FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Friday, 29 July 2016

Walking Softly

It is all too easy to crash through life with your mind focused elsewhere and miss the small things that are in front of you. The tiny miracles that go on happening all around us if only we take a moment to notice. Too often we worry about the future or dwell on the past and forget to live in the here and now. My challenge for the weekend is to live in the here and now, notice the small things, and witness the magic of the world through a child’s eyes.

For my 5 on Friday here are 5 magnificent miracles I saw yesterday walking just 100m to the shop on my lunch break from work, taken with my phone. When you slow down, walk softly and soak in what is around you:

the little yellow and black stripey caterpillars, according to countrylife are:

Cinnabar moth caterpillar1in, orange-yellow striped with blackWith its yellow-and-black-striped body, the cinnabar moth’s caterpillar looks as if it’s wearing a rugby jersey. It’s a warning colour, as the caterpillar, like the adult moth, is distasteful to birds. These caterpillars are ragwort specialists and play an important role in controlling this most hated of our native flowering plants, gaining their toxicity from the poisonous alkaloids sequestered from ragwort. Rapacious eaters, they will even turn cannibal if hungry. The day-flying cinnabar moth is one of 30 insect species entirely dependent on ragwort.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend


Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Exploring Europe

What a weekend! well, a long weekend. I was off work Friday and we took the kids to the National Trust Property Eastbury Manor House.

Eastbury Manor House is a striking brick-built Tudor Mansion, It was built in the 1570s by a wealthy merchant Clement Sysley, who purchased the land after the dissolution of Barking Abbey. completed about 1573 and little altered since, complete with astonishing original Tudor oak turret staircase built around a newel post made of 3 tree trunks

A shot of the north entrance

We all had loads of fun exploring and  interacting with the exhibits around the house

One of the things I love about visiting the historic properties is the level of self sufficiency they were able to acheive in those days and how common it was to be self reliant, I took a couple of photos to remind myself some of the practices that were commonplace:

and on the subject of bees I managed to snap this busy bumble on the lavender in the gardens of the manor house

By Saturday it was time for me to saddle up and hit the road with the White Wolf Brotherhood Motorcycle Club and head for the border for a road trip through Europe.

Here we're just about to board the Eurotunnel. Riding through France was pretty tense with a very heavy police and military presence along the main roads with armed check points stopping people and causing a lot of traffic so we left the main roads in the end to avoid the congestion and delays.

My home away from home for the weekend, The Slumit Gobi, I have had it for years now and it is easily the best tent I have ever owned, well made, easy to use and very spacious.

After spending Saturday night in Belgium visiting a well known motorcycle club for a massive party,  we headed to Niewpoort to visit the King Albert I Monument and the Nieuwpoort War Memorial which commemorates 566 Commonwealth officers and men who were killed in Allied operations on the Belgian coast during the First World War and have no known grave.

After that we followed the Belgian Coast and went to Dunkirk in search of a campsite before heading home via Calais.

A shot of the bikes how they were all loaded up with the camping gear.

Monday was spent recovering from the long weekend, me and the father-in-law took the kids over to the park and taught Logan about all the plants and insects we could find around the place and little Lo foraged a bag of blackberries from the edge of the wood to take home for mommy and nanny. All in all I had a great long weekend and was very glad to be back in my own bed again! 


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Ready, Set, Go!

Well Folks, The deed is done...

..We accepted an offer on the house!

The buyer is a first time buyer with their mortgage in principle in place and since there is no chain to hold things up the solicitors have advised that everything should be done and dusted within 8 weeks.

So now we've got to have a big clear out and sell off any surplus that isn't coming with us and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!


Friday, 15 July 2016

Birthday Bargain Tool Haul

I noticed a bargain whilst wandering around sainsburys and couldn't resist so ended up coming away with these beauties as a birthday present to myself

All FSC timber handles and stainless steel heads, they should last a lifetime and more than pay for themselves with the amount of work they will soon be seeing on our land!

First up was the digging spade for the bargain price of £7.50!

A matching fork also for £7.50

The slightly smaller border spade for £6.50

Mini fork set me back £2.50

Lovely little transplanting trowel also £2.50

and the cultivator which was reduced to £1.68.

So a grand total of £28.18 for the lot. Bearing in mind that the stainless tools usually go for around £15-£20 each and the hand tools £5-8 each, this means we've saved between £31.82 - £55.82 depending on whether you use the higher or lower figures.

