Weekend Pottering


It’s been much of a stay at home weekend this weekend. I have been pottering. Pottering down the garden to let the girls out to scratch about in the garden…


Pottering in the kitchen….


this was the beginning of my preparation for a yummy fish pie that we had for tea last night. I have to confess that I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture of the finished pie…but it Was decidedly delicious…even if I do say so myself!

I served it with thick slices of home baked granary bread and lots of butter..


Today, I have baked some more bread and put a warming chicken casserole in the slow cooker for our dinner later..


Now I am off out to my “shed” which is being redecorated and repurposed as a new office for me. When I first started my business it was run from this shed/office for a few years until we had too many staff to fit in it (and there was an overspill back into the house on the dining room table!) at which time the decision was taken to take “proper” office space elsewhere.


If we take a peep inside you will see that it’s currently being painted out and at the moment has what is going to be my desk in bits, being painted …



I will bring you the finished article (and office) in another post!

Once I have finished another coat it will be back indoors for me and a bit more of this…


Have a lovely Sunday,

Nikki x




….I’ve made a big work change in my life recently in that I have sold my interest in the business I created over 6 years ago now. For too many years I have been working flat-out, non-stop with all that running business brings – staff, cashflow, deadlines, always trying to stay one step ahead of the competition. Then one day I realised that I was working so hard, I didn’t have time to enjoy the things that I love. Wow.,.. that was a shock…I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me before. It was time.

The plan is that I will still work in the business…but part time. Which will give me the best of both worlds…continuing to work in the business I created AND having the time to give to the people I love, the things I love doing and the home I love.

I will have time for this…


And this…


However, changes like this come with their own “little” downsides….in that I won’t be quite as well off financially as I was before, BUT I will be a whole lot better off emotionally 🙂

However, this hasn’t been a quick decision for me…you see for a long time I have wanted to slow down, have more time to do the things that really interest me. One of these is for myself and Mr Holly Cottage to be much more self-sufficient than we currently are. At the moment our only nod to self-sufficiency is keeping our hens. But there is so much more that I would like to do, and so much more that I am sure I can do but just haven’t had the time to do up till now. So the adventure starts.

I have been researching this more self-sufficient way of life on t’internet and have found two amazing blogs which you may like to take a look at. The first is Frugal Queen This is written by an amazing lady called Jane who has paid off an amazing amount of debt (both credit card and mortgage debt) by just doing things differently. When I found her blog I spent almost two whole days reading it from start to finish! She too wanted a more simple life. Note that I say “simple” rather than “easy”. It has taken Jane an inordinate amount of effort to achieve all that she has – but I am guessing she would tell you she wouldn’t have it any other way. Because, she is now living her life on HER terms.

The other blog is written by a retired lady and can be found at Down to Earth. This blog also has a brilliant forum attached to it where you can register and join a community of people all looking to live a more simple life and to keep more of what they earn.

Both of these blogs have all the information, tips and advice that you could need to start your journey to a more simple (and frugal) way of living. Go have a look – you won’t be sorry!

If you know of any other blogs about frugal or simple living that you have found useful, please do leave a comment with the link to them…thank you x

Rainy Weekend = Hooky Heaven!


A rainy weekend is the perfect excuse to snuggle on the sofa and raid your yarn stash!

I recently bought Nicki Trench’s fabulous book “Cute and Easy Crochet” – if you are a fan of Nicki’s then this book is a must! I decided yesterday that I had been drooling over her gorgeous projects for long enough and it was high time I used some of my stash to begin a new project.

But….what to make?……Did I want this gorgeous bag?


Or with Easter looming maybe I could gift all of my friends with a half dozen eggs from our chickens complete with their own little cosies?



aren’t they gorgeous!?

I couldn’t decide but in the end chose her Camellia Blanket. BUT …having costed this out using the wool she recommended it was WAY beyond my budget and I figured that as I already had some Amy Butler Belle Organic (which I had got at less than half price!) I would use this as a base and then all I had to do was buy a couple of new balls to complete some of the flowers. So I ended up with mainly Rowan Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran in Zinc (which is a little darker than the silvery grey that the blanket in the book is made with and the flower squares would be made with a mix of Amy Butler and Debbie Bliss.

It wasn’t till I was tipping the required yarn into my WIP bag that I realised that the colours were a beautiful match for it!


I’ve only completed a few of the squares so far, but I think they will be ok – I’ve never tried a “flower” square before but it’s not so hard once you get the hang of it.



This is Nicki’s book if you are tempted to treat yourself!


Hope you are all managing to get some hooky time this Sunday!

Nikki x

A Stay at Home Day (and a first for the chickens!)


We woke (like most of the country yesterday) to about 6 inches of snow in our Garden so our much anticipated trip to a local indoor Car Boot Sale had to be postponed. Even if the main roads had been ok we live down a little lane with deep ditches on either side and absolutely no street lighting so you drive it in the snow at your peril!

