Bring Back Paper! Aby’s Paper Love

Thank you so much for continuing to support my #BringBackPaper campaign. It is for anyone and everyone who loves paper, and you can read more here. You absolutely don’t have to be a blogger to join in, though if you are, you’re more than welcome to blog about any involvement in it! Any and all paper fans welcome! There’s still a give-away on for a Moleskin notebook if you’d like to check that out, too.

We’re 3 weeks in, and this is where we’re at so far:

Campaign Update:

- The book swap is still going strong! There’s still time to join in, as long as you can get books posted this month. Just email me at jocelyn@thereadingresidence.com with your postal address and I’ll pair you up. If you’ve yet to post your book, get going! And do share when you receive them. I still need one US/Canada swapper, too, please!

- Plenty of you shared your current papery reading matter with us last week, as suggested, which was wonderful - keep on doing it and just use the hash tag so we can find you! You can find me on Twitter and Instagram, and share any papery photos there. And I loved reading One Frazzled Mum’s blog post about the campaign inspiring her to get back to her reading – hooray!

- I’m receiving some fabulous guest posts, and am still taking bookings, so if you’d like to feature, too, be lovely to have you, just drop me an email. It might be about your own paper love, some crafting, your papery business, a giveaway – whatever you’d like to do, I’m open to ideas.

- I’m continuing to sell My #BringBackPaper stationery goody packs, for £15 with free P&P, for launch month only. So, if you want to be all stocked up with a surprise bundle of stationery sets, note-cards, jotters, just email/tweet me for yours, and order in now if you want one.

Proposed activity for this week: The ‘Papery Peep’ linky is coming next week! Yep, the last Wednesday of every month we’ll have a linky, so the 30th April will be our first for you to pop by and link up your papery photos. Whether it be a shot of some gorgeous letters you’re sending, your book swap, a pile of journals or a book shop you’ve browsed, it’ll all be enjoyed here. You can then add as many or as little words as you like to the post – totally up to you. I’m looking forward to this, so do join in! The #BringBackPaper grab badge is in my sidebar there, so just add it to the bottom of your papery post! If you’re not a blogger, just use the hash tag, along with #PaperyPeep on Instagram or Twitter to join in, too.

So, onto today’s feature. Today we have a guest post from the lovely Aby from You Baby Me Mummy...

Paper love

I am a big fan of all things internet.  I am on most social networks (with varying success!), but I do love good old fashioned paper and all things stationary.  It is so special, given the electronic age we live in, to create something using paper.  I hope my blog provides us with a record of our family life and documents Baby growing up, but I also take time to create other things in ‘hard copy’, mainly keepsakes.  Here is a little insight into our paper world.

My Life Story

my life story

I think this is fabulous!  It was a present for Baby from her Aunty and Uncle.  Basically it is a diary for your whole life, sectioned into seasons.  It included space to add pictures, write about your favourite things/people and provide a snapshot of your life 4 times a year (although you can add to it continuously) forever.  As Baby is, well just a baby, I have to update it for her until she is older.  I hope she will continue it when she can, as it will provide her with a truly unique insight/record of her life.

Birthday book

birthday book

If you are a regular reader you will know that Baby has recently had her first birthday.  I wanted to give her a way of remembering this party, so I created a birthday book for her.  I bought an A5 hardback book from Wilko and I will personalised the front (just haven’t had time yet!).  All our party guests wrote a little message for Baby.  I have added photographs of the day and keepsakes, like her cards, party bag etc.   So all her memories are kept together and it will be easy for her to look back on when she is older.  I will try to do this every year.

Letters to my Baby

letters to my baby

Every six months I write a letter to Baby.  I publish it on my blog, but I also write it out by hand on some lovely paper.  I seal them up to be given to her when she is older.

Keepsake Box & Tags

keepsake box & tags

Baby and I both have a pink hat box that I use to store our keepsakes in.  Every time we go somewhere new on a day out, we buy Baby a little keepsake, usually a keyring.  I then attach luggage tags to everything and write the details on each one (ie. where we went and when).  Also in her keepsake box is the news paper we bought for her on the day she was born and all Baby’s cards (Easter, Christmas etc).  In mine is special items of clothes that I am keeping and my first Mother’s Day card.
I hope you enjoyed a little visit to our paper world.

