Thursday, 21 June 2018

Creating a new garden quickly for summer

I've been moving, gradually, I've probably hinted at it since it's so very hard to contain excitement but also not say too much until it has happened. One of the aspects of the move has been my ferrying of plants and pots from one county to another to their new village location to create a new garden. I love my garden in Cheshire and losing it has been difficult but I love my man more than flowers and climbing roses so I set about changing the front yard into a little country garden. 

I wanted to create a space for us to sit and enjoy the summer, but in the quickest time possible since I'm incredibly impatient and wanted to make the most of any sunshine and build the basics of a garden for the following year. Using what was there was, so some existing amazing planters to be filled, I added more from my house in Cheshire to build up a structure of a herbaceous border but using pots and containers.

container garden

In just over a month, we have created a beautiful knitted together flowery front garden, secluded and filled with herbs, perennials, trees in pots and roses. I have spent hours poring over my Pinterest garden board and finding ways to creatively garden using containers. The outcome has been a joy to document and watch, every week, growing and uplifting.

To create a courtyard garden for instant impact I have a few recommendations:

Local plant sales
We have been going to local plant sales, one at a local library and one at a cottage, both selling a variety of flowers cheaply. The sweet peas climbed up sticks we collected on dog walks and have provided scent and deep colour. The philadelphus little white love from the cottage sale and the bear's breeches are thriving and the coreopsis from the local shop is attracting the bees and hoverflies. For a small amount of money, the pots have been filled with colour and we've added some courgettes, pumpkins and homegrown salad leaves in for veggie crops too. Herbs too are providing a scented small garden and have been useful adding to our cooking.


For evening use of the garden, some glowing lights for ambience extends the hours and adds a pretty look whilst sitting out with a glass of cider for me as dusk descends. Have a look at Lights for a range of outdoor lighting for patios and terraces with interesting options for every kind of style, contemporary to more traditional and eclectic such as fabulous LED illuminated plant pots and solar mosaic lights. I love the way garden lights create a cosy glow through leaves and casts shadows of flowers. The bedroom looks out over the garden and it looks so pretty and atmospheric with lights positioned around the space and we can enjoy the garden for much longer. I eventually want an electrical supply in the garden for path lights when we develop the space behind the house but for now solar is such a useful, instant and inexpensive solution. 
garden lights

Adding height
We've added some patio fruit trees to bring height to the garden and interest, cherry, apple and pear trees so we will have in future years some nice fruit crops. I'm most excited about the morello cherries. My clever man has made an amazing arch gate for roses to climb up and over, spilling across and blurring the edges. It's given the illusion of a maturer garden. Different heights and textures using lavatera, buddleia and clematis, quick growers that are working hard already. Runner beans are now escaping over the wall and the garden is bursting with energy. 
courtyard garden

Variety of containers
A bit of creativity when selecting containers has added impact to the garden, such as those I found at the cute plant place in Shropshire. Traditional pots are quite expensive so variety by way of crates and baskets has enabled many plants to be grown and a layered structure has been put together to create an exuberant mix of flowers. I've grown seeds in anything possible and we've picked up found items to pop a courgette or two into. Hopefully too creating a garden for wildlife, herbs in old sinks, bee attracting flowers in moss lines wire baskets or a drawer full of frothy butterfly attracting annuals.

I'm so pleased with how it is all looking and leaving my more traditional garden behind has felt like no problem at all as I feel so happy in our new garden and loving the space more and more. I have always admired gardens created in less typical spaces so the challenge is very fulfilling.

*collaborative post 

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Styling my new creative room

I have a new room that needs some styling, it's going to be part study, work room and a place where hopefully creative things happen. I want this room to encompass all the ideas I've been collating on my weird and wonderful Pinterest board - dark shelves of Victoriana and curiosities, skulls and botanicals, old photos and postcards frames.

Here are my ideas and we shall see how the room takes shape as time goes on.

