Monday Funday: walking tour of Bournemouth

So I’ve told you about Monday Funday’s… Well they are working out a treat!

A while ago I saw an advert for a Walking Talk of Bournemouth. These are organised and lead by Hattie Miles, a Bournemouth local whose work with The Bournemouth Echo over the last 24 years has given her a unique insight to the goings on of Bournemouth town and it’s flavourful history!


It seems only right that I, as someone who prides themselves on being Bournemouth’s biggest fan, should also be someone who know’s a bit about my favourite seaside town’s (admittedly short) history.

So I booked myself onto a tour! The Hidden Gems of the Town Centre tour to be precise. Starting at The Miramar Hotel on a rather drizzly day, myself, Hattie and a few others strolled along the east cliff (this was pre-landslide), down to the prom, along the gardens and round the back of the town centre.

Soaking up the history of the town and the stories that form it is fascinating. Places you walk past everyday take on new significance once you know the history woven into it. Bournemouth is only young, but there is enough history to make you feel wonder and pride!

We learnt about Tregonwell, Old Harry Pay, the fact that Tolkien stayed here often (and hated it!), the Beatles big gig, the fascinating story of the Shelly’s (no Mary didn’t actually live here) and the unfortunate demise of Charles Rolls (of Rolls Royce)… I could divulge more details about these tales but I think Hattie could tell the stories much better!

I think we should tell the history of our towns more often, it adds so much flavour and texture. We can be encouraged by the stories of local activists. We CAN make a difference in our town, because people have gone before us and done just that. Perhaps, in the far off future, people will go on walking talks and hear about the goings on that are happening right now?

So if you have a spare morning or afternoon that you want to fill with something a little out of the ordinary then you should definitely go on a Walking Talk! Hattie is a lovely tour host, she made two hours pass by in a flash, rain and all – absolutely recommended!

Monday Funday: planting with Grounded Enterprises

Not-9-to-5-ing is great. But I have a problem.

I still find that my default thing to do when I don’t have meetings or project visits booked in is to sit in front of my computer pretending to be busy… Even if I’m not doing anything in particular. I tend to do this from 9am to 5pm…

I know. I know.

So to try and combat the endless cycle of this sitting at the desk being #busynotbusy I have decided to take a concerted effort to take myself out of the front of the screen and into some kind of life enhancing activity.

And so Monday Funday began.

My good friend Michael spends a lot of his time supporting a Boscombe based project called Grounded Enterprises. Grounded Enterprises have a plot of land that is a meeting space, garden training spot and community venue, called The Secret Garden. They grow organic herbs and leaf vegetables, all in hyper enriched soil, so it’s as good for you as it can get.  They have a meeting hut, a clay pizza oven, two poly-tunnels, a chicken coup, a large pond and a view of a rather large and beautiful church. Not bad eh?

This is some of what they’re about:

  • They want to develop an urban food growing model that provides local food and a means of profit to the poor in the community.
  • They produce examples of how people can take urban growing into their own back gardens.
  • They are a community garden that serves as a place of educational, economic and spiritual transformation.

The folks at Grounded Enterprises have partnered with a pick-your-own farm just outside of Ringwood, The Avon Valley Nursery. They’ve been given a large greenhouse to increase the Urban Herb production.

And with that there is a lot preparation to do. Perfect for a Monday Funday!

The Grounded Enterprises activity is mostly down to volunteers. People get involved as a way of getting outdoors, learning to grow, supporting their community and spending time doing something different. Gardening is therapeutic and volunteers get as much out of it as they put in.

So with that in mind, I decided to join a bunch of others in volunteering to get outdoors and my hands dirty.


These are the things I love about volunteer gardening.

  • Getting the earth under your nails and wiping dirty hands on your tracky bottoms and not caring about it.
  • Learning how to use a shovel properly.
  • Weeding can be really satisfying, if time consuming.


  • Being in a wide open space where instead of hearing traffic, you hear sheep.
  • Being in the fresh air with a bunch of new friends (and old ones!) where we’re all chatting away and making the most of time doing something different.
  • Sitting cross legged on the floor teasing out tiny little lettuce leaves from their tubs knowing that they’re going to keep on growing in the ground you’ve just watered.


  • Gardening is a slow slow process. Trial and error takes years to get you to a patch to where everything grows like you want it to… and even then something might change. For an impatient person (I know, who would have thought) this is quite a challenge to get used to.
  • Getting top gardening tips from fellow volunteers who’ve been gardening for years.
  • Learning that there are more types of salad leaves that I could possibly remember.

