A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

Travel: Home from Home – The Crown Hotel, Wells-Next-The-Sea, North Norfolk

The Crown Hotel Wells next the sea iphone - 1


I love finding a home from home. The Crown Hotel Wells Next the Sea, North Norfolk has to be one of the best hotels we have stayed in, in terms of its dog and family friendliness, as well as all the boxes it ticks for grown ups too. The decor is gorgeous, it feels like staying in a country home, it is a real luxury treat, yet kids and dogs are warmly welcomed. Visitors without dogs or children are also very welcome and if you dropped in for a romantic weekend as a couple, you would feel equally at ease; it is a great space for accommodating different guest needs, with lots of peaceful nooks and crannies.

The recent refurbishment of this old coaching inn is very clever, our family room was a home from home, rather than a sofa bed for the kids, or paying for a second, and often very expensive adjoining room, there was a little kids’ room behind our bedroom. I say little, it had a single bed and bunk beds, so could accommodate a family of five, six with a camp bed or travel cot. So while the kids do what kids do in hotel rooms (jump, leap and generally get over excited) you can do the same, but in the peace of your own super luxury quarters.


The Crown Hotel Wells - 2


The decor is gorgeous here, and there’s plenty of it to take inspiration from – plump cushions, tapestry on the walls, antique and vintage style furniture. Max the dog photobombed this shot, but it was the gorgeous chair and silver mirror I was trying to show you.


The Crown Hotel Wells next the sea iphone - 4


And I wanted to give you a sense of the wallpaper, lots of layers and textures make the rooms feel really grand and sumptuous. Sage and purple is a really calming colour scheme, but it is kept from feeling too sleepy by pops of red antique leather chair, the ornate silver mirror and light fittings.

There is an enticing view over out to Wells, over stunningly coloured lichen on the rocks, suggestive of the sea, which is only a 10 minute stroll away. We absolutely loved North Norfolk, I will leave you with some links to ‘what to do’ posts later, but there are stunning swathes of unspoilt beach, great food, beautiful villages and chances to get close to nature calling you. It’s an absolutely wonderful part of the world to retreat to. The Crown Hotel really tops all that natural majesty.


The Crown Hotel Wells next the sea iphone - 5


The bathroom was lovely and spacious, I liked the way the window had been turned into a mirror and the gorgeous roll top bath was the perfect way to finish a day of walking and exploring North Norfolk – one day my house will have one too! There’s a shower unit too, tucked out of sight.


The Crown Hotel Wells next the sea - 7


Lucky Max got his own bed, next to the radiator, some doggy biscuits and his own towel, which after a few muddy walks, he needed.


The Crown Hotel Wells next the sea - 2


There were lovely treats for us too, tea, coffee, hot chocolate and flapjacks!


The Crown Hotel Wells next the sea iphone - 2


There is even a thermos in case you want to take a warming drink on a brisk sea walk with you!


The Crown Hotel Wells - 1


We loved that the dining room was full of books. Kids’ books as well as grown ups’ books. I think books really make you feel at home. There was even a wicker basket of baby and toddler toys at breakfast time.


The Crown Hotel Wells - 5


The children were the only ones in the restaurant when we dined, but were treated really brilliantly by the staff, like mini adults. It was fascinating to see how well they responded to that, they even tried some new foods. The food was as incredible as it sounds on the locally sourced and seasonal menu.

Dogs are welcome in the less formal, but just as enticing bar area, which also has larger tables for dining. I love that shabby chic chest, there’s a lovely nautical feel to this room, you could imagine the characters who might have travelled through when it was a coaching inn.


The Crown Hotel Wells - 6


I will leave you with the willow pattern breakfast tea cups, which again, with the lovely pine tables, made me feel very at home, admittedly they are nothing like my home, but they reminded me of my Grandmother’s home, which is a very good home feeling indeed.

I think that hits the nail on the head of what I liked most about The Crown: it feels lived in, like staying with a really grown up relative, who has invested in great antiques, classic and comfortable furniture, plus has the time and life experience to layer together lots of lovely home inspiration with pieces that tell a story. Oh, and did I mention they happen to live by the most stunning stretch of British coastline too?


The Crown Hotel Wells next the sea iphone - 6

Get the look!

Inspiration for the home is everywhere, here are some of my favourite picks from Wayfair.co.uk, inspired by our stay at the Crown Hotel, Wells-next-the-sea.