Vintage nature prints

I'll be searching junk shops and having a look online for vintage flora and fauna prints that I can hang up in my creative room, which has yet to have a name, perhaps blogging room might be the final choice. I love collections of things and illustrations are perfect, grouping together bugs and butterflies or ferns and flowers. The RHS have some super prints available, I have some in postcard form of 19th century seed catalogue covers, beautifully coloured and bringing inspiration for some of the work I intend on doing. Postcards are a cheap way of decorating and some I've picked up as wonderful freebies from flower shows that I can hang up with bulldog clips and string.

bug illustrations

botanical RHS print
see RHS for similar

Industrial Lighting

I'd like the room to have an industrial feel, an element of school science laboratory and workshop with utilitarian vibes, metal and brick but softened by the floral elements of the illustrations. I am particular in love with pendant lights that bring a warm glow and a modern warehouse feel. Against the rusticity of a brick wall or the wood of shelving a metallic of copper or  sleek black light  would look great and would add the look I want to my room.  My next element is something I purchased recently and I'm very much adoring it.
Pendant lights industrial feel

School items

I purchased a mid century desk and chair off eBay, massively loving them and the oak wood against the metal handles on the desk. The retro beech and blue vinyl of the chair makes me want to line up some glass school milk bottles on a shelf and some vintage chemistry set glassware, use them as stem vases.  Currently I'm looking out for a big wooden cupboard reminiscent of Mrs Battersby in primary school year 2, full of white glue in bottles and paints in squeezy tubes. Also some simple wooden shelves on brackets for displaying curious items but even better would be a curiosity cabinet.
mid century school desk and chair

Cabinet of curiosities

Probably my ultimate desire is to have a cabinet full of weird things, whatever that may be, birds skulls, not the human finger bone I recently found in a mole hill in a churchyard though (promptly placed back) but other found objects, something to spend time looking over, seeking inspiration and a touch of the gothic. So far I have a voodoo doll and a mini pumpkin left from last year that has gone solid. Also some feathers and remains of hatched bird eggs found in the garden, a combination of nature and the sublime.
curiosity cabinet

* Collaborative post

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

A little plant centre in Shropshire

Lawley Nursery Shropshire
I am in a whirl of new garden, one with a front yard area that needs a variety of pots and clever ways to grow and create beauty. And so with my constant wittering of herbs and clematis....I was taken here to what can only be my new favourite oasis of plant buying and various vintage item, stuff the car boot full of loveliness kind of place. 
Leebotwood Shropshire plants
Mini dinosaur garden

Which way to look, corners of leafy and scented confectionery, boxes to fill with beautiful blooms and obelisks for sweet peas to climb up. Things that used to be on farms, now for peonies and not for pigs, now for hellebores and not for hens, tansy in troughs, ferns in feeders.....vintage apple crateHeather Brae Shropshire This and that shopDinosaurs stampeding on tree stumps, ideas in my head and being tempted by a cup of tea and cake whilst looking at wire racks to line with moss and fill with sprite-faced violas or bulbs in autumn. Antiques and items I'd faff around with, candles and lanterns, kitchenware, enamel bowls for strawberries and mint, curiosities for shelves and shelves for curiosities to peer over, dust bunny gatherers but I don't mind.

Shepherd hut teaSo what did I buy......borage prickle leaved and ready for bumble bee enchantment and a spidery purple centaurea montana, a square metal tub and things I've now forgotten because I'm a crazy plant buying woman. Plant nursery Shropshire

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Paperless Post - beautiful illustrations for customisable online stationery

I'm really into illustration work, each week I pore over my Pinterest boards looking at watercolour and vector designs, then I look at designers showcasing their work on both You Tube and Instagram. It's interesting to see trends like the unicorn craze still ongoing and geometric and botanical patterns. These designs are great for inspiring party invitations, wedding invites and all kinds of cards but where can you find such current on-trend work to use for your own stationery requirements? Also, with everything being so much online, the ability to create invites and send them out by easily is solved by the customisable stationery company Paperless Post.

