Category Archives: Not Food

Allotment: Seven Weeks In

I can’t believe I’ve only had my allotment for seven weeks!  I am staggered by how much I’ve achieved already.  In fact, almost every spot of earth is full right now!

Allotment Seven Weeks

To have gone from this patch of bare earth to a productive plot in that time just goes to show what you can achieve when you put your mind to it (and an awful lot of elbow grease too!)

Allotment Seven Weeks

I’m trying out all sorts of things, fruits, vegetables, salads, flowers, it’s all going on!  I should be able to actually eat something within the next week, all I’ve had so far was a radish the size of a five pence piece when I was thinning them out!

Allotment Seven Weeks

I got a little carried away with my shed, but it’s a lovely space, Darcy has a little bed in there so he can hang out and supervise and I put tiles down on the floor so it’s always cool for him.  I’ve got everything I need, when I eventually get the chickens I’m planning on having fresh eggs for breakfast here every day.

Allotment Seven Weeks

I even had a go at building my own greenhouse, they didn’t make one in the size I wanted so I cobbled one together with my ever developing DIY skills!  It’ll do the job for now, anyway!

Allotment Seven Weeks

Stay tuned for some recipes using the produce I manage to grow, I’ve gone for loads of radishes as they’re so quick to grow so 101 things to do with a radish may have to start soon! Oh and if you have any hints and tips for how to fight back against the slugs with a small curious dog running around do let me know!

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Allotment!

Ok, I admit it, I’ve gone full on “The Good Life” recently.  Following on from learning all about Beekeeping I volunteered to help clear ground for an apiary allotment site near my house and found out that there was a small starter plot up for grabs.  Well, grab it I did!

The beginning of the Allotment!

This is what I started with.  About 5m x 16m of weed suppressed ground.  I have spent the last few weeks digging and fencing and working away.

Lots of Digging!

There was an awful lot of digging.  The ground didn’t have any weeds, which was a blessing, but it did have a load of crushed plastic pots, a shovel, a rake, a fork, a pickaxe and a hammer all rotting away, along with what might once have been a green house base?  Anyway, it all needed clearing and levelling and the clay soil enriching.

Allotment Books

I’ve also developed a naughty habit of buying the Amazon 1p plus postage books on gardening.  In fact I’m awaiting delivery of a few more that caught my eye this week!

The Plot as it stands!

This is where I’m up to: fences built, beds marked out and paths laid.  I’ve crops in the ground and I’m preparing to build a chicken run at the far end so I can have fresh eggs too!  More on that and the epic shed move soon!

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Beekeeping

Back at the beginning of this year I took a beginners beekeeping class with York & District Beekeepers Association.  My mother had taken this course a few years ago and now has several hives in her garden but given last year’s swarm adventure it was decided that I would take the course so that I could assist her.  We are now in the thick of swarm season (I yet again spent a day chasing swarms around the village only for them to abscond a day later!) and I thought I’d post a little update on the calmer parts of the year so far.

Brood Frame

I’ve really enjoyed going into the hives with mum and seeing all of the things we’ve learned about in class actually in person.  You can see above a beautiful arc of capped brood (bee larvae) with stores of honey arranged around the outside in the corners.

Bee Larvae

Here you can see a close up of the larvae in their cells before being capped.  You’re wanting to see nice C shaped larvae with defined segments and a nice pearly white colour (which these were in person!) There are lots of things you’re looking for to check that your colony is happy and healthy.  When things go wrong (and they will) you’ll find out because you’re seeing something odd in the brood.

