Sunday, 31 January 2016

Ghost signs

I love a ghost sign, faded and forgotten and walked past perhaps without even noticing. 

This one is in my home town of Northwich in Cheshire and is on the side of the once tobacconists in the high street, Cheadle & Sons Limited. I find these kinds of signs so beautiful, have you seen any? There's a great UK database of them here

Friday, 29 January 2016

Bring an early spring into your home

With the sight of early snowdrops, crocus and even daffodils I am eager for spring, it's peeked its head around the corner and now I want it to fully appear. This last week has still been pretty cold and blustery but a patch of blue sky has me thinking ahead to how I am going to change the house around for the spring season. In the January sales we bought a new carpet for the stairs, landing and bedrooms so I feel like I have a blank canvas to start again.

The bedroom has also had a new chest of drawers, finally after 12 months of some of my clothes being kept in a wicker basket. So looking for some fresh ideas, here is what I have found:

A hint of sunniness to brighten the bedroom.

Add some lovely soft furnishings, a new duvet, a pretty lemon coloured throw onto the bed and some trendy cushions to add seasonal cheer to the room. Blues and lemons coordinate perfectly and breathe freshness into the room. Floral prints add charm - blossoms with a dash of the spring green of unfurling leaves and a new bedding set is a quick and easy way to update the room. Block colour for a contemporary feel or add gingham for vintage appeal, which is my personal favourite.

Layering and combining textures makes the bedroom feel really cosy and homely, mix up the styles and sizes of cushions for a relaxed looking space. I like my bedroom to be a space to be used to relax in with a cup of tea and a book as well as for beauty sleep. 
Image source: Country Road

Freshen up the furniture

No better time to change pieces of furniture and treat yourself to a new double bed, a wooden framed one for a country look or a divan for traditional and practical elegance.
The storage of a divan will help you tidy up the bedroom, really handy for those extra bits and pieces, out of season clothing or bedding sets. The bed is the centrepiece in the room so its a worthwhile investment in something high quality for a blissful nights sleep and don't forget that a good mattress is so important. 

For a decorative statement add a vintage look chest of drawers and paint up in a spring colour like Pantone's colours of the year - rose quartz and serenity. beautiful soft colours that will make a bedroom restful and pretty style. I have pale pink walls in my bedroom already and would like to paint up an old unit in a blue colour like serenity.

Image source: Laura Ashley
IImage Source: Fancy Farmgirls

Spring accessories

Add Spring touches to a room with accessories like jugs that you can fill with those bright yellow daffodils and candles for relaxation time - scents like roses and clean cotton are ideal for this time of year. Smart storage to help with your spring cleaning and de-cluttering can be pretty and practical, patterned boxes on a shelf look smart and add a few nature books or pretty bound novels as a cute feature. 

A feature wall of family pictures in pastel frames or on-trend pieces of art can be a quick change for spring - add in mirrors for extra light reflected within the bedroom. I love making creative galleries that can be changed about through the year, recently a found a little glass bud vase that can be hung on the wall so I can pop a spring flower from the garden in every week.

Image source: Graham & Green
*Collaborative post

January allotment update

Winter allotmentFor the purposes of a full year's worth of allotment updates, here is the current state for January - cold, wet, overgrown and a whole lot of work to be done. allotment in January playing at the allotment Of course, it's a great place for my little boy to run around, a little help with the wheel barrow but that's it. Meanwhile my gloves are on and I'm forking over the ground and pulling up stringy couch grass which I've always found strangely therapeutic. Absolutely takes ages though and the amount of work to be done is immense. So here we are in all it's earthy, muddy, overgrown appeal.....allotment January
growing leeks Leeks, chard, artichokes and strawberries are around so the plot's not completely bare. The raised beds were cleared which instantly makes it look better and we managed to turn over a section, weed in between the leeks and unearth a few forgotten spuds. allotment playing cream shed Yes, all that grass!! Guess where we will be this weekend with fork in hand but hopefully next month I'll have a better picture to show you. A few weeks ago there were huge puddles all over the ground so now it's all drained away there is no excuse. fun at the allotment allotment view

Mammsaurus HDYGG

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Helping your dogs and cats with Bob Martin Vetcare

Terrier dog at the windowI've always had dogs, grown up with them as family pets bounding around the house and have them now - two scruffs that sleep on my sofa and want to have copious amounts of cuddles and belly tickles. Both my dogs are older, I take on dogs age 6+ from the dog's home and have had a few seniors now. With age in mind, I like to make sure they are as healthy as possible and treat them to great products. With that in mind I have had a look at the new website Bob Martin Vetcare to see what they offer. sleeping dogBob Martin is a well recognised name for pet health care that I have used products from before for my dogs. In fact Bob Martin have been running for over 120 years and now has their new website as the go-to place for cat and dog care from flea treatments to shampoos and combs.

An easy to navigate website helps you find the products that you require and there is a handy search facility too. The categories make sense and you can quickly find what you are looking for. I would say there isn't a huge product range under grooming but there is enough, sometimes having too much choice of dog shampoo for instance gets overwhelming. Conveniently Bob Martin have their own grooming products in handy packs so you buy Cleansing Shampoo and Ear and Eye Wipes together. 
Bob Martin Vet Care website
The site has lots of articles and videos in the Advice Centre. I enjoyed reading one on making healthy snacks for your dog and an article around arthritis in dogs which I've experienced before with one of my older dogs. You can request free advice from a vet by filling in a form but this is for general care and not for anything urgent of course but nice to know that the company does have this expert professional input. 
Bob Martin website

I was interested to see that you can order your pet's medication through the site too under Presciptions, they have a list of available one in alphabetical order. This is something I didn't know was possible as for anything more complex than ordinary medication I've always taken it away with me from the vet. But I have learnt, after all these years of having pets that you can in fact ask for a prescription for your dog or cat's medication and obtain it elsewhere such as this online service from Bob Martin. My old arthritic dog had Metacam drops so I could have obtained a prescription and ordered them here. Simply scan or photograph the prescription, a vet from Bob Martin checks it over and your important order is dispatched straight away. A quick check online showed me that Metacam would have been cheaper this way than buying from my local vets. 

