Thursday 31 December 2015


So, that was 2014. I was going to write a full colour, links and photos year end review but I feel too tired to do it. I am so glad we have got past the Shortest Day as I loath the dark days of winter. The short, sunless days make me feel gloomy and tired and fed up and yes, depressed. I am not depressed for any other reason that I know of but every year I feel dreadful - I believe it is SAD and as soon as the days begin to lengthen I feel better :) But at the moment even trying to be up beat and positive is an effort.

But I have had a think about this year and actually just focussing on the great things that have happened this year has made me feel better :) so I will just highlight a few things from 2014.

Strange to say the biggest and most positive thing to happen to me was getting bitten at the end of June by a Blandford Fly and getting Very Ill Indeed as a result. I know that sounds a bit odd, but being in Hospital for three days and bed ridden for another two weeks and really very ill indeed gave me lots of time to think and ponder about  my health. So I did something about it at last - I went on a new way of eating and have lost six stone since 28th June. I also found out along the way that I have a huge problem with wheat and if I eat any now I am very ill indeed, so I don't. This has meant some modification to our diets so I can avoid wheat and gluten but it has been worth it in terms of health and well being.

Also during the Summer we as a family took up Archery. We now shoot several times a week and have made new friends, have our own bows and kit and are beginning to see improvements in our aim! Great fun and very good for posture and core strength.

I have also welcomed new chickens to Compost Mansions both large and very tiny indeed! The Seramas are a hoot - they are so funny and entertain us all enormously with their silly antics and fun. The Big Girls watch them with bemusement (I think) but continue to provide eggs and turning-over-the-veg-patch duties for us.

The three cats continue to delight and entertain and give love - and lots of dead things as "gifts". Tabitha in particular is a very good ratter and can catch several per day. Good puss!


Despite illness in the Summer I have been out and about a fair bit this year - both as a Master Composter promoting home composting; as a Love Food Hate Waste cookery demonstrator promoting home cooking and real food and with various Arts and craft events and on trips away.

I have also engaged more my artistic and crafty side and have had a go at both needlefelting with Gretel Parker  and silver jewellery making with Hannah Willow. I have also been to many more book launches and gallery exhibitions and charity auctions than usual and have come away with some beautiful unique items. Featuring several times this year have been trips to see artist and author Jackie Morris and Karin of Celestine and the Hare, fibre artist and creator of magical mayhem. Also visits to talented  friend Tamsin Abbott to hear her speak and see her in action at her workshop.

I had a memorable solo trip round Wales at the end of August where I sat by the sea, re visited beaches and sacred sites from my childhood, saw family, watched Ospreys, walked through Slate mines and visited blogging friends. I must go again, soon.

I also met many people this year who I have never met in real life but know well via the internet - I finally met up with John "Compost" Cossham and Deb Millar at the Green Gathering and fellow Forest School Leader Jan came for a visit on her way home to Scotland - I also had a great time meeting up with friends from THD forum at the Conference and at the Christmas get together in Birmingham.

Other stuff has happened here - Compostman and Compostgirl are well; the wood grew, the veg garden flourished and the polytunnel produced loads of food although all was less tidy than normal due to my enforced absence due to illness during July and most of August. The new patio and the flower beds around it were a great success though and I had a wonderful supply of cut flowers from the cutting garden as well as loads of herbs from the new herbery - it all looked fab as well from inside the house.

We still have not started on the pond filling/ digging new one yet though! I have also had a rethink about the new pond in the garden area - because I don't want to attract Blandford Flies and because we use the grass area to shoot over and a pond would stop it being used for Archery.

But this year has been mainly about changes for me; new friendships and moving outside my comfort zone a little; going off on a solo holiday, dramatically changing the food I eat, getting a new car (had the old one for 12 years so this was a big change for me!) and of course always learning new crafts.

I hope I continue to learn and grow and change in 2015. I do hope to visit more sacred sites in 2015 than I managed this year; I want to go back to Avebury, see some long barrows, Silbury Hill again and hopefully re visit Stonehenge now it is less cluttered by a road!  And I must finish some of the WIPs in the quilting and crochet piles! I also have jewellry making kit to play with, now ;)

One thing is sure life is never dull here.

