Tag Archives: Kent

A Truly Kentish Afternoon :: Flower Picking in the Sun

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One sunny Friday afternoon, on a day that feels very long ago now, I hopped in the car and headed out to ‘the countryside’ (near Maidstone) for a spot of flower picking with some of my loveliest lady chums.

Blooming Green Flowers is a small, independent flower business sandwiched between some working farms. On a Friday afternoons during the summer, it’s open to the public for flower picking.

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My delightful friend and co-Aussie-expat Nat suggested that we take a peek, and being the kind of person that I am, I was immediately on board. It’s £10 and you can pick anything you like, up to 50 stems, which I thought was incredibly reasonable. On arrival you’re given a tall tin vase and a pair of secateurs, and are encouraged to snip away to your heart’s content.

I’m fascinated by dahlias at the moment, which were abundant in their mathematical glory, so many were picked, as well as some eucalyptus (#Aussiesrepresent) and a few choice stems of echinacea. I love the elegance of echinacea, and picked up a few plants on my later visit to Stone Green Nurseries.

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As a slight aside, I don’t have a proper camera at the moment, and so while I save my ££ up for a DSLR,  I’m having a play with the settings on my iPhone. I know it’s a bit naff, but there is actually quite a lot you can do with an iPhone, and I’ve been particularly enjoying playing  around with the focus and depth of field. The setting provided much inspiration!

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After we’d all picked our fill, we bundled off into one of the nearby studios, which looked to be some kind of old farm stores, where an artist had set up shop with his mum, selling art, teas, coffees and cake. It was a full-on Kent afternoon, make no mistake. Obviously it was one of the best days of my life, as I like to pretend I’ve stepped out of some kind of Nancy Mitford novel. I relish these days.

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Another friend, Deb, is also a keen allotmenteer (when I say keen, I mean she is very experienced and has managed hers for about 15 years I think!) and so we did a little swap of some of our courgettes for her corn, as ours at the time was still ripening.

Although our lovely long summer days are now past, there remains much pleasure to be had in looking back, to how well those all-too-short days were spent, don’t you agree?

Pottering About :: A Visit to Stone Green Nurseries

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Things on the allotment front have now calmed down a little. We’ve harvested all of our main vegetables for the year, and our minds have now turned to preparing for next year. 

 I plan to do an update post showing you the progress we’ve made over the year, which is really quite considerable, considering that we both work full time, and that we have approximately no clues as to what we are doing. Apart from blogging, I’ve never really stuck with something this long before, and so I find myself quite impressed….with myself…..ahem. 

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A couple of weeks ago we made the journey out to Bethersden, to visit Stone Green Nurseries. The nurseries were originally set up to sell to trade, that is, Garden Centres and the like, but now they have about 10 open weekends a year where they sell direct to the public. 

Mr H and I have been looking for a couple of extra plants, particularly another fruit tree for the orchard area of the allotment, and some echinacea for our borders at home. I was also on the hunt for some raspberry canes, again for the allotment, but unfortunately none were to be found. 

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After a good meander, we came away with a 7 foot fig tree, a lovely thyme plant, some echinacea and a currant tree. We got 20% off as part of the open weekend and walked away having spent less than £30. A bargain in anyone’s books!

I actually really enjoyed the drive there – at the moment I am loving driving through deepest darkest Kentish countryside, with wistful dreams of moving further out there one day. A pipe dream for now…..

If you’re looking to add to your plant collection, I really recommend Stone Green Nurseries, and their next open weekend will be 24 – 26 March 2017. Keep an eye out!

HSGS Does Half Term

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On Friday afternoon I skipped out the door of work and said a jaunty ‘HELLO’ to a whole week off.  I say a week, but in fact today I headed back in to prepare for next term and write about 3,000 school reports. But that fact paled into insignificance in the face of what is officially known as ‘Half Term Holiday’ in the HSGS household.

Mr Hello also booked a week off, and we kicked off the break by getting into the garden. BIG TIME. I’m talking allotment, I’m talking back garden and then we headed to the Kent Garden Show to pick up a few treasures.

Over the weekend we had a few friends over who brought their little girl over. This meant a couple of hours of delicious food, great conversation and an excellent round of the game ‘Off The Pudd’, for which no-one seemed to know the rules apart from a three year old. What a delight.

Mr H and I then journeyed forth to Suffolk, to hang out with his sister and her delightful son, and the only thing to somewhat spoil the day was that our clutch failed on the motorway as we headed home, so instead of an evening on the couch we spent an evening sitting in the carpark of a motorway hotel scoffing chocolate while we waited for a tow!

With a couple of days left before TERM 6 (I repeat TERM 6)  starts,  I plan on pottering around the house a little bit, finishing off some report writing and faffing around with my camera settings! I’ve also got some more seeds to plant out, and am looking forward to seeing all my new plants in the garden.

How’s your week been, pals?

We <3 Ashford :: Happy & Glorious Blogger Day

Long time no blog, hey? I shall spare you all the mundane excuses bar one – life simply got in the way. I am now returned to the internet for fun times. Praise.

