A Blog ‘Wobble’……

This week I have had a little ‘blog wobble’ and I have been wondering if people still enjoy reading my blog now that I don’t have my four allotments.

My allotment

My allotment

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A long time ago when I first wrote my ‘about‘ page I said:

“I learnt my frugal, thrifty ways through necessity and the desire to make sure my family do not feel deprived in anyway”. 

But how did it all begin?…..

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I had a good career, a big house, a nice car, etc……but looking back now I can see that none of this made me happy.

I met ‘Mr Thrift’ and we started a family and I gave up work to look after our children.  Money was so tight and we were always in debt.  We realised that we had to make changes to the way we lived so I could continue to stay at home.

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Our lives graually changed completely and without realising it we began living a much simpler life than we did before.  Previously my friends would call me the ‘packet mix queen’, but gradually I learnt to make meals from scratch and bake cakes, biscuits and even bread…..and amazingly they were actually nicer than shop bought equivalents.

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I began shopping differently too.  Every single item that was put into my shopping trolley was needed for the meals I had planned and absolutely nothing was wasted.  If I did have the odd thing left over that none us wanted to eat, then it was used in a different way e.g. over ripe bananas were used in banana cake.  I even made ‘peanut butter’ biscuits once that were delicious and dissappeared in minutes, but the jar of peanut butter had stood for months in my pantry!

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I then began cleaning using ‘old fashioned’ cleaning methods using bicarb, white vinegar and lemon juice and getting the same results as shop bought alternatives which were so much more expensive and not so good for the environment.  I also began using homemade laundry liquid and I can honestly say that my skin has been better for it (I suffered for years with allergies from detergents).

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And then the biggest change of all came ten years ago when I took on my first allotment and we were amazed by how different the fruit and vegetables tasted compared with the supermarkets.  This led to a total of four allotments which I absolutely loved and by growing our own fruit and vegetables I found we saved so much money.

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What we didn’t realise in the beginning was that by simplifying our life over the years we have changed so much in ourselves….we began to stop wanting ‘material things’ just to keep up the ‘Jones’ and started to enjoy the more simple pleasures of life.

I now feel very priviledged to have lived this way and had the chance to connect with nature and the seasons on my allotment plots.

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So why did I write a blog?

Nearly eighteen years ago when my first daughter was born, everyone that I knew worked. I had no one to show me how to cook, grow vegetables, clean or save money in general and I spent hours and hours learning the hard way…..and this was the main reason I decided to write my blog.  I was hoping that I could convince people that these things are actually easy to do and yet so rewarding, not to mention better for the environment. 

From the beginning I decided I didn’t want to make any profit from advertising on my blog, as this is not the purpose of it and I still feel the same (though I do know that wordpress advertise sometimes, which is out of my control).  My blog is about ‘simple living’ and I hope it reflects this.

I am really hoping that I haven’t lost any readers now I have given up my four allotments and in the future I want to share the benefits of growing vegetables right outside the back door in a smaller space.  I won’t say I don’t miss my allotments, as I do….but circumstances dictated that change was necessary and I have embraced it.

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My garden before:

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My new kitchen garden today:

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“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realise that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”

Eckhart Tolle

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I am certainly beginning to see some benefits of my new kitchen garden at home, but I will write about it another time.

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So I really hope you continue to enjoy my blog.

I will be back next Friday at my usual time….have a good weekend!

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93 thoughts on “A Blog ‘Wobble’……

      • I was saddened when I had to give up my allotment last year but it is better in so many ways to grow in my own back garden. Yours looks great by the way.

        Anyway, I enjoy your blog – and I am sure you will continue to have lots of useful and interesting things to tell us 🙂

  1. I, for one have found your blog even more interesting since you gave up your allotments. There will be many followers/readers who feel somewhat constrained in what they are able to produce in the confines of their garden! But you have proved just how much can be grown.

    I am certain this will be one of many comments about how interesting and enjoyable your blog posts are. You clearly spend a lot of time taking pictures to illustrate what you are talking about (much appreciated by me!).

