Friday 12 June 2015

My fave reads: Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management - 1902 New Edition

There is something so wonderful about old books. The musty scent of the paper, how their history is etched into their worn leather and I often wonder about the various hands that have turned their pages through time, many of which I suppose are long gone today. Kindles and ipad just don't carry that kind of history, that's for sure. So when a friend of mine recently gave me this new edition of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management from the year 1902, you can imagine how humbled I was. Here's a glimpse into the world of Mrs Beeton ...

Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management - New Edition 1902

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Wednesday 3 June 2015

A month in pictures - May

May has been a lovely month indeed. Hubby and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary this month. We've actually been together for over 15 years, but celebrating our anniversary is still one of my favourite fings. I kept a diary in the lead up to our wedding so I would remember all the lovely little things that happened along the way ... so we read a little every night over our anniversary week! it was lovely reliving that journey. We had a lovely break in Shropshire at The Dipping shed! Unfortunately it's back to the grindstone this week. Boo! Here's this month in pictures ....

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Wednesday 27 May 2015

A quirky cabin in the Shropshire hills - The Dipping Shed

Dear readers, I've been itching to share our recent cottage getaway with you, as it's a quirky one for sure. I found The Dipping Shed on the Canopy and Stars website, which has wonderful collection of unusual accommodation; including tree houses, yurts, cabins, and other outdoor glamping sites in the UK and Europe. The Dipping Shed is situated in the grounds of the beautiful Walcot Hall, in Shropshire. As you know, we prefer rustic, secluded accommodation so I was a little worried we might be overlooked, as Walcot Hall not only hosts events, such as operas and weddings, it also has a varied collection of other glamping accommodation on site. However I needn't have worried. The grounds are extensive (30+ acres) and The Dipping Shed is not only secluded, it also has the most beautiful views over the lake, with many lovely walks from the doorstep. Though do bear in mind, the lodge is set in an elevated position, and is only accessed by foot and involves a climb up some steps, so it may be unsuitable for the elderly and those with mobility problems. 

Where is it: Shropshire
Price from: £525 a week
Pets: Welcome
Sleeps: 4

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Monday 4 May 2015

April - my month in pictures

Dear friends, well April has been and gone quite suddenly! Can you believe it? you may (or may not) have noticed that I haven't been posting as frequently as I once did. Unfortunately I've have to pull back a little ... I've been having a hard time juggling life, work, craft and music. But do not fear, you can't get rid of me that easily. I'll still be posting regularly and I'll see you on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter daily. That said, Hubby, Ralphy and I are heading into the countryside this week, for TEN WHOLE DAYS! I cannot wait - I almost don't want it to start so then it can't end! They'll be walkies in the wilderness, knitting, reading, eating and NO PHONES / INTERNET! .... heaven. So this is a brief goodbye, and when I return I'll have some crafty corkers coming up, including a mega makeover of 'Beatrix' ... remember her? In the meantime here's a little lookie back over this past month ...

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Thursday 30 April 2015

Growing your own ... in a small garden

If you ask a handful of gardeners why they grow fruit and veg, not many will reply "because it saves money." People have been gardening and growing food for centuries because it enriches our lives on so many levels, but for many people, 'growing your own' can be a daunting prospect. I often hear my friends saying "I tried and failed / it's too much hassle / I don't have the space! Well firstly, I'll admit I have far more failures than I've had successes, but it's the failures that (eventually) make you into a good gardener. Secondly, I hardly have any time - but I find tending to the garden does me the world of good - working with the earth and being amongst nature is good for you body, mind and soul so it's worth making time for. Thirdly, I only have a little garden, but you can grow quite a lot in the smallest of places ... you just have to use your imagination! Here are a few ideas to help you on your way ....

Growing your own, in a small space

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Friday 24 April 2015

The joy of pottering in the garden

I love pottering in the garden. When my hands are in the dirt, digging, sowing, clearing, it's one of the few times that my mind in completely quiet, and at peace. I seem unable to think ahead, or worry about pressing matters ... all is quiet, except for the occasional hum of the birds and bees. I think that's one of the many reasons why I, and billions of others, love gardening and pottering in the garden so much. I've loved flowers and being around nature for as long as I can remember ... my mum has always loved gardening and my nan could grow anything - the smell of tomato plants still takes me right back to my Grandad's old greenhouse. Handing down a love-of-nature to your children is a wonderful gift, and one that I've always been very thankful for.