Screenshot 2016-04-26 13.16.07

  • There are dogs EVERYWHERE.
  • I’m not getting square eyes from another day spent behind my computer.
  • Coming home, having a shower and feeling tired from a days hard work.
  • Knowing that life really can be this varied. #nota9to5

So. If you fancy doing something different for the day – get in touch with Grounded Enterprises to volunteer. I can’t recommend it enough! Especially if you’re like me and the only earth you have access to is in a pot on your balcony!

I wonder what next Monday is going to look like!


exploring Bournemouth: StreetWise


Me and Michael (co-Bournemouth Scene-er) were in the West Howe Industrial estate visiting a few projects when we heard a rumour…

“Did you hear about the life sized model village around the corner?”

“Sorry, the what?”

“You heard.”

Well… We found it.

Nestled in between your classic industrial part businesses we found an unassuming warehouse labeled “StreetWise”. We rang the door bell and asked the lovely lady in the office if we could pop in and have a nose around. I was surprised when she said yes and only had a few moments to compose myself before strolling into…





Yes thats a train.


And yes, that’s a train station.



Pretty impressive huh? In total their space includes:

* deep breath *

A fully operational two story house.

A highstreet.

Roads with traffic lights.

A beach.

A pub.

A building site.

A farmyard.

An electricity substation.


A railway station and track

Oh and they have a helicopter in the classroom.


Of course they do.

So what’s StreetWise and why do they have a life-sized model village inside a warehouse on the West Howe Industrial Estate?

Well, I’ll tell you.

StreetWise is a safety education charity that trains all sorts of people (mostly children and voluntary groups) to stay safe at home and on the street. They also host the traffic awareness course for those people who like to drive one or two mph over the speed limit… but of course you lot wouldn’t know that.

They’re a charity and all the people who give safety tours are volunteers. They’re a pretty special bunch.

The biggie for me is that they are also up for hosting events and you can hire out the whole space if you want to.

So what kind of thing should we host in this magical warehouse of wonders?

Hit me with your best ideas!


exploring Bournemouth: Velo Domestique

Did you know that me and my friends made a map of Bournemouth?

Of course you did. The Bournemouth Scene is pretty much all I talk about.

The Bournemouth Scene is one of my favourite things to do with my not-9-to-5-ing time. It means I get to explore the town that I live in and love.

We’re making an updated map (in APP form) which means I’m in full on RESEARCH mode.

On Monday I jumped on the bus and headed over to Southbourne to explore.

Just my luck I hopped onto The Gallery Bus.


Some of the Yellow buses in town are kitted out with sketches from local artists. If you’re fortunate enough to be on a fairly empty bus you can spend a bit of time (if it’s a long journey) moving seats to see as many of the sketches as you can.

Once in Southbourne I prepared myself to chat The Bournemouth Scene chat with the businesses there (so many hidden gems)… It turns out Monday is when most of Southbourne shuts! I don’t think it’s every Monday… just the one I decided to make a special effort to visit Southbourne on. Typical.

All was not lost. I had some reading I needed to do (which I had packed for a time such as this) so I settled myself down in Southbourne’s best bike-shop-come-cafe, Velo Domestique, and got on with that instead.


It definitely helps to have other work with you when what you planned to do doesn’t work out. It could have been a bit of a waste of a journey but it instead turned into a pleasantly productive afternoon!

It was an afternoon made even more pleasant by the fact that Robin (Velo’s in-house culinary genius) kept bringing me plates of delicious food.

Like this egg, salsa and avo delight:


And this grilled apricot, mascarpone and brioche slice of HEAVEN:dessert-bournemouth

And omg this hot chocolate:creamy-hot-chocolate

Just look at it.

You’ll be pleased to know all food is locally sourced so the calories don’t count. #bonus

Velo is a pretty special spot. They were open last year in a different venue as a 3 month pop up shop and things went so well that Dan (the brains behind Velo) now has a permanent space.

Here are some reasons you should go there:

  • You saw the pictures of the food right? Wow.
  • They know A LOT about bikes and have a rather extensive Bike Repair Menu.
  • You can enjoy some coffee while you wait for your bike to be serviced (and they do a really good job at servicing – I got my bike sorted with them last year).
  • They love freelancers and to prove it they have an £8 day rate for free wifi and unlimited drinks.
  • They host all sorts of events including: night rides, bike meet ups, hip hop socials, yoga, supper clubs and they’ve probably got a few more things up their sleeves!
  • Dan and Robin are bloody lovely hosts.


