7 Easy Ways to Create More Garden Space

With the promise of a long, hot summer, it is no wonder that we want to create more space in the garden to enjoy the summer sunshine. If space is limited, you need these great hints and tips to create more garden space.

#1 Choose easy to store furniture

No matter what furniture you choose, style or material, make sure it can be easily stored away to give you more room in your garden for other activities.

For example, if you invested in an expensive piece of garden furniture, you don’t want your children using it as part of their outside tennis or football matches!

From cubed dining sets to loungers on wheels, there are all kinds of easy to store options. Rattan garden furniture is easy to store, for example, because it is lightweight, easy to move and yet robust. And none of this compromises on style either.

#2 ‘Lines of beauty’

In art theory, there is a concept known as lines of beauty. Straight lines, such as pathways, have their place but are considered formal and to the eye, absolute.

A serpent line – a pathway in the smaller garden that gently curves and weaves – distracts the eye. It is a peaceful shape, and one that invites the eye – and you! – to meander gently along its path.

This ‘line of beauty’ is used in all kinds of artistic applications, from paintings to sculptures. The gentler the curves, the more pleasant we find it. And in the smaller garden, an off-set or curvy path gives it interest as well as an illusion of more space.

#3 Clever planting

You want space in the garden to entertain, for the kids to play, to lounge around enjoying the sun and to dine al fresco too, complete with BBQing area.

That’s a lot to fit into a large garden but when your borders are closer than you would like, making the most of the space can seem impossible.

Thus, we stick to the three borders and large lawn, assuming that this expanse of lush green grass is ideal for everyone and everything you want to do.

With clever planting, you can create an interesting landscape that is both garden and playground. And this means repeating elements.

On your next trip to the plant nursery, just as you would repeat key elements in an interior room, do the same in the garden.

Choose two main colours, using a third as a surprising accent or choose the same plant, but different subspecies such as the variegated leaf Hosta and the large, bold leaf Hosta.

Pull one border wider into the garden or create a curved edge, similar to that we talked of for paths.

#4 Plant vertical or in tiered pots

When you don’t want to claim any more soil for the border or have a small courtyard garden, planting in pots is the solution to bringing colour and wildlife into your garden.

Introduce more, however, by planting vertically;

  • A garden wall is easily created. Use a tiered ladder shelving unit or fix lengths of rail onto a wall and use pots with hooks (you can buy systems online) and plant a green, garden wall.

  • Used tiered pots or strawberry containers where you can pack more in and add colour and lush greenery to your small garden.

#5 Add a focal point

We assume that a focal point is only needed in a large garden but it is just as important in a smaller garden too.

Keep it subtle with a water feature, for example, well-placed in the far corner, allowing the eye to roam across the rest of the garden. Or make the al fresco dining area and your rattan garden furniture the focal point of the summer garden.

#6 Mirrors

We know that mirrors in a small room make a big difference and they can in the small garden too.

Hang wall mirrors or lean them against a wall, allowing plants to cover the edge but not obscure it completely. Use indoor glass mirrors with care, especially if you have children running around.

#7 Soften the boundary

When a fence or wall signifies the smallness of your garden you either embrace this or try to soften its impact. From vertical garden walls to growing climbing plants up the fence boundary, there are many ways of softening the impact of such a fixed feature.

Clever planting, great use of colour and employing some lesser known tricks like the ‘line of beauty’ pathway can instantly transform a small garden. Try it and see!

Rattan Direct is an online retailer specialising in the highest quality rattan garden furniture from sustainable sources.

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Stikbot Pirate Movie Set | Review

Item sent for purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

If you are anything like me, you will know the perils of letting your kids watch the TV channels. All the toys and games promoted in the ads are added to the birthday and Christmas wish lists and you hear cries of ‘I want that, I want that!’. Well there has been one thing that Jack has wanted for ages – a Stikbot set – and when offered the chance to review one, he just couldn’t wait!

We were sent the Stikbot Pirate Movie Set from Brainstorm Ltd – find out more about the range here – and Jack couldn’t wait to get started. Stikbot say ‘you create, you animate, you share’ and Jack was keen to get cracking – making his own story up and using the free Stikbot mobile app to create his own film. He’s only six so found it a little tricky to begin with – after all, stop motion animation can be tricky for us adults – but he has persevered and is hoping to record some films for our YouTube channel over the summer holidays! Jack is super creative and I loved the stories he was coming up with when we first set up the set so I can’t wait to see what movies he makes in a couple of weeks time!

