Summer, a time when everything is in full bloom and the days are not only warmer, but longer too. We love Summer. Not only because it makes us feel great, but because it means that we can get out in our gardens and enjoy flexing our green fingers.

Whilst there are plenty of gardening activities that you can do during Spring, that doesn’t mean that there is absolutely nothing to do in the Summer. In fact, to help inspire you to get outside in the sunshine, while it lasts, we have put together the top 5 gardening activities that you can do throughout Summer.

Get out in your polytunnel

If you have decided to invest in a polytunnel, then the Summer is the perfect excuse to get out in it. Not only are you going to have a whole lot of plants to harvest (if they are edible) or trim back and replant if they are not. But there is likely to be plenty of jobs that you can get done too.

The great thing with polytunnels is that it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing outside (let’s face it we are not always blessed with the best summers) you can still get to work. However, if the sun is shining and the days are long, then you are likely to feel much more inclined to get out in the garden.

Keep up with your lawn

Lawn maintenance is something that you need to do all year round, however, during the Summer months, there is a good chance that your lawn is going to need a spot of extra help. This is particularly true if there is likely to be a dry and warm spell. If we have had a few days without water, then it is a good idea to apply a generous amount of water to your lawn. You should only need to this once a week and once the rain hits, then you can stop watering it. It may sound strange but a heavier, infrequent watering is much better than light, frequenting watering, as it helps the roots to take hold.

Take care of your roses

One of the most popular flowers to grow in the UK has to be roses. Summer is a time when any roses that you have are going to be growing at their strongest. However, they still need a helping hand. One of your Summer tasks is to deadhead your roses and feed them. By removing the dead flowerheads, you will extend the life of the bush and make sure that you keep enjoying your roses for as much time as possible.

You also need to ensure that you feed your roses. Liquid tomato fertiliser is a good addition as this will really help your blooms.

Make sure potted plants are kept watered

When it comes to drying out, you are likely to find that potted plants are amongst the ones that drying out the fastest. This is because there is no natural moisture from surrounding soil getting to them. This is particularly true during the Summer, when there is much less likely to be rain around. You need to regularly keep on top of watering your potted plants, particularly those that are in the sunshine the most, otherwise, you are going to find that you have crusty, dried up potted plants, which isn’t exactly a look that many of us will be going for.

Think about what you want to do in the Spring

There is no point spending all that time out in your garden, working on it, if from time to time you don’t actually sit out there and enjoy it. Once your jobs are done and your plants are all looked after, then the time has come for you to kick back and relax. You can choose to spend your time with family, reading a good book, absorbing the natural world around you. You can also choose to think about what you want to do in the Spring and how you can then in turn, be sat there next Summer enjoying all your hard work.

As you can see, Summer is a great time to get in your garden. You might just find that you spend a lot of your time looking after the plants that you have, rather than worrying about what new things to plant.

 

 

 

The Pramshed

The benefits of buying a used kitchen may not have crossed your mind before. I remember dreaming as a child that one day I would have the most amazing kitchen. I lived in small houses where sometimes the kitchen would also be part-lounge and part-dining room. I was sure I would have a luxury home one day and spent time looking at kitchen advertisements quite a lot.

Kitchens were and remain an expensive outlay for the home. There are the products themselves and fitting costs too. My cousin was a kitchen fitter and made a small fortune.

As I watch property shows, I notice how often the house viewers focus on the kitchen as the heart of the home. Many talk about changing the kitchen immediately they purchase the house. I imagine this is quite stressful when you have already paid a lot of money for a new home and the associated legal costs.

So the first obvious benefit of buying a used kitchen is that you will save money. With the money you have saved you can focus on making some magical memories for your family perhaps with a holiday. The good news is you don’t have to compromise on quality when you go for the used kitchen option. We buy used cars without a second thought so why not apply that same logic to our kitchens?

