Happy campers – part one

For this years camping holiday, we decided to try somewhere new that none of us had tried before. We usually go to Wales which is lovely, but for a change, we chose Scotland. It was a little bit further afield but it was a whole new adventure for us. After losing our lovely dog Amber just the week before, we couldn’t bear to put Pepper into kennels as planned. She’s really missing her sister and would’ve been so sad and lonely on her own. The campsite is dog friendly so we squished her in the footwell of the car along with our ever growing collection of camping gear.

We don’t travel light when it comes to camping. We like to have quite a few little   gadgets to make life that bit easier. Things like electric hook-up, a fridge, kettle, toaster and fan heater. Not quite glamping but not too far off!

The weather was awful when we set off. I was driving along the motorway gripping onto the steering wheel so hard my knuckles were white. We stopped half way to change drivers and the weather was still grey but improving. By the time we reached the campsite it was all blue skies and sunshine. Perfect conditions for pitching a tent.

It was a lovely location, we pitched right at the far end of the field so we didn’t have people walking past us constantly. The site was surprisingly quiet, I kept wondering what the catch was. We discovered what it was on the first night. The main road runs alongside the field and at nighttime, just as soon as your head hits your inflatable pillow, about a thousand lorries it seemed, come thundering past heading for the docks. We’d seen comments about road noise on the reviews before we booked, but had kind of hoped they were exaggerating. Sadly they weren’t. It was quite loud but you kind of got used to it. That was really the only negative though. It was a very carefree site, you pitched up where you liked and were just left to get on with your holiday with no interference. 

The first evening, we treated ourselves to fish & chips from an award winning chippy in nearby Castle Douglas. It was really yummy and the sweet girl who served us insisted on buying Pepper a sausage out of her own money. She’d been off her food for a bit but she managed to woof it down with no trouble. The next morning, we awoke to rain and grey skies which had been forecast for the majority of our stay. I’d packed for the chilly weather too. We spent the day in the tent mostly being lazy campers. Which gave me the perfect excuse to crack out my camping crochet. I’d dithered over what to bring with me. I didn’t want to bring too many balls of yarn so that ruled out my blooming flower cushion. I’m loving the colours in it so much though that I decided to make a second cushion to go with it. I picked just 6 of the colours to bring. 

These looked better than I’d imagined, and quick to do too. A perfect holiday project.

The following morning, we awoke to glorious sunshine. This was our view from the tent…

I couldn’t resist pulling my wellies on with my pyjamas and going for a little wander.

There was an abundance of blackberry bushes around so I decided to pick my own breakfast.

Lovely! We went for a little explore around the site later on. It’s a very well kept site. Just a five minute walk from our field you’ll find the entertainment areas. There’s a bar, bistro, swimming pool, gym and of course arcades. They were a hit with the big kids. Well actually Jude loved it there too, he discovered the 2p machines and demanded a constant supply of ‘pennies’. While they were all in the arcades, I sneaked off to take a few photos of the beautiful coastline that we were lucky enough to call home for a few days.

The sunsets here were pretty amazing too.

There’s something about being close to natural beauty that leaves you feeling very calm and content with the world. Sights like this were not made by any man, they’ve always been there and always will. Nothing can ever spoil it. It’s very good for the soul to take a few moments every now and again to appreciate these little things in life.

Another thing I appreciate in life is being cooked for. Camping cooking usually falls to the hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed having a break from having to prepare the meals. He’s also an excellent cook so win win! My job was to lay the table and in true Vicki style, I gathered some pretty flowers from the hedgerows to dress it.

I think I’ll leave it there for part one.  Back in a couple of days with the second half. Xxx

Amber ‚̧ԳŹ

This week, we had to say goodbye to our beloved bull mastiff Amber. She was 9 years old and was suffering from a serious heart condition which is apparently quite common in her breed at her age.

The vets told us there was nothing we could do and that we needed to consider euthanasia. This news devastated us all, we were not prepared for it one bit. She was truly a big member of our family and her sister Pepper is missing her already.

She was an extremely cute and loving pet, always up for snuggles. She was so patient with Jude too.

As well as a cutie, she was also a very naughty pooch. She’s cost us a small fortune in damage to two kitchen floors, numerous items of furniture, and I’ve lost count of the times she swiped food that wasn’t hers.

I remember in the lead up to Easter one year, she found my stash of chocolate eggs and polished off the lot. I’m surprised she wasn’t ill with all the stuff she ate. One time at an X-ray they found a zip in her stomach! She’d eaten quite a few undergarments in her time too.

She’s going to be sorely missed. The house is so much quieter without her.

ūüėĘ xxx

So long Honey

I had a different blog post all ready to bring you tonight, but that one can wait. We’ve had a poorly chicken for a couple of weeks now. I first noticed that she wasn’t running for food with all the other girls and was just standing as if in a trance. We separated her from the others as we recognised symptoms from previous occasions. She had antibiotics but they weren’t helping and she wasn’t eating a thing. We tried feeding her a special liquid food for really poorly small animals but even that did nothing. We took her to the vets today and as expected, he told us that the kindest thing would be for us to say goodbye to her as it was extremely unlikely that she would ever improve.