Thank you so much, Aby! I definitely enjoyed a little visit to your papery world! I love seeing what other people get up to, and it looks like you’re building so many treasured moments and memories up with your paper. That My Life Story looks great, not seen that before. And I write to my kids for their birthdays, which I’m hoping they;ll appreciate when they’re older.

Hope you enjoyed reading, too? You can find Aby over on Twitter here if you’d like to chat, too.

And remember to stop by next Wednesday for more #BringBackPaper and a fabulous giveaway, get ready to join in with the Papery Peep linky, and in the meantime, you can share any papery activities and appreciation over on social media with us all. Thanks!



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Skribbies – Review

Last week the children and I were invited to a Skribbies pop-up shop, at the Bull Ring, in Birmingham. So I packed an excited Boo into the car, along with her somewhat nonplussed brother, and off we went. This is what we found..

skribbies display

Skribbies are shoes that children can customise. The launch collection includes three different coloured high-tops, in Neon Black, Blue Blue and Pink Red, sizes UK Kids 10 – Adult size 3, retailing at £39.99. There will also be low-tops coming soon, in other colours.

skribbies

With the trainers (Boo naturally chose pink!), come a pack of 6 felt tips, stickers and a wristband. Boo loves wearing her wristband whilst she creates, as it’s designed to rub off any mistakes/changes as you’re working, and also hold a felt tip in there, too.

The shoes are a very comfortable fit, according to Boo. The high-tops on them ensure her ankles are well-supported as she runs about the place. She loves drawing anyway, so the novelty of drawing on her trainers has gone down well! She’s actually just gone out with her dad today, proudly wearing them, and I’ve no doubt she’ll return and redesign them!

She’s been creating, directing her cousin to draw, and I found the husband scribbling on them the other night, too..!

skribbies creations

I’d say that the best thing about them is how easily the designs can be rubbed off and started again, without leaving marks on either the trainers or the furniture. However, this is also the downside, as the problem with that is that sometimes they come off without Boo wanting them, too, and if she’s kneeling and they rub off, she tends to be unhappy! I do think that at £39.99, they’re a little pricey, and we do like our trainers here. But, they do not have the entertainment factor, and of course, there are the accessories that come with these trainers that will inevitably bump the costs up.

They are fun, they are supportive, they are well-made, they are comfortable, and Boo loves them!

Jennifer at Skribbies has just found out she’s a semi-finalist in the Virgin Media Pitch to Rich competition, too, so if you like the look of these, please take a moment to vote for her, as I have just done, by the 23rd April.

Disclosure: We received a pair of Skribbies FOC for the purposes of this review. All words and opinions remain my own.

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Family Fever

The Theme Game – Treats

Welcome to The Theme Game! Redpeffer and I will choose a weekly theme and invite you to link up any posts that fit with it, old or new. It’s a chance to give some older posts a new airing, or to write to your heart’s content on the new theme – totally up to you, and we look forward to seeing what you come up with. I’ll always announce the following week’s theme at the bottom of Tuesday’s posts, too, so you’ve plenty of time to write or find an appropriate post.

It is a game, of course, so we’ll pick a weekly winner, and then both Iona and I will share that post over several days for the world to read (well, our social media followers and readers anyway!). As always, we ask that you do take the time to visit some of the other posts, and Iona and I will add ours to the linky, too – I do love rifling through my archives!

Last week, our theme was ‘funny’, and we had so many fabulous posts link up! We did manage to choose a winner, and our winner was Life at the Little Wood – well done! You can read the winning post here.

This week, our theme is ‘treats’, so come link up and share any treat-filled posts! It’d be lovely if you can grab the badge, too. Look forward to reading…

The Reading Residence


Linky opens 6.30 am Tuesdays, until midnight on Fridays. Next week the theme will be ‘home

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Boo Aged 4 & A Half

My little girl is growing up. How has this happened?! She turns 4 and a half this month, and is learning so much all of the time. My little sponge girl.

She’s been helping in the garden, planting seeds, asking questions, and she’s retaining so much information. She names lots of common flowers, like daisies, dandelions, daffodils, tulips, roses and buttercups and likes to point them out to me. Then yesterday, she gestured to the camelia we’ve just replanted, commenting on how nice it looks there, and she checked that I was watering the hydrangea – I was so shocked she knew what they were and had remembered, and not easy words to recall!

