12 Jul

July 2017 Allotment Update

It’s been a while is becoming my catch-phrase this past couple of weeks.

I sat down at my desk on Monday and started to go through all my recipes on the blog. There are now over 550 published articles on the blog. It’s taking me some time to go through them all, dust them off, and start sharing them again. I hadn’t done that in months. Since the middle of May in fact when life (and death) got in the way of having time to do anything other than blog and work.

The longer I continued to focus on work and family, the more difficult it became to sit at the desk and write a blog post, or go to the allotment to garden. Especially because visits to the allotment have been bittersweet.

Those onions are just about ready to harvest:

It kind of reminded me why we love growing with the kids so much when I saw the first-time joy all over again through their eyes.

The peas, the peas are taking over 2 raised beds, they are everywhere at the moment in a giant tangle of pods and climbing tendrils. I will have to do a big collection in the next couple of days and then set about podding and freezing the peas themselves.


Of course that depends on being able to get the peas home safe and sound. It can be a bit of an issue when they are the most delectable treat eaten freshly picked, particularly when you’re 5 years old.

The sweetcorn and tomatoes are also thriving, plus there’s a new baby aubergine fruiting away in the polytunnel. Nevermind all the berries, garlic, courgettes, pumpkins, and much more.

All of this sounds like a really bountiful allotment and it is. However, we have struggled with time for the past 2 months or so. It’s the one thing that will always sabotage us. The allotment has become very overgrown and choked with weeds. We never did get to finish the last couple of raised beds and have to make do with what we’ve got this year.

For now I’m going to count my blessings and move forward. I can’t change the fact that the weeds have grown but I hope to get down there later on today with my trusty gloves.

You’ll find more regular updates over on my Instagram account which is WholesomeIreland and I’m trying to keep my Insta-Stories updated everyday. I’d love to connect with you over there if you’re interested.

In other news:

  • The Leaving Cert is over, we all came out the other end in one piece. College applications and grant forms are filled in and all we can do is wait and hope that the 17 year old gets the course she hopes towards the end of August.
  • The kids are all now on holidays, bringing new challenges around working from home. I’m very grateful to have some help in this regard though.
  • Last weekend I worked with Lidl Ireland* on their LGFA Future Stars Roadshow in Cavan and Galway. There I worked with Tom Dalton of TD Fitness on some cookery demonstrations and chatted with other parents about feeding their families on a budget, fussy eaters, and how to find time out for themselves in a busy lifestyle. This weekend coming I’ll be on the Roadshow again in Dublin and Cork.
  • I’ll have a new recipe with one of my favourite ingredients on the blog later on this week.
  • The wash basket refuses to empty, no matter how many washes I put on, and the socks still haven’t learned to sort themselves.

Finally, for those wondering about the bank situation…

Nope, no change there. We got another non-update letter today, the first since the beginning of April, telling us that the review is ongoing. Apparently we’ll hear again from the bank within 60 days, when I fully expect to get another non-update. It’s now been over 6 months since they first admitted their error. Although we have been returned to our tracker rate they still insist we owe them €40,000 more than we should. No redress (restoring the account to the way it should be), no compensation, and no meaningful engagement with us.

*Disclosure

I mention Lidl Ireland as I’m the Lidl Ireland Full Shop Ambassador and you’ll find me writing about my full shop every week on their website.

You’ll also find me popping up in their weekly brochures!

30 Apr

Blog & Allotment Update 28 April 2017

The month of April has been a sprint from start to finish for me, and I want to explain. It’s not that I haven’t had the time to update the blog. I’ve actually sat down and started typing most days. It’s just that there is something major going on in the background that I can’t talk about quite yet. This time next month it will all be in the open and you will probably understand why I’ve been sitting on my hands. Normally I hate when people put up vague updates about ‘exciting things’ but I promise that it will be public within the next month so feel comfortable explaining that I’ve been preoccupied (understatement).

As part of this new ‘thing’ I’ve been working on I was privileged to have Cathy Dunne take some work photos of me last week. As full disclosure, Cathy is my cousin. When I heard I needed professional photos I knew I wanted to worth with her as she has incredible talent, eye, and understands what I love and do perfectly. The photos she took were taken using natural light (no flash photography at all), and with minimal editing. The eagle-eyed amongst you will spot that this is not my kitchen; it’s the kitchen in my parents’ house which was perfect for us on the day.

So the allotment! I started saying I had an allotment update!

As you probably know, there were bad frosts last week and yes we did lose some of the grapes but not all. We are still hoping for a decent harvest. We had elected not to fleece because of our proximity to the coast (it’s literally 200 m away from the polytunnel). Foolhardy I know. This is variety ‘Flame’ which we got from Ken Muir in the UK 3 years ago. We are hoping for a good crop of blush seedless grapes this year.

Some of the tomatoes aren’t doing so well with the cold and I’m not sure that all the tubs are draining well either. However the tumblers in the basket are flying along despite the frost last week. There are oodles of yellow flowers which are a good sign of the crop to come.

The strawberries, which are outdoors, don’t seem to have been affected by the frost at all and there are quite a few blossoms, each of which will become individual strawberries (fingers crossed).

The shallots, onions, and garlic have ‘jumped’ over the past fortnight or so and are thriving. We don’t harvest them until the Autumn and they have a long way left to grow yet anyway.

I’m at the guilt-fest that comes with having buckets of work and not enough time to spend at the plot. Look sure it’ll all balance out in the end. I hope. I still need to plant carrots, fix raised beds, weed EVERYWHERE, and support the peas and beans. It’s been on my to-do list for at least a fortnight at this stage.

Finally the new herd of bainbh (Gaelic for bonham or piglet) have arrived and are happily wandering around the paddock looking for bits to eat. The cycle begins again.

I promise I’ll be back soon to fill you in on that ‘thing’. 😉 Have a great May Bank Holiday weekend.

Caitríona xxx

02 Apr

Allotment Update 2 April 2017 #Ad

We’re not long back from the allotment after another gloriously sunny Sunday spent in my happy place. I took the big camera down today and had great craic documenting all the new life that’s popping up all over the place. If you follow me on Facebook you’ll know that I’ve been sharing regular updates from the plot using Facebook Live video and I hope you’re enjoying the news.

Have you spotted this week’s Lidl brochure yet? I’m delighted to say that my homegrowing tips and advice are free for you to pick up this week to go along with the seedlings and produce that will go on special tomorrow morning (Monday 3rd April). Some of the items that will go on sale I got 10 days ago so I wanted to give you an allotment update and show you how the products have come along since I planted them at the allotment. This post is picture-heavy, you have been warned! 🙂 Read More

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