Monday 11 December 2023

Spring Bulbs, Pretty eggs and Free chickens

I have been collecting spring bulbs since September, in the end, I had around 600.

The plan for the garden is to get rid of the raised beds that were here when we moved in, extend the border that we made last year, to all along the outside of the garden, and turn it into a cottage garden. 
Re-turf the grass, to get it looking lush again and add a few more seating areas, as well as a little play area for Bea.

Bea is forever my little helper and was very keen to get her hands dirty.
I dug the holes and she popped in the blubs.

Some of the Bulbs that we planted;
  • an array of different types of tulips
  • Alliums,
  • Daffodils,
  • Iris,
  • Hyacinth,
  • Spanish bluebells,

I still have a few more to plant but I'm very hopeful that the new borders are going to look amazing in spring.
Once winter is over we will get onto the turfing and other bits in the garden.

This year my advent calendar is a seed advent from the Rose press garden.
 24 packets of seeds that I can add to my spring and summer borders.
I cannot wait to get sowing them in the greenhouse.

The chickens are nearly all out of their autumn molt and some are back laying.
Ivy my olive egger hasn't laid in months and she is back giving me the most gorgeous olive eggs.
Lilith my dark brown egger has even started to lay again, she had a really hard molt and I wasn't expecting to see her eggs till spring.

This time last year they were all locked up due to bird flu, so it is lovely to still have them out and about in the garden, they are all looking really good and I'm keeping my fingers crossed we won't have to deal with another flock down.



Monday 20 November 2023

Dahlia season 2023

Dahlia season 2023 is over and I thought I'd take a look back at a few of my favourites from this year's collection.

Some of the dahlias are from last year and a few are new ones that I bought last autumn.

This was its second year and it did much better than in 2022

Mikayla Miranda.
This was a new one for this year and it was stunning, I can't wait to see it come back next year.

Café au Lait Twist.

Another new one for this year, I fell in love with café au laits last year so was very keen to add a few more this year.

Labyrinth Two Tone.
Again another newbie for this year, but completely perfect.


The original Café au lait. 

One of my favourites for this year definitely has to be Café au lait twist. Everyone is different and perfect in their own way. I think I'll be buying another just in case my one doesn't overwinter well.

The biggest bloom this year came from Penhill Watermelon.
Which is an XL Dinner plate variety.

Dark Spirit.
The only non-pinkish Dahlia I had this season. 

I loved having a different bunch of flowers in the house every week during the summer.

A pure beauty.
The first and last to bloom.

This has been my second year growing Dahlias and I have loved every second of it.
I have dug up all the tubers, and they are drying out in the greenhouse before I store them away for winter.

We are having a big garden makeover during the winter, taking away all the raised beds, replacing the lawn with new turf, and making borders.

I am going for the complete cottage garden look.
I have already pre-ordered more dahlias for next season, and I have flower seeds overflowing in my seed box.

The above Dahlias are a mix of Farmer Gracy and The Rose Press Garden tubers.  


Monday 13 November 2023

Mushrooms hunting, bread making and potty training

It's been a while, I know, but helloooo.

October / November is always mushroom season hunting for us, we love getting out to the woods to see if we can find our favourite fairy houses.
Bea really got into it this year and loved running around trying to find all the fly agarics, she is even spotting all sorts of different mushrooms on the school run and it has helped with making her walk rather than being carried!

As well as doing lots of mushroom hunting, I have been trying out different styles of bread to make, as for some reason my sourdough isn't really doing what I want it to do and it's just becoming a disappointment every time I get it out the oven. I think I am going to have to re-jig my starter, I have been trying to play around with it but I think I need to be a bit more drastic with it.

But for now, I am enjoying trying different loaves of bread and I love seeing how all bread styles are completely different, some are winners and some are massive fails!

As well as being busy in the kitchen baking bread, I turned all our plot tomatoes into yummy tomato sauce.
We didn't get as many tomatoes this year as we usually do so we didn't want the ones we had to go to waste.

I boiled up two big pans full of tomatoes and let them bubble and soften then I added sugar, water, and some salt.
Really simple but extra tasty, and we have plenty of pasta sauces ready to go.

The days are finally getting colder and the evenings are darker, it is the perfect time to get out for sunset walks.
The kids all love letting off steam, the dog gets a little walk - he can't walk far now so we have to keep the walks short and sweet.
We usually say hello to the wild ponies and then head back home.

Dahlia season is finally over and it was pretty sad to pick the last bunch of flowers from the garden, but I am really excited for next season. We are re-doing the garden over the winter and turning it from random beds into a cottage garden with borders and a lovely lawn.

I really cannot wait, I have a giant bag full of sprint bulbs ready to plant and seeds coming out of my ears!

Dalia tubers are dug up and dried out before I store them away for winter.

