Friday, 18 August 2017

Annual Seeds Review

A little while ago I wrote a post, I was full of excitement because we had sewn a few packets of seeds on a small side border. I had visions of a border carpeted in the most wonderful flowers.

Annual seeds to update border

Sadly this has not been the case, we watered them and I did not even weed for a while as I was not sure what was growing weed or wild flower.

We are now mid-August and this is what we have.




Well, not a huge success is it? I have to laugh at how sad these two flowers look.


There a couple reasons I know they have not worked, my youngest son has turned into a plant destroyer. He has pulled off petals and whole flower heads, he stomps through the border snapping plants under his small podgy feet. Then factor in slugs and snails who think they were planted as a tasty treat.




We have had some success and they are very pretty just a shame not in abundance.





Will I try this again? yes, I will defiantly try this again and in the same place. Next time I will sew a lot more seeds, they are not that expensive. Also, sew over a longer period and hopefully next year I am only battling slugs and not the plant destroyer.

Sometimes things work and some things they do not, I will try again next year with as much hope as I did this time.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Meal Plan Friday 11th August 2017

The summer holidays have not been full of the paddling pool fun and games we were hoping for. We have all been sick this holiday and it has put us out of action for around two weeks. This meal plan was quickly put together as I have now come down with the virus and feeling pretty sorry for myself.

Friday - Fish and Chips with peas easy to prepare and always popular

Saturday - Cajun Chicken Burger

Cajun chicken pineapple burger

Sunday -Toad in the hole

Monday - Paprika Pork served with tagliatelle

Paprika Pork

Tuesday - Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Broccoli and a cream sauce the boys will have a tomato sauce

Wednesday - Treat night so a curry box the boys will have chicken curry

Thursday - Courgette Lasagne - this is such a simple dish but really tasty

Creamy courgette lasagne


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Meal Plan Friday 4th August 2017

The meal plans have been a little delayed due to us getting back from holiday and then our youngest being very poorly. He needed a lot of care and we forgot the meaning of the word sleep.

Friday - Spicy Chicken (this was a McCain Gourmet) served with vine roasted tomatoes and new potatoes. The boys had homemade pizza.

Saturday - Moussaka (thank you Tesco Finest) with a fresh red onion, tomato and cucumber salad. I always thinly slice the red onion and put it in a bowl with lemon juice while the dinner cooks. The boys had linguine with ham and peas using up the tomato sauce we used yesterday for the pizza.

Sunday - We will have beef pie, roasted potatoes and green veggies and the boys will have jacket potatoes with sausages and peas

Monday - A new smoked mackerel salad nice light and fresh. The boys will have cheesy pasta

Smoked mackerel beetroot salad creamy horseradish dressing

Tuesday - Spaghetti and Mozzarella bake

Tomato and mozzarella spaghetti bake

Wednesday - Moroccan Mushrooms. The boys will have risotto with ham and veggies

Moroccan mushrooms with couscous

Thursday - Mexican Bean Chilli

Mexican bean chilli

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Hanging Basket Problems and Rescue

This summer weather or should I say the autumnal weather has been playing havoc with my hanging baskets.

They are being drenched, yet not getting enough water. They are being blown about all over the place, then add in the rather chilly temperatures and grey sky.

The plants are really unhappy, as you can see after another night of hard rainfall the petunias are looking really rather sad. The photos below show the damage the weather has caused.




They almost seem to be dying back and nothing is spreading as it did last year.






This has made me a little sad, but enough of that, what can I do to help them out.

One problem has been a lack of water, I thought due to the fact it had been raining hard they would not need watering, I was wrong. I gave them a good water and added some liquid feed. I will check them every day come rain or shine to see if they need water. I will also feed once a week. I did not feed the hanging baskets at all last year but these guys need a helping hand.

Deadheading, I deadhead them regularly but I really need to give them some time and attention. Especially after the hard rain fall, the flowers really suffer and need to be carefully dead-headed especially the flowers that have been damaged in the rain.

I am hoping these simple steps will help them recover and maybe we can get some warm sunny weather and they can begin to flourish again.


It is not all bad news though, the Nemesia Ice Pink is doing really well.





The Osteopermum and the Argyanthemum with regular deadheading are abundant with flowers, a lesson learnt from last year.






Seeing these three plants do well has helped my confidence, as I was starting to question if it was the weather or my skills as a gardener.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Growing Grape Vines

Mr MC&W likes a good climber on the house, to be totally honest I really am not that keen on them. We have ivy at the front which I keep secretly trying to rip bits down from. For ages he has wanted to grow a vine up the side of the house, he has always loved the one that grows on his parent's home. This has taken a lot of persuading and I have finally said yes but with the understanding, they are not allowed to get too big. 


