Tuesday, 7 August 2012


So it is August already? Really! Where has the time gone exactly?!?!
A very quick update as the connection is rubbish:

This month I have been enjoying visiting English Heritage sites with the kids, having joined up as a member an adult can have 6 children with them for free.  Very handy for summer holidays, also, sign up by direct debit and get 3 months free!!!! For updates and pictures follow me on twitter @the_elderflower

2 great finds are Mollie Makes magazine and The Simple Life Magazine, take a look at their sites for current offers.

Once on the laptop a more sufficient and well rounded update will appear!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Rain rain go away!

Okay I have to admit we have not had that much here in my village in Kent, we seem to get forgotten.  Just 10 minutes up the road and its torrential, here it will be blue skies!!! That said at night we tend to get a sprinkling of rain which had been lovely for the veggie patch, many meals of fresh peas and tiny carrots enjoyed so far, the runner beans are running up the canes displaying beautiful arrays of crimson jewels too.  Alas the chicken run looks like a swamp but the girls are enjoying it.

My quick blog today is just a reminder of 2 fabulous sites that I have mentioned many times and also list here on my blog.

Firstly, www.thegreenparent.co.uk  If you have not read the magazine go and get a copy or look on their site.  It is a wonderful magazine put of ideas, features, tips and trinkets of information.  This month we are loving the food special in my household, the fritatta being a huge hit. 

Secondly, www.nataliefee.com The most superb writer ever.  Natalie has a regular article in The Green Parent magazine too, but if you do not have a copy of her book The Everyday Alchemists Happiness Handbook - go and get a copy.  I found myself nodding my head and say yes, that's exactly it! An enjoyable read, uplifting, inspirational and a great personal toolbox to make you stop and think. 

Now that I appear to have a connection again, blogging will resume. Thank you to all the lovely messages I have had over the last month and as requested more home makes, bakes and wytchiness will feature.


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Summer Solstice, Alban Hefin, Litha

For most this just means the longest day, here are some snippets if you would like to find out more:
  • The colour red
  • Fire and sun
  • The beach - where land, sea and sky meet
  • Longest day shortest night, days will now be getting shorter and heading towards winter.
  • At this solstice the Holly King wins and rule the second half of the year
  • Stonehenge - if you cannot go in person, take a virtual tour: 3D_stonehenge_virtualreality.htm

For more on Alban Hefin visit http://www.druidry.org/druid-way/teaching-and-practice/druid-festivals/summer-solstice-alban-hefin

Lovely video from You Tube featuring Damh the Bards wonderful music

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

What is Neal's Yard?

Since starting a few weeks ago many people have asked me what exactly is it.  What is NYRO?
The best way I can describe it is beautiful, natural and organic products that I use on myself and family. 
Not only that, you can join up as a consultant, set your own hours and have lots of fun.

But why make you sit here and read about it all,why not watch a short video ...

For more information visit https://uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/elderflowery/area/our-videos/

Whilst there have a quick look at the shop, some lovely ideas to spoil yourself, friends and family with.

My favourite today is the Eau de Parfum No.2 Rose https://uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/elderflowery/area/shop-online/category/fragrance/product/2501/eau-de-parfum-no-2-rose/
Too many times I have treated myself to a perfume and it lasts all of half hour, this seems to last all day and its a lovely background scent. Even my son commented on the nice rose smell!!!

Any questions give me a tweet at the_elderflower or leave a comment below. 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Arty doodle

Wonder if fairies and otherfolk use what looks like a wooden door near the base?

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Fresh cake on a plate in 10

In an attempt to not use the gas cooker I decided to look into micro cakes. Previously my experience had always been a result akin to a steamed pud, so I was dubious. But now when making basic lemon drizzle cake - cake can be on the plate finished in 10 minutes... it all depends on if you are adding a filling and topping and so on.

I first found a microwave cake recipe on http://www.netmums.com/family-food/recipes/a-z-of-family-recipes/microwave-mug-cake The amount seemed too much for any mugs I used so I used a wide based pyrex.

The result:


Whilst cooking I made some buttercream filling. Once cooked I cut the pyrex shaped cake in half, let it cool.  Spread the cream inside, replaced the other half, and made some quick topping using cocoa, icing sugar and warm water.

Not the same as a baked cake,but so so quick - and minimal washing up!

Since the first attempt. I had adapted and changed the recipe. So here is my latest version as used today:

Lemon drizzle fairy bread...

For the cake:
  • 4 tbsp self raising
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 fresh eggs from the eglu
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • some lemon zest
  • lemon juice from half a lemon

  • butter
  • icing sugar
  • lemon juice
  • sugar
  • hundreds and thousands

1. I used a small square pyrex dish, placed all the ingredients inside and stir until no lumps of flour! No greasing or lining required.
2. I shoved it in the microwave for 4 minutes.
3. During the long 4 minutes I stirred the lemon juice and sugar together, and in another bowl mixed some icing sugar into the butter to make butter cream. No exact measures as I make it up as I go - sorry! Rule of thumb keep going until it is like breadcrumbs, then add a splash of water to make the creamy consistency.
4. Once the cake goes poppity ping,check the cake is cooked by placing a skewer through it - it should come out clean. If not, pop it in for another 30 secs.
5. When you take it out, pour over the lemon and sugar mixture so it can soak in.
6. Cut into squares and place on a rack to cool.
7. Once cool, spread with the buttercream and shatter some sprinkles on top.

