Shabby Blog

Monday, 29 April 2013

Lets Get Growing

Over the last few years I have tried to improve our front and back garden by growing flowers, fruit and vegetables by seed.  So far we have had mixed results but still love the challenge and achievement of being able to look at the things you've grown and know you've nurtured them from seed.  I took great pride in planting sun flower seeds last year with Nye and hoped to be able to show him the plant as it grew.  Unfortunately the gang of slugs and snails that live in our garden scuppered by plans but this year I am determined to win the battle.

Baby Nye's 1st Sunflower Seeds
This month Center Parcs sent all the family bloggers a pack of sunflower seeds to plant to get into the spring vibe.  As the end of the month nears, I have finally got round to planting up my seeds and I am hoping they will have sprouted by the end of the week.  I do love how the seeds discard their outer shell and twist up from the soil.  Sunflowers are actually one of my favourite flowers.  I even had them in my wedding bouquet.

Photography by Danielle Benbow

As I mentioned above I have had mixed results but here is a list of my top 5 plants to grow.  I can assure you  that if I have managed to keep these alive, you can too!  I buy most of my bulbs and seeds at £1 land and have found that they grow well but for more specific varieties (like purple sprouting broccolli) the garden center is probably your best bet.

Seeds starting to grow
  1. Sweet Peas (Sow Seeds March - April)
  2. Purple Sprouting Broccoli (Sow Seeds March - June)
  3. Daffodils (Plant Bulbs October - December)
  4. Gladioli (Plant Bulbs March - April)
  5. Tomatoes (Sow Seeds March - April)

DISCLOSURE - I am writing this post as part of my role as Center Parcs Family Blogger. To be in with the chance to become one yourself and win a short break to a Center Parcs Village of your choice,  share your gardening experiences on your blog and tweet us a link to it.  You can take a series of pictures of your family sowing seeds or making plant pots or, simply write about the experience and share your gardening tips with other families. Be sure to include the Center Parcs and Tots 100 handles in your tweet, as well as the #CPFamilyBreaks hashtag.

Please find the full terms and conditions for the challenge here, and do make sure to be careful when handling certain plants if you are prone to allergies.

Good Luck!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Stylish Sunday - Toddler Bedroom

Inspired by the fact we are currently selling our house I have put together a few items that I would love to use to create a wonderful new bedroom for Nye.  I started the design with the wallpaper I spotted at Ferm Living  a few weeks ago, and worked from there on a scheme that included grey with orange pops.  Enjoy!

Toddler Bedroom - Grey and Orange

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Stylish Sunday - Dresses to make your day

It has been a  busy week and I am exhausted (in a good way!) So as I relax on the sofa with a cup of tea, browsing the People Tree website has been some wonderful light relief.  Honestly there are so many gorgeous dresses in really classic cuts with beautiful patterns.  I can guarantee there will be something you like.  p.s don't forget to check out the sale section!
Hello Beautiful Dress
Hello Beautiful Dress Sources 

p.s I wasn't paid or perked for this post.  I'm just sharing some love.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Guest Post - Outdoor Lighting with John Lewis

As the weather has finally perked up and we all want to be outside as much as possible, now seems to be a great time to get thinking about the garden.  When the nights are longer and warmer outdoor space is often under utilised as a place for relaxing and unwinding.  Even with a small patio garden like us it really is fantastic to use the garden as an extra room for entertaining.

This week I wanted to share with you some of my favourite pieces from the John lewis collection of outdoor lighting. Here are some items that I love and how I would arrange them for our home.
Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor Lighting Sources.
Key Pieces
I have been wanting a string of pretty outside lights for ages and these butterfly's add a perfect touch of light to the garden.

Having an outdoor light can be really useful and great for security.  This solar powered light is a great as it means you can install it yourself and run it for free!

Disclosure -
This is a guest post, all words and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Brighton - Family Day Out

As I mentioned in my Stylish Sunday post, we headed to Brighton last weekend to lap up the sunshine.

Brighton is one of our favourite places to visit.  I remember the first time we went there back when Neil and I were both still students and we took the train from New Cross.  We took a picnic and explored the lanes together, discovering Choccy Woccy Doo Dah for the first time, falling in love with the cute arcades and wonderful shops.

As it is the seaside then obviously ice cream and fish and chips simply MUST be eaten.  I particularly like Scoop and Crumb which we have been two on the last two visits.  Personally I like to grab chips on the sea front even though they obviously aren't the cheapest place, it's the sense of living in the moment that I love.

Since that first time we have been back several times a year.  I do so love the sea and it's normally a spontaneous thing we do when the sun is shining and we fancy a London escape.  I kind of miss the fact that it's better for us to drive these days as there really is something joyful about taking the train to the sea side.

We took Nye for the first time when he was just a few months old and he slept through most of it whilst cuddled up in his baby carrier.  This time he broke out his shorts for their first wear of 2013 and enjoyed chilling in his pushchair and exploring the beach.  The light shone down on his round ankles as he kicked his feet merrily, despite us arriving amidst the crowds and road closures of the Brighton Marathon.