So next time you’re in Southbourne, make a point of going and saying hello.

They’re at:

176 – 180 Seaborne Road. BH5 2JB.

They’re open Monday – Saturday 8am – 6pm | Sunday 9am – 3pm | Closed Tuesday.

And yes, they’re going to be on the Bournemouth Scene Map!

It’s a no brainer really!



Forest Jungle Collective at South Coast Roast

I’m pretty lucky. If I wake up in the morning and I’m desperate for a good coffee (a good coffee that I don’t have to fanny around with making) I can walk 30 seconds down the road and get some of the best coffee in town from South Coast Roast.

I haven’t yet wandered around in my dressing gown, but I think it’s only a matter of time before I do.

And I don’t think they would be surprised.

South Coast Roast is doubly good because if I find myself twiddling my thumbs on a Thursday eve, which I occasionally do, I can wander down and see pretty special DJ’s & musicians doing what they do best. Every Thursday they are open till late and they will always have something interesting going on, whether that’s music, movie nights, “drink and draw” or whatever else comes out of their imagination.

I’ve been particularly enjoying their DJ sets. It’s close and cosy and the music is always spot on. If you find yourself in the town centre after 5pm and think – “well, what do I do now?” then take yourself up Richmond Hill for something a little bit different.

The reason I mention all of this is because a) I love it and b) some good friends of mine recorded a podcast there and they’ve just put it online! So I thought I’d shout about both of them, since both of them are worth shouting about!

So here we are… That’s Dave at the decks and hiding behind the suitcase is Rich. They, for that evening, made up The Forest Jungle Collective. P1010028 Forest Jungle Collective’s genre is a bit of an mystery to me, but Dave (possibly the most talented musician I know – no exaggeration) describes it as “exploring deep into the forgotten terrain of Atmospheric Jungle and Dark, Melodic Trip Hop.”. I’m not sure what that means but I guess it could be translated to “bloody brilliant chillout mixes”. P1010035 Rich does what he does best and plays some outstanding piano that accompanies Dave’s mixing. The result is a couple of hours of ambient joy, a perfect way to peacefully see out a Thursday evening. The mix from this set, called Sunshade, is on Mix Cloud… You can listen to it HERE. And please do listen, it’s a treat! P1010051 There are a bunch of mixes and podcasts up on the Mixcloud page… You should take a listen to them, they are excellent to accompany the following things:

Late night studying.

Breakfast at sunrise.

Walks in wide open spaces.

A bit of candle lit meditation.

All of Summer and Autumn.

Background music to filament bulb lit dinner parties.

And, of course, they’re perfect on a Thursday in a little Indie Coffee Shop, with a few of these… P1010061 Plus all these lot.

P1010008It really is perfect.

Forest Jungle Collective and the Espresso Sessions (the name of the podcast series) happen all over the place, so keep your ear to the ground and you might stumble upon one soon!

learning how to cake properly

My mother and I have this dream of opening up a craft shop/workshop/cafe/bar called Slapdash&Bodgit. She’s slapdash, and I’m bodgit. Here we will do craft the way we like to do craftin a slapdash and bodgit it kind of fashion.

In fact my bodgit work style pretty much follows me most places. It’s not that I do things badly, I just don’t do them properly. Most things I do have a distinctly home made feel to them, and I’m absolutely fine with that! The problem I’ve found is that when you bodgit, you probably haven’t looked at the instructions or the How-To’s or anything that will show you the tricks of the trade that will make your life easier.

As you are probably sick of hearing, I’ve been spending a lot of my not-a-9-to-5-ing baking and it’s been amazing. I love it. Occasionally I get a call to ask if I can make something a little bit special and I enter into the terrifying world of….


I’ve been throwing these cakes together, mostly by guessing, and they’ve been turning out pretty well – if I do say so myself. The only thing is it takes me forever and my swear jar contains a small fortune over the course of one cake. Here are a few of the more swear-y ones…





I mean, they’re not bad! But… I don’t know how to do such things properly. And as I said – so much swearing.

So in true “LEARN” fashion (though admittedly I did do this in 2014, shh) I went on a cake decorating class to get a few tips from the pros! I took my freshly baked carrot cake and cream cheese frosting to Sweet Serenity in Westbourne (thanks to a birthday voucher from Zak & Theresa at The Living Room!) and the lovely Wendy showed me some tricks of the trade that will hopefully make my next cake decorating venture a stress free affair!

