Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Grow your own

Curly Kale

Grow your own

We only have a small back yard with no planting area, but we decided to have a go at growing some of our own vegetables this summer anyway. Obviously some things were out of the question that need a lot of room, like pumpkins, but the majority of vegetables can be grown quite easily in containers. 

Potatoes can be grown in big plastic containers like these (plastic ones are cheaper), or even a rubbish bag. Peas can also be grown in these big containers, just add some stakes in for support. We managed to fit 5 pea plants in each of these containers and harvested quite a bounty of gorgeous peas at the height of summer. 


Grow your own

2kg of potatoes! 

Grow your own

Grow your own

Beetroot, carrots and spring onions

Our carrots actually failed a bit (okay, a lot. Not a single one did we manage to harvest successfully). Lots just died off and the ones we did manage to pull out of the ground were half rotten. I half suspect that the heavy rain in the summer made them too wet and we should have had better drainage, but oh well. We will try again next year. Above is a wooden planter than Scott built. It has storage underneath it too and the planter is at chest level. We planted beetroot, carrots and spring onions and have had some lovely spring onions from it and the beetroot will be ready to harvest any day now. So 2 out of 3 isn't bad. 

Another staple of our garden are herbs. We have thyme, sage, mint, oregano, basil and rosemary. 

Here are a few tips for growing veg in small spaces: 
  • drainage, drainage, drainage! A container probably won't have as good natural drainage as planting into the ground, and you don't want your vegetables rotting because they are too wet. Old pieces of terracotta or a chopped up plastic pot can be use for drainage in the bottom of a container. 
  • Don't buy expensive seeds - seeds from poundland and wilkos are just as good. 
  • It's okay to cheat - I've often bought baby plants to get a headstart. The kale was bought as plugs and we planted them on. I also cheated last year and bought some courgette plants from Wilkinsons as my courgette seeds failed. 
  • Keep all of your plants in the sunniest area. Our garden is quite shady so all of our containers are clustered into the left hand side to maximise the sunshine. The great thing with a container garden is that you can shuffle them around so ones that are looking a bit in need of extra sunshine can be moved. It also comes in handy when entertaining - you can move all the containers out of the way to maximise space. 
  • Don't neglect them - remember to water them in the morning and evening on very hot days and trim off any dying parts of plants regularly. It's also important to harvest them while they're at their best - we missed out on a few peas because we didn't pick them at the right time. 
  • Don't worry about expensive feeds - we never used any and our plants turned out fine. Okay, they might *improve* your harvest, but they aren't the be all and end all. 
We would love a bigger garden one day (or even an allotment!) but at the moment we don't have the time or money to dedicate to a bigger garden so our little container garden is perfect for us. 


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Saltwater sandals

Saltwater sandals

Saltwater sandals

When I went away to Wales for a few days, I spotted some Saltwater Sandals in one of the shops in Aberdaron. Aberdaron is like the Newquay of Wales so it's full of lots of surfer type shops that sell surfer/hippy style clothes which make you want to give up your day job and become a full time beach bum. I've seen Saltwater sandals on a few American blogs, but never in the UK. Unfortunately the shop didn't have any in my size so I just shrugged and thought 'I'll find some online when I get home, no worries.' HOW WRONG I WAS! It appears that in a UK size 5 women's, they are quite rare. Especially in the red that I was originally lusting after. Even Mod Cloth had sold out of the red completely. After a few fruitless days searching online, I decided to purchase the bright yellow ones on the basis that they will look fab with red nail varnish. And they do, don't they? 

Saltwater sandals
Shoes - Saltwater Sandals
Dress - New Look
Messy bed head c/o 3 hour nap.

Since I got them on Friday, they've barely been off my feet. I'm hoping that the nice weather continues so that I can get more wear out of them. The bright yellow makes me so happy when I look at my feet. 

