Garden Inspiration for Spring

I love being out in my garden, sitting and relaxing with a book, or enjoying a game of football with Joe. But after a Winter that saw some very cold days, and an awful lot of rain, it is safe to say that my garden entered Spring looking far from its best. It looked tired, messy, the patio was full of weeds, and the plants were non-existent. In addition, the patio was covered in broken plastic clothes pegs which had frozen and cracked, and a wrecked goal post that had seen better days. Work was required.

Broken Goal

Broken Goal and weeds on the patio

Empty and damaged pots

Empty and damaged pots

General view

General view

Ocean Finance have been asking people what they would do to improve their garden or outside space and make it Spring ready. I thought this was definitely a call to action that I should take part in, and so I made a trip to our local Garden Centre, Hollybush, to purchase plants, pots, soil and some solar lights to make a start on the bottom patio. We currently have two patio’s due to the size of our garden, the top has a shed and lots of Joe’s old outdoor toys, both are going to be replaced this year. If you have a smaller garden I love timber decking to create a patio, especially if you have patio doors that lead straight onto the garden. As our garden is totally separate from our house, patio tiles work well, but they are in desperate need of a jetwash, when the weather allows.

The inclement weather also means one of our big garden purchases is still sitting in a box. We got Joe a replacement goal so he could play matches, the hope was to set this up on Saturday afternoon, but the rain poured and poured. Just waiting now for the next dry Saturday to set this up!

But here is what we have been able to do so far.

Fence Planters

Fence Planters

New bed for Blue Irises - all planted and more top soil added

New bed for Blue Irises – all planted and more top soil added

Mini Daffodils, new planters. Large pots ready for min fruit trees.

Mini Daffodils, new planters. Large pots ready for min fruit trees.

So many pots and plants, each with a new Solar light



New Plant Stands too.

New Plant Stands too.



New Garden tools too.




I am so pleased with the overall improvement, a little bit of weeding, getting rid of the rubbish and putting some new plants and pots in the space has made all the difference. I feel totally inspired to get in the garden, with the next step being to add some hanging  baskets to the yard area outside my front door.

So far, so good.

So far, so good.

What improvements are you planning on making to your garden this year – more flowers? New garden furniture? New decking?

Leave me a comment and let me know.


Time for that dream home?

Many people chose to move house in Spring. New season, new start seems to be a good mantra, and it was one that I followed myself when we moved into our home, starting that search as the season changed. But for those who are happy to stay put, Spring can also be the perfect time for home improvements, the time when you can make your current home your dream home.

A house is always a blank canvas that can be changed, extended and renovated to your own requirements. Homeowner loans from companies like Ocean Finance can release funds that will enable you to turn your current abode into the one you always dreamed of when you were a child. My husband Pete has been looking into renovating our bedroom by adding a mezzanine floor so that we would have extra space for our wardrobes (and even for extra wardrobes…), with the plan that the bed would take the space of the mezzanine, and the wardrobes and dressing table would be below. A bedroom with an attached dressing room certainly lives up to my idea of a dream house. But how would my 7 year old describe his dream home? And would we be able to make it?

Joe’s dream home…in Lego!

It is probably not the best question in the world to ask a football crazy 7 year old boy. But I did. And her is how the conversation panned out.

Me: Joe, what would be your dream house?

Joe: (Absolutely no hesitation) A football Stadium!

Me: Errr, I don’t think you could live in a football stadium Joe.

Joe: (Looks at me like I’m stupid) Yes I could, I could play football every day, eat my dinner there and they have showers and a bed?

Me: But how can we make that out of Lego!!!!

And the answer to that question is that it will take time, you will need extra lego rather than the box we had very kindly been sent, and you will next extra patience so the Lego doesn’t get thrown against a wall. But, like making your own dream home, you will eventually get there, and be pretty chuffed with the results.

Take a look.








We created our ‘dream house’ (ahem!) using the lego found here and the base board found here.


A day of pampering and fun featuring cake, frocks and Tilbury Taxis

Before I became a mother it is true to say that I took having time to relax or be pampered for granted. There was never any reason not to book a hair appointment, or take a trip to a spa, or just enjoy a day shopping and having a spot of lunch. But once Joe came along it was different. Time really does become the most precious of commodities when you have children, to put it in simple terms, your time is never your own.  And even now, as Joe is getting older, this is still the case. I work during the day when Joe is at work, and then spend most nights at his extra curricular activities, (football 2 nights per week, Karate one night, and then Saturday and Sunday mornings for more football.) So when the opportunity arises for a little bit of me time, I don’t mind admitting that I grab it with both hands.

Ocean Loans recently offered me the fantastic opportunity to have a relaxing day on them. Ocean’s ethos is all about making people’s lives easier, and I was more than happy to enjoy a day where I forgot all about real work, housework and being a soccer mom – if only for a few blissful hours.

Here is how I spent MY day (yes the capitals are totally deliberate!)

Stage 1 – Pampering and Beauty

I took a trip into Birmingham to enjoy a little bit of pampering and retail therapy in the 2nd City. After a quick stop in Selfridges to check out the Jimmy Choo Cinderella shoe, I made my way to the Tilbury Taxis, where I was booked in for a makeover. I’m a huge fan of Charlotte Tilbury and her amazing beauty range, so this was a real treat. I was treated to the ‘uptown girl’ which was soft and dewy for daytime, I was also given a pot of the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, a product that legendary in beauty circles.  I loved the experience of the Tilbury taxi, which is part of a fleet that Charlotte keeps for pop up (or drive in) events.

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Stage 2 – food

My next step was food. I met up with Emily Jayne to take a trip to Cadbury World for Afternoon tea. You can read all about the tea here,  but suffice to say it was delicious, particularly the Rocky Road cakes that were just full of marshmallows and Cadbury’s milk chocolate.  It was also lovely to have a girly catch-up and chat without having to rush back for the school run.


Stage 3 – Shopping

Any mom with a young child will understand how fabulous it is to actually have time to shop and even get to try things on! I was on the lookout for a new dress so headed to Debenhams, and particularly the Oasis department, where I had seen two amazing dresses. I tried them both on, and bought one and left one behind. Later regretted not getting them both…

I didn’t get this one…


But I did get this one…

20151002_153951A little bit of time for yourself can sometimes be the perfect pick me up, and I can say that I had the most wonderful day and felt really refreshed and invigorated after. Ready to go back to being on footie mom on the touchline on Saturday morning.

*With thanks to Ocean Finance for sponsoring some ‘me’ time.