Daddy helped Jack to get everything set up in the first place – inside the box were a double sided backdrop and four foam boards with numbered pieces so that you can put the ship and accessories together, following the instructions which tell you which numbers go with which. Once put together, you have the ship, a treasure chest with a flip lid for the treasure, some boats and oars, some cannons, sharks and palm trees – all the things you’d definitely expect to see in a pirate movie!

As you can see, once it is set up in the way you want it, it is extremely impressive! The set also comes with the obligatory Stikbot figure with some pirate accessories as you can see above. The stickers included in the box are stick on clothes so you can change the appearance of your figure if you wish.

I loved watching Jack set it up exactly how he wanted it – playing with it and making up stories before picking up my phone and giving the app a try. We are going to be practicing some more over the next few weeks on our pirate movies and hope to be sharing some soon – we’re hoping to find a perfect backdrop for it too.

The Stikbot pirate movie set is for ages 4+ and retails at £21.99 on Amazon here {affiliate link}. Whilst I would say that the set itself is definitely suitable for the age group and encourages imaginative play and creativity, younger children may find the stop animation of the app a little tricky and require some practice or some assistance. I know Jack is keen to keep practicing to get it perfect!

All in all though, we have been very impressed with the set and Jack is super keen to get some more sets for the future. Are your kids into the Stikbot sets?

 

Gift The Perfect Food From Prestige Hampers This Father’s Day

Hamper sent for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions on my own.

This year marks my second Father’s Day without my dad. I am not going to lie, I am finding it tough but I keep myself busy with helping the kids make Steve’s day as best as it can be. Last year we were on holiday for Father’s Day but this year we are at home so we’ve been pondering all the different things we could get him for his special day. We were kindly asked if we’d like to review one of the Father’s Day hampers from Prestige Hampers. We took a look at the site, realised how much of a treat Steve would be in for and patiently waited for it to arrive to see what we would get.

We were sent a cheese hamper which, if you know Steve at all, is absolutely perfect for him! The items came in this lovely circular box – Jack wants to keep it as storage for some of his toys, that’s how nice it is – and it was packaged extremely well. So what did we receive inside the hamper?

Inside our delicious box, we received these delicious items above. So what are they and what did we think of them?

Rosebud Preserves Spiced Plum Chutney

We love a good chutney in this house and this chutney is no different. Once the cheese was gone (and there was somehow still some chutney left!), Steve had it with salads and sandwiches. Very tasty and the perfect accompaniment to the cheese.Peter’s Yard Sourdough Crispbread Pink Peppercorn

These were very tasty, even the kids quite enjoyed them despite the tang the peppercorns left. A cheese hamper just wouldn’t be one without some crackers or crispbread and these were very welcome.Ford Farm West Country Farmhouse Cheddar Truckle

This was Steve’s favourite cheese of the three – he loves a good cheddar and this epitomises what you would call a good cheddar. We go through a lot of cheddar in this house and this barely lasted a day – Steve kept going back to it.Kielder Full Far Jersey Cow’s Milk Cheese

Steve very kindly let us try the items in the hamper too and this was my favourite cheese of the three. It had a delicious taste and was so creamy and delicious. The kids loved it too!

Westminster London Truckle English Cheddar Cheese

Another tasty cheddar that we all enjoyed. A very welcome addition to the box.

Vista Allegra Fine Ruby Port

What cheese and chutney hamper would be complete without a good port? Steve is yet to try this but he is looking forward to it – he loves port and the good thing for him is that I don’t drink it so he gets to have it all to himself!

Overall, Steve was very impressed with his hamper and has already been looking on the site for ideas for his own Dad. Prestige offer a variety of great hampers, all at extremely affordable prices. We’ve also put a couple on the list as potential Christmas presents.

If you are looking for a tasty gift this Father’s Day, head on over to Prestige Hampers where they deliver nationwide delivery and next day delivery is available. Don’t leave it too late to get the perfect gift for your father this year – grab a good quality affordable gift while you still can!