Swift segue into today’s post. Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha has long been a place where I have championed the offerings of Medway, if not Kent. I love Kent, and feel it has so much to offer. We’ve got beaches, wineries, historical sites aplenty, as well as a fair few rather good farmer’s markets. What’s not to like (I had myself at wineries, let’s be honest).

There remains, however, a vague sense of Kent being slightly down at heel, and while I can certainly attest to that, many more parts of Kent are now up-and-coming. I give you Medway, I give you Margate, and now, I give you Ashford.

I was recently invited down to Ashford to celebrate a Blogger’s Day, organised by the delightful Happy & Glorious. Truth be told, I’ve never actually been to Ashford before, save for one swift transition through the train station. It was half term, and I can now drive, so I thought, why not! Off I went.

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You will find Happy & Glorious in the Park Mall, in central Ashford. It’s an older style open air shopping mall, but there seem to be lots of lovely little independent shops popping up throughout. I popped in and was greeted by Kate, who is the mastermind behind the whole event. I picked up my fabulous little goody bag with products from all of the vendors and had a nose about!

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Those of you who remember my bunting days will not be surprised that one of my favourite stores was Emporia Fabrics and Craft. Oh how I wish we had this shop in Rochester! The perfect place to pick up a birthday gift, with enough space for craft classes! Dreamy.

I picked up some gold leather earrings. Yes, you did read that correctly. Note:

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Made in Ashford is a collective of local craftspeople who, supported by the council, run this little shop! It was full to the brim of fab little crafts, and I happily bought a tote bag with a great linocut print on it from here.

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From my little chat here, I gathered that the local council in Ashford have been extremely supportive of artists and craftspeople throughout Ashford and even further beyond, and I was greeted with nothing bud positivity. They’ve got a great thing going on down there, and it speaks volumes about the forward thinking nature of Ashford folk.

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I rounded off the afternoon with a spot of lunch in a new cafe, Stag Coffee. Hipster vibe? Check. Beards aplenty? Check. Delicious felafel panini? Check mate. It was fab.

As I packed up to head home, I pulled out of the carpark and heard a stomach wrenching crunch. Was my delightful stay in Ashford about to be ruined by my poor spatial awareness? Had I just smacked into the car next to me?

No. Turns out I just drove over a Capri Sun. PHEW.

Kent: Europe’s Best Holiday Hotspot?

HSGS goes to Broadstairs

 

I had a couple of work colleagues choke on their tea on Wednesday morning as they perused that morning’s Guardian!

You see, dear friends, my lovely adopted home county of Kent has been listed as the best family holiday destination in Europe – I kid you not. I confess I’m rather proud!

As a matter of fact, I don’t personally find it that hard to believe as I totally adore Kent, and think it has a lot to offer culturally. More importantly the people from this county are some of the best, sexiest and most marriage-able in the world! You say biased, I say subjective. Ner ner.

We went down to Broadstairs a couple of weeks ago with the extended Hello family. A surprise visit for my soon to be Father-in-Law’s birthday. We had a wonderful time, mostly digging big holes that filled up with water, and terrorising the resident 3 year old King. It was pretty great.

It’s just occurred to me that the photo could almost have been of a beach in Australia. Funny, isn’t it, how life pans out?

A Piece of Earth

For some reason, that phrase has always stayed with me, ever since watching The Secret Garden as a child. Well, I’ve been on the hunt for my very own piece of earth for just over 18 months now (who knew that allotments were so hard to come by?) and last week the chance to have one arrived.

The best part? It’s right on my doorstop. I could somersault there if I wanted to. I don’t want to, but it’s nice to have options. It doesn’t look like much right now but chuck in a few raised garden beds, some attractively helter skelter paths and it will look a treat!

It’s an initiative of Full Frontal Gardens (ooer), an organisation that is helping to greenify streets in order to reduce crime and foster community spirit. I’m super excited about it, although possibly-maybe-might-have-somewhat exaggerated the level of my gardening prowess. It seems I’m to spearhead the garden. Whoops. Oh well, nothing a few thousand emails to my green-thumbed father wont fix.

These awesome-looking arches are owned by the railways, and we want to approach them about possibly turning it into a SUPER cool shed, or even better, some kind of incredible music venue. Pipe dreams right now, but still….

 

I Took a Break…

I did. The last fortnight has been wonderful and hard, and challenging far beyond what I had expected. In short, our plans for Wales fell through. I guess we were just too remote and hadn’t planned enough in advance. It was a tough decision to move on, but thats what we decided was best.

We’re now staying with the BF’s sister in Kent, until we find a place of our own. She’s being wonderful and lovely and unbelievably generous. I like being here, but I miss all of the things I had, and gave up, back in Perth. I had a job that paid well, a house I was both affectionate of (is that even correct grammar?) and familiar with, and a student priced Smartrider. Cheap as.

As it gets colder, I realise more how truly far away I am. I want to go home, but more than that I wish I had been outrageously successful here. I wish I had found it easier, so that I would have been more sure that I was meant to be in Europe.

I’m feeling pretty low, but I’ve literally brought this on myself (and the BF) and I want to see how we pull through. We’ve just got to.