Posts tagged ‘horticulture’

January 18, 2014

Photo of my week #1

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Finding time to study this week has been a challenge…

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January 6, 2014

2014 Resolutions

Happy new year everyone! As we’re a week into 2014, I’m firmly closing the door on the Christmas and New Year festivities (which I’ve totally loved this year) and getting back into the swing of everyday life. The start of a new school term always brings about a return to routines and the end of Quality Street being an acceptable breakfast food, just as I’ve got used to the idea…

Traditionally the start of January is resolution time. Usually I like to write a giant list of resolutions for the year, some of which I manage to complete and some I don’t. I wrote recently about needing to be honest with myself about the things that I really wanted to do and forget the things that I think I should want to do. So, no marathon running goals for me, this year or ever. Although I think that if you want to make changes to your life, you should start them today, whenever today is, rather than waiting for January 1st, there is something tidy about making new starts in a new year, so I do find New Year’s Resolutions somewhat seductive.

2014 is going to be a year that contains many changes. My career, my home life, and the way I spend my time are all going to change, and not all of those changes are my decision. So, rather than trying to control everything, I’m going to try and go with the flow a little more. Which is terrifying to me! But, I think that trying to force things to happen is bound to end in failure. It is important for me to recognise what I can control and what I cannot.

Therefore my list is short, and perhaps a little vague. But here goes:

1 – Study for my RHS Level 2 exams.  I’ve written about this before, and it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a while (and really wanted to do) but life has got in the way of my plans. I’m determined to make it happen this time though. And I’m hopeful it may lead to more opportunity and who knows, perhaps a career shift.

2 – Make time. For my family, my friends, my boyfriend. Much of 2013 was challenging, sometimes it was painful and introspective, and it was a year in which my friends all supported me, but I feel as though I gave back little in return. I want to redress the balance and make time to visit my beloved friends and family and support them in whatever they are doing. My boyfriend has a year of change ahead of him too, and I want to be a supportive partner to him as we embrace our future together. (As an aside, I feel far too old to be saying boyfriend, but what’s the alternative? Partner makes it sound like we’re in business together…hmm)

3 – Say ‘yes’ more. And say ‘no’ more. Contradictory as ever…but by which I mean that I want to be brave enough to say ‘yes’ to the right opportunities that come my way, and say ‘no’ to things that I don’t want, need or feel like the right ‘fit’. And I’m not talking specifically about possessions when I say ‘things’, it’s really just a goal about being authentic and true to myself.

4 – Keep cycling. This is a bit of a vague goal, I appreciate, but I have really been enjoying cycling and I want to carry on improving, at my own pace, and just enjoying the ride. I have no challenges, competitions, sportives in mind at all. It will just be me, my bike and my boyfriend by my side.  Though, if you’re in Leeds and fancy a snail’s pace bike ride with a cafe stop in the middle, I’m your ideal companion!

5 – Visit somewhere new. Doesn’t matter where, I just want to keep exploring and having micro-adventures. And I really, really, want to go to somewhere I’ve never been in Europe in 2014. Fitting adventure into everyday life instead of waiting for a big chunk of time is something I’ve enjoyed in 2013, and I want to do more of it.

6 – Move towards being a ‘zero waste’ home. This is a huge goal and one in which I am going to be moving at an evolutionary pace, not aiming for an overnight revolution! On the back of reducing our reliance on the supermarket, the next step is reducing the amount of waste we create – less packaging, which in turn means less recycling. More composting and home-grown food! Which takes me nicely onto number 7…

7 –  Try my hardest to grow as much of our food as possible. 2013 was a dire year on the allotment for many reasons. I paid it a visit over the Christmas period and made a promise to it that I’d try my hardest to make 2014 a great year. Yup, I talk to my allotment. I appreciate that’s odd.

8 – Try yoga. We have a wonderful looking yoga centre near us and I’d really like to have a go at yoga, to benefit my (still too high) blood pressure and improve my flexibility. This is the year in which I’m finally going to do it, instead of just talking about it!

So, there we have it. Only eight things on my list this year. In addition to this are my usual ‘eat well, read more, learn new things’ goals, but they’re so heavily ingrained into my personality that I don’t need to specifically list them. As long as I’m breathing, I’ll be reading…

What are your goals for 2014? And do you have any advice for me in achieving mine? I’d love to hear from you.

August 31, 2012

A posy by the bedside.

I’ve not managed to grow many flowers this year on the allotment. My ambitions for great armfuls of dahlias were ruined by the slugs that have had a wonderful time working their way through my plants, and the sweet peas haven’t fared much better. Thankfully, I do still have enough to bring home. The great thing about sweet peas in particular is that the more you pick them, the more flowers you get, as the plant continues to try and produce seeds.

You might remember, a while ago, I decided to try and sort out my bedroom and make it a tranquil, child-free space. Well, that didn’t go exactly to plan. The stacks of books are still there, the laundry regularly overflows and the yin and yang of cycling (aka my Pashley Princess Sovereign and my husband’s Specialized road bike) are currently propped up at the end of the room.

So, despite my beautiful grey walls (Farrow and Ball’s French Grey, which I love) and white bed-linen, it’s not that haven of tranquility I imagined. I’m not giving up though. One of the ways to bring a little beauty into the chaos is by adding flowers to my bedside table. That way, when I wake up, the first thing I see are beautiful flowers and I can imagine for a split second that I’m the kind of person with a bedroom worth featuring in a design magazine. Then reality kicks in, obviously. And that’s if I haven’t been woken up by my three year old son launching himself, elbows first, onto my bed anyway, which is how I’m usually catapulted into each morning!

Thankfully, given my lack of abundance on the cutting patch, a small bedside posy of flowers doesn’t need to be huge to have impact.

The other thing that flowers bring to the room is scent. Even a small handful of jasmine can provide the rich heady fragrance that the flower is famous for, and it’s a wonderful thing to go to sleep with that fragrance swirling around you. In a larger room, the amount of flowers I usually use would get completely lost (especially given my clutter creating tendencies) but by the bed, they’re perfect. I’m really inspired by Sarah Raven who creates beautiful and heavily productive gardens, with the aim of cutting flowers for the house.

In these photos, I’m using a small Emma Bridgewater bottle. I also love to use an empty bottle from REN Rose Otto bath oil, which is little and has a narrow neck, perfect for more delicate flowers and my mum just gave me a vintage half pint milk bottle from Cowes (no pun intended) which will also be put to the same use.

Having flowers in the house  is a gentle reminder to me of my ambition to study horticulture, so I can be more successful at growing flowers in the future. For the time being, these little posies bring me a little bit of joy every day.