Start to finish 17 minutes.

Things I have noticed is use your baking instinct.  We all know what a cake batter will look like.  In some cases at the adding oil stage the mix is there, other days it needs milk adding to it, or more oil.  It is very flexible so have fun and adapt and experiment.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Neal's Yard Remedies Organic UK

Introducing my new, well not so new, venture.  I have previously been a consultant with NYRO and thought a quick post was in order!

It seems that any magazine that I open there is a NYRO product being praised, the wild rose beauty balm being a big must have as it has many uses from face mask, moisturiser and more...

If you want to make some extra money, and it takes work and is not instant, then this is an ideal flexible solution as you choose your hours.  Have a look at my site https://uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/elderflowery/area/become-a-consultant/to find out more.

Okay that's the blatant advertising bit done, down to the bit I really love about NYRO - their ethics and theory behind it all and the smell of the products.  I use the rose facial wash daily, their teas are tasty and the handwashes leave your hands smelling lovely. Not only do they use beautiful ingredients, they run various campaigns, such as Bee Lovely https://uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/elderflowery/area/bee-lovely/ an initiative to plant more wildflowers.  In light of the news today that a rare bee has returned to the UK down at Dungeness, this company is well worth a thought and read for any nature lover.  There is an online book for further reading.

If like I used to be, you are not entirely sure what half the products in any beauty store mean or do - again this company is ideal.  You can book a consultant to come and host a party for you, with brilliant incentives and gifts, and a demonstration is always on offer.  In my case you also get a demonstration of uses in other therapies too, so a bit like a mini spa treatment! Or, yet another alternative, videos are online showing you techniques and uses, products and more at https://uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/elderflowery/area/our-videos/

I will be blogging more over the next few days, especially with the jubilee being just around the corner.  As I sit here Emily is just waking up and I can hear my neighbour moving their ladder up and down putting up a vibrant array of bunting.  My village will be running 3 days worth of events, including a scarecrow competition .... watch this space!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Goodnestone Park Gardens

Yesterday I visited Goodnestone Park Gardens Nr. Canterbury.

I had not visited since 2000 and what a hidden treasure it is.
Unfortunately over winter they semi lost their infamous wisteria on the back wall of the walled gardens, however this did not detract from the grandeur of entire place.

There is something for everyone here, trees, shading, open fields, parkland, walled gardens, fruit, veg, lawns. Plant nursery, tearooms, events, courses and more. 

With links to Jane Austen, you could imagine the lady herself sitting under a tree writing or one of her characters taking a perambulation of the estate to improve ones health.

With so many photos taken I have used Flickr to host them this time, click here to peruse ones delectation of imagery for ones pleasure

Click here : Goodnestone Park Slideshow

Finally, you must try the tearooms, the shortbread is to die for!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

So finally the yellow thing in the sky has appeared and it is rather warm, albeit breezy.  That said, as a result, there is a glorious deluge of cut lawn aromas blasting through my village.  Even with hayfever this can be enjoyed, having discovered Hay Max a few years ago!

Now down to business, the Chelsea results are in, for a full list visit  http://www.rhs.org.uk/Shows-Events/RHS-Chelsea-Flower-Show/2012/Awards Be patient if the site is slow at times, this is due to increased visitors.

My favourite garden designed by Chris Beardshaw with the Hobbit house won a gold, even more of a lovely surprise once I discovered I had been talking to Kate on Twitter whom has beyond close links to it! Upon closer inspection of http://www.furzey-gardens.org/ the input behind the garden is all the more clear and I am thinking this will need to be added to my places to visit list! They seem to be on everything, as they have just had a mention on Classic FM to the students who helped grow the plants!

Whilst out walking this morning I noted how many of the plants used this year are already in our gardens and surroundings, things such as the rhododendrons, cow parsley and ferns that are very 'in' this year at Chelsea. 

But what about when you discover that new plant or seed you just must find out about?
For me trying out the tomatillo seeds this year has been a pleasure, even more so with the yellow flowers now starting to sparkle though.  And again, Chelsea, with their new plants to discover, previous years the digitalis  saltwood summer and red clovers that adorned all gardens. 
So what will this years be? It was another foxglove, digitalis illumination:

And then, well finally then, you get that plant that you just do not know about! I 'think' this is a spurge??? If anyone knows exactly what this is growing wild in the woods, please let me know!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Chelsea 2012 ...

So far Chelsea seems to be dominated by cow parsley, ferns and foxgloves. 

Chris Beardshaw's Hobbit house is gorgeous and the Plankbridge Shepherd's hut it beautiful!
And will Joe Swift win with his design... not to mention Diarmuid Gavin towers, almost Christmas tree like with the Chelsea pensioners lighting it up earlier with their splendid coats.