I love it when the weather turns, I am definitely a winter girl rather than a summer girl,
I love being able to have fire days, snuggling up with a blanket and a good book whilst it's chucking it down outside.

We have two working log burners in the house and we try to use them more than the actual heating, with all the work we had done in spring (internal wall insulation)  and then the new windows and doors fitted in the summer the house is ten thousand times warmer.

Bea started going to nursery for two-morning sessions at the start of October and has been loving it, we also attend two toddler clubs during the week - Hartbeeps and Baby Ballet.
She loves being active and can easily get bored, so we try our best to keep her busy.

Not only has she started nursery but just recently she decided she no longer needed pull-ups.
She has been dry for a week now and has only had one little accident.

Next, we will try to get her dry at night, but I think for that to happen she'll have to drop her nighttime feeds,

Update with the boys, Noah is in year 11 and about to do his GCSE mocks,
The twins are now in year 7 and loving it.
Ru is in year 5 and is about to collect his first pair of glasses, he had an eye test last week and he's short-sighted just like me, but will only need them to see the whiteboard at school and for when his eyes are tired.
He is over the moon and cannot wait to collect his frames this evening. 



Thursday 9 November 2023

Nikura Essiential Oils // Review

A little while ago I was sent a lovely little package from the guys over at Nikura, inside was their Rosemary hair and body oil and a bottle of their French Lavender oil.

I am a massive fan of essential oils and I'm 100% there's an oil for everything!

Since damaging my hair with over-bleaching again, I have been looking into remedies and all sorts of potions and lotions to help hair regrow and get its shine back.
Many of the things I have tried have been nice but haven't had much of a big effect on my hair, so I did eventually go in for a good hair chop, which has helped since all the split ends and damaged hair was snipped off but I was still left with dull looking hair.

One of the oils I kept reading really good reviews about was Rosemary Oil, as Rosemary is a powerful antioxidant that helps encourage hair growth when applied to the scalp.

The Nikura Rosemary hair oil smells amazing, it comes in a 250ml bottle which will keep you going for a long time.

I use it weekly and leave it on overnight.
At first I did find it heavier than other oils that I had been using, but it washes off nicely and I have been left with lovely shiny hair afterwards.

I have been using the oil for around a month now and have seen a difference in the condition of my hair, it feels thicker, it's growing, and has a lovely shine!
I highly recommend it if you feel your hair needs a bit of TLC.

RRP £9.99, which for a hair oil is highly reasonable.

Now on to a little bottle of magic.

Lavender oil is my all-time favourite, I always like to have a couple of bottles in the house as it is my secret bedtime weapon when the kids are saying they can't sleep or they're feeling a little stressed.

I add it to Bea's bath, I rub it on the boy's temples, and add drops to their pillows.
They all love it, even Noah comes and asks for the special oil for his pillow before bed, and I have found it really helps him settle. He is in year 11 now and is facing lots of stress at school due to his GCSEs and trying to decide what he wants to do at college, and it has been keeping him up at night. 
So with a bit of lavender magic, he is able to settle and wake up feeling a little fresher.

Nikura has a massive range of essential oils and the prices start from as little as £3.99.
I will be stocking up my essential oil collection from them when I next need to.
With Christmas just around the corner, they also sell some lovely gift sets.


Tuesday 24 October 2023

The importance of parent teacher relationships

 In the journey of education, the collaboration between parents and teachers forms the cornerstone of a child's success. This vital partnership not only fosters a positive learning environment but also contributes significantly to a child's holistic development. In this blog, we will delve into the multifaceted importance of parent-teacher relationships and how they create a powerful support system for a child's academic journey, inspired by the practices of this nursery in Richmond.

Fostering Open Communication

Clear and consistent communication between parents and teachers is essential for a child's academic progress. When parents and teachers work together, they can exchange valuable insights about the child's strengths, weaknesses, and learning style. This shared knowledge enables tailored approaches to teaching, ensuring that each child receives the support they need.

Providing a Unified Support System

When parents and teachers collaborate, they create a united front that reinforces a child's sense of stability and security. A consistent message at home and in the classroom reinforces the importance of education, discipline, and personal growth, instilling a strong foundation for the child's future endeavours.

Identifying and Addressing Challenges Early

Parent-teacher relationships are instrumental in early intervention for any academic or behavioural challenges a child may face. By working together, parents and teachers can identify issues promptly and implement strategies to overcome them, preventing them from escalating into more significant problems.

Fostering a Positive Learning Environment

A child's educational journey is enriched when there is a positive and supportive atmosphere both at home and in the classroom. When parents and teachers respect and trust one another, it creates a harmonious environment that encourages the child to actively engage in their learning.

Encouraging Parental Involvement

A strong parent-teacher relationship encourages parents to actively participate in their child's education. Whether through volunteering, attending parent-teacher conferences, or engaging in discussions about their child's progress, involved parents play a pivotal role in their child's success.

Parent-teacher relationships are the bedrock of a child's educational journey. 

