A little bit about me

Hello, I'm Laura
I'm married to the lovely Lloyd who is amazing and gorgeous!
We have three  children dogs, Bob, Brodie and Tallulah. We used to live in Glasgow, Scotland but I'm originally from Aberdeen and Lloyd is from Yorkshire.

I've been writing this blog for ages! Or... since we decided to begin the immigration journey from a townhouse with no garden in the middle of Glasgow, to a 24 acre farm, in Northland, in the middle of...well nowhere, New Zealand.

 I came to New Zealand 'blind'. I knew nothing about the place other than it looked pretty and was on the other side of the world. I also knew nothing about gardening, I'd never actually had a garden before!

But thankfully we've found a wee slice of paradise.

This is my diary of sorts.

There's a lot about our garden and the farm as this is what I do with myself. You could say it's my 'unpaid' job!
We have a large veggie garden which is completely organic, so we're pretty much self sufficient there.
There's loads about our animals, a bit of sewing, making things, what we get up to on a daily basis, a few recipes chucked in for good measure ( I'm a total idiot in the kitchen, I don't enjoy cooking savoury food and I'm not good at it,  but I do, however, adore baking! The recipes I post are so simple that anyone could do them!), some photos,  and basically just us, trying to lead a more simple life. ( with the occasional, monumental splurge!)

What do I like? Lloyd and our dogs, my family, our friends. Cheese! any cheese really, rowies (I googled them for you) the spa in the dark looking at stars.  Anything water related, swimming in the sea,  swimming in a pool, scuba diving and paddling.
Sewing, growing veggies and playing with my lovely chickens, and playing roller derby! ( yes, really!)

To earn a crust,  I have a cottage that we rent out for holidays and I take photos. Usually of things that don't move! But occasionally I can be persuaded to include some people!

Lloyd thinks my mum made up lots of words and taught them to me when I was little but it's not true, they're real, they're Doric and they just sound like they could have been made up.

I used to be a teacher. For 12 years I taught children with special needs. Nine years were spent with children who had emotional and behavioural difficulties and my last 3 years were working with children in an intensive support unit, some of whom had severe autism. Even something you love dearly has the power to break you, just a little bit. So now I'm a farmer and am probably still trying to fix that wee, broken bit!

I dislike shopping

UPDATE! As of March 2015 we have sold the farm and moved to the coast! You can read a bit about what we've done so far to the new house . I'm writing this in April, so we still have the outside work to do!

the lovely Lloyd 

Our babies

Tallulah ( loopy Lulah)

Bob, my forever best doggy pal.

 and thanks for dropping by.

©all photographs are mine unless stated otherwise. 


  1. Very nice to meet you...my doodle Sophie is a sweetheart and as a matter of fact is staring at me as I type this to you. I'll be looking for your Lulah to show her. I hope you didn't have any earthquake problems. I have a friend in CC and her family is OK. Looking forward to your adventures! Ron

  2. Anonymous4:05 pm

    Hello Laura, Nice to meet you, thanks for checking in on me, I would love to be over your way right now, did you see all our snow.. :( my neighbour is on a tour with her hubby, and they are in New Zealand right now.. and loving it.. I am enjoying your blog.. tty again.. Sue

  3. Anonymous10:15 am

    Hi Laura!

    What a beauuutiful place you've got! I have diving for a while among your posts and pics and I can tell you guys put all your love in that place of yours.
    Too bad we won't get to meet in April, but definitely in May.

    See ya soon!

    Chico & José

  4. Hi Guys!! So glad you like it - hope you can have a nice relaxing time when you're here!
    See you soon!

  5. Hello Laura, I love your dogs! Dogs with beards win my heart every time.

  6. Hi Cassandra! Yep, doggie beards...do it for me!

  7. Anonymous9:02 pm

    Hello Laura. I am Anna with Manco the alpaca at Mystery Cr you can email me some time .Going too get a girl on Sat

  8. Hi, I just thought I'd say hello, I love New Zealand ( having a daughter in Wellington also ensures many visits )Your place sounds wonderful.
    We uprooted from Devon last year and now live in rural France, we ( only ) have a couple of acres compared to your 24 but like you we think it is heaven.

    1. Hi Michael, lovely to meet you! I love France, we used to holiday there a lot before we moved here. Aren't we so lucky to be in a place we love!

