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Date Archives: April 2009

Omlet Newletter April 22nd 2009

Hello!

Easter’s flown by quickly and it’s looking more like Summer each day. Your chickens will be loving the sun as much as you, with longer, brighter days to roam around looking for worms, and lots of bright green grass that they can peck at. And before you stop them from biting a bald patch in your lavish lawn, remember that it will do them good and it will make their yolks a lovely, rich colour.

While hens are happily eating grass, a lot of us are still finishing the last of our Easter eggs. In fact, we keep discovering more at Omlet HQ, following the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Never mind the Easter Bunny, it seems that our chickens are eggstremely good at hiding things!

So now it’s back to school and work for a couple of weeks, but there’s another bank holiday just around the corner so we can all enjoy the sunshine.

Happy May Day To You!

And the Winners are…

We were astounded by the number of entries we got to our Easter competitions. You guys must REALLY like chocolate because hundreds of you had a go at guessing how many chocolate eggs there were in the jar. Amazingly, five people guessed eggsactly the right number…drum roll please…128! That’s a lot of eggs. And unfortunately we could only award one person with this cracking prize, and that was Helen Webber. We couldn’t forget our four runners up though; Nicola Beech, Paul Crawford, Kate Ward and Natalie Hart have all received some chocolatey treats too. So well done to all of you!

Our colouring competition wasn’t quite so straight forward. With entrants from ages 2 – 42 there was a range of talent and creativity that was tricky to judge. So we split the bright and bold beauties into four age ranges and voted on four winners: Thomas Jennings aged 6, Abigail Barnes aged 8, Hannah Westrup aged 12 and Karen Ridley aged 21. Congratulations to you awesome artists, prizes are flying over as we speak. And well done and thank you to everyone that entered, your colourful pictures have brightened up Omlet HQ a treat and everyone has had a good old nosy at them. We’re green with henvy that you’re all so talented…

An eglu with smiley faces? Pure genius by Thomas!

Abigail’s picture is pretty perfect

An eggcellent effort from Hannah

We think Karen’s chickens would be proud of this!

Ready, Steady, Cook!

If you weren’t lucky enough to win one of our Easter competitions don’t panic because this month’s is a cracker. We might have mentioned before, but we are fanatic about eggs, nice and fresh, straight from the eglu. Our speciality is omelette, but we like all sorts. We want to see just how skilled you lot are at cooking with our favourite ingredient. Do you have a delightful dish that you rustle up for dinner every week? A recipe passed down through the generations that cannot be beaten? A sneaky midnight snack that always hits the spot? Send your signature recipe, along with a photo, to stephanie@omlet.co.uk, and our favourite will win some kitchen goodies. This competition closes on Tuesday 12th May, so get cooking!

Grand Designs

Grand Designs Live kicks off this Saturday, 25th April, at ExCel London. It runs until Monday 4th May, and we will be there showing off the eglu in all its glory. This is always a popular show, with all you could ever need for your home and garden, lots of eggciting demos, and celebrities (such as ourselves). Ok, we’re not eggsactly famous, but our products are, and we will be happy to show you the eglu and have a chat about keeping chickens so come and say hello! Find out more info on the website.

The London Marathon

What have you got planned for this weekend? A nice lazy day or two, chilling in the sunshine with a glass of Pimms? Maybe you’ll flick on the tv to check how the runners are doing in the London Marathon? Perhaps some of you might even be running it…just like Omlet’s very own James Robinson! There will certainly be no relaxing for him this weekend as he prepares for running 26 miles around London, on Sunday 26th April. Yes, he is nervous. Yes, he feels awkward at wearing skin tight vest and shorts. But we know he can do it.

James’ army eggsperience should make the marathon a breeze!

He is running to raise money for the Army Benevolent Fund, which supports serving soldiers, former soldiers and their families in times of need. So far his sponsors total over £900, and he has just under £100 to go until he reaches his target of £1000. Click here if you would like to support his cause. And be warned, the photo had been taken just after a gruelling training session, so he’s not looking his prettiest!

Good luck James!

Cooking corner

Egg Cup Tea Cups

If you love a cup of tea with your boiled egg you will adore this pair of egg cups. On first glances you might think these would take pride of place at a doll’s tea party, when in fact they will be most happy upon the breakfast table. Dinky and divine, they will bring a touch of quintessentially British class to breakfast time, providing a much more elegant egg eating eggsperience. If you would prefer to use them to sip tiny cups of tea feel free, we won’t tell… if you don’t.

Made from porcelain and comes boxed.

Buy now for £10.45

Time for tea

Barbara Diary

Vegging out

I love old superstitions and traditions and May is full of them! Sadly, I couldn’t find any to do with chickens, which was disappointing but there are some interesting old proverbs concerning the weather in May. “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers” and as it has been pretty damp for the last few days in this neck of the woods, hopefully that is a sign that the garden will be overflowing with flowers throughout the month of May! I hope so! Apparently “a hot May makes a fat churchyard” which is ominous but on a more cheerful note “a wet May brings a load of hay” so if May is a washout, at least the harvest should be a good one. One proverb which causes a little confusion is “Cast not a clout till May be out” because the May in the proverb could be the month but is more likely to be Hawthorn blossom, otherwise known as May blossom. We have a lovely Hawthorn called “Paul’s Scarlet” in the garden and I know not to pack away my warmer winter garments until the blossoms have opened to grace the garden.

