An evening with Puffin Books…

So firstly, before I forget, I have some inside news… Tracy Beaker has a DAUGHTER… did you know that??? I mean, GAH* I’ve missed out on a LOT of Jaqueline Wilson over the last few years which I have been really looking forward to catching up on as Flora grew older but as she’s just made me feel like a great great granny I might give dear Jaqueline a miss now!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ Come to think about it, I was mostly invited to the Puffin Books Sleepover to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a timeless hero, Each Peach Pear Plum. Now, 40 years is a LONG time so technically Baby Bunting could actually be a Dad, OR Grandad or Mum actually, was it a boy or girl?? ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿผ

Anyway, I digress.

I travelled to London with Sir Dylan by train but ditched him in our beeeeautiful room at The Principal London (his knowledge of Children’s books is terrible & I didn’t want him dragging me down in the Quiz I’d heard Puffin were hosting for us!!!) ***My table came second, but first place would’ve been ours if my copy of The Jolly Postman wasn’t very torn up by an overenthusiastic new mum trusting her one year old Flora with an already falling to bits copy!!! Anyway, digressing again!!!

We had an amazing three course, tailored vegan meal & bottomless wine while chatting to the illustrators, authors & Penguin gurus dotted amongst each table.

AMAZINGLY their books were piled on tables around us to browse & take home, or in my case, grill poor Michael Whaite about his book 100 Dogs & how he actually managed to create his book… I was honestly hoping he owned them ALL, all 100. (But actually, turns out his brother has a boarding kennels so tadaaaah his content came from there!!!) I knew Flora would ADORE it so he signed it for her & I slyly put Hairy McClairy to the back of her shelf!!!!

Next we had a drawalong with the illustrators. NOW, even if you’ve followed me for a while you probably didn’t know that I did Children’s illustration at Uni, however, I’m terribly UN-competitive, I HATE competition or attention, however, like the quiz, we really could’ve won BUT this time I was just mesmerised by Lauren O’Hara drawing on the table next to me!!!! You may remember the name from my Hortense & the Shadow giveaway last winter. Both the O’Hara sisters were there & just as I imagined they were perfect replicas of their superbly stunning book!!! (I have a piece of illustration by Natalia & Lauren in my giveaway! ๐Ÿ’—)

After more chit chat I collected each of the books in my Each Peach book bag (Also in the giveaway!)

I then scurried upstairs to find Sir Dylan snoozing sweetly on a pile of a bed as soft as cloud! Zzz.

Now, the story was meant to go as far as the New Covent Garden Flower Market at the sound of my early morning wake up call. I’ve never been before & as it was my first time in London in about 10 years I REALLY wanted to go, however, no one told the tourist that it wasn’t ACTUALLY in Covent Garden & would take around an hour to get there & I had to be back in plenty of time for our Each Peach Pear Plum breakfast. The flower market was knocked on the head & I showered leisurely & got to breakfast in plenty of time! I sat with Hollie De Cruz @theyesyesmum & Sammi Jo @mother_freckle & had the most relaxing conversation about birth, life & pigs!!! (Usually how most of my conversations end up!)

The details added to breakfast were just beautiful, little picnic baskets of peach sweets & pear drops, Special Anniversary edition Each Peach books with a beautiful letter inside from Alan Alberg himself (sorry sorry, I can’t bare to give this one away!!!!!) another goodie bag with Beatrix Potter coins from The Royal Mint, Roald Dahl goodies, The Hungry Caterpillar book & toy (Kim & bump, this is put aside for you!!!๐Ÿ›)

I didn’t take many pictures of the breakfast as I was totally swept up with the loveliness of everything but Lucy, the Puffin Mama let me sneak some of the decorations into my bag so I could re-create the entire thing the next morning for Flora Bee! <now, if you were following my Stories that day you’d have seen me making my way back through London carrying at least half a stones worth of pastel Delphiniums!!!!!! They were the table decorations for the event & because of my flower market sob story I was allowed to bring them home! As Sammi Jo put it so so beautifully, yes, I was living my best life. โ˜บ๏ธ> Thank you Penguin & Puffin for making it so so precious!!!

The next few pictures were taken back at home reliving a beautiful 24 hours now with Baby girl…

And HERE is everything in my giveaway!!!! You MUST follow every author & illustrator that I tag on my page to enter AND you must tag a friend because WHO on earth doesn’t adore books are need to be reminded how fabulous they are in our little ones lives???!!!