She loves her Reading Eggs and Mathseeds programmes and enjoys completing workbooks. She recognises all letters and can now write them, too. She counts well, loves to rhyme and tell me what letters words begin with. She’s started to read a few words, too, to our delight, and we enjoy these little sessions together, while Little Man naps.

boo working

She continues to adore her art. She draws, paints or crafts most days. Her colouring in is extremely neat and her drawings will soon surpass mine (that’s no great talent, though, truth be told!)

We’ve recently moved on to me reading chapter books to her. She is building a little collection up, and loves popping her bookmark in to the book as we finish a chapter together! We’ve read a couple of Roald Dahl’s, and are currently reading The Worst Witch. I’ve dusted off my old Enid Blyton’s ready to hand down, too.

Her imaginary play is adorable to listen to. As her vocabulary and experiences grow, her little worlds become more complex. She can get totally lost for ages playing and talking away and I love to eavesdrop!

She continues to be a fabulous big sister, truly the very best. She is always looking out for her brother, playing with him, sharing with him, often giving in to him! She rushes in to see him every morning, and it’s always him she wants to see and play with when she comes home from preschool. She was invited to a party recently, and was crestfallen to discover that Little Man was not invited. Of course, she has now got over that upset, and has decided she will still go ;-)

And it was this week. The big deal. This week has been the week when we found out where Boo will be going to school in September. Fortunately, we got our first choice, and it’s the school that she’d assumed she was going to anyway. A relief! But it still makes it real. Means that it’s happening. My girl is growing up, and she’ll soon not be with me, keeping me company day in, day out. It makes me want to cry, thinking about it. I’m not ready to let her go. But she is ready. It’s a new adventure for her, so we will be excited. I know she’ll do fabulously well at school and make lots of new friends, and I want that for her.

We’ve had a few trying times recently, with Boo asserting her independence more than I’d like! But when I stop and think (and remain calm!), I know I’ll miss these moments. I’ll be making the most of these next few months watching my two having fun together, playing, whispering, giggling and learning. Always learning.

My girl, my daughter. Boo is bright and beautiful, inside and out, and I’m so very proud of her.

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SuperBusyMum

The Blog Lowdown – Let’s Talk Mommy

It’s Sunday night, so it can only mean it’s time to get The Blog Lowdown….

Please introduce yourself:
Hi everyone! I’m Jenny, I blog at Let’s Talk Mommy I am an American living in the UK, mother of two under two, wife to a Brit, blogging about all our crazy parenting and life adventures together.

1. When did you start blogging?
I started blogging fully in September 2013 and went self-hosted the end of November 2013. (still new and still learning)

2. Tell us a little about your blog.
My blog is a parenting and lifestyle blog. I talk mostly about my two pride and joys of what we get up to but I also blog about home decor, fashion, music, cooking, and photography. There are so many things I want to be involved with and learn at my age that I am trying to fit it all in and raise a family. It’s my space to unwind and share all of it with all of you.

3. Who designed your blog?
I used a theme from wordpress that was free called Sugar & Spice. Then my buttons, page dividers, and sidebar titles were made by a friend called Miss Audrey Sue in America. I made my header using PicMonkey and have tweaked the css coding in Sugar & Spice to get it to look like it does today.

4. Which of your posts have been the most popular?
I run a weekly linky called Share With Me which has received a great response from my readers and fellow bloggers.

5. Are there certain types that get more interest?
Next to my linky, my most popular posts have been my review & giveaways. It helps bring new people to your blog to have a look around who might not necessarily look for a parenting blog to read.

6. How do you promote your blog posts, and which methods do you find to be most successful?
I link all my post through my Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and Bloglovin. I find that Twitter seems to drive the most traffic to my blog.
Another way I promote my posts is linking with blog hops. I link up every post to a linky of some sort. There is a linky for every subject you can think of, so why not join others talking about the same thing. I try to branch out and join various linkys but there are a few I am loyal too each week.
Also, the best way to get people to notice you and your blog is to give blog love to them first. I comment and read hundreds of blogs every week. I have now started noticing all those that I have been reading and commenting on are now coming to my blog and giving me the blog love in return. It’s a supportive community, so show support!

