Embracing the seasons; the end of summer.

Embracing the end of summer | Seeds and Stitches blog

Hannah here: Have you felt it yet? The slight crispness to the early mornings? A certain brackish smell hanging in the air? The first few russet coloured leaves peppering the streets? Summer yawns and prepares to slumber and Autumn is preparing to wake. I can feel it in my bonezzz. 

My thoughts, I confess, have turned to new slippers and wool socks, a log delivery and a chimney sweep, candles and coats… and I am so excited. But. Summer is not done yet. I am holding out for a few more sunny days; just a few more sea swims and picnics, a little more wear out of my sandals and summer skirts…. August has been good to us, apart from 4 hectic work days travelling around the country shooting houses (which was really enjoyable, just not relaxing) things have been slo-ow in the Bullivant household. Other than the time spent making a but ton of jam from our foraged berries, we have spent every available moment at the beach.  We've swam in the sea, sat aimlessly on the shore and read. We’ve dug enormous holes in the sand, collected beach treasures, and splashed in and out of the tide in both bare feet and wellies. Elaborate games involving stones and buckets and waterways have been constructed. And thats just the grown ups (arf arf). We have our 5 minute beach picnic and pack down. Have I told you how chuffed I am to have moved from London to be near the sea? I have? Multiple times? Oh.

Embracing the end of summer | Seeds and Stitches blog
Embracing the end of summer | Seeds and Stitches blog
Embracing the end of summer | Seeds and Stitches blog
Embracing the end of summer | Seeds and Stitches blog
embracing the end of summer | Seeds and Stitches blog

The jam making...

Jam Making | Seeds and Stitches blog
Jam Making | Seeds and Stitches blog

Then there’s been the rain. We’ve tried to embrace that too; picking flowers from the garden in our bare feet, bouncing on our soggy trampoline, splashing in the sea in our wellies…. but I am having to crank my brain into gear to remember how to entertain small children in bad weather. So yes, Summer, do you have a few last breaths in you, my fickle friend? 

The end of summer | Seeds and Stitches blog
The end of summer | Seeds and Stitches blog

And here are my Styling the Seasons shots for August, a monthly styling challenge by Katy and Charlotte , using some of the treasures we've collected this summer. 

Styling The Seasons August | Seeds and Stitches blog
Styling The Seasons August | Seeds and Stitches blog
Styling The Seasons August | Seeds and Stitches blog
Styling The Seasons August | Seeds and Stitches blog
Styling The Seasons August | Seeds and Stitches blog

Pssst, Don't forget to join in with our hashtag #embracingtheseasons to share with us your end of summer pics.... or how you're handling the rain! If you also follow the Seeds and Stitches instagram account and the Great British Florist Instagram account, you'll be in with a chance of winning a bouquet of seasonal blooms for you and a friend, a little thank you from us for joining in. Hurray! 

Best of #EmbracingTheSeasons, and announcing a giveaway with Great British Florist

#embracingtheseasons by CircleofPines

#embracingtheseasons by CircleofPines

Our new hashtag, #embracingtheseasons has been growing exponentially since we launched it last month and we have been delighted with the entries on the feed so far.  Scrolling through the feed and seeing how everyone has been embracing the season they’re in has been so inspiring. We have found new friends to follow,  been inspired by your adventures and pursuits, and it has given us a whole new level of appreciation for this glorious yet fickle season we're in (!). I particularly like the rainy/drizzly/autumn tinged photo’s of late summer that have begun to feature on the feed. Thank you from the bottom of our Seeds and Stitches hearts to everyone who has joined in so far. The pictures below are just a few of our favourites, scroll through the hashtag for more inspiration. 

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY Mitenskablog

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY Mitenskablog

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY MilkMoonMama

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY MilkMoonMama

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY Georgia Coote

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY Georgia Coote

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY PeggyJobbins

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY PeggyJobbins

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY Nina_Nixon

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY Nina_Nixon

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY Annjennyg

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY Annjennyg

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY HeatherYoungUK

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY HeatherYoungUK

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY Littlegreenshed

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY Littlegreenshed

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY driftwoodandseashells

#EMBRACINGTHESEASONS BY driftwoodandseashells

We are delighted to announce a little giveaway with our friends Great British Florist.  Summer is nearing it’s end, schools are nearly back, and the abundant flower season is almost over, but we’re hanging on for these last few weeks and crossing our fingers and toes for a little more sunshine. We have teamed up with our sponsor Great British Florist to offer an Instagram giveaway of one of their bouquets or mini buckets of blooms to arrange yourself for you and a friend! All their flowers are grown here in Blighty which we really love, and who doesn't like receiving gorgeous british flowers, or sending them for that matter? 

