4 articles Tag spring

Gardening and DIY with Kids This Spring

When it gets to this time of year, where the weather is a bit more clement, my mind is always full of all of the DIY and garden stuff that I’d like to do and now that the kids are older and a little more able to get involved (don’t worry, I won’t let Burrito Baby hold any power tools!) I’ve been thinking about things we can do together. Luckily, my friends from the blogging world are the BEST source of inspiration, so I thought I’d share some brilliant posts with you of my favourite projects that they’ve done.

How to Make a Tardis Wardrobe

I’ve you’ve got a gaggle of mini Whovians living in your house then this guide to making a tardis wardrobe is perfect for you. Husband and I really encourage the girls to have their interests and try to indulge them as far as possible so I absolutely love the fact that Penny at Parentshaped has nurtured her daughter’s love for all things Doctor Who with her bedroom furniture.

CD Fish Bird Scarers

CD fish bird scarers

I absolutely LOVE this idea for DIY bird-scarers that Liz over at Me and My Shadow made with her daughter to protect their home garden patch. As well as upcycling and making use of old CDs, thus keeping them out of landfill, they look really pretty too. Such a great project to do with kid as you can be as creative as you like with how you decorate them.

DIY Matchbox Drawer Chest

Red Ted Art DIY matchbox drawers

Something that we ALWAYS need more of in our house is storage, so I love the idea of making ourselves some storage solutions out of other things. These cute little drawers from Red Ted Art are the perfect place to keep art supplies and school stuff, and I’ll definitely be making some of these with the girls.

Top Tips for Gardening With Children

At the risk of going a bit meta, Carolin at Mummy Alarm has put together another rundown post, sharing a whole load of other posts about gardening with kids. It’s a real wealth of information which will be useful in the months to come and I’m going to go through and read all of it with interest.

Bedroom in a Box

Dulux Bedroom in a BoxMaking design decisions can be really tricky, especially when you’re trying to stick to a theme, which is why Dulux decided to make the “Bedroom in a Box”, which Sian at Helpful Mum reviewed. She chose a jungle theme for her kids and takes us through exactly how she dealt with the makeover, as well as giving her opinion on the results.

Five Easy Foods to Grow with Kids

If you’re planning on growing veg this spring and summer with your kids, Emma at The Syders has got some excellent suggestions of what you can grow. When I was a kid, I loved nothing more than helping my grandad to pick the peas and runner beans he’d grown in the garden and I think it’s really important for kids to see where food comes from…plus, NOTHING tastes better than strawberries grown in your own garden!

Planting and Sowing

Emmy’s Mummy has got another great gardening post about how to get the kids involved with the planting and sowing stage of gardening, perfect for this time of year. They’re growing a whole variety of different fruit and veg which will be a fabulous crop once they’re all grown and ready for harvest.

Easy DIY Crepe Paper Tulips Craft Tutorial

Tulips are one of my favourite flowers (have you ever seen the black ones?!) and this tulip craft is absolutely perfect for this time of year when the flowers are starting to bloom. As Katie says, they’d be the perfect centrepiece for an Easter dinner, but I also think they’d be ideal for Mother’s Day too, especially if your Mum has allergies and can’t have real flowers.

4 Of The Best Spring City Breaks

If you’ve been working hard lately or you can’t wait for summer, a spring city break could be just the tonic. City breaks give you the chance to get away, explore and experience a bit of culture. If you’re thinking of booking a long weekend away, here are four fabulous suggestions.

Dublin

A jewel in the emerald crown, Dublin is a beautiful, bustling city. You can enjoy incredible shopping, lively nights on the tiles or peaceful waterfront strolls. Sample Ireland’s most iconic export at the Guinness Factory. Snap up some tickets and experience the electric atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium. Visit Dublin Castle for an intriguing, insightful history lesson and look out for free pop-up events in Temple Bar.

Dublin at Night (Ha'penny Bridge)

Image by https://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/5574663324

Barcelona

Barcelona is an excellent choice for a spring escape. There’s warmth in the air and you’ll avoid the mammoth crowds of the summer. Stroll through Las Ramblas, listen to live music and watch the street performers. Mosey around the winding streets and take a tour of the quirky boutiques. Head to the Nou Camp if you’re a football fan, or shop up a storm in the city centre. The port is lively in the warmer months and there are plenty of waterfront bars and clubs. Take a guided walking tour and marvel at Gaudi’s inimitable architectural style. Round off your trip with a visit to Parc Guell and La Sagrada Familia. Take a hop on, hop off bus tour if you’re pushed for time and you want to get around the must-see sights with minimal hassle.

Park Guell in Barcelona

Image via https://www.flickr.com/photos/papalars/1558733840

Rome

A city steeped in history and heritage, Rome has to be seen to be believed. Walk around almost any corner, and you’ll find something different. There are monuments, churches, statues and fountains aplenty. You’ll also be spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants. Visit the Pantheon, Forum and Spanish Steps. Take in the wonder of the Colosseum and let the Trevi Fountain enchant you. Take a walk or hop on the metro to Vatican City and explore the beauty of St Peter’s Basilica. The city centre is relatively small and you can walk to most of the main attractions. Search for apartments on sites like http://housetrip.com/ if you’re looking for an alternative to a hotel.

rome-398291_640

Image taken from https://pixabay.com/en/rome-st-peter-s-basilica-italy-398291/

Lisbon

Lisbon is a visual gem at any time of the year, but spring is by far the best time to visit. In the summer, temperatures soar and sightseeing may become unbearable. Head to the lively beachfront neighbourhood of Estoril, or hike to the heights of Alfama for panoramic views. Wander through the old town and visit quirky Baixa. Here you’ll find old-fashioned haberdashers and even the odd apothecary. As the sun sets, head to a restaurant by the water to sample some of the finest fresh seafood you’ll ever taste. Visit http://www.timeout.com/city-guides/things-to-do-in-lisbon-restaurants-and-cafes/ for recommendations.

