If you don’t know me already or have known me for years, hi! I’m Annabelle and I have a huge passion for growing my own food, being creative and having incredible adventures in the wilderness. Learning to grow my own food changed my entire life for the better and now I spend every day doing what I love; growing food, teaching others and helping them grow in confidence.
Back in 2015, I started writing a blog called Life at No.27, all about my personal allotment and mental health journey. As the blog and life evolved, 4 years later, Life at No.27 grew into what it is now, a not for profit gardening therapy organisation. With being so busy and my main focus moving to setting up and running the charity, the blog went a little quieter.
I love writing; if you don’t know I write for Kitchen Garden magazine every month and am the author of a children’s gardening book. I definitely miss the freedom and joy of blogging, so now with a new adventure ahead… I thought it’s time for me to start blogging again and share the next chapter, just like I used to.
So here we go!
After handing over my own previous personal allotment, plot No.27 in 2019, changing careers, setting up Life at No.27 and living on a narrowboat for 3.5 years, we were ready to pursue a personal dream.
In August 2022, we (my now husband and I) sold our 65ft narrowboat named Cochise, got married and moved from our tiny, off grid floating home on the Oxford Canal to our 8 acre smallholding within the Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales. After years of dreaming and 7 months of waiting for the sale to go through, we finally completed on the sale and arrived here in November. The smallholding is where we will create our own personal dream of a kitchen garden, forest garden, woodland and home for pigs and bees.
I’m really excited to get started on the land, document every step of the way and share the adventure with you too. Reminds me of when I started my original blog, but now I have lot more happiness, confidence, experience and less nerves. It’s been a journey, that’s for sure!
I’m sure there are going to be plenty of challenges and surprises ahead, the house has taught us that already. With two faulty, dangerous showers, a leaking roof and a soot filled chimney and log burner being discovered in just the last 5 weeks of living here, it’s definitely not been straight forward. Why do the previous owners not tell you these things at least once the completion has happened?!
Minus the roof they are all fixed or replaced now, so cosy evenings by the fire have started and hot showers without a constant fear of being electrocuted…. wahoo!
Thinking more about the outside space… it’s pretty much a blank canvas, minus a few boggy fields and a beautiful stream running down the mountain and through part of the land. There is no previous vegetable beds or planted garden areas to use, which is exciting but also adds a level of anxiety. I think of it like when you start to write on a blank page. It seems overwhelming initially, where do I start?! But once, you have the first few lines down, all of sudden you are off and away with thoughts and excitement.
First thing on my list is to make just a few beds for me to get planting in asap. Oh and test how useful and safe the giant manure and horse bedding mound is for growing. It’s huge!! I will test it by sowing a few broad bean seeds into the pile, some put directly into the bed and others sown with the mix in pots. Then wait to see if and how they grow. Thanks for this advice, Steph and Liz!
I will stop there as I can feel my brain wanting to make a massive list of things to do and it’s not happening. I’ve learnt so much since I started growing my own food but one of the main things is patience. Taking your time and not overwhelming yourself, pays off both physically and mentally.