7. Which linkys do you most enjoy joining in with/reading?
As I said above I have so many favorites, and so many I link up with it is hard to narrow it down. Here are a few… besides my own that I love joining in. ;)
Butwhymummywhy – Love the little things
Iheartsnapping – Living Arrows
Vevivos – PoCoLo, SoFoLo, Prose4Thought
ReadingResidence – Learning Photography
ActuallyMummy – Wots So Funee
Podcastdove – What’s the Story?
Mummydaddyandme- Ordinary Moments

8. When are your busiest days on the blog, and why?
Wednesdays are busiest because that’s the first day my linky opens for the week. Fridays, I actually have no idea why but it seems I get the most traffic on a Friday. I probably am on Twitter and Facebook more on a Friday when Mr. P is home so it helps drive people my way. Possibly because it’s the start of the weekend and people are catching up with their blog reading. I am not sure.

9. Can you name 3 things that blogging has brought you?
Since I live so far away from family and friends I was really homesick and lonely before I started blogging. Ever since I started, it has brought me online friends, supportive other ex-pats, and a sense of purpose that I didn’t have before. It also has been a great challenge building something from nothing and being proud of myself for it. I am my own worse critic and even after writing my first novel, “When Love & Culture Collide” I still didn’t believe anyone would read my blog, but slowly it has built my confidence up and I am so passionate about writing again. I could name a 100 things that blogging has brought me over the last seven months, even in that short of time, it has been a huge, positive impact on my life.

top 5 tips on how to increase your blog followingMy Top 5 Tips On How To Increase Your Blog Following:
1. Join in numerous blog hops.
2. Engage with other bloggers across your social media networks, especially on Twitter and Facebook.
3. Join blogging groups/communities on Facebook. It’s a great way to share your post and introduce your blog to new readers.
4. Give other blogs as much love as you can, most will love you back.
5. Mention older posts in newer posts so people stick around and click other posts on your blog. Keep them reading!

Bonus tip: Don’t be afraid to ask at the bottom of each post for your readers to subscribe to your blog, share your post and come back to read more! We won’t get what we don’t ask for!

If you would like to get to know more about me and my blog come join me below! If you like what you see, subscribe to my blog via email on my sidebar! (see how I used my own advice? lol ).

You can find me here:

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+ | Bloglovin

Let's Talk Mommy

Thanks Jenny! Lovely to hear how much positivity blogging has brought to you, and how successful your linky is becoming – I do enjoy #ShareWithMe. And those 5 tips are great, particularly number 5, which can often get overlooked.

Jenny will be popping by all week, so if you’ve questions for her, just pop them in the comments, and do join me next Sunday evening, when we’ll be hearing from Karen at Let Kids Be Kids. You can catch up with the previous lowdowns here.

If you’d like to feature on The Blog Lowdown, just drop me an email at jocelyn@thereadingresidence.com. It’s booked up for several weeks now, but if you’d like to pop your name down, it’d be lovely to hear from you.

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Boo Draws Family

This month’s Draw With Me theme over at This Mummy Loves is Family. This was one that Boo relished, as she does like to draw faces, and adds in all the details, nostrils included! She also took care to give us all the correct hair and eye colours – she loved it!

family by Boo

We have me, then Boo at the top, then Daddy and Little Man right down there with his little face in the corner. Not bad for a 4 year old!

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This Mummy Loves...

Our Visits to NT Lanhydrock & NT Killerton

When we were down in Cornwall, we had to take advantage of our National Trust membership and visit a couple of properties in the area. We started at NT Lanhydrock, in Cornwall….

Lanhydrock

The walk down the long driveway to the house was beautiful, and Boo took advantage running about. She found benches, flowers and tree roots to inspect along the way, too!

Lanhydrock grounds

It’s a beautiful house and estate, with lots to look at. It was refurbished in Victorian times, and the house is all set up to show us what life was like, both upstairs and downstairs. As always with National Trust houses, there was also a children’s trail, so Boo was all about finding the trains this time!

Lanhydrock House

And we then wondered around the extensive gardens…

Lanhydrck Gardens

The camelias were simply stunning. Fortunately, I already have one in my garden, though it’s still a tiny baby, otherwise I’d have had to buy one after this!

