Autumn Hike to the Castle Ruins

A completely blue sky in autumn, after days of low dark clouds and rain.  We could not stay inside today. Pulling on wellingtons, we crossed the village, climbed the hill and picked our way through muddy fields towards Bradgate. Everywhere looks different.  Buildings in the far distance that were obscured by tall crops just a […]

#Vegan Smokey Garlic Ketchup

#Vegan Smokey Garlic Ketchup The base for this ketchup comes from one of my favourite books The Homemade Vegan Pantry – which provides great basic recipes and also explains the science behind store cupboard staples. I was surprised how incredibly easy and fast it is to make ketchup – I’m a complete convert to the homemade version. Ingredients:  […]

The Old Treehouses

Just a short journey from home there are vast acres of parkland, with rocky outcrops, banks of bracken, gentle streams and, near the top of one of the many rolling hills, a cluster of trees known in my family as “the treehouses.”  These are ancient trees that are hollowed out with many years of rough […]

Finding the sleeper bridge

It strikes me that being the youngest of four boys is a tricky thing.  You get swept up along with the rest of the family from the moment you arrive.  So every few days, I like to take our youngest for a walk, just the two of us, and see where he chooses to go. […]

#Vegan German Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen)

Vegan Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen) Original version of the recipe by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau in The Joy of Vegan Baking This recipe has no need for eggs because of the applesauce, which provides the binding and moisture that eggs normally would.  In just about any cake recipe, you replace every egg with approx 60-70g of apple sauce – and it […]

The secret forest rope swing

I had to ask the children’s permission to share this with you, because this post gives away the existence of their secret forest rope swing… they’ve agreed, as long as you keep it to yourselves. In previous posts we’ve shown the farmland and woodlands that are right beside our home, whilst this is one of […]

Homemade natural antibacterial kitchen cleaner

The peppermint and orange oils in this cleaner not only cancel out any vinegar scent, but also add antibacterial properties – making it perfect for wiping down kitchen surfaces.  It’s also much safer to have around the house with children than commercial kitchen bleaches. Ingredients: 300ml of boiled, cooled water 60ml white vinegar 10 drops peppermint oil […]

Rainy day mushrooms and spices

It’s rained heavily all day here, and whilst we don’t mind being outside whatever the weather, today we cosied up indoors.   We finished jarring the shallots in white wine vinegar, sugar and spices – and started our first attempt at cultivating mushrooms. Our mushroom kit arrived as a propagator with compost laced with mycelium, […]

Our youngest gardener

We’re steadily moving flowers and shrubs out of the back garden, to make way for it to become a potager garden, and into the area by our front porch.  Our youngest son is in charge of caring for this area, which he loves and takes very seriously.  He helped plant out the bedding flowers and […]

A miniature forest of peppers

After lots of advice about how I was better off buying small pepper plants than attempting to sow seeds, because they are so tricky to grow – I planted extra for this first attempt, just to try and avoid disappointment …. and now I have 80 little pepper seedlings in two varieties (Patio Red and […]

First harvest …

It doesn’t seem very momentous, to snip some herbs from a pot on the patio and bring them inside, but it’s more the intention setting behind it that’s important.  I’m saying, this is the point at which I never buy herbs again.  No more trying to prop up drooping supermarket fresh herbs for those few […]