The Celtic fertility festival of Beltane was celebrated overnight between April 30th and May 1st. Huge bonfires were lit on hilltops and the whole community gathered around and watched as the fire burned throughout the night until the sun rose on May Day morning. Leaping over the flames ensured a prosperous and fruitful summer. Each family took a piece of smouldering wood back to their home to re-ignite their own hearth fires which had been put out the night before. Hawthorn branches were used to decorate the outside of their houses as May blossom has been a symbol of rebirth for centuries. May Day was also the first day of the Celtic summer when livestock were let out to graze in the fields for the first time. Beltane is supposedly when witches make their new broomsticks and anoint themselves with flying ointment! Women often wore green dresses or pinned a green ribbon to their hats or clothing on May Day and dancing took place around the May Pole in the centre of the village and afterwards, the prettiest girl in the village was crowned May Queen.

Dew gathered on May Day reputedly kept the skin free from freckles and from being tanned by the sun. “The fair maid who on the first of May, goes to the fields at the break of day, and washes in dew from the Hawthorn tree, will ever handsome be”. Queen Elizabeth the 1st was a strong believer in the beautifying properties of May dew and would have it collected so that she could bathe in it as did Catherine of Aragon, King Henry VIII’s first wife. Samuel Pepys also documented in his diaries that his wife used it with good results! So, if you want to be forever beautiful, get up early on May Day and gather lots of dew!

One superstition which tickled me the most concerns kittens. Kittens born in May are considered to be unlucky as they are no use whatsoever as mousers and will bring snakes into your house!! It is also supposed to be unlucky to wash blankets in May for fear of “washing your love away”. Well, I think that’s as good an excuse as I’m going to find for cutting down on the laundry so I’m sticking to it!

 Barbara’s Star Photo of the Month

test

Chicken olympics is quickly becoming the new craze

Course host of the week

Rachel Gowshall

Your name and age: Rachel Gowshall, age 46

Where and with who do you live? I live in a small village six miles from Swindon called Winterbourne Bassett, with my husband Richard and children Matthew, Ellie and Sam.

Your occupation: Veterinary Nurse and website owner www.petvetcare.co.uk

What pets do you have? A dog called Scally, a hamster called Lela, a tortoise called Kevin, some fish and a hedgehog called Brenda who we nursed back to health and released. She may or may not still be living under the shed (we had to stop feeding her as she was just coming out once a night for a feed and getting extremely fat, worried she would not be able to squeeze out of garden if she got any fatter!)

What is your favourite outfit? I keep trying to look smart and sophisticated but always end up getting dirty walking the dog, cleaning chickens out and cooking, so I guess it has to be what I am most comfortable in which is jeans and t-shirt.

What would you choose as your last supper? Beef Wellington with dauphinoise potatoes as this is what my husband cooked for me the night he proposed, ahhh.

What is the most important thing you have ever lost? The gold bracelet that my husband gave me when my youngest son Sam was born. It was found about three years later by builders in the garden when they were doing our extension and thankfully they gave it back to me.

If you could be anywhere else in the world right now where would you be? I am happy wherever I am as long as I am surrounded by the ones I love. We went on a great cycling holiday in Lake Garda and cycled up a mountain one day where we stopped ½ way up for a bowl of delicious pasta. The view was spectacular, pretty much my perfect setting.

What are your chickens called? Minerva is the guardian of the garden, she is the only one to beat Scally at staring matches, and she is the layer of the famous Double Yolkers. Ermintrude (Trudy for short) is the smallest of the chickens but she’s very speedy and gives herself an added boost by using the low flapping wing technique. Monica is the piggy of the bunch, always pinching food off the others and she sometimes crams so much in that she can barely swallow. Ellie was worried when we first had her that she had a growth and I had to point out that the ‘tumour’ was a huge crop full of food! Hilda is mine and is quite a shy girl. Very sweet but can make quite a racket when she tries to tell off the other birds.

How many eggs do you get a week and what’s your favourite way of preparing them? Eggy bread is my fav way of using them. Richard is the king of eggy bread and try as I might I can’t make it as good as him. Denis, my saxophone teacher, tells me that our eggs are the best he has ever tasted and he always buys free range. I take him a box of four most weeks when I have my lesson. He and his wife now plan his week’s meals around them.

Do you bake more cakes now you have your own chickens? Actually no, we have always made a lot of cakes but we do eat more other eggs things. We have just found out that they now don’t think eggs are harmful for your cholesterol levels so I am very happy!

Do your chickens have a party trick?Spontaneous chicken races across the garden.

What’s been the most surprising thing about keeping chickens? How comical they are and also how relaxing it is to watch and listen to them going about their business in the garden.

Can you imagine life without chickens? No! Quite a scary moment last week when we thought Minerva was very ill. She was very quiet and took herself off away from the other chickens. She wouldn’t eat and was very wheezy. About 20 mins later she passed a huge double yolker (which Scally stole), flapped her wings and off she went! Even my husband who pretends he doesn’t like the chickens got very worried!

Mmmm… that corn looks far tastier than a bonio!

Scally likes nothing more than a trip to the seaside

For some reason Kevin always loses the spontaneous chicken races

Brenda’s been stealing mealworms again

It’s safest out of reach of the other pets

Omlet online shop

Star Products!

Here is just a small selection, go online to see the full range.

Set of Six Melamine Egg Cups

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but dragging yourself out of bed first thing in the morning to eat a plateful before rushing to work can seem like more of a chore than a pleasure. Put the fun back into breakfast with a couple of boiled eggs and some eggstra colourful egg cups. Not only are these melamine marvels bright enough to wake up the most tiresome of eyes, the bases resemble lego and they can be stacked into towers for early morning entertainment. Let’s hope your soldiers have been trained to climb!

