Sunday, 3 February 2013

Slowly passing a milestone and heading for a give-away


Having promised myself yesterday that today I would do my January Slow Living round up (in conjunction with these lovely people), I realised that this was going to be my 100th post and I felt I should mark the milestone somehow, so at the end of the post there just might be a wee give-away.


I am still on a mission to get the Smalls to eat more real food, with mixed success. Sometimes they surprise me but mostly the boys push away anything that isn't pasta, fish fingers, pizza or sausage. Sometimes Tiny Boy can be persuaded to eat what ever I have made once the tantrum has subsided (mine or his), and the food is stone cold. Giant Baby is not really keen on any meal other than breakfast so I am concentrating on widening the range, and upping the quality of the snacks. A St Helena favourite is homemade pumpkin scones which are delicious and pretty healthy.


With fresh fruit and veg only arriving on the island once every three or so weeks, food shopping and storage is all about planning. When the fruit is released from customs you have about 24 hours to buy as much as you need until next time before it is gone and the tumbleweed returns to the veg isle. I am getting better at storing it in the second fridge in such a way that I use things as they ripen.


In order to combat this a bit we are growing our own. We have had a couple of small courgettes and a few spinach leaves so far, but I can see tiny beans and mange tout forming and there are flowers on the tomato and cucumber plants. Other things like peppers, sweetcorn and broad beans have been slower to get going but hopefully they will get there. I am also growing sunflowers and sweet peas because why wouldn't you? The sweet peas are still sulking at a foot high as they seem to do at home before they take off but the sunflowers have big fat buds.


I have upped my use of washable wet wipes for Giant Baby's nappy changes because disposable wet wipes are very scarce (and expensive) here and fragrance-free ones are even more thin on the ground. I use small squares of towelling kept damp in a tupperware with a few drops of lavender and tea tree oils to keep them sweet and I throw them in with the rest of the white washing. They take up so little room in the machine that they make no difference.


The lack of recycling here breaks my heart every time I throw something away, but with a little imagination you can reuse and upcycle some of it. A friend taught me how to make beads from cereal packets a couple of weeks ago. Once I have varnished them I plan to turn them into a necklace. I have also been raiding the one and only charity shop for treasure. I found a lovely boden blouse and shortened the sleeves to make it more suitable to the climate. I also converted a very short adult skirt into a very pretty child's skirt for Tall Girl. The left over bits of both have been added to my stash.


I have begun my flax weaving course and I love it. I have been saving it for a post of its own but here's a sneaky preview. It is so simple but beautiful. As well as going to the class each week I have been trying to practise at home.


I have begun a craft group with some other women on the island. We meet one evening a week to drink tea, eat cake and make things. Sometimes we each work on our own projects and sometimes we learn a new skill from each other. It was here that I learnt to make the beads and this week I taught the others to make flax bangles. It is lovely to sit and natter with no pressure and no distraction other than whether you really need another piece of cake.


We had a lovely Burns Supper with friends at the St Andrews Society on our anniversary as well as our Small-free walk. As a family we loved the barbecue at Lemon Valley, meeting Jonathon the tortoise and all the other exploring we have been doing. This is a place where it is very easy to enjoy yourself.


I have left this until last because there seems to be so much to say! I am loving my two blankets - one knitted and one crocheted (16.9% the mathematician tells me). What with those and the beads and the flax... I have also decided to take part in a pay-it-forward. The idea is that you make it known (in this case through the medium of facebook) that you are prepared to make something for the first five responders. This could be a make or a bake or a preserve or whatever, and that you will send it to them at some random moment in the next year. In return they have to offer the same thing to five other people so they pay-it-forward. I have the first of my makes wrapped and ready to send and three other ideas floating around in my head but that only make four. You see only four people signed up to my offer so here's the deal, the give-away, the plan...

I will make something, not sure what yet, I'll see what takes my fancy... for one of you (name drawn out of a hat) and send it to you in the next year, but in return you must pay-it-forward. You can do this through your blog or on facebook or any way you like. You must offer to make something (batch of brownies, bunting, baby booties... whatever your recipient would appreciate) for five lucky people.

To enter you need to comment on this post and for an extra chance, become a follower. I will pick a winner on valentines day.

Happy making!



  1. Hi Eleanor, it was lovely to read of your month. I'm totally envious of your flax weaving course - your basket looks beautiful! Happy crafting :)

  2. you and your family have certainly made yourself at home, it is so interesting reading your blogs and see what you are doing. I do not comment every time but do read them. Please do not include me on the lucky draw as I would not know what to make for others, best of luck with it.

  3. have re read your bit about the give away, what puts me off id making something the recipient wants as opposed to making something that I can do, if you know what I mean, also not sure how you go about it I do not use facebook.

  4. I don't need to receive a gift but I have to say this has been a treat to read. Actually, I realise I could write a poem for five people but the technology still defeats me!
    Juliana (Mum) x

  5. Congratulations on the Slow Living and on the 100th post! It's wonderful to be able to follow your adventures across (several) oceans. I love your pay-it-forward crafty idea - add my name to your hat, please :-)

    1. I think you may have the hat to yourself! Thanks for stopping by. x

  6. Love the pay it forward idea. A good friend spent time on St Helena a number of years ago.

  7. Wow! You have been busy! I love those little beads - cereal packets you say??? I'm impressed! I love those flax bowls as well and am looking forward to the post on how you made them! Glad you joined in this month! - Kara xx