see it?

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Friday, 5 July 2013

Because I am a blogger.....

Because I am a "blogger";

• I feel I can legitimately sit in coffee shops tapping away on electronic devices quaffing coffee and feeling trendy, rather than looking at people doing the same wondering what they heck they're so busy doing. I hardly ever do this to be honest, but when I do I feel very cool and very smug. 

• I dust a room, feel immensely pleased with myself and then not only take a photograph and tweet about it, but also mention it in a post somewhere. I'll bet my poor departed Grandmother would find this concept hysterical. When she dusted a room, she just dusted a room and didn't expect anyone to reply "Go you!" The same applies to cake baking and crochet.

• I take a million photographs of everything that happens around me. I'd say 90% of which I don't use. I get slightly panicky at the thought of not having any photographic equipment with me in case something brilliant happens. I also dislike the concept of a post with no pictures, it's as though I have a duty to prove to my lovely readers that something actually happened with photographic proof. This I turns means I look back through the pictures stored on my camera or phone and wonder what the fluff I was thinking!! For example...

Yep, that's my coffee cup. I'm not sure how I thought this would enrich a post, maybe "Drank coffee today, it was, like, so caffeinated"

And, oh yes...
Because as a "blogger" I felt an urgent and compelling need to record the fact that my darling baldy baby has sprouted an almost curl....

• I live my life quietly considering whether detailing whatever it is that I'm doing is post-worthy. I wake up at night sometimes because an ingenious idea has popped (with impeccably bad timing) into my head and must be recorded, if only in note form, or it will be gone, gone forever and the wider world will have been robbed, without even knowing it. 

• I have a Bloglovin feed which thrills me and depresses me in equal measure. All those wonderful blogs and wonderful bloggers out there with their posts that I would love to be able to sit and read with a leisurely gin. Sadly I have jobs to do, big and small people to care for and  sometimes I just run out of time.I feel guilty beyond measure about this, but there are occasions when pressing "mark all as read" is the only way to stave off a panic attack! I love you though I do, gizza kiss? 

• I invent words. For example: Blog-min. Blog based admin, all of the reading, commenting, writing, editing and replying that is very important and has to be done. "Can't wash up darling, I have some very pressing blog-min to get on with that just can't wait.....and yes, it's far more important than you playing Lego Lord of the Rings on your X-box".

• I can socialise with my blog-friends online without worrying about what I'm going to wear, how my hair looks, whether I've over dressed (again). At any given time there's someone around to chat to on Twitter or there's a blog I can pop to and read up on what's happening in that person's life.  All without the need for hours of preparation, matching accessories or painted nails! Huzzah!! Generally speaking my lovelies, as I'm connecting with you with the medium of social networks this is how I like to dress:

As my super hero alter ego Mega Bear. And you never even knew...

• I have my own little corner of the Internet in which I can shout and blaze, moan and groan, detail the day to day, seek advice, connect with people that can give me the perfect price of advice, feel my pain, share my joy and be the reason why I'm smiling. 

Thank you all. I bloody love being a blogger. 

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Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Well shiver my timbers, it's only from actual Mothercare....

1        2       3         4

We went to Mothercare last weekend. I haven't been there for a long time, there isn't a store near us and I'd kind of got it into my head that you only really needed to go there prior to having a baby to buy changing mats, breast pads and that sort of thing.  But we'd received a gift voucher for Wiggles for her birthday, so we decided to take a trip out and spend it.

I was very pleasantly surprised, particularly by their clothing range.  I completely and totally fell in love with the Little Bird range designed by Jools Oliver.  I've liked Jools ever since I read her book on pregnancy; "Minus Nine to One" it's a little old now, but she wrote it in a way I could really identify with and she's got her head screwed on.  I've thought she was great ever since.

Her clothing range has just reinforced my opinion.  Wiggles looks beautiful in a little pink dress, but not all the time, she may be a little girl, but she also suits bright bold colours and the Little Bird range has those in plentiful supply.  I loved the retro seventies feel that so many of the items had, they really took me back to my childhood, in a good way!

We bought the first t-shirt shown above for Wiggles and it's pretty much my ideal t-shirt for her in every possible way, bright colours, but still girly.  And you can feel the quality.  We also bought her a little pair of sandals to match which were from the ordinary Mothercare range.  She's not walking yet so we don't need to worry too much about what goes on her feet.  We also bought the little koala pyjamas for Biscuit which she loves.  And then Dot the Robot at the end just had to come home with us.  I am a sucker for a robot!  I'm not sure who loves her most.

Altogether I was really impressed with the entire Mothercare range, but particularly with Little Bird.  I really could have spent a fortune there.  I'm definitely going to keep an eye on this range in the future, I'm looking forward to seeing what there is on offer around Christmas as for me it pretty much ticks every possible box!

Have you seen or bought any of the Little Bird collection?  What are your thoughts on Mothercare? 

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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Allotment Update!

I realised that I haven't mentioned how things are getting on at our allotment for a little while, so here's a little update for you...

• the spuds are in as per this post and they're growing nicely. We earthed them up and now they're doing wonderfully. The rows are not terribly straight, and they're a bit weedy but who wants a straight spud?!!!

• our strawberry plants are doing fantastically. Last year we had loads, but sadly after our first batch was picked a pesky bird got in under the netting and scoffed the remainder. This year we've rigged up a pretty impressive netting system, looks like (fingers crossed) we'll have plenty of fruit this year, there are lots of strawberries under there, but at the moment not many that are the right colour.

• we've planted lots of seeds, carrots, parsnip and spring onion, plus lots of lettuce dotted around and even some pumpkin. There are some sweetcorn plants in and at the moment they look like they're doing well, but we don't have great history with sweetcorn, so I'm not holding my breath!

• we've moved a lot of our raspberry plants this year, they seem to be happy in their new homes, but I'm not convinced they'll fruit this year. We have some established raspberry plants, but they're autumn fruit, dark and delicious so they're while off!!

• the herb bed looks amazing!! Fresh and green and beautiful! I'm going to be making lots of use if the chives, sorrel, purple sage, mint and tarragon. Nothing beats fresh herbs!

• the gooseberry bushes have fruit! I love gooseberries, crumbles, pies, fools, yes please!! Plus if the gooseberries are ready then it means that it's time to pick elderflowers too (they fruit and flower at the same time) which means yay! More homemade elderflower cordial!! In fact I've already made ours for the year, expect a recipe coming this way very soon!

Do tell me how your gardens are getting on? Is anyone else growing the same things as we are? 

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