Image credit https://www.pexels.com/search/Lisbon/

There’s nothing better than a spontaneous break to revive you and recharge those batteries. If you’re planning a spring trip, why not take these ideas on board? Do some research, get some rough plans together and you’ll be ready to jet off in no time.

7 Ways To Spruce Up Your Garden On A Budget

gardenGardening is one those occupations that doesn’t require a fortune. Like many passions you can spend a lot of money on expensive tools, plants and landscaping, but alternatively you can simply spruce up your garden with the minimum of equipment and stay well within your budget. Here’s how:

1. Plant hedges

If your fencing is looking shabby but you still have to protect your garden’s boundaries take a look at some of the hedges on offer from ashridge nurseries.

Jasmine, for example, is wonderful as it will reward you with sweet smelling blossom in the summer and still act as a sturdy partition in the autumn and winter months. You can also plant hedges to separate one part of the garden from another in order to make your garden look more attractive.

2. Tools – keeping your costs down

Those bright new shiny tools at the garden centre may look magnificent but most of them also carry a hefty price tag. Expert gardener, Alan Titchmarsh suggests that you can save a fortune by scouring car boot sales and other outlets in order to track down some essential garden equipment.

You will need some shears, secateurs, a spade and a fork, but you don’t need to invest in expensive power tools. Just remember to keep your blades free from rust by giving them a good clean after use.

3. Plants for the summer

Instead of buying your summer plants during the months of June, July and August, buy them as seedlings or plugs in the spring. This is far more cost effective, and as long as you nurture your baby plants throughout the spring you should be able to sit back in the summer and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Invest in perennials; they will give your garden colour for years.

4. Seeds are wonderful

Another way of sprucing up your garden is to get rid of any plants that haven’t done well the previous year and replace them with seeds. You can grow the seeds in trays in your greenhouse, and then plant them in your borders or you can plant the seeds directly into the soil.

Always mark the area where you have planted the seeds and keep them happy with a good layer of compost as plant food.

5. Garden furniture on a budget

Eating outside during the summer months is an annual pleasure but old garden furniture can be expensive to replace. In order to get over this problem, instead of investing in brand new furniture look out for second hand tables and chairs on Gumtree.

Always store your furniture inside over the winter months; this will prolong its life. You can always strip your wooden varnish and then colour and re-varnish your furniture in a bid to give it a new lease of life.

6. Check your pots

Some pots are damaged by the frost, so it’s a great idea to ensure that all of your containers have survived the winter. The magazine Yours suggests painting your pots to give them a makeover.

7. Pruning is good

It’s surprising how much smarter your garden will look after a bit of pruning. As long as frost isn’t forecast give your shrubs and hedges a vigorous session with the shears. This will promote growth and make your garden look a lot smarter.

Spring Cake Pops with Renshaw Baking

logoWhen the people at Renshaw Baking got in touch and asked if we’d like to enter their competition to make some Spring-inspired cake pops, Sausage and I jumped at the chance as it seemed like a great activity for the Easter holidays. Our bundle of goodies arrived in the post and included the following:

200g Colour Melts Blue Tub, 200g Colour Melts Green Tub, 200g Colour Melts Pink Tub, 200g Colour Melts Red Tub, 200g Colour Melts White Tub, 200g Colour Melts Yellow Tub, 250g of flower and modelling paste, 130g of Multi-Coloured Sprinkles,165g of Multi-Coloured Hundreds and Thousands

We decided to make our lives easier by using a bag of pre-mixed sponge mixture and ready-made icing, so it was just a case of chucking the cake into a bowl with some milk and egg, baking it and then crumbling it into a bowl once cooked and cooled. We added the icing, spoon by spoon until we’d achieved a good ratio of cake:icing and a pleasant consistency (which can ONLY be judged by tasting copious amounts as you go along. Ahem…) Sausage and I decided to use all of the melts and just wing it, hoping that something beautiful would happen spontaneously. Here are our results:

IMG_20140413_182900

What I will say here is that making cake pops is NOT as easy as it looks! Here’s how we did it, along with some handy tips:

1. Once you’ve mixed your cake and icing and achieved a good consistency (not too sloppy as it needs to bind well into balls) you’ll need to roll it into balls using your hands. Remember to remove any rings as they’ll end up very cakey and will hinder your ability to roll good balls.

2. Make sure your balls aren’t too big. When we first started rolling, we made our balls about the same size as a golf ball, but this was FAR too big and when you put them on the sticks, the cake balls slide down under their own weight. We then halved them and they were perfect.

3. When you melt your colour melts, give them an extra few seconds to make sure they’re slightly runnier as  otherwise when you dip your cake, the weight of the melts will pull the cake off of the stick if it’s too thick.

We were pretty easy-going about decorating our pops, trying different colour combinations as we went and the first few were disastrous, but I think our successful pops were pretty cool, and definitely reminiscent of spring! We also bought some edible flower decorations and stuck them into the melts just before they completely solidified and the effect was great. We also noticed how much they looked like Foofah from Yo Gabba Gabba, so if you wanted to make some Foofah cake pops for your little one, this is a really easy way to do it!

Have you ever made cake pops before? Do you have any pro-tips to add? Let us know.