Showing at the village show

I might have been forgiven for thinking, before we moved out of London, that the real village show (not to be confused with the village fete of course) was a thing of the past. Trestle tables laden with prize vegetables set out in the village hall, handwritten certificates for the best flowers, sideways glances exchanged […]

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Prolific piles of peas

When I think of gardening, I think of my mother first and foremost, but I also think of her parents. I used to love visiting them when I was a little girl. The sun always shone in my grandparents garden and my memories are all of riotous flowerbeds full of colours and a lovely birdbath. […]

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10 things I’ve learned since moving out of London to the countryside

I was delighted to be asked to share our experience of leaving London to move to the country by the wonderful Life after London team, who are well worth a visit if you’re planning your own River Cottage exodus. I chose to try to be brutally honest about how we’ve found it so far, and I’d love […]

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Planning a traditional country garden in the front

We tend to focus on practical (read: food producing) parts of our smallholding when prioritising projects. But one thing I did want to do when we moved in was to fence off the back garden and paddocks from the front. This wasn’t just to make it more secure for the children and various pets that […]

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We are determined to DIY (or DIO!)

We’re facing a massive project here with our smallholding. We’d eventually like to be self-sufficient in most fruit and vegetables and meat, as well as cut flowers and so at the moment we’ve got a lot of big “one-off” tasks. Planting the orchard with our 32 trees was obviously one of them, and creating a […]

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I hate my Aga, and this is why it has to go

There are so many things that come to mind when one pictures stereotypical country living in England. Traditional old houses, be they stately piles or thatched cottages. Boot rooms. Gravel driveways. Wellies everywhere. Open fires welcoming home cold but exhilarated walkers. And Agas. For those of you outside of the UK, an Aga is a […]

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Week one: Settling on our smallholding

What a week. And what a shame that so much of it has been spent inside but with a little boy and two cats (my life really is filled with marvellous small noisy beings), getting the house unpacked so that they could feel like they were home seemed to be a priority. We’ve had a […]

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Leaving London and moving to the country

In my 34 years on this planet I’ve lived in 17 different houses, but not one of them has ever affected me like this one. I’m sitting in an empty, echoing kitchen on a camping chair as I type this and in a few hours men in a big truck will come and pick up […]

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