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  1. A sneak peek at our garden makeover progress

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    Plus panormaic photos of our garden this year

    We’ve only been in our home three years at the end of May and have been pretty much non-stop doing it up!  I really wanted to buy a new home, but Ben was adamant they aren’t as well built as old homes so he convinced me to buy an older home.  The home we bought was built in the 1960s I think and it didn’t look in too bad condition.  We were quite naïve buying our first home together and even Ben thought all it needed was a lick of paint and a few jobs completed here and there.  

    His prediction was six weeks until we had it up to scratch.

    Ba ha ha.

    Three years on and we’re still working on the house!

    A panoramic photo of our garden and makeover progress

    A panoramic photo of our garden and makeover progress

    A panoramic photo of our garden and makeover progress

    We’ve changed almost everything indoors.  If it hasn’t yet changed, then it will be on our seemingly never ending list to do!

    Turns out we needed a lot longer than six weeks.

    This year I really wanted to focus on the garden.  We did a lot when we moved in such as removing a huge pond, replacing some patio and replacing a 2x15m overgrown border with grass, removing several trees and a path in the middle of the garden, but we still have a long way to go.

    Ben had some time off over Easter and thanks to lots of sunny weekends before this we’ve really managed to get out there and get loads done already.

    Here’s what we’ve managed to do so far this year and what’s left to do:

    • Shed – we were using the shed that was left here, but it was rotting and falling apart.  There is also a tree from next door which is pushing through our fence and was growing into the shed roof!  We’ve thankfully agreed with them to chop some down off our land as we need to replace the fence panels, but it’s in the way.  We bought a much smaller storage shed and got rid of a load of junk from the old shed.  We now have a much neater shed along the side of the garden.  It’s a metal green one and it was a pain to build, taking the best part of two days!  Ben did most of it, but I had to hold it and help tighten bolts, etc, as it was impossible to do it by oneself.
    • Chickens – Having removed half of the left hand border which came out up to 1.5m, I decided this would be a good spot for chickens.  We have talked several times about getting chickens since we moved in and decided now is the time to just go for it!  I ordered a coop and Ben has separated part of the garden for us to get four chickens.  He’s been busy adding different terrain, a bath, a swing and more.  It looks great and we’re off to buy chickens at the weekend.
    • Mud Kitchen – I’ve wanted a mud kitchen for the kids for ages.  Not only do they love the mud kitchens at playschool/school, but it will hopefully distract them from digging up my vegetables!  Ben used a bunch of left over wood and pipes from the old shed along with our old kitchen sink to create an amazing mud kitchen which they are already having hours of fun with!  It’s going to provide so much entertainment in the garden once the weather is scorching.
    • Grow your own – I’ve been busy planting seeds in my two vegetable trugs and have used all other available pots from the shed/garden.  This year I am growing almost everything from seed.  We have: pumpkins, courgettes, green beans, carrots, tomatoes and lettuce.  We also have strawberries, giant strawberries (apparently the size of a medium tomato), raspberries, apples, cherries, mulberries, pears and plums.  Quite a fruitful garden!  I look forward to seeing what grows and eating what does.
    • Trampoline – We’ve not done this yet, but want to put one of those in the ground trampolines in so it’s flush with the grass.  We have a good circular spot where we removed some trees and a circular path in the centre of the garden and grassed over.  It should hopefully still be fairly easy to dig up.  I do wonder why the in the ground trampolines are about three times more expensive though.
    • Garden room – now the shed is gone we have some rubbish left to clear at the bottom of the garden and all the fence panels behind it need replacing.  Then Ben wants to level the ground ready for a garden room.  If we can get planning we’d like to build a garden room with ensuite to let as a short term holiday let.  We’ll section off the bottom of our garden so they’ll even have their own private garden space.  I imagine adding a fire pit/chimnea and outdoor seating.  A cosy log burner inside the building.  It’s our idea for some extra income and I think it will be fun too.
    • Fences – we have lots of fences to replace and lots still to paint!  Our garden is 90 foot, so that’s a lot of fence panels!
    • Patio – I detest our patio.  It’s the cheapest yellow and beige slabs and it looks like a giant checker board to me.  Perhaps if it was a smaller area it would look better, but it’s huge.  We had the slabs professionally cleaned two years ago, but already they look so dirty.  I think that’s the main reason I don’t like them – because they look so dirty all the time.  I like things neat, clean and tidy, so these slabs bug me a lot!  Ben likes some slate slabs and I’m not sure about grey, but I guess they won’t show up the dirt or look bad for a long time?  We are considering an extension on the back of the house, so we won’t be looking to replace the slabs until we’ve decided what we’re doing house wise as an extension could cover half of them.  Maybe there’s such a thing as patio paint as a cheaper alternative for now?
    • Border – We only have a quarter of the original border left to sort out!  Hurrah!  It’s at the back left behind the chickens.  I’ve already pulled out the border edge (rotting wooden stuff) and Ben has lifted all the slabs which were the path next to it.  My fruit trees are planted here, but we’ll pull up all the weeds and level the soil out ready to grass over.
    • Log stores – Ben built an amazing triangle log store last year with left over fence posts from his brother and wood from B&Q.  It looks amazing!  We need 2-3 more, but it was quite time consuming to complete as he had to prep all the wood before, so we went ahead and ordered a flat pack for now as we have so much wood to store (and now a shed to chop up and use as log fire wood!)  Hopefully there will be some time to build more of our nice triangle ones at some point.  Ben even wants to sell them one day!