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Positive energy…

Last week I was asked to create some content for an energy provider. It’s not a subject I could write freely about or whip something up from the top of my head so I had to have a bit of a trawl through the internet & pick some brains before I was certain enough to click publish.

Firstly, did you know that 4 million households are living in ‘fuel poverty’ & often having to choose between ‘heat or eat??’ That is almost 5% of our country. Not a fact to be proud of.

On par with costings, green energy is most important for me when searching for a provider.

One of the first things I came across when scrolling the Our Power website was a long list of ways to save energy in a way that was totally understandable. *Helpful when you still blame a baby brain on your 3.5yr old… ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ

For interesting example-

  • Turing your thermostat down by just ONE degree will save you ยฃ75. What??!
  • Turning off plug sockets rather than leaving them on standby will save you ยฃ50. GAH!
  • By swapping all your halogen bulbs to LED’s you’ll save ยฃ40. Doing it now!?!!!
  • By setting your hot water & heating to a timer you’d save ยฃ150. Booking a holiday as I type!!!!
  • Use a washing up bowl instead of running water, you’ll save ยฃ30. As if!!!!
  • ONE single minute less in the shower will save you ยฃ10. Who needs showers anyway??!!!
  • Setting your washing machine to 30degree rather than 40degree will save you ยฃ6. And less risk of shrinking your knits… ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป

Technically, the less power we use, the less money energy companies make but Our Power is Not-for-profit & rather than its earnings being divided between shareholders, they’re invested into low earning communities. Boom.

It is also a registered ‘Living Wage Employer’ which you may have heard me banging on about recently. It’s means that every single one of its staff are paid above the amount it takes to live free of poverty in London or other areas of the UK taking into account inflation, food costs, rent & mortgages etc etc.

This only means you can heat your home & it’s residents happily…

Our Power’s newest project the +IMPACT Tariff lowers its prices the more customers it has & for every new home that switches to the plan, you help heat a lower income or fuel poor house for an extra 54 days of the year. AMAZING.

You can switch to Our Power or read plenty more about them Here Or email any questions or queries Here

Little Birds…

It probably doesn’t feel very ‘Springy’ today seeing all the obligatory rain pics on my feed but I saw a photo from my camera roll 11 months ago & there was actually blossom in my Orchard meaning it really won’t be long for us. SO, here’s a joint blog post, written by me, but all the important pictures are taken by Tombecause I have no patience & a rubbish camera… & a toddler who will not keep statue still & has even less patience than me.

It reminded ME, that I need to remind YOU how busy the little birds are this month & next, so if you have little toddler fingers willing to work for you, you can promote a happy Valentines to your garden birds & help them raise lots of healthy chicks this Summer.

February.

In February the birds are all scurrying around deciding the best place to raise their future Fluffballs. They’re wondering about this year’s hunk of a Mate & eating as much fat as possible so they’re looking & feeling buff when they finally meet up for that first coffee together…

(Tinder for birds… ๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ˜‚)

March.

March means more eating, which is where little human hands come in handy. Ha. (This is all me because real life kids make Tom feel ๐Ÿคฎ) All the birds are searching for the same thing, food is a bit of a fight, so as a Bird lover/liker, you need to be committed to filling your feeders absolutely, certainly, regularly. Flora treats this as her actual ‘job’ in life & is pretty efficient when it comes to smothering pine cones in peanut butter & sprinkling them in seeds & nuts as well as threading monkey nut after monkey nut onto her twine! (Or her old toast crusts! ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป)

As much food as possible will ensure the birds will be feeling as fierce as can be… (You cannot risk ‘winging it’ if you are a little bird…) (See what I did?? Genius.)

April. Pinterest eat your heart out, NOW is the time for you crafters to leave out your Pom Pom trimmings for nest building. I’ve been doing this for years & see House sparrows & Blue Tits every single year take the offerings but am yet to see one in real life adorned with my neon rainbow fluff. (Fingers tightest this is my year!) Mama birds are now busy busy designing their beautiful nursery’s & getting ready to rest on the nest.

Early May.
May is l
ith your thoughtful feeding. She lays an egg every single day for up to 2 weeks. I’m tired just thinking about it. ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ’†๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ After she’s finished, she’ll pluck some feathers from her tummy to keep them super snuggly under her.

