Honey Bee School


I have just discovered the Rowse Honey Bee School and wanted to pass it on for you bee fans out there!

Rowse – the famous honey peeps – have joined up with teachers to produce a series of fun-with-a-purpose resources to entertain and educate Key Stage 1-ers.

There are packs covering Science, Numeracy, Art, Music, History, Geography and Literacy. Each one is a free downloadable PDF that you can save to your computer.

And you can find them right here:
Download your Honey Bee School resources and have some fun!


16 veg-inspired handcrafted finds

Sunday morning means browsing the Internet time! Here are some vegetable-inspired delights I found today on craft site Etsy. Each image clicks through to the product on the Etsy site. Enjoy!

Share your veg-inspired finds in the comments below!

Outdoor Garden Markers - Plant Stakes for herbs and vegetables - Rustic Natural Wood Twig Branch - Set of 5 - thesittingtree Farmers' Market Party - Garden Birthday - Complete Collection - Toppers, Banner, Favor Tags & More - Printable (Strawberry, Vegetable, Farm) - frostingandink Linen Tea Towel - Root Vegetables - jennarosehandmade Christmas Tree Felted Vegetable Ornaments- Gift Set of 11 - MyLittleKawaii
Thanks A Bunch Carrots - Thank You Card - For Charity - laLagracepaper Vegetable Garden Banner - katiesegel Eat Your Vegetables Rustic Wood Plaque - ZietlowsCustomSigns POTATO - TheBOPclothing
Hand Painted Stone Vegetable Garden Marker - 1 Stone - OverbrookStone Handmade Wooden Vegetable Planter/ Raised Bed - CockneyCarpentry Green Pea Pod Necklace, Small Vegetable Jewelry, Little Pendant, 14kt Gold Filled, Mother's Gift - FreshyFig Fresh Organic Vegetables Aluminum Garden Sign - BainbridgeFarmGoods
Half Apron with Vegetables - SeedlingDesign Plant Markers, Garden Plant Markers, Vegetable Plant Markers, Herb Markers, Set of 5 - GrizzlyCustomSteel Kitchen Towel, Vegetable, Hand Appliqued Carrots on Light Blue Linen - thehighfiberco Harvest Garden Vegetables and Spray Clean in Wire Mesh Tote - Vegetables, fruit and flowers - UpcycledWood

Treasury tool by StylishHome.

My Mini Indoor Greenhouse

Mini indoor greenhouse

Mini GreenhouseHaving a garden with not much space means it’s difficult to start seeds growing when the weather is slow to warm up. For this reason I had been looking for something I could use for indoor planting that wasn’t a brown or black plastic seed tray that looked like it belonged in a shed.

Then I found the perfect thing! A mini greenhouse from Ikea – and for only £12.

Quick and easy to assemble

Everything you need comes flat-packed in one box and you can put it together in minutes with no tools needed.

The greenhouse has a white steel frame that measures 45cm wide and 35cm high with a depth of 22cm. Within the frame you slot the plastic sheets that make the house. The frame then fits into slots on the tray base. On this I’ve been able to fit seven small pots.

Once you’re all set up, you can open or close the top windows – handy for getting in there when it’s watering time. And you can leave them propped open if you want to give your seedlings some air.

It does the job and it looks pretty good, too!


Building a Chilli Farm at Home

Chilli farm


This year, I have never eaten so many chillies in my life! I’m throwing chillies in to nearly everything I cook. I can’t seem to get enough of them, so it made sense to try to grow my own.

Starting with the classics

To start myself off I picked up a pack of seeds that contained three classic chilli varieties:

Jalapeño – medium heat
Cayenne – fiery fellas
Scotch Bonnet – extreme

Planting properly for a change

Then I tried to break habits of a lifetime by planting these things properly! I bought some compost that’s suitable for growing seeds and put one seed in each hole the recommended distance apart (details given on the back of the packet).

This is not my usual planting style, which would generally include scattering the whole packet in! Planting properly now means any seedlings have a better chance at life – and I have some seeds left for a future sowing.

I planted the seeds into pots on a windowsill greenhouse that I got from Ikea. The green pots had the Jalapeño, the pink pots had the Scotch Bonnet and the terracotta pots had the Cayenne – colour coding was the best way for me to remember which was which!


Planting out the seedlings

Once the seedlings emerged and looked strong enough, I took out the lesser specimens to give the better ones more room. I didn’t have the heart to throw away the ones I’d pulled out, so planted them into pots in the garden just to give them one last chance!

When the greenhouse started to get leafier, and the plants looked strong, I created my chilli garden against a wall with a range of larger pots – their final homes. I ended up with three Jalapeño, four Cayenne and four Scotch Bonnet.

Starting to bud…

It’s many weeks later now and the plants are all going strong, except for two casualties… Two of the Scotch Bonnets have been munched right down – by what? I haven’t got a clue.

Looking at the plants today, I can see the start of some flowers, which of course had made me a little more excited than it probably should! So, fingers crossed that I’ll be able to come back soon and show you a colourful crop!

Video… Save the Bees and Dance!

Two years ago I posted a dance video about bees that showed how bees do a special dance when they find a good source of nectar.

It was a brilliant, fun way to get people engaged with the plight of bees, created by the guys over at helpthehoneybees. And if you’re interested in learning more about saving bees, there’s a lot of great information on their website.

Here are two more of their funky bee dance videos. Stand up and get down for the bees!

Do the honey bee, do the honey bee, yeah!

Bees do disco!

My First Courgette Plant!

Courgette plant

This year in my tiny garden I am growing courgettes (zucchini) for the first time.

