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Friday, 15 September 2017

Hierba Luisa - A Must Have Plant For Any Garden

Having recently been introduced to this plant I am now a total convert!

Hierba Luisa (Aloysia Citrodora)


Hierba Luisa (Aloysia Citrodora), more commonly known in English as Lemon Verbena or Lemon Beebrush, can be successfully grown indoors and out. In places with harsh winters it is best grown in a container that can be moved into shelter during cold months.

It may not be the first plant in the garden to catch your eye but once you get to know it there is a subtle beauty to the plant and its small pale flowers. The real magic happens however when you take one of the leaves and crush it in your hands. The scent is surreal, the most powerful citrus smell you are likely to find in any plant, not to mention the leaves and the flowering tops are used to make medicine.

It can be used as an ingredient in herbal teas, medicinal tinctures, perfumes and even alcoholic beverages. The essential oil of lemon verbena, when extracted, contains a high concentration of powerful antioxidant compounds that can be used to aid in weight loss, strengthen muscles, reduce inflammation, boost immunity, aids in digestion, reduces fevers, treats congestion and can also have a positive impact on anxiety and nerves.

The easiest way to take advantage of these powerful properties is to steep the leaves flowers and stems in hot water to make a fragrant herbal tea, but you can also harness the power of Lemon Verbena by adding it to your bath water for a relaxing and calming soak.

Hierba Luisa Tea
I've been drinking it as a herbal tea almost every day this week and I'm even considering giving up "normal" tea and switching to herbal every day as i'm enjoying it so much!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, thanks for stopping by once again for Five on Friday :)

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Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



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Friday, 8 September 2017

Five on Friday Blessings

Happy Friday Guys and Gals!

Life has been super busy at the moment so this week will be a brief one, here's some of the little things that I have not taken for granted recently:

Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis
This little visitor stopped by to say hello and I managed to get a snap of him perched on the mother-in-law's shoulder! We're blessed to have predators like this living on our land, a great natural pest controller and sign of a healthy eco system.

People & Permaculture 
People and Permaculture - A Brilliant Book
I was gifted a copy of People and Permaculture recently by a good friend that thought it would help me, she was totally right! The book is fantastic and working through the activities in the book has been an amazing experience so far, I look forward to finishing it soon.

Men & Motors
Wild and Free
I've had a bit more time out on the motorcycle recently doing "club things" which has done me the world of good, it is my favourite form of therapy as you can probably tell!

Play Time
The Pirates Life Is The Life For Me!
Spending time with my family, learning to be more present and living in the moment more has been the best! Here is a snap of us being pirates yesterday morning just because we could :) Apologies for the quality, the photo was taken in low light.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, Thanks for joining us once again for Five on Friday

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Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



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Friday, 1 September 2017

Permaculture Eco Build

It's been a while since we shared our plans with our awesome readers here so I thought I'd spend 5 minutes to bring you all up to speed.


This was our initial basic layout for the plot when we very first bought the land:

Wyrdwood Acres Permaculture Retreat Initial Layout Plan
Starting from the road access on the left, we will have:

Farm Market Stall for fresh produce and products with an honesty box

The first box will be parking for residents and visitors

The second blue box will be the kitchen garden which will supply annual crops to the house
Then we will have the tool shed for storage
Next is the geodome for starting seedlings and extending the growing season
The four blue boxes next are the fields that we will eventually rotate our chickens and goats in
Everything after that will be allowed to go somewhat wild as a food forest, with the classroom and yurts for visitors among the trees. We'll be running courses and workshops for visitors so the classroom area is essential for us. Each yurt will have it's own outhouse with compost toilet but the shower block and kitchen areas will be communal.

We've also included a pond although we are not sure that there is enough rainfall in the area to sustain it, we'll have to wait and see.

We hope that over time we'll be able to establish a living fence around the entire perimeter as a shelter belt and another source of edibles. It will be interesting to see how the layout and plan changes as we go forwards, one of the reasons we're going to be posting it all on here is so we can look back on it in the future. Hopefully we won't have too many mistakes to learn from!

Carly has painted a beautiful watercolour impression of the initial plan:

Wyrdwood Acres Permaculture Retreat - Watercolour Layout

Where Wyrdwood Manor will be located on the land

We've shared these plans before in the past, but one thing we haven't shown you all yet is what we're designing for our forever home. We already had our hearts set on building with straw bales when we moved out here and were lucky enough to find an architect that specialises in sustainable building particularly with earth and straw and with her help we have been able to create a one of a kind plan for the house. Our land is planted almost exclusively with Almonds, so we thought it was only fitting to honour the spirit of the land by drawing inspiration from the patterns in nature that are right in front of us, afterall humans are not designed to live in tidy little boxes, there are no straight lines in nature. For the shape of the main house we drew inspiration from the almond tree flowers,  for the separate work studio we will build it in the shape of the almond nut:


Design for the Almond Flower House and Almond Nut Studio
When it is built it will be truly unique and a stunning example of what can be done with natural materials. The walls will be built using straw bales and then lime rendered on the outside and earth rendered on the inside. All grey water will be directed through a reed bed filtering system and put back into the land, the house will take care of all of its own waste and electricity needs and be as self sufficient as possible.

