Thursday, 8 March 2012


Welcome to our latest offering from 'Henny Harris'!

This month our feathery 'pin up' is Nigella a lovely Black Australorp so if you are new to all this 'hen' stuff and just starting off or just fancy adding a new breed to you brood then read on...

And... just like her sister 'Nicole Harris' you can now make friends with 'Nigella Harris' on Facebook too!!!

This breed originates from improvements made in Australia to a British breed of chickens, the Orpington.  Orpingtons were shipped to Australia during the late 1800’s and improved on by farmers there.  Many different breeds of chicken were added to the mix to produce the Utility Black Orpington. By the 1920’s, the Black Australian Orpington, or the Australorp for short, was appearing in Britain.  Although we are looking at the Black Australorp here, it is worth mentioning that there is another colour, called the Blue (grey).  A White Australorp also exists, but they are relatively new and are not universally admitted as a Standard Breed.

The Black Australorp’s most distinctive feature is her soft, glossy, black feathers, with what is called a “beetle green” sheen to them. In the sunlight she is really beautiful. Get a little closer to her and you will notice that although most chickens have an orange eye, whatever their plumage colour, she has black, or deep brown eyes - very glamorous.  She is a “heavy” breed, but not enormous.  Her rear end is rather broad, but is a mass of fluff.  Her comb is single and although it’s a good size, it is neat and never floppy. Her legs are slate grey (described as black) with white claws, and her beak is black too.  Australorps are excellent layers. In fact, a team of six Australorp hens broke the world record in 1922-23 by laying 1857 eggs over 365 consecutive days. That’s an average of 309.5 eggs per hen! The eggs, which are a good size, are described as brown, which always means buff-coloured.

Australorps will go broody easily, so in warm weather make sure that you don’t leave eggs in the nest, as this is a sure way to trigger broodiness in most hens. My Australorp, Nigella, is extremely broody. She will even sit in a completely empty nest, clucking away and screeching at anyone who comes near, and of course, not laying a single egg herself.  Fortunately, she’s a friendly bird, even when in a broody state, so I can hoike her out and make her go and run around with the others. Done often enough through the day, she will get the message.  If you ever get the chance to pick up a broody hen, make a point of feeling the heat radiating from her breast.  It’s in order to supply a good incubating heat to the eggs.  In fact, a time-honoured way of curing broodiness is to dunk the chicken’s bottom half in a bucket of water to bring her temperature down. Not something I’ve ever tried.  If I did, I would make sure I did it on a sunny day when she had plenty of time to dry off her feathers.  I can’t begin to imagine the grumpiness of a broody hen with a huge cold!

The Australorp is friendly and sweet, but not overfriendly.  She will come and have a look at what you are doing with great interest, but won’t be a pest.  She will eat gently from your hand, so is a great chicken for children, but being shy she scoots away when you try to pick her up.

With acknowledgements to:

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


Well... look what the builders found!!!...

Last week we had the builders in, I've got kind of used to the upheaval and mess now and just focus my mind on the final out come!

So, the builders were laying the pipes for gas, electricity and water into the labour of love that 'is' our new extension...there's a long way to go and we will come back to this in some future 'labour of love' posts...I'm just building myself up for this task and deciding where to start!

This isn't a toilet!! No! It is in fact an old old 'unused' drain so I am told and obviously I couldn't just take it to the tip like 'normal' people so my mind started working overtime and then I turned it into something beautiful!!

Oh, I'm so pleased with my little self!

It's NOT just a drain...

It's a thing of beauty!

- Take a small bag of compost.
- 2 varieties of Thyme
- 2 pots of miniature daffodil bulbs
- A small bag of Alpine grit

And...voilĂ !! Perfect! X


There are so many lovely shops we see on our travels that it would be simply rude not to share our favourites with you! 
On a recent trip to Stamford we found some little gems!!

Stamford is a picturesque market town situated just off the A1 about 100 miles north of London its buildings are predominately made from old Lincolnshire limestone and indeed Stamford is widely regarded at one of the finest stone towns in England!  

The town centre has a combination of high street stores, beautiful boutiques and street markets on Friday and Saturday including a Farmers market every other Friday.

In this post we are going to introduce you to CallyCo a little shop set just off the main high street, it sells fine fabrics, home accessories and gifts it also has two other stores in Lincoln and Cambridge...

 5 Stamford Walk

A very welcoming shop front entices you inside!

It is like a sweet shop for ribbons and trims!

A great choice of buttons displayed in this lovely vintage shelf.

A wonderful selection of interior and dress fabrics, everything from vintage florals, gingham, polka dots and deckchair stripes and lovely prints for a child's bedroom.

You just can't help making a purchase! I bought a a lovely fresh floral printed on 
a milk white 100% cotton base and best of all it was printed in the UK.

Watch this space to see what I am going to do with it!!!

Anyway the great thing is that if you can't make it to Stamford or one of their other shops CallyCo has an online store...happy shopping!!

Thank you to the lovely lady who looked after us and let us take the photos!


Spring is in the air and with its arrival we start to celebrate colour, yellow and sugary pastels dominate the high street giving a very 50's feel. 

Vintage florals, abstracts, polka dots and plain dye cottons are key. 

Our old friend 'grey' is still hanging around and even a dash of charcoal or black lends a very 50's slant to print.

  * Click on image to enlarge

Be brave and mix it up a bit!!


Well it's time to say goodbye to pink and grey so we are ending with this 'delightful decor' post to hopefully inspire you to see 'grey' in a different light!

I wish that we had a 'before' picture to show you but alas you will just have to make do with the 'after'...

This bedroom was really tired and grubby and had been used as a storage space for over 3 years so opting for a much lighter colour scheme we decided to give it a re-vamp. We used some lovely shades from Farrow & Ball to create a light and airy feel.

- Ceiling and far wall in Wimborne White No239
- Feature wall in Cornforth White No228

A gallery effect using old mirrors and old pictures looks great 
on a feature wall, we got these from a local antique shop and 
the whole lot cost less than £40 and look amazing!

This one cost a little bit more it was £20 it probably dates back to the turn of the century, the beveled edge is beautiful and the glass is really thick with only a tiny bit of pitting.

This peony canvas is a real eye catcher it is taken from a photograph I took a few years ago and did a bit of photoshop magic on it and created this!

And finally this beautiful cranberry glass lamp shade is from the 1920's it was from the same lovely antique shop as the mirrors and cost £18 the lamp fitting is something that I was going to throw out as the original shade got broken years 
ago but I think they work beautifully together!

We hope you have enjoyed this post and now feel inspired and equipped with the details of previous February posts to get creative and start decorating!!