To enter:

  1.  Follow SeedsandStitches and GreatBritishFlorist
  2. Post an photo that celebrates the season, in our case the end of summer using the #embracingtheseasons hashtag
  3. Tag SeedsandStitches so we definitely see your entry, and the friend you would send the flowers too (and why, if you want!) 

T's and C's:

This competition is open to UK residents only. Instagram has in no way endorsed this competition. Anything entered today until next Tuesday is eligible. Good luck!

All hail the local farm + free Farm Bingo Printable.

All hail the local farm + free farm bingo printable | Seeds and Stitches blog

Hannah here; It was a Thursday, and it had reached that awkward, in-between, small child witching hour  of 3.30. There wasn’t quite enough time to do anything substantial but an intimidatingly large portion of time gaped until dinner.  Frankie-Rose and her cousin Stanley were taking turns snatching toys from each others hands and walloping each other on the head; reading and the trampoline just weren’t cutting the mustard and there wasn’t any cake in the house. So, just like countless times before, we bundled ourselves in the car and drove 10 minutes to our local farm, Monkshil. Like always, being outside was the answer, and in this case the farm (and it’s wonderful cafe) solved our afternoon conundrum. 

The farm’s location, in the countryside, and the space within it is a balm. We all breathe deep and stretch out here, enjoying the panoramic views over the Kent countryside. It’s a perfect summer holiday outing. The conversations that follow about animals and meat eating, cows and milk production, how vegetables are ‘growd’ and how chickens make eggs are genuinely interesting for all of us (i’m beginning to wonder if consuming dairy is more cruel than consuming meat for example) and cements my desire to buy from local farmers where possible. The slightly less lofty, still priceless conversations about chicken vagina’s, cow dancing, why poo is smelly and my daughters bizarrely heightened sense of danger when approaching baby ducks (god I love my 3 year old) are as equally entertaining. Obviously the caffeine and excellent cake in the cafe are an added extra massive bonus too. 

We used to frequent Mudchute and Hackney City farm when we lived in London, and I was grateful for the little dose of rural in the middle of the city that these spaces provided too. 

Perhaps some of you are feeling the 3.30pm witching hour about this middling point in the school holidays. We have something that might help with that.

In honour of our love of the local farm, we asked Emilie our resident illustrator, to come up with a farm bingo. We put a lot of thought into this and have tried to make something that works with most farms, whether big or small, something that kids of all ages would like, and something that uses all of the senses.  So rather than say ‘horse’ it says ‘big animal’ and ‘hooves’. In consultation with the kids, we also added ‘animal poo’ and ‘something noisy’! As usual Emilie’s illustrations are lovely so it’s pretty easy on the eye for parents too. So, please feel free to download and print away (for personal use only, mind) and do tag @seedsandstitches if you do use it, we’d love to see it in action. 

Whats your local farm like? Have you been recently? 

All hail the local farm + free farm bingo printable | Seeds and Stitches blog
All hail the local farm + free farm bingo printable | Seeds and Stitches blog
All hail the local farm + free farm bingo printable | Seeds and Stitches blog
All hail the local farm + free farm bingo printable | Seeds and Stitches blog
All hail the local farm + free farm bingo printable | Seeds and Stitches blog
All hail the local farm + free farm bingo printable | Seeds and Stitches blog
All hail the local farm + free farm bingo printable | Seeds and Stitches blog
Farm Bingo by Emilie Maguin | Seeds and Stitches blog

How to have a big European trip on a little budget.

