Category Archives: Children

Another sunday at the Childrens Gardening Club

VEGETABLE CLUB

We’ve (that is myself and my four year old son) been going to a childrens gardening club for quite a few weeks now. It started in chilly March and now we’re starting to see results!
We have a laugh (the parents enjoy it just as much, if not more… than the kids sometimes) – and occasionally my little boy just wants to run around or dig for worms, but the important thing is, he’s learning about how food is grown. The children are all mortified and excited by the fact they’re  gardening with ‘horse poo.’ Today we learnt that our beans had been attacked by rabbits, so we moved the hazel poles into another spot in a ‘less secluded’ spot! Gardening is always trial and error. Out of all the modules the kids had planted out, the marrows, squash, sweetcorn and courgettes were flourishing – perhaps because the seed is bigger and easier for small fingers to handle.

Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed picking salad, oriental leaves, spinach, radish and then cooking it back at home. Perfect Sunday morning…

Ruby Red Radishes.

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Sowing Tomatoes, Tea & Sympathy

Try as I might, I can’t always blog on the day things happen. Life usually gets in the way – but anyhow, THIS is what girlwithaspade and friends got up to last week at Workshop 24, Peel Precinct, South Kilburn.

"The best time of my life"

Twas a bitterly cold, rainy day, so I decided to host a tomato sowing workshop. The photo above is a quote from the guestbook at Workshop 24, courtesy of Adriana age 10, who came along with her friend to plant tomato seeds in peat pots. Makes your heart sing…I am sooo glad that I saw this. This is one of the best times of my life.”


To have an impact like that on someone so young is a real honour to be honest. That’s what makes working on community projects so worthwhile.

Waste not want not

Before I had kids I was carefree. I’d have lunch at 3pm, decide what to eat when I felt hungry. The whole idea of planning meals ahead totally baffled me. Boy did that change when I had my first baby. Boot camp had arrived and I either ‘got with the programme’ or nobody would eat until 9pm.

In retrospect, I also used to waste money on food shopping. Going shopping on an empty stomach and without a shopping list is probably one of the worst things you can do. I should know – being an ex-serial offender. Around 3 and a half years ago, I decided to use a meal planner. The idea being that we would stop throwing away food, become more organised, use the food we grew in the garden in specific recipes and spend less money but buy more ‘quality’ ingredients. It worked, I use the analogy, “Cook more – spend less, live well.”

Here’s a couple of links to meal planners: Love Food Hate Waste have a blank meal planner. You can also download either a weekly or monthly version from Netmums.  Or you can scribble one down on scrap paper and keep it next to your recipe books. Not rocket science by any stretch of the imagination, but thanks to this little piece of paper, life is that little bit easier and more organised. It’s also great planning new curries from scratch or working out what to do with the overload of courgettes in your veg patch…

The photo is a Nigel Slater quick lamb curry recipe. I must/will post it on le blog for you!

How to treat childrens mosquito bites

Mosquito bites on toddlers ankles

After a fun day out in the woods, my 3 year old got bitten on both his ankles. They both swelled – the right side more so. For any other parents of tiny children who get bitten – this is what helped us make it better:

Firstly, I applied a couple of drops of lavender essential oil onto a cold compress and put it on DS (darling son’s) ankle. This is soothing and did not hurt DS. Lavender is a very effective remedy for insect bites and stings and MOST IMPORTANTLY safe for children and babies when used in small doses.

Later on in the day, I filled the sink with cool water, added two drops of lavender essential oil and one drop of teatree oil and placed a terry towelling flannel ontop of the water (this collects the floating oil). (You could also use a clean cotton hanky, tea towel or flannel).

I then wrapped the compress around DS ankle – there were protests but we practiced on action man’s ankle too which seemed to help. Teatree is an excellent antisceptic and helped to reduce the redness.

If the swelling is not going down, some health professionals advise Piriton for children, but always check with a medical professional first.

DISCLAIMER: The medical information provided on girlwithaspade is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional (for instance, a qualified doctor/physician, nurse, pharmacist/chemist, and so on). Girlwithaspade is not a doctor.

The good news is that today DS ankle has gone down considerably and the hot, redness has disappeared.