Wyrdwood Manor Design Layout
 There will be a three bedroom house on the eastern side of the building for my family, the west side is a self contained 1 bedroom annex for my mother-in-law and father-in-law. The are both connected by the central pentagon, this will be a library /study/ meditation area with an open roof covered by a geodome at the top.

South and North Elevations of the house
I think the central area is what I am most excited about, being able to see the sky during the day and the stars at night will make it quite a spiritual place, sheltered within the house but still connected to the natural world.

Cross Section Of The Centre Of The House
The roof will be an earth covered green roof planted with wildflowers to provide additional habitat for all important pollinators, I'm hoping to put a bee hive or two up there as well eventually.

3D Artists Impression
 So you see it will all be really quite stunning once it's finished. We're planning to do all of the building ourselves so will be inviting anyone that wants to come and help and learn to join us in this undertaking. The roof of the Studio will house all of our solar installations so as not to impact on the aesthetics of the main house, so the studio has been specifically designed with this in mind to house batteries and such at one end.

Work Studio

Studio elevations

At the moment we have submitted plans to the town hall, they have already told us they have no problem with any of it as our architect is in constant contact with them so we expect to have our building permission back by the end of September so we can really get moving with the project physically. Now to design a kitchen garden that will be worthy of such a project!

We will be sharing a lot more of the in depth details of the designs and the build on our Wyrdwood Acres Blog

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, thanks for joining us again for Five on Friday

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Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



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Friday, 25 August 2017

5 Things You Learn When You Get a Puppy

Happy Friday Everyone!

This is our last Five on Friday for August and since it has been somewhat of a heavy month I thought I'd do a lighthearted post this week.

As you may know, last month we brought home two puppies! So after having them as part of the family for a month now these are the things I have learned about having young puppies:

Astrid pretending that butter wouldn't melt

1. Sleep
Puppies sleep on average for 26 hours a day 8 days a week. They tend to wake up only soil or otherwise destroy something when you are not looking and then convincingly pretend to be the cutest thing in the world so that you don't get mad at them. I suspect it is a built in survival trait.


2. Poop
Puppies are able to excrete their own body mass each day and can do so at will. Sometimes it seems that they do it all at once in one place and other times they like to surprise you by hiding it in multiple locations to see if you were paying attention. I can only be thankful that we have tiled floors because I don't know how anyone can have a puppy and carpets at the same time!

Astrid can always be found exactly where you don't want her to be!

3. Obedience
Much like human children they do not listen to anything or play with anything unless you specifically do not want them to.

4. Smell
We bath our dogs once a week and they do not have access to anything dirty but nevertheless they smell. Whether it is "Dog Smell" or "Dog Fart" it seems our living room will never again smell like fresh linen!

5. Family
When puppies are this young their cons seem to vastly outweigh their pros. It seems their only redeeming quality is that they are cute and might become more useful when they grow up. But through all the accidents on the floor, sleepless nights and having to change your whole life routine to accommodate your new family members you'll find that you wouldn't change a thing because a puppy unconditionally loves it's owners and its a feeling that you cannot help being mutual!

Just look at that cute little face!
I hope you've all had a wonderful week and wish you an amazing weekend, thanks for joining us once again for Five on Friday :)

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Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



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Friday, 18 August 2017

Spanish Fiestas

Thanks to everyone that messaged and commented last week with their support.

After Last Week's Post (Suicide & Mental Health) I'm glad to say this week will be on a much happier note. Last weekend from Friday right round until Tuesday the annual August Fiestas decended on our sleepy little village in the middle of nowhere. For 5 days the population of this village went from around 100 to more like 1000 as every family and friend of the residents turned up for a celebration of gigantic proportions (compared to how small the place is)

A lot of the festivities take place quite late, between 12.00 and 2.00am, mainly to avoid the scorching heat of the day. Spanish people tend to let their children stay up a lot later than we typically do in the UK, especially during fiesta times.

We had Bull running on the Friday night to start things off, we didn't go down but it was held in the dry riverbed outside our house so we could see it all anyway. I don't really agree with it but I accept that it is their traditions, their culture and heritage so I can understand why it is important to them, and I must say that they treat the animals far better in our village than they do in many of the other places I have seen.

The following morning was the annual Gachamiga contest. (If you haven't tried it before we previously posted a Gachamiga Recipe HERE) Essentially the entire village comes together to cook Gachamiga in the traditional long handled pans over open fires in the middle of the road!