Buy now for £10.00

Golden Egg Money Bank

If you’ve ever heard the fable of the goose with the golden egg, you’ll know that greed will get you nowhere in life. One golden egg is more than enough for anyone, and the real trick to get rich is to save all your pennies inside the precious, shiny egg. Once it is full you can release your hard saved cash through the stopper in the base so there is no need to smash the pretty, porcelain money bank.

Buy now for £8.49

Bamboo Veneerware Picnicware

Picnics are a fun way of getting back to nature and enjoying the great outdoors. Food, friends and fine British weather equal a fantastic day out. But when you’ve finished your salads and sarnies and you’re ready to head home you may find you’re left with a lot of rubbish, and all those plastic plates and packaging are bad for the environment. Wouldn’t it be good if you could use completely natural, renewable and disposable picnicware that can be thrown away without a pang of guilt?

The bambu veneerware is made from 100% organically grown bamboo, peeled straight from the stalk. It is much sturdier and stronger than plastic or paper picnicware, so it won’t bend or buckle under the weight of food. And after disposal it biodegrades in 4-6 months. Good for you, good for your food and good for nature!

Set of Plates, Sporks or Cutlery from £6.00

Egg Cup and Salt Shaker Set

Have you ever sat down for breakfast, taken the top off your boiled egg and gone in for the dip before realising you forgot the seasoning? By the time you’ve gone into the kitchen, located the shakers and dived back to your plate all sorts of events could have taken place; the yolk’s started to set, the soldiers have gone cold, or, worse, some greedy trespasser has gobbled it! You need to ensure you are prepared for all possibilities, and this egg cup will have you one step closer to safety. It may look like a normal egg cup, but the base holds a special secret – salt. As long as you keep it filled you will never again need to abandon your egg to find the seasoning because it’s right under your nose!

Made from porcelain and comes as set of two, boxed.

Buy now for £7.00

Omlet world

Holland will be celebrating a very special, very orange day next week. On the 30th April every year the nation has a day off work or school and unites to celebrate Queen’s Day. Although Queen Beatrix’s birthday is in January, she officially celebrates her birthday on this day as a tribute to her mother, Queen Juliana. People are allowed to sell things in the streets, in the ‘freemarket’, and there are games, concerts and parties to celebrate. And if you happen to be in the Netherlands on this day you may be surprised by the sea of orange, as people dress bright and sunny in reference to the House of Orange-Nassau!

Did you know you can now order the Eglu in the Netherlands?

Bezoek nu de Nederlandse Omlet website!

Omlet World

This crazy sea of orange shows that the Dutch know how to celebrate!

Omlet team

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This entry was posted in Newsletter on April 22nd, 2009 by admin


Omlet Newletter April 21st 2009

Hello!

Can you believe it’s almost Easter again? It is now officially Spring and it makes a refreshing change to have some warm, sunny days, compared to the snowy chaos we eggsperienced in February. Your chickens are probably back to their normal laying again, and you have may have been enjoying a few more boiled eggs than usual. Daffodils are popping up everywhere, hens are happily roaming gardens, and soon we will all have a few days off to celebrate Easter. Hooray! And if you’re not already eggcited, this month’s newsletter should put a spring in your step. With some cracking competitions, super star photos and great gift ideas, we hope to get you in the mood. So let’s crack on shall we!?

Happy Easter!

Pancake Princess

We hope you all had a wonderful pancake day. Unfortunately we didn’t receive as many photos from you as we have in previous years. Hopefully you can make up for that by sending in pictures of your Easter eggsperiences. There is a winner to declare though… Our 2009 pancake princess is Kate Solomon! It is obvious from the height of that pancake that her flipping skills are second to none. Well done Kate, not only can you be proud of your new title, but the perfect prize is on its way to you!

Pancake Princess 2009

Colouring Competition

Easter means time off school for kids and after masses of chocolate has been consumed they may be stuck for what to do. This competition will keep them busy for an hour or two, and it will hopefully keep sugar hyped children calm and quiet for a little while. Jess has drawn us an Omlet Easter scene, complete with chickens, rabbits, eggs and even an eglu. To win a cracking prize all you need to do is some good old fashioned colouring in. Print off the image available here, bring it to life with some crayons and send it, along with your name, age, address and email, to Easter Colouring Competition, Omlet Ltd, Tuthill Park, Wardington, Oxfordshire, OX17 1RR. If you finished school years ago but you’re still a big kid at heart, you can still enter, as this is open to all ages. Closing date is 14th April, 2009

Get your crayons at the ready…

Upcoming Shows

Every year Omlet fires up the tour bus and loads the eglus and chickens onboard to visit shows where we tell people what a wonderful hobby keeping chickens is. These shows range from big, glitzy indoor events to agricultural shows, where you might bump into a prize winning hereford.

Our first show of 2009 is the Ideal Home Show, at Earls Court, London. This show runs from Friday 20th March to Monday 13th April, and it is open 11am-9pm during weekdays and 10am-6pm during weekends. It is a big show with loads to see, lots of brilliant advice and ideas and a range of items for the home and garden for you to buy. If you are considering buying an eglu or cube, it is the perfect opportunity for you to come along and see it in the flesh, to chat to our chicken eggsperts and ask any questions you have. Tickets can be purchased in advance via the website.

Visit the Ideal Home Show and Jess will demonstrate the eglu for you!

We often have enthusiastic eglu owners helping on the stand to demonstrate the products and answer peoples questions. So if you would rather help at a show than visit it, please get in touch by emailing johannes@omlet.co.uk. Please put in the email which show you could help at and which days you are available. Please note this is paid and we also cover travel expenses, car parking and lunch!

