Have you ever gone on a walk and found some twigs, nuts, stones, flowers, or berries that were simply so beautiful that you took them home? You might have put them into a vase or tucked them into a drawer with the idea of using them for a future craft or project but were just waiting for the right inspiration. You may have found it in Louise Curley’s new book, The Crafted Garden: Stylish Projects Inspired by Nature. In this book, Louise presents 50 projects using natural elements ranging from

I needed to drive into Laxey this morning so took the time to pay my allotment gardens an early visit. Yep, still crazy and weedy as the last time but I did head home with some fresh produce including white raspberries, red raspberries, thornless blackberries, and red currants. Inspired by these little juicy gems I made an easy-to-make creamy breakfast that complimented the fresh taste of the berries. Creamy Spiced Porridge with Summer Berries Serves 2 2 cups Porridge Oats (Quick Oats like Quaker) 2 cups Water 4 cups Milk

If I were ever to have a formal wedding again, I’d like it to be decked out in sweet peas. In bouquets on the table, wound around centre-pieces and into wreaths, and maybe even garlands woven into my hair. They’re softly romantic and for all their humble beauty they’re also deeply fragrant. If you haven’t had the pleasure of smelling them before it might be difficult to imagine how a handful of small flowers can fill a room with such sweet fragrance. Sweet Peas are also extremely easy to grow.

Somewhere in between a holiday to Venice, a friend visiting from Switzerland, and rainy and cool weather my allotment has been left by the wayside. While further south in England the weather has been bright and sunny, the Isle of Man has probably had the worst summer since 2012. That summer was heralded as the wettest one on record and here’s how bad my allotment was then. I had grand plans of spending an hour or two every morning on my plots but after early July that plan has been

I was in the shop last night and noticed small sachets of dried Porcini for sale in the produce section. The price made me both shocked and smug – £3 for 40g? After last weekend’s foraging expedition I have that many times over for absolutely nothing. Porcini, latin name Boletus edulis, are prized among wild mushrooms primarily for flavour. They’re richer and more mushroomy than any conventional shroom and also extremely easy to identify. Known also as the Cep or the Pennybun, it has a rich brown skin on its

If you’re reading this you’re probably interested in holistic health and the idea that nature and herbs can heal. Modern medicine is a wonder in so many ways, and I know this personally after having reconstructive surgery on my knee this year. However, when it comes to more complicated health issues that may involve the whole body and prevention of illness it seems that doctors and hospitals don’t always have an answer. Often you only go to the doctor when you’re ill and the treatments prescribed seem only to address the

The beginning of this year saw me pondering the triangular garden bed at the front of the house. Last year it was a headache due to its infestation of weeds that continued to strangle the plants I’d placed there. What I wanted was something colourful, wildlife friendly, and most of all, low maintenance. Gardening is one of my passions but my work load seems to constantly increase, leaving me less and less time. The idea of a wildflower garden popped into my mind after thinking about the wildflower meadow I

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