Ta Da the house!

I have just realised after looking back through my blog posts that while there are lots of garden and children photos I haven’t actually posted any pictures of the house! So to remedy that here we go with some from the front!

This is the northern end where we live:

The big French doors go into what is currently an unconverted double height entry with the far left end downstairs being the kitchen / living, the wall separating these two areas will be knocked down to make a huge open space. There will be a new floor put in above where the French doors are to make another bedroom. Above the kitchen / living is a huge room which the boys currently share (this will be split in two as it is 30m2 so plenty of room). The lintel that you can just see behind the car is the window the the office / guestroom that is half renovated that I posted about a little while ago and the room above that is currently our bedroom and was renovated by the previous owners, we have replaced the window with double glazing but not much else needs doing (until we split it to make the new upstairs bathroom that is!). So once the boys room is split and the new room above the entry done we’ll have 5 rooms (bed or study) with four upstairs and one downstairs, downstairs shower room, upstairs bathroom (we have recently managed to find a stunning old cast iron bath tub that will be going in!) and big living space / kitchen in this section of the house.

This central section of the building is what we think would have been the original building (there are exterior windows giving onto the big barn) and the stone stairs at the front and some other details like the stone sink suggest a very old building (14th or15th C perhaps – I need to do more research). This area is totally unrenovated at present but the plan is to make the room through the door at the bottom of the stairs into a big kitchen (giving out onto the garden on the other side of the building) with a bedroom above and a small mezzanine (child’s bedroom / study) over that. The small room under the stairs is currently where we keep the bins / bikes etc but may possibly end up having our boiler in it as well and above will be the ensuite giving onto the master bedroom.

This is what we call the big barn and little barn (they are a bit separated inside by the old cow feeders). It is a bit hard to get the full impression of just how big the big barn doors are – the smaller door is around normal door height (but much wider) and I think normal person height is about where the wood line is on the door! These are currently used as storage / workspace but there is massive potential!

The photos I did of the back the other day when I took these didn’t work out because of the sun so I’ll redo them and post again soon!


The peas were my first thing to really grow and produce and they were oh so yummy!

This is how they were looking when they first started producing in early June:

Sadly by last week I had to pull them out as they were covered in powdery mildew and really past it! I have learnt some lessons though – they really do mean it when they tell you to thin them – I’m sure I had them too close which made my powdery mildew worse and harder to treat (I tried the natural milk method and copper but did it too late I think). The very wet spring I don’t think helped either then I think I may not have given them enough water over the last month where we have had nearly no rain. Ahh well we live and learn and I was still really pleased with what we did get.

We had my lovely friend Emily and her family visit from Oz a couple of weeks ago – it was so lovely to see them and Em took the time to get Remy to eat peas from the pod (I’m sure if I’d tried he’d have refused!!). Ever since then at least twice a day he yells ‘peeeeaas’ and either goes and picks some or if he can’t reach any drags one of us down the garden to get him some. It is so cute!

He snaps them in half then somehow picks them out one by one and says ‘mmmmm’ very loudly for each one he eats!

I think the last (according to Louis – I’ll have to go and check) were picked yesterday so I’m hoping the beans will soon be ready and he’ll love them as much!

Chicken and courgetti with lardons, garlic, shallots and lime.

So after months (years?) of reading about spiralizing veggies and a year or more of carefully cutting my zucchinis into tiny slices I finally bought myself a spiralizer! I was totally inspired to by the gorgeous zucchinis I’m growing in my garden.

I’m so pleased I did, I’ve used it so many times already – the taste and texture of just picked courgetti is just amazing! I’m starting to experiment with what I can do with it to make healthy, quick, yummy meals.This is what I came up with for the first two picked from my garden:

Pan fried chicken and courgetti with lardons, garlic, shallots and lime.


  • 100-150 grams of chicken breast per person
  • 1-2 courgettes / zucchinis (depending where you come from and how big they are!) per person
  • 50 grams of lardons (chopped streaky bacon) per person
  • Garlic and shallots (eshallots) finely cut – I used 2 cloves of garlic and 2 shallots for 2 people but just adjust to your taste. You can also use onion if you don’t have shallots
  • Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper to finish


  1. Fry your lardons, garlic and shallots in a non stick pan until cooked and just starting to brown
  2. Remove from the pan and set aside (or push to the side of your pan)
  3. Add the chicken breasts and cook then remove from pan
  4. Mix in the courgetti with the lardons, garlic and shallots and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lime over it all
  5. Place a lid over the pan allowing the courgetti to cook until just al dente
  6. Serve into bowls and top with the chicken – I also added an extra squeeze of lime onto the chicken
  7. Sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan and black pepper to serve
  8. Enjoy your delicious low carb dinner!

I’m so glad I used the lime – it really freshened the whole meal making it a fantastic summer dish!

June 2016 veggie patch!

The garden is coming along really well and we’ve had lots of rain through the early part of June followed by some heat so everything is growing nicely!

Early June saw a big push to get  filled all places in the EL veggie patch (get it – shaped like an E then an L – ha ha) we now have 3 corguettes, 2 chillis, 2 cucumbers, 14 tomatoes, 1 cherry tomato, various lettuces, carrots (well about 6 of them), radishes, peas, snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, 100 onions, shallots, dead garlic (have given up all hope – accidentally dug one up and it was rotten ), strawberries and raspberries. Not a great pic in the harsh afternoon light but you get the idea.


The hubby rotovated a further 2.5 x 10 metre bit on the next terrace up – the back is going to be a pumpkin patch (2 large unknown variety, 4 small unknown (Aussie variety I got from organic farmer and kept seeds) and as many butternut as I can fit. I got the 2 big ones in up the back – I thought I read do an 18 inch hill so made it big t (not 18 but pretty big) then read somewhere else 3 inches

The front section is 2 beds a metre wide each and 4 m long with a path – OK it is a trench – didn’t mean to do it that deep but after I’d made my last paths I’d read you should put the soil from the paths you make onto the beds – I perhaps overdid it. Louis commented it looks like WW1!

Plan to cardboard the bottom of the path for weeds then probably just put some straw for the moment and get something on the sides to hold back the soil and in effect make raised beds! Plan to have lots of basil and beans in this section.

By the end of the month this is how it was looking:

The zucchinis (courgettes) are growing really well, already had 6 lovely ones from one plant. I think I need to be a bit more careful with my watering in the heat though as there have been a few little ones that have kind of shriveled up, turned brown and died (unless there is some other unknown thing going on and if so please tell me!).


The pumpkin patch (need to sort out the weeds – I regret not mulching straight away, it makes the most enormous difference!).

The other end has the beans which are coming u nicely – they are so big no in comparison – amazing how much growth happens in just 10 days!


So we are eating lots of yummy fresh produce – mainly lettuce, radishes, courgettes, peas and the odd strawberry and some gooseberries.

Looking forward to tasting the rest!