  9. Laura I was looking for an email for you cos I had a funny picture to send you..I found a couple of those fluffy dressing table chairs that I spoke of a while ago when you first bought your beautiful dressing table...any way, I had never read your 'about you'...how lovely to learn a little bit more about you, I thought you were lovely before, but now more than ever I think that you are a very special person to have spent so much of your life in a challenging job as you did...your heart must be big and patient and kind...and I dont blame you for having it a little bit broken when caring for those special children...enjoy your patch of paradise...and your amazing life in NZ...xxx Suzanne

    1. Jeepers Suzanne, you say the most lovely things. I got some dust in my eye when I read this! :)
      I've always felt that we were quite alike really. We seem to like a lot of the same things. Bet if we met in real life we'd really get on! :) thank you.

      ps email is darrochcottage@gmail.com

  10. Laure,

    I am trying (very hard) to make my blog better but my old brain struggles! I worked how to do the clickable tabs up the top of my blog and you have THIS one which is About you. All my tabs click and open up posts with the corresponding labels.....How do I just do one like this!?!

  11. Hi Laura
    You have a lovely blog. Congratulations on your transition from inner-city to farm!

    I was looking at the post on your shearing shed renovation and I have a couple of questions if you have time.

    We too have a shearing shed which we have partially renovated. The bedrooms are all snug but we still have the draughty tin 'hall' to deal with. How did you insulate the walls? Did you line your shed with polystyrene foam, ie: did you cut it and squeeze it between the existing timber frame? Also, what did you use for insulation under the floor.

    I would be very grateful if you could let me know what you used; product name or description would be great!

    Thanks so much. You've done a lovely job on your shed.

    Best wishes,
    Anketell Forest

    1. Hi there!
      I TRIED GETTING BACK TO you via your website but the word recognition thing kept saying I'd got it wrong!

      To insulate the woolshed we used the 2inch thick polystyrene sheets ( expol is the brand name) but you can get different kinds. You can cut them to size. We used them ever where - roof space, underfloor and between the walls - it's better insulated than our own house! Then all the walls were sheeted out in tri-board, worked a treat! good luck.

  12. Thanks for the info Laura!

    Best wishes


  13. Anonymous2:24 pm


    Greetings from Los Angeles. I too am a teacher, but I am a Waldorf teacher of kindergarteners. Which means I get to sew, knit, crochet, paint, color, play, woodwork, garden and more gardening with my class, here in Santa Monica. I have a colleague from Aukland and several from the U.K. So there you go, from one sunny place to another.
    Happy New Year...

  14. New follower!!!! I have 3 dogs too...l one looks a lot like yours!!!!!!

  15. Hi Laura,
    What a lovely blog! I am loving all the travel shots and pics of NZ. I too have a labradoodle puppy, Ziggy, he's only 7months and lots of trouble! :)
    Anne Marie @ TFD
    (across the ditch)

    1. aw thanks for coming! I'm reading your comment while stuffing my face with the peanut biscuits, man, they're lovely!!

  16. Anonymous5:58 pm


    By way of introduction, I work for Boom Video, a social video ad platform and Australasia's first official YouTube network. We distribute video content for a wide range of brands and exclusively represent hundreds of Australian & Kiwi content creators. It would be great to have a chat with you about our new native video player product that we are offering to good New Zealand-based bloggers and site owners. Let me know if you are interested, thanks!


  17. Carolyn7:06 pm

    I just found your blog and I love it. I'd always love to go to Scotland and say "wee this and wee that". Hello from Oregon.

    1. Hi Carolyn :) I say wee this and wee that ALL the time!!

  18. Love your blog and would love to get you on board with some other fellow New Zealanders for my garden share project - http://www.strayedtable.com/grow/garden-share/

    1. hi there! I would love to join you so I emailed you just now. Thanks for finding me and asking :)

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  20. Hi Laura
    I cam across your blog while researching the Broadys outdoor pizza oven. We're looking to get an oven for our bach and this one sounded quite good. I see you've had yours for a number of years now so just wondering how it's held up and if you would still recommend it?

    Also interesting to read about your migration story. My wife and I lived in Edinburgh before we emigrated to NZ. She also worked in special needs, in a school in Lanark. Small world...



    1. Hi Joe, small world, indeed! Right, the garden oven. It is very good. It has lasted incredibly well as it's outside in all weathers. We had planned to take the chimney off over winter and store it in the shed but only bothered to do this the first year. The black handle and facings have gone rusty, but it's just superficial. We found that to get it to the heat needed we had to light it about an hour and a half in advance. Also something we hadn't considered - it's a garden oven, not a pizza oven - so the burning wood is in a fire box below the oven part - not actually in the oven part like a pizza oven. Hope this helps xx

    2. Wonderful, thanks for taking the time to reply. Yes I was after one with a separate woodbox to avoid contamination of ash in the food. Plus it would make the oven very versatile. We're by the beach so I will probably get a cover, but if the rust is only superficial, it sounds like we'll get a good number of years use out of it. Many thanks again!


I love it when you leave me comments, it lets me know there are folk out there reading my ramblings! Thank you, I appreciate them loads and loads
Laura x