Upcoming Shows

Ideal Home Show – Earls Court, West London
Friday 20th March – Monday 13th April inclusive.
Show hours 11am – 9pm weekdays and 10am -6pm weekends.

Grand Designs Live – Excel, East London
Saturday 25th April – Monday 4th May inclusive.
Show hours 10am – 6pm every day.

Spring Gardens Show – Malvern
Thursday 7th May – Sunday 10th May
Show hours 9am – 6pm

BBC Gardeners World Live – Birmingham NEC
Wednesday 10th June – Sunday 14th June inclusive
Show hours 9am – 6pm every day.

Guess the Number of Eggs in Jar

Easter is a great eggscuse for one thing… Chocolate! And we have a great range of cheap and cheerful choccie treats for sale if you’re looking for a gift that’s a little bit different. But chocolate tastes so much sweeter if it’s free, and that’s why we have a lovely big jar of scrumptious speckled eggs to give away. To win this terrific treat just guess how many eggs there are in the jar. Email your answer, along with your name and address, to stephanie@omlet.co.uk. There are also a few smaller sweet prizes up for grabs, so get guessing! Closing date is 14th April, 2009

How many eggs does this jar hold? Guess to win!

Magazine Articles

The eglu has been hitting the press yet again! Any readers of ‘Yours’ magazine may have spotted the eglu cube in the ‘Carers in touch’ section last month. The article features 80yr old carer Jo Mills who lost her husband two years ago. She had always wanted to keep chickens, and the grief of her loss encouraged her to take the plunge. Her four chickens Henrietta, Chloe, Minty Chicken and Georgina have helped her to feel happy and relaxed again and they provide her with companionship.

Chickens don’t just make great companions, they can also provide an extra source of income. Omlet’s first ever hen party host, Karen Patrick, appears in an article called ‘Living the Good Life’ in this month’s issue of ‘Heyday’. It describes how what started as a hobby four years ago has turned into an income boost. Her 10 chickens live in an eglu cube and they are very cheap and easy to look after. She sells the eggs to friends, neighbours and local dustmen, and she also runs hen parties which she gets paid for. How eggcellent!

Two more articles support that hens = happiness.

If you like the sound of using your hobby to make a bit of eggstra cash, or if you fancy attending a hen party to learn all the basics of keeping chickens, just visit the courses section of the website.

Funshade Competition

Thank you to all of you that entered our ‘Design a Funshade’ competition. With such fantastic entries our eggsperts haven’t quite reached their verdict yet, but we will be announcing the winner in next month’s newsletter, so hold on to your hats.

T-shirt Review

It’s not just the eglu that gets all the press you know, or the chickens for that matter. This month’s star is the boiled egg t-shirt for women, which you can buy for £15.00 on the online shop. An American t-shirt review website has featured our terrific top and given it a sterling write up. Kay even described it as “as strong a design as I’ve seen since the Rolling Stone Lips first turned up on T-shirts.” Wow, we certainly didn’t eggspect that kind of comparison. Read the full review here.

The fairest t-shirt of them all

Egg Cup of the month

Every month we will be giving you the chance to get your hands on our brand new featured egg cup, and this month’s is a cracker! You just need to send us an egg cup for our museum to be entered into our draw. The collection is growing thanks to your help, but we still have some empty shelves that need filling, so please keep sending them in. The more bizarre the better! Send to ‘Egg Cup Museum’ at the above address.

Ladybird Egg Cup with Chocolate Eggs

An adorable Easter gift for every lady! The foil wrapped, chocolate ladybirds probably won’t last more than a few minutes because they’re just so tasty, but the white egg cup, covered in lovely, little ladybirds, can be used over and over again. Wrapped in cellophane and finished with red raffia.

Buy now for £4.00

One for the ladi

Omlet Gallery

It’s a hard life for a little chick…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Easter bunny is so unreliable these days, hens just have to take the shopping into their own hands.

This week in fashion, hen pants make a comeback.

Barbara’s Monthly Diary!

Easter Eggs

Did you know that the Araucana is sometimes known as ‘The Easter Egg Chicken’ because it lays greeny blue eggs? Now that little fact got me thinking about how nice it would be to give away boxes of different coloured eggs to friends and family for Easter. This is purely hypothetical, of course, as Tom really doesn’t want me to get any more hens and rolls his eyes when I go “Chicken Broody”, as he calls it, when I start talking about getting a couple more. He says we have enough but I think there’s always room for a few more! I think he’s only worried that they might break into his vegetable garden en masse and eat everything in sight. As if my well behaved girls would do anything of the sort. Anyway, I wonder whether this lovely idea about coloured eggs in boxes might just persuade him to have a rethink.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to find the various breeds, creating a wonderful palette of coloured eggshells could be a possibility. As I’ve mentioned, Araucanas are greeny blue egg layers, and wouldn’t these look pretty sat next to the soft blue eggs of a Cream Legbar or one of the new hybrid blue egg layers like a Heritage Skyline? For a white egg, I’d need to find a Leghorn, Appenzeller or a Poland, and for a soft creamy coloured shell I’d choose an Ancona or maybe a Faverolle. Moving on through the palette, I think I’d need a tea-tinted shell next, and what could be better than some more lovely Sussex girls or maybe a Wyandotte? My brown egg would come from a Barnvelder or a lovely ginger hybrid as I love little red hens, but for an even darker brown egg I’d love to get a Welsummer or a Maran.

