Category Archives: Gardening

Our Fabulous New Decking Lights!

So, last week, Marky Mark booked for me to go away on a spa weekend with my girl-friends, Leila, Laura and Gina.

I thought it was weird that he was letting me out of his sight on the weekend, especially since his job at the chemical employment factory has started eating up his evenings, but he was insistent that I should go, and he’d take care of the kids and the doggerino while I was away having my back rubbed and spending time in the sauna.

“You deserve it,” he said, heavy bags under his eyes, looking super trim from all the weight he’s been losing lately at the Chemical Factory, “you’ve earned a rest.”

Well, who am I to argue with that? Maybe I have earned a rest.

So, Friday evening, I packed up my bags and headed out to meet the girlies at the station, and away we went!

Three days and three nights we were there, and while the girls were pretty tame with what they were after (massage, swimming, aromatherapy) I was ready to take this place for all they’d got, so I got stuck in!

On the first day, I made sure to have the handsome Turkish boy give me the full Turkish treatment, and had to really yell to make him go hard enough during my beating with palm leaves. Then, since I was all exfoliated, I booked another session with him so he could oil me.

I’m telling you – my skin felt fantastic. The redness only lasted for a few days, and after that, everyone was raving about how great I looked. In fairness though, that’s not all Mr. Palm-Slapper’s doing – I did spend almost 9 hours in the sauna the next day! Lucky I didn’t cook!

Then on day three, I made sure to get a traditional mud bath, get scraped all over, got all the mud out and went for a swim, before going for a final cling-film-constriction therapy and some light acupuncture. Then, feeling fabulous, I packed up and went home.

Little did I know that I’d been sent away as a distraction! My crafty hubbalubbadubdub had engineered the break with the girlies so he could sneakily carry out a home transformation like on “Home Transformations” on Channel 4 – that’s right, while I was away, he – get this – installed deck lighting!

Also, a deck.

The deck lights are LEDs, he said, and he got them since he knows how much I love LED lighting. They’re environmentally friendly, since they don’t waste much energy as heat, and as a result, they use way less power overall! It won’t spike our power bill to leave them on all the time, like I do when I’m trapping moths of a summer evening, or having friends around for a lovely late-night tipple and a giggle.

Since they put out less heat, they also won’t warp the wood of the deck, and they’re waterproof and as tough as all hell – no need to worry about these puppies breaking when a dog’s paw or the small stone-age-style axe of an inquisitive toddler hits them!

Honestly, I’m in love. Apparently, they last almost 40 TIMES as long as “normal” bulbs do, which for me, makes them more like SUPER bulbs! No more regular old fluorescents for this lady – no sirree – it’s all LED, all the time now. With this surprise, and all the back-up text Marky Mark prepared to bring me round to the idea, I’m finally sold – I’m doing what I should have done years ago – I’m going to let Mark replace every single bulb in this house with an LED.

And to think, the only thing he had to do to win me over was build an entire deck while I was away at an all expenses paid spa weekend!

(Little) Green Fingers

As its the summer holidays, I’ve been trying to get Tilly more involved in the garden the last few weeks. I think its great for kids to get to grips with the basics of gardening gardening-with-kids– it gets them outdoors; it develops their coordination and they can learn all kinds of things about plants, bugs and garden wildlife in the process.

Tilly’s been loving it, although she didn’t always like getting her hands dirty at first! Roxy ‘helps’ us by not eating the flowers we plant or digging up the flowerbed…and even Joe likes to dabble about in the soil with his plastic spade every so often whilst Tilly and I work.

There are plenty of options for things to plant if you’re gardening with kids. Easy-to-grow vegetables like tomatoes, carrots and peas can be a great way of teaching them more about where their food comes from, whilst easy-grow flowers or fruit trees can sometimes just be fun to look at.

Here are my favourite choices so far for what to plant in your child-friendly garden, whether you’re using flowerbed soil or using pots. Some of these we have planted already; others we plan to plant in the days and weeks to come.

1. Daisies


Fun, friendly and cute, who doesn’t love a a few giant daisies in their garden?? Not only do they flaunt an innocent combo of yellow on white, they are said to be loaded with pollen, bringing lots of bees into your garden, and are easy to maintain.

We planted our daisies midway through June, as the prime time for seeing is from June to early July, Try to plant in a sunny spot as daisies love sun!

2. Pansies/Violas

planting-with-childrenPansies (or violas) are also an easy little flower to grow in small pots and containers. They come in an array of bright colours – many of them two-toned – they can be planted as late as early October for the flowers to bloom in the following spring.

Though we won’t see them flower this year, Tilly and I have planted some violas we hope to see shine through next year.

3. Wild Strawberries

Here’s an edible plant that most kids will almost definitely growing-with-kidsenjoy the results of! This bright, juicy berry can be a delight for kids who often like to see their hard work paying off, and are often much sweeter than the ones you usually find in the stores.

4. Lady’s Mantle

kids-fairytale-gardenLady’s Mantle is said to be an intriguing little plant that has the potential to bring magic and wonder to your kids’ garden. It grows frothy, lime-green flowers in the early season and larger fanned leaves which last throughout the rest of the season. The leaves tend to hold drops of dew or moisture on their surface which can sparkle like diamonds when hit by the sunlight. (Ideal for creating a ‘Fairy Garden’…!)

These tough little plants are apparently very drought-tolerant, meaning they’re likely to do well in a cooler or shadier patch of your garden.

5. Sunflowers

Like daisies, sunflowers are fantastic at bringing positivity and growing-with-childrenfun into your garden. Big, bold and eye-catching, they are another nectar-producing flower that will attract bees and butterflies (if you buy the heirloom variety).

Sunflowers can be planted from May through to June, preferably in a spot that gets at least six hours of sun a day. If you like to see them grow tall, then planting them against a fence might be a good idea.

Remember to always read the packet instructions on your seeds for how deep to plant them and whether they need any particular type of soil. After planting, soak them with plenty of water and keep them well moist every day. 🙂

You can also find lots of other useful information about gardening with kids right here.