It’s that time of year when we want to get out in our gardens and soak up as much sunshine as we possibly can, it’s the time of year for playing outdoors, firing up the barbecue and drinking Pimms.

But in order to fire up the barbecue and drink your Pimms in peace you need to make sure the kids are entertained.

Now if you have to stand up and keep them amused, well that’s encroaching on your Pimms time right so the best idea is to look for outdoor toys and games that allow them to play nicely together. Are we all agreeing on this one?

fairwood cubby playhouseWell I was having a little search online to see what goods were coming up and THIS caught my eye, doesn’t it shout out Golidlocks and the three bears?

A Wendy House made in wood so it’s sturdy and looks so cute. I am thinking teddy bear’s picnics, I am thinking of putting up a couple of shelves in there for some favourite books, how about painting the inside white, the outside blue or pink or maybe yellow? A small table and chairs and picnics in their home. LOVE it.

I loved this Tee Pee Tent too and can hear the ‘Whoo,whoo, whoo!’ cries running around the garden. I also discovered a Make a yarn tipi post which looks really easy and quick to assemble.

asda tee pee tent

Or how about one of these? A Wave Rider Water Slide? who knows after a couple of Pimms you might be having a go yourself?

Wave Rider Water slide

 

And of course water fun doesn’t end there, how about a paddling pool? ASDA Direct have tons of different sizes, there are dinosaur ones, princess ones, big ones and little ones too

paddling pool

You can find skipping ropes, bowling sets, hula hoops, bicycles, sand pits, water play activity centres and lots lots more, what’s more there’s a clearance sale on so you can even pick up a bargain or two.

garden gate

If you’re planning to sell your house, you are probably already aware of the power a good first impression has on persuading a buyer. That’s why estate agents will advise you to de-clutter, bring in some fresh flowers and have something baking in the oven when potential buyers come by. Although those are all good steps to take, many people will care only about the inside of the house. 

A nice garden, however, is not to be overlooked as a selling point as Saga.co.uk explain  If you know that you will be putting your place up for sale in the