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#HouseGoals • A finished home

Over the last 8 weeks I feel like I have lost my voice. Not literally but digitally. And I wanted to give you a little update if you've noticed things have been rather quiet on the blog and being generally behind on every thing else! I have what feels like months and months worth of posts that I am desperate to share, but the house we saw and fell in love with almost exactly two years ago has well and truly taken over our lives since before the Easter break. I've been sort of fighting against it, wanting to rush posts out that are not quite finished, worrying about traffic dropping, tempted to blast out some "traffic friendly" posts I can share to the American foodie sites for a quick fix and feeling like a bad blogger for not scheduling old content if I haven't got anything new to share but after a weekend away at the Sisterhood Camp and endless chats with blogging pals, I'm starting to feel more comfortable with the temporary slower pace, more confident that when you post from your heart, with your voice, about the things that interest and inspire you, hopefully your readers will come back again for the next post. I know it's not forever and soon things will calm down. That and fast internet is finally coming to the village hoorah!

While every slow little step we take towards finishing each room feels like a mini milestone in itself the reality of living and working through a renovation project has been so much more distracting than we thought. All four of us have felt the unsettledness, the time that a house project demands of you and how it restricts you. Evenings need to be spent sorting, moving, preparing for the next day and you feel frustrated and elated all at the same time. That and birthday season with boys who don't really understand the nights spent until gone midnight creating their elaborate ideas for invitations and making up party bags. It's my fault really, I've nurtured this insatiable enthusiasm for birthday parties, I only have myself to blame when Sammy's eyes lit up as he drew out his idea for scroll invitations. With a wax seal of course! 

I've been frustrated that you can't give your all to a blog like you want to, but relieved that the walls feel warm for the first time in a long time. We keep joking that the promise of a new bathroom will make it all worthwhile! And then there's that fear of missing out that creeps in, that you are not at some of the lovely events you see popping up on Instagram and twitter and then slow to post about the ones you do make it to. What is it the wise old owls say? Comparison is the thief of joy? Yep so so true. It's ok if you can't keep up everything, if you don't have superhuman powers. 

The thing we have learnt about an old house is there is often surprises lurking behind the walls. Not anything scary or sinister, we did think the house was riddled with bird's nests until we realised it was actually a paper type material they must have used for insulation, but floor joists aren't where you expect them, there are masses of impenetrable stone where you least expect it and where you most want to fit new wall lights or plug sockets and nothing is level!

But that's really what we completely adore, the old beams across the living room ceiling, the stable cracks in the walls that you can't help run your fingers along as you walk upstairs. I just will love it a little more when the dust settles... and I can clean it away!

For anyone having gone through or going through the same thing you will know it really tests your love for a building when your clothes come out of a sealed plastic box covered in dust (HOW do it get in there?!) and when you know there is a lot more to live through before you can re carpet and the images of holes in the walls and wires out of the ceiling will become distant memories. 

Over the Easter holidays we were a family of nomads moving between family and letting the team of plumbers and electricians rip through the house. To say they destroyed it would be an understatement and I am so grateful to our family who put up with our piles of shoes at their front doors and wet towels over the banisters. I don't know what I expected, I knew replumbing and rewiring was a big job but when you actually see the walls with great huge channels ripped out of them, floor to ceiling grooves 5 inches thick it makes you clutch your face in disbelief. The contractors were brilliant and had warned us there was no way we could live in the house during the main part of the job and joked when we started unloading the cars the day before the boys went back to school (yep I said they were brilliant, a whole team worked the weekend till gone 9pm to get us back in) that I would have been in tears if I had visited and seen the horrendous state of everywhere earlier in the week. 

It's funny in a way because that complete destruction has in fact been less of a distraction than putting it all back together. Something I wasn't expecting at all. I'd forgotten about plastering, patching over the new pipework, undercoating, skirting boards and the fact that absolutely every wall in the house would need redecorating. There was one wall, that wasn't to be touched, going up the stairs but unfortunately one of them had a slip with the drill from the other side and left a great jaggedy hole coming through to the staircase! But having seen the mucky fingerprints it was no bad thing that this area got added to the never ending list.

