Turning 40 Is Nothing To Fear.


40 is one of those birthdays that movies are made about, the ones where all the women are depressed and the men go through some strange mid life crisis. It’s the birthday that you spend drinking wine and feeling terrible that you are 40, thinking your life is now over and it’s all down hill from here, that’s if you are to believe the movies. I turned 40 on Thursday and to be honest I don’t feel any different at all, maybe a little more drive to get into gear and start doing some of the many things on my wish list but more about that in a few minutes. Turning 40 so far for me has been nothing to fear turning 35 was way worse. I found turning 35 really hard and I don’t really know why but it took me ages to get over it.

Turning 40 hasn’t had that effect at all or even anything remotely like what we see in the movies. I have been thinking for a while now about turning 40, how I think it will feel, what I think I should do now, If my life should change or if it’s all over now if I haven’t made it now I never will and I came to some conclusions.

40 is not at all scary in fact its a great number to start taking your life back a little. It’s a good solid age to start some new things, It’s a good age to start to look after yourself a little better than you have for the first 40 and it’s a good age to stop being part of the herd and to finally just be who you want to be.

So for me I plan on challenging myself each year to try some travel if it can at all be done and I know this won’t always be possibly as life will get in the way but its time to start on my travel bucket list and the first one for me is Iceland, Halloween holidays next year. So I will take this full year to save to go and that will be the first on my bucket list ticked off. The second thing I am wanting to do for my 40th year is get fairly good with my camera’s, so for me that means finishing my photography diploma, I am going to join my local camera club and for my 40th I have bought myself an Olympus Pen e-PL 8 in brown. The next thing I would like to do but this is a big ask is to be able to get myself a MacBook pro to write my blog on, edit all my eventually wonderful photos on and write each month for Life Plus magazine. The last thing I want to start for my 40th year is to get a little more active when I can.

So that’s my plans for the coming year nothing huge but a few little bits I want to do that are just for me, not for my husband, the farmer who let me tell you is totally spoiling me this weekend, not for my kids who have also spoilt me this weekend, not for my mum who I care for and not for work, the farm or the riding centre, it is all just for me and only I can make it happen.

So if you are turning 40 don’t fear it just get your ass organised, maker some plans for the year ahead and do some of the things you have always wanted to do.

40 is fabulous.

 

Autumn Apple Crumble


Warm comfort food,woolly warm jumpers, steaming mugs of coffee, a cosy corner with a warm blanket and a good book or a long walk in the crisp Autumn air , when you think of Autumn what springs to mind ?

For me its all the above and the smell of warm apple crumble straight out of the oven. That warm apple and cinnamon smell that just makes the whole house seem so cosy. The middle farmer came home from work last week with a bucket of fresh apples so I had to make some crumble. The one thing about being coeliac is the flour, it is just rotten in most things and baking is never as nice but I think I nailed this crumble and it was just as nice or nicer than my old recipe for apple crumble. It lasted all of one night and was eaten by all the farmers with custard, what more could you want on a dark Autumn evening only warm crumble and custard.

So here is my apple crumble, if you want to make it and you can use normal flour then just change your flour for normal and leave out the xanthan gum.

  • Tray for baking crumble in, I used a glass one.
  • I used about 8 apples but use as much you need to have a nice layer in your tin.
  • 210g or so of gluten free/ normal flour.
  • 2 teaspoons of Xanthan gum if you are using gluten free flour only.
  • 50g roughly of porridge oats.
  • 70g sugar can use brown or white whichever you have.
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.
  • 170g butter salted or unsalted butter.
  1. Peel and cut up your apples put them in your tray and cover with some extra sugar and a good sprinkle of cinnamon.
  2. Put your flour , oats , sugar , cinnamon and xanthan gum if you are using it into a bowl and then hand mix in the butter till it looks a little like bread crumbs and you have no lumps of butter next. ( leave out your butter for a few hours so its soft makes it so much easier to mix).
  3. Cover your apples with the crumble mix and then cover it with tin foil for the first 25 mins in the oven, bake at gas mark 5/6, this gives the apple a chance to cook and not just your crumble topping.
  4. After about 25mins take off the tin foil and put it back in the oven till your crumble topping is nice and golden. Take it out and enjoy with some custard.

