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    Garden

    4 Garden Lighting Trends I Love

    Garden Lighting Trends for 2017

    To mark my 40th birthday, my friends from Uni and family came to stay at the new house overnight. As Saturday came to a close we lit a campfire and let the kids toast marshmallows. Bit by bit the grown ups tucked kids into their beds and returned to the fire with a beer or a glass or red. We talked into the night, danced under the stars and as I crept back and forth to the house a few times I realised I was getting over my fear of the dark. With friends and laughter I felt braver.

    I’m not a particularly anxious soul but I’ve been known to go into complete panic if I wake in the pitch black. Our move has meant we have a lot more garden and I love it, but it also takes courage to roam it alone at night. Continue reading

    Garden

    How to create your garden retreat

    She shed

    I’ve looked at no end of pretty she sheds on Pinterest, but the shed that has most influenced me has to be Roald Dahl’s. I wrote about his marvellous place over on my family travel blog, Parentshaped Travels. When we move house next month, the summerhouse is getting a makeover and I want it to be a place to write. Although, I think each member of the family has a different plan for it. So I’ve been getting my research in early, just so I am ahead of the game.

    Continue reading

    Residence

    Tales from the House Hunt: Dream Like Bathroom

    Dream bath ideas

    What does your dream bathroom look like?  We looked around a lot of houses trying to find our perfect house and it’s given me a few ideas. A couple of places I will always remember, had the most incredible views from the bath, one of a lake and one of the hills – I lingered, plotting long, uplifting bubble baths as I gazed on nature. Sadly the bigger picture meant a bath with a view wasn’t enough to swing it. Another house had the hugest, most dream like bathroom with a roll top bath, but sadly no garden. Some things are more important than others.

    I love the idea of being able to appreciate the outdoors from a warm bath. Although, not too outside please. There was also the place that time forgot, the house my kids still shudder when they think about. On the kitchen table, by an ancient range was a yellowed copy of The Times newspaper from 1964, in the living room a small pile of lonely paperbacks caught the sunshine, upstairs we crept past chipped paint colours and curling edges of wallpaper patterns time had long forgotten… Continue reading

    Home

    Is Your Bathroom Boring? Quirky and Creative Bathroom Ideas

    Quirky Bathroom Ideas

    For years the bathroom in my parent’s home had a gold cherub in the midst of peeing nailed to the door. It is an object which has much sentimental value, as I stole it on New Year’s Eve from a McDonald’s toilet in Munich on my first ever solo foreign travel adventure. I am sorry, not sorry; I love that it has a story. For me the objects in my home are all about telling a tale.

    First you need to get the practical bathroom things sorted, from finding a bath to fit a tiny space, to finding a wet room suitable for all the family, more ideas on that here. Once the bathroom suite is sorted there are so many creative ways to turn your bathroom into somewhere a little different. Somewhere that reflects not just your ability to follow an interior decor trend, but somewhere that reflects your creative personality too. After all, all kinds of people end up making use of  the smallest room in our homes – wouldn’t it be fun if they came away inspired?

    So I’ve scoured the internet (pardon the pun), here are some ideas to get you started: Continue reading

    Home

    Dream Bedroom: Set for the Silver Screen

    Home Fantasy: Movie Nights

    Today’s house fantasy is all about the bedroom. A bedroom is an escape. My dream bedroom would combine the luxury of a boutique hotel with the romance of the movies. So I decided to combine hotel chic with the silver screen, to create a room that is like stepping into a black and white movie.

    I’m trained as a drama and film teacher, so it is hard not to see designing a room as being like creating a set.

    The black, white and silver palette connotes the age of the silver screen. There are less subtle clues in the tripod camera lamp and camera table lamp. A bedroom that truly sets a scene.

    The crisp white sateen stripe sheets, faux fur throw, metallic cushions and L’amour lampshade all scream night away in a boutique hotel. The service bell wouldn’t be out of place in a hotel reception, who knows, maybe my dreams of room service will come true.

    The cushions continue the cheekiness, but also take me back to silent movie age, when well chose typography replaced the need for speech.

    I am taking part in the Dream Bedroom Blogger Competition. We have a lot of antique furniture which I would never replace, so I have used very little of the £5000 fantasy budget. Amazing how you can make your dreams come true for relatively little isn’t it?

    Camera table light £50,  wood lamp £225,  fauxfur throw £50, clapper board £13, 5 cushions £100 in total, white sateen stripe bed linen £57, 2 L’amour light shades £100, bell £9. 
    Total £600

    Jen over at Love Chic Living is judging, I think it is clean and fresh enough for her tastes and I am hoping today’s house fantasy theme appeals.

    What would your dream bedroom consist of? Hop on over to Jen’s blog to enter.
    Food, Play

    My Daddy Bakes Millionaires Shortbread

    One Saturday morning I was the one who got up to make the kids’ breakfast, while Mr A snoozed. A few hours later, among many demands they made that morning, the kids demanded to bake, they’d been sent some fab baking equipment by Good to Know who have launched a guide to bakesales.