    Your daughter is the same age as mine – I do hope that she’s managing ok with the pressure of exams at the moment? My daughter has just had a little “wobble” of her own about the upcoming exams and anxieties over whether she’s revised hard enough and whether she’ll get her grades and University place (Brighton). She said that she doesn’t feel that we do enough to support her…. but I think just being “around”, cooking healthy and tasty meals and getting them on the table each day is surely a part of that! As for being able to grill her on Sociology subjects… 🙂 well, I am afraid that is beyond my capabilities!

    Please do continue to write your blog posts. I am a faithful follower and always take the time to read what you have written from beginning to end.

    • Oh bless you for saying that, it means the world to me. My eldest has just taken her As levels and yes has been very stressed with the exams. My youngest will be taking her GCSE’s next school year, but has been taking her science exams a year early….so yes there has been lots of revision stress here lol-but like you I haven’t been too much help (as the subjects are so hard to understand), but I have been there feeding them drinks and snacks to keep them going.

  2. I love reading your blog every week. I too have small kitchen garden, and I’ve been really interested in what you’ve been doing to create yours, it’s given me loads of ideas and food from the garden is always way better than the supermarket stuff. I bake from scratch and love finding recipes to use the stuff I grow. I am also looking into using less detergents and making some of my own stuff, I would never know how or thought about it without your blog. So please keep writing!

  3. I’m still reading you! I first came across your very readable blog through the Allotments4All forum. But like you I no longer have an allotment and garden at home. But the reason I keep reading your blog is that it’s a great feeling to find someone who likes doing many of the things I do and approaches the world in the same way. Thanks and may all your seeds germinate & your puddings be tasty.

    • Oh bless you Paula, I am so glad we have so much in common. It’s lovely to connect with so many like minded people through my blog. Hope your garden is doing well at homwe too – do you miss your allotment like I do?

  4. I always enjoy your posts. Not going to stop because you don’t have your allotments anymore.
    There are plenty of us who like you have no interest in keeping up with the Jones’s. In fact I wouldn’t be retired now if I had been that kind of person.
    Keep doing what you’re doing. You would be missed if you decided to stop.
    Best wishes, Angela ( Devon)

  5. I always look forward to Friday,because since there is always a new blog post from you. your blog post is always full of informationen for me.A joy for me!!
    Please do continue to write your blog posts!!!
    I live a similar life how you.
    Best wishes from Regina

    • Thank you so much for all your lovely comments. I also look forward to your comments each week Regina and I love to hear what you have been up to in your garden too. I also love your blog as well

  6. DO NOT stop your blog…. I love it and look forward to reading it every Friday ….it’s so good to know your kitchen garden is coming on; it looks amazing … You should look back to see what you’ve achieved also… Well done!

  7. Stand firm – no need to wobble at all! I find your blog really helpful and informative whether you’re taking about your allotments or garden or sharing recipes with us. I always thought that you’d worked in horticultural because you’re so knowledgeable and honestly looking at your garden how it is now, to how it was, I just think your garden looks so ‘alive’ now – don’t worry we’re still here with you xxx

    • Lol, no I have never worked in horticulture, though I did go to college to study horticulture. I absolutely live for growing vegetables and flowers and I think life would be so dull if I couldn’t do this.

      Thank you for still reading

  8. I have only recently started reading your blog, but I find it very useful. I have only just started growing my own fruit and vegetables in my own small garden and find all your tips brilliant. At the moment I need someone to tell me what I should be doing at what times etc

  9. I love your blog and love the way you accept life’s challenges and the changes that come your way. You just get on with it !! You always give really practical advice that is of use to everyone – from absolute beginners. Thanks for all the time you dedicate to us, your readers xx

  10. I love your blog! You share many of the same values and garden size as me. I really enjoy hearing what you are doing in your garden and home – it is an inspiration, please keep going!
    I keep bees, so especially appreciate your bee pictures this week!

  11. Many people only have access to a garden in which to grow their fruit and veg., so to see how much you are producing in yours is even more relevant. If anything, I’m enjoying it more..
    Best wishes, Stephanie.

  12. Wow, the before and after pics are amazing. I’m relatively new to your blog (late last year) and really enjoy reading it every week even if I don’t post a comment each time. I like the mix of gardening and living a simple lifestyle, which are things I’m passionate about too, so it’s a resounding ‘yes please keep writing and photographing’ from me too!

