Tag: gardening

A visit to Wollerton Hall Gardens

Ever since my garden has become my new favourite thing, it’s fair to say I’m obsessed with all things horticultural. I spend at least one lunchtime each week in the garden centre, I like nothing more than potting up pretty plants for my patio and I’ve started collecting shrubs for my newly cleared borders which are a wonderful blank canvas for me to start planning.

So when I saw that Gardeners World had a 12 month 2 for 1 gardens entrance card in their May magazine, I was all over it.

I’ve only used it once so far, when I went to Wollerton Hall Gardens last weekend.

The entrance fee is £7, or just £3.50 each with the 2 for 1 card. It’s probably quite expensive, for what it is, if like me you just wanted to have a meander and a bit of a nose. It’s certainly not a whole day out, but there is a nice tea room so you could probably get a couple of hours out of it. It’s a shame the (grade II listed, timber framed) hall isn’t open to the public but it’s beautiful to look at from the outside, and everything is immaculate.

The gardens are separated into “rooms” – each one with a different theme and/or colour scheme.

Poppies Wollerton Old Hall

Topiary Wollerton Old Hall

Lessons from our visit:

a) I need some poppies

b) I need some alliums (the purple ball shape flowers, top left)

c) I need to train my climbing roses

Are you a garden fan? Visiting, doing? I’m already looking for places to visit next!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

 

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5 things I’m loving right now

You know when there are simple things in life that bring a smile to your face? These are my current ones!

James Bay – Pink Lemonade

Considering I thought most of the single releases from his previous album wee a load of melancholy tosh, I can’t get enough of this song. Is it recorded in a different key maybe? There’s something about it. Love.

Burgers and outdoor eating

BurgerA couple of years back we bought an electric “barbecue” because the gestapo management company thought we’d burn our apartment building down if we used fire. When we moved into our house last year we expected to retire it, but it’s actually been a continuing revelation for outdoor eating after work when it’s just the two of us and a full on barbecue with coals and stuff is too much like hard work. The husband has it down to a T, and cooks THE most incredible burgers on there. Not even blowing smoke up his ass because he reads this, they’re the best burgers I’ve ever had, ever. Tasty, juicy, moist, yum! Loaded onto a brioche bun and topped with pickles, cheese slices and relish, I seem unable to stop at just one.

Frasier
FrasierI always thought that Frasier would be a pompous, up it’s own ass, not particularly funny comedy show, and never had any interest in watching it. Until the husband, buoyed by watching a few episodes out of sync on Saturday morning TV, bought the box set with a view to starting from the very beginning. What can I say, apart from “I was wrong”. Yup, hold my hand up, it’s nothing like I feared. It’s gentle, clever, dry and very very witty. Niles is my absolute favourite. I love nothing more than snuggling down for a 3 or 4 episode binge and some guaranteed lols.

Sunshine and being in the garden

Plants in my gardenThis needs no explanation. If you follow me on instagram you’ll have noticed I’m a weather obsessive. The sun makes everything better. Waking up, getting out of bed, leaving the house. Even being at work is more tolerable knowing there’s sunshine just outside the door. After a loooooong winter, we seem to have had better than average weather for the past month and I am living for it. Combined with that, my garden is just everything to me. I’d rather spend money on plants than shoes (I said that jokingly a few weeks ago, then realised that it’s completely true and I’m not even bothered!) and potting flowers and waiting for them to bloom is such a joy. The patio resembles a garden centre! We’re having a new lawn laid today and I’m ridiculously excited (sad, I know!) and I’m sure I’ll be sharing pics in the weeks to come.

Royal Wedding

Royal WeddingI wasn’t overly into Harry and Meghan’s wedding in the lead up but ever since I watched the coverage on TV I can’t get enough of it! Pictures, articles, opinions – I want it all. And just how beautiful are the official photos released yesterday? Harry’s smile – could he be any happier? I think it’s a modern day love story; not only about Meghan getting her Prince, but about H getting his happy ending too (no sniggering at the back, rude readers).

What’s dinging your dong right now? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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A perfect summer’s day

Hey! I’m back from my week in Greece, more on that later in another post. It was so nice to land on Sunday afternoon and be met by warm sunny weather, rather than the usual shock to the system when you’ve been in warmer climes. Even better was having an extra day off in the form of Bank Holiday Monday to soften the blow of being home, and yesterday was gorgeously warm and sunny in Birmingham. Yesterday was everything that every weekend was supposed to be in summertime, but has mainly failed miserably due to our rubbish British weather.

I had a lazy start to the day, a leisurely walk to the shops for breakfast supplies, and ate a sausage and mushroom sandwich. Then I pottered around in my garden, trimming bushes and hedges, pruning my overgrown climbing roses, watering all my plants that were thirsty after a week with no love or rain, and repotting rose bushes and french lavender to give them more space to grow.

It’s been so long since I’ve been able to spend any length of time out there because of the rain and general non-summeriness. I’ve probably not had a proper potter since the beginning of July. I was in my element; it’s exactly how I hoped to be spending my summer days. In truth I’d written off any chance of it happening as summer draws to a close (boooooo) but it was great to have a last hurrah.