Can you spot the Queen Bee? I’ll give you a hint, she ends in the top left of the shot.  She’s the one with the long, pointy bum.  Alas, since taking this video (which was taken by accident, I was just filming bees, we didn’t realise the Queen was in frame until later that night when we were looking at the video!) Queen Beatrice has either passed away or swarmed unexpectedly.  Upon a later hive inspection there were no eggs.  If you can’t see any eggs, your Queen isn’t doing her job!  We’ve taken emergency measures to hopefully get them to generate their own Queen and we’ve split off some Queen cells into a nucleus hive to rear a small colony as a back up if we need to re-Queen later in the year.   In one of our other hives they decided to go from nothing to 20 Queen Cells and swarming in the blink of an eye!  We just mistimed our hive check by 1 day due to bad weather but at this time of year that day can be crucial and they were off!

Hive Entrance

The beginning of the year was going so well, everything was looking like something out of a textbook but then it all went a bit wrong and we sometimes haven’t a clue why our bees are doing what they’re doing.  Beekeeping is a brilliant hobby and it’s absolutely fascinating but for one month a year, I won’t lie, it’s hellish!  I’m just hoping that our colonies will have got all of this silliness out of their system now and we can fix them up and build them towards the summer.  It’s funny but even with the very little hands on experience I’ve got so far (I don’t actually start the practical part of my course until later this month!) you can get to know the temperament of the colonies, I swear Hive 1 and Hive 2 hum at different pitches and Hive 2’s bees are much smaller.  I look forward to getting to know them as we go on, hopefully with 3 colonies this year!

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Linocut!

Things have been a bit quiet around here recently and that is because of a few things.  I’ve been going through a bit of a rough spot and cooking new and interesting food hasn’t been at the top of my priorities, some days dinner has simply been a yogurt and a couple of oreos!  It’s nothing major, just one of those things, I plough through and eventually my interest in food will reawaken!  I haven’t stopped cooking but I have been focusing my energy on my new hobby: Linocut!

The Mountains Are Calling Linocut Limited Edition Print on Etsy

I stumbled across this technique for making prints by accident.  I think I was on another Pinterest bender!  I ordered myself a basic starter kit and I haven’t looked back!

Autumn Leaves Linocut Print Limited Edition

Its a pretty time intensive medium but so rewarding!  I love the way each and every print is slightly different.  These subtle variations are endlessly fascinating to me and I love the visual texture of this printing technique.  For this ice cream print I deliberately used more ink than normal to give it a feeling of ice cream texture!

So things are going to slow down a bit here on Anna In The Kitchen on the recipe front (don’t worry, the recipes won’t stop entirely!) but there will be some process posts as I’m working on my prints to show how I work and what’s captured my attention.  I hope you enjoy coming with me on this new journey!  I’m selling my prints on Etsy so pop over and have a look!

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Anna’s Solo Camping Tips and Tricks

I love camping!  I grew up being taken off to France for 2 weeks of camping every summer.  As we grew older the experience refined itself rather (from cabin tents and air beds to air conditioned mobile homes!) but the essential experience remained the same.  Two weeks of living outside, running wild on a campsite and  soaking up the sun.  As an adult I have missed that and last year a friend and I headed south to spend a week camping in the Ardeche.  It was amazing!  This year, however, I lacked both funds and company.  I wasn’t going to let that stop me though!  A few weeks ago I headed off to the Lake District for a quick break to get some fresh air in my lungs!

Solo Camping

This tent has now been ebayed as it pitches like a drunken frigate!

Now as a solo female camper I see no reason at all not to indulge myself.  I try to keep it within reason and not fill the whole car but at the same time, why rough it more than you have to?

The Set Up: First off, you’ll need a tent!  If you’re camping in England like me then go for one with a high waterproof rating.  2000 should do you nicely.  This is a 3 man tent, which has plenty of space for one or even two.  I also like a little windbreak, one for actually being a wind break (this is England!) and two it also provides a little measure of privacy that can be very welcome depending on your pitch.  I also bring the folding picnic table so I can sit up and also use the table like a grown up!  And if you’re bringing a table then why not bring a pretty oilcloth table cloth?