It turns out I was doing quite a few things wrong…

Firstly, you gotta be ac-u-rate.


Which is the first downfall for Bodgit-Daisy. I have never owned a spirit level in my life and it’s never occurred to me to use one for a cake that isn’t even going to have a shelf on it. But it turns out it really does make for a professional looking cake. I mean, look at the sharp edges on this beauty!


This wiping of frosting was the second useful tip Wendy gave me. You’ve got to “fill in” your cake… basically use a thin layer of frosting to make sure that your frosting goes in all the gaps and dimples and that it traps all the crumbs. This means that when you come to put your sugar paste or the rest of your frosting on, it has a nice, clean and not-dimply surface to go on.

Who knew?!

The third tip was to keep your work surface clean and organised. That means; no crumbs, no unnecessary tools or utensils, no smears of frosting, no cats, no nothing. Once everything is out of the way you can roll out your sugar paste (if your using it) nice and big, a couple of cm’s thick, and use your big fat rolling pin to drape it onto your cake. Lovingly rub the sugar paste (with a bit of left over paste) so it sticks to the cake with no creases.

It ends up looking like this…


I don’t think I’ve ever made anything that looks so perfect! And with a total swear count of ZERO. Result! I think being next to someone with years of experience made all the difference… I would not have gotten the same result with YouTube! Thank you Wendy, you wonderfully patient human being! If you want to go and learn some tricks from the ladies at Sweet Serenity, I would totally recommend it it! They’ve got loads of courses and workshops on their website here.


This whole experience has definitely geared me up to learn how to do other bakes and makes in 2015. I’m looking at different workshops at the moment and I’m salivating all over my keyboard. I think next I’m going to learn how to bread properly!

Perhaps one day my bodgit ways will be a thing of the past?

Perhaps not, otherwise what will my mum and I call our shop?!

flirting with craftivism

For the past few Wednesday’s I’ve been hanging out at Flirt, in Bournemouth’s Triangle. Flirt (one of the most community focused cafes I’ve ever encountered) is hosting a regular Craftivist group, organised by my good friend Gemma.

Gemma, along with Kevin, has set up Street Space Bournemouth. Here they are:


They focus on giving out as much love as they can to those who live, work and play in the Triangle. The area has all sorts going on: a multi million pound library, community cafes, pubs, gay clubs, a Church of England Primary school, a few sex shops and a Games Workshop.

Gemma says, “Space is a dynamic dance that happens when people, places and relationships meet. A place is somewhere you arrive, but a space is somewhere to explore and grow”.

Street Space Bournemouth, with the communities around them, are turning the Triangle into a space. A space where the hungry are fed; where, through detached youth work, young people are met where they are at; where the church flies banners of apology at Gay Pride events; where cake is available 24/7; where the question “How can we serve you?” is asked constantly. It’s beautiful!

After asking “How can we serve you?” enough people start to take you up on it! Street Space Bournemouth is working with Flirt and a bunch of other venues in the area to put together a series of events for World AIDS Day on the 1st December. They include a service at DYMK (5pm), a party at Flirt (7.30pm) and a night out at Xchange (9pm)… That’s a pretty full day!

And if that wasn’t enough, Gemma and Kevin are craftivating (craftivisming?) for a collaborative, cross-stitch guerilla campaign raising awareness about the still very real threat of HIV and AIDS.

Firstly, what is craftivism? Have a look at the Craftivist Collective website. They also have a very cool little book!


It’s a brilliant way to gather people around a cause and create something with your hands. Something that takes some thought (and some time); something that is eye catching, that people will stop and look at in the street and learn about the cause you’re gathering around. Perfect.

This is what I’ve been joining Gemma, Kevin and the Street Space lot in doing! We’ve been meeting every Wednesday in a little corner of Flirt at a table that is overflowing with needles, threads, fabrics and hot chocolates. The aim is for 50 banners to be made and hung around the Triangle in time for World AIDS Day… And we’re very close!

Here are a few of my attempts – not bad for 2 months of work!




It’s been great to sit with a group of passionate people and sewing away into the night. It creates quite a bit of a stir! If it ticks your boxes then you should definitely pop by!

Next week is your last chance to cross stitch a message onto a banner with Gemma, Kevin and Street Space, as after that it’s World’s AIDS day! Come along to Flirt at 6.30pm, sew some little banners (no experience needed!) and devour one of Flirt’s OMG (yep, OMG) hot chocolates.


Can’t wait to see you there!