29 June 2020


I've made a new Instagram account, polly_appleton_studio to showcase my ceramic work, I thought it would be nice to gather together some of my favourite pieces in one place, rather like an album or portfolio.

It's been about 4 years since I signed up to an evening pottery class and I've been enjoying the feel of shaping and moulding clay with my hands ever since. I love the process. I love that clay is so natural, so pliable. I love planning what to make, how I'll create it and how I'll treat that piece, what glaze I'll apply and how it might look. I build everything by hand, sometimes using a coil technique with long sausages of clay joined together, sometimes I use slabs (rolled flat sheets, like pastry) and sometimes I just feel the clay in my hands and shape it, pushing, pulling, squishing, and sticking to create the form I'm after. My pieces tend to vary, from practical useful objects to playful sculpture. 

D and I started our ceramic journey at the same time, it's really nice to share a hobby and grow as potters together. Though his work is very different to mine, he throws all his pieces on a wheel, making beautiful pots and bowls, you can see them here. He recently built a little Raku kiln which we've been having fun with, I've been documenting our experiments with Raku on Instagram stories for my new account.

6 June 2020

the importance of food

We are still in lockdown, though not quite so locked down as we were, restrictions are gradually being lifted here in the UK, D is no longer furloughed and back at work. I'm still working from home, but for us we are still happily taking things slowly. Not venturing far, the occasional bike ride around the local roads and bridleways. The last time I visited an actual shop was something like 12 weeks ago. Of course we are still shopping for food, just in different ways. We have organic fruit and vegetables delivered weekly from Cofco, if you are local to Cambridge I can't recommend them enough. We cook from scratch so we've been sourcing grains, pulses, flour and some dairy online from small producers as well as picking a few bits here are there in the garden. We now know exactly where our food is coming from and I think we'll continue this way of shopping in future, the choice is amazing. 
  • garden salad of salsify leaves, chives, and walnuts
  • D's sourdough bread
  • homemade soya yoghurt
  • Dorset Vinny open sandwich with sprouted mung beans and alfalfa
  • garden salad of lettuce, spinach, chard, courgette, chives, celery leaf, sprouts, pansy flowers
  • growing a SCOBY
  • vegan mushroom and rice burgers cooked on the barbeque
  • lunchtime platter, more Dorset Vinny, sprouts and Netherend Farm butter
  • my homebaked super seedy bread
None of the links in this post are sponsored, just producers I love. I should also add a favourite for grains and pulses, again fairly local to us is Hodmodods and for the most delicious craft beer I recommend another local Turpins Brewery

9 May 2020

locked in our garden

We've been in lockdown for 48 days now, and in those 48 days I've been out just a handful of times, a few runs, an early morning cycle and once in the car to collect shopping for my parents. Even those few outings I found a little stressful. You'd think living in a small village in the Cambridgeshire countryside you wouldn't see a sole but everyone is out walking and that means social distancing on narrow paths, so lots of waiting about for people to pass, I just found it all a bit frustrating. We don't really need to go out, we're fortunate to have enough space to move about and we're exercising with Joe Wicks in our lounge.

I'm still working, so Monday to Friday I'm at my desk, but there are now light evenings and whole weekends without the interruption of all those things we used to do (go to the gym, go to the delhi, go to London, to Cambridge, art galleries, the garden centre, catching up with friends) we are still doing it all, just online without the travel. The only thing we're missing out on is haircuts (it's been 11 weeks now), sorry Cristian I think despite your warnings not to, I'm going to have to tackle my fringe soon!

What it means is loads of extra time in the garden. The vegetable garden is the looking the best it ever has. We actually seem to have things under control, it's tidy, things are growing and they aren't weeds. I sat down yesterday with a pen, paper, this book and tried to figure out how we were going to fit it all in. I've a house full of plants we've raised from seed. We've five main beds, one for the raspberries and rhubarb, another for herbs, then three others we rotate yearly (though two now have permanent areas for asparagus and fruit bushes). The bed with the potatoes and root veg is pretty full already but I can see potential for more sowings especially once the potatoes have been earthed up. The bed for the courgettes, tomatoes, peppers, sweetcorn, cucumbers and beans is where it's going to be a real squeeze. And then there's the third where the brassicas live, which is currently quietest of all, with just a few rows planted.

As well as time in the vegetable garden we've been able to keep the rest of the garden under a little more control. We're moving, dividing and propagating plants for the bank under the apple trees, which will hopefully keep the weeds at bay. We're adding more structure to the soil in the woodland so it retains water better and allows us to grow a little more without the constant need to water. We're reseeding grass where the chickens and ducks have been. It's good having the time to do but also to think about things, how we'd like them to be and working to achieve it. I'm loving this slower pace of life, in my little bubble where everything feels safe, our garden is flourishing and we've the time to enjoy it.