Renovations aren't pretty but they are clever. We know the fabric and foundations of the house need to be fixed first and the fun stuff like floor tiles and kitchen cupboards have to wait. It's like investing in the house all over again and protecting it for the next generation. So here's a little update of where we are...

Living out as opposed to in boxes still! Most of our clothes are still packed away but thanks to my lovely mum who came to dog sit for us I now have an old rail from my brother in law's shop with a load of summer dresses rescued from a dusty holdall and we've used Ollie's old nursery chest of drawers for our everyday bits like underwear and pjs.

Our lounge still looks like this... But with a fresh coat of paint. We chose a beautiful pale grey colour called Dimpse from Farrow and Ball, a slightly warmer tone than this original Blackened which has more of a blue undertone. I am DESPERATE to remove the mattress that is out of shot and put the room back together. Over Sammy's birthday party weekend we had to just shut the door on all the mess and sleep amongst the chaos on the mattress on the floor. I know it sounds awful having a bit of a moan when we are so happy and lucky to be doing all this work to the house, but you know that feeling when you have been away on a wonderful holiday but coming home to your own bed feels so marvellous? It's a bit like that. I just want to be back in our bedroom, in our bed. 

The master bedroom sits directly above the lounge and the space mirrors the size of the room downstairs. A third of the room behind the wall with the head of the bed is where the ensuite and wardrobe area is. Well was... Rich and my brother in law Andrew spent a whole weekend tearing it to shreds! 

We want to make the space more usable, the ensuite was originally fitted with a bath and for us we would much prefer a lovely big shower. I adore having a bath in an evening but we are morning shower people! When we first moved in I ripped up the carpet which in hindsight was a big mistake - my best advice for anyone who is taking on a house that needs work - live with it! Just for a while anyway. Because the windows are so bad and draughty the room was exceptionally cold over the winter and after 2 harsh freezing seasons I realised just how much of a difference it would have made to have left the carpet. To help preserve some heat and also the difference it might have made the the boys' attic room above. Our bedroom has 3 outside walls so we weren't helping them above us either!

My sister came down for a weekend and we cleared the room - which is why it looks so empty in this picture! I have totally fallen out of love with the dark wood furniture and think my best bet is to give it a chalk paint makeover when we are ready to move all the furniture back in place. The ugly surface pipes have now all disappeared and we have moved the radiators under the windows. When we came back to live in the house it was like walking into a sauna we couldn't believe the difference!

I am so so tempted to sand and paint the floorboards but wonder if carpet is a better option now we have lots of lovely heat to saviour. 

It's a bit of a mess as you can see. With random Christmas decorations still not moved back into the loft after they ripped out the old tank. We have built the space for a new ensuite in place of the old one, moving the whole room back about a foot, lost the old wardrobes and instead are going to build storage behind the beam on the opposite wall. It will feel cosy but we are a family with a lot of stuff! I have a love affair with tongue and groove panelling and think we can make the frame and router plain doors to give us that effect. I'll let you know how we get on. As much as I'd love to make the room feel as big as possible this is a country cottage house and storage space is one of our highest priorities. The boys share a room and already their wardrobe is bursting with school uniform and weekend clothes, and they are only going to get bigger and the clothes will get longer and bulkier!

The ensuite is, well pink. Peachy pink to be correct and was looking very sorry for itself. But the space is great, we have enough room for a double shower tray and we think we can transform it into a modern bathroom. It still needs to feel traditional but I can't wait to have a sparkly new white suite and get planning on tile choices and accessories. 

I am going to collaborate with Wholesale Domestic on this project and can't wait to show you our inspiration and ideas. Why is it that the smallest rooms in the house are the ones that often get you the most excited?! It's a room that has very limited wall space, has a limited number of configuration options but I literally am counting the days until it is finished! To have a beautiful tiled floor to step into, clean fresh grout on the walls and bright lighting will be incredible. 