Well myself and our eldest were a blubbering mess. A very kindly lady saw how upset I was and asked that I be seen to first at reception. She said I know how upsetting it can be. That made me worse! Random acts of kindness always make me cry anyway. And could I find a tissue in my handbag? Of course not. I know we did the right thing for Honey but it still makes you feel like absolute rubbish. We’d had her since she was a little chick.

So long Honey xxx

Chicken Life

I’ve noticed I don’t really mention our chickens a great deal in my blog, yet they’re a big part of our little life, so I thought I’d dedicate a whole post purely to them.

We currently have 9 lovely ladies in our coop. We sadly lost one of our good egg layers, Natasha, just a couple of weeks ago.

She’d been perfectly healthy up until then, it looked as though she’d gone up to chicken heaven in her sleep, like it was just her time. Poor girl. I shall miss her pecking at my toes and causing mischief. RIP Natasha. Xx

Anyway, back to the rest of the brood. I shall introduce them all, one by one. Just incase you haven’t met them before.

In no particular order…..

Rolo. She’s a chocolate frizzle, isn’t she gorgeous? She’s a little bit nervous, one of the quieter girls of the group.

Angel. A white silkie. We’ve had her a couple of years now. She very much keeps herself to herself. Likes the occasional cuddle.

Matilda. A speckeldy Sussex bantam. Again, very much hangs in the background. She gives us no troubles.

This is Georgia. Named so because she’s a Light Sussex breed, and me and the hubby got married in East Sussex at The George Hotel. A little tenuous I know! I like to be romantic where possible! She’s quite a big bird and gives us some lovely eggs.

Bluebell. She’s a blue Pekin (yes she’s actually grey) but her nature is very quiet and unassuming so I thought Bluebell would suit her.

Honey, a Brahama. We’ve had her since she was a tiny little chick. How she’s grown! She’s now our biggest girl. We thought we were going to lose her last year as she was poorly, but with a lot of nursing back to health, she pulled through and is now better than ever.

Afro Barbara ( don’t ask!) our lavender silkie. She’s very affectionate, she always likes being picked up and cuddled. When chickens want attention, they kind of raise their shoulders / wings and arch their backs to let us know. It’s very cute indeed.

This is Queenie, a Rhode Island Red hen, the kind you’re probably used to seeing. We got her at the same time as Natasha, they were quite a double act. The pair of them kept escaping for the first couple of weeks, they were a right funny handful.

And last, but certainly not least, Beyonc√©.  The only remaining girl of our first ever group of chickens, so she’s been with us for over four years. She’s a Pekin Bantam and lives up to her name completely. She’s a real diva and with that gorgeous display of tail feathers, she’s very bootilicious!

When I cleaned them out last week, Beyoncé gave me the run around and escaped. After a while of chasing her round the garden, in and out of the borders, I managed to catch her.

Gotcha! She’s quite happy to be held Once you’ve got hold of her.

They can be quite noisy at times, luckily our neighbours don’t tend to mind.

We often hear passers-by, startled by the sounds of our chickens. It’s quite funny.

They absolutely love the sunshine, here’s Georgia and Queenie catching some rays.

Wings stretched right out, she looks so happy which makes me one happy chicken mumma.

These four were having a Mother Hen meeting on the roof of the coop, so comical.

Chickens make such good pets, Jude loves being in there with them.  They all have their own personalities, just like us. They’re easy to look after, fairly cheap to keep, and give you the most delicious eggs ever. 

I’d certainly recommend chicken keeping to anyone who may be considering it. I can’t imagine being without them now.

Half way

Morning lovelies, are you having a good weekend? It’s half way through and the weather has been strange. We were expecting a heatwave, hotter than Ibiza, apparently. Well that never happened but  let’s see what today brings. Yesterday morning, Jude was so keen to get into the garden, it was wellies and pj’s and straight out there. With his furry friends too.

We managed our first breakfast in the garden the other day too, it was just lovely. 

It always feels a bit like being on holiday when we eat outdoors. I’m looking forward to doing it lots this summer. And lots of garden hooky is in order too.

I’m about halfway through my two blankets for the kids. I’m alternating between the two to stop the boredom setting in. Here’s the c2c (corner to corner) for my step daughter. I had it with me the other day when I was in the bluebell woods incase I got the opportunity to do a spot of hooky. Sadly I didn’t but I did decide to give it a little photo shoot while I was there. I felt a bit silly, kept looking around to make sure no one was coming! It’s not as easy as you’d think actually. I was looking for the perfectly placed branch to drape it over but could I find any? Nope. So this was the best I could do.

It’s a perfect triangle at the moment, and I’ve now finished the purple side so will start on the pink and it will decrease down the other side.

This is the other blanket, the cosy Kermit stripe for my son.

It’s just over half way done. It’s very nice to come back to working on this one after the purple. You can really tell the difference in the yarn. The purple has a glitter running through it which makes it a bit rougher but this one is made with stylecraft special dk which is so much nicer. Super soft in comparison.