Want to join in with some hands on plant action, why not visit some local garden centres or have a look around your own garden?
These images were captured  over the weekend at Vincent Garden Centre Herne Bay http://vincentnurseries.com/ and Tasteful Plants Faversham www.tastefulplants.co.uk 

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Long time no blog....

Yes, I have an internet connection! So what has been going on, well along with the annual tax form and accounts a new business plan and branding brainstorm has been in place.  A few requests had been put forward for the handmade cards and art pieces so it has been decided that this will be included in the Elderflowery job description.  Along with that, Omlet courses will also be on offer too.  Omlet make eggcelent chicken houses, easy to clean and fox proof.  For more details visit www.omlet.co.uk

Along with all of this it has been busy in the garden, to keep up to date click on teh link to the right and follow me on twitter @the_elderflower

Regular blogs will be resuming, again thank you to all the people who email and tweet.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

So Spring is here....the journey begins

Thank you to everyone whom has tweeted and emailed me. I have not forgotten the blog, it is a question of getting an internet connection in order to access the blog and upload! As you can see, the last time I was on the internet - as opposed to tweeting on my phone, was February!
The joys of living in a rural village with wireless internet that uses masts around the village!

So what journeys or paths have you travelled since the last blog?

I ask this as not only an idea to think on or reflect at a personal level, but at this time of year we are all very aware of the new life around us such as chicks, lambs, seeds, plants. 
What journey will they encounter? What will they see, hear, deal with and overcome?
Over the next month or so, I would love to hear from any of you that have been following a journey
 or path, maybe something that is very different from what you have previously followed, believed or known.  Maybe a course or new job, a move or life change?
How did you get on with the move from the comfort zone, the known, to the great unknown?
Some people find solace in a special place to retreat to, to ground and meditate, connect and recharge.

Many use mantras, key words or ceremonies.

Some find solace and support in friends, family and people around them.

So this Spring as we head into the Summer and months beyond, what journey would you like to make?
What could you achieve in this time?


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Negative or Positive?

Are you negative, does your battery need a bit of positive charge like my land rover???
(c'mon had to get my landy in here somewhere)

“Negative, grumpy, glass half empty?
Blaming everyone else? You can find plenty!
Bad day, no cash, too many problems to handle,
Other people just ruining your life like vandals?” ©LH2012

Does this sound like your journey so far?

Grumpy old man/women syndrome I have heard it termed; moaning, complaining, negative, doom and gloom. Here is a thought, what if it is just a case of the brain taking the easiest path and blaming everyone but ourselves and what if we have been conditioned to just resorting to complaining and being negative?

I am the worst culprit ever in this trap, and any NLP bods out there will automatically be blowing that claim out of the water, I can hear them shouting, really, worst ever, what makes you think that, according to who and how do I know that! So, okay, maybe a slight exaggeration but I am top of the game at finding a problem and moaning, then getting myself into a negative state and all is lost!

An observation: In past research and recent work I have learnt that there is some truth in the idea that being around negative people can have some impact in creating or perpetuating the downward frame of mind.  I have discussed before about Facebook, make a negative status update and many will happily jump on the bandwagon and join in! Put a happy status update and most times you will get no comment! Why do we choose to behave like this, why do we not only extend our own negative-ness but also join in with others? Is it the pack instinct? Is it a social ‘thing’ to join in the doom and gloom? Could this too be evidence that we are conditioned into being negative and complaining? Is it just the ‘norm’?

For whatever reason it appears this is an issue we all face daily, regardless of why we act this way. 

So what can we do about it?

A huge action that can help is being mindful and actively assertive when spotting this behaviour. 
In issue 45 of The Green Parent I recently came across  http://www.acomplaintfreeworld.org/ in an article by Gemma Crutchfield p. 17-18. The basic idea of a complaint free world is going 21days without complaining, you can purchase a purple wristband and every time you find yourself moaning, talking about others and being negative, you swap the band to the other wrist. You are actively acknowledging the frame of mind and mind set. You gradually become mindful to this mind set and actively seek out being positive and showing gratitude in your life and everything around you and you end up not having to swap the band between wrists.
Sounds easy?
Well here is your challenge - try it for just a few hours!
Actively note each time you are negative or complain – how many times would you have swapped wrists!!! Let me know how you get on!

Another action is be actively mindful of others around you whom are negative. Be pro-active and take on board at a personal level that this is the individuals belief, respect this and move on.  You could suggest a positive input to the situation where possible, however caution and tact are the keywords.
How about when you see a positive status update, jump on the positive bandwagon! Make it your mission for the day to tweet or update your Facebook with a happy factoid or feeling?

Other actions that my clients have found useful are:
·         Mantra’s: Where you  repeat  a positive statement reinforcing a positive idea or action.  For example, you have an interview and feel unconfident, negative and doomed to failure - you keep repeating, maybe write it down somewhere you can see it, the phrase ‘I am confident in interviews and the job is mine’.
·         Writing the negative-ness down: often just by making a note of the situation is enough to slow down the path of negative doom. Through the action of physically writing it and you then see it in writing, this act alone releases the feeling.  This is similar to keeping a journal or writing a letter to get your thoughts and feelings out of your system.

So this week, join me, be positive and reduce the complaining.