They facilitate open communication, provide a unified support system, and ensure early intervention in times of need. By fostering a positive learning environment and encouraging parental involvement, this partnership sets the stage for a child's academic success and personal growth. 

Ultimately, when parents and teachers work hand in hand, they create an environment where children can thrive and reach their full potential.

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Monday 23 October 2023

Tips for teaching your child to embrace failure

Failure is an inevitable part of life, and learning how to navigate it is a crucial skill that children should acquire from an early age. Instead of fearing failure, it should be embraced as a stepping stone towards growth and success. Keep reading for some tips for teaching your child to embrace failure.

Foster a Growth Mindset: Encourage your child to adopt a growth mindset, which emphasises the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed with dedication and hard work. This mindset helps children view failure as a natural part of the learning process.


Lead by Example: Children learn by observing their parents. Share your own experiences of setbacks and how you overcame them. This will show them that failure is a normal part of life and can lead to valuable lessons.


Encourage Risk-Taking: Create a safe environment for your child to take risks and try new things. Encourage them to step out of their comfort zone, whether it's trying a new sport, learning a musical instrument, or tackling a challenging academic subject.


Normalise Failure: Teach your child that failure is not a reflection of their worth or abilities. It's simply a temporary setback on the path to success. Normalise the conversation around failure so they feel comfortable discussing it openly.


Celebrate Effort, Not Just Results: Focus on the effort your child puts into a task rather than just the outcome. Praise them for their hard work, determination, and perseverance, regardless of whether they succeed or not.


Set Realistic Expectations: Help your child set realistic and achievable goals. Unrealistic expectations can lead to unnecessary pressure and disappointment. Encourage them to break larger goals into smaller, manageable steps.


Encourage Reflection and Learning: After a setback, ask your child to reflect on what went wrong and what they can learn from the experience. Encourage them to see failure as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement. This is something that is heavily focused on in schools similar to this independent school in Warwickshire.


Teach Resilience: Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks. Encourage your child to develop resilience by helping them build coping skills, problem-solving abilities, and a positive outlook on life.


Provide Unconditional Support: Let your child know that you're there for them no matter what. Offer a listening ear and emotional support, reassuring them that they can always turn to you for guidance and encouragement.


Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate even the smallest achievements. This reinforces the idea that progress, no matter how incremental, is worth celebrating.


By teaching your child to embrace failure, you're equipping them with a powerful life skill that will serve them well in the face of challenges. Remember, it's not about avoiding failure, but rather, about using it as a stepping stone towards greater achievements.

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Sunday 22 October 2023

The benefits of a gap year after sixth form

After years of dedicated studying and countless exams, many students find themselves at a crossroads after completing their sixth-form education. While some may jump straight into university, others are opting for a different path - taking a gap year. This trend is gaining popularity, and for good reason. A gap year can offer a multitude of benefits that can shape a person's future in profound ways. 

Here are some tips on the benefits of a gap year after sixth form.

Personal Growth and Self-Discovery: A gap year allows students to step away from the academic grind and explore their interests, passions, and identity. Traveling, volunteering, or working can help individuals gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their place in the world.


Cultural Enrichment: Like the practices of many from this private school in Cambridge, traveling during a gap year exposes young adults to different cultures, languages, and ways of life. This exposure fosters open-mindedness and cross-cultural understanding, qualities that are increasingly valuable in today's globalised world.


Work Experience: Many students use their gap year to gain work experience in their chosen field. This practical experience can make them more competitive when they eventually enter the job market or continue their education.


Improved Academic Focus: Taking a break from formal education can refresh a student's perspective and enhance their motivation to excel in future academic endeavours. A gap year can also help students clarify their career goals.


Development of Life Skills: Living independently, managing finances, and making decisions without parental guidance are vital life skills. A gap year provides an opportunity to develop and strengthen these skills, preparing students for the challenges of adulthood.


Resume Enhancement: Employers and universities often view gap year experiences as valuable. Volunteer work, internships, or travel experiences can make a resume stand out from the crowd, demonstrating a well-rounded and adventurous spirit.


Mental Health and Well-being: The pressure of continuous education can take a toll on a student's mental health. A gap year can offer the chance to decompress, reduce stress, and focus on mental and emotional well-being.


Networking Opportunities: Whether through travel or work, a gap year can lead to valuable networking connections that can shape one's future career or academic pursuits.


Language Skills: Immersing oneself in a foreign country provides an ideal environment for language acquisition. Bilingualism or multilingualism is a valuable skill in many professions.


In conclusion, taking a gap year after sixth form offers a myriad of benefits that extend beyond just a break from formal education. It's an opportunity for personal growth, exploration, skill development, and a deeper understanding of oneself and the world. While the decision to take a gap year should be well thought out and planned, it can ultimately be a transformative and enriching experience that sets the stage for a successful future.

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