Thursday, 30 May 2013

Berkshire Bank Holiday Weekend

I hope that you are well & had a lovely Bank Holiday Weekend (UK)?  The weather was unexpectedly gorgeous so we were able to take advantage of the sunshine, which is always nice!  It's a shame that it's gone back to being so miserable now though!!

We took advantage of the long weekend by going down to Berkshire to stay with my parents for a few days.  It was also my Dad's 60th birthday, so we were looking forward to celebrating that with him.  My Dad has always loved steam trains & railways so we bought him a solid stone/concrete train planter for his garden.  He was very impressed with it, I'm pleased to say!

It was Dad's birthday on Tuesday & we went out to lunch with all of the family: my parents, our family of 4, my brother, his children & their mum & my 3 Aunties.  It was such a lovely afternoon spent catching up with everyone - I haven't seen 2 of my Aunties since Freya was a baby so it's been a long time!

When we got home we were able to actually get a picture of the 4 grandchildren when they were all looking & smiling - not an easy thing to do when you have 4 children aged 5 & under!!!

My Mum got a better one as she was taking the photo from directly in front of them so they were looking at her, not me!!

Bank Holiday Monday was spent outside in the sunshine with the children.  We went to the Sandhurst Donkey Derby, which was in its 47th year.  I remember going most years when I was a child so it was nice to be able to take my girls as well.

Here's the official blurb from their Facebook page:

Sandhurst Donkey Derby and fair is probably the biggest community event in our local area. It attracts thousands of people each year to join in the fun and raise money for local charities and groups. The family event is Organised by the Crowthorne and Sandhurst Roman Catholic Parish and sponsored by the Sandhurst branch of Romans’ Estate Agents

There are a series of donkey races with special events where you may have the opportunity to become a jockey and have everyone cheer you on! There are fairground rides for the young at heart and many stalls from the surrounding area where you may win a prize, find out about a local group or bag a bargain!

According to the programme that we were given on entry, "the Donkey Derby started back in the 1960s, with only a few hundred people in attendance, but over the years has grown and developed into the largest annual community event for Crowthorne, Sandhurst and the surrounding area.

The donkey races are still the focal part of the day, as they were when the first donkey derby was held, and supported by local pubs, clubs, businesses, along with the fun fair, charities and commercial stalls."

Unfortunately we didn't get to see any of the donkey races as the girls were too excited about the many stalls  & rides that they could go on but I did manage to have a look at them in their enclosure at least!!!

Cute huh?!!

The girls loved their time at the Donkey Derby.  Freya & my niece, Amy went on a humongous bouncy castle slide:

Poor Abby was too little to go on this ride but she made up for it inside the "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" bouncy castle!

They also went on a swinging merry-go-round (if anyone knows the proper name for the ride then please let me know!!)

On the walk back home we stopped off at a small play-park so the girls could all let off some of their excess steam!!

All in all, a wonderful weekend away!


Monday, 13 May 2013

Early Start

Both of my girls were awake at 4am due to horrible coughs that were making them sick.  After half an hour of changing beds & trying to get them to go back to sleep I decided to give up & come downstairs with them.  I was feeling quite awake myself at the time so at 5am I embarked on a mammoth ironing session (I haven't done any ironing for a couple of weeks & Hubby & I had run out of clothes to wear!).  Here's the pile when I started:

At 7.15am here's what the basket looked like:

and here's what the rest of my kitchen looked like!

Phew!  I'm glad it's all done but now I've sat down I am starting to feel my early start!!!  On days like this I am so grateful that I don't work & that Freya's not at school yet as it means that I don't have to rush to get ready & go anywhere (& that I might be able to take a nap later if the girls do!!!).  It'll be a different story in September as Freya starts school then but for now I'm going to take advantage of my lazy mornings ;-)


Thursday, 9 May 2013

What a difference a (Bank Holiday) Weekend makes....

What fabulous weather we had over the Bank Holiday weekend!!  We decided to take control & spend our time sorting out the garden.

I mentioned in my previous post that we had been given a new (rather large) rockery where the pond once was.  Well, there was a lot of top soil left over & there were piles of bricks that had been dug up from where the caravan stood so Hubby decided to utilise these materials & create a patio area for us. He had some help from his dad to lay the bricks etc & they did a really good job!  Here was the rockery before:

Here it is now:

I think it looks fantastic!  We enjoyed a few lunches at the table earlier this week - the weather has now done a U-turn, so I don't know when we'll be doing that again though!!!

Previously there had been a small rockery/border that separated the pond from the lawn & there were paths that went from the lawn & along each side of the pond.  Hubby had the idea to extend this rockery/border to meet the border along the left-hand side of the garden & effectively sectioning the patio area from the lawn completely.  Here's how it looks:

This is where it meets the existing border:

 I'm very grateful to my Mother-in-Law, who very kindly took charge of arranging & planting the rockery plants in this area - she did a wonderful job.  We added a few animals to this little area for the girls & to give it a bit more interest.  When my Mother-in-Law asked Freya what sort of animals she wanted the response was "an elephant, a lion & a cow" - ???!!!!!!  I don't know why she came up with those.  As you can see in the photo above, we managed to give her a cow to put in the garden (courtesy of Mother-in-Law's garden) but I don't think she'll be getting her elephant or lion any time soon.