I have probably spent more than that in the past on cheap tat tools that rust bend and break within a year, I think that quality tools are one of the areas that you can escape a false economy by investing in quality to begin with. If you cannot find a bargain on buying new I'd highly recommend car boot sales etc since the tools from days gone by were made to last and some have already been around twice as long as the stuff made these days will ever last. I also believe there is a great joy to be had in cleaning up an old tool and putting it back in to service.

I've just noticed that this Five on Friday is actually a six, but I'm sure Amy will let me off!

Also a quick note from Carly's business Lucky Sew & Sew

Our big SALE is now live over on our Etsy shop. Most things half price! 

You can grab both pairs of our ever popular Acacia and Althaea knickers for just £18, or £10 each separately.

Knickers from £8, bralettes from £15 and sets from £23!

Need to make room for our new collection!


Thursday, 14 July 2016

The Fires of Mount Doom

Since the fires in the great furnace that is our kitchen have been dormant for a couple of weeks whilst we were on holiday, Carly blew away the cobwebs with a bit of batch cooking to see us through the week. Here's a quick peek at some of the things she's been forging in the fires:

First up was our dinner for the day, a Grilled Halloumi, Watermelon and Green Bean Salad. Seriously delicious, i'm certain we'll be creeping halloumi in to our meals more often from now on.

Next up was a tasty home made batch of Mixed Fruit and Nut Granola for breakfasts

...A big batch of Aubergine Parmagiana that will do us 2-3 family meals... 

...Another big batch of Mushroom Moussaka with Ricotta Topping, again this would feed us for 2-3 days...

...and lastly my lunches this week have been Sweet Potato, Sweetcorn and Bean Salad. Yum Yum!

Batch cooking is a great way to stay on track with diet/wellness goals, to free time up during the week so you're not cooking every day and works out cheaper as you can bulk buy ingredients instead of single servings and uses less fuel in the cooker doing it all in one hit instead of firing it up for short periods every day.

In other news I managed to pick up a BARGAIN as a treat to myself for my birthday, I'll try to get photos tonight so I can post them up on the blog tomorrow :)


Monday, 11 July 2016


.Keeping it brief today as it's my buffday, I'm 28 years young today and wanted to share my favourite cards with you all. I don't normally "do" cards as I think they are a waste of money and are more often than not thrown away the next day, but these three were a bit special as Carly and the kids made them for me!

The kids did the painting with their hands and feet and of course Carly did the rest

and then I got the most random card off my Aunty but I absolutely love it! how funny:

I want to give thanks to all the amazing people in my life that have got me this far, those that have picked me up when I was low and laughed beside me in the high times and everyone that has given us such a massive amount of support through this blog. I feel very blessed today and hope that your week is blessed also


Friday, 8 July 2016

Don't Panic! We're Back

We've not been around for the last couple of weeks but please don't worry, we were away in sunny old Spain. It's not wise to broadcast online to all and sundry that your house is going to be empty and ripe for burglary for a couple of weeks hence the radio silence on the matter :)

Well Done to Jules on winning the Book Giveaway, We'll get it posted out to you as soon as possible. I'm sure there will be a few more giveaways in the near future too so if you didn't win this time stay tuned, better luck next time.

Now it's back to business as usual, I'll share 5 random snaps for the usual Five on Friday link up:

A quick tip that got us out of trouble at the airport, if you don't have a Pound/Euro coin for a trolley you can use the round end of your keys, it may need a wiggle but it does definitely work (just make sure you get it back afterwards!)

We soaked up the sun, relaxed (well, as much as you can relax with 2 young kids) and visited our families that still live in Spain. The kids absolutely loved it and little Logan has already started to learn some basic Spanish, so cool to teach him the words and watch him speaking another language to people in shops etc for the very first time, real proud parent moment.

Even little Aurora joined in toddling around shouting "hola! hola!" at everyone she came across. I guess she's technically bilingual since she can't say much more than hiya in English either!

One of my favourite photos from the holiday, four generations of the Fast-SoS Family! 

Whilst we were over there we went to view a couple of pieces of land, we have out heart set on one that is currently 5 acres of almond trees that we would plan to put all of our new permaculture knowledge in to practice.

Brexit hasn't changed our plans at all, it doesn't seem as though it will affect us at all (apart from the crummy exchange rate) so everything will go ahead as planned.
So it really is a waiting game now, the house has been on the market for a couple of weeks and has had a great deal of interest so fingers crossed that the right buyer comes along and we can get our adventure underway

Hope you all have an amazing weekend!



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