So that’s it a very easy and we all think tasty Autumn Apple Crumble hope you enjoy it as much as we all did.

What I Learned This Week


  • That it’s still a little too warm for the woolly jumpers yet, still sweating in work when I have one on.
  • That Gluten free apple crumble is just as good as one with normal flour.
  • That life has gotten in the way of blogging this week.
  • That Autumn is still one of my favourite times of year.
  • I learned this week about an inspiring Danish fashion labeln called Carcel , Carcel means prison in Spanish and that’s exactly where their beautiful knitwear comes from. Women in prison in Peru for various crimes knit all their items, you can read their stories on the website, the knitwear is really gorgeous but way too expensive for me I am afraid.
  • If you also like Autumn then here are some Instagram hashtags to check out full of beautiful Autumn inspiration :  #savouringtheseasons , #embracingtheseasons , #aslowmoment , #thisismykingdom , #lovelifeoutside , #slowautumndays , #upandautumn , #mystoryofautumn , #myodetoautumn , #openuptoautumn .

Have a good week everyone !

New Magazine Launch.


Where has the time gone? it seems like only a few weeks ago I was all excited about getting the opportunity to write a monthly piece for a new women’s magazine launching the end of September. I was being given a chance to write about something I love but don’t share that much here on the blog for some reason, slow living. Now here we are nearly three months after I submitted my first three pieces to our editor Nicola OHanlon, only three days away from its online launch.

I am still amazed and grateful to Nicola for giving little old me this chance and I am getting to work with some other pretty amazing and talented women. So a little about this new magazine, hands up who loves all the high end fashion magazines? hands up who drools over all the designer clothes? hands up who knows that one they possibly cant afford whats in the pages of the magazine and who also knows that while the latest dress on the very stunning model is amazing not one leg would even fit into it for the rest of us. Well this is the magazine for you, a magazine for all ages, sizes, backgrounds and interests. A magazine full of real life , with real inspiration and realistic goals to reach. This magazine will hopefully leave you inspired when you are finished not wishing you could win the lotto or were a size 0.

I asked Nicola during the week if there was anything she would like me to put in this post and this is what she said about our magazine ” really is meeting women where they are at, encouraging women to see themselves in a more positive light, articles written about real life topics, and having a lifestyle website that is bypassing the celebrity role model and having relateable role models instead.” . We want everyone to enjoy this, get inspiration and bring realistic goals into their own lives.

I am so excited and nervous for Friday which is launch day, I want it so badly to be a success as does everyone else. We want to inspire you all, so now I am going to ask you all to give the magazine a follow on Twitter on our Instagram and to go sign up to our website so you will get a notification the minute it launches on Friday.

There are also two hashtags to use one is the magazine tag which is #lpliving please use it on your social media so we can see what you guys all think and the hashtag for my piece each month is #lpslowlived which I will be using and I hope you will as well.

I wont be able to sleep the next two nights.

Women Are Only Good For…..


calf

Above photo by Elisha Clarke of some of our cute cattle.

This is a subject that from time to time plays on my mind and I know as I write it I will possibly have a hit put on me for not standing by my fellow females. I was born and raised on a farm and from a very early age I was never made feel I couldn’t do anything on the farm I wanted to do, I was never told I should stay inside or that a farm wasn’t really a place for a girl/woman. I went everywhere with my dad from sheep sales to shows and never did I feel I was somewhere I shouldn’t have been. As I got older more and more responsibility was given to me and I was left at times to deal with vets or cattle dealers and what I said to them stood and I was always backed by my Dad. I grew up knowing that I was equal to any man if I so chose to do a certain job from driving a tractor to lambing ewes and all the men I dealt with treated me the same.