Crown Hotel Wells

Clockwise from top left: D and J Simmons Berkley MirrorAncient Marnier Vintage Studded Leather Chair, Urban Designs table lampOceans Apart Recycled Trunk Chest.


Need to know

The Crown Hotel, Wells-next-the-sea, North Norfolk

This was part of a review weekend organised on behalf of Visit North Norfolk. You can see what we got up to in North Norfolk, when we weren’t being spoilt rotten at The Crown here, here and here.

Find of the Week: Join the Big Butterfly Count



This week these Komar butterfly stickers are making my heart flutter. The sun in shining, the plants in my garden – including the butterfly’s favourite, the buddleias – are reaching new heights, and I can’t wait to welcome more butterflies into the garden.

While I am waiting, I think the colour and vintage designs on these butterflies make them great for grown up and children’s spaces. I love the way they are combined with a plant display above, to bring the outdoors inside.

I have a little bit of a butterfly obsession, it was a theme at our wedding, and since I’ve enjoyed letting a few sneak into our house. This reminds me, for any of you wedding planners, or those romantics among you, Wayfair have a fabulous post on bringing your wedding style home, which is exactly what I realise I have been doing over the last ten years. Yep, I can’t believe it is really ten years this summer!

I am really flitting today sorry,  back to butterflies, Butterfly Conservation also asked me to mention their Big Butterfly Count next month. You can get organised now,  just go to Big Butterfly Count to download an ID chart ready and Butterfly Conservation also have an app you can download.

Then all you have to do is go outside and count butterflies for 15 minutes, as many times as you like over a 3 week period.  It’s really simple to do, and it’s a great way to get outside and to appreciate butterflies. The results are really helpful for Butterfly Conservation, so they can see how species are doing across the UK.

Hope you will join me, I am hoping to also catch some butterflies on camera to report back. Have you seen many in your garden yet?

Gift Guide: Presents for Father’s Day

Gifts for Dads

What do Dads really want for Father’s Day? Aside from a home made card, some time to chill and plentiful demonstrations of appreciation? I asked the Dads in my life for help, my Dad, and my husband Mr A suggested some presents for Father’s Day they would like to receive. I also added in a few ideas we’ve either tested already or that work well for kids to give Dads.


One – Mr A has had his eye on this stunning Endon Lighting Table Top Copper Globe for a while, copper is very now and makes it more long lasting too.


Two – Mr A has one of these and relishes opening letters with it.


Three – These Endon Lighting copper globe bookends would complement the globe (and are half the price), I love a theme you can continue at the next gift giving occasion.


Four and Six – Willow Tree figurines represent family groupings in a way that is designed to appeal to all.  I think we can underestimate how much men like artistic representations of family life.


Five – My Dad picked this Rondeau Leisure Kent Wood Tray Side Table out, perfect for taking a lazy break in the garden.


Seven – A Woodquail iPad tablet stand, with space to keep pens, post its and other bits and bobs – its always good to have a place for you tablet and the angle makes it easier to use at a desk, or for cooking.


Eight – Another pick from my Dad, a great value tool rack from Poppy Forge, which looks good too.


Nine – I chose this,  Deknudt Frame and Pencil Holder – a good gift for desks, unlike picture frames it doesn’t take up extra space. You could add photos or get kids to design something to put in the frame.


Ten – There are so many gifts for the BBQ fiend, but this 3 piece stuff a burger kit brings a whole new foodie challenge to barbecuing.


Eleven  – Another one for the BBQ, Mustard products always come with a sense of humour. Kids and their Dads will love administering ketchup with this Mustard Gun shaped Condiment Dispenser.


Twelve – We’ve tested this pancake pan and it really is awesome, Sunday morning kids and Dad pancake making – an amazing ritual to introduce. The Best Direct Stonewall Hinged Pancake Pan could be the start of something wonderful.


Father’s Day is Sunday June 21st 2015.

Be green, save money, plant a tree with a Brabantia rotary dryer – Giveaway



Well the sun is finally shining here and the washing pile from last week’s trip to the Lake District is decreasing. I’ve been reflecting that the blog has become rather domestic lately, which regular readers will know isn’t me. I loathe cleaning and household chores. But I do get some satisfaction from pegging out washing on a sunny or windy day. It gets me closer to nature at least.

