I finally planted some veg in MAY! Lots of these could be planted from March, but when the last frost has passed. Unbelievably, my car was still iced over a few times at the end of April when I left for work. How crazy is that?! I was planting my seeds directly into the soil outdoors, so had to wait.
My leek, carrot, beetroot, green bean and courgette seeds are from sowhow.com who sell organic seeds in very modern packaging with very easy to follow instructions! My friend gave me the carrot and beetroot seeds as a gift last year, for Christmas perhaps, and I had to visit their website to see what else they had. I then got the others!
It was a tad late for me to order their tomato seeds, so I purchased two plants from the garden centre. My courgette seeds didn't sprout, so I have purchased one courgette plant from the garden centre, just in case. I've since soaked the courgette seeds to see if it makes a difference. I may plant a few more as they can still be planted in June. I love courgette so an abundance would not be a problem!
Last year I only purchased plants from the garden centre, so it was a lot easier! This year I've done it nearly all from seed. I was amazed that they are all starting to grow! Woohoo!
So chuffed with my new trugs! Not the official Veg Trugs, but by Blooma. I picked them up one day for less than half price in B&Q. Those are the tomato plants from the garden centre. I must grow from seed next year.
Hello little green beans! These suddenly shot on through the soil out of nowhere!
Green beans sprouting!
So carrot fly is a thing. After my black kale and cauliflower got demolished last year, I decided to cover with thin mesh netting whilst these get going! Carrot fly is apparently attracted to the sweet smell produced as carrots sprout and begin to grow. In here are carrots, leeks and beetroot.
Ooh hello baby carrot!
My leeks are also now growing. They just look like grass as they come through! Straight little lines. They took a little longer than the rest. So excited to see these all grow.
Yesterday finally really felt like the first day of summer. We managed to spend a lot of time in the garden. It's been a bit awkward to sit outside before in the sun as we didn't have a parasol. Our last one flew out of the table last year in a summer storm, smashed into our window and snapped! Oops. I finally ordered a replacement last week, which means we can all sit outside and enjoy al fresco dining once again! I love to sit in the sun, but the children need to be shaded when it's really shining down. Reuben is also still crawling so needs constant watching to stop everything going in his mouth! Things will be easier outdoors once he's toddling about.
As it felt like a perfect garden day I just had to go to the garden centre to pretty up our garden. It feels so much better now and a delight to sit outdoors. I mainly purchased ready made hanging baskets and pretty tall flowers for the planters. I also planted lots of seeds in one planter that 'should' grow quickly and flower in the summer. They're for beginners and easy to grow, so I hope they work!
Here's this year's pretty bloomin' garden:
This is where the seeds are also planted ^^^ Fingers crossed for an overflowing tub of flowers!
I asked Bella which were her favourite. She said 'That one, that one, that one...' pointing at them all! On the way home from the garden centre I told her our garden will look so lovely with the flowers. She replied 'Daddy will like them too and I will be so pleased' !!
When you start to think about selling your home, you’ll begin to consider making it more valuable. It needs to be an attractive purchase. Ideally, you want to transform your home without spending a massive amount of money. That means you want your home to look more valuable without increasing the actual value. Perception is everything here, and I’ve got some ideas how you can positively impact a buyer's perception.
New flooring is always going to have a huge impact on how your home looks. A complete renovation, provided by a company such as UK Flooring could make your home look a lot more valuable. But you don’t have to spend a fortune on this type of renovation. Indeed, you can choose an aesthetic material. It may look like an expensive product but the material used is quite cheap. An example of this could be aesthetic marble floor in the kitchen. You’ll probably find you can get this installed for near to half the price.
You might want to think about styling your home with a minimalistic design. In particular, try to limit the amount of furniture in the bigger rooms. By doing this, you’ll make the space look larger. Complementing this with bright or light colors will make your home look grand and vast. The buyer will be tricked into thinking that it’s worth a lot more than it is.
Buyers can’t help but look at a home filled with modern furniture and think that it’s worth more than it is. If they stopped and thought, they’d realize that the furniture is not going to be in the house when they buy it. But they never do. They can’t help but imagine what modern furniture they could buy would look like in the home. Remember, if your property looks modern, you are going to attract young buyers.
