29.8.12

Picking Chickens

So we've decided to get chickens, finally... we have been contemplating keeping chickens for a few years now & im kinda glad we did take so long mulling it over as the chicken choice is vast.... I never knew there were that many breeds of chickens not to mention the different sizes they come in, I thought that bantams were the smallest... wrong! there's a whole new breed of micro chicken out there, my friend keeps serama chickens, these are fab tiny birds that do not mess up the garden, are great with children and although eggs are small, the yolks are generous, 2 eggs are equal to 1 medium. Now there are standard chickens, some great for laying eggs, some for their meat, some for both. There's the beautiful show ones. I really like the buff orpington.. apparently the queens top choice. They are prolific egg layers and a handsome tidy bird, or there's the Rhode island red which is a good all rounder. ex battery hens also make for fantastic family birds, I have friends that have rescued many & they all say they are such grateful birds that will soon be following you around the garden and laying lots of eggs.
When picking chickens you need to take your lifestyle into account, not to mention the size of your garden. Do you have children? Do you have a small or large garden? Is your garden your prize possession... if so you may want a run for your chickens, and remember a chicken is for life.. not just for summer! There will be snow, and you will have to go out and look after them. Sooo with all this in mind, & lots of research, I took my own brood (hubby & 2 daughters) to my friend in Bedfordshire who breeds a good variety of chickens. www.chickentroy.eu We could roam around and see them all clucking about, the kids got to feed them & hold the chicks, and we finally decided on the type of chickens for us, a couple of pekin bantams and a few seramas. If your considering keeping chickens then id recommend researching it fully and going to see them at a reputable breeder who will be more than happy to make sure you have the right birds for you, and will give you all the advice needed to look after your brood with confidence. Next chicken blog... building the hen house.

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24.8.12

KEEPING HENS Chapter 1

We're getting chickens!! woohoo so excited!
Over the next couple of months we will be posting on our blog all about our finds, from choosing the right breed of chickens most suitable for you, to housing & looking after them, and hopefully selling a few eggs along the way in our very nearly finished 'The Jam Cupbord' out side our house.
If you could offer any advice or would like to share your own experiences please feel free to comment, be great to hear your words of wisdom, not to mention the funny stories I'm sure you all have!
We are going to choose our little brood this bank hol, the kids have names for them already!
We'd better get cracking with this hen house.... no pun intended ;o) 
Next blog: picking the right breed. 

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15.8.12

Chazing or Vintage....

Well they are both the same... arnt they?
Erm.. yes and no. read on to find useful tips on baging a bargain.
Back in the day when I was a struggling student the word vintage applied to two things... wine & cars. initaly i used to go to charity shops for costume jewelry & China, then i started spotting things like very worn gucci bags & belts which lead me to see what kind of clothes i could pick up. no wana be cool person would of wanted to be seen in a charity shop... more fool them & all the more for the rest of us. however i knew my new found treasure shops would not stay a secret forever & i was right. very slowly vintage fever spread... and where were these ppl buying their stock.... you got it! Don't get me wrong, i love going to vintage fairs & shops too. If your short on time then vintage shops can be great... they have done all the scouring and have beautifully presented all their wares for you to choose your favourite, they will even source items for you... all be it at a premium. vintage fairs are great fun to go to and you can usually barter for things which is great. I also love a salvo fair, great when your doing up the home. Try to go to ones in areas that DON'T scream upmarket though as these fairs do add a premium to their wares... very cheeky me thinks! As vintage fever has now spread everywhere the charity shops do get wiped out quickly, but if your prepared to rummage a bit there are still bargains to be had. linens are a good purchase at charity shops, i often buy beautiful old bed sheets to turn into something else be it bunting or a skirt, its so much cheaper than buying fabric by the meter and is often really good quality. Chazing or vintage shops...? they are both great fun so you decided :-)

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8.8.12

thehappycaravan: Painting a caravan?

thehappycaravan: Painting a caravan? Thinking of prettying up your caravan..? On my quest for finding useful tips on how best to start giving Ellie our caravan a vintage make-over, I found this article by The happy caravan. Well worth a look. just click on the link.
Happy painting :-)

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6.8.12

Finding the old and out with the new.