One solitary seedling was planted in mid May and this is what it looks like today.

Take a closer look and you’ll see at least five green protrusions – all different sizes and shades. One of them even looks like it’ll be ready to eat next week! Looking forward to that.

Now I just need to find some recipes . . .

UPDATE (15 Aug): Eight lovely courgettes eaten so far and my solitary plant is the plant that just keeps giving – there’s at least four more coming along nicely. It conveniently readies the next courgette several days after the last, so they’re not all ready at once.

I will definitely be saving a space for Mr Courgette next year!

Do You Cook ‘Britain’s Best Dish’?

ITV Britain's Best Dish

The team behind the ITV show Britain’s Best Dish is currently looking for applicants! If you have a passion for cooking why not give it a go?

This week I was approached by someone from ITV asking me if I would like to take part in the TV programme Britain’s Best Dish!

As fun as that would be, I feel this is a little out of my league, but I thought I’d pass on the details so that if someone out there does want to give it a go they can.

How To Enter

To enter, you need to be a non-professional cook and have a tasty starter, main course or dessert to cook. You’ll only need to cook the one dish. It can be anything at all, but something you feel could potentially be Britain’s Best Dish 2010!

Regional auditions take place in May so get applying right now! The winner of the show will get a tasty £10,000!

If you’re interested email bestdish@itv.com ASAP with your contact details and address.

Good luck!

Even Crafters Like Vegetables

On a lazy Sunday morning, one of my favourite websites to browse is the ever-growing UK crafters market, Folksy. For me, Folksy satisfies my urge to constantly find something new and creative. Plus, it’s full of fun and unique gift ideas at reasonable prices direct from the person who made it.

Art and Crafts on a Vegetable Theme

During my latest browse, I discovered numerous Folksy crafters who have taken on the humble theme of vegetables! Here are a few of my current veggie favourites.

The Botanical Concept

Canvas art Three Tomatoes I’m a fan of having food pictures on the kitchen wall so I was delighted to discover the work of Charlotte Linder.

Charlotte’s Folksy shop, The Botanical Concept, includes realistic images of vegetables, flowers and fruit, all featuring her original watercolour paintings.

Among her box canvas prints are ‘Three Brussels Sprouts’, ‘Parsley Pea Pods’ and my favourite, ‘Three Tomatoes’ (pictured).

If you order soon, you could get your hands on the limited-edition print, ‘Aubergines’.

Kate Broughton

Toadstools cotton tote bag

Kate Broughton has hit on a great idea for greetings cards.

Printed with her own illustrations on recycled card, her greetings come with a pack of seeds attached and instructions on how to grow them. The cards even come sealed in a compostable corn starch packet.

Great for children, or any beginner gardener, you can choose from Kate’s Carrot Seed Card, Broccoli Seed Card or Beetroot Seed Card.

And that’s not all! Kate also has something for fungi lovers! A funky felt mushroom brooch and a toadstools cotton tote bag (pictured).

Grandma’s Miniature Market

Grandma's Minature Market crate of veg

If there’s a dolls house fan in your family, they can fill their kitchen with fresh produce from Grandma’s Miniature Market.

Crafter, Shirley Chalkley, has created an extensive range of Fimo food for twelfth-scale (1/12) dolls houses of which any farm shop would be proud.

Shirley’s crate of mixed vegetables (pictured) reminded me of the veg boxes I used to have delivered when I started this blog. Her cauliflower trug, box of mushrooms and string of garlic also caught my eye.

One thing’s for sure – the dolls in Shirley’s dolls house are extremely well catered for.


Vegging Out’s Easter Weekend Guide

Purple Sprouting BroccoliEAT

Purple sprouting broccoli

WHY: Purple sprouting broccoli has a fairly short season in the UK from around mid February to mid April. It’s tasty, colourful and full of nutrients. Get it now, while you can!

HOW: Try one of these recipes:

FOR MORE INFO: Check out this interesting blog post about growing purple sprouting broccoli.


According to the website Garden Organic, now is a good time . . .

TO SOW: Broad beans, early carrots, parsnips, peas, radishes, and turnips.

TO PLANT: Asparagus, onion sets, potatoes, shallots, and Jerusalem artichokes.


A mason bee observation box

HOW: This short video from SolitaryBee shows you everything you need to know to make your mason bee observation box.

WHY: Although they only live for six weeks in their flying form, solitary bees are great for the garden, pollinating up to ten times more flowers than honey bees. The observation boxes are cheap and easy to make with just a few tools.

WHEN: As soon as possible! Their short season is starting around now.

FOR MORE INFO: Check out the Solitary Bees blog.


Thanet Easter Beer Festival

  • WHERE: Winter Gardens, Margate, England
  • WHEN: 2–3 April
  • WHY: If you’re a beer lover you’ll find a huge selection of real ales, ciders and perries as well as food and live music.

Scallop Festival

  • WHERE: Loguivy de la Mer, France
  • WHEN: 3–4 April
  • WHY: It’s a two-day gastronomic festival, including fishing trips and full-on feasts.

Bristol Slow Food Market

  • WHERE: Corn Street, Bristol, England
  • WHEN: 4 April
  • WHY: Held on the first Sunday of every month, this regular ‘Slow Food’ market brings the together a wealth of local, seasonal and traditionally produced food and drink.

(Photo by mishimoto via Flickr)


VIDEO… Bees Dance When They Find Nectar

When bees find a good source of nectar they return to the hive and perform a unique dance for their hive mates.

This fun, 2-minute dance video (from www.helpthehoneybees.com) uses music and choreography inspired by bees . . .