My little 3 year old self - picking daisies in a church graveyard.

 Often in early Spring, I'll look out at the jumbled mess that is our garden and I start getting itchy feet, coupled with "oh but there's so much to do" and "where do I start? I've left it too late!" but once I start clearing the beds a fire ignites and I become a little garden ferret, fluttering around the garden at top speed until I have aching limbs and a crooked back. Miggins then tells me off for doing too much so I  hobble in, looking to hubby for sympathy, who in turns sends me off for a hot bath - but always, despite the throbbing limbs I know I will rest happy and content, for whether or not it flourishes, I know I've spent the afternoon doing something worthwhile.

JM x

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Tuesday 14 April 2015

The AHC guide to growing herbs + PLUS a pretty downloadable guide for the garden shed wall!

A guide to growing herbs

Last year I made this beautiful herb box ... it was filled with my favourite herbs: Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme and Sage. I used a good compost, positioned it in full light and I watered and fed correctly and yet despite my best efforts ... it met a sorry end. Mrs Miggins next door has magic fingers and can grow anything, she will break off a twig from a rose bush (from a neighbours garden or nearby stately home) pop it in a pot and as if like magic it will flourish from her touch. So after some  'digging' about and 'leafing' through books (ok, ok I'll stop now) I have now seen the error of my ways, and the answer lies in the soil ...  get the soil right, and you can grow anything. So here is my AHC guide to growing herbs, which includes a pretty downloadable chart for your garden shed wall!

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Thursday 2 April 2015

Pretty projects and a crafty March - A month in pictures

March - A month in pictures - A Handmade Cottage

March. It's been an incredibly crafty month in AHC headquarters, and I can't believe how quickly time passes. The trees were so bare, yet so quickly life blooms. This has been a busy month on the blog, with some lovely guest posts, and since Easter is coming up I've been sharing some fab quick and easy Easter craft projects! Now I'm looking forward to some time with my family -  it's good to have some time to put the feet up and over indulge in choccie bunnies and hot cross buns. Hubby's birthday is also coming up, which is one my favourite days of the year! (after Christmas and my own birthday of course ... you know how I feel about my birthday) but I love his birthday more, since it's the day he came into the world and changed mine (grab your buckets by all means, but it's true!) But back to crafty business, here's a glimpse of the funsies I've enjoyed this month ....

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Tuesday 31 March 2015

How to make: Easter egg spring bunting

Easter egg spring bunting - Noolibird stamp

I love any excuse to decorate my house in a festive manner, and I love bringing the outside in as you know.  So this week I made some Easter spring bunting with the Noolibird 'folk egg' stamp. However you needn't use a stamp for this project if you don't have time, as it would work just as well with mis-matching floral fabric.You may have seen my previous ravings about Noolibird stamps, and I assure you I'm not getting paid to promote these stamps, I just love the detail and workmanship that goes into them ... they're just so pretty! So if you'd like to get festive 'Easter-stylie' here is how I made this pretty little string of easter bunting. Use it on the fireplace or string it around a flower arrangement as I have done - and once made, you can bring it out year after year ...

Difficulty rating: Easy
Skills needed: None, some sewing but could glue / peg instead.
Time: 2 / 3 hours.
Kiddy friendly: Absolutely
Dog friendly: Probably not.

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Thursday 26 March 2015

Easter spring flower table display - in 10 minutes!

Hello my little Easter bunnies! Easter is around the corner - So I thought I'd get a little festive and throw together a couple of super quick and easy flower displays. Like most people, I don't have the time to make anything extravagant so the following displays won't take you longer than 10 minutes to make, but they look beautifully festive and oh so pretty - in fact, such a pretty display would also be ideal for a spring wedding! Let's get started, by cracking open the choccy eggs ... 

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