So we had an unexpected day at home to potter and basically do not much else!

Of course we still had the chickens to feed and water so first thing we went down to see what they thought of their first glimpse of snow!

They were less than impressed to say the least!


They sort of peeked out, standing on the very edge of their pen…patiently waiting for the grass that is normally there to appear!



We waited for them to come out. They waited for the grass…. In the end Mr Holly Cottage scraped a small path for them with a teensy glimpse of grass poking through the snow…


And finally they ventured out!

The rest of the morning was spent baking a carrot cake with lemon cream cheese icing..


A bit of hooky time…..


… and finally we remembered that the chickens were still out. We rushed down the garden to see how they had fared in the snow….only to find them still standing, all 6 huddled up, in exactly the same spot we had scraped clear for them.

The day was so cold we spent the rest of it snuggled in the warm. Even my little demon (who would normally much prefer being in the garden guarding it from squirrels) was quite content to stay in her bed all day!


Hope you all had a restful Sunday, Nikki x



It has to be said that I am not really a Winter girl..I much prefer the Spring and Summer and am longing for those lighter mornings and longer evenings. Maybe it’s because I was a June baby? I don’t know, but I do know that these dank, dark winter days get me down..

I mean, just look out of my lounge window…this is what it looked like in the lazy hazy days of Summer


and this is what that exact same space now looks like (minus my wicker car boot furniture finds)


It’s not all doom and gloom though – if you look very carefully you can see signs of Spring..





Ah..that’s better!

Note to self…..(and a Tah-Dah!)


….this just won’t do! no it won’t. In 7 months you have managed to make just three, yes THREE, blog posts.


I have no excuse, I really don’t – especially since one of my New Year’s promises to myself was to blog more regularly. We have however had a rather sad start to 2012. My lovely Man’s dear Mum passed away at the beginning of January and we seem to have been hurtled to the end of the month without us noticing. Very sad. She had been poorly for a long while though so we are comforted that she is now at peace.

One thing that has been a constant through the winter evenings though is my latest crochet project and I just couldn’t wait to show you this morning.

Would you like a peek?….ok. Here goes….


And now for the finished (all except for the sewing in of the ends -please tell me you can’t see them!) item….


I am quite pleased…I even blocked all 144 squares! I’m not sure that on our bed will be it’s final destination…I might have to take pictures of it in several locations and put it to the vote!

Hope you all have a lovely Sunday….

Nikki x

Wardrobe Makeover


When I moved to Holly Cottage I inherited two large pine wardrobes from the previous owners and they have served me perfectly well in the intervening years. This year however, we have been experimenting with remodelling some of our current pine furniture (and we had a LOT!).

Just painting the legs and underside of two of our coffee tables made a huge difference to their appearance and following a sanding and waxing of the tops, they looked as good as new and if felt like we had totally new furniture, and a new look for our lounge.


We also recently painted those inherited wardrobes, and whilst they looked much better I was hankering over making them more vintage or “shabby chic” looking. So off we set to see if we could find some wallpaper to experiment with a makeover….not an easy task…all the wallpapers in the local DIY stores are very modern and this just wouldn’t have achieved the look I had in my head! (it didn’t help that I was unable to describe the “look” that was in my head either!)

I had almost given up when I suddenly spied a roll of paper that I thought might do the job..it wasn’t exactly what I had had in mind (which was more cabbage roses, or Cath Kidston inspired) but decided to take a chance.

My lovely other half was then set to work on the makeover….


(i forgot to take a “before” photo so this is a “just started” photo!)



We’re pretty pleased with them, especially with how the background of the paper matches the colour of the wardrobes!

What do you think?

Nikki x

Backyard Makeover


I love our little cottage but I have to say that one of the spaces that has been sorely neglected is the space between the back door and the lawn area.


We just couldn’t decide what to do with the area and then this summer we were really lucky to be offered some handmade pavers which we hoped would be enough to complete the job.

Come the beginning of August we both had a week off so on day one we cleared the area and began to prepare to makeover our backyard.




By the Wednesday afternoon we were on the home straight….and finally ta dah! Our new backyard!



To blog or not to blog?


A question I have been asking myself as I have drooled over, delighted in and devoured the many amazing blogs I have followed, dipped into and stumbled upon over the last year or so.

I hesitated, I decided for and then against..always concerned that I would never be able to create something as interesting or in fact that anyone would be interested in….but finally here it is…my very first blog post!

I hope to use this blog as a record of the happenings, highs (and hopefully not too many lows) of life here at Holly Cottage, a home I share with my lovely partner, our two dogs, and six chickens.

I love thrifting, crochet, baking, reading and lately my iPad (on which I am writing this blog) – something that apparently isn’t recommended..but then I never have been a fan of doing things the easy way!

I do hope you will stop by from time to time and say hello,