Well, I think my dreams are already in tatters when I look at that list because I can’t see any way in which Tom will let me get away with adding even a couple of new hens, let alone enough to lay me all of these lovely coloured eggs I’m dreaming of in my Easter Egg boxes. Oh well, it was a nice thought while it lasted. Back to reality, I suppose. I’ll have a go at dying some of our hens’ eggs instead, with beetroot, onion skins, red cabbage leaves, grape juice and turmeric, like I used to do when I was a child. I think that could be just as satisfying and as pretty in a display of Easter eggs, don’t you?

One Dad’s solution to half-term child care.

 

Cooking Corner

With the longer days and warmer weather, there are signs of life in the vegetable garden. In February I placed forcing pots over the rhubarb crowns and there are definite signs of young stems starting to emerge. It won’t be long until I plant out the potato tubers that have been chitting in the green house for the past few weeks. The spring greens are coming on a treat and I am over run with perpetual spinach, which the chickens are grateful for.

True to tradition, the chickens came into lay around Valentine’s day and we have had a full house of eggs nearly every day since. The ‘garden gate shop’ is back in business with regular passers by, wanting half a dozen fresh eggs.

Barbara mentioned that Easter is the time to add some more point of lay chickens, to make sure that we get more eggs through winter this year. I am not convinced if that has more to do with her wanting more girls to fuss over, or for ‘gate’ commerce. The former more likely!

Talking of Easter, it won’t be long until the Bunny arrives loaded down with chocolatey treats. Barbara has mentioned that I am not to buy her an Easter egg this year. She mentioned chicks, so I am hoping she meant the foil wrapped variety! She isn’t the only one who is broody; one of our hens has been sitting on the nest for a while today, looking decidedly comfy! Will have to turf her off later.

When it comes to recipes for Easter, you can’t go wrong with fairy cakes!

Cake Mixture

270g plain flour
100g caster sugar
2 tsps baking powder
50g cocoa
100g butter, melted
300 ml milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence

Topping

2 Tbsps cocoa powder
220g icing sugar
100g soft butter
Chocolate eggs for decoration (or little fluffy chicks if you are dieting like Barbara).

  1. Mix the melted butter, eggs, vanilla essence and milk together. and add to the sifted dry ingredients.
  2. Add the dry, sifted ingredients and mix to a smooth batter.
  3. Fill the cake cases ¾ full and bake in an oven at 200C/gas mark 6 for 15 minutes, until the tops are cracking slightly.
  4. Leave on wire rack to cool while you the make the topping.

For the topping

  1. Cream the icing sugar, butter and cocoa together adding a teaspoon of cold water at a time if too stiff.
  2. When the cakes have completely cooled down, top each one with a dollop (technical term) of the icing and add eggs for decoration.

Makes 24 cakes.

Tasty choccy treats from Tom

 Vegging out

At last Spring is here! All the plants are starting to wake from their Winter snooze and the days are definitely longer and a little warmer. It’s time to get out into the garden and do some work. The seeds I planted in the propagator last month are now lovely seedlings with a couple of leaf pairs. Now they’re ready to be transplanted into pots. I’ll fill these pots with a seedling compost and gently lift the seedling out of the propagator cell using the end of a pencil, making sure not to damage its root. Then I’ll make a small hole for it to sit in its new home and make sure the compost sits securely around it. Give them a good watering and keep them warm in the greenhouse until they get a good root system established.

The ground’s now warm enough to start sowing some seeds directly into the ground. This week I’ve sown my beetroot, carrot, parsnip, cabbage and cauliflower seeds into my raised beds. These have a long growing season and won’t be ready until late Summer, early Autumn. I try not to waste the space taken up by these slow growers. In between their rows I sow “catch crops” such as radishes, spring onions and lettuces. Veggies that grow fast but don’t cut out the light to the other seeds.

In the greenhouse I’ve sown some faster growing seeds in old toilet roll inners. I’ve got two types of cucumber, a standard green and a crystal lemon, sweet corn (usually for the chickens benefit) and pumpkins. These will be planted out still in their tubes to minimise root disturbance. The tubes will rot down once in the ground.

I’m definitely feeling like I’m growing for the whole street. I always grow far too many seeds but they always find new homes. I’m getting enquiries from friends already about collecting some young plants! It’s nice to feel I’m helping others to become more self sufficient.

Spring sees growth in seedlings.

Eglu owner of the week

Gwendoline Geay

About You:Your name and age:
Gwendoline Geay, 23yrs old

Where and with who do you live?
I live in Middleton Cheney, in Northamptonshire, with Dawn. Steve, Nadia, Eve, Scarlett and Basil the dog. I used to work as an au pair for them but now I just live with them.

Your occupation:
I work for Omlet, making sure all our customers are happy!

What is your favourite outfit?
A pretty, long dress.

Which is your favourite season?
Spring, because it’s not too hot, not too cold, and nice and sunny.

What would you choose as your last supper?
A rack of ribs, so I can eat them with my fingers.

What is the most important thing you have ever lost?
My pussycat Ket.

What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
I left my home and family in France to come and live in England, and a few years later I came to work for this mad chicken company.

Do you have a hobby or a hidden talent?
I love cross-stitch and my hidden talent is dancing.

Who would play you in a movie of your life?
Lisa Kudrow who plays Phoebe in friends.

What song do you most like dancing to?
Any pop music, at the moment I like ‘Single Ladies’ a lot.

If you won the lottery what’s the first thing you would do?
I would buy myself a lovely big house in England, and one in France, and a car to go with it.

If you could be anywhere else in the world right now where would you be?
I would be on holiday somewhere nice, like Italy.

About your chickens:

What are your chickens called?
Rosie and Fuzzie.

What do your chickens like eating more than anything else?
They love cupcakes!