I also hope I meet up with more of you in 2015, I love meeting up with blogging buddies so please if you are in my area do get in touch and let's try to meet up :) If you "do" Facebook and want to friend me personally (as opposed to the Compost Bin Fb page)  - send me an email with your real name so I recognise you when the friend request comes in, otherwise I won't know who you are :)

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and a wonderful 2015. xxx

This has been a truly great year and I can’t believe we’re on the cusp of a new one. Don’t get me wrong, the last twelve months have had their fair share of ups, downs and mega downs, but looking back … Continue reading →

Wednesday 30 December 2015

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people. Click here to see the […]

Thursday 26 February 2015

‘Get off your horse and drink your milk.‘*  *John Wayne It must have been over ten years ago when we profiled Fairtrade Fortnight at our church with a breakfast feast of homemade breads to accompany the Fairtrade selection of jam, chocolate, coffee, tea, sugar, etc. It tasted good and we felt good. Then a friend […]

Tuesday 24 February 2015

I love Spring it is so full of promise! As I write now the sun is shining, beckoning me outside -but those bitter winds are still rather chilly so I will need to wrap up warm should I succumb to the invitation!

I have already started to sow my seeds, its probably far too early for some things so I am trying really hard not to get too carried away. The Great Big Allotment Challenge definitely got me in the mood. I know the programme isn't to everyones tastes but I loved meeting the contestants - just ordinary folk like you and me. I also loved finding out which varieties they grow, I particularly liked Rob's selection as he likes to grow heritage varieties. I try to grow these too- its very satisfying growing varieties that have been growing for years and to help save them from being lost never to be seen again. I hope to let you know more about the seeds I have chosen to grow in further posts.

Another reason I enjoyed the show was seeing the plots in the lovely weather we had last year. I definitely am feeling the need for sunshine and warmth - My greenhouse is going to be the best place for me just now- I love feeling the warm sun on my back as I sow and plant in there.

So back to the seeds I have sown some leeks - My usual Musselburgh and Bleu de solaise which is blue leafed variety that turns more violet leaved after a frost! and apparently is quite hardy. These should be pretty, perhaps I should plant some near the house to give added interest in the garden over the winter. The Musselburgh have already started to show their heads but the latter were sown a week later so no show there yet!

 In the greenhouse I have sown broad beans and peas in my usual loo rolls in pots( filled with compost) and also have sown some mangetout.

For broad beans I have gone for Bunyards exhibition, and peas- Meteor and Onward both dwarf type varieties growing to about 18 inch- 2 ft tall and for Mangetout Norli which is another  dwarf variety which will grow to about 2 ft tall.  I have grown the Norli as I found these on a reduced counter last year and have no experience of them - so these will be a bit of a surprise!

I was very excited to  receive some seeds yesterday in the post  from one of my favourite companies 'The Real Seed Catalogue - and in there were some very early dwarf peas called Oskar which I really need to get planted this week.  These promise to be a very early variety  and I will need  plant further varieties afterwards in order to have a continual production of peas this year.

I'm not sure if you have watched the  aforementioned programme but Sandra, one of the contestants said she hadn't had much luck previously with peas and that has been my experience to date so here goes lets hope for a bumper crop this year!
In my next post I hope to update you on the peppers I have chosen to grow so happy gardening until then!

Monday 23 February 2015

I know I don’t usually post on a Monday evening, but I was worried I’d miss the boat and wouldn’t get a chance to explain what will be happening over the next few days. It’s possible that the usual Wednesday … Continue reading →

Sunday 22 February 2015

  … Milton Abbas village … If you have ever bought a set of Dorset postcards, I bet you this iconic sight was featured on at least one of them.  White cottages with thatched roofs and manicured grass lawns line the … Continue reading →

Wednesday 18 February 2015

This rather took me by surprise… I was looking over the blog the other day, trying to decide whether I wanted to mix things up in the visual department, when I noticed… 1003 followers WHAAAAT?! One thousand and three. Yes, … Continue reading →

Monday 16 February 2015

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”* *Benjamin Franklin Yesterday afternoon as I sprayed our fruit trees with a winter wash, as natural insect control, I looked at the forlorn bare branches and wondered what this season would hold for them. We have apples, pears, peaches and plums, […]

Sunday 15 February 2015

@theharcombediet

Well my BBC Hereford and Worcester radio interview on Fri went well. I went over to Worcester to the studio and was live on air with Malcolm Boyden at just after 10 am. I had more than 10 mins chatting to him live on air. And yes it was great to be back in a studio doing live press stuff again :)

Programme link HERE

I get introduced at 04:28 and then the interview proper starts at 08:28 - 20.08

 BBC H and W have also put my story and some photos on their public Facebook page HERE

I do hope that other people hear and take on board the story and that it helps them as that is the only reason I have done this media stuff in the first place. I have had a lot of interested comments from people I know around here about my weight loss and I hope my message is helpful to those listening.