So what do you think should we keep a sink unit or go for a free standing basin and toilet? I really like the idea of opening the room up as much as possible and thinking about some kind of shelving above the sink instead of a big cabinet... hmm decisions decisions. 

Ok so these photos are nothing short of ugly ugly ugly but I love that we will have a record of all the progress. I have dreams about a gorgeous fabric window seat pad opposite the bathroom door and there is just enough room in the space infant of you in this picture, under Sammy's very helpful measurement note to the builder to fit a small chest of drawers or chair. 

By starting again with the internal walls we have the chance to wire in sockets where we really want them and Rich has a thing for hotel room light switches. Wiring lamps into the sockets so they turn on and off from the wall, bed height level switches and usb plug sockets for our phone chargers. 

At the moment we are heatedly "discussing" the options for bedside lamps. I have my heart set on scissor style lamps that you can push and pull out from the wall, like the old fashioned round bathroom mirrors but Rich thinks they are quite a permanent option. On the basis that this is meant to be a forever home I think we are safe to make a big commitment to wall lights don't you? He bought the old little cream ones as a stop gap when we moved in and I can't stand them! They are not really offensive but would look much better on a window ledge or smaller side table. Tell me you are with me right?

The utility room is the next big project. The kitchen is a mammoth, humungous task that is many years away but we use the back door every single day so it's a good place to start. We use it as a laundry room, pantry, boot room and general dump these bags of rubbish that don't belong anywhere room. But it needs proper storage, a new ceiling, the new boiler has gone in where the old shelves were which we used as a larder and we are planning a proper fitted unit system to tie it all together. 

I may or may not have been one of those mad customers in the kitchen showroom who squealed at the thought of finally owning one of those spice racks that get fitted inside a pantry door. Something all little girls dream of I'm sure! 

It's a really good size but we need to use it wisely. My priorities are to fit as much as possible in without closing the space completely up as it's a galley shaped room. How we have managed to amass so many coats is beyond me, but we need somewhere to hang them. So ideally in the gap where Rich is standing I'd like to have a run of coat storage with shoe storage underneath, because the wicker baskets we currently have are overflowing and you end up wearing the same pair over and over because your others are buried!

There's a window on the wall behind the washing machine so it is a light room but I really have a thing for slate coloured floor tiles so am currently on the hunt for some large square ones that aren't too thick as we can't change the height of the back door. And although this will be replaced (you can't really tell from this photo but the bottom of the door doesn't sit flush so there's a huge draught coming through all the time) when we have finished, the concrete floor means we need to choose relatively thin floor tiles as opposed to heavy real stone.

So inside looks a little white and empty. Everywhere has had a new coat of paint, the skirting looks fantastic, who knew new freshly painted skirting could make a room feel so alive again, and outside looks a little something like this. All the windows you can see at the back of the house are being replaced next week for new wooden windows with lovely brass window furniture and will be painted in our favourite Farrow and Ball Purbeck Stone. Because the house is Grade II listed we had to make a decision right at the start as to which colour all the outside woodwork would be painted in. We needed to repaint some of the very old windows just to see them through one last winter and had to submit a planning application fairly soon after we moved in. 

The listed building officer has been brilliant, really open to our long term ideas for the conservatory (which if I won the lottery would knock straight down) and processed all our applications promptly. We were granted permission to replace the plastic windows you can see with the hatched effect with timber windows in the same style as the old french doors. So everything will match in together and I think it will make a huge difference not only to how warm we can keep the house but also the look and feel of it too. 

So this is why my posts have been delayed lately, and this week it will probably feel like waiting for a bus because I have a couple of posts ready to share in the next few days! It's been quite an incredible few months, I've met some inspirational people, been on surreal trips and have a photo library bursting at the seams. 

