Spring Planting

Spring is almost upon us and for the past 3 weeks I’ve been preparing my allotment ready for planting the seeds I’ve been sowing that will hopefully turn into our vegetables over the coming year, it’s a very exciting time but the planning of it all has given me a headache.  Who knew planting vegetables would be so complicated?  I’ve tried online templates, CAD drawings and finally settled for good old pencil and paper when drawing out my plot rotation over the next four years.

seeds feb

I currently have no free space on any of my windowsills while my seeds are starting to turn into plants, I fear I may have to set up a mini greenhouse in my study to house my next batch of seeds.  Sometimes it can get on top of you a little, I’ve had panics that I’ve got too much of one variety and not enough of another, I’ve had a panic that I won’t have enough space for everything and I’ve had a panic about how I will transport my plants to my plot.

I decided to plant in stages so that I had a good supply of vegetables rather than everything growing at the same time which have of course provided me with even more work, I don’t do things by half do I!

trays of seeds I have to admit that I get really excited each morning when I go downstairs as there is always something different happening inside of my propagators, the broad beans are the most interesting for me as they go from nothing to a huge beanstalk in days.  Unfortunately no one else in my house seems to have the same enthusiasm as I do when it comes to my little seedlings, I bet there won’t be any complaining once my plants are fully grown and featuring in one of my recipes.

My main fear is that I won’t be able to grow everything I want this year, I have well over a hundred packets of seeds, all different varieties and I think I’ll probably end up swapping half on facebook groups or giving them away to fellow plot holders.  Thankfully some packets are ok until 2016/17 so I’ll be able to use them over the next couple of years.

balcony pots

My most impressive buy this year so far has been some rose bushes that I purchased from Pound Land, I wasn’t expecting much from them but they are starting to get lots of new stems, I bought them originally to put in pots outside of my shed but decided to put them on my kitchen balcony instead so I can enjoy looking at them while I cook, I’m tempted to pop back to the shop for some of the blueberry and gooseberry bushes that I spotted.

Later on this year I will be sowing some melon varieties which I’m very excited about, I hope my greenhouse will be warm enough for them but that’s a story for another blog post.

What will you be planting this year?

JJ Cole Bundle Me

Arthur is almost 2 years old and although he has been walking since he was 9 months old he uses his pushchair a lot when we are out and about as he has a habit of running away when we are in shops and he likes to go in his own direction when we should be walking into town. Sitting still can often mean you get cold quite quickly so I like to make sure he is really wrapped up which is usually blankets, coats, cost toes or a combination of them all.

bundleme

We have been putting the Urban BundleMe* by JJ Cole through it’s paces over the past couple of weeks,  If you have never heard of the BundleMe it’s a foot-muff that will keep your baby snug without the weather getting in.  The BundleMe features a quilted outer nylon shell that’s wind and water-resistant which makes it perfect for children like Arthur who hate having the rain cover on their pushchair even when it’s blowing a gale, it’s suitable from ages 12 to 36 months meaning we should get a lot of use from it over the next 12 months.

JJ cole bundleme

As soon as the BundleMe arrived Arthur couldn’t wait to climb inside and actually spent 30 minutes snuggled up inside of it watching a film.  I was impressed at how roomy this was compared to other cosy toes that I have used in the past, Arthur managed to fit quite a few of his teddy bears in with him and still had plenty of room left to get snuggled.

The makers of the BundleMe say there is no need for blankets or jackets as the stylish and warm inner lining, made of soft and stylish Thermaplush™ keeps your baby snug, I’ve not tested this out yet as we have had some incredibly cold days that really did require a coat but what I can say is that when I take Arthur from the pushchair he is lovely and warm.  If I’m being totally honest I could think of nothing better than sitting snuggled up in the BundleMe on a cold day.

bundleme pushchair

The BundleMe has a zip-up removable top for easy temperature control and it can be used with most strollers, I have tried this in my Cosatto Yo, Quinny Zaap Xtra and Maxi Cosi Mila and it fits perfectly in each of them. BundleMe is designed to fit three-point and five-point safety belts and other restraints can rest directly on your child without the foot-muff getting in the way.