How to have a big European Trip on a small budget | Seeds and Stitches blog

Hannah here: It is the one year anniversary of our 5 week trip around Northern Europe and Scandinavia. One year since we rammed our belongings into our car and set off for a rather life changing adventure; we took the ferry to Dover then drove straight in to Belgium where we stayed in AirBNB in Antwerp. Next it was a campsite in  Amsterdam, followed by a campsite in Hooghallen, rural Holland, and another in Uelzen, rural germany then we took the ferry to Denmark (so exciting!) We stayed first in a campsite on an island called Mon in rural Denmark before heading to Copenhagen (Oh Copenhagen!) Then we hopped on the ferry again to go to Sweden, to stay in an utterly dreamy AirBnB in Gothenburg . We took the ferry again (we we're ferry travelling pro's by now) to stay in a couple of gorgeous rural spots in northern Denmark: a campsite in Svinklov, and an AirBnB in Roslev (the photos in this post) before ferrying home again. 

I tried, I honestly did, but sometimes platitudes are all I have. It was life changing. Utterly life changing. The trip of a lifetime. Epic. Unforgettable.

We completely changed the way we live as a result of this trip. We drastically downsized our house, got rid of a ton of stuff, decided to live in close community with family and realigned our work/life balance priorities. I’m pretty evangelical about taking a long trip like this, especially as a family. We came home feeling closer, clearer, relaxed and much surer of how we wanted to live life. But, how did we manage it if we're  both freelance, have kids, and not much money?! 

Lots of people have asked us this so I thought i'd share our tips below.

Roslev, Denmark | Seeds and Stitches blog

How to have a big European road trip on a little budget.

Find time
We went in August, peak season, because Dave’s business partner at the time had booked the whole of August off as paternity leave so we grabbed our chance, and crammed in our freelance work before we went.  If you're not freelance, then maybe you could time something like this in between jobs (negotiate a start date a month ahead), during a sabbatical, or decide to use a chunk of your holiday up over Easter when there are lots of bank holidays and go for a 3-4 week break, if your employer allows this. Or you could jack it all in and go travelling and see what life throws at you :)

Plan
It’s possible to take a big family trip even if you aren’t rolling in the green stuff, if you plan and book in advance. We saved a bit every month then were ultimately helped by unexpectantly being chucked out of our rental house just before the trip (yeah, THAT was FUN.), so we put all our stuff in storage and saved on rent and bills while we were away. We would have been able to do this without this saving but it did make things easier while we were away (it enabled the couple of AirBnB's we stayed in) and when we got home again as we had to budget for  living money in the months following the trip as neither of us have a regular pay cheque. You could rent your house out while you're away to raise some extra funds. 

Travel slow
Go by land or ferry. We opted to get the ferry with DFDS seaways as this meant we could bring our car. This was important for us as we intended to camp so had lots of luggage, and also meant we could go at toddler pace where necessary. We embraced ferry and boat travel as part of the adventure, and Frankie-Rose loved it. Having our car meant Frankie had some familiarity in our ever changing environment. We timed the driving over nap times which mostly dealt with the Frankie car sickness issue too.  If you write a blog or have a big social media following, then you might find that a brand is wiling to sponsor your travel, (or hotel, luggage, holiday clothes etc. Lots of brands are open to working with bloggers, thus saving some money) which DFDS did in my case. If not, look out for promotions and half price deals. Sadly, the Esbjerg to Harwich ferry has now stopped running, but a trip like ours is still possible with a little more driving- you can go from Dover to Dunkirk in France which has quick access to major cities in France, Belgium, Germany and Holland, and also Newcastle to Amsterdam too, for as little as £30. (I’d love to go a little further south next time- explore southern Germany, the Czech republic and Austria- maybe as far as Poland too)

Camp! 
Our biggest saving was found in camping. Even cities have lovely campsites on the outskirts. We also stayed in three Airbnb’s, which was again cheaper than a hotel and meant we had more space- important with a two year old in tow. Or, stay with friends if you can or consider house swapping. Don't forget to list your place on AirBnb or sublet while your away to re-coup money= more money for Mohito's. 

Pack lunches
We shopped in markets and supermarkets everywhere we went and cooked our own, often veggie,  meals, and brought pack lunches with us every day.  The car obviously greatly helped with this we were able to bring all essential kitchen supplies, dried food and condiments, meaning we could cook our own food and save money. It also meant we could stock the car with booze in Germany before heading into Denmark and Sweden where it's rather pricey. The exception to the cook your own food rule was in the cities where we saved some of our budget for restaurants and cafe’s (um, the best things to spend money on in any city, no?!), but only one meal out in any given day- we still often brought lunch, snacks and drinks with us.