Private householders and showrooms are the sources for used kitchens. Imagine getting an ex-display model at a bargain price or benefitting from someone who likes to stay bang up to trend and changes their kitchen look often. Savvy landlords have made use of used kitchens for years.

My second big argument for considering a used kitchen is that you will be helping the environment. We have so much waste and you only need to visit a local tip to see so much good stuff going straight towards landfill. Be part of the eco-friendly movement and buy a used kitchen adding your own personal touches such as funky handles or a repainting job.

Finally, if you buy a used kitchen, you wait less months and years to ring the changes and to cook up a storm.

 

 

 

Cuddle Fairy

My dream house is not too unlike the one I live in. I have had so many house moves over the years so I have learned to know what I like and also to know what works for us as a family. It is always good to dream a little because then you can make those plans come true when time and money allow. Here are some things I would like to add to my home.

Dream House

Indoor swimming pool

This is a bit of a standing joke in our family. Whenever the children don’t get what they want immediately and start moaning, I will say that I want an indoor swimming pool but we don’t always get what we want in life. On a serious point, I think it would be great to have a swimming pool sanctuary in an area of the home to relax and keep fit in. One day it will happen and if I have to compromise then an outdoor one will do.

Family-friendly flooring

Floors are the bane of my life as they can get dirty in an instant especially when you have children and pets. So in my dream home, I would remove all carpets for starters which in my opinion just suck up the muck. Give me tiled floors please and right throughout the home.

Bi-fold doors

I am a huge fan of property shows on the television. A few years ago we started hearing about the wonder of bi-fold doors. As someone who needs a lot of natural light to enhance my mood these really appeal to me. I love how they enable you to bring the outdoors in especially in the warmer months.  I notice from Three Counties Windows that you can add colour or wood effects to the bi-fold doors so you can ensure the doors fit in with your interior design too.

A bedroom of my own

I was brought up as an only child really. I had brothers but they were much older so away for most of my time in my childhood home. I loved the sanctuary of my own bedroom with its totally over the top wardrobes, a desk my Dad made to my design and my sliding door which Dad made for me after I decided it would be glamorous to have one. I spent a lot of time in my room dreaming and reading. It was home to my precious things like my foreign doll and stamp collections. It was where I listened to music. Like many wives and mums, I crave space a lot. Recently I have put a bed in a downstairs room so I can have a little escape haven but I would like to have a proper bedroom just for myself one day.

The perfect office

I have office space here but I would love to add lovely things to it like a vintage leather-bound desk with a retro lamp and a globe drinks cabinet in the corner.

As I say you have to dream and a lot of these options for my dream house are absolutely in reach or something to work towards positively.

What would your dream house look like?

 

 

Cuddle Fairy

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It’s such a relief to be able to talk about warm temperatures and to think about getting  outdoors with the family. Spring is definitely here and it’s time to make the most of that sunny garden.

Barbecue

There is something very special about eating outdoors perhaps with a picnic laid out on a tartan blanket. However, as we all know there is nothing quite like persuading the men in our lives to get involved in cooking than suggesting a barbecue. You can make it a social affair with extended family and friends too. Break away from just meat and look at fish and veggie options to add to the menu. Barbecues are fun whether you use disposable ones or invest on something more pricey.

Reading

When I am indoors I always feel like I should be jumping up to do something usually housework sadly. Funnily enough when I am in the garden it seems more holiday-like and that I can give myself a proper break. I think most of us women and  mums need to do this with increasingly busy lifestyles.

Paddling pool

When it gets hot, there is nothing more fun than splashing around in a pool. Most UK households do not have a swimming pool in the  garden but much like barbecues, there are pools for any budget readily available. My advice is not to watch the children but to join in. It’s OK to be silly sometimes and we need to remember that.

Garden furniture

It’s always a good idea to have at least a table and some chairs outside the house. Barbecues are better when you have somewhere to put the food. Chairs are essential for that afternoon snooze or when indulging in the latest summer read. Check out the latest trends and I love the look of modern teak garden furniture and can see myself sitting in a chair with a comfy cushion as the family play.