So pop back tomorrow and see what I have in store.

And as I type this my prototypes for my backdrop product idea are at last being printed! I really hope that the phrase good things come to those who wait is true and that when I share them you will like what you see! 

Thanks for sticking with me :)

I'm working with Wholesale Domestic on our ensuite renovation project and will be sharing our ideas and our progress over the next few months.

My Visual Stories #2

I kind of love sharing this sort of post. I've got myself into a bit of a spin over the last year or so thinking that every post has to have a recipe, craft idea, something helpful or something for you to takeaway. It's hard as a blogger to resist reading the thousands of "Top Tips" posts, I know I've shared a good few of those myself but these posts with a random collection of words and photos don't tick any of those boxes. This is just from me to you.

Sharing snippets of my week, with the people I love.

Over the last couple of weeks I've been working on new product shots for a lovely graphic designer, which involved twirling ribbon over and over until was just right. Moose was not a good assistant and kept wandering in and making a nest out of the props! I tend to work on one job at a time, with another queued up on my desk. The light was just beautiful that day, perfect even sunlight blasting over the conservatory and the colours popped all by themselves!

Rich has had a few ideas for the tea company new blog and so we've been recipe testing, buying props and I've been researching how you make that super shiny donut glaze... I can't wait to finish them over the weekend and share a sneak peek. For once we worked really well together. That may sound sarcastic, and I don't mean it to be, it's just that usually when we put our heads together creatively it's more of a recipe for disaster. He's methodical and strategic and I have a vision of the final photographs and run with it like a bull in a china shop. We've worked from home together for almost 6 years (that's a story for a whole other post) and it is a challenge. We can spend almost 24 hours together in some weeks and it's a fine balance between bouncing an idea of each other, being a dreadful distraction/interruption when you are trying to concentrate and one of our greatest achievements all at the same time. 

To be able to support each other in our very different working lives.

Ok, so Rich might do the lion's share with his technical helpline, physical support moving all sorts of prop boxes and I constantly borrow his hands, to hold/pour something or other in a photo but I like being useful, having a role to add value.

We've lived this sort of island work life for a few years now. But you feel less alone with someone tapping away at the other end of the table. In any given day the house can be a hive of activity or like today completely still as I am on my own whilst he works in Devon.

Last week was a whirlwind week in contrast to the stillness of today and if you ever see me post on social media that I am driving to London virtually slap me. Hard.

It is not a good plan and the only saving grace of a 9 and a half hour round trip to the Country Living Show last Thursday with one of my bestest girlfriends was that we have never had so much time together, just the two of us, and we talked non stop! Over the last couple of years I've found myself saying yes to more work and no to more friends. Getting into a self imposed spiral of worry that I couldn't afford the time off to meet one of my oldest friends for lunch or meet up with a new friend I've met online or at school. I got myself into a ridiculous mental state - the busiest of busy fools and made an absolute conscious decision at new year to make more time for the people that matter. We've never been ones for a massive circle of friends. We have a small number of really close friends, couples we've gone through University with, neighbours who are like family and antenatal class lifelong family friends. Not everyone had children at the same time, but we all just pick up where we left off no matter how long it can be between visits. No one lives near us, so instead of catching up at a park or soft play, our friends dates become weekends away, overnight stays and plans on the calendar 3 or 4 months in advance. 

Friends who don't bat an eyelid at the boxes of props all over the playroom, who know how much joy I get from planning the boy's birthday parties and can tease me any time they want for emptying pre made supermarket salad post into silly little patterned bowls.

I love our friends and Emma and I scooted around the fair, picked up a few treats (How cool are these dressing up horses that we spotted on a stand in the gallery - and how perfect for Yasmin's pony party next month?! Sold to the blogger in the yellow mac!) stopped for a sandwich and then headed home. We came out of the conference centre and looked up at the most colourful corner of Islington and joked that we were in the centre of London, in the middle of the afternoon, with all these lovely streets around us but we had to be sensible and head home!