    Wow, writing it all down really makes me see how much we have achieved already this year.  But also how there is still so much left to do!

    Fingers crossed for great weather this spring and summer so we can complete as much as possible.  Then we’ll continue with the indoors. . .

    I think perhaps five years would have been a realistic expectation to complete our new home!

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  2. Ideas & Inspiration For Creating An Edible Garden *

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    How to begin growing your own food

    Gardens are spaces that have so much potential; we can literally do anything with them. And yet, far too many of us lack imagination and fail to make the most of the outdoor space that we have been blessed with.

    What a lot of people forget is that gardens aren’t just spaces for relaxing and unwinding in, for anyone with a passion for food, they are so much more than that, or at least, they can be. More and more people are choosing to transform their gardens into spaces that focus mainly on food so that they can get that little bit more out of them.

    Traditionally, most gardens were used for growing food, so why should these spaces be any different today?

    For anyone who follows a plant-based diet, creating a garden that’s food-focused is a fantastic thing to do. It can help to make following a vegetarian diet easier and cheaper, plus it can mean being able to access organic foods more easily if you choose to grow organically, that is.

    To help you create an edible garden, below are some tips and ideas.

    Zone off your garden

    Obviously, you don’t want your entire yard to be food-focused because you will want areas to relax in and places for the kids to play. So it’s a good idea to separate your garden into zones, such as a relaxing area, a play area, and a produce growing area.

    In the play area, have a sandbox and play tower incorporated for your little ones.

    In your relaxing area consider building a deck, complete with deck lights, railings, and an incorporated BBQ, perfect for using to cook the produce that you grow. BBQ spicy veggie kebabs, anyone?

    Create an allotment

     growing carrots.jpeg
    Image from Pexels

    The first step to growing your own produce is to create an allotment. This can either be a raised allotment built in a wooden box or a floor-level allotment, depending on what you would prefer. There’s plenty of advice online about the best types of allotments, so it could be worth taking the time to do some reading up.

    As for what you can grow in your allotment, from root vegetables to lettuce, you can grow practically anything, just as you know what care each vegetable that you grow requires.

    Build a herb garden

    For a herb garden, what you want is a large pot of some kind. For one reason or another, herbs tend to grow better when potted up, rather than when grown straight in the ground. There are plenty of herb garden ideas on sites like Pinterest, so it could be worth having a browse for ideas. Pallet herb gardens tend to work well as they are grown horizontally, and so are ideal for gardens of all shapes and sizes.

    Plant fruit trees and bushes

    apple tree.jpeg
    Source

    Obviously, if you are going to grow your own produce, you don’t want to only grow savoury food, you also want to grow lots of delicious fruits. The best way to do that is to purchase a few fruit trees and shrubs - these can be grown in pots or in the ground, depending on what you would prefer.

    Some of the best fruit trees to get are apple, pear and plum trees, as for fruit shrubs and bushes, strawberry plants are great, as are raspberry bushes. You could opt to grow fruit from seeds, but it will take a long time before these trees and shrubs begin to produce edible fruit, so buying ready grown trees and shrubs is probably best.