Gachamiga contest 2017 Cases Del Senyor
More and more families turned up to take part and filled the entire village with the smell and sound of sizzling pans full of Gachamiga. Passing cars just had to make their way around as and when they can but nothing is more important than a fiesta in Spain so nobody seems to mind the inconvenience they just accept it as part of life. Our fiestas and all of the events and activities are paid for by the local council and fundraising done by the community in advance, so everything is free of charge to everyone that takes part and is a great way for the council to give back to the community and really bring local families together in the community spirit that we seem to have largely lost in the UK. All the ingredients were handed out to participants for free and there were cases of wine being dished out for everyone attending to drink, all completely free and when it was over every family wanted to invite us to try their gachamiga and invited me Carly and the kids to come over and drink wine with them as we ate gachamiga for breakfast. The people here are always so welcoming to us as foreigners, I'm very grateful to be able to speak enough Spanish to understand and partake in basic small talk even though it is not something I have ever had lessons in I just pick it up as I go along.

Gachamiga Contest 2017 Cases Del Senyor
When everyone was finished cooking the Gachamiga was put on plates with peoples names on the bottom so that the judges didn't know whose they were tasting until afterwards.

The important people and village elders were called to taste test and crown the winners. Apart from bragging rights for the year the winners also got expensive legs of Jamon, Wine and even a weekend away in Benidorm!
Elders judging the Gachamiga contest

After that we had a foam party in the street, you can see Logan here up to his chin in it! Foam was fired from a cannon all over the place, although it was raining quite hard on the day so they cut the party short and came back for a few hours the next day to do it all over again to make sure the kids didn't miss out.

Foam Party 2017 Cases Del Senyor

There were bouncy castles, fireworks, music processions and every night the bull running. There was also gigantic pans of paella cooked to feed the whole village, musical processions, chocolate fountains and many other things that make the fiestas an incredible experience and I can honestly say the fiestas in this area are some of the best I have ever been to. 

Train!
On the last day there was a train ride that took the kids to the next village and back, playing music,  everyone clapping and singing along it was a great end to the fiestas for us, the kids absolutely loved it and seeing them so happy and getting involved with Spanish culture did my heart the world of good.

As great as the fiestas are it is also nice to return once more to the sleepy little village that we are used to, but we are already looking forward to the fiestas next year!


Hope you all have an amazing weekend, thanks for stopping by for Five on Friday


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Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML


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Friday, 11 August 2017

Suicide and Mental Health


Did you know that the suicide rate for men is 350% higher than women?
And why is there such a stigma attached to male depression and mental health? Why are we conditioned to think that a man must be infallible? That he cannot have emotions, that he must be carved from stone and be forever the strong sentinel?

If you have me on Facebook then it is no secret that I intended to take my own life this week. Everything became too much, life almost got the better of me and I made the decision to opt out. Luckily Carly found me in the mountains tying the last knot and about to put the noose around my neck. Today is a day I might never have seen if things had been different.

My entire life I have held myself to societies standards, I have been ruthless, a strong leader and have never backed down from a challenge or a fight. By my early twenties I was the president of a motorcycle club, the youngest president in Essex, I took no shit and commanded respect. I have lived an intense Alpha male life and you know what? It's bullshit. No man is an island. It it's OK to not be OK. There is no shame in being vulnerable. I will not hide it, brush it under the rug nor apologise. I cannot thank enough the people that contacted me to support me, it makes me realise how much of an impact one bad day could have made.

If you cannot understand how someone can get to the point where they cannot bear it any more you are one of the lucky ones. But if you ever find yourself in that situation speak up and help will be there, I have been there myself and I will never be too busy to talk someone else out of making the ultimate mistake.
Stay strong, we are all beautifully imperfect humans and we are all in this together. Love you all x


I had wanted to sit and write something about mental health issues and the weeks events but this post is a copy of what I wrote on facebook, I am sure everyone undestands that at the moment I need to focus my time and energy elsewhere.

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Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

















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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Handmade Ferro Rod

I forgot to show you this awesome ferro rod I got from Rhode Knives

Rhode Knives Ferro Rod Fire Lighter
Yet another beautifully hand crafted item from Rhode Knives that is hand made in the UK. These type of Ferro rod fire starters are good for many thousands of strikes, work in all weathers and never let you down. Why settle for the cheap crap from china when you could have something as gorgeous as this that really earns it's place in you kit for form and function? And knowing that you are helping a small family business rather than a faceless company always wins hands down in my book.

If you want to check out Rhode Knives you can find them at their Etsy store on Facebook and also on Instagram.

Disclaimer: As always I have not been paid of incentivised for this post, you cannot buy kind words here you just have to cut the mustard and impress us!
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Etsy

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