Monthly Archives: April 2014

Homemade Cute Cotton Windbreak

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Ever since I was a child I have loved camping, and I’m hopeful that my daughter is learning to share my passion.

Recently I bought us a gorgeous 4 metre canvas bell tent from Boutique Camping

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It’s brilliant for a single mum like me as it can be out up by one person. You just peg it out, shove in the centre pole and the a frame for the door, and away you go.

When we went camping this Easter it was quite windy so I used our horrible, cheap plastic windbreaks in front of the tent.
Pretty fire, ugly windbreak!

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It really didn’t go with the lovely creamy beige canvas tent. So I thought I would buy a cotton one. Then I looked online, saw they were upwards of £60 and thought again. I decided to reuse the poles from the ugly one and make one myself, using some funky fabric from Ikea that I’ve had in my stash for ages. I figure if it gets dirty or wet I can just chuck it in the washing machine and it will look like new!

Step 1 – measure your current windbreak. Mine is about 30 inches between poles and about 4 inches for each pole loop. If you are starting from scratch (it is possible to buy windbreak poles) then you could use these dimensions. Measure the height of your windbreak too. Mine was around 36 inches (the fabric not the poles). I had about 167 inches of the ikea fabric, so worked out I could use 6 poles with a distance of about 27 inches between them.

Step 2 – cut your fabric to the right height/length. Remember to include extra for seam allowance. I cut mine to 40 inches high, and used all of the length I had. Make sure your pattern works horizontally!

Step 3 – hem all around the fabric.

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Step 4 – stitch a channel for a pole at each end of your fabric. Mine were 4 inches of fabric (so 2 inches when folded). Check to make sure it fits!

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Step 5 – measure up and pin all of the middle pole channels.

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Take care to ensure they are straight (I think mine are a bit wonky because I wasn’t as careful as I could have been).

Step 6 – sew all of the middle pole channels. And insert the poles. Et voila! Not bad for an hour and a halfs work.

I’m going camping this weekend so will post some pictures of it in use.

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Here it is in action.

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Inspiring Gardens – West Dean

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I love to go to different gardens to inspire me, and I’ve been wanting to visit West Dean since I saw photos of it in Jake Hobson’s book about Cloud Pruning. An Easter camping trip to West Sussex provided the perfect opportunity.

I have to say, it didn’t disappoint. The pruned box was amazing, and even though it was only mid April the whole place looked gorgeous!

And because I’m an RHS member, entry was free!

So no more text, just some pretty pictures to drool over. I hope it inspires you as much as it did me.

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Low fat flapjack

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Ok, so no flapjack is going to be low fat, but I invented this quite a few years ago, and it’s lower fat and sugar than a traditional flapjack recipe. I’ve gone as low as I can whilst still making something that (on the whole) sticks together.

It’s based on a recipe in Leith’s Cookery Bible, but I’ve fiddled around with it quite significantly. I will give the original ingredients too so you can make that too if you want to compare and contrast.

Its in ounces, which shows that I did it a long time ago, as I typically use grams now.

– 6oz butter (same as original recipe)
– 2oz soft brown sugar (4oz in original recipe)
– 2oz golden syrup (same as original recipe)
– 12oz rolled oats (8oz in original recipe)
Plus whatever you like to add in – I used a handful of whole hazelnuts, a handful of sliced almonds, half a pack of chocolate chips, a handful of mixed seeds, and a handful of freeze dried strawberries and raspberries.

Melt the butter and stir in the sugar and syrup until melted.

Mix in the oats and other ingredients until they are well coated. If you are using chocolate chips, add them at the end when it has cooled a little, otherwise they will melt.

Spread into a baking tin and press down.

Bake at 190 degrees centigrade for about half an hour until nicely brown.

Mark into squares when still hot. It will seem very crumbly at this stage but will firm up when it cools.

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