Paperless Post

You can create a personal element with Paperless Post's categories that enable you to quickly and easily have invites sent out for a party or send a cool greeting card to say thank you or Happy Birthday or just I'm thinking of you...... All you do is purchase digital coins and then use them to go create, you even can choose the most perfect online envelope design complete with stamp.
Sloth hang out invite

Every step of the way is full of choices with Paperless Post. You can select the font type, add your own photos to some designs and choose the background colour to your invite/card. I love this one for my son's birthday party with cheery colourful animals. 
Children's party invite

Paperless Post has partnered with several world-famous designers and lifestyle brands, including kate spade new york, Oscar de la Renta, Jonathan Adler, and Rifle Paper Co to provide you with beautiful designs that you will be spoilt for choice over. As well as designing an invite for my son's birthday, I looked at a card for moving address (eeeek!)  and as you know I love Halloween so I was really excited to see some exciting cards for me to send later this year to my fellow pumpkin loving enthusiasts. Doesn't this one look cute with the candy corn design and really striking against the black and yellow envelope. 
Halloween card

Paperless Post has delivered over 85 million cards to date and what a environmentally friendly way to send cards and invites. The process is an easy one that you choose all the elements that you like and then select the recipient(s) and off it goes..... There is a simple RSVP service too to make organising events super easy.
Envelope designs

dog stamp
The illustrations are very very varied and current with that cool independent vibe. To help with the design process you can run through a test sending of the card - a very smart user interface indeed.
Great thing is that the reply card option offers an RSVP tool to manage replies, has an attendee list and a comment wall for their replies. It's a great way to assist with your events.  I like the service from Paperless Post very much and I have to admit that I hate sending actual cards quite bothersome so this suits me completely and the designs were a big hit for me in comparison with what I see in card shops, much more design led and exciting.
Moving home card

I received credits for the purpose of the review, opinions are my own honest experience and thoughts.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Summer home benefits of a wooden floor

What will summer be like in the happy homebird house....Early June and I'll be at the allotment several times a week, coming home and traipsing soil on my boots through the house carrying fresh goodies under my arm.

By July, school holidays will be here and a messy eight year old will be in and out the garden, eating snacks all day, dropping crumbs mixed in with leaves, bits of crayon and other assorted dirt on the floors.

Did I say I also have three dogs..... twelve paws worth of mud, dirt and vegetation. Oh and water....bubbles, paddling pools, splashing, water guns and water balloons from all that childhood summer fun. Between us we really know how to make a lovely messy state of the floors and I despair as I want my house to look tidy too.

The best thing I ever did was get a wood flooring as it is easy to clean and therefore hygienic. So in no time at all I can clean it and it's looking bright and smart again. The flooring I have is a nice oak shade but then I painted it white years later for a Scandinavian feel and to give it a revamp. However, you can buy whatever shade you like from the experts Nexus Flooring, from white washed to grey and mocha, long lasting engineered wood planks which are durable and affordable for the home. Such a practical option for living areas, especially with family and pets milling about. The range of colours makes it a easy solution to fit any scheme, smoked tobacco is a particularly nice shade that lends itself to suiting both contemporary and traditional homes and would give a seamless look to downstairs living space. There is also the option of durable solid wood planks for hard-wearing, warm and sophisticated flooring. An instant boost to any home and one that would be a valuable investment.
wooden flooring living space
Image source Nexus Flooring

Being so easy to clean a wooden floor is a bonus and the style suits any home and goes with any decorating scheme. Throughout the summer I like to update a little in each of the rooms to give a summery feel with new cushions, decorative pieces and seasonal items. Even just adding some seashells we have collected on the beach onto a shelf adds some cheer and sweetpeas from the allotments are always a perfect scented touch to my bedroom.

The beauty of wooden flooring is that the natural element is cohesive with whatever look you prefer and the changing of seasonal looks and of course the changing needs of a family. A wood floor has been great since getting the pups as any accidents are easily mopped up and moulting hair brushed away. I can't imagine the mess if I'd have had carpet and the expense of cleaning it, as long as I keep the dog's claws trimmed they are fine on the floor and there is no skating around.
traditional sofa wooden floor

Whilst the sunny days are here, a wooden floor is cooling in the home, it feels fresh and soft underfoot, a clean at the end of the day keeps it feeling nice for my me time in the evening. Thinking forward to the latter half of the year, wooden floors are also warm and cosy, it's the best solution for any home in my opinion. And so not to wish the sun away and enjoy it whilst we can, I'm off into the garden with my son and the dogs, all leaving a trail of chaos but that's all good fun.

summer flowers in a jar