If Mama bird has chosen Mr right, he’ll spend his day delivering food to her, *what a dreamboat! She won’t have to move for 2 weeks from her eggs. But probably, he will be quite rubbish & she’ll have to do it all herself, like everything else really! ๐Ÿคจ (No offence Tom…I’m sure you’ll make a super Husband bird…)

Next we just have to wait for hatchy hatch & I’m hoping we’ll be able to snap some super CUTE teeny babes in the nxt few months & I’ll get to carry on with another instalment of the Little Bird blog… no pressure Tom, but like I said, no patience, annoying toddler etc etc…Make sure you follow his blog Here & his Instagram Here

My Tiny House…

I think for most of my Florafairweather career (can I call it a career?? ๐Ÿ˜‚ probably not.) *Edit that later!

I think for most of my Florafairweather *career* I’ve been banging on to you about my Tiny House plan. Sell Rose Cottage in all it’s glory, build a Tiny House in our Orchard & live happily ever after with a bunch of ‘freed-up’ money to spend on more animals needing a happier home…

“Simply put, Tiny House Living is a Social movement where people choose to downsize the space they live in to place themselves right in nature. It is about living in a home that generates its own electricity & catches its own water while allowing you to live free from rent, mortgage or utility bills.”

Rose Cottage is absolutely my dream home, (except this one in the next village to us) WOW (but never in this lifetime will I make enough blanket sales for that!!) The thing with living here though is the time it takes to pay its bills doesn’t leave spare for very much else. So, less space inside will mean more time outside which for me & that 3.5yr old little legs of mine is an absolute mantra.

<<<<<<<<<<<
ill be pretty much be self sufficient in every way, it wasn't difficult to figure it out because there's not a vast area to heat, power or even make water travel to. The design is like a modern 'Long House' which Rose Cottage fondly once was nearly 300 years ago! (The cows were downstairs & the people were upstairs. *You can imagine what Sir Dylan said when I brought that suggestion up… ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ–๐Ÿ–๐Ÿ–)

It seems so simple I'm wondering why the planning office have been baffled by us doing such a thing.

Anyway, in contrast to Rose Cottage now, we have opened up our lounge/kitchen area & added a lot of glass to that end of the new house. It’s only one storey so we will have a vaulted ceiling with roof windows & a glass wall of doors looking out into PigPigs field. I’m pretty set on a kitchen similar to this…

The Velux are absolutely going to ‘make’ the house. Being quite a short chalet style shape could mean the house to be dark but with a full row of them above the kitchen will be JUST beautiful!!!

It’s so so difficult when you have a project ahead of you to know how to tackle things like the amount of daylight that will hit your face throughout the day! **BOOM** enter an app I’ve found purely because of my mistakes in our bedroom extension which I just can’t forgive myself for!!! (WHY oh WHY did we not put a sky light above our shower?? ๐Ÿ˜ช๐Ÿ˜ช๐Ÿ˜ช๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ) If I’d have used the ‘My Daylight App’ by the Velux Group I’d have known earlier that it would make our en-suite magnificent!

When you’ve downloaded the app you add your room dimensions & specifics & it whips up a 3D version in a couple of mins. You then pop roof windows & vertical windows where you want them or where you don’t (just to double check!!!)

After you’ve chosen your flooring & wall colours you can even choose what time of day & year you’d like to see the room, for example, 6pm late summer etc etc… isn’t that amazing??? โ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ Apart from actually just playing an adult version of dolls houses it’s literally MINDBLOWING to see your room flood with light based on your plans & choices. On the other hand, it might feel too bright for your tired eyes & you need to adjust a window size or loose one from another wall which you just wouldn’t have known to do otherwise.

Now, the icing on the cake, possibly because I’ve never played a video game in my life, possibly because I adore interiors & possibly because on a rainy day what could be better than pretending it’s a sunny day? Virtual Reality glasses… or binoculars as Flora called them!!! You can click to morph your room into VR which when wearing the goggles is just.FABULOUS & now I REALLY can’t wait to get going on the actual reality rather than the Virtual Reality!!! Thank you VELUX for your mindbogglingly brilliant app & thank you in advance to whoever buys Rose Cottage!!!

Behind the sparkly scenes… โœจโœจโœจ

โœจ The evenings are sneaking in closer & the air is creeping cooler meaning I’m becoming a busier blanket builder. It feels slightly odd starting Florafairweather jobs on a dark evening at the moment so with Dylan’s shifts working well last week I’ve been able to grab an hour of sparkling early light every single morning this week. 