The wall perfect for the vines
We have a perfect section of wall for the vines as it gets a lot of sunshine, we will also train it around the corner to grow up the wall that faces the patio. 

We went to our local garden centre and bought a red and white grape vine, as you can see they are very simple and nothing fancy. I was wondering if we should have looked into this more and brought better grape variety, then I remembered I am not a wine maker. Though I am a good wine drinker.





I planted them and ran some wire for them to start growing against. Mr MC&W drilled holes using a drill with a masonry bit for a raw plug then screwed a screw in, he then fed the wire round them. He did two heights of wire to help support the vines as they grow.






So far they are doing really well and maybe one year we will have a Mud, Cakes and Wine vintage out of it or I expect the birds will have a wonderfully tasty treat.

I will be attempting to prune these in early winter, that would be November time and will post then about how I go about this as a totally beginner with no idea what I am doing.







Cuddle Fairy

Friday, 21 July 2017

Meal Plan Friday 21st July 2017

The boys have been off school for a few days already. Luckily Mr MC&W has a week of work coming up. We have decided that we are staying at home and doing random days, we have not planned anything and just do gardening and relaxing at home. 

The meal plan is a little dull as we just do not know what we will be up to.

Friday - Boys will have Fish Fingers and Chips. MC&W and I will have the beetroot and mackerel salad 


Saturday - I have some blue cheese and red onions we need to use up so we are having Blue Cheese Mushroom burgers. The boys are having tortellini.

Portobello and blue cheese melts

Sunday - We will have sausage casserole and the boys will have pasta, tomato sauce and ham

Monday - Simple and quick Omelets with ham and cheese with salad

Tuesday - Tuna Pasta bake as not had this in ages 

Wednesday - Meatballs and Spaghetti - we all love this meal

Thursday - Chicken curry for the boys and for us we will have chicken breast roasted on courgettes and tomatoes served with roasted potatoes and mixed roasted veg


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Painting a Garden Shed

About three years ago we had to have a dangerous willow removed from the garden, rather than it falling on our house. Removing the tree opened up a great space for a shed. We brought the shed with some lovely green paint and had grand ambitions of painting it.




In those three years a lot has happened but we never got round to painting the shed. Recently we have made some massive changes to the garden and this was the the perfect time to paint the shed.

This was Mr MC&W project and he used:

  • Sage Green Paint -  For Wood and outdoor use
  • Cream Paint - For Wood and outdoor use
  • Hammerite - For the metal work
  • Masking tape
  • Paint brushes - Large for the green and the main body of the shed, medium sized one for the cream and smaller ones for the cutting in and hammerite
  • Kitchen towel and of course baby wipes





First of all we had to carefully take down the Jasmine and the supporting wires and lay it flat. Next we had a long discussion on what would be cream and what would be green.




Mr MC&W then masked up the areas and began with the green paint. We considered using a roller but found using a brush allowed us to get into the nooks that are part of the wood. We did two coats of green and then re masked up for the cream.

We brought much smaller brushes for the cream paint an the paint was much thinner again two coats were needed.

We took of the masking tape and found the cream paint had leaked through and we had to make good with extra green. Mr MC&W almost though it would have been simpler and quicker to be careful and not bother with the masking tape at all.




We were very happy with our efforts and the the MIL asked if we were doing anything with the hinges? we said no as could not change them. She then told us about hammerite.

This allowed us to paint the sliver hinges black. The paint was not easy to use as it is thick and took work to get it looking OK. We must admit it has made a huge difference.






Lesson we learnt

  • Use a brush not a roller
  • The paint up close is very hard to make look good but from a distance it looks great
  • Check the weather for a weekend of dry weather the paint takes about two hours to dry
  • Keep children in when its drying - they are drawn to wet paint
  • Hammerite is not easy to apply its thick and takes time
  • Do the joins carefully as the paint can easily leak through

Enjoy Colour and the end result 




Twin Mummy and Daddy
Cuddle Fairy

Friday, 14 July 2017

Meal Plan Friday 14th July 2017

This week has flown by in a haze of end of school organisation. From teacher gifts to end of term class assembly.

I somehow managed to get the meal plan written up in a morning when I collapsed with a cuppa. The boys break up from school on Tuesday next week then we start the joys that is trying to keep them entertained for 6 weeks.

Friday - Pizza and Salad for Mr MC&W and I. The boys have school lunch on a Friday so they have a more relaxed picnic style dinner.

Saturday - Mr MC&W legendary Spag Bol

Sunday - We are having the MIL over and not sure what we will have. If the weather is nice a BBQ if not a roast

Monday - Lunch out for Mr MC&W and myself, as he will be changing assignments soon and we will not be able to have treats like this going forward. The boys will have a summer salad mix of mozarella, tomatoes and garlic bread.