Security: Before I go on, a quick word on safety, obviously trust your own instincts in any situation but as a solo female camper I take a few precautions no matter where I camp.  I keep a personal attack alarm handy by my bed and I have a small padlock on the tent door.  Small measures but they make me feel a lot safer.  I’ve never had reason to need either one, luckily!

Solo Camping

Sleeping: Yoga mats on the floor under the air bed and in the centre provide much more padding than you might think.  They definitely take the edge off any rocky Cumbrian ground you may be pitching on!  I have a teddy bear fleece fitted sheet as well as a normal fitted sheet on my air bed and a 13.5 tog duvet.  Extra fleece blankets can be added if you need the insulation.  Darcy has his own little bed!  If you are camping and it’s a little colder you can add one of those reflective emergency blankets between the airbed and the groundsheet, which stops you losing heat that way.  Air beds can be cold like that but I find them much more comfortable than anything else.  If it’s really cold you could even place one between the inner and the rain fly if it won’t block any vents.

Solo Camping

Stuff: I have one box full of camping bits and pieces that can just be slung in the car as needed and another box for food and drink.  I really didn’t need half the stuff I brought with me for this trip but I’ve never knowingly packed light in my life! I’d rather have more than I need than not enough!  Some essentials for this box: binbags, duct tape and tissues.  You never know how well supplied a campsite bathroom may be and tissue packets are a lot more genteel than wandering round with a loo roll!  I also bring a portable battery charger so I can recharge my phone and tablet while away from mains power.  This way I never need to worry about whether there’s a hook up or not.

Solo Camping

Kitchen Box: Within the box of camping bits I have smaller boxes with different things in so I can grab that box as needed.  The large spotty box has my “kitchen” bits: mugs, plates, bowls, pans, chopping boards, tin foil etc.  (Never go camping without tin foil! In this instance I used it to make sure the grass was protected from my little campfire as well as more normal uses!

Solo Camping

Utensils: The smaller boxes have things like the cutlery and utensils in.  I cannot recommend the Children’s department in Ikea highly enough for basic but highly servicable cutlery, plates, bowls and even mini utensils!  They do this brilliant set of tongs, ladle, scoopy thing, spatula and whisk that fit perfectly in the boxes I use.  I imagine if you’re into backpacking where every bit of extra weight counts these might just be a godsend!  And don’t forget the bottle opener/tin opener!  Vital piece of camping kit, that! Also make sure you pack at least one good sharp knife.

Solo Camping

Washing Up: I also have little boxes for washing up with washing up liquid in a travel shampoo container, more on those later, and a universal travel plug, which is a very handy thing to have! The other boxes are for Fire (fire lighters, matches, lighter) and Useful Bits like a washing line, peg extractor, bulldog clips (which are invaluable while camping for all sorts of things!) and a lollipop stick for deflating the air bed.

Solo Camping

Condiments: Now, about those travel shampoo bottles!  They are perfect for taking condiments for short breaks.  They’re designed to hold liquids and not spill.  I take ketchup, oil, mayonnaise etc in these.  I also use the little screw top tubs for salt and pepper.

Solo CampingSolo Camping

Cooking: Now, food is what we’re about here and I think I manage very nicely with my trusty little gas hob.  I could get a bigger one with a toaster and 2 rings but I have managed to resist because I really don’t need it!  A little folding wind break is highly recommended though.

Solo Camping

I’m not so good at campfire cooking so I leave the campfire experiments to dessert until I get a better feel for it!  Once it’s on fire it’s probably done, right?

Solo Camping

 

 

 

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Run, Anna, Run!

This time next week I will be setting off to run my very first 5K race… and I’ve chosen to do a Pretty Muddy Obstacle 5K Race For Life to boot!

Run!

Now I had been training with the objective to run the whole thing… and I do still intend to try but my physiotherapist banned me from running a few weeks ago while we work to treat a knee injury I sustained from, you guessed it, RUNNING!