  13. I love your blog, but admit that I don’t comment very often. Even though you have downsized your growing space, the advice, tips recipes and your practical approach to life changes, is so very refreshing! A definite thumbs-up from me!
    Jak x

  14. I have found your blog every bit as interesting as it was. Don’t stop and don’t change a thing! I rarely miss a blog, though snswering has been a challenge this past month as we have alternated between being sick and getting used to a new dog.

    • Oooh lovely a new dog. What sort have you got and is he/she lovely and well behaved? Ours is finally improving now we have a new trainer helping us. I also hope you are feeling better now and the rest of your family are well?

  15. Only just found your blog and am looking forward to learning more about your garden. I gave up my allotment when I moved and still miss it sometimes. I am learning to grow things in France now and struggling with everything going to seed very quickly.

    • Hi Karen and thank you for reading my blog. I’m sorry you had to give up your allotment, but I’m sure you have a better life now in France….do your plants go to seed because it is hotter where you are now?

  16. Like many others seeing you adapt to a small space is very helpful.Some of us golden oldies lottie days are over and now I’m trying to manage a garden with quite painful Rheumatoid arthritis. Yes I do the old fashioned 1950’s thing but it encourages me to see younger people doing it and I do pick up good tips from you eg the path making from weed membrane . The pictures are especially helpfull as I haven’t quite caught up with getting my own photos on line and I’m really impressed about how you find enough time to blog at all. Best wishes for a very happy and fruitful summer.Keep up the good work but not at the expense of your own well being
    D B

    • Hi Doreen and thank you for reading my blog. We can learn so much from each other can’t we-it’s so nice to have comments for this reason isn’t it. I hope your arthritis doesn’t get any worse…it must be so painful and frustrating for you.

      Along time ago I knew a lady with the same name as you that worked in Nottingham, in a Gas showroom…..your name brought back happy memories for me.

  17. Please don’t stop your blog- it has been so helpful! The last 2 Christmas would not have been the same if I hadn’t discovered your hamper ideas!all your recipes etc.Not quite got to grips with the gardening still renovating the house but the aim is next year !Hope you are all well in your exam household!
    Take care.

  18. Listen to me.. “A girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do”.
    I also have 4 allotment plots and am deeply dark greenly envious of your new kitchen garden being so close to your kitchen. You have been sweet enough to read the blog that my parrot ‘writes’, I LOVE your writing and have passed you onto many of our readers who feel the same way.
    I wish you sunny days, NO slugs, rainy nights to fill your water butts.
    But most of all, I wish for you and your family to be happy and healthy and that, dear fellow blog writer, is all that is important.
    Sara aka Sally & GeeGee Parrot.

    • How lovely you are for passing my blog on to other readers and thank you for your kind words. If I had a choice I would still have my four allotments, but this is not to be (at the moment).

      How are your allotments going this year?

  19. I really enjoy your blog, though I am a silent follower and never comment. I loved reading about your 4 allotments, your energy in keeping on top of them amazed me, but I feel more inspired by your kitchen garden, because it feels more achievable. Please keep up the good work- I learn something new every time I click onto your blog.

  20. How are my four allotment plots?
    Hmmmm.. well, 2.5 of them are in good shape but 1.5 of them has been swallowed up by an evil, vicious blackberry x briar whilst I was ‘unwell’.
    But instead of breaking my back and being ripped to shreds by dealing this evil monster, I am calling upon two fellow plot holders, (they’re huge 6′ + strong giants) and in exchange for some folding, these two lovely men are coming to give old beastly briar a very unpleasant time on June 4th.. they’re cutting him down, digging him out and they’re taking it away to the local tip!
    The asparagus is scrumptious, we’ve just had a frost which burnt the leaves on my Anjou pear and the June drop started mid May..
    Apart from all that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play.. springs to mind.
    Ahh.. gardening.. drives us potty and keeps us fit!
    Have a happy time gardening girl..