Lanhydrock camelias

They had formal gardens, and then a huge area to explore with gorgeous magnolias, a little church, a stream – it was lovely!

Lanhydrock gardens 1

A great day out!

And then on the way back home from Cornwall, we made a stop at NT Killerton in Exeter, Devon. The house is fairly small, compared to others we’ve visited, though I loved the library and Boo enoyed hunting for teddies!

Killerton House

It really set itself apart with the fabulous costumes they had on display there..

Killerton costume displays

And the secret door that led to a wardrobe full of dressing up!

Killerton dressing up

Boo loved it, though Little Man was more about pulling clothes onto the floor than trying them on!

Back outside, there were hundreds of daffodils that Boo delighted in running through..

Killerton daffodils

And she can never resist a tree stump…

Killerton tree stumps

They were part of the outdoors dragon trail all over the grounds. As we were on our way home, and still had a long way to go, we couldn’t do all of this, but it looked fun!

The gardens needed exploring, too, of course..

Killerton gardens

Killerton gardens 1

They had loads of bright and bold fritillarias there..

Killerton fritillarias

And I spotted this little creature in amongst the shrubs!

Killerton Little Man

Both were really beautiful places, and I loved watching the children roam, run and enjoy them. I’ve always had a passion for history, so I find the houses fascinating, and my new-found interest in gardening means that I’m always bowled over by the gardens at these places. We’ve been National Trust members for just over 3 months now, and can barely remember what we did without it – we love these days out and adventures!

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Word of the Week – 18/4/14

Thank you for continuing to link up! I love reading everyone’s chosen words, and it’s great to see so many familiar linkers, as well as new ones each week. It is a linky, so do please take the time to visit a few other posts if you link up, as that’s only fair.

If you’re new here, Word of the Week is a nice and simple weekly linky, with everyone welcome to pop by and share. You reflect back on the past week and sum it up in one word. Then share your word with us in a blog post, with as little or as much explanation as you like. Come join in!

My word of the week this week is:

industrious

I have been totally on it this last week! I’ve been doing loads more gardening and the landscaping and tough jobs are all now complete, so I’ve just fun tasks like planting and creating our wildlife area still to do. You can read where I’m at with it all in my latest Project Garden post. I’ve moved Boo’s bedroom around, got some of her toys up for sale and others have been taken to a charity shop, and then I had room to create a reading nook in her room, which we LOVE! Whilst de-cluttering, I also had a good rummage around in their playroom and got rid of a few more things – I do love to de-clutter, as it makes me feel so organised. I’ve moved some furniture around downstairs and created a little area by the back door for all of my gardening things. I’ll share more on that soon, as redecorating the whole kitchen is next on my to-do list, so I’ll blog about that one separately when I get there. I am totally on top of organising #BringBackPaper book swaps, sending out the gorgeous stationery bundles, my own correspondence is all up to date, and I’ve lots of blog posts written and scheduled. I’ve bought  and wrapped birthday presents for both this month and next, and started squirrelling bits away for other birthdays later in the year. The house is clean and tidy, the washing basket empty and I’ve no ironing pile – all done and put away! And, lest you believe that all of this industriousness has been at the expense of time with my family, the kids have been doing various Easter activities and crafts every day, we’ve christened our new tuff spot, seen family and been to a blogging event together. So yep, feeling pretty good. And I’ve had time to read a couple of books ;-)

What about you? What one word sums up your week best? Grab the badge, link up and share, and do please take the time to read a few others…

The Reading Residence



Linky opens at 6.30am Friday, to midnight on Sunday.

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Project Garden Update – 10th April 2014

We’ve been pretty busy out in the garden these past few weeks, so I thought it was about time that I shared what’s been happening.

Regular readers will know that I started taking an interest in my garden last summer, and have steadily been adding things and changing it. You can read back over the updates here, along with my original post. I’ve actually just re-read that one again myself, to refresh myself on my initial ideas and I spotted that I’d given myself a deadline of the start of summer to have it all sorted – best get a move on then! Looking at it, and all the hard work we’ve put in recently, I think the end is in sight. It’s also interesting looking back at the photos of the garden last summer, as it all looks so full, whereas now it’s looking more ‘twiggy’ and bare!