How many eggs do you get a week and what’s your favourite way of preparing them?
We get 10-15 eggs a week and I like them best boiled with soldiers.

Do you bake more cakes now you have your own chickens?
Not really, but I do bake some brilliant cakes for Omlet now and again. They love me for it.

Do your chickens have a party trick?
They knock at the front door if you forget to shut them in at night.

What’s been the most surprising thing about keeping chickens?
I’m surprised at how friendly they are with the kids and how they are happy to be picked up and cuddled.

What is the best thing about owning an eglu?
The colour is great – my eglu is purple and the feeders and drinkers are lilac. Soon we’ll have a pink funshade too!

Can you imagine life without chickens?
No! I love my chickens and the kids find them so entertaining. I could never go back to eating supermarket eggs.

A recent article featured Gwen’s weekend language club for children. Très Bien!
Gwen boasts her boiled egg beauty.Eve shows
Shock horror as Simon breaks Gwen’s heart!.

Sergeant Scarlet suspects there is more to these chickens than meets the eye!

Omlet online shop

Star Products!

Here is just a small selection, go online to see the full range.

Flower Chick Egg Cup with Chocolate Eggs

This egg cup would make a unique addition to any collection. In fact, they’re so crazy and colourful they may just need a shelf of their own. They cannot help but to brighten up your breakfast, and you may find yourself eating a boiled egg every day just to have the eggscuse to see your funky new friend. And let’s not forget the very important fact that each chicken arrives filled with yummy chocolate eggs.

Buy now for £5.50

Polka Dot Egg Cup with Chocolate Eggs

Breakfast will never be boring again with this snazzy little gift set. Although boiled eggs are tasty you can’t beat a bit of chocolate on Easter day. After devouring all the little foil wrapped chocolate eggs, the colourful, polka dot egg cup will be all ready to use for your next breakfast. Makes a cool alternative to a traditional Easter egg.

Buy now for £4.00

Easter Gift Set for Kids

A gift set far more eggciting than an Easter egg! Includes a rabbit hand puppet, a packet of rabbit gel gems and a small jar of chocolate speckled eggs. £1.15 cheaper than buying the items separately!

Buy now for £9.36

Easter Gift Set for Women

This gorgeous gift set includes four of our most popular items: A chicken egg cosy, a chicken poop lip balm, a pair of fried egg earrings and a chocolate egg cup. £1.75 cheaper than buying the items seperately!

Buy now for £9.85

Omlet team

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This entry was posted in Newsletter on April 21st, 2009 by admin


Omlet Newsletter April 7th 2009

Hello

Another newsletter so soon? That’s right, amongst all the busy going ons of Omlet HQ we have strived to bring you an eggstra newsletter just in time for Easter. In fact, from now on you will be hearing from us every two weeks, with news, competitions and some eggcellent features. So without further ado…

Have a Happy Easter everyone, and stuff yourself silly!

Why did the chicken cross the road?

To get to the chicken roundabout! Yes it might sound like a bad old joke, but the chicken roundabout really exists. You can find it in the River Waveney valley, on the Bunghay and Ditchingham bypass, on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. Hundreds of people use it on their way to holidaying in Great Yarmouth. The bypass was originally an old railway crossing complete with a gate keepers cottage and surrounding allotments. Many of the neighbouring properties kept chickens, as well as the gate keepers cottage. It is thought that the present roundabout colony originated from escapees from these houses. The bypass was built in 1983 and the chickens survived by scavenging grain. Now, a local hero ‘The Chicken Man’ makes a round trip of two miles everyday to feed and water them, ensuring that they can continue to live happily in their unique home. The traffic doesn’t bother them and they are very content on their roundabout. Read all about it here.

Marketplace

The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted the new Omlet online marketplace. In fact, some of you have already been putting it to use, selling some beautiful chicken to other henthusiasts. So not only can you buy an eggstensive range of items from us on the website, you can also now sell those things you don’t want anymore, or buy second hand items at a reduced price. For eggsample, if you want to sell your eglu so that you can upgrade to a cube, you can do it safely through us, appealing to loads of eglu fans, and getting a great price for it. To make use of this feature just find the item on the shop and click the link below. Or if you want to sell a chicken, visit the breeds section of the website for more information. Simple!

Evicted for Keeping Chickens

We were shocked to read that an elderly couple, Mr and Mrs Lewis, have been threatened with eviction for keeping two pet chickens in their garden. The couple have been trying to be more self sufficient over the last year or two, to save some money and live a healthier lifestyle. As well as keeping their chickens for eggs, they grow vegetables, keep bees and produce their own wine and beer. It all sounds very quaint and rather admirable.

Their good life living has just been given a big shock though, as they have been threatened with eviction over their choice of lifestyle. Reports of complaints from neighbours lead to an inspection, which was followed by an official letter stating: “If the chickens remain at the property, I will have no alternative but to serve you with a Notice of Seeking Possession.”

Justine Teeling, one of our customers and a forum member, heard about this story and wanted to show her support of Mr and Mrs Lewis, because she owns eight chickens herself, and she knows that they cause no trouble. She has started a facebook group for people to join in support of the couple. Here, she provides updates of the campaign.

After having one petition to the Downing St website rejected, Justine stumbled across a petition that had been started to relax the rules on back garden chicken keeping. The petition aims to stop the term ‘livestock’ being applied to pet chickens. The only response she has had from the couple’s MP so far is: “The Gateshead Housing Company are currently working with the tenant and their family to seek an amicable solution.”

If you would like to show your support join Justine’s Facebook group here.