I love the fact I can zip the bundle me right up to Arthurs neck, his arms are completely covered if needed and the only thing exposed is his head, I wish I had know about the BundleMe earlier as this is a fabulous pushchair accessory and such good value for money, it equates to around less than 17p per week if used weekly over three years and that my friends is a bargain.

You can purchase the BundleMe direct from Tomy for £54.99 here, it comes in Plumberry as shown, Stealth which is a neutral black and Neptune which is a green/blue colour.

*Press Sample

Gardening Subscription Services

 

February is a good month for planting so I figured I would share with you some of the best gardening subscription services available to purchase online so new gardeners can get themselves started and those who are already a dab hand can find some new companies to buy from.

three seasons seed club

Seed Pantry offer the three seasons seed club for £70,  It’s a wonderful collection of seasonal seeds and equipment to enjoy vegetable growing at home, with three, on time, Seed Starter Pack deliveries throughout the year.

Box 1 Christmas Chilli Seeds Starter Pack, delivered in December.

Box 2 Spring/Summer Veg Seeds Starter Pack, arrives early March.

Box 3 Autumn Veg Seeds Starter Pack, arrives mid August.

london herb garden

London Herb Garden offer two options to subscribers which are incredible affordable, the first is the monthly herb seed subscription £3 per month which gives you one packet of carefully chosen seeds sent in the month they need to be sown and could include herbs such as lovage, mizuna, sorrel and parsley.All orders received before 24th of the month will receive that month’s seeds.

The second option from London Herb Garden is their monthly vegetable seed subscription £3 per month Monthly vegetable seed subscription which gives you one packet of seasonal seeds and could include vegetables such as kohl rabi, aqua dulce broad bean and chilli twilight.  All orders received before 24th of the month will receive that month’s seeds.

plant-n-grow

Plant-n-Grow offer a subscription service which is specially designed, hand packed and delivered from their Shedquarters in Edinburgh.  Plant-n-Grow makes growing easy.  With their selection of indoor and outdoor grow your own boxes specially selected and sent out in advance of the sowing time for you to sow, grow and cook, fresh.

Prices start from £13.95 a month and your first box will be posted within 2-5 working days with subsequent boxes posted on the first day of every month.  All boxes come complete with your seeds, propagator, growing medium (either a seed mat or compost discs), indoor and outdoor growing instructions, chef prepared recipe unique to the box you select, seed markers and pencil.

allot in a box

The aim behind Allot in a box is to provide a complete kit of everything that is needed to grow your own veg at home, wether you live in the city or the countryside.

This is all provided in beautifully crafted and ethically sourced packaging making it a great gift idea and offering an easy, fun and practical way to get more people into growing there own.

The most popular subscription is the quarterly box which will supply you with enough products to keep you growing and eating food all year round! Within these 4 boxes you will receive 20 seed packs in total, all tailored to match the season, bespoke plant tags, organic jute twine, Homemade ‘Scrubs-up’ Soap, ALLOTINABOX® Grow Wheels and many more bespoke gardening gifts! All designed to provide you with the necessary equipment to make growing a fun and easy experience.  An annual subscription is £59.99

 

Do you already subscribe to any of these boxes?

Video Blogging

Last year I decided that I would try and upload more videos to my youtube channel which wasn’t as easy as I first anticipated, I have a smartphone and a tablet but a windows laptop which for me means editing isn’t as streamline as it could be especially if I have a lot of different pieces of video to upload as well as inserting still images.  I can edit my videos fine on my tablet but always seem to struggle when it comes to inserting images using iMovie.

What I really need is a camcorder, I’ve always wanted one since I was a child but for some reason I never got round to buying one, whenever we’re out as a family there are always opportunities to film either a precious moment featuring my children or a clip that would be best suited to you’ve been framed.  Actually thinking about it I could probably film clips daily that would get me £50 a pop on you’ve been framed, we’re a clumsy family you see.