Find free stuff
Find the free activities. We took to the internet and searched for free activities, and avoided the pricey tourist attractions. Specific things we searched for were “free botanical garden/ garden/ performance/ show/ gig/ gallery/ festival”. We are converts to the shrine of freeeeeeeee.

Walk
In cities you don’t know it can be tempting to get cabs which is a really expensive way to travel. We ended up walking everywhere. It was good exercise, cheap and meant we we stumbled on little side streets and areas we would never have found had we been whizzing by in a cab/bus. We had the buggy with us which helped hugely- Frankie was ok being in it if she had a snack, and was still napping in there for 1-2 hours a day at this point.  If you need to get public transport, lots of cities have discount cards for tourists which also provide free entry into tourist spots, so it’s really worth a quick internet search before you go to figure out what zones you’ll need and how to get it cheaply. 

Will it
Lastly, I can’t underestimate the importance of will power. Dave and I have talked about travelling since we were 17, and in some tragic real life version of Up, it never happened. But I was desperate to make this 5 week trip work. There were plenty of times that we nearly (maybe even should have) cancelled it. We found out we had to move house weeks before we were due to leave which meant we wouldn't have any time to properly research each place we were staying. We didn’t quite make our savings targets. We really shouldn’t have taken such a huge amount of time off from freelance work. We were planning a road trip with a two year old who got badly car sick, and oh god, what were we doing, maybe a week in Cornwall was enough?… But, as much as I love a week in Cornwall (and I do, I really do!), I was desperate to see, and show my baby girl, some of the world. To spend 5 solid weeks together without working. The negs kept coming, but I was steadfast. There is always a way round it if you want it enough. Maybe you have to change the perimeters a bit; find the compromise, go for a shorter amount of time, take the cheaper accommodation, don’t go as far; but theres always a way.  My mister says i’m like a dog with a bone sometimes, and, although I don't quite think it's what he means it to be, I take it as a compliment (woof!) I saved almost manically. I stayed positive and insisted we could make it happen, I found work-arounds and alternatives where necessary, and stuck to my guns on the essentials. But all of that willing and problem solving, it’s hard flippin work! Planning a road trip like this when you're both freelance and not very rich and have a car sick 2 year old and have to move out of your house before you go and are technically homeless isn’t an easy feat, but it’s possible if you want it. And, like all the best things in life, the effort will be worth it. And we did it! And it was life changing! We now want to take other similar trips. Wanderlust is at an all time high, in fact. 

———

Roslev, Denmark | Seeds and Stitches blog
AirBnB Roslev, Denmark | Seeds and Stitches blog
Harwich beach, Denmark | Seeds and Stitches blog
AirBnB Roslev, Denmark | Seeds and Stitches blog
Roslev, Denmark | Seeds and Stitches blog
AirBnB Roslev, Denmark | Seeds and Stitches blog

A little more about our final destination, and the photo's in this post. 

After Svinklov (a vast wildnerness of a beach swathed in rain clouds, fishing in waterproof’s, the sweetest wooden Danish guest house, a 30th birthday)  there followed the short drive Roslev, our final destination, in northern Denmark for a 3 day stay in an Airbnb. This would be the last place we explored in Denmark before heading to Esbjerg to get the ferry home again. The sun finally deigned to show his face, so we spent those days eating, beaching, pretending we were trendy Danes living in a summer house,  processing all the life changing decisions we’d made and saying our final goodbyes to this trip of a lifetime. 

Some pics of our AirBnB , an architects summer residence. 

AirBnB Roslev, Denmark | Seeds and Stitches blog
AirBnB Roslev, Denmark | Seeds and Stitches blog
AirBnB Roslev, Denmark | Seeds and Stitches blog
AirBnB Roslev, Denmark | Seeds and Stitches blog
AirBnB Roslev, Denmark | Seeds and Stitches blog

So that's it! the final trip post! Thank you for reading along with me. Have you travelled as a family? We'd love one day to jack it all in and go for a year, and certainly hope to find the time to take another couple of month long trips. We shall have to see where life takes us.

