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January - New Year, New Blog!

I never thought I'd be the type of person who would write a blog, but here we are! After seeing how people have interacted so positively with our family and lifestyle posts on social media I thought it might be interesting to share a bit more of our personal journey in the form of a blog.

I don't think these will be very regular - mainly due to lack of time - but I hope you enjoy them. Feel free to share your feedback with us. What would you like to see more of/less of etc.

What's been going on with us this month?

Our seafood processing business has been quiet due to the weather - the fishermen can't really go out in bad weather. This means we've had time to clear our outbuildings. We've lived in our house for just over 2 years now. It's a smallholding with a 200 year old farmhouse, a 300 year old thatch cottage (with the original thatch intact under a tin roof), a 2 storey stone pigsty, a stone outbuilding dated 1829 and a dutch barn.

We instantly fell in love with the place when we viewed it but the elderly couple who lived here (Let's call them Mr & Mrs T ) wanted to literally pack their suitcases and move out. A condition of the sale meant we had to take the place as it was - with pretty much all of the possessions they'd gathered in the 35 years they'd lived here.

We found some real gems. For example, Mr T was very much into wood work and carpentry. We found lots of his own creations around the place; tools, lamps, rakes etc. His old workbench is beautiful - full of character - and still filled with his old tools. We are keeping them all.

There was plenty that we needed to get rid of too. Jordan is now on first name terms with the man at the local scrap yard.

Here's my husband, Jordan, with our youngest son, Ifan, in one of the stone outbuildings.

Wildflower Project

Jordan and I are big fans of wildflowers. We're lucky that our smallholding has a 3-4 acre field, just uphill from our house and the outbuildings. When we moved in we knew that one day we'd dedicate some of it to wildflowers. I did some research and one tip that kept coming up was that wildflower seeds need bare soil for the best chance of germinating. If you don't remove the turf before sowing the seeds, the grass will likely suffocate them before they have a chance to grow and thrive.

Back in November we found a local guy called Jac who brought his digger along, Jordan hired a dumper truck and off they went up to the field. They managed to remove turf from quite a large area of the field in 2 days. We moved the turf down to our garden which needs to be landscaped in the spring so the turf and soil will come in handy for that.

The area prepared for wildflower seeds. About 5cm of turf and soil removed.

With the ground prepared, we got to work sowing the wildflower seeds. We purchased 1Kg of the 100% wildflower Butterfly and Bee mix from fellow Welsh family business Wild Wales Seeds.

Roughly 3-4 weeks after sowing the seeds we were hit with an extended period of below freezing temperatures that took everybody by surprise. Most advice I've read seems to suggest sowing no later than October so that the seeds have the best chance of germinating before temperatures drop. Needless to say, I was worried.

On 15th January I took our dog Luna for a walk up to the field to check on the progress. Thankfully there were lots of patches of tiny seedlings. Unfortunately the field has a very slight slope so it looks like some of the seeds have either washed/blown downhill or into indentation in the soil. I have some spare seeds just in case I need to fill in the gaps. So all is not lost.

Wildflower seedlings. I didn't sow them this close together - I think the wind played a part in this! Photo taken on 15th January 2023.

Celt the puppy

If you've been following our social media for a while you might know that we lost our 13 year old dog Logan back in April 2022. He had a short battle with cancer and we sadly had to let him go 2 days before his 14th birthday. He'd been with us through so much - numerous house moves from West Wales to Cardiff and London and then back to West Wales for his retirement. He saw us through our engagement, he was with us on our wedding day and he sat beside me during my 6 days of early labour and contractions before the birth of Osian, our first son. All our friends and family had met him and loved him too. To say we were left heartbroken is an understatement.

Our other dog Luna - a 2 year old black Jackapoo - hasn't been the same since we lost Logan, and to be honest, the house didn't feel the same either. Luna would run away to find friends and would have us all panicking and driving around like maniacs.

Around Christmas time I saw a Facebook post that caught my eye. Osian's school teacher was selling a litter of Cockapoos. They looked like little teddy bears. I pestered Jordan for days, sending him screenshots of the puppies. I found a chance one morning when he was hungover and probably feeling a bit fragile. I was lying in bed with the baby trying to get him to sleep for his mid-morning nap while texting Jordan. Begging him, pleading with him "but can you imagine how excited the boys will be?!" and "it'll be so good for Luna". His response in true Jordan style was simply "OK".

Two days before the New Year we collected the puppy and welcomed him into our home, now his home too. Our boys instantly fell in love, their faces lit up, eyes wide open.

We played around with a few names but settled on Celt. It seemed to suit him the most. He's so soft and adorable and settled in immediately. Luna has taken on a motherly role and is teaching him how to play. He stands his ground. His favourite place to sleep is next to the washing machine. Luna prefers it by the fire. I can't wait to see the boys and the dogs playing outside in the garden when the weather starts to improve.

Celt at 10 weeks old, lying on a table next to my armchair.

What we've been cooking

We recently discovered Dishpatch, a company which offers 'restaurant menus delivered to your door'. Jordan and I lived in London for 5 years and one of our favourite things was having such a wealth and diversity of food on our doorstep. There was literally something new and exciting to try every week. We were never really into clothes or material things but would spend our money on good food and drinks.

We've ordered Dishpatch a handful of times, normally for a birthday treat or something celebratory. Our favourite dish so far was slow roasted Lamb with butterbeans from St. John. This was one of our favourite places to eat and drink and we still try to go there when we visit London.

Jordan has tried perfecting the dish himself and it's an absolute winner if you're looking for a twist on the traditional Sunday roast. It's served with a fresh, punchy herb sauce which really cuts through the lip-smacking velvety lamb fat.

The dish has sold out but here's a link -

Jordan serving up the slow roasted lamb with herb sauce for Sunday lunch.

In the garden

There are big changes planned for our garden this year. It all begins with a hefty landscaping makeover. That means everything else is on hold, including seed sowing.

We need to dismantle our greenhouse. The one we have was inherited from Mr & Mrs T. When we moved in it was quite a sorry sight. Just a handful of weathered polycarbonate panels remained in the aged aluminium frame. We replaced all of these with glass and got the greenhouse back to a workable, weather-proof condition.

I keep my succulents in the greenhouse all year long. It's far from perfect - lots of holes and gaps for cold air and pests to creep in. And sadly 2 broken/missing panes from a previous storm. I'm scared to go in there at the moment because a quick glance a few days ago confirmed my fears - dead plants. Lots of them. Noooo! The least affected seem to be my cuttings. The worst afftected are the more mature specimens, although the cacti seem to be largely unaffected. Or maybe the cacti will die more gradually. Time will tell.

So, for now the garden and gardening is on hold while we wait for a man and his digger to work his magic.

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