On the list last year were:

Alliums. I fell in love with them and decided I needed some. Well, they’re in and they’re shooting up, with a few buds already! Hopefully I’ll have them blooming soon.

Fruit and Vegetable Patch. The strawberries from last year are all looking healthy and ready to bear fruit again, and I’ve ordered my blueberry bush and raspberries, so just waiting for those to arrive. The patch will all go on the sit of the old, destroyed shed, behind my cut-flower patch – see further down.

Herb Garden. I planted this one up last year, and it’s looking great.

Wildlife Garden. We’ve just started to build this, and it’s in an area right next to a buddleia which always attracts the butterflies. I’ve ordered my little trendy pond, though, stacked up bricks ready and will share all on this in a separate post soon.

More Climbers. Oh, yes. Over the past few months, I’ve added a couple more clematis, a honeysuckle, a jasmine and 3 roses – you know I love my roses! My aunt bought me a David Austin voucher for Christmas, so I now have a Sombreuil planted up, ready to train across the left-hand fence.

And then as the project progressed, I added:

Remove one of the Sheds. Done! It was kicked and shoved down by the Husband and my brother a few weekends back, and they then had fun burning it all, much to Boo’s delight!

shed destruction montage

This is what we were then left with..

shed space

Lots of clearing away of rubble, and now we can see the other shed behind, I see A LOT of ivy on that roof! Pulling it off, the roof felt and some timber came away with it, so clearing it all off and re-felting it was added to the job-list..! That was one we did a few days ago..

shed roofed

The roof is pretty rotten, really, but buying a new shed is just not on the list this year, so we did the best we could with it and added a little timber on top to keep that roof on!

Cut the Laburnum Tree Down. It was blocking out a lot of light, and I know the sap and leaves aren’t great and can be poisonous. A man with a chainsaw came a couple of weeks ago and got rid of it – hooray! In fact, if you’re Midlands-based, I’d definitely recommend using Elms Tree Services – they were great.

tree cutting

Flatten the Rockery. Done! The plants have been relocated, the soil has been redistributed all over the garden (Oh, how I ached the day after we did this!) and I laid a little path through it.

A Cut-Flower Patch. The old rockery is now my cut flower patch. I’ve a few perennials coming that I’ll plant in here, too, to give it some all year round life, and my flower seeds have been sown this week. I cannot wait to see those start to come up. I’ve been out there watering every evening, and will continue to eagerly look for any small signs of germination! These seeds..

seeds

are all now in here…

cut flower patch

Create a Potted Area. I want clusters of pots gathered around by my buddleia, that I’ll use to plant up lots of bulbs and add flashes of colour. It can easily be seen from the kitchen window, so creating a nice view. I’ve bulbs and seeds in a few of them, and I’m waiting for more to arrive within the next fortnight so that they’ll all be full. I’ve also a few hanging pots that I plan to pop some trailing fuchsias in, again waiting for them to get here!

potted plants

Kids Play Area. For this year, this will be on the deck, as Little Man’s still quite small so I want him near to the house! Next year, it’ll probably move up to the patio area by the shed at the back of the garden. This one’s done, and they have a playhouse, trampoline and the ultimate mudpie kitchen out there. We also have various ride-ons, their own gardening equipment as they love to help and tend their own mini-gardens, and the sand and water table will be out soon!

children's play area

Where we’ve bare patches of grass, seed has been scattered, and the site of the shed bonfire is starting to improve with regular raking. Mowing has recommenced again, so I’ll keep mowing, sowing and raking until I have a nice lawn again! I’ve a fairly big order of bulbs, plants, shrubs and fruit coming soon, and I cannot wait for that to arrive! We’ve been out there a lot lately, and it’s nice to now be at the planting stage, with pretty much all of the landscaping and hard labour done. I’m continuing to keep track of ideas and inspiration over on my Project Garden Pinterest board, so when a flower or plan inspires me, I pin it! Planting the fruit and veg patch and building the wildlife garden will be next, along with planting up my delivery. I’ll bring you another update soon, as it feels like progress!

To give you an idea, this was the back of the garden last year..

photo (88)

and this is it today…

garden today

How’s your garden growing?

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