Mirrors On The Wall
You do want a few mirrors on the wall around your home. Again, this is another trick that will make the house look a lot bigger. One room that you should pay particular attention to is the bathroom. You might want to set up a full-length mirror on one wall of the bathroom. Doing this will certainly open up the space.
Clean And Tidy
If your home looks like it’s being kept in good condition, buyers will think it’s worth more. That’s another effect on the psyche. If it looks good, they’ll love the idea of living there. That means there shouldn’t be toys and games all over the place. There should be no crumbs on your kitchen floor. You should make sure that your house is cleaned before every viewing.
Finally, make sure that at least one room in your home is set up to replicate a home buyer's dream. You may not have children yourself, but you can still set up the spare room as a nursery. This is going to encourage younger buyers to think about starting a family there. Do this and we’re sure you’ll get some incredible offers on your property.
We have finally been doing up our kitchen almost two years after buying our home. It was quite possibly the room I disliked most, yet the one we’ve pretty much saved until last. Don’t get me wrong, we still have LOADS to do around the house and particularly the garden, but we really hadn’t touched the kitchen. It’s a small north facing kitchen (grrr, dark and oh so small *insert sad face*) and the previous owners had only redone the kitchen two years before we moved in, but I think it was awful. It was the total opposite of what I would have picked, so I hated it. It didn’t feel like my home with their kitchen. They had dark brown wood effect sides and a black tile effect floor – both made the space feel even smaller, especially in a room with little natural light. They also had peach tiles on the walls along with peach paint on the walls. Hmmmm. An interesting combination if you ask me. Black, dark brown and peach.
I wanted to brighten the room up and make it feel more spacious and light. We’ve gone for white walls, oak effect floor which flows through the entire downstairs, white subway tiles and real oak worktops. They had cream gloss cupboards which are actually quite nice, so we kept these. This saved a mammoth task of replacing cupboards and cut the cost. The tiles are the only thing half done at the moment as Ben did half last weekend and will (I hope) finish the job this weekend. I’ll show some pictures once finished.
I’m so excited though – already it feels a billion times better and like it’s a part of the rest of the house. Not some random room with totally different decoration. Unfortunately we can’t do anything about the size of the kitchen just yet, but the dream would be to pop an extension on the back, or move to a detached house in the country with no house surrounding us… that one is a dream!
I hated the sink that was there. It was a stainless steel with a couple of rims like steps at the top of the bowl if that makes sense. These rims were a magnet for scum! I’d clean them at least once a day and before I knew it, they looked like they were filled with dirt yet again. I was getting so frustrated with them I just had to get a new sink! Their tap was also split, so had been spraying us with water in five different directions every time we turned it on! I purchased a lovely tall statement tap and a ceramic two bowl sink! I’ve always wanted a ceramic farmhouse style sink, but I needed the cupboard space underneath (damn you small kitchen), so we went for a two bowl normal depth sink. I prefer to hand wash, so this two bowl will be a lifesaver. I already don’t know how I coped without one. I can have a piping hot bowl of washing up soaking and we still have another sink for rinsing, hand washing, paint pot washing, etc!
We did, however, have a total disaster with our lovely new sink at first. So, lessons learnt, here are things to remember when buying a ceramic sink:
Don’t choose click and collect
It's best not to choose click and collect rather than home delivery, or if you do make sure you have two people collecting it (especially if you order a two bowl sink). We stupidly didn't think about this and worried I may be on the school run when they try to deliver, so had it delivered to Argos instead. Ben went after work to pick it up and it was huge. It was also very heavy. It was super awkward to carry because it was so big. It did have carry handles through the cardboard box, but when Ben got to the car the carry handles ripped through and the box hit the floor. Uh oh. We assessed the damage once he was home. The top right corner had cracked off. Eek. We thought it would be okay as it was a corner at the back, so might not be obvious if fixed. When we took the sink out the box to fit it, we realised there were large cracks through the rest of the thing. We still thought it might be okay as it would be so expensive to replace. So we optimistically purchased a sink repair kit to see if we could save our lovely new expensive sink.