I often think of my grandmothers and how they would have had to spend a whole day on washing, whereas for me ‘pegging out’ is a semi pleasurable distraction from a day’s working from home. I do most the washing, my husband picked the dishwasher as his chore. I think I got the best deal, on days like today anyway.

I’m realising, as I get older and wiser, that enjoying household chores is all about having the right kit. Today I have a fabulous giveaway of a rotary dryer with 40 meters of fabulous drying space, in celebration of Brabantia’s pledge to plant a tree for every rotary drier sold. Laundry trees = real trees! I love their laundry tree look, such a clever campaign idea.


Love-Nature-Brabantia Rotary Dryer


Brabantia also want to spread the message that there is nothing better than pegging washing out in the open air. I agree, we don’t have a tumble drier, but no tumble dryer does mean you need to think about where washing can hang to dry without taking up space – rotary dryers are great for maximising space.

You could of course just use shrubs…a few posts back I shared this garden at Chelsea Flower Show, from Provence, where people hang their clothes on Lavender bushes to dry – wherever you choose to hang your washing, nature really is the best place for drying clothes – they smell great. Drying outside is also free, kinder to your clothes, and to the environment.

Right now I am drying our Valbonne duvet, a purchase from Wayfair. It’s hard running the Wayfair UK blog sometimes, and not getting tempted. A few people have asked me recently if I get everything for free, I do review the odd thing, but I get a discount, and always have my beady eye on the daily sales, so often make purchases myself too.

I love this duvet, so soft and the delicate flower and swallow pattern is gorgeous, but the grey colour and the striped reverse of the duvet mean it isn’t too girly. Our duvets always brush against the giant rosemary bush in our garden as they dry – I love the way they smell.


Wayfair Duvet

Valbonne Duvet Set – Belledorm at Wayfair UK


Our old washing line threatens to fall down daily, and is on my list to things to replace. If your washing line is as old as ours, you might also be interested in today’s giveaway. Brabantia are offering this Top Spinner, 4 arm rotary dryer, worth £72.99. It has 40 metres of drying space, which is pretty impressive.

For each rotary dryer or ‘laundry tree’ that is sold, Brabantia will fund WeForest to plant a real tree in their Burkina Faso project.

WeForest is an international non-profit association, creating an unstoppable movement around biodiverse tree planting. In the Northeast of Burkina Faso, WeForest contributes to replanting a native forest and reversing desertification whilst promoting a sustainable local economy.

To find out how much you can save with a rotary dryer versus a tumble dryer, and how the project works, check out this little laundry tree video, it is very sweet when it grows into a tree!


The Giveaway

To be in with a chance of winning a Brabantia 40m TopSpinner 4 Arm Rotary Dryer:

1. Pop to the Wayfair UK Utility Room department and tell me the one thing you would pick to go with the Brabantia Dryer. Leave the name of the product in the comments.

2. Complete the rafflecopter to register your entry and to gain extra entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There is one prize of a Brabantia 40m TopSpinner 4 Arm Rotary Dryer. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of Wayfair and A Residence and Brabantia.
Closing date for entries is 30/6/2015
One entry per person
Entrants must log into rafflecopter and comment on the blog.
Optional entry methods are to follow on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and tweet on Twitter.
The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries
The winner will be informed within 1 week of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 14 days or a new winner will be chosen
The winner’s name will be available on request
This is a joint promotion between Wayfair and A Residence and Brabantia
Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.

More competitions at www.theprizefinder.com – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/brabantia-rotary-dryer#sthash.YwwfW0bY.dpuf

The Sun Edison Hunt for Britain’s Brightest Street




What kind of street do you live on? Do you know your neighbours?

Although I live in suburbia, I live on a main road, not a leafy cul-de-sac, so apart from my immediate neighbours, I don’t really know the people on my street. But recently we decided to stay put in this house after all, it was time to stop flirting with the rightmove app. We had all sorts of plans to run for the hills and build a new eco home, but it gradually dawned on us that lots of things had rooted us in our current home.

So I was really interested to hear about SunEdison’s hunt for Britain’s Brightest Street. It sounds like a great way to save money, meet your neighbours and become a much greener community. You can also help your local community project or school too.




To find out if you could be Britain’s Brightest Street, the questions you need to ask yourself are:

Do you and your neighbours want free solar energy for 10 years?