I was cream crackered on Friday morning as we drove to school, in lycra I might add, wow what a sight! These legs haven't been running in a year so it was a miracle that the gym wear fit at all! I thought my heart was going to burst as I watched Ollie race ahead for the Sport Relief mile. He tore off without us past scores of other pupils, parents and teachers only to be so pleased with himself for going so fast that he didn't concentrate on where he was running and went smack into a tree! You couldn't make it up!

I bolted over, cutting one of the corners on the field and scooped up this tearful mess with a very bloody hand that he'd cut on the bark as he slipped and headed to one of the teachers on steward duty to steal a tissue which we made into a makeshift bandage. 

After a few minutes he got his confidence back and shouted "Come on! We have to win this!" Totally oblivious to half the school who had crossed the finish line, all sitting on the wall cheering for each and every runner as they ran under the blue banner and were presented with a sticker. 

The atmosphere was fantastic. There were older children doing wheelbarrows all the way around, some three-legged competitors a teacher juggled bean bags and a few in an adults jumper running as a pair! Great traditional fun for a fantastic cause. 

After we got home I zipped to a pop up event by the Somerset Collective who were also raising money for Sport Relief, and browsed through the stalls of homemade chocolates, jewellery, clothing, prints and more. I bought a couple of lovely bits and met one of my Instagram pals who was selling her fabulous neon wooden necklaces. 

The weekend started with my sister and her family arriving from the South East for the mammoth task of knocking out our bedroom wardrobes and en-suite bathroom. I fully admit I am a sentimental hoarder, but I hadn't quite realise how much rubbish I have stored away amongst the more precious memories. Broken bits and bobs, odd jigsaw pieces that never found it's right home again in 2 house moves and birthday cards from all the boy's parties. The excess was quite alarming! My sister is almost the opposite to me and it was like having my very own Marie Kondo forcing me to make ruthless decisions about what needed to stay and go. We laughed and laughed until there were tears rolling down our cheeks at old photos, pre school artwork and hilarious pictures and filled every last inch available in the skip and loaded the car with 8 bags for the charity shop. 

The small boy was a dream all weekend and we carted him around in his "basket" Natty stopping to feed him every couple of hours with the big cousins all playing together around the chaos. 

Rich and my brother in law Andrew did an amazing job upstairs. Painstakingly taking apart the stud walling, had to work around electrics that weren't in helpful places and got rid of as much of the bathroom as possible. Natty and I brought them drinks and snacks and we gasped when we saw how different the space was when it was all down and opened up. We have a lot to fit back in, and it will definitely feel more cosy than contemporary and spacious when we've finished the renovation at the end of April/ beginning of May, but it's given us a blank canvas to start again.

I've take a few before photos to show you in another post and Andrew, being a cad designer, has mocked up some 3D layouts which give us a real feel for how the room could work better. The Heaths need storage - even with my slimmed down wardrobe. So the next stage is for the plumbers to come in after Easter, remove the existing pipework and replumb for the new bathroom. Whilst I am dreaming of pretty tiles Rich is reminding me we have to agree the positions of the toilet! I think we should replace the space you see below with a shower room behind the head of the bed and find a new space for wardrobes along the opposite wall and bring the window to the left of the photo into the bedroom. You'll have to let me know what you'd do when I share all the before photos over the weekend. 

So I didn't really have any time to open the laptop. No new post in quite a few days. But I did manage, with the tremendous help of my sister, to clear my office. Boxes of paperwork that needs shredding and recycling have all been carted out and I can see where I need practical storage, not more little baskets as Natty shouted, for props and start the spring with a more organised work space and get away from the dining table. Separate work and home.