It was fun to see Nye cautiously mastering the cobbles bit by bit and once he was balanced we took him down to the sea to get his feet wet.  He loved picking up the sand and small stones as the tide tickled his toes.  I did find myself unusually cautious about him going too close to the water.  The waves were very big and came crashing towards us with force.  I constantly had the urge to run away for fear of something terrible happening even though by the time the water got to us it was more of a trickle.  Neil was laughing at me, so I left them there playing together, whilst I snapped pictures of them enjoying themselves keeping my protectiveness at bay.  

When Neil did eventually come back exhausted from holding Nye back from wading into the sea, he swiftly reverse crawled back to the sea.  Then came my turn to play in the sea, so I took off my sandals and let the freezing water cover my toes.  Nye was fascinated by the little streams that are left once the tide fades away and kept trying to pick the water up.  I was astonished by how brave he was, loving the sea despite the unfamiliar loud noises and smells.  I get the feeling sometimes that he would be quite happy exploring the world without us, knowing that he can come and find us when he gets bored.

As it was Sunday and we didn't head over until after Lunch, it wasn't long before the shops shut and the streets cleared out.  For us this was a nice opportunity to have some food, and Nye enjoyed sampling my cannelloni and Neil's meatballs.  Nye is quite the socialite and has developed a new trait of waving enthusiastically at everyone in the vicinity, kind of like he is the king and his 'people' are here to see him.  He also loves to copy adults so when he saw us with our menus he promptly picked up the wine list to have a browse.

It really was a wonderful day and I'm so glad I took my camera so I can remember what we got up to.  What a lovely way to spend the last day of the Easter holiday.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Happy Anniversary

2 years ago today we did this...

Images by Danielle Benbow
Being married really isn't something I think about on a daily basis.  It is something that sits in the back of my mind making me have an inner sense of security and stability .  Since we have been married we have made our way through pregnancy, birth, baby and toddler days and now the crazy days of selling our first house.  This year has much more to come, there are already some big developments on the horizon but I sense there will be some surprises mixed in.

Last year we had a fantastic lunch at The Hand and Flowers in Marlow.  It was a long drive but so worth it as we sped down the motorway, a sleeping baby in the back and the sun beaming down on us.  The food was extraordinary.  Unexpected combinations, delicious flavour and comfortable relaxed surroundings.

This year we have booked a table at Chez Bruce one of our favourite London restaurants.  We're also very lucky to have the baby sitting expertise of my parents in law, so we shall be having our second evening out without Nye.  I secretly can't wait to be having a meal without worrying about the patience of a certain little boy.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Stylish Sunday - Keeping it simple

We have been in Brighton all day today so this post comes to you from a very happy, but exhausted from the sea air, me.  We spent a good while on the beach enjoying the warm sunshine and the glorious sound of the waves crashing on the pebbles.  Nye was allured by the noise and movement and once he'd mastered walking on uneven cobbles he was away.  Apparently the quickest way to the sea from the beach is reverse crawling.

The lure of the lovely shops also left their impression on me, as I find myself reminiscing back to the Hobbs window display.  Now back at home the website will have to suffice 

Here are a few of my favourite pieces.
Hobbs - Summer Dress Ideas
- Sources 

I hope you've had a lovely evening and a brilliant weekend! 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Great British Florist - Review

A few weeks ago I was contacted by The Great British Florist about reviewing some of their lovely flowers. Let's just say they didn't need to ask twice and I was excited to be told that some would be sent to me the next week.

I absolutely adore flowers.  I arranged the bouquets and button holes for our wedding and always have flowers in the house.  I am a big fan of British flowers but know that most of the flowers available at the market are usually imported.

The flowers arrived beautifully wrapped in a large box, with care instructions and plant food included.  

The Great British Florist do a lovely range of options that I've not seen available when I've ordered flowers online for friends and family.  Although of course they do the traditional posies and bouquets, they also offer a great flower box service as well as fantastic wedding flowers.

I asked for a flower box as the chance to pass some time putting together an arrangement was just too tempting.  I don't often get the time to do something just for the fun of it, so this was a great excuse to unwind and be creative.  I was so happy with the results and so impressed by the quantity and range of flowers I was provided with.  The cut flowers I received included tulips, lilies, miniature daffodils, double daffodils, alstroemeria, eucalyptus, iris, and ruscus.

One of their wedding options is a DIY Wedding Flower Box.  This is a great middle option for people trying to save money on wedding flowers as although you are saving money by doing the arrangement yourself you have the convenience of them arriving on your doormat rather than spending hours at 6am traipsing round the flower market  (Yes, I did this the day before our wedding!)  On top of this you have the surprise of not knowing exactly what you will get, but the peace of mind that all the flowers will be beautiful British flowers that are in season.

Disclosure - I was sent a cut flower box for the purpose of this review.  All opinions and photos are 100% honest and written and taken by me.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Stlish Sunday - Swim Wear

Firstly I must apologise for my blogging absence these last few weeks.  I think house rennovations have got on top of me somewhat  and time has sped by like a whirlwind.  I've been rushing around every nap time to clear up every last piece of clutter and dust and have barely had time to notice that my phone has been broken after its swift dip in a cup of tea.  Today we remedied the lack of phone with a quick trip to the shopping centre.

As the sun has been shining almost non stop this weekend it's time for me to start thinking about spending more time outside, and then about swimming costumes.   Here are my favourite picks of the moment including some bikinis I love (but wouldn't dare to wear) and even some maternity options.   I hope it gives you all some ideas.

Do you have any favourite swimming picks at the moment?

Swim Wear


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