Do you want to make immediate savings of 45% on your energy bills?

Do you know of a local school or community project which could benefit from a free solar panel?


What is involved?

Britain’s most solar savvy street – the street that wants to save money whilst benefitting from the earth’s greatest source of energy: the sun. You can be absolutely anywhere in England, Wales and Scotland – it doesn’t matter. All you need to do is get together with between 5 – 20 of your neighbours, check you meet the criteria, and apply, I will share the link below.




Participating homeowners in the street awarded with the title #BritainsBrightestStreet will get 10 years’1 worth of SunEdison’s Energy Saver Plan for free. These neighbours will be able to enjoy free solar energy and save approximately 45% on their electricity bill2 during the free 10 year period.

The winning street will be able to nominate a local school or community project which will receive a free solar panel.

Solar panels improve the EPC rating of a home, which may increase its value.

Sun Edison are the first company in the UK to offer this type of solar product to the home market, that requires £0 upfront payment and £0 installation cost.


How do I find out more?

Visit SunEdison’s website for more information about #BritainsBrightestStreet search. Keep me posted, I would love to hear if an A Residence reader becomes the brightest street. I’m off to strike up a conversation with my neighbours!


1 SunEdison will pay the first 10 years of fees. After the 10 year point the homeowner will be liable for the usual quarterly fees for the remaining 10 years of the ESP contract. 

2 Approximate savings are based on an average 3.99 kW home installation as well as the average UK resident consumption profile according to the information found here.

I’m working with BritMums and SunEdison talking about the #BritainsBrightestStreet search campaign. I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own. Visit http://bit.ly/1ID0enl for more information about #BritainsBrightestStreet search.

Interview and Giveaway: Skinny Jean Gardeners and BBC Gardeners’ World Live Tickets

Skinny Jean Gardeners



Brothers Lee and Dale Connelly develop garden spaces with a difference. In January 2013 they founded SKINNY JEAN GARDENERS, and the pair have quickly gone on to be an influential voice in horticulture. They are making gardening cool for a new generation, in fact you can catch them opening the Blue Peter Garden, Thursday 4th June at 5pm.

From a council allotment to BBC Gardeners’ World Live, they stopped to share their story and giveaway a pair of tickets to the event.


You’re fairly new to the gardening scene – have you been keen gardeners for long?
This is actually only our second season growing, tending and enjoying organic, tasty, home-grown food. The year before (Jan 2013) was when our green-fingered adventure begun at a council allotment. Before then are fingers were anything but green!

You’re certainly shaking up traditional gardening with things like seed bombs and moss graffiti and you’re bound to be gaining interest from a younger generation of gardeners – how does it feel to know that you’re inspiring kids to get creative in the garden?
It is an awesome feeling to know that from something we have either spoke about on stage or shared on the internet has inspired people to get creative – now with social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Vine it is becoming so much easier for people to share what they have been up to with us. It is cool, because sometimes they put their own spin on it, that is a super-duper as we are learning from them too.

You’ll be at BBC Gardeners’ World Live this year, 11-14 June at Birmingham’s NEC, with Veg Trug. Kids can find growing their own veg really rewarding – have you got any tips to help get them inspired?
Just have fun with it. The gardening world takes itself a bit too seriously. All that matters is that you’re outside or inside with soil between your fingers, seeds to sow and a watering can nearby.

Do you find that gardening events like BBC Gardeners’ World Live are good places to get your message across and inspire people?
We really enjoy doing the live shows and putting our own spin on a typical gardening presentation. With events like BBC Gardeners’ World Live it is great because we are up on stage in front of a many faces from different backgrounds. We like to think we are getting the message across to all, including showing the green-fingered veterans something new and exciting.

Are there any specific fruit and veg varieties that you think kids would particularly enjoy growing?
To kick off kids own gardening adventures we always recommend seeds which will have green shoots popping up in no time. The runner beans are a great example of this. So simple and look great and taste even better.

What is your own garden actually like? Is it covered with moss graffiti or is it more traditional? What is your favourite element of your garden?
Our garden’s in Essex are where we experiment and trial everything we do. As we learn, others learn with us, so it is important that we try and test all that we do.

Our most recent addition to the garden is a reclaimed London Taxi, which we use as SJG HQ, we had to knock down the back of our garage to drive it in to the garden.