Competitions

There’s still time to enter the two cracking competitions that we featured in the last newsletter. In case you didn’t read it, you can win a delicious jar of speckled chocolate eggs by guessing how many there are. Just have a look at the photo and email your guess to stephanie@omlet.co.uk. Or for those of you that are a bit creative (or for children you want to keep quiet) our colouring competition is perfect. Print off the image available here, bring it to life with some crayons and send it, along with your name, age, address and email, to Easter Colouring Competition, Omlet Ltd, Tuthill Park, Wardington, Oxfordshire, OX17 1RR. The closing date for both competitions is 14th April. Good luck!

Chicks need a rest after all the eggcitement of Easter.

All aboard the chicken roundabout

You’ll find a chicken for every occasion in the marketplace.

The Lewis’ lives would be incomplete without their feathered friends.

How many eggs does this jar hold? Guess to win!

Cooking Corner

I discovered a broody chicken sat in the middle of my spinach bed the other day. She had been acting strangely for a few days, throwing small twigs on her back and being less interested in food. She must have planned her escape, as I am always careful when I go into their run, making sure the gate is closed firmly behind me. Chickens and spinach mix very well if left unattended! The damage wasn’t too bad, except for a few snapped stalks of the green stuff. She looked most comfortable and, quite frankly, put out at being moved. Back into the nest box she went, with an ice pack to keep her company and cool her down a bit. She lays lovely eggs and I really would like her laying again as soon as possible!

Well, Easter is nearly with us and you can’t beat your own home made hot cross buns! I made mine with wholemeal flour as Barbara is dieting! Wholemeal makes them negative calories allegedly! The shop bought ones aren’t a patch on these, hot from the oven with butter! They freeze well too – if you don’t eat them all first.

If, like me, the piping bag is your enemy, use a teaspoon to drizzle the crosses onto each bun.

Hot Cross Buns

15g dried yeast
5 tbsp lukewarm water
150ml lukewarm milk
450g strong plain flour
60g caster sugar
1 level tsp salt
2 level tsp mixed spice
60g butter, softened
85g currants
30g chopped mixed peel
1 egg, beaten

For the cross
2 tsps sugar
2-3 tbsp water
85g plain flour

For the glaze
2 tbsp each milk and water
20g caster sugar

Directions

  1. Sift the salt, mixed spice and strong plain flour into a bowl and add dried yeast. Rub in the butter. Stir in candied peel, currants and sugar.
  2. Make a well in the centre and add the lukewarm milk, lukewarm water and beaten egg. Mix to a soft dough then knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  3. Put the dough into a bowl and leave in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Re-knead and shape the dough into 12 balls. Place, spaced slightly apart, on greased baking sheets, cover with lightly oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190C/GM5/375F.
  5. To make the crosses, sift the plain flour into a bowl add the sugar and enough water to make a smooth paste which will hold its shape when piped.
  6. Spoon into a small piping bag and pipe a cross on the top of each bun. Alternatively, cut a cross shape into the top of each bun.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until the buns are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  8. Heat the sugar in the milk and water until dissolved. Keep hot and brush over the buns immediately they are removed from the oven. Cool on a wire rack.

Hot cross buns that are actually healthy!

Vegging out

April is one of those unpredictable months. Yes, we are now firmly in Spring, but Mother Nature still likes to throw in a few surprises like a heavy frost, or a hail storm that is guaranteed to kill your tender seedlings that you’ve been nurturing lovingly for a couple of months. Quite a few of my more tender plants like courgettes, sweetcorn and pumpkins are still in pots. They like to visit the outside on a nice warm day but prefer the safety of the greenhouse at night. They’ll probably go out permanently next month.

It had been a hectic month for me last month and a lot of my planned jobs didn’t get done. I wanted to plant up my seed potatoes but I’ve only just got around to it. The chitting had certainly been active and there were some good healthy shoots so they were planted in potato grow bags, five seeds per bag and enough compost on them just to cover the tips of the shoots. I shall be earthing them up as they grow by topping up the compost with every few inches of growth, until the bag is full. That usually ensures a good spud harvest.

I have managed to get a good selection of peas and beans sown and they’re looking like good strong seedlings. I’m growing four types of pea: Early Onward, Kelvdon Wonder (which is a dwarf variety), Asparagus pea and Mangetout Carouby de Maussane. I’m also growing French climbing beans and runner beans. I adore peas and beans as they produce a vast crop per seed, their flowers are beautiful and they help to fix nitrogen into the soil for your next year’s crop. They’re also excellent as an in garden snack!

I should be receiving my turbo toms in the post in the next couple of weeks so I’m really looking forward to seeing how they get on. My little tomato plants will probably look quite pathetic next to these turbo beasties but it’ll be fun to see how their cropping power compares. With a bit of luck I’ll be moving everything out into their raised beds by next month. Let’s hope the weather is kind.

One more month of safety before being sent out into the real world.

Just look at the sprouts on those spuds.

Course Host of the week

Nikki Williams and Paul Heath

How long have you been keeping chickens?
A very long time! Paul has kept them for 17 years and has developed his own strain of the Gold Dutch Bantam, I specialise in Large & Bantam Large Salmon Faverolles and hybrids, I have been keeping them for about 5 years now.

What made you decide to keep chickens?
I have always grown up with chickens around and I think they are excellent pets, as they are suitable for all ages, they are so friendly and come in a range of size, shapes and colours. It was also an excellent way to meet my Fiance Paul too.

