Tuesday, 22 November 2016


At this time of year our woodburner gets lit most evenings and it's time to restock our woodshed, cut loads of kindling and make pine cone fire lighters ready for the cold winter days ahead. Here's how we make pine cone firelighters, that also make wonderful Christmas gifts too.

You will need;
Plenty of pine cones, soy wax, candle wick, an old saucepan, spoon, baking tray and essential oils - I use mandarin, cinnamon and clove.

Melt the wax in the pan on a low heat and add in drops of essential oil to the melted wax. Then wrap a a few inches of wick around the base of the pine cone, leaving a few centimetres of wick sticking out.

ladle the hot wax into the dimples of the baking tray and place the cone into each one. Put in a cool place to set, they should lift out easily. Store in a cool place ready for those winter fires!

Monday, 21 November 2016


My dear dear friend is currently undergoing a course of radiotherapy in Bristol at the moment and is approaching it with such dignity and courage she is a complete hero. When I went with her last week, she took me to this small but totally fab cafe called The Workhouse Cafe on Perry Road. Amazing cakes, delicious baguettes, soups and salads served on wooden boards and trendy black enamelware. We enjoyed a chai and regular lattes served beautifully in French bistro glasses. It was certainly a day of contrasts, people watching the hipsters in the cafe followed by people watching in a waiting room full of people wearing their stories on their faces as they waited for treatment.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016


A pinch and a punch for the first of the month as the saying goes. It is the first of November and with the clocks going back and the evenings drawing in I will soon be reaching for my winter woollens. This year I am delighted to have been sent this Liberty Kelly woollen poncho which I am throwing on over everything at the mo to keep me snug. 

"Made in England, for real people."

Liberty Kelly is British through and through, she produces classic items with a contemporary twist, fitted and feminine, suitable for every shape/size and as her website says "made in England, for real people". 

The poncho that I have been gifted to review is a rather lovely midnight blue tweed, woven in Yorkshire using wool from Cheviot sheep. The arm slits are leather bound and the neck has a toggle fastening which I think is my favourite feature of the design. It is roomy enough for a thick jumper to be worn underneath and uber practical to pull on when I nip out to let the chickens out in the morning, stylish enough for the Cotswold mums on the school run and casual enough to be worn over jeans for those days when I really can't be bothered! I love it and know that it will become a firm staple of my mum uniform. 

You can win your own sea blue blanket Liberty Kelly poncho by entering the competition, run in partnership with This Is Your Kingdom on their website. It's a very straightforward name out of the hat competition so very easy to enter. 

Enter the competition at This Is Your Kingdom
Find out more about Liberty Kelly

Good luck!

Disclaimer: the author has been gifted a poncho for review purposes and has not been remunerated for this post. All reviews and opinions on Bradshaw and Sons are the authors own. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


My annual tradition inspired many years ago by Hula Seventy to put together a list capturing things I'd like to do during my forty-second year before I reach forty-three *sobs at how old I'm getting*
  1. Practice yoga each week
  2. Stay at Ty Donkey in Wales 
  3. Plant a kitchen garden
  4. Make a Galette des Rois 
  5. Press our apples & make apple juice
  6. Runaway with the circus 
  7. Take the youngest horse riding 
  8. Visit my aunty's grave even though I find it hard 
  9. Make a scarecrow
  10. Weave a blanket 
  11. Take the boys ice skating 
  12. Learn to identify umbellifers 
  13. Make sloe gin
  14. Swim under a Welsh waterfall 
  15. Organise an outdoor cinema night 
  16. Plant a bean tipi
  17. Visit Harp Cottage in Wales
  18. Make a toy whale out of an old pair of jeans
  19. Catch a snowflake 
  20. Learn to play the ukelele 
  21. Stargaze 
  22. Make an owl box from an old tea chest
  23. Go paddleboarding  
  24. Grow dark dahlias 
  25. Film a series of campfire conversations with people that inspire me
  26. Rejoin the library and read more books
  27. Make a gingerbread house 
  28. Carve a wooden spoon 
  29. Declutter the house properly! 
  30. Enjoy my edible seed collection from The New Almanac
  31. Go camping in the bell tent 
  32. Read Romeo & Juliet with my eldest and hope I remember it from my schooldays and can impart some wisdom (may have to resort to Baz Lurhmanns film)
  33. Visit the Pig Hotel & have a treatment in the potting shed
  34. Watch the final series of Mad Men 
  35. Volunteer my time for a good cause 
  36. Make an honesty shop
  37. Get away from it all at Top of Lane Cottage 
  38. Bake a loaf of bread each week 
  39. Illustrate some of our favourite walks 
  40. Go for an adventure on a steam train
  41. Make snow lollies 
  42. Don't look back, keep moving forwards 

Thursday, 13 October 2016


I am so excited to share with you an interview I recently did with the fabulous Lia Leendertz, who you may recognise from her columns in The Guardian, Telegraph, Simple Things magazine or the many books she has authored. I hate being in front of the camera but I seized the opportunity to give it a go when Lia recently visited me for lunch. My good friend Anne-Marie Randall shot the film and her daughter, currently reading film studies at Uni edited it - although she did note the amount of times I say "um" and I think she removed them all too! I hadn't realised that my son was in the frame and he does steal the show somewhat as you watch and wonder what he's going to do next!

Anyway the reason I thought it would be good to film our campfire conversation is that Lia is currently crowd funding a new book called The New Almanac and truthfully it's the book I wish I had written. It will cover seasons, information about tides for example, recipes and lore and it will be fab. She has had great support, even from the great Nigel Slater, but needs your support to reach her target which she's not far away from at all!

There are great rewards for those that pledge their support from signed first editions, a cut flower and an edible garden club and gorgeous art prints to an allotment party in 2017 that I will be helping out at and styling, along with Mark Diacono who will be making cocktails and Clare Thompson of Five O'Clock Apron who will be making some delicious food.

Do take a look at Lia's The New Almanac page it's a lovely community she's building through shared interests and I'm delighted to support this fab new venture and offer you 5% discount off the rewards if you quote bradshaw16.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


Our new shepherds hut has recently arrived and found a home in a secluded glade at the end of our campsite. It was crafted by a local blacksmith at Cherington Forge near Tetbury and even has a handmade woodburning stove inside.

We have been busy getting it ready, furnishing and decorating the interior and I thought you'd like a little preview of what we've done so far?

I chose Little Greene Paint to paint the interior of the hut choosing floor paint in Lamp Black #228 and the walls and ceiling with intelligent matt emulsion in Fescue #231.

The bedding is a linen bed set from H&M, although despite buying a double duvet set, it only came with one pillow case and no sheet which I thought a shame but really like the natural colour.

As the hut is small we chose a drop leaf table from Ikea to maximise the space and added two school stools and a vintage Ercol chair by the stove that I found on eBay, complete with Ikea sheepskin.

I accessorised the interiors with a small wooden shelf unit from Domestic Science in Tetbury and old copies of The Countryman and biological prints from the Malthouse Emporium in Stroud.

A bit more painting and then it should be finished all being well.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016


One of the fruits that I enjoy picking each Autumn is the sloe, the fruit from the blackthorn tree. Blackthorn is, as its name suggests, very dark and thorny, but watch out, a prick from its thorns can result in infection due to the bacteria that grows on them.

It is tradition to pick the sloes after the first frosts, but some years we get such late frosts that don't arrive whilst the fruit is ripe. So to cheat I pick sloes when they start to ripen and put them in the freezer to imitate a frost.

This Sunday we picked a few that were almost ripe, but I'll be checking out my favourite bushes around the rugby field over the next few weeks ready to make gin for Christmas gifts!
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