Who has inspired you onto your mission of “green-fingered creativity for our generation”
Our pals Jimmy Doherty and Jamie Oliver inspire us the most. Jimmy of Jimmy’s Farm in Suffolk firstly because, very much like us with gardening, when he first started off farming, he too started from scratch and learnt as he went along. It was at Jimmy’s Farm where we opened our first flagship allotment. Second Jamie, because just as Jamie has done for food, we want to make gardening come across just as simple and easy.



SKINNY JEAN GARDENERS EXPERT TIPS: ‘Getting the kids involved’


“Growing your own makes every part of life taste better” is the Skinny Jean Gardner’s Goal, but what are their tips for encouraging kids, teenagers and young adults into the garden?

1. Planning: What do you love eating? And what would you enjoy growing? There is no point in spending your time growing a vegetable or fruit that you will not eat.

2. Start small: Concentrate and look after a few plants first then move on to discovering something new.

3. Water water water: We do not want our seeds swimming, but these guys/gals, especially when seedlings will need a little drink, so it is good to keep on top of it.

4. Recycle: There is no need to spend a fortune. Recycling egg cartons, milk bottles, cardboard tubes and lolly pop sticks are a great – they all have there uses for any gardener, and they will certainly save you money.

5. Show it off: Show and tell what you have grown to family and friends! Talk about what you have learnt and see what tips you can share.


Skinny Jean Gardners and Veg Trug

Skinny Jean Gardeners are working with Veg Trug at BBC Gardeners’ World Live, and i’ve just discovered Veg Trug products are also available to buy at WayfairUK. I love this, perfect for getting little ones into gardening! I’ve also been enjoying Becky’s thrifty gardening tips this week, have you seen them?


Veg Trug


The Giveaway

BBC Gardeners’ World Live,  takes place in Birmingham on Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th June. Tickets cost from £18 online and £24 on the door, you can book here.

To win a pair of tickets for BBC Gardeners’ World Live:

1. Just share this tweet and leave it’s URL in the rafflecopter.

‘Win a pair of tickets to #GardenersWorldLive #giveaway with @WayfairUK via @pennyalexander_ https://wp.me/p4zimX-4Bp  #win  ‘

2. Complete the rafflecopter to register your entry and add extra entries.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tickets will be posted first class on Tuesday 9th June, winner’s will be notified on Monday 8th June, so please make sure to keep an eye on your email inbox!

Terms and Conditions

There is one prize of a pair of tickets for Gardener’s World Live, valid on 11,12,13 or 14th June . The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of Wayfair and A Residence.
Closing date for entries is 7/6/2015
One entry per person
Entrants must log into rafflecopter and send a Tweet
Optional entry methods are to follow on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and tweet on Twitter.
The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries
The winner will be informed within 12 hours of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 24 hours or a new winner will be chosen
The winner’s name will be available on request
The prize will be sent first class on Tuesday 9th June 2015
This is a joint promotion between Wayfair and A Residence and Gardener’s World Live.
Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.

Competitions at ThePrizeFinder – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/2-tickets-bbc-gardeners-world#sthash.gMX2Qslb.dpuf

Find of the Week: Retro Crockery from SagaForm



I don’t know what it is, but the retro tea cup just makes me grin, it’s familiar and takes me back somewhere comforting, without being the slightly creepy 50s utility turquoise cups and saucers my Gran had. Apologies if they are your cup of tea of course! I just keep on getting drawn to the joyful, clean lines of Sagaform when window shopping at WayfairUK, so this week their retro crockery is my find of the week.

I think the storage jars, plates, bowls and the teapot are all worthy winners too this week. It is a lovely range which would look really cheery in the kitchen. They have a modern edge and while they have a nod to retro, they still feel forward thinking.



The whole Sagaform range is about clean lines mixed with a dash of fun. They work with the best Swedish designers and it shows. Sagaform aim to make the kind of gifts that make people smile, and would definitely make a great cheer yourself up present too.

My Happy Room: #MyHomeRocks Leafy Cheshire



I am really pleased to be able to share a home from my home shire, Cheshire today, in fact I am typing this from lovely leafy Cheshire, as I am visiting my Dad this week. I know today’s guest blogger really enjoyed looking at their home in a new light to take the pictures for this, and that is really what My Home Rocks is all about.