How many chickens do you have and what are their names?
That would be impossible to say as we have around 200 at the moment. Although our favorites are a Large Salmon Faverolles Cockerel called Jason and a Yellow Dutch Pullet called Cracker..and a Miss Pepperpot called Blackie.We aim to hatch about 350 chickens a year and always keep the best ones for showing, all the others get snapped up by most of the course attendees as pets.

What’s your favourite thing about the eglu?
I think the range of colours that they come in is amazing and they look dead funky in the garden! They are so easy to clean and move around.

What do you like doing when you’re not hosting hen parties?
Most, if not all of the time is dedicated to the birds. So when we are not enjoying the hen parties we are always enjoying something chickeny, like washing for a show, showing or judging, or hatching more chicks.

Why did you decide to become a hen party host?
It was July last year … when I came across the website… and the rest is good old history!

When was your first course and how did it go?
Our first course was 14th July last year and it was a blast. We had five people arrive and the feedback was excellent! We are still friends now and we were recently invited to do a talk about the birds for the Women’s Institute of Warrington by one of the attendees. She had spread the good word and invited us down which we and the gingernut rangers enjoyed!

What do your courses include?
Our courses include everything to get you started with chickens and the eglu..and unlike others you will see a range of hybrids and pure breeds. We can cover everything including feeding, cleaning, housing, possible (but very rare) problems, beak and toe nail clipping, wing clipping, health supplements and lots more. Mum’s buffet has also become quite famous too!

What’s the best thing about being a hen party host?
It’s really fun and I get to talk about my favourite thing – the chickens! We meet a range of people old and young and we show just exactly how much fun chicken keeping and egg collecting is!

Why should people attend a course?
People should attend a chicken course because you just don’t realise how great and fun chickens are. People usually think of a chicken burger when you say the word poultry, but really they are fun, exciting, varied and give you a lot back. They are really tame and brighten up your day when you’ve had a hard day at work.

It’s sometimes thought that chickens are hard to keep, but they aren’t. With a little bit of background information you can easily make these your new pets…so we hope to see you at a course soon!

Course Review

“Course was fun, extremely informative and excellently presented. A balanced mixture of ‘hands-on’ activities and listening to two contrasting voices of experience about the subject of keeping chickens and bantams. A positive promotion of chicken keeping, whilst outlining issues that may/can arise, preparing you for all events. Hot soup and sandwiches, tea and coffee to fend off the very cold weather conditions of February 8th, 2009! Thank you to both Nikki and Paul for a fantastic course, for sharing their enthusiasm and expertise so well.” – Alison Oddey.

Nikki and Paul recently starred in the documentary ‘Best in Show’. Click here to watch them.

Upcoming Course

Spring Complete Chicken Keeping Workshop
Sunday 19th April, 12:00pm – 3:00pm
Click here to book now.

 

Gallery

Just one of the perks of keeping poultry!

Paul is always popular with the birds…

If the goody bags make guests this happy just wait until they see the buffet!

This Faverolles wins the award for professional poser

This cracking collection proves the Paul and Nikki are in it to win it… be warned!

Omlet online shop

Star Products!

Here is just a small selection, go online to see the full range.

Eglu Sticker Sets

Now make your eglu even more eye-catching with these sets of colourful stickers. Choose from beautiful butterflies and crazy caterpillars or funky flowers. Just stick them firmly onto your eglu, in whatever design you choose, for a fun and fabulous result. Great for keeping kids amused and will brighten up a dull day a treat! After 48 hours the eglu can be washed safely without the stickers peeling or fading.

Buy now for £6.00

Egg Skelter Aga Green

The ultra popular egg skelter, in a brand new colour to match your aga! This is a brilliant way of storing and displaying your fresh eggs in date order. Every time your hens lay a lovely egg simply add it to the skelter, and when it comes to eating them you will know to use the one at the front, which will always be the oldest.Your eggs will be proudly on display and you will never have to waste one again! The skelter stores around 20 medium size eggs.

Buy now for £19.52

Soldier Maker

Their is an art to making the perfect soldiers for dipping in your boiled egg. How many times have you gone in for a dip only to discover your beautifully buttered piece of toast is just too wide, or, even worse, it tears just as the soldier is submerged, leaving your deliciously yolky half stuck? It’s a tough world out their for soldiers and they need to be just right to survive a good dip. That’s where this brilliant gadget comes in handy. Just press the plastic device into your pieces of bread, pop them in the toaster, and when they’re cooked just pull the soldiers off. They will be perfectly toasted and crust free for the ultimate breakfast.

Buy now for £2.99

Humid Proof Salt & Pepper Shaker

This is eggcellent for anyone that likes travelling, camping and going on mountainous adventures. It’s not very practical to take your everyday salt and pepper shakers with you when your climbing Kilimanjaro, you probably couldn’t fit them into your rucksack for one, and if you did manage to squeeze them in they would no doubt thoroughly season all of your other items, and putting on peppery socks isn’t pleasant! So you need this nifty little gadget. It keeps salt and pepper in two separate compartments, which both lock shut tightly, ensuring there will be no unfortunate spillages on your journey, and providing a humid proof barrier to your all important seasoning. Ingenius!

Buy now for £11.00

Omlet World

The USA will be eggsperiencing a very special weekend soon. The 5th annual Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival! The American’s must really love their hens to dedicate two days of fun to them. It runs from the 18th-19th April and there are eggspected to be over 12,000 visitors. The highlight of the weekend has to be the Chicken Clucking Contest, but the Hard Boiled Egg Eating Contest and Egg Roulette sound very eggciting too. Maybe we should get planning our own festival for next year…

Omlet World

Hard boiled egg heaven? Not for long we suspect.

Omlet Team

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This entry was posted in Newsletter on April 7th, 2009 by admin