Tuesday - Linguine with Tuna Sauce

Linguine with tuna sauce


Wednesday - Curry for the boys and it is our wedding anniversary so its take away for us

Thursday - Summer corgette risotto for us all

Summer courgette risotto

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Meal Plan Friday 7th July 2017

I have been much better on the organisational front this week and we have some much more interesting meals.

Friday - BBQ to finish off the salad and bits we had on Wednesday

Saturday - Boys are having Pizza. Mr MC&W and I are having this warm new potato salad we have had it before. I make a few tweaks including roasting the new potatoes

Warm new potato salad with bacon and blue cheese

Sunday - The boys loved the smell and look of the BBQ and the weather is due to be good so we promised them we would all have one for lunch

Monday - Found this really fresh pasta dish and the boys will have carbonara

Pasta with mozzarella mint and fresh tomato sauce

Tuesday - Red onion and goats cheese tart the boys will have puff pinwheels

Caramelised red onion prosciutto and mushroom tart

Pizza puff pinwheels

Wednesday - Chicken Thai Noodles

Thai chicken noodles

Thursday - Mexican Bean Chilli

Mexican bean Chilli

Monday, 3 July 2017

Planting Wall Baskets 2017

I finally found the time to plant up the last two wall baskets. We have two more but they are covered in ivy and that is a whole new post.

I had to choose a little quicker than I would have liked, we went to the garden centre as the family of 5 and the eldest two were trying to wreck the water features, despite every threat know to myself and Mr MC&W being thrown at them. 

The Petunia was on buy one get one free and they only had pink ones left so I chose two colours to try and clash them in the same planter.

One was called Neon Pink and the other was Pink and it is not quite the effect I wanted but think it looks good and when they take off will be very colourful.




The next one was a bit different and it is pink again, I left it a little late so the choice was a little limited, to add to this I had to choose fast. I had to read a few labels as I had to find plants that could cope with some shade. This was a big lesson learnt from last year.

As you can see this had a few weeds growing out of it and really needed to be sorted out.




I found these beautiful Lobularia Raspberry Stream which I put at the back of the basket they are very delicate and very pretty, then I found these soft pink Sutera Bacopa which was called Great Pink Beauty. These should trial over the edge of the basket. It is such a pretty delicate combination, I actually really love it. The best part was a hoverfly landed on the Bacopa as I was planting it.





Twin Mummy and Daddy
My Random Musings

Meal Plan Friday 30th June 2017

The plan has been rather thrown together this week. I am not sure where the time went and it was not fun late on Sunday night trying to think of meals for the following week. I really must do better this week.

Friday - Mr MC&W was back from Barcelona so we had a ready meal curry. Boys had picnic dinner as they had their main meal at school.

Saturday - Homemade Pizza for the boys. We had Fish and Chips.

Sunday - Slow cooked lamb shanks with roast potatoes and lots of veggies including orange roasted carrots

Monday - Fish, oven roasted vegetables and rice with a homemade tomato sauce.

Tuesday - Meatballs and Spaghetti

Wednesday - Boys will have tortellini. Mr MC&W and I will have a BBQ

Thursday - Jacket Potatoes with beans and cheese for everyone except Mr MC&W who will have tuna

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Planting Climbers

Mr MC&W and I are sat on the sofa with a cup of tea, completely shattered and our muscles are aching, however, we are really rather pleased with ourselves. This morning, through torrential downpours, bright sunshine and a rather cold wind Mr MC&W and I planted 18 climbers.

We wanted to add some colour to the fence behind the trees but not to over crowd them. I thought that some climbers would be perfect, they would add interest and attract bees and wildlife.  

This is what we went for:

Lonicera Japonica Hallina -Late Dutch Honeysuckle, 

Trachelospermum Jasminoides - Confederate Jasmin 

Clematis Montana Tetrarose 

In theory, we should get flowers for a lot of the year, Viburnum (the smaller trees and three shrubs) flower in the winter, Clematis Tetrarose is an early spring flowering clematis, honeysuckle late spring to early summer and Jasmin mid to late summer. Bringing this together with the Elaeagnus Ebbingei, the large Lollipop trees at the back that flower during the summer months.

The Jasmin is an evergreen though the leaves turn a bronze red colour in the winter combined with the honeysuckle which I have done reading up about, some say its evergreen and some say it can lose some of its leaves. We will have to wait and see. However, I can say for certain that the clematis is deciduous and will lose its leaves.

This is how we planned it, we have six fence panels so we have one of each plant on each panel. The theory is they climb in and out of the fence and each other.


