I’m Helen and this is a journal of growing, cooking and eating in Birmingham and the Shire, in the UK. By the Shire I mean the glorious Worcestershire countryside…
Until 2013 I was based in Upton upon Severn (i.e. the sticks), surrounded by fields, hedgerows and farmshops. My job was (and still is) working in arts PR in the city, but being able to walk outside to pick veggies for that night’s supper was a normal occurrence. I collected spring water from the Malvern Hills and made cordial from the elderflowers on Evendine Lane. To my mind, anyone who didn’t do this was mad.
But then my eye was caught by a city-dwelling art-loving furniture-making bearded youth called Matt. He refused to live in the sticks…and so off I moved to Brum. We lived in a leaking flat in Edgbaston for three years and then set up home together in a gorgeous Victorian house in Bearwood. Reader, I married him. And baby Harry also came along (not in that order).
Given that food and cooking and knowing what’s-growing-when has always been a fundamental part of my life, being city-based was just a bit of a culture shock. So I had a bit of a cry…and then I got busy. We secured an overgrown allotment in Harborne, cleaned it up, and now I grow my own fruit, veg and cut flowers (with varying levels of success). And I pop back home as often as possible to pinch my mother’s veg, stock up on good meat and get my fill of Malvern water.
Turns out that living in the city is pretty cool! My blog is a record of what’s happening on the veg patch, what works, what doesn’t, what I buy, what I cook and what I eat. I’ve been a cook all my life and am fascinated by everything food related, whether its historical cook-books or how to feed your family well without spending crazy money. I am most definitely not a food stylist and so my photos are wonky but well-meaning, but I always endeavour to put my apostrophes in the right place.
My day job is as a freelance arts marketing and PR consultant, and my other half runs his own art fabrication and joinery business, so there’s the odd reference to arts and furniture too. Hmmm, what else…I teach yoga but can’t be doing with loads of selfies of people meditating, so I don’t talk about that much. Yoga changed my life, that’s all you need to know. Oh! You might also see Gertie the cat (she’s named after Gertrude Jekyll, the great arts & crafts garden designer).
Thanks for reading!
My other life: www.helenstallard.co.uk
Read about Matt: www.plane-structure.co.uk