    • It sounds like a monster! I remember my 3rd plot was covered in six foot monsters too. I remember cutting them down praying there wasn’t any grass snakes under them lol….thank goodness I didn’t find any. Good luck with it all

  21. Thoroughly enjoy your blogs. My husband does the veg and fruit bit of our small garden and I try to manage the flower shrub part.
    Your handy hints, recipes, etc most useful.We are both retired now so can devote ,more time . Keep up the good work so we can all benefit from your knowledge. Many thanks

  22. CARRY ON BLOGGING ! Hey that could be name of a new film! Promise you no inuendo to the size of ones melons etc..Seriously,I look forward to your blog & enjoy catching up on what youre doing ,the useful hints ,recipes & general gardening advice for the relevant season.I am so impressed with your kitchen garden-you have so much going on in it .Slugs seem to eat my seedlings for breakfast !I should protect them more like you do.Lots of ideas there.Goodness knows how you ever found the time & energy to tend 4 allotments AND write a blog in the past.
    Please carry on.I am a stay at home Mum & by cutting down on buying food & cooking & growing some of my own, hope to be able to stay at home until my youngest is in his teens I can identify with your ethos & call myself spiritually rich if not with actual money !
    love from Carrie x

  23. Ok thank you,I think the Trigeminal neuralgia is holding its own! Thankfully! My daughter age 21 had her tonsils out yesterday & allowed home the same day!.As she lives on her own in a flat in our village Ive had to keep an eye on her.Apparently patients mustnt be on their own for 48 hours after surgery.When I was a child we were allowed to eat ice cream -now they recommend toast !!It helps the healing ! Think Id rather stick with the icecream ! Our children grow up so quickly -but still need us ! Its my 54th birthday tomorrow and for a special treat my husband bought me a Kenwood mixer so I shall be practising those bread rolls of yours soon my old mini mixer couldnt handle the kneading!

  24. Dear Mrs T,
    I am a newcomer to your blog but I want to tell you how much I enjoy it and that you are providing a phenomenal amount of useful technical advice on gardening that is all based on your experience. It is fantastic and I have been planting out my leeks and parsnips in paper towel and newspaper tubes for the first time. You have also given me the confidence and inspiration to grow my vegetables from seed this year. I have noticed in recent weeks that there are a few elements of self-doubt creeping into your thoughts including this week’s ‘wobble’. One appeared to be about the stay at home mum thing and this week you appeared to fear that because you were no longer running the huge enterprise of four allotments, people were no longer reading your blog. Everyone that reads your blog reads it because they admire your skills, values and strengths. Don’t ever doubt yourself, thousands of us want to be as clever and industrious as you are. Go girl, I look forward to your next blog x

  25. Love getting this as well, a newish subscriber about the time you changed, this fits with me better, we don’t have allotment in NZ

  26. I give you so much credit! Your blog is full of useful and sensible information, cheerfully shared. I’m glad I stumbled upon it.

  27. I am a newby to your blogs, and thoroughly enjoy them. I wish I was as disciplined as you are writing your blog each week, perhaps that is the way – keep it to one day of the week. I will have to give it a try. Keep up the good work, and the stories/events about Leicester when you get the time. xx

    • Hi Jane, thank you for reading my blog. I began by writing my blog six days a week until it was established (but I’m not sure now how I managed it lol). Two days a week was much better, but one day a week is just right for me now (though I do seem to write a lot each time). It’s important you find the right amount of blogging days for you…..some people prefer to read short daily blogs but I decided to do what was best for me and it hasn’t seemed to put people off reading my blog after reading todays comments

  28. Hello,
    I too look forward to your blog so much… I am slowly beginning to put your advice into practise. It also takes me a (long) while to get around to doing things and I am forgetful, so when things come up again it is a great reminder! You have had such lovely comments you should be so proud not only of your garden but your blog too.
    Nikki x

  29. I read every week and look forward to your update on your garden plot, it doesnt matter that you have sized down your growing, it is your whole way of life that i connect with, as it is very much like my own, trying to embrace a simpler way of life. Have a great week.
    Sue

  30. I’m from Hungary. I have been reading your blog for two years. It is very useful for me and I like to read about your vegetables, fruits and cakes. We love your ginger rhubarb cake. I have a very small kitchen garden. I hope that now I can see some good ideas of you how to use a small garden effectively. So I love your blog.