I was actually really enjoying my training.  I have been using a Couch 2 5K app program to get me from being unable to run for 30 seconds and I made it as far as running for 5 minutes without stopping! (Sadistic app that it is it gives you two minutes of walking to recover and then off you go running for 5 minutes again!)  The objective is to get you to be able to run for 35 minutes non stop by the end of the program but I’ve only made it halfway through so far.  Once I get this knee problem fixed I fully intend to pick up again and learn to run properly!

Run!

Now, there is one very simple reason I am doing this:
To raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

To that end I would be endlessly grateful to anyone who could spare even as much a £1 to help me reach my fundraising target.

You probably don’t know me but I bet you know someone who has been affected by cancer.  Cancer took my Gran from us and it tried to take my baby sister when she was just 19 but she fought back and won!  It’s only down to the endless research done by groups like Cancer Research UK that we have the treatments available that have meant my sister is still with us today… and that is worth any amount of pain I know I’m going to be in come next Saturday!

So please, dig deep, it couldn’t be simpler to help me reach my fundraising goal simply click the link below:

Anna Pawlow Just Giving

Anna’s Just Giving Page

Or you can even donate by text:

Anna Pawlow Just Giving

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My 30th Birthday BBQ

30th Birthday BBQ - Me on the patio!

To celebrate my 30th Birthday over the weekend I threw a small BBQ party in my garden.  The weather had been glorious all week but come the weekend rain was predicted.  Never fear!  I had a plan!

30th Birthday BBQ - Awning to protect guests from the rain!

I have an extendable awning for over the patio and I stretched a shade sail over the lawn to provide an even bigger canopy propped up with a pole in the middle and anchored to the fence posts on the corners.  This way most of my garden was sheltered and I could happily set up everything under cover in case of rain! A few shower curtains filled the gaps over the food and drink stations.

30th Birthday BBQ - DIY Bar

I set up a little bar so people could help themselves to drinks throughout the evening.  I am so in love with the drinks dispensers!  I set them on cake tins to give them a bit of elevation.  I also went the plastic and paper cup route.  No point in crying over smashed glass!

30th Birthday BBQ  - Pallet side table and flowers

I went to town on the flowers and decorations!  A few sawn pallets stacked up made a nice little coffee table on the lawn (and helped to stablise the pole!) My flower arrangements were made up of peonies, roses, rhododendrons, chrysanthemums and sweet william with rosemary for greenery and fragrance.

30th Birthday BBQ - Roses and Rosemary in Diet Coke Bottles

30th Birthday BBQ - Candles and Flowers throughout the garden

I had plenty of seating set up so people could suit themselves and lots of cushions and blankets to keep everyone comfortable.

30th Birthday BBQ  - Guests mingling under the canop

30th Birthday BBQ- the Lawn seating

Darcy got a little bit overwhelmed by all of the people but he soon bounced back and mingled with the guests stealing bits of BBQ!

30th Birthday BBQ - Me and Darcy!

30th Birthday BBQ

I got all crafty for this shindig too!  A polystyrene wreath covered in cocktail umbrellas decorated the front door to greet my guests.

30th Birthday BBQ - DIY gold glitter letter sign

I cut out letters from black posterboard and then covered it in gold glitter paint for the ANNA 30! and DRINKS signs.

30th Birthday BBQ - Food and Drink Stations

I kept things nice and simple and self service through the night.  I had got Tesco Bumper Party Bags of BBQ food, which were excellent value and had everything you could need! Everything got cooked in the oven and then served buffet style.  Paper plates and pink plastic cutlery meant that at the end of the night cleanup was simple!

30th Birthday BBQ- Ombre Birthday Cake

The cake went down very well!  I went for a 3 layer ombre victoria sponge.  Darcy helped to clean up!

30th Birthday BBQ - Darcy cleaning up cake plates!

 

All in all a wonderful evening filled with fun,friends and food, what more could a girl ask for?

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