I realised that in almost 6 months I haven't shared our office space on the blog, and it's on a long list of draft ideas that are half written, or have half the photos and no words. I looked through the basket of notebooks (yes I hoard those too) and thought oh dear, so many ideas that I've let slip. There are times when you can let yourself get consumed with an overwhelming sense of failure. When you blog you are surrounded by numbers and peers. Events you didn't get invited to, opportunities in Facebook groups you know nothing about and it's so easy to let all those anxious feelings get the better of you. To become enveloped by a wave of comparison and often feel a pressure to change the way you blog to keep up with a current trend or style. I am determined not to let all these to do lists disappear and instead have rewritten a new list with renewed enthusiasm. 

I owe my second career to the blogging community. I look over my blog over the last few months and there's no pattern, no schedule, I write when I have something to say and that may not be every day, it may only be a couple of times a week some weeks, but it's what I really want to say. I have the chance to collaborate with brands I admire and products that make me squeal at the postman and then race to school for pick up time. It really is living the dream. It's cheesy but true because the only limit is your own imagination and creativity. It's your space to write what you like!

Being a blogger is like sharing your whole life with best friends you might never meet and the best thing of all is that there is plenty of room on the internet for everyone to blossom.

And that should be celebrated. So if you love reading a blog, make sure you nominate them for a MAD Blog Award and in the BiBs this year. These awards have catapulted a generation of entrepreneurial working parents into mainstream media. It's not back room blogging in the dark of night, it's men and women fronting national campaigns, raising thousands of pounds for charity, changes people's attitudes towards disability, internationally recognised writers, vloggers and photographers sharing their heart break and happiness with the world. People you relate to, people who you feel you really know. 

I will be nominating my favourites and they aren't all the most popular or the ones with the most followers. Awards season can feel like one big popularity contest but it's not. Because we all get to decide. So be proud to tell your followers you'd be thrilled if they nominated you. Show them how much it would mean to you! Because I know I would be over the moon to be nominated this year. It's not desperate to share that you'd love to be nominated for an award, be proud of the blog you write. I put my heart and soul into mine, the blog is our lives. It's a team effort from me, the boys and Rich and it would be nothing without them. This may not be a post full of styled floral flat lays or a craft post I can pin to a Pinterest board but it's full of me and the story of my week that was. 

Happy week everyone, we are counting down to tomorrow afternoon when school finishes and the big phone call from America to say our new niece is on her way. Come on baby Marini we all want you here now so Granny can book the flights. Thank goodness for staff travel! Auntie can't wait to cuddle you in a couple of weeks!

How to Grow Your Own Cut Flower Patch • Common Farm Flowers

Almost exactly this time last year I said the same thing to Rich. "Do you think the garden will come back again? I can't really believe it!" Everything is cut to the ground, pinned back, brown. Gone are the rainbow brights in the big border, there's not even a whisper of the wild flowers we scattered through the apple trees and the everlasting Sweet Peas look like they have died a slow death. I feel like I am willing the peony bushes to start sprouting, like standing over them in my slippers on the frosty grass will make them magically appear in front of my eyes!

I know it will all come back, that the boys will be diving in and out of the long grass that grows wildly in May, and by June I'll be pottering in the early summer sunshine at 6pm shouting over to Rich cutting the grass, "I just adore this garden." But it feels like a long wait.

I will admit that I hacked at the garden last year. I snipped and pruned and made a real mess of the beautiful rockery and flower beds that the previous owners tended to so lovingly for 3 decades. I filled the house with flowers from the garden as well as my incredibly talented neighbour at the bottom of the hill who grows to sell at the local Women's Institute market. Her flowers blow me away. For my birthday Rich gave me a weekly subscription service - not that she'd done anything like that before! She has a rustic wooden table outside their 5 bar gates and leaves buckets of the most amazing Dahlias, Delphiniums, you name it she grew it, with an honesty box for passers by to buy them. 

But through the late summer and autumn 2 black florist's bucket would arrive as if by magic on the front door step and my heart would literally burst! I'm hoping for the same for my birthday this year but I am also so determined to tend a little flower patch of my own, so that the garden can stay in all it's glory and I have a dedicated area that is just for cutting. To bring the garden inside. 