When we first set eyes on our late Victorian property it was love at first sight. On viewing the house our love grew whereas it would of sent many running to the nearest new build development. Restoring a house is not to be taken lightly, and you should always invest in the top survey before you buy, this could save you thousands in the future and help you decide on how bigger project you would like to take on. For us it was cosmetic and mild restoration we were after. I didn't want a house that was falling down, needed extending or re-wiring. But stripping out the new to find the old was definatley something we wanted to do. Putting back our beautiful home to its rightful roots.
When taking on this sort of project, work out how long you can see yourself living there, then think of what matters the most.. priorities, for us we had no kitchen, so before we could even move in, this had to be done and we worked this into the budget when buying the house.
we had decided we wanted to live in the house for roughly the next 20 years while the kids were growing up. This gives us the time to restore our house ourselves as much as possible. Set yourself priorities and goals such as by this Christmas we will have the living room finished. Don't expect to have it all done at once unless you have a huge or endless budget. Always finish one room before starting another... this will mean you don't live in total chaos and have other rooms to go to for a retreat.
If your a dab hand at diy then great, just be careful. Always get a professional in for electrics and gas!
Make sure you have everything you need before starting your project i.e safety equipment and the right tools for the job, this will make the job easier to do. And don't expect things to happen over night. Remember this is a labour of love....

to be continued....


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1.8.12

Our Allotment summer soup

Growing your own veg is one of the most rewarding things ever, It doesnt matter how small or big your space is there is always something you can grow. When I first started I had a tiny garden the size of a postage stamp but that did not put me off. I grew strawberries and tomatoes in hanging baskets, spring onions in pots and potatoes in rubble sacks. It was a great way to get the kids involved and got them eating veg. Now, hubby & I have moved to what we call our last house..... (maybe) and we're lucky enough to have a garden big enough for some raised beds which we put in this spring, and we have had some amazing veg off of it already. This next recipie is a great way of using a little bit of eveything off your plot. We used the following, but you can use whatever you have as this soup changes with the seasons.
SUMMER VEG SOUP We used:- 3 courgettes, 2 carrots, a few good hanfulls of black cabage, 1 small beetroot, 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, a good load of thyme and majoram, 2 bay leaves and mint to garnish.
Method: Chop everything roughly the same size, I like mine quite small but each to their own. Put the onion, carrots and garlic in a large pot with a good glug of oil, we used rapeseed, on a medium heat for 5 mins.
Then its so simple, just chuck everything into the pan, saving the softer things till the end, add your herbage then cover with a good quality veg stock, simmer just until the veg is cooked.
Ours took on the beautiful pink colour of the beetroot. season to taste and serve with some good chunky bread.
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Vintage fair at Southwold boating lake.

Each stall holder had his/her own beach hut to set up their beautiful vintage wares in. Very Southwold & a fabulous idea! What started off cloudy turned into yet another beautiful sunny day by the sea. I Heart this vintage dresser in this hut to the left!
We had an absolutely fab time at the vintage fair in southwold this holiday, it moves about a bit and this time it was held at the boating lake, a place I have visited since a child where my dad used to stick me in a boat for an hour and then drink his own weight in earl grey while he sat and watched me so it was a no brainer to stick my two girls in boats while hubby and I mooched about the fair looking for bargains!
The boating lake has been at southwold for longer than I can remember, & thats a long time.. They currently have little paddle boats for the kids in the front lake which are great fun. They are also re-vamping the back lake at the minute for rowing boats, can't wait to have a go on these when they are finished! We walked away with some fab bargains in the end, prices were very reasonable and on some stalls you could have a haggle athough not all.
Finish off some vintage bargain hunting with a vintage tea at the lovely tea room on the boating lake. The same hut that my parents used to sit outside and have lunch at when I was little has had a beautiful vintage inspired transformation. Painted in white, the shack now serves tea in retro tea cups and does a good bacon roll. A great retreat to sit back drink your earl grey and watch your kids play, passed down from generations, my dad even joined us and now gets to see his grandchildren playing in the boats too.
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