  31. I only found your blog a few months before you started your kitchen garden, but I find it even more interesting now. Watching you set up the garden from scratch was especially inspiring and useful, I’m hoping to start a kitchen garden in the coming year and your posts are always really informative. I did enjoy reading when you had the allotments, but your blog seems even more relevant to me now. I do hope you keep writing because I imagine I’ll be reading as long as you do!

  32. I want you to know that I really, really enjoy you letting me into your life, so to speak! Please carry on unless you are finding it all too much, but be assured that I love hearing your news. You are wonder woman and make me feel very lazy with all you have achieved and that’s lots. Having all those allotments seemed impossible but they were amazing and I don’t know how you did it all and had time to sleep, but you are wonder woman after all! Along came your new rescue friend and your life changed so you were so adaptable and, despite the awful problems, you put her first and it sounds like things are now on the up. I have had dogs of all sorts throughout my life and adore them so understand how very distressing and stressful the extreme behaviour problems are to live with. I have really felt for you over that – I can only imagine how upset and worried you and your family must have been. Unbelievable that next door got a dog, too. You must have felt almost at breaking point. I have been as interested in your progress with your dog as I have been with the garden, and I feel that you are on the right side of it now, thank goodness. You are such a good person to have gone to so much trouble to sort the problem – the poor thing must have had a terrible start in life to have such behavioural issues. You have made an amazingly fabulous vegetable garden at home now – how talented you are. Now then, I just hope that you know how much I, and many others, enjoy and are grateful to you for the pleasure you give to us with your news and wonderful photos. You should be very, very proud of yourself, you clever thing. You never seem to stop – your talents are endless. Thank you very much for giving us all your time and letting us feel we are a part of your life. It’s great, but I still don’t know how you do it all. Sorry to go on so much, but I have been wanting to tell you ever since I heard you on the radio, and have been wondering quite how to say it. Now is the perfect time. Simply “thank you, you are appreciated, and it’s even more interesting than ever now to read all about you. Actually, I felt quite upset to read how you have felt and hope that you are much happier now.”

    • Oh Patricia, what kind words you have written for me. Yes the dog has been a nightmare, but she is doing much better now and we all so love her….I must update everyone with it all. Unfortunately the dog is only half of my problems at home and I also have ‘hidden’ family problems (which unfortunately I can’t discuss on my blog) as it wouldn’t be fair. It did all come to a head in December and we had to make some tough decisions, which I found very hard as they affected me the most. However, here I still am six months later and I am still blogging and growing veg (though obviously on a smaller scale).
      I have been putting off Radio Leicester for some time now as I felt like I had too much going on, but perhaps I should consider going back on if they ask me again as I did used to enjoy it….I just got into my head that people wouldn’t be interested now I had given up my allotments, but I think you, and all the other wonderful people that have commented have restored my faith ‘in me’. Thank you so much for this.

  33. Well I still love your blog, you’re like a kindred spirit:-) Most people can’t have an allotment, so you are now showing what can be done by more people, so it’s still useful and inspirational.

  34. I’ve only just started reading your blog. I think your kitchen garden is beautiful and it doesn’t matter whether you grow on an allotment or in the garden your blog will still be interesting. Since we have had our allotment we have tried to reuse and recycle materials rather than buying.

  35. I still love your blog, even if I don’t always have time to read it until a week or two later 😉 I find it brilliant to have all the help, guidance and recipes available and have tried several. We all find our own way of doing things eventually but reading your blog gives the encouragement needed to just try something for the first time.

    Your garden is looking amazing now. You may have an opportunity for more foraging or helping community allotments now that you are not working so hard on your allotments. I am only saying this because our paths seem to be moving in opposite directions as I have gone from a small kitchen garden and lots of foraging to having an allotment that needs a lot more of my attention. Where I could just plant a few seeds in my garden and they would grow, I am now raising baby plants and then having to protect them from wind, slugs, pigeons and marauding weeds. It is all the more difficult doing it frugally and I am in awe of what you achieved through shear hard work and ingenuity 🙂

  36. I just want to add my comments to all the previous ones. Your blog is great, so please continue doing it if you find it gives you pleasure. I look forward to reading it each week.

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