I am just so grateful that I finally took control of my diet and health  as I feel so much better, now.

  As I write this post, the snowdrops are at their most beautiful and are appearing in clumps and swathes all over the county.  Seeing their crisp, fresh colours always reminds me that although we are still feeling the wintery … Continue reading →

Friday 13 February 2015

 I have featured in the local media today :)

You may recall my recent post about how I have lost a lot of weight in the last 7 months - well as a result I have been honoured with the title of "Harcombe Diet Champion" by Zoe and Andy Harcombe - there are many others featured on The Harcombe Diet forum. I feel proud to follow in their (ever shrinking!) footsteps :)

So far I have been in my local paper the Ledbury Reporter; I am in other papers soon and - who knows what else? I have also done a live interview with the BBC local radio station today and will blog about that some other time. But for now here is the link  to  the online version of my bit in the local paper.

If you want to join my private blog about my weight loss please send me an email.

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Now… I know you’re not surprised that I LOVE this whole idea… the tropical colours, the pom poms, the versatility… it’s just so jolly! When I saw this beautiful post on Mr Printable’s blog, I knew I had to give it … Continue reading →

Monday 09 February 2015

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”* *Samuel Johnson I received a Tweet recently that said that they loved all that we are doing, guessing we were tucked away in the countryside, then on realising that we were here in […]

Sunday 08 February 2015

  … Wimborne Minster … Golly it was cold when I took these pictures and my poor fingers could hardly operate my camera properly. Even so, I was so entranced by the prettiness of Wimborne Minster that I stayed outside, taking … Continue reading →

Wednesday 04 February 2015


Before Christmas I was sent one of these weather stations  to try out and review.




Weather at home 

The Wireless Weather Station with Weather Alert allows you to monitor local weather conditions on your smart phone as well at the station itself, using Bluetooth. This wireless weather station brings you all the vital weather information you need to plan your day. The Weather Alert feature also shows you at a glance what to expect; heat, fog, frost, rain and wind /storm, displaying both indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity, and a 12-24 hour Weather Forecast.

I am very impressed with this device. We have a display with a sensor inside and a sensor outside under the garage eves.



This means I can be in the sitting room in the warm but see if it has gone cold outside and go and shut the Seramas in their house, or cover up Juniper the Guinea Pig or cover up tender plants.



I have also had endless fun using the app on my mobile phone and tablet to look at weather statistics and trends for here. (yes I know, I am a geek :) )

The one I was sent retails at £59.99 and at the moment there is an offer on the website of a free sensor if you buy a Weather Station from Oregon Scientific.

Disclaimer. I was sent a Weather Station to review. All opinions are my own and I was not paid to write this post.

This little piece of crochet loveliness solved a bit of a conundrum for me this week… which all started with lunch boxes.  For about a month now, I have been desperately searching for a trendy-looking lunch box to take with … Continue reading →

Monday 02 February 2015

“I came all the way in a lifeboat, and ate marmalade. Bears like marmalade.”* *Paddington Bear This year, I may have more in common with Paddington Bear than ever before. We both live in West London, wellies are a favourite footwear and, of course, a jar of marmalade is always close to hand. However, this […]

Sunday 01 February 2015


I gave up alcohol for January as part of Dry January 2015. I have not drunk any alcohol since Jan 1st 2015  and I am fundraising for Cancer Research UK :)

I did it! And I am looking for more donations to my fundraising page. Please, if you fancy sponsoring me, why not donate £5 (the price of a bottle of wine or a couple of pints) or more if you are feeling very very generous? 

You can send your donation  by texting SBDJ99 £5 to 70070. And don’t forget to claim Gift Aid to increase your donation by 25%, at no extra cost to you. 
Or you can visit my just giving page and donate from there
Sarah-Blenkinsop-dryathlete2015  Thank you !

… Dorset Uglies, by sculptress Emma Mauger … As I drove towards the home of Dorset Uglies creator, Emma Mauger, I didn’t quite know how I was going to feel once I was confronted by her collection of ‘Uglies’.  I tend … Continue reading →

Omlet Cartoon