Well, here it is – our first attempt at an eco retreat. While it’s still a bit of a work-in-progress, husband and I have done all we can until spring rolls around. And we’re pretty happy – but then anything is an improvement on looking out on to a skip. I think the biggest success is husband’s recycled pallet decking – not only is it constructed over two levels, but he managed to cut the lower-level decking boards into a very neat circle, creating a dining area for us in summer. I also love the stripy effect from using the recycled timber, and, best of all, it was completely free (apart from the extra day it took for him to break apart the pallets).

Our other mini projects include a homemade compost box, pallet flower boxes, solar lighting, a water butt made out of a rescued plastic bin, and a bird feeder. We’re also attempting to create our own mushroom spawn with a chestnut mushroom stalk and coffee grounds – if successful, we’ll transfer the spawn outside into a larger container and hopefully get our own mini crop of mushrooms. Come spring, I’m planning on planting some tomatoes and husband is pretty confident that he’ll be able to coax some olives out of our olive tree. Move over Tom and Barbara!