We have decided to use the vegetable patch for a mixture of fruit and flowers this year. The raspberry, strawberry, courgette and pumpkin plants are staying, we are going to grow a smaller amount of climbing french beans and use the rest for pretty blooms! It's not a huge area, as flower patches go but it's a perfect start. I don't think I am blessed with green fingers but I really want to learn. And the best way to learn was to listen to the Queen of Flower Farmers, my friend Georgie Newbery. Last Tuesday I went along to her farm to spend the day in their converted barn along with 6 others to understand the basics and give us a foundation of knowledge to start our patches at home. 

Georgie cuts over 250,000 stems at their family flower farm Common Farm Flowers. I visited the farm last year and was in awe of the varieties of tulips tossing their heads around in the wind. The tunnels bursting with sweet peas and the wild poppies. Man o man I couldn't get enough of them! 

The workshop runs from 10am - 3pm with bottomless pots of tea and coffee and homemade biscuits and a break for a Common-Farm-does-a-ploughmans style lunch with local bread and cheeses washed down with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. 

Georgie is a brilliant teacher. Relaxed, generous with her knowledge, full of tips and tricks (slugs beware - vaseline and salt are good to smear on your wooden edging and baked crushed egg shells make a great deterrent too) and you can't help but feel like you've made a new group of friends by the end of the day. I had no idea about compost tea, simple recipes that make a huge difference to the quality of your soil as part of the preparations for your patch. Georgie recommended several seed producers to buy from to ensure you get the freshest seed possible and speaks with heated passion about her determination to encourage people to grow their own. I was staggered to learn about the empty planes that fly back to Columbia having delivered millions upon millions of roses to the UK market for Valentine's Day. It's horrifying to hear of the commercial wizardry that has to be performed to keep stems alive in transport. It makes you realise that when it comes to flowers, what we may consider is fresh is far from it. 

We came away with scores of notes, handouts, supplier information and things worth investing in and what corners are worth cutting. I can't recommend this course more if you are thinking of starting your own patch in the garden. It doesn't have to be huge. Raised beds work well too. 

If you can't get to a course you can find a copy of Georgie's book the Flower Farmer's Year here which is heaving with every single thing you need to know to get started without feeling overwhelmed. 

Little and often is Georgie's motto.

There are patches of colour appearing, Grape Hyacinth sprouting between the Daffodils and the odd Crocus. Enough for a small posy, picked by a boy! 

I'm going to order some Dahlia bulbs, propagate my seed tray with the varieties we were given at the workshop; Larkspur, Salvia, Cornflower, Ammi Majus and pot 5 sweet pea seeds in a taller plastic pot. Georgie was adamant that you place 5, just 5, seeds in each section of our trays. You need to think less about the vast number in the packet (because how hard would it be logistically for a seed producer to package up 5 at a time?!) and more about the size of the plant when it's growing in the ground.

My Sweet Peas will go outside the back door to harden up to the weather in a couple of weeks time before being planted the following week and Georgie reminded us to make sure we grow them in rows as opposed to a tipi shape structure as you will miss out on all the flowers that grown between the stakes. You are growing to cut remember!

So I am all set to go! I need to keep an eye on my seed tray to make sure they are sitting in too much water, of course my natural reaction would be to water form the top but as Georgie pointed out the pressure and force of streaming water would move your delicate 5 seeds to one end of the tray. Which would mean they all become bunched together! 

This is my to do list for March, I need to tend to the earth to give my bulbs and seeds the best conditions and make my first batch of compost tea! Although we were warned it does pong! There are lots of other little bits to do as well, but nothing that even the busiest of bees can't manage. Georgie's book is going to be my bible this year, a reference and an inspiration. 

Anyone else planning to grow their own flowers this year? I have quite a few seeds left over and though it might be nice to do a swap! Let me know and we can pop each other some in the post. 

Check out the full list of workshops at Common Farm Flowers and see which one would be right for you.