TetraRose, Honeysuckle and Jasmin

We started off badly, the first honeysuckle was impossible to untangle from the bamboo cane, we thought the job was going to take hours and we were in over our heads. We decided to try another one turns out we had picked the worst one, the next one we managed to plant and untangle and tie against the fence quick and easy.



Untangling the climbers
By the end had a good little system working, Mr MC&W digging the holes, me planting then working together to untangle, arrange and tie against the fence. The clematis we were convinced we would break anytime we handled them, the stems were so delicate.

A good water later and the plants were in. It was great to do this job ourselves, though we learnt a few lessons. Do not look up when untangling as the bits fall into your eyes, cut the twine before you need it and do not render your secateurs useless as you have nothing else to cut the bamboo canes with. As you can see we have a lot to learn.

I can not wait to see how they develop and the fantastic smelling flowers.



Cuddle Fairy
DIY Daddy Blog

Friday, 23 June 2017

Meal Plan Friday 23rd June 2017

This week has seen us almost bake in the heatwave and not really fancy food. I was very pleased I had put some thought into the food and we have lovely light meals. The other upside to the plan was that we managed to have lots of salad in as it was selling out fast in the shops.

This is what we are up to this week and we are trying a couple of new meals.

Friday - Boys have a picnic dinner as they have school dinner on a Friday. Mr MC&W and I will be having Pizza, a posh one from the pizza express range as they were on special offer

Saturday - Busy day for us all. Boys will have a pizza. Mr MC&W and I will have Fajitas

Sunday - Its the village fete at lunchtime so we will either eats loads of burgers and cake or will pop to Waitrose for a ready meal

Monday - Crispy Greek Pie with salad. The boys will have cottage pie

CrispyGreek style pie

Tuesday - Paprika Pork for everyone served with pasta

Paprika pork

Wednesday - Chorizo Pasta bake for everyone

Chorizo ricotta spinach pasta bake

Thursday - Spicy Chicken, Mash, Beans and Peas

Monday, 19 June 2017

Meal Plan Friday 17th June 2017

Wow we have had some hot weather this weekend and for the coming week.Trying to meal plan food that is easy to prepare and eat.

Friday - We are having this lovely meal using smoked mackerel which I have not cooked with in ages. It combines so many of my favourite foods. Though I did change things around a little.

Warm mackerel and beetroot salad

Saturday- Mr MC&W and I will be having a treat to celebrate Father's Day aw little early tonight. Steak, Chips, Button mushrooms, peas and lots of peppercorn sauce followed by cheese and lots of it. Boys have swimming as are very tired so will have tortellini.

Sunday - BBQ at the brother in laws for Father's Day and several family birthdays.

Monday - Oven Baked Risotto for the boys pea and ham for Mr MC&W and I mushroom

Tuesday - Boys will have veggie fingers, mash, broccoli and beans. Mr MC&W and I will have our own little BBQ with meat from our local farm shop and salad

Wednesday - Gnocchi for the boys a tomato sauce for the grown ups a Stilton sauce with mushrooms and spinach

Thursday - A Tuna Slice for the boys with salad and another mini BBQ for the grown ups

Tuna and sweetcorn slice


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Hanging Baskets Summer 2017

This morning I finally found the time to get the hanging baskets sorted out, my intention was to only look and decide what to buy, as a very kind friend had offered to help me out on another day. Pushing a buggy and a garden centre trolley is not easy. But the plants were starting to get a little low so I decided I just had to go for it.

I am still very much a beginner when it comes to hanging baskets but I really love them, I am lucky that our local independent nursery specialises in bedding plants and is very well labelled. I went straight for the plants marked up as baskets and containers then read a lot of labels. I was surprised at how many names of plants I remembered. 

I came home with a boot full of plants.




I loved the trailing Petunias I chose last year they were a cascade of white and yellow. 




This year I have gone a little more dramatic and this deep purple combined with the white. I must admit I was very close to choosing a bright pink to go with the purple, maybe next year.

This one has white and purple Petunia Surfina and all going well they should cascade down the basket.





I love yellows and oranges, this was a little harder than I first thought as there was not a huge amount of choice. I had to improvise a little and found these...

The orange flowers are Osteopermum, last year I had a basket of purple ones and the lesson I learnt was I have to keep on top of the deadheading or you end up with lots of leaves and no flowers. The Yellow taller flowers are Argyrantemum crested yellow. I then surrounded them with trailing flowers Calibrachoa Cabaret in white and Calibrachoa Goldrush



Finally I have a bit of a soft spot for pink flowers and clashing them, so I chose Nemesia called pink ice as the taller flowers and surrounded them with Calibrachoa Cabaret in cherry rose to take away a little from the pink I found a Bacopa Snowflake hoping the white would work well.



I am really pleased with how they look and will post pictures of how they grow....







My Random Musings