Be patient when tapping out the sink hole! After researching how to do this on Google, it sounded as though the slightly scored tap hole should just ‘pop out’ after a few taps. Hmmm not so. Ben, thinking perhaps he wasn’t tapping hard enough, decided to really give it a tap (or whack). This resulted in a huge triangular chunk of the ceramic breaking off. A new sink it was. Our lovely ceramic sink has now cost nearly £500. Arg. This time Ben took his time and gently tapped away at the hole for two hours. Luckily there were no cracks in sight!
Buy a plastic washing up bowl
You’ll need a plastic washing up bowl, or alternatively plastic plates, cups, cutlery…! Ceramic is very very hard and the mixture of ceramic sink and china bowls does not go well together. No longer can you fill a unlined bowl with soapy water and throw in the crockery, china, glasses (unless you are looking for an excuse for a brand-new set of plates and bowls, then go ahead, play dumb and blame the sink).
If you keep these tips in mind you will no doubt start off a wonderful relationship with your new ceramic sink!
Rambling on about matcha goodness with Mighty Matcha!
I’m not going to stop banging on about the amazing benefits of green tea, or even better, matcha tea, any time soon! This stuff is one of the healthiest things you can drink. Matcha comes from green tea leaves, but these plants are shaded in order to boost their nutritional content. Minimal processing is involved to preserve the extra nutrients. Once harvested, the leaves are dried and stone ground to a fine awesome bright green powder called matcha.
Mighty Matcha is a very apt name. This stuff is indeed mighty. It has been shown to contain as many as 137 times more antioxidants than regular green tea. Considering regular green tea is often cited as being one of the healthiest drinks on the planet, matcha must have super powers in comparison! If you’re going to drink green tea for its health benefits (and lovely taste of course, yep delicious when you get used to it, I’m not joking), then surely you should drink the best of the best, the drink that’s going to give you the most benefits and really super charge your health. That drink is matcha.
Mid-afternoon, say even only two and a half/three years ago, I’d easily reach for the cakes, choccie, crisps or biscuits to satisfy my rumbling tum. I’d wash them down with a sugary tea, syrupy coffee or even a couple of years before this I’d go for a terrible aspartame containing sugary squash. Yikes! The thought of it now makes me feel a little sick to the stomach. Just ten minutes ago I had my mid afternoon snack. I had a cup of Mighty Matcha and two small oranges. Healthy, satisfying and no sick feeling afterwards. Energising and delicious. Plus it’s all good for me! My new self is definitely appalled at my old self. I still ate a lot of healthy food and always loved fruit and veg, but I still ate and drank crap every single day! Sorry for the language, but it really was. It should have been a treat, but if I am honest I ‘treated’ myself every day. Sometimes several times a day!
Anyway, the point I’m getting to is that healthy and natural and the most honest nutrient rich foods are always best. Your body will love you for them and you’ll start feeling better than you ever did. I don’t have the dreaded coffee slump anymore and I don’t have that fake awake feeling. I’m sure you know the one?! Drinking green tea and particularly matcha tea makes me feel alert, but without that terrible fuzzy forced awake coffee head feeling. I feel like I’m also flooding my body with so much goodness, it makes it worth drinking.
The taste might be something you may need to get used to. I’m so used to drinking green drinks and having funny tasting supplements, that my taste has adjusted to it and I look forward to these strange earthy tastes. Matcha tea has a grassy taste, but is not as bitter as green tea bags. The trick with green tea bags, if you hate the bitterness, is to remove the tea bag after 1-2 minutes. You won’t believe how long it took me to figure that one out. Doh!
If you can’t stand the taste, but want the goodness, try mixing a teaspoon into a homemade juice or smoothie. Blending is best or a lot of whisking as matcha powder can be quite stubborn! I purchased a proper matcha bamboo whisk online a while back. If you’re a serious matcha drinker, you must get one! The shape of the whisk really does dissolve all the powder. My metal whisk never quite cut it. I pop my powder in a bowl with half a cup of hot (boiled and left to cool for a minute) water and whisk as fast as possible using forward and backward movements, rather than circles. Then I pour into my mug and top up with cool tap water so it’s ready to drink straight away!
This rambling blog post was inspired by Mighty Matcha tea which has been the brand I’ve been drinking the past week. It comes in a cool little tin and I love their branding. I was sent the matcha for a possible review and I’m more than happy to shout about it!