It was spring 2016, and into the vast world of growing veggies we plunged. Dan and I built raised veggie beds out of recycled pallets during the autumn of 2015, with the wonderful help of our friends Tez and Helen.

Once constructed, we created what is known as a lasagne bed. A layer of compost placed directly onto the untouched ground, followed by a layer of unbleached cardboard. Another layer of compost after this and then a lovely layer of mulchy mulchy (in the form of straw) as the final layer. This was all left to settle in peace over the winter and following spring.

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When an experience is so fundamental it is difficult to express the process, let alone the feelings in words. But that’s what I’m going to try and do. Rare time focused on cultivating consciousness, mindfulness, awareness; call it what you will, it was very precious. This is what Jasmijn and Geertje gave us during their Yoga and Writing Retreat at the stunningly-located Dechen Chöling Meditation Retreat Centre. They gave such love and support alongside a deep and meaningful toolkit for both writing and yoga.

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Once the foundations and box beam of the straw-bale house were completed, we focussed on a quick project to create a beautiful space for yoga, meditation and general chill out. The foundations for this area were made during the summer with lots of help from our friends and they served as a practice ground for the rammed-tyre foundations we used to make the house foundations. Read More

Tyres and gravel have been a consistent theme at Les Vignes Basses over the last few weeks. With a lot of help from our friends, many bad backs and copious amounts of alcofrol (surprisingly, it has come out level!), we have completed the rammed tyre foundations and the structural box beam. Read More

Two weeks work in the Pyrenees is just too perfect. Working with Collett’s Mountain Holidays is such a highlight, allowing us to be in great places and meet such interesting people. We had a magnificent time with fabulous friends and guests, excellent walks and brilliant weather. Panticosa is always a delight to return to and feels more and more like a home from home.  Read More

A major part  of Permaculture is using what is naturally around you with a keen eye on reducing all waste and producing what you need sustainably. This post might not be everyone’s cup of tea but the aim is to highlight an under-talked about issue in the Western world; HUMANURE.

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“Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.” – Anatoli Boukreev

A week or so after the training was completed in the Picos De Europa, the Collett’s team for the Pyrenees arrived into Panticosa to begin their training period. In an area that is more familiar to us and where we have a great relationship with the locals, it really felt like a home coming.

We had a jam packed programme to complete and ended up walking for 7 of the 9 days allocated for training! Training on the mountain is where it’s at…. Read More

Last month’s unexpected and awesome jaunt in the Dolomites has been closely followed by the training of the new Collett‘s staff in their two Spanish resorts; the Picos De Europa and the Pyrenees.

First up was the Picos. A bit of an unsung hero in the mountain world- probably due to its lack of skiing in the winter. This is also its greatest attribute because not only is the national park more beautiful without ski lifts, it also encourages a steady flow of visitors around the year and makes Potes, the main town, pretty vibrant very early on in the summer season.

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It’s Mayday soon and spring has really sprung here at Les Vignes Basses. Despite an odd cold snap, the plants and trees are blooming and everything is turning a lush shade of green. We’ve been busy bees planting out seedlings as well as spring cleaning (and fixing) the caravan in preparation for summertime visitors 🙂

Dan has been busily mulching around our trees, which we planted last autumn to make sure that they aren’t out-competed by the ever-growing grass. Dan was a little overexcited about all the orchids that have popped up this year, including the elusive Vanilla Orchid. I think all flower walkers will understand… Read More

After feeling pretty cold and damp in the caravan, it took us a mere nano-second to jump at the opportunity to do some cover work with, what feels like our old family, Collett’s Mountain Holidays in the Italian Dolomites.

Not that we are particularly keen for injuries during the winter season, I know how disappointing this can be, but we are very happy to help out if the occasion demands it 🙂

Two weeks working in Ciasa Verena? YES PLEASE. So we headed over to the Dollies in our little Jazz, stopping over in Turin along the way. Once we reached Corvara we met up with friends old and new and proceeded to have a total blast skiing with guests and all of the Collett’s crew. The days out on the mountain with guests and friends were awesome; great snow, great weather (except for the top of the Marmolada!) and delectable food, everything we’ve come to expect from the Dolomites. 
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