Thursday 25 February 2016

A year on the allotment: February 2016

In my January allotment update I said our battered old shed was 'leaning more than the Tower of Pisa'. We've been debating whether to buy a new one for some time now. On the 8th of February, Storm Imogen huffed, puffed and blew our shed down. So the decision was made for us. The shed had been lifted clean off its base and scattered across our neighbour's plot.
storm imogen flattens our allotment shed and scatters it across the neighbouring plot
My Mum and I went to the plot once the storm had calmed down to clear up some of the mess. With no shed to store all our stuff we needed to take our tools, wheelbarrow and other gardening bits home.
clearing up on our allotment after storm imogen flattens our shed
We couldn't sort out the actual shed because it was too heavy to lift. But I knew Mr. M would step in to break it up into smaller pieces. He bought an axe a few weeks ago and he's been itching to find a project to use it on. I think he has visions of chopping down trees and living like a lumberjack somewhere rural. Sadly there's not much call for axe-work in our house, so when I said there was a shed to chop up, he jumped at the chance.
taking an axe to our storm damaged allotment shed
storm imogen demolishes our allotment shed we finish the job off with an axe
It didn't take long to break the shed up. We kept the door and some of the panels to make raised beds or edging pieces for the plots. We always try and recycle stuff if we can. But sadly, most of the wood was shattered by the storm, so it had to go to the tip.
carrying away our storm damaged allotment shed, some pieces will be recycled on our plot
Magoo was desperate to be involved with the shed-breaking, but we had to clear it away on a school day, sadly she had to miss out. I promised we would have a bonfire with some of the shed pieces in half term or after school one day.
A couple of days ago we managed to get down to the plot on a sunny evening. It was the first post-school trip we've made this year, it's lovely to have the lighter evenings back again.

Magoo helped stack some shed pieces into the bin incinerator. Then we stood back and watched Mr. M light the fire. Sadly the wood was a too damp to burn well, so it was a bit of a let down for Magoo. But it was such a beautiful sunny evening, it didn't dampen our spirits too much. We abandoned the bonfire and played a very long game of hide and seek instead.
storm imogen turns our allotment shed into firewood, chopped up shed sits in our bin incinerator

We have finally taken the plunge and purchased a new shed. This one is wider and has room for a couple of chairs and maybe a little stove, which is exciting!
Mr. M has been roped in to put the shed together and hopefully March's blog post will feature our brand new shed...
This week I'm linking up with these lovely blogs:
How Does Your Garden Grow
Whatever the Weather over on and
Share with Me over on
Point + Shoot over on and
Country Kids over on
Happy Days over on and

Thursday 11 February 2016

Bristol's Windmill Hill City Farm turns 40

We first visited Bristol's Windmill City Farm back in June 2015. I've wanted to blog about it for ages. I was prompted to write this post when I heard the farm would be turning 40 this year. Now I know the farm started life in the same year I did, I feel even more kinship with the place. Also with half term and the Easter holidays on the horizon, there is no better time to sing the praises of this amazing place.
father and daughter enjoy wandering through windmill hill city farm allotments near the digging area, childhood unplugged
Back in 1976 local people battled with the council to turn a derelict piece of land in Bedminster into a community space. The farm was set up on shoestring budget and started out with a few animals and a veggie patch. What the farm lacked in funds it made up for in determination from a band of dedicated volunteers. They had the vision to turn wasteland into an urban oasis. Many generations of Bristol children and their parents have alot to thank them for.
inspirational ideas for decorating your allotment with fabric dream catchers, mandalas
little girl enjoys the scent of sweet peas growing in a polytunnel at windmill hill city farm, bristol
It's not until you visit Windmill City Farm that you truly appreciate what a wonderful place it is. I've already called it an 'oasis', but it really is. All sides are flanked with mature trees, there are plants growing everywhere and well established allotment plots brimming with produce. The whole place just shouts 'nature haven' and it's something to cherish in an urban environment.
father and daughter make friends with the pygmy goats at windmill hill city farm
little girl admires the salad produce growing by the greenhouse at windmill hill city farm
There's so much to see and it doesn't cost a penny to get in. One income stream comes from the family-friendly cafe. I can highly recommend the chocolate brownies. They are heaven with a cup of tea. It's no wonder the cafe won "Best Family Friendly" at the Bristol Good Food awards in 2015. You can also buy eggs, meat, preserves and produce grown on the farm. There is also a gift shop selling handmade items from local designer-makers.
Father and daughter enjoy wandering past the friendly pig at windmill hill city farm in bristol
impressive example of a large bug house, bug hotel at windmill hill city farm, example of eco friendly gardening
Magoo adores the place. A particular favourite is the outdoor play area. There are loads of nets, poles, ropes to climb and a sandpit to dig around in. It's a place to hang upside down, get muddy knees and burn off loads of energy.
a child enjoys adventurous play on the robust wooden climbing equipment at windmill hill city farm
having fun climbing on the wooden play equipment at windmill hill city farm
There are also plenty of nature trails for you to follow. You can pick up details at reception and discover new bits of the farm. One of my favourite things at the farm are the sculptures made from upcycled materials dotted around the site. The chickens live side-by-side with an Metal Rhino, there's a sea-dragon emerging from the nature pond and watch out for the Scorpion in the allotments. I love creative recycling like this and it gives visitors young and old plenty to talk about.
impressive recycled metal rhino art sculpture at windmill hill city farm in bristol, upcycling, eco friendly
water dragon junk model lurking in the wildlife garden at windmill hill city farm in bristol
scary upcycled metal scorpion sculpture emerges out of the greenery at windmill hill city farm allotments
Apart from the animals and allotments, the farm also acts as an important community hub for many other concerns:
There is a...
- Bike repair centre in the Bike Shed
- A 95-place daycare nursery
- Volunteering places for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues
- Forest School
- School visits
- Holiday Activities for children, such as making pizzas in their outdoor clay-oven
- After School Club
- Conference facilities with in-house catering
- Art Exhibitions
- Adult education classes ranging from painting, willow weaving through to family yoga and even animal husbandry.
- And much, much more...
You just have to read the farm's What's On page to see how much there is on offer.
We are so lucky to live a short train journey away from Windmill City Farm. It is a hidden treasure in the middle of Bristol city. I hope it stays around for another 40 years and beyond...
One of the newest additions is a Public Garden. The car park at the front of the farm has been converted into a community garden. It opens officially on 16th April on what is billed as "Wild Outdoors Day'. We will definitely be taking a trip to see this. I can't wait to see what they've created
flyer promoting wild outdoors day at windmill hill city farm in bedminster on the edge of bristol
I'm linking up with some lovely blogs this week:
How Does Your Garden Grow over on