    So I told them to ask their Dad. My thinking was that this would wake him from his very long lie in, pass the buck and buy me a few minutes peace. Little did I know it would end in him actually baking, and very fine baking it was too. He selected this recipe for Millionaire Shortbread from the Good to Know site. Continue reading

    Food, Residence

    Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognaise

    One of my all time favourites that I go back to time and time again, is my mum’s vegetarian spaghetti bolognaise. That’s my old cat, watching the world go by from my parent’s kitchen table. My friends and I spent so many late nights at that table during our A level years that we asked Mum to cut it up and send us a piece of the old table cloth when she got a new one. My friend V said she felt as if she had the tiny pink flower pattern engrained on her brain, it feels that way seeing it again now. Continue reading

    Camping, Creativity, Days Out, Music, Parenting, Play, PS, Residence, Reviews, Theatre, Travel

    My definitive Camp Bestival Packing list

    I think this year I might have cracked it. My definitive Camp Bestival Packing List. Last year I had lots of help and advice, which I have added on to last year’s list. It will keep growing I know, so keep hitting me with what I missed in the comments!

    I’ve just reviewed  kattoos temporary phone number tattoos and ear defenders, the giveaway on those two has closed, but I have a fab melamine camping set to giveaway still. I’ve also just reviewed a Coleman cool box on wheels and double sleeping bag. I’m loving the Olpro range of tents, sleeping bags, windbreaks and melamine dinner set, for bringing a splash of colour and coordination to camp. We’ve also played with festival tents you can paint from Outwell.

    Here’s my account of Camp Bestival last year which gives more background on some of the things on the list as well as our fab experience! If you’d rather see it there’s also a video here. Even queuing for the toilets is fun, not that we ever had to queue for long at all, in fact the toilets were pretty impressive. So, on to the Camp Bestival Packing List!
    Continue reading

    Garden

    To call a spade a spade

    My Grandad’s old spade hangs on the wall, to remind me that greenfingers do run in my family, that gardening is a huge legacy and I really want to learn more about it. Watching my Dad, another keen gardener, with my kids, or seeing the way my brother grows chillis and tomatoes on his London balcony, I always thought the green fingers had bypassed me. Then, in my typical bull in a china shop, Gemini fashion, I decided to attack the garden one day.

    This is what it looks like in the Estate Agents documents, from when we nearly sold it last year. Neat and tidy but a bit bare. Glad we didn’t sell it, but we need to ‘reown’ it.

    I decided we were having a veg patch. Mr G was put to work on hosing the turf, while I dug. Each time I dug it got a little easier, instinct and Mr G’s excited shrieks kicked in. I’ve watched my Dad digging enough times over the years. We even found an old horseshoe which sent Mr G on a fabulous journey of the imagination and had history mad Miss L speculating.

    We added the old boat shaped sandpit as a raised bed

    We stuck canes in as we had seen my Dad do, to keep the neighbours cats off. Then we forgot about it (told you, I am a Gemini, master of unfinished projects).

    Until my Dad gave us a Kew Gardens seed and soil test kit. We tested the soil in a series of test tubes and realised it was perfect for growing stuff. So we filled the old sandpit with the wild flowers that came with the kit and added the broken old watering can and the old horseshoe for decoration. I hope it brings our crops luck!

    Then Mr G and I found some pea seeds in a tin in the shed. As I was planting the peas I could see my Grandad in my mind, hear him, telling me how to do it. I could see his big hands, the dirt permanently engrained in the creases, gently pointing where to go. And the peas, they only went and grew!

    See, all that information I’ve absorbed from watching the professionals in action is there, just a bit buried. I’ve had two rather fast growing little ones to look after and there hasn’t been much time for plants in my life.

    We bought some more seeds, and me and Miss l went for it.

    We thought some windmills would brighten it up and some log roll edging to keep little feet from jumping onto the seeds as they grew.

    It still felt a bit flat, so what we needed was a scarecrow. I looked around for some ideas and discovered hessian ones last longer. You can see how I did it in my how to make a scarecrow post.

    Costings

    Seeds – £17 (bumblebee wild flower mix, peas, carrots, broccoli, beetroot, lettuce)

    Tomato plants  – £3 in the sale

    Scarecrow materials – £10 online/petshop

    Log roll edging – £10 Asda

    Windmills – £4 for 8 mini ones Asda, larger ones National Trust £6 for 2.

    Creativity, Garden

    How to make a scarecrow

    You need – 2 Hessian sacks (I bought mine online) Straw (from the pet shop), garden twine, an old plastic milk bottle, scissors, a darning needle, an old broom handle, a garden cane, marker pen, hat and props.

    1. Cut one sack in half, from the bottom, to about two thirds of the way up to the top to make the legs. Cut the other sack in half, but all the way, this will be the arms and head covering.

    2. Sew the legs, I used garden twine, leaving room to now stuff the broom handle between the legs. Stuff with straw.

    3. Take  one half of the other sack and cut a head hole in the long edge, put this over the broom. Sew along the the open length of the sack, first creating the left arm, then sewing around the body to attach to the legs. You will need to scrunch up the fabric of the ‘leg’ sack to ensure there is room left to sew along the length on the other side to make the right arm.

    4. Stick a cane through the length of the arms and stuff the body and arms and then tie the ends with string.

    5. Using the leftover half sack, cover the milk bottle in sack with the excess length under what will be the scarecrow’s chin.  Stuff in some straw. You can either sew the head to the body, or just tie using the excess sack around the pole with string which gives a less Frankenstein like appearance!

    6. Kids can add features with marker pen or with props. Excess sack bits can be used to make a nose, or perhaps a scarf.