Monday, 6 August 2012

New beauty faves

Oh Lola17 BB creamWatermelon body lotion
Oh, Lola by Marc Jacob, BB cream by 17 and Watermelon body lotion by Body Shop

I recently treated myself to some new beauty purchases. I'm not into beauty and stuff too much - I buy what I need and use it all up and then buy more. I'm always shocked/amazed when I see some beauty bloggers stashes! However, I seemed to have ran out of things I got for my birthday last year and Christmas, so it was time to spend some of my birthday money on a few beauty treats. I had ran out of perfume (bar Marc Jacobs Lola, but that is my evening scent) so I wanted to buy a new day time fragrance and I always love Marc Jacobs' perfumes. I also recently smelt Dot which was very nice indeed. Oh, Lola! is a lighter and more floral version of Lola which makes it very nice for daytime. 

I was also running out of my foundation and wanted something lighter with slightly less coverage for the summer, so ventured into BB creams (about 6 months late, I know! But I'm not a beauty blogger so shush). This Boots 17 one is quite nice - it doesn't cover up my blemishes but I didn't expect it to really, but it does even out my skin tone and make the blemishes slightly less noticeable. It also doesn't seem like I'm wearing any make up at all. My skin (acne) had been so bad lately I felt like I was plastering up my skin so much with make up and I needed a break but didn't quite have the confidence to go bare-faced to work, so this is a happy medium and I have noticed my skin has seemed fresher and more radiant since not being covered in make up all the time. 

The body shop body lotion was a gift from my friend Lauren for my birthday - it's loooovely! The smell is amazing and it keeps my legs really smooth after epilating. It appears to be out of stock though which is a bit of a bugger but I might re-consider the body shop for another body lotion when this runs out.

Argania oilPhilosophy cinnamon buns
Argania hair oil and Philosophy cinnamon buns shower gel

I also jumped on the 'Moroccan oil'/Argan oil band wagon! My hairdresser had been gently chastising me for not doing enough with my hair (I told him I'm a wash & go kind of girl and he gently inquired whether I use any heat defence products...ummm when I remember) so I decided to try some argan oil to tame my ends. It's very nice, but I have quite oily hair anyway so I have to be careful not to overuse it. The smell is delicious though - macadamia nuts and cocoa butter! It also leaves my hands really soft after using it. I just have to ensure I use it on damp hair - on wet hair make it way too oily for me. 

And finally, my new favourite shower gel. I have constantly eyed up and sniffed Philosophy shower gels for as long as I can remember, but the price tag (£14 - ouch) put me off. However, armed with birthday money and an impulse to buy, I bought some. And I don't regret it at all. Who wouldn't want to smell like a cinnamon bun? 

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

July

Wow, how is it August already? I swear just yesterday it was my birthday and the beginning of July. 

In July I...


  • Attended my first Clandestine Cake Club. I made a coffee & walnut cake. The theme was 'cherished memories' and passed down recipes, but I don't really have any passed down cake recipes as my Nana and Mum were never really big bakers (this always shocks everyone! But being from a Spanish background, it was more flans and fruit for dessert.) 


  • Spent a few lovely sunny days on the Llyn Penninsula. I went down to stay in a caravan with my parents, sister and niece. It was so nice. My niece is nearly 2 and she is as such a mischievous age but so cute too.  She loved paddling in the sea and shouted 'more! more!' for more waves to come along. Adorable. 

  • Ate more Mexican food at Lucha Libre in Liverpool. Their queasadillas are awesome and we also re-tried their ribs which were a bit dry last time we went, but they've changed their recipe and it was awesome - melt off the bone awesome! 

 

  • Went on some lovely walks around South Liverpool when the weather was nice. We had a lovely 3 miler down to Otterspool Promenade. When the weather is nice, Otterspool prom is amazing and full of so many people enjoying the sunshine, from cyclists to kite fliers enjoying the Mersey wind. I like to call it Costa del Aigburth or the Mersey Riviera. 

  • Enjoyed our pea harvest. We had some amazing peas from our plants throughout July. I absolutely love peas in a pod. I remember my Grandad would buy us them in a brown paper bag from the greengrocers on the way home from school during the summer. I would devour them so quickly: there was something so special about opening the pods to see the peas, so sweet & juicy! 
I didn't take my camera out much at all during July, which is something I'm going to try hard to rectify in August. I also hope to have a few more outfit posts lined up and more wedding planning updates! 

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