    You'll be surprised at how quickly you'll be devouring your delicious home-grown foods and wondering why you didn't start sooner!

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  3. Summer Party Ideas That Make Use of Your Garden *

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    Four ways to make your garden party a success

    With the summer season coming up, it’s time to get those party engines started and prepare for a season of outdoor joy. With the warm weather, lack of rain and long nights, we have many excuses to invite all of our friends and family over to party, relax, or just enjoy the outdoors.

    However, instead of going out to expensive and busy venues, why not make the most of your home? Here are four wonderful ideas that will make the most of your garden.

     
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    A drinks bar

    With the summer comes many hot days and we all need to revitalise ourselves with some beverages. A drinks bar is a luxury that many people don’t invest in. However, with the summer coming up, if you have plans to set up a great party then it's a great idea.

    A drinks bar doesn’t need to be fancy. It can simply be a table or desk with a lot of storage space for drinks. Keep it nice and cool and in the shade, and get a few bar stools to go with it. Your guests will have a place to make themselves drinks and you’ll have a place to store all the drinks guests bring.

    Outdoor entertainment

    There are many different ways to plan entertainment for your summer parties. For instance, you could hire a DJ to play your favourite tunes at home. They usually bring all of their own equipment, they don’t need much space to set up and they’re relatively inexpensive for how much they improve your party.

    You could also hire a Big Hat tipi if you have a lot of space in your garden. These giant tents will provide a nice place for your guests to relax and take shelter from the shade, and you can even furnish the inside with dining tables or dancefloors.

     
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    Garden furniture

    If you’re still using plastic chairs and tables as garden furniture, then consider something a bit more stylish. Do yourself a favour and get some proper furniture. Deck chairs, proper tables and garden sofas are wonderful examples of furniture that will spice up your garden and make your parties a lot more comfortable and relaxing for your guests. Focus on providing you and your guests with extra levels of comfort and invest in proper garden furniture.

    Learn how to grill

    The summer months are boiling hot and it doesn’t make it any better when you cook indoors. If you open the oven door, that blazing heat will spread through the house and raise the temperature. If you turn on the stove, then again, the heat will spread all the way through your house and make you sweat. The best way to remedy this is to simply cook outside. Replace your grill or get a new one if you haven’t used it for a long time. Learn how to grill some delicious vegetarian barbeque food and you’ll wow your guests, even if they aren’t vegetarians!

     

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  4. Teal VQ Hepburn Mk II DAB Radio/Bluetooth Speaker Review

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    Why you need this amazing radio in your life

    It annoys me a bit when I see bloggers say I’m in love with *insert product here*.  I mean, how can you be in love with a blinkin’ lipstick or candle, right?  But let me tell you.  I’m going to disapprove of myself right now for telling you all I am IN LOVE with my new VQ Hepburn Mk II Radio! 

    Teal VQ Hepburn Mk II DAB Radio Bluetooth Speaker Review Blog

    Oh yes I am.  It’s amazing.  I was very grateful to be sent one of these incredibly cool retro looking VQ radios for review.  It’s quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever been sent for review.  I keep looking at it and stroking it.  It’s so nice.  I’ll warn you now, this is going to be one of those gushing reviews because it is really so awesome.

    Teal VQ Hepburn Mk II DAB Radio Bluetooth Speaker Review

    Even Ben likes it.

    And that says a lot because usually he doesn’t care much for my blog or things I am sent.  Plus he used to be a sound technician so he is quite picky when it comes to sound quality and speakers, and even he is impressed.

    In fact, he was the first to whip it out of the box, set it up and play his iPhone music whilst remarking immediately on how great it is.  I barely got a look in on unboxing day!

    Teal VQ Hepburn Mk II DAB Radio Bluetooth Speaker Review Bloggers

    Luckily today he’s been in the garden lots, so I’ve been spring cleaning in the kitchen with music blasting out of my lovely new teal radio for most of today, and I too, am very impressed.

    I say above that Ben ‘set it up’.  Let me not confuse you here.  By ‘set up’ I mean plug it in and switch on.  That’s it.  Easy.