While we’re talking crochet, I did a couple more of the egg cosies I started a few months ago. It’s one of those where I need complete concentration so I can count out loud. Hopefully this week I’ll finish them off and show you the finished product.

Our very own cherry blossom has finally come into its own this week. It’s never been so beautiful, it must be very happy. I wanted to enjoy it indoors too so cut a few sprigs to pop in a vase. It’s looking so pretty in our pantry.

Well, that’s it from me for now. Have a great Sunday, see you all soon xxx

Slow sunny Saturdays

Yesterday morning was one of those mornings, the sun was shining, we had no plans, so just pottered around in the garden doing not a lot. I love days like this. Look at this gorgeous blue sky.

There’s still a bit of a chill in the air but I don’t care, if the sun is shining, I want to be outside in it, breathing it all in. Our dog Pepper is a proper sun worshiper, every chance she gets, she’s there.

Unfortunately she doesn’t get much peace with little Jude around, wanting to play trains on her!

She often moves to try and get away from her shadow..

Didn’t last for long though!

Did you spot the hosta in the background? Aren’t they just the most beautiful, luscious shade of green?

We have to keep a close eye on them when we let the chickens have their run of the garden. They love them. Morning girls!

They are so comical, this one here tried to eat my phone just after I took this. She often pecks at my wellies too when I’m cleaning them out! Just above chicken corner, is our stunning ceanothus, creating a floral canopy over their coop. I wonder if it does so well because of all the chicken manure in the soil. It’s just coming into flower this week, I think it’ll be in full bloom in a couple of weeks time.

I actually made some magazine time too, it felt very indulgent. Especially sitting here in the sunshine with a cup of tea.

Just to the left of this photo, you can just see a jug of French lavender. The smell is divine.

I wish we could have more days like this.

Happy weekend all, I hope you get to enjoy a bit of slow, sunny time in your patch.

Vicki xx

Feathered friends

It’s been ages since I blogged about the chickens so I thought I’d give them a little mention now. With all this miserable weather we’ve been having lately, it’s got so soggy in their little corner of the garden. It’s like a bog, it can’t be very nice for them. I’ve been letting them have the run of the whole garden during the day which in turn means they’ve absolutely trashed it! I went out to the kitchen just now and looked out to the garden…

They’re having a great time!

I do have some sad news too, we lost our lovely Buffy, one of our lavender silkies on Christmas Eve. We don’t know why, she hadn’t appeared poorly or anything. She was a few years old so maybe it was just her time. Still very sad though.

R.I.P. Buffy xxx

No room in the coop

We have another two lovely ladies joining our brood, bringing us up to eleven! That’s it now, the coop is full! These two are small ones, around a year old.

Welcome Rolo, our first ever chocolate frizzle….

She’s about to start moulting and she’s getting a little bit picked on by some of our longer standing girls. Aw, poor thing!

And here’s Bluebell, our Blue Pekin. Don’t you think her beautiful plumes look like a big fluffy cloud?

While they’re settling in, we still have a poorly Honey. She had her procedure at the vets over a week ago and she’s only just showing signs of the swelling slowly going down. She’s been indoors with us at night and has had the run of the garden during the day. She’s fine in herself, still is eating and drinking her antibiotics, just not laying.

I have so many different blog posts to bring you, I’ve gotten very behind. So I’ll see you very soon, lovely chatting with you. 

Vicki xx

New girls

I’d like to introduce you to our two new chickens, named Georgia and Matilda. My hubby had been looking into getting some new feathered friends for a few days, then the other day, he just happened to take the long way home from work ( via North Wales!!) and arrived home with these two…

Pretty aren’t they? Georgia is the white one on the left. She’s a Light Sussex, and as we got married in East Sussex at The George, I decided that’s what she should be called. A bit of a tenuous link I know!

We always let our new girls have a run around the living room and have a few cuddles before we introduce them to the other chickens. That’s the difficult but necessary bit. There’s always going to be a bit of a scuffle when you put new girls in, it’s a territorial thing. There’s always a pecking order and it’s a completely natural ritual that has to take place. That doesn’t make it any easier though. A few feathers were shed but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Our big fluff ball Honey is a bit poorly at the moment. She has a sinus infection like a couple of our other girls have had this year. Antibiotics haven’t touched it so she’s going into the vets this week to get it drained. Poor girl ūüėĒ

We’re keeping her separate from the others so it doesn’t spread, and we let her roam around the living room last night. After a bit of walking around, she tucked herself into a corner and went to sleep.

Today was a gorgeous day weather wise, so we let all the girls loose in the garden.

Baby J loves the chickens so much

And the dogs too…

These two are so cute together 

Vicki xxx


Bye, bye, bye, Delilah

Very sad news to bring you today from the coop. We had to let our beautiful Barnevelder, Delilah go to chicken heaven. She’d been acting strangely for a little while and in the last few days had gone downhill fast. She was very disoriented, lethargic and barely touching her food. We ran her down to the vets this morning but straight away he said it was clear she’d been seriously ill for a while. It can be really difficult to detect in birds. He said it was kinder to let her go now rather than wait for the inevitable. It was so sad, tears were shed. Even my hubby was choked up.

R.I.P Delilah