My ferry travel fro Dover to Calais and Esbjerg to Harwich was kindly provided by DFDS Seaways

P.S You can read all of my trip posts here

Labour gift: 'Energy In A Jar' Almond and Chia Energy Bites

IMG_4933.JPG

Davina here - We are delighted to share this guest post by our friend Lydia Feast. Recently I went to my good friend Sophie's baby shower and Sophie's sister Lydia turned up with this most amazing gift - these homemade energy bites for Sophie's labour. They were beautifully presented in a jar with a label made by her young daughter. I knew at once that I should ask Lydia to share this on the blog. 

Lydia is a jewellery artist and mother to two year old Asha Mali. She lives by the sea in Portsmouth, Hampshire with Asha and her husband. Lydia has a great passion for raw, clean, plant based food and enjoys living as healthy a life style as possible. 


Labour gift: 'Energy In A Jar' - Almond and Chia Energy Bites by Lydia Feast

My sister's second baby is due any day now and I have been thinking about what would be the perfect labour gift for a tired busy mother about to bring another baby into the world. I thought these almond and chia energy bites would make the perfect gift for when she's in labour and after the baby is born. 

These little balls of goodness are packed with nature's most natural ingredient so nourishing for the body and full of healthy fats and protein to keep your energy levels balanced throughout the day (and possibly night too if you're in labour!) They taste incredible and once you start eating them it's difficult to stop yourself from eating the whole lot! They taste so good in fact, it's hard to not forget that they are also really good for you. My two year old daughter goes crazy for them to the point were I have started storing a batch in the freezer so every time we open the fridge door we don't eat them all up! 

The basis for this recipe is from my favorite cookbook at the moment called Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward. This book was recommended to me by a friend when I started embracing a gluten free, refined sugar free, plant based lifestyle for my family. It's a really inspiring book. Since starting a family and feeding a growing developing toddler I have become really interested in nutrition and healthy clean eating and this book is a perfect start. 

Ella states in her book "Deliciously Ella is not about being hungry or deprived. It's about counting goodness not calories. It's about nourishing your body with real, whole foods so that you are consistently happy and energised, and can live life to the fullest. After all isn't that what life is all about?"

These energy bites really sum up Ella Woodward's food philosophy and are totally and utterly delicious! I have changed the recipe slightly by adding hemp protein to make this labour gift that bit more energising but you could also try adding other super foods which would also be perfect for labour such as Maca (used by Inca warriors before going into battle to increase their strength and stamina), Spirulina (which is a fresh water algae packed with iron, calcium magnesium, vitamin E, zinc, B vitamins and many more) or Baobab (from a fruit tree in Africa extremely rich in vitamin C for a instant immune boost) to give even more goodness to each bite. You can also try swapping the almonds for any other nuts you may have like pecans, walnuts or brazil nuts. I have also rolled each ball in a different topping for added goodness, texture and crunch and to make this gift look even more aesthetically pleasing.

Of course there are many other occasions these bites are perfect for: they make the perfect toddler snack, great for long walks, running and cycle rides (tricycle rides in our case!) and very handy for after swimming so you don't end up visiting the vending machines for that instant sugar hit that will make you feel even worse a few hours later! And of course just perfect for a summer picnic! 

This recipe makes about 20 balls (you can double the amounts to make even more if your food processor is big enough. I have a Le Mini Plus Magimix and find this quantity is the perfect amount to not over load the processor. 

You will need: 

  • 1/2 mug almonds (100g) 
  • 1 mug Medjool dates (200g)
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon hemp powder 

Process: 

  1. Start by putting the almonds in your food processor and blend for about 30 seconds, until they're nicely crushed. 
  2. Then pit your Medjool dates and add them along with all the other ingredients along with 1 tablespoon of water. Blend until everything is mixed well together and is all nice and sticky. 
  3. Roll the mix into balls and then roll in the toppings of your choice. I have used desiccated coconut, sesame seeds, bee pollen, chia seeds, ground almonds. 
  4. Place in the freezer for an hour to set and then store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. They last for ages and all the ingredients can be found in any health food store.
  5. Happy eating and sharing!

Enjoy! 

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