Cry Babies | A Review

Item sent for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

You must have heard the little jingle by now for Cry Babies – the advert sticks in your head and remains there all day. Jack and Olivia kept pointing the advert out and made it clear they wanted one so when they were offered the chance of reviewing one, I just knew I had to say yes.

These lovable dolls cry real tears. You give them a dummy and a cuddle to stop them from crying. They cry real water tears and make realistic baby noises when you take away their dummies. What’s better, their arms and legs are movable and they come with their own changeable onesie! Brand new to the collection for April 2018 are Dotty, Nala and Lady – they have an RRP of £29.99. Find out more from the website here or order one for yourself from Amazon here {affiliate link}.

We were sent Lady, one of the new babies in the collection. The kids were very excited for her to arrive and took great pleasure in investigating to see exactly how she cried – there’s a section on her back where you can unscrew the lid and add water so she can cry her real tears. She can cry for England, that’s for sure, but a cuddle and her dummy tends to put her right as rain.

Her cry certainly is as realistic as a real baby’s – when it went off randomly sometimes when Jack was playing with it, I’d wonder if it was actually Olivia making the noise! You can stop your baby from crying by giving her a cuddle or putting her dummy in her mouth – Jack much preferred giving her a cuddle whilst Olivia liked to give her dummy to soothe her.

The compartment for putting in water to enable the baby to cry real tears is quite big and can actually fit quite a lot of water in – I was amazed by the sheer amount you could managed to fit in there!

Just look at those real tears she cries! You can start the crying by either pressing a button or taking the dummy out and waiting for it to start. It builds up slowly much as a real babies would but soon develops into a full blown cry. I don’t blame Jack or Olivia for picking her up quite quickly and cuddling her or giving her the dummy as that cry can get really annoying after a while!

All in all, the kids are very happy with the baby they were sent to review – although they now want the rest of the range. I keep catching the two of them playing together with Lady and managing to calm her down from her tantrum, making some adorable cooing baby noises. I can guarantee that this is one of the first toys the kids will go for when they arrive home and its great. It really captures their attention and leads to imaginative play – I love hearing what Jack is saying when I catch the two of them playing with Lady, it’s so cute!

Have you ever bought one of the Cry Babies for your child? What did you think?

Degustabox Review | World Cup Theme

Box sent for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

With the World Cup fast approaching, it is little wonder that the theme is everywhere.The Degustabox brand are no different, sending out a tasty box of treats to see what we thought of them. You can pick up your own box here for just £12.99, including delivery. This is a great price when you consider the items always far exceed them – so what did we get?

KitKat Bites White Chocolate – £1.59

I don’t need to tell you how popular these were in my household, they barely lasted five minutes. We do love KitKats!

Santa Maria Latin American Kitchen Caribbean Creamy Chicken Curry Seasoning Mix – £1

A tasty inclusion which we used with the soft tortilla wraps for a tasty dinner – we love seasoned chicken and this was a delicious mix that we will certainly pick up again.

WeMade Lemonade – £1.50

These non carbonated drinks contain no artificial flavours, additives, preservatives or refined sugar. This tasted absolutely delicious and very juicy.

Say Aloe Reduced Sugar – £1.49

Rich in vitamin C, this aloe drink was very popular with Steve. It contains real pieces of aloe vera and Steve really enjoyed the refreshing drink.

Lucozade Energy Official – £1.10

We do love Lucozade Energy drinks – I prefer the other flavours to this but this is also a tasty drink and a very welcome addition to the box.

Santa Maria Latin American Kitchen Mini Coconut & Black Pepper Soft Tortillas – £1.50

These were very tasty and perfect with the Caribbean seasoning for a delicious midweek meal.

KitKat Senses Mix – £3.99

I have been seeing these in the supermarkets for a while now and kept meaning to pick one up so I was extremely happy to see them included in the box. The three flavours are absolutely delicious and these didn’t last very long at all.

The Good Cider – Strawberry & Dry Apple flavours

I love a good fruit cider and the strawberry one tastes absolutely delicious. Steve had the dry apple cider for himself and these were a lovely weekend evening treat.

Brioche Pasquier PITCH (Choc Chip brioche and Chocolate flavour brioche) – £1.39 each

These were a tasty addition to the box – we loved them as a delicious snack or a great addition to our breakfast.

All in all, I was very happy with this box – we enjoyed everything. Why not try a tasty food sub box for yourself?