    Teal VQ Hepburn Mk II DAB Radio Bluetooth Speaker Review Blogger

    I usually hate technical stuff and leave it to Ben to set up, (then moan forever more that I have no idea how to use anything as it’s far too complicated), but this radio is the easiest thing to use ever. 

    Don’t let all the buttons complicate things, they are what they say they are and it’s all very straight forward.  Within around ten seconds of turning the radio on I had connected my Bluetooth and was listening to my playlist admiring the sound quality.

    Teal VQ Hepburn Mk II DAB Radio Bluetooth Speaker Review Blogs

    I’ve never had a DAB radio before, only ever the types of radio that need tuning in and stations searching for.  Isn’t DAB radio awesome?

    Not only does it immediately find all the channels for you, but it displays their names on the screen too so you can easily find what you’re looking for.  There also seems to be far more channels and types of music than I can ever find on my useless car radio which also often loses frequency!  I might have to invest in a battery pack and take my lovely new radio in the car with me instead.

    I’ve plugged the radio into my kitchen and it’s placed proudly on top of my fridge for all to admire and all to hear, but it doesn’t have to stay there and can actually be taken anywhere. Sure you can plug it into another room, but you can also chuck a load of batteries into it and take it ANYWHERE.  The beach, the park, up the hill, the garden, on holiday.  Anywhere.  It’s portable too.

    Though I’ll be a bit petrified when taking it out of the house as I don’t want to lose it/break it/mark it/scratch it/ruin it whatsoever.

    Teal VQ Hepburn Mk II DAB Radio Bluetooth Speaker Review Box Unboxing

    I can’t not love the colour of this radio as we have a teal theme throughout our home.  It’s my favourite colour, but if it’s not yours then you’ll be pleased to know it comes in 18 colourways at the time of typing.  There are neutrals, pastels and even Emma Bridgewater floral patterns to choose from.  The overall style is very retro, but not cheap or tacky looking at all.  It has a classic radio feel and it looks great.  It’s very high quality and very well made.

    If I’ve not yet convinced you to add this to your birthday/Christmas/just because wishlist, then you must pop over to their website www.myvq.co.uk to read all about it and see the other radio designs.

     

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  5. How to set up the perfect home office *

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    Tips to create your perfect home office

    Having a home office when you work full time from home is pretty essential.  It keeps the ‘work’ slightly separate from the ‘house work’ by creating a work place.  It is also a great place to store everything work related in an organised manner.

    If you don’t have the space for a dedicated room as an office, perhaps you can turn part of a room or even a corner into your work space?  My home office is a third of my children’s playroom, divided off by their play sofa!  The plan was the children could play whilst mummy works, though it doesn’t always work out like that!  Ideally I would have a separate home office altogether, but this is something we will address once the children are older as Reuben is only two so needs to be with me at all times still.

    How to set up the perfect home office

    Here are a few tips for setting up the perfect home office:

    Position your desk near a window

    Natural light can really help to give you energy and keep you motivated.  It's much nicer than artificial light.  It can also provide a great view which is much better than staring at the wall.  If walls are your only option then pin up some of your favourite photos and motivational quotes.

    Invest in a comfy ergonomic chair

    If you work from home then you may not always sit at your desk.  I mostly curl up on the sofa with my laptop on a feather cushion, but if I have something really important to do I’ll sit upright at my desk.  It’s crucial to have a comfy well designed chair that isn’t going to break your back after a few hours work.

    Add greenery

    An indoor plant or some easy to care for succulents will instantly cheer up any desk, whilst also promoting calmness and happiness.  They’ll also give you something pleasant to look at whilst all those exciting business ideas are running through your mind.

    Keep it light

    Keep the walls and furniture a light colour and save any hectic colour schemes for the rest of the house.  Light calming colours will allow your mind to be free and concentrate on the task at hand.  If you’re a blogger like me invest in a white desk – it’s a great background for all those product shots.

    Hang a custom door sign

    Do you have an amazing business logo that you’d like to show off?  Why not consider a custom internal door sign created by a company such as Stocksigns?  This will make your workspace more professional and will definitely impress any clients who call by.

    Declutter

    Tidy desk, tidy mind, or so the saying goes.  A clutter free workspace will help to keep you more organised and focused on the task in hand.

    Do you work from home?  What are your top tips for creating the perfect work space?

    You Baby Me Mummy

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