Trampoline

If you have the space, invest in a trampoline. It is such good exercise to jump and dance around. There are different sizes available and you can get some good bargains out there. Make sure you have a camera handy to take some action shots as they happen.

So there are just 5 things to make the garden ready for summer fun. Do remember to stay safe in the sun and also ensure you cook food appropriately.

Get outdoors a lot and make memories because that really is what life is all about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mum Muddling Through

In today’s increasingly busy and stressful world, life can feel overwhelming, complicated and full of obstacles (both physical and emotional) sometimes. However, your home shouldn’t be contributing to those negative feelings. Instead, it should be a calm sanctuary, where you can relax and recharge as well as being a place that invigorates and inspires you.

Creating a home like that doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. You don’t need to hire an interior designer either. There are many simple things you can do to transform your home into a calm and tranquil space. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Create an organised, welcoming entry to your home

A calming, relaxed atmosphere should start the moment you enter your home. A cluttered, chaotic entry area is not just unwelcoming but will also cause feelings of disarray and restlessness throughout your home. Think about what you would like to see as you step in the door. Probably not toys strewn across the floor, so look at what storage solutions would work in the space. A pretty stand to hold umbrellas and hooks or a cupboard that has a place for everyone’s coats and jackets is a good starting point. You could also add a small table or shelf where you can put keys and the day’s post.

Declutter as much as possible

Clutter enhances feelings of stress, anxiety and makes it hard to think clearly. The fewer items of clutter in your way, the calmer you will inevitably feel. When there is clutter, we are also more likely to lose things that we do need. Spending time hunting for something can make us late and leave us feeling tired and stressed. Keeping items in the right place helps you feel calm and aids getting you out of the door on time. Decluttering, however, is never a one-off task. To keep on top of everything coming into our home, you should try to declutter as often as possible, tidying away what you wish to keep. Investing in more storage and making sure the whole family knows where things should go will also make a big difference.

Choosing calming colours

Colour has a huge impact on us in a physical, emotional and psychological way. Colour can affect our mood and even our level of energy, so think about how certain colours make you feel. When it comes to choosing colours and patterns, the less-is-more approach works best for creating a calming and relaxing space. Too many bright colours, or lots of different patterns in a room, can draw the eyes all over the place. That makes a living space feel busy and hard to relax in. An all-white room, or using light-toned neutrals such as taupe, off-white or cream, creates a relaxing and tranquil environment. To bring interest into the space, add texture with furnishings in gold, faded yellows or pale tan colours.

Create space for a calmer mind

Our feelings of anxiety and stress can often build up if there is too much stuff in a small area of the home. Removing unnecessary furniture and furnishings makes a room feel larger and tidier. It also helps you to feel calm and more in control of the space. Even the way you dress your windows can have a significant impact on the way a room feels. Thick, heavy curtains can make it seem dark and cluttered while white no maintenance shutters create a fresher, streamlined look that offers privacy while letting the sunlight stream in. It’s also important to take some time looking at how you use tabletops and shelves. Try only to display items that are special and meaningful to you. Just by removing a few of the items on display you can create a much clearer, lighter space.

Use light to create a calming atmosphere 

Getting the lighting right can be fundamental to creating a tranquil atmosphere. There is nothing quite like the uplifting feeling of the sun’s natural light flowing into a room, so try to take advantage of that as much as possible. When it comes to the evening, bright overhead lights can make it difficult to wind down and relax, especially if we’ve spent the day in a brightly lit office. Spotlights are a useful way to direct brightness exactly where you need it, such as where you eat, read, work and study. Overhead dimmer lights, which you can adjust as and when needed, create a pleasant soft atmosphere in a room.

Your home should be somewhere you can escape to after a busy and stressful day. By taking a little time to think about how you use the space in your home and the things that help you to feel calm, you can transform your hectic house into a tranquil haven.

 

 

 

 

 

Winnettes