Checkout is extremely easy and what's brilliant is that there is free delivery when you include any Bob Martin product in your order or spend over £25 -  standard delivery is by Royal Mail 1st class and takes 2-3 days. 

I was surprised at the huge amount of Healthcare and Wellbeing products available - digestion products, dental care like Plaque Off which I have used before, all at reasonable prices. There are some great offers on products I've used with my dogs before and with the free delivery I'd really be making a super saving. 
Bob Martin products
* I received some dog care products for the purpose of the review, words are my own honest opinion.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

The cowardly lion?

Staffordshire Moors lion
Maybe he's a bit cold with his dusting of snow or perhaps my son is scaring him but doesn't this stone lion look a bit worried?

This sweet looking lion was a gift to the town of Leek in Staffordshire, originally commissioned by Charles Talbot 15th Earl of Shrewsbury (b. 1753) for the Alton Towers estate. He was sold in the 1920's and at some date later came to 'guard' the council offices. 

I think he just needs a cuddle really ....

Friday, 22 January 2016

A happy birthday seaside walk

boy at the winter's sea Brisk wind in our faces, hats and boots on, we took a walk along the beach at Llandudno for little man's 6th birthday. With the tide out we crossed the high pebbled ridge and onto the flat sands where leggy gulls picked up tasty sea offerings and we ourselves found marine treasure to look at. A mermaids purse nestled itself among the colourful rocks, its long curly tendrils and shiny case, likely to have been the home of a young dogfish, our resident mini shark.
Great Orme view from Llandudno beach mermaids purse LLandudno is a place we have visited before, for Victorian charm and typical seaside fun it's the place to come but in winter, stripped to its bare bones you see a different side. Without the buzz of people you can really appreciate the bay's position between the two headlands. The Great Orme on one side, famous for its funicular tramway and it's smaller counterpart on the other, Little Orme. Imperial Hotel Llandudno The pastel coloured hotels along the seafront seem desolate but on closer inspection are still alive with ground floor diners looking out into the cold winter air. Many of the shops are not open  - back in February say cardboard signs propped up in windows.winter shoreline Wales Victorian houses below the Great Orme Llandudno Pier Little OrmeFor the birthday boy it was the perfect place, fresh air, a plentiful supply of pebbles for splashing into the sea and a pizza to share in the warmth of the car. We also had a walk along the pier and a very quick look in the town centre as night quickly started to drape itself around us by 5 o'clock. It's always a quiet birthday for LB, after the festive commotion it's what he needs to relax. A sleepy car ride home meant that cake and candles were saved for the day after instead.....Llandudno seafront throwing pebbles

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Monday, 11 January 2016

Dunham Massey Winter garden

Dunham Massey winter garden We are lucky to live near Dunham Massey with its acres of ancient parkland where a herd of speckled fallow deer graze and roam, always amazing to see but on this occasion, a busy post-Christmas day, we headed to the gardens to see what the promise of being hailed one of the top winter gardens was all about. 
the winter garden at Dunham Hamamelis winter-flowering shrub Through iron gates where we were welcomed with a map, an activity sheet and a place to park shiny new bikes and scooters, we followed the meandering path around the once pony paddock. No longer churned over by hooves, the ground here is now shaped by beds of winter flowering shrubs and bulbs merrily forcing their way through, happy with the mildness of the days. 

Spicy yellow witch hazel like fireworks on the end of branches are pleasant stopping points on the walkways to breathe in fragrance and pinkish blossom is illuminated overhead against the blue sky - how novel to have a cloudless one at the moment.daffodil shoots Dunham Hall primroses silver birch From striking white birch trees above a carpet of primroses and cyclamen, to the 18th century orangery for a warm bench to look at succulents and vines. A winter's walk full of ideas to bring colour and life to your own back garden or to enjoy the beauty and peace.

A red robin in the undergrowth appeared, one to tick on the worksheet list, followed by the question: what was a robin a nickname for in Victorian times.....? (do you know?)

Learning plenty of new facts as we ambled along and finding surprise glimpses that opened up to views of the Georgian house that is closed until February getting ready for its next exhibition - Dunham’s Lost Years: A Victorian Tale of Love and Abandonment. Featuring a circus girl that married into the wealthy Cheshire set, it certainly sounds a curious tale. 
Dunham orangery pot plant tap flowering shrub in winter winter greenery Dunham lake blossom against blue sky It is going to be interesting to revisit the garden as winter turns into spring and see those thousands of early bulbs flowering - the snowdrops, daffodils and irises.
If we have a heavy frost or a dusting of snow, I will be back sooner to take some photographs in true winter glory - if only all this rain would stop! 
Dunham Massey winter garden bench in the chill The polarded trees and the dried hydrangea flowers make striking textural displays, along with red dogwood (Cornus) whipping its deep crimson stems en masse. The winter garden is not boring or uneventful or just bare soil and muddy wellies, it's an extravaganza of structure and captured winter light and a chance to see the foundations before the garden is knitted together come summer.avenue of trees winter tree winter witch hazel spring is appearing Canada geese Dunham Massey Hydrangea in the winter Dunham Park orangery

Mammsaurus HDYGG