Monday. Come 6.45am, the light starts to seep in through our Velux roof windows & the toddler wakes up like a tornado. Flora & Dylan bundle up & charge down the fields with the one out of our two dogs racing in front. The number two dog decided to have a lie in with me. I get my wool out while my hair dries & the kettle boils… The sun rises then around 7.50am it has made its way to the window directly above our bed.

I could pretend this was part of our design plan for the new bedroom space at Rose Cottage, but actually, it was by pure chance & has uniquely changed the way I work on a morning & early evening. Having the natural light right overhead is beyond compare to lamplight. It’s far far better for my (**always tired Mama) eyes & means the photos I can take of my blankets rarely need any tweaking or editing. 


Tuesday, only a set of Pom poms needed this morning so I whip them up without getting dressed & wait for the gang to get back in! 15 minutes spare to drink my coffee & flick through some colour charts for another blanket I’m starting this week.


Wednesday, Even Velux can’t brighten our room this morning. A faint glow of sunrise hasn’t woken Flora Bee yet so without spoken words, Dylan & me chose to stay in bed. Sometimes wool waits & sometimes looking up is good for the soul, good for the rest of the day & good for your tired husband! **Especially when you catch a glimpse of the neighbours overhead…


Thursday, An hour seems to go so quick this morning when most of it was spent untangling a ball of pink wool!!! By the time Flora & Dylan come back in bringing gifts of pink Anemones & the last of my Chinese lanterns the sun is now dancing on the walls & I’ve opened the Velux to hear some birdsong. 



Friday, expecting the sky to be a blaze of beauty I wake up happily to this… โ€‹โ€‹

โ€‹โ€‹

Even my three year old finds it calming & it’s just not a noise you get to enjoy with usual vertical glass.

We’re taking it slow until it brightens up this morning as all I need to do it take some snaps of a blanket later. 


Saturday, finally Mother Nature has cheered up for the weekend & I have another sacred hour to catch up on a couple of my Mama blankets. It’s so so pretty this morning I can even get my snaps AND post on Insta pretty much in the same breath! Perfect reason to take Sunday off & enjoy the skies from the opposite side of my Velux!


Sunday afternoon, time to note down some thoughts on our roof windows for a blog I’m working on…


I’ve trawled through the thesaurus hunting for pretty adjectives to describe the way they enhance our life, 

Radiant, refreshing, luminous, sunlit, dreamy… They all describe what I see, but I’ll leave you with this stunner should you need an extra nudge… 

To explore your Velux potential, click here โœจ or on Instagram here โœจ #florafairweather #veluxpotential ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผโค๏ธ

The Happiest of Valleys…

Yesterday was spent at Happy Valley’s Wedding Festival in Norfolk, a camping/glamping & wedding venue where numerous little hideaways are tucked between the Pines. It’s created & owned by my super creative & hardworking friends Katy & Scottie, they’re like the real life version of Ben & Holly & here is their little kingdom…









It’s ALWAYS a pleasure Katy Babe, thank you for having us, now please give me your dress and puppy.  ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†โœจ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ•Š๐Ÿ’— (you can visit their Instagram here or have a peep online here.

Elderberry & Honey…ย 

I mean, technically this is a booster for if you’re feeling like a poorly pants… but I’m currently having a spoonful over some gin, ice & tonic sooooooo….. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’• 

Here’s what you do… (*flower crown is essential.)


Pick a whole load of Elderberries, the really black ones are best as they just fall of the bunches easily & are at their sweetest.


You need the same amount of water as berries so if you pick a whole cup of berries, you’ll need a whole cup of water. 


I always add a teaspoon of lavender, but just for it’s relaxing properties rather than taste as the honey & elderberries will drown it out in the cordial!


(No I’m STILL not bored of lavender!!!) ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ


Or Chinese lanterns! Which I’m so so pleased I have some growing this year!!! Last year for some reason I only got ONE stem where as every year before that I’ve had hundreds! **anyone know why??! Anyway-I digress… 


Back to the cordial…


Add the same amount of water as your pickings… one cup of water for one cup of berries & half a cup of honey! (I know it’s a lot but it’s cordial so you will be diluting it don’t panic!)

Simmer for 45 mins on the hob then strain & cool…


It will last 2/3 months in the fridge & is mega for a cold if you’re unlucky enough to get them… or if like me, you just want to drink it with alcohol… go ahead! It’s YUMMO!!! 


Enjoy!!! ๐Ÿ’•๐ŸŒฟ