Sunglasses in the garden

I’ve loved populating my green space with pretty stuff. These ornamental ladders came via a well timed trip to HomeSense, after I’d spotted similar on Pinterest.

Ornamental ladders

I’ve stacked them with pretty lanterns and solar lights from Poundland; they have such lovely garden bits and pieces.

Garden ornaments

These lightbulb shape multi-coloured solar lights were last year’s Poundland, from the Charlie Dimmock garden range (there’s also a blue and yellow one hidden from view)

Solar lightbulbs

These are my favourite garden ornaments though; Easter Island head planters from B&Q with blue grass “hair”. We call them Bert and Ernie (Bert is on the left with the emo sweepy hair and Ernie has the big forehead!)


In the evening we ate Chinese takeaway in the last of the sun and then watched the last two episodes of Game of Thrones season 7, catching up on the one we missed last week while we were away, and yesterday’s season finale. No spoilers, but I was slightly disappointed; previous seasons have led to big expectations!

How was your bank holiday?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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How does your garden grow?

Not gonna lie, this is a blatant way of giving a shout out to my new garden!

We got the keys to our new place on Friday night, and although we don’t have to move in immediately as we’re waiting to complete the sale on our flat, we’ve already been enjoying the novelty of having a garden.

When I was growing up I just assumed I’d get married, live in a house with a garden and have kids. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, at all. It’s just that I realised it wasn’t what I wanted out of life, even though I thought it’s the path I would take, because that’s what grown ups did. Instead, when I got together with the husband (who himself had already had houses and gardens and…shock horror…other relationships (!!) and other houses) we evaluated what we wanted and decided that actually we weren’t in the right headspace for the responsibility of a house and a garden (translates to couldn’t be arsed with the idea of mowing grass and the like) so we decided on a flat with beautifully manicured gardens, looked after by the estate gardener, and a balcony space where we could have a bit of colour in pots and some furniture to sit outside and soak up the sun.

Fast forward 11 years and our priorities have changed. We no longer want to be out and about multiple times a week – we love the thought of being at home in our own space, spending Saturday afternoons outside in the sun, welcoming friends for barbecues, and being more homebody-ish (that’s not to say we don’t still love eating and drinking out – one of our criteria for moving was the location which had to be in our beloved Moseley with it’s proliferation of restaurants, pubs and bars).

Anyway, to backtrack, we bagged our house and garden. It’s very very private – hidden behind a cul de sac so you wouldn’t know it was there unless you knew it was there. No passing traffic. A garden with different areas and lots of scope for al fresco dining and relaxing, plant pots, pretties and all the solar lights.

Here are a few pics!

I have bluebells and daisies – how exciting!

Lots of ivy and trees make the whole space incredibly green

Garden greenery

After a strong start on Saturday, we dedicated Sunday to buying sunloungers, relaxing, and looking up!

Are you a garden person? Do you love outside space?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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My current favourites

It’s been a while since I did one of these posts. Here are the things that are currently dinging my dong.

Favourites

ASOS 70s clogs
Do these need any words? They’re just lush. Which is why I got both colours! I’m hoping they’ll work with thick tights so I can wear them through winter too. They’re my favourite addition to my shoedrobe this year.

ASOS black clogs 2

ASOS tan clogs 2

Voucher websites
I’m perpetually skint right now, all my own fault (and with lots of good times to show for it!) so anything that helps me save cash is good. I have a couple of Groupon and LivingSocial deals in the bag that will help me on those weekends where it’s still forever until payday but I don’t want to stay home.

Ebay
More specifically, selling on ebay. I’m all for giving stuff to charity, but when there’s potential value in that stuff I need to at least try and sell it first. Especially when it’s never been worn. I have a credit card bill to pay, doncha know!

Pie
It’s rare that I eat pie due to the calorie content, but last weekend I bought these beauties which we had with mash and onion gravy. They’re from Higgidy – feta cheese, spinach and pine nut on the left, and chicken, ham and leek on the right. I’m going to make a pie at some point, with filo pastry to make it more healthy.

Higgidy pies spinach feta pinenut chicken ham leek

Higgidy pies spinach feta pinenut chicken ham leek

Substituting rice for cauliflower rice
Beat the carbs – lower fat and lower calories means you can eat more of it! (that’s how it works, right?) Plus it opens up more mid week dinner opportunities where you just need that type of accompaniment (I try not to eat carbs in the week).

Blue cheese
I used to hate this stuff as a kid. But now I love it! On it’s own, on crackers, on burgers. Yum. Check out this lamb recipe which it works with too.

Tesco flavoured sparkling water
Such a nice mixer for vodka (you didn’t think I meant to drink on it’s own, did you?!)

Tesco sparkling peach and passionfruit water mixer

Pansies
Now that the leaves on the trees are not long for this world, it’s important to have some colour through winter. I planted these pretty pansies on my balcony yesterday; they’re such cheerful little flowers that always look like they’re smiling!

Purple pansy balcony pot

What are you loving right now?

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