Mammsaurus HDYGG
Share With Me over on
The Prompt over on
Country Kids From Coombemill

Monday 8 February 2016

February Craft Project: Love Is All you Need

I decided at the start of the year to make more time for crafting. I want to aim to complete one sewing project a month. February is the month where we start to see red hearts & cuddly teddies in the shop windows. As soon as the Christmas decorations are out of the way, the shelves start to fill up with Valentines gifts.

hand embroidered wall art hoop featuring Beatles love is all you need song lyrics on vintage fabric

There's something so uplifting about the Beatles "All You Need Is Love". Reading about the song online, the Beatles said this song: "cannot be misinterpreted. It is a clear message saying that love is everything". With this in mind, I was inspired to stitch a section of the song.

hand embroidered hoop featuring The Beatles love is all you need song lyrics on vintage fabric

There's nothing you can do that can't be done.

Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.

Nothing you can say, but you can learn

How to play the game

It's easy.

Nothing you can make that can't be made.

No one you can save that can't be saved.

Nothing you can do, but you can learn

How to be you in time

It's easy.

All you need is love

All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.

work in progress image of hand embroidered love text onto vintage fabric

Love it or hate it, you can't get away from Valentine's Day. But love is about more than a few overpriced roses and a shiny card...

There are so many forms of love. Whether it's for a child, a partner, your parents, good friends and even pets. They are all equally important and we all need it in one form or another.

hand embroidering beatles lyrics onto vintage fabric

If you love to craft, you may like to take part in my new monthly "Crafting is my Therapy" blog linky.

The focus of the linky is crafting for pleasure, basically taking some ‘me-time’ to unwind in our busy lives. It doesn’t have to be a finished project, I love seeing work in progress photos or tutorial posts too.

All crafts welcome!

This week I'm linking up with these lovely blogs:

"Happy Days" over on and

Friday 5 February 2016

Crafting is my Therapy #1

Welcome to the launch of the Crafting is my Therapy linky!

Designing and making have been a big part of my life for nearly a decade. I opened my Etsy shop back in 2007 and I have been a features writer for UK Handmade Magazine since 2008.
I love all crafts, but for me, sewing is my therapy. Making stuff has helped me through some tough times in my life, it has given me something positive to focus on. From the very beginning I got a buzz from running my online shop. I loved the fact my handmade items were winging their way across the planet. It’s a lovely feeling to know that someone likes your work.
hand embroidered wall art hoop featuring sewing mends the soul quote on vintage fabric
Over the past year I have been working part-time as a Shared Lives Carer supporting adults with learning disabilities. It’s work that I enjoy, but it does take me away from the crafting side of things.
Sewing relaxes me and makes me happy. But, I don’t make the time to do any sewing. I prioritise housework, paperwork, food shopping and zoning out in front of the television over my creative life. Over the past year or so, I’ve felt disheartened and became disinterested in my own making. It felt like my crafting mojo deserted me for a while...
I decided at the start of this year to change that.
This Anne Lamott quote struck a chord and it has inspired me to get creative.
Inspirational Anne Lamott big juicy creative life quote overlaid onto vintage Moygashel Pinto fabric
With encouragement from online friends, particularly from the Story of Mum community, I have started to stitch again.
I have wanted to start a linky for a while now, but felt slightly nervous about hosting on my own. Luckily I met a like-minded crafter via Twitter and we have decided to take the plunge together. I am delighted to say that I will be co-hosting this Linky with Jennifer Jain. She writes the popular craft blog Jennifers Little World.
I want to try and complete a sewing or crafting project each month. It would be also wonderful to encourage others to make time to be creative. That is why we decided to create the “Crafting is my Therapy” linky. I love seeing other people’s creations. So if you sew, knit, crochet, paint, work with ceramics…please join in and share your work.
The focus of this linky is crafting for pleasure, basically taking some ‘me-time’ to unwind in our busy lives. It doesn’t have to be a finished project, I love seeing work in progress photos or tutorial posts too.

Me You and Magoo
The “Crafting is my Therapy” linky will open on the first Friday of each month and stay open for the whole month – giving you plenty of time to get involved.
– You can link up with maximum of three posts per month, old or new.
– Grab the linky badge or link back to our blogs on your post.
– Please share the love and comment on other people’s posts.
– If you could share your post and the linky (using the hashtag #craftingismytherapy) on any social media channels that would be great. This will help us to grow the community. We will retweet all your posts via Twitter if you mention us (@pouchvintage/@JenniferJain )
– And finally, if you would like to follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook, you’re more than welcome! Jennifer Jain’s links are here too: Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.


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