For me personally a camcorder would allow me to film then insert my sd card into my laptop and edit from there without having to email myself lots of different video clips.

I’ve recently been researching camcorders and really like the look of the Panasonic range which offer a richer looking video compared to a smartphone, it’s actually quite staggering how different the video quality is on a device that’s made specifically for video, especially when I’m so used to filming on my phone.  The camcorder had a wide lens which is something I have for my camera but unfortunately this doesn’t have video capability.  Footage is blur free which is fantastic when taking action shots, when I film this way on my phone I have noticed that the quality isn’t great but assumed this was down to my hand shaking, when you view action shots through a camcorder there really is no blur.

The most exciting feature for me is the ability to record from two angles which really does have to be seen to be believed, this has completely sold the idea of getting a camcorder to me. Imagine being at a gig and wanting footage of the stage and the audience at the same time, you wouldn’t believe it was possible with one device but it really is, you could film a child’s first steps and a parents reaction at the same time or how about an interview where the camcorder is set on a tripod filming the interviewee and the interviewer simultaneously, the options are endless.

You can see this camcorder in action for yourself below.  What do you use to vlog? Your phone or a dedicated camcorder?

 

*This is a collaborative post

Furniture Recycling

My home is a bit of a mis-match when it comes to my furniture choices, I love traditional and vintage pieces but don’t really have the budget for a lot of what I like so where possible try to mix and match with a few modern pieces like our sofa and bookcases.  I’ve never had the chance to recycle a piece of furniture before, I usually buy new and I’ve always been happy to do that until now.

Last year I decided that my desk wasn’t offering me enough space, I have a room off the lounge that I use as an office come clutter room and in my mind the only solution I had was to take our farmhouse style dining table and use it as my desk.  I replaced the table with a sofa bed and Arthur’s numerous toy boxes so we really didn’t have anywhere to eat apart from our knees.

A couple of weeks ago I decided that we were not setting Arthur a good example by eating on the sofa and set out to find a nice drop leaf table, I don’t have the space for a large table anymore since Arthur has taken over my lounge so for me I had found a perfect solution.

A few people had told me that Ikea had a great little table for £100 which is a reasonable amount to spend, however the thrifty shopper in me knew I could do better so I visited the charity and vintage shops in town to see what I could find.  I fell in love with a G-Plan table in a retro shop, that was until I found out the seats needed reupholstered and the seller still wanted £575 *gasp*.

I’d given up hope until I wandered to the south side of town and saw the perfect little table and chairs outside a house clearance shop, I walked over and couldn’t believe my eyes when the price sticker on the table was £10, there were two chairs next to it that seemed to fit perfectly and again the price for both was £10, £20 for a table and two chairs is a bargain so I snapped them up.

recycled_table

 

recycled_chair

I popped into the farrow and ball shop to purchase a tin of Down Pipe and just before I took my tin to the counter I decided against it, If I spent £21 on the paint the table would no longer be the affordable table I wanted it to be so I put the tin back and headed down the next street to the Johnstone’s shop where I purchased a sample pot of Princess Grey for £3.45 (Redeemable against any full size tin), bargain!  My brushes came from poundland, I wanted a really rubbish brush so I could get an aged effect and these brushes were really rubbish, just what I needed.

recycled_tablepaint

recycled_table_paint colour

I started on the table, it took a lot of Milton spray and a roll of kitchen paper to clean all of the grime off but I knew it would be worth it.

recycled_table in progress

recycled-table_shabby chicThe paint dried really quickly and I managed to paint both of the table and the chairs in under and hour, I did leave it over night to make sure it was completely dry before placing it against the wall.

recycled_chair close up recycled_chair in progress

I ordered a piece of taupe spotty oilcloth to finish the table off and I couldn’t be more please with the finished result.  I’m now scouring all of the local thrift shops for other pieces of furniture to recycle.

recycled_table_finished