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It all started back in 2021 when we received the news that we had finally reached the top of the list for an allotment plot. If you are unfamiliar with Allotments, they are basically plots of land that you rent from a local council or a private committee with the intention to grow food.
I pay a small yearly rental and in return I get to use this little patch of land to grow vegetables, flowers, medicinal herbs etc for my family. Its a sweet deal! When I say you get a patch of land, that is literally all you get, no shelter, just mud….Oh and whatever was dumped on it before you got there, yep you own that too! So we had our work cut out, this is what we started with….
There were several elements I needed in order to make the plot work for me. I needed beds for crops, paths to get around them and shelter to hide from the ever brutal English weather. And I needed to do it all on a tiny budget.
I wanted to embrace the frugality and self sufficiency of growing my own food, the aim was not to spend but save. I didn’t want to sacrifice beauty for practicality either. Surely both are attainable despite the budget constraints?
I came up with the idea of doors. I knew if I could just arrange them in the right way, I could create a functional building. A quick search of Facebook marketplace yielded the results I needed, there were so many listings ‘free doors’ ‘Need gone asap!’ piles of them, all we had to do was pick them up…free materials!
We collected 15 doors in total, 4 for the front, 4 for the back, 2 on each end and 3 for the interior dividing wall. Other free materials we used on the build were, used decking boards & pallet wood. There were some unavoidable costs, like the corrugated plastic roof and supporting timbers, all in all it cost just under £200 to create.
It took around 3 months to build, dedicating evenings, weekends…lunch breaks! In that 3 month period my husband and I experienced every season! Hail, Snow, Sleet, rain, and the occasional sunny day.
Why did I enter ?
I documented the whole build on my Instagram and the response I got was so positive, I thought…maybe I’m on to something here!
So I did a quick search and found the shed of the year website, I filled in a short form, attached some pictures and entered my shed in the budget Category, it took no longer than 5 minutes.
If you are unfamiliar with Cuprinol shed of the year, here in the UK, its kind of a big deal, us brits are passionate about our sheds, and shed of the year has amassed quite the cult following! Every year its in all the newspapers, magazines, on the breakfast shows, the radio, on the news channels, for a couple of months every year its a hot topic.
Andrew or Uncle Wilco as he is affectionately known, is the founder and head Judge of the competition and 2022 marked its 16th year.
How does it work?
This year there were 260 entrants over 7 Categories. From those entrants, the judges select 3 finalists for each category. It then goes to a public vote, the public decides the winner of each category. Then the Judges decide the overall winner from the champions of each category.
Shed of the year winner!
Blew my mind! I remember, I was drinking a cup of tea when an email pinged on my phone.
‘Kelly, I have some good news for you, your shed ‘The potting shed’ has not only won the budget Category this year, but also won the overall Shed of the year competition 2022!’
I proceeded to spill my tea, do a little dance and hastily called my husband! Yelling ‘I won, I won!’ ….. It was the first time an entrant in the budget category had won shed of the year, a completely crazy, but wonderful moment!
Shortly after hearing the news, a photo shoot was scheduled, the shots would be included in a press pack sent out to announce the win. What a day this was!
The sun thankfully shone and despite some initial nerves, I really enjoyed the whole experience.
Keep it to yourself
I could tell my nearest and dearest, but I couldn’t announce it on social media or anywhere else… For 6 weeks I had to keep quiet until it was released in the media.
It was so difficult! I had lots of people on Instagram asking if I had heard anything yet, these lovely people were the ones who were voting for me, so it felt a little dishonest keeping them in the dark, but I cautiously replied… ‘any day now’.
Then on the 1st of September, the first media announcement was released and it was safe for me to share my wonderful news!
I shared this video on Instagram
Life May Get Crazy!
Head Judge Andrew had warned me that my life may go a little crazy for a while…he wasn’t kidding!
The media attention was overwhelming- but in a good way! I was on, This Morning, GB News, ITV news, BBC News, BBC Manchester Radio, Jeremy Vine Radio show, Newstalk radio. Newspapers- The Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian, The Mirror, Daily Mail, The Sun and many more. I made it in Gardeners world mag, House beautiful, Home and Garden, my modern met, IKEA magazine… it was completely bonkers, but a lot of fun!
A screen shot of my GB news Interview, click here to watch full interview
What did I win ?
I won the honour of being 1 of only 16 people to ever win shed of the year ! Bragging rights with my Dad! He is a very skilled carpenter and craftsman, so for his daughter to win this… is quite the accolade ;o)!
I won £1000 cash, £100 Cuprinol Vouchers and two fabulous winners plaques and memories that will last a lifetime!