It was a gorgeous sunny day when our guest took these pics, and the sun and love really flood into this house. All homes rock in their own ways, but sometimes we are so busy looking at pictures in magazines, that we forget to love what we already have in our own homes. This really is a happy room.




This is my home in beautiful leafy Cheshire. Its a beautiful 1950’s semi in the suburbs. We moved in 18 months ago and we love it hear. Bear has settled in to preschool and we have just found out we have a school place jus around the corner. Were very lucky to live where we do, it has close links to major cities like Stoke on Trent and Crewe but its close enough to the likes of Wilmslow and Knutsford with both just a 20 minute car journey away.

When Penny and Wayfair asked me to show off my favourite room the choice was easy. The one room I love in our home is our back room / dinning room / play room. It has so much light in it, which streams through the doors and the little windows above , this is my happy room that has already brought so many memories, all good ones.




I love how bear can just get out his toys and plays for hours. I love our table and chairs it was from Henry’s late father’s house, so it means a lot to Henry. You can find something similar here at Wayfair.




Bear loves this corner as its where all his toys are kept he also loves looking up at the photos.

The one thing missing from this corner is a clock it drives me crazy I think something like this clock from Wayfair would go very well.




This is our view from the back room doors. Eventually we want to get rid of the rockery and get a summer house but I guess for now that’s a dream. We love sitting and watching bear playing in his play house and slide. It’s such a nice room , especially in summer when we have BBQs.

Once the play toys have gone we would love something like this bistro set to fill the space.




We love having the doors open in to the main lounge, when it’s sunny it completely changes the light in both rooms at different times of the day. I love sitting on this sofa it was a freebie from my sister when we lived in our old house. I can curl up on this sofa like a cat whose got the cream, for hours on end , it’s also my favourite place to blog or spend hours on social media. I would love a new sofa and i would go for something like this sofa. I love 1950’s style and think it would go very well.




Here are the sky lights that let so much beautiful light in, its an extension to our beautiful home which also makes our kitchen so much bigger.



I love the way this kitchen space has zoned areas for relaxing, dining and play, how the light floods in, and how the garden becomes an extension of the space.

Emma lives, as you now know, in leafy Cheshire, with her husband and son. She blogs at The Cheshire Wife, and you can find her on Twitter and Facebook. Do say hello and let her know you have been snooping round!


Emma’s Picks at Wayfair UK

Here are some of Emma’s favourite Wayfair picks, as mentioned in the post, perfect for creating compact zones in a multi functional space.


Find of the week: Paul Frank lunch boxes



Perfect for the little monkey in your life, and big monkeys too, in fact these Paul Frank lunch boxes really appeal to me too.

Two compartment lunch boxes are perfect for transporting leftovers to a picnic, or for days when you fancy pasta and salad, or a salad and boiled eggs, or even salad and cake, rather than plain old sandwiches, although you could of course fit some dainty sandwiches in here too.

My kids have something similar and use it to take noodle or pasta salad to school for lunch.

There are other colour ways too, green and pink. Check them out here.

Gardening therapy: for body, hands and mind, and a garden giveaway

Wild flowers


I bought this little vase set to display some of my favourite bits and bobs from the garden and remind myself to keep getting out there. It is no secret that my love of gardening comes and goes. Although, after finally spending 3 weekends in a row at home, I think I am cracking the garden. My Dad who has always been my guide, is spending more time at his own allotment, which has forced me to take control. I am feeling very grown up, a little achey, and there is definitely a slightly smug feeling about the engrained dirt in my my hands as I sit here typing.

When my grubby fingers cease to make me smile, I have just the thing, after being invited to test the latest Crabtree and Evelyn products in the Nottingham store recently, I have a little giveaway. The magical Crabtree and Evelyn Gardeners 60 Second Hand Fix, and these gorgeous planters and gardening gloves thanks to WayfairUK, all you have to do is comment below.



Back to gardening…over the bank holiday we removed some long abandoned old plastic toys from the decking, (bar the football net) and now it makes the perfect place to lounge. My next project is mowing the lawn, but cut me some slack, I have been busy on other projects.


Garden in May - 01


The kids now have an old sandpit each to use as a raised bed for their own gardening therapy times. They’ve planted peas and wild flowers so far in one and dug holes and made mud pies in the other. We made a little mud kitchen corner, with a plank and some old bricks – best thing ever in their book!




