The Good Life: Make Homebrew Yourself

beerIf you’ve switched on your television in recent months you’ll have seen the increasing trend towards do it yourself programmes. Not the bricks and mortar sorts of programmes which show you how to wallpaper your lounge or make a nifty piece of art out of MDF, but the sorts which promote many of the old crafts which many may have thought were gone and forgotten. On Channel 4 you’ve got Kirstie Allsopp showing you patchwork and candle making, while on BBC2 comedians Mel and Sue preside over the hugely popular Great British Bake Off. If these crafty shows have inspired you to get crafting then you’re not alone and most of the equipment you’ll need can be picked up fairly cheaply too.


All of the major supermarkets have cottoned on to the increased interest in baking and you can pick up all of the basics to get you started along with the weekly shop. Basics like a mixing bowl, wooden spoon and cupcake cases will just cost a few pounds in total and once you gain in confidence you can start splashing out on more expensive things like metal loaf tins, cake tins in a variety of shapes and sizes or piping bags and nozzles. There’s no need to buy recipe books as there are literally millions of recipes on the internet.

Grow Your Own

It helps if you have a garden to be able to grow a wide variety of vegetables, but even if you live in a tiny flat you can grow herbs like parsley, chives or thyme in a little window box. Growing your own does require a little forward planning as you’ll need to plant in the spring to harvest in summer, but even in areas of poor climate you can grow in your back garden crops like beans, potatoes, parsnips, onions, carrots or peas. Any large garden center will sell you all of the equipment you need and give advice on seeds and planting too.


In the UK we have a long tradition of wine and beer making and most of us will remember attempts at home brew from our student days. The best way to get started is to buy a home brew kit either online or from a specialist retailer as this will give you all of the bottles, tubes and other ingredients needed to get your home brew going. If fruit wines and liqueurs are more your style, look around websites for ideas and inspiration. When autumn rolls around scour the local hedgerows for blackberries or sloes, or trade garden produce like gooseberries or plums with friends and family and use these fruits to make the basis of your drink.

Knitting and Crochet

If you were never taught to knit or crochet as a child, then picking up needles for the first time can be daunting. The internet is your best tool when you have nobody to teach you in person as there are thousands of tutorials available on websites like YouTube which will take you from the most basic casting on and knitting to the more advanced cable work or lace patterns. Pick up some cheap yarn from the charity shops and start off with a simple project like a scarf. Once you’ve mastered the art, you’ll have the ability to start making unique gifts for friends and family.

Little Steps

If you’re new to the whole concept of baking or growing your own vegetables, then the key is to start off slowly. There is no better path to failure than trying to take on too much at once; choose one skill, master it and then move on to something else.


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