Here are a couple of close-ups:

I can see this rockery from my kitchen window & it makes me smile every time I look out there.  It's now such a usable, pretty space.

In other garden news, the seeds & plants in my greenhouse are continuing to do very well:

and we have 2 beautiful trees at the bottom of the garden that are covered in pink & white blossom (the photo really doesn't do them justice)

Unfortunately the blossom is starting to fall off so the garden is beginning to get covered with pink & white flowers - not really looking forward to clearing all that up, but Hubby did just buy a leaf blower/vac so that should at least make it more manageable!!!

I hope that you had a lovely weekend wherever you are.


Friday, 3 May 2013

Out & About in the Garden

We're well on the way to having a lovely, child-friendly garden to enjoy in the Summer!  We're just waiting for the rotting, collapsing fence to be replaced & it will all be done - we've been told that it will be done the week of 13th May so watch this space!

In the meantime I've been out today taking some photos & I thought I'd share them with you.  First of all, the side where the caravan stood for over 20 years has been completely transformed.  Here's what it was like before:

and here is what it looks like now:

Hubby has put up a make-shift fence to stop the dogs from trampling all over the turf while it's bedding down.  It makes such a difference though & we're really pleased with it.

The other major development is the newly-designed pond area.  The pond was drained & filled in & the plan was to put some paving slabs over it to make the patio area larger.  Our landlord obviously had different ideas though as we came home to this yesterday:

We've got a rather large & sparse rockery!!!  There have been a few little plants added, so it does look nice.    We might move the plants & rocks to another part of the garden & re-pave that area ourselves, but we haven't decided yet.  At the moment it's made a lovely addition to the garden & we're really pleased that we don't have to worry about the girls falling in the pond any more! (Of course now we have to make sure they don't climb over the rocks & split their heads open, but on the whole it is a much safer place for them to play!!)

I've also been admiring some of my plants that are growing along nicely.  The seeds in my greenhouse are sprouting, despite being knocked over by those awful winds!  I have absolutely no idea what's planted where as the soil got mixed up & I just scooped it all up & put it back in the trays.  I definitely have sweet peas growing but it will be pot luck as to what else might appear!!!

I've also planted some broad beans & was pleased to spot a little shoot making its way to the surface:

In addition to the seeds that I planted I've also got some geraniums that I bought as plug plants that are getting bigger. I've got 10 (5 different colours) so I can't wait to see what they're like & possibly use a couple in my bicycle planter.

My Azalea is also flowering:

and I have a rhododendron that is starting to bloom:

Finally, my Mother-in-Law bought me this camelia:

I've always wanted one & she saw some at the Cash & Carry for less than £5 so she picked one up.

Before I go I'll just share some better (sort of!) photos of my tea light holders & the sun catcher that I mentioned in my last post:

I hope that the weather remains nice for us over the Bank Holiday weekend.  I have got so much weeding to do to tidy up both the front & back gardens.  On top of that I also have a mountain of ironing to do (but if the weather's nice then the ironing will have to wait!)

Enjoy, whatever your plans are.


Thursday, 2 May 2013


Things are ticking along here at the moment.  We've been getting out in the garden quite a lot with the girls, which is really nice.  I've been adding a few "pretties" to our outdoor space to give it some more colour.

Please excuse the photos - it's not easy to capture a sun catcher!  I've had the plastic sun catcher in my cupboard for years & thought it was about time that I actually used it!!  It was picked up from the pound shop so a real bargain!  Also picked up from the 99p stores was this little pink lantern.  It's metal & I bought 6 - 3 pink & 3 purple, which I've put on shepherds hooks around the garden.  If I can get a nice photo to show you then I will do!

We've also had a beautiful cluster of red tulips come out in the back garden.  Obviously we didn't plant anything in this garden so we don't know what's there, so it's nice to see what comes up!

Last Sunday morning we got up early to go to a local Car Boot sale.  I have to say that we were quite disappointed on the whole but we did pick up a couple of bargains.  My favourite was this metal bike/plant stand for the garden for £10:

I've got to plant it all up yet so when I have I will take another photo.

I haven't really done much more over the past few weeks.  I've continued to go to Knit & Natter & am loving the couple of hours spent with some lovely ladies.  It's really nice to hear more experienced knitters talking about their craft & just generally chatting - I've spent the past 4 years (since Freya was born really) at home with just the children, Hubby & our parents to talk to so it's great to get out & expand my conversational skills a bit!!!

It's looking like it's going to be a beautiful day here in South Yorkshire & I've been out early hanging my washing out.  We've got a guy coming to finish filling the pond in today so by the end of the day that should be done.  He also laid some turf where the caravan had been standing in the back garden last week so it's all starting to look lovely - I'll update you with some photos soon.

I hope that you have some lovely weather wherever you are today.