I love the garden at this time of year, when we moved in my Dad carefully uncovered what was already planted and added lots of herbs and bee attracting plants. I have gradually succumbed to natural looking, wild flowers and plants, after watching Chelsea Flower Show last night, I have come to the conclusion that’s my favourite style too. I did some weeding last weekend and rescued the chives, sadly the bluebells are dying back.


Garden in May - 03


May is a magical time, the peonies always shoot up, it is is like they know it is my birthday on Friday.


Garden in May - 04


And the jasmine, honeysuckle, rose and clematis over the wall in the yard area start to climb and take it in turns to bloom.


Garden in May - 05


The Lily of the Valley are at their finest this month too, even after a heaving beating from the rain.


Garden in May - 06


After threatening to do this for years, I finally dug a wide border along the hedge, I was fed up of the garden feeling lop sided, and of looking at the concrete slab path. This is a mix of plants I bought at  a wildflower farm and those I rehomed which had seeded themselves and attempted to sprout in the wrong place – buddhlia and fennel are forever doing this. I might regret the buddhlia, knowing how fast it can grow, but right now we need shade. I even used some compost and fertlisier to give them a head start in this neglected strip of land. Gardening therapy levels were high after all the digging was done!


Garden in May - 07


I am sad to see the end of the bluebells and the cowslips, but it is always exciting to see something you wouldn’t expect in a suburban garden, makes me feel like I am in a country wood.


Garden in May - 16


I bought some succulents, and planted them in a wall, just as an experiment. I love how this purple flowering climber has taken root, and I am encouraging it to take over the whole wall.


Garden in May - 09


The kids enjoyed planting some more in old tins, which look a bit bare currently – we want to paint them at some point, to add some colour. Garden projects and ideas are never ending!


Garden in May - 10


My favourite is the fennel – we are always amazed by how fast it grows into a giant plant, up to 2.5m high,  with stunning antenna like fronds. My kids love to eat the aniseed flavoured seeds like sweets. Or the alpine strawberries, which have just spread everywhere now, covering neglected patches of border with a supply of snacks.


Garden in May - 14

So that’s my garden, its been a week of gardening blog posts, I’ve also picked out my favourite gardens at Chelsea Flower Show.


Giveaway Time

At the Crabtree and Evelyn event I was reminded me how lovely their products are, I first discovered their 60 second hand fix before my wedding, when I wanted my hands to look truly amazing.

Their Gardeners range, which I always buy for my Dad, is brilliant,  he really rates it, as someone who does lots more gardening than me. The hand recovery scrub leaves your hands feeling amazing, and removes dead skin so that the hand therapy cream can really get to work. It really is miraculous how great it feels, and it really works – you won’t believe how smooth your hands feel. Plus they smell amazing too, a unisex but delicious scent – rosemary, sage and cucumber, a gardener’s dream.



So I have this 60 second fix for hands set, worth £25, plus these fabulous garden gloves and this Hill Interiors vase set from WayfairUK up for grabs this week. I think the vase set, which is £30.99, would be a gorgeous way to display home grown blooms and, like my little set I shared earlier, also serves as a great reminder to get out in the garden and water things!



These gorgeous Fallen Fruits gardening gloves have herbs on them, and a splash of lavender flowers and are perfect for keeping your hands protected. I am coming to the conclusion you can’t have enough pairs, I am always losing mine! These ones are £9.41.




How to enter

1. it’s easy, just leave a comment below and let the rafflecopter widget know you have commented.

2. Follow the rafflecopter instructions if you want extra entries.

3. I have more competitions here is you are on a roll, or feeling lucky!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

There is one prize of a set of Fallen Fruits Garden Gloves and Hill Interiors Planter Set from WayfairUK, Crabtree and Evelyn 60 Second Fix for Hands . The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of Wayfair and A Residence and Crabtree and Evelyn.
Closing date for entries is 14/6/2015
One entry per person
Entrants must log into rafflecopter and leave a comment
Optional entry methods are to follow on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and tweet on Twitter.
The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries
The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 days or a new winner will be chosen
The winner’s name will be available on request
The prize will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address
This is a joint promotion between Wayfair and A Residence and Crabtree and Evelyn.
Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.

More competitions at ThePrizeFinder – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/gardeners-60-second-fix-hands-crabtree-and-evelyn-stunning-vases-and-garden-gloves-wayfair-u#sthash.PWEhSmYh.dpuf

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