I now live with a house of men and I still feel I am treated as an equal, I am not given any special treatment because I am female and am expected to muck in when needed as is everyone else. I am treated with the same respect as the men in the house by anyone who visits and if I happen to meet someone who is old school, and they are a few  I make sure they get a little education about women on a farm before I am done with them. Now this is where I think other females are falling down and they are just feeding into the old views of females on farms, I don’t think they are helping change age old views of females on farms. The other day I saw a post on Facebook about men complaining about why do women get cheaper car insurance than men and why have they got their own company who only insure women? this person asked was this not defeating the whole drive for women to be equal? that having groups that were just for females was keeping them isolated , which I am in total agreement with.

I think in farming this isn’t any different ( sorry women ) it is great to have groups where women can meet and socialise, this I agree with but I think to be seen as an equal we need to just mix with the men to be honest, why do we need to meet as a group to talk about what we do for farming or how we are not treated equal at home/ in our community when we should actually be getting out there and going on the same farm walks as the men, going to the same conferences as the men and to local discussion groups so to be honest we become part of the furniture and no one looks twice at us.

There is an old saying in the farming community that women are only good for stopping a gap, taking down tag numbers or doing the paperwork and that is not going to change unless we show just how important those little jobs are to the running of the farm. If we didn’t stop a gap when we are asked the stock would not go where they were supposed to  so our input is just as important as the person herding the stock from behind, it’s pretty hard to read tag numbers and write them down at the same time and I am sure no one wants to do paperwork after a long day outside so if we can do it then that frees up time for other jobs, so it’s time for us to show that all those tiny jobs, the ones that have been a laugh over the years are just as important to the running of the farm and should not be a joke and going to all female group meetings is not going to change how we are treated and I am pretty sure if the male farming community started their own men only groups their would be up roar.

I feel as a female in farming us women are our own worst enemy, we love to complain about not being treated equal but to be honest we don’t do much about it and I don’t think female only groups will change how we are seen but will only serve to keep us separate. The best way to change how we are treated is to start at home with your own farmer/ farmers and then start to work outside of that and eventually you will be treated no different to anyone else. We are the only people who can change how we are treated and being involved is the only way to do that, if it’s from keeping the house running, bills paid and a clean supply of work clothes to stopping gaps  or milking or tag reading each is just as important to how everything else runs and a progressive farm is going to be the one where it works as a team.

So where are you going to start ?

 

Freeing Up My Time.


As I type this I am on my last day of my summer nine week break, the time has just flown by summer days creeping into Autumn days. I am back to work tomorrow but this year after four years I am starting in a new school, new kids, new parents and new staff to work with. This is a school I have hoped to get a job in since I started back Montessori teaching six years ago and tomorrow is my first day.

I can’t wait to get started but one of the main reasons I am really looking forward to it is I think my new hours are going to free up my time so much more that I will be able to help on the farm and do more with my horses. I have always worked mornings, leaving home at 8am and not getting home till 2pm, this left me with no time hardly to get anything else done. I had to go collect Sid at 2.40pm and again he was home, had a snack, got his homework done and clothes changed it could be 4.30pm before we were ready to do any work and then it was nearly time to make the dinner and that was it, day done. I missed out on so much that was happening on the farm and even the horses missed out because I only had time to see them at feed times and even that was rushed most days.

Now I will be working afternoons, home every evening by 6.10pm, Sid will be with me and will have his homework done so when we are home we will have nothing to do only make the dinner and relax for the evening and I will be off for all school holidays. I will be free in the mornings till 12.30 once Sid is gone to school to do what ever is needed from jobs on the farm, riding some horses, doing the food shop to just drinking coffee for the morning in peace before I go to work. Our lives this summer have started to move at a fast pace and I don’t want to be so busy that it all happens while I am in work, I want to be part of the changes and also have time to some things I enjoy as well. My new school also has no uniform to get ready and no work to bring home and spend my weekend trying to get done which is also a first for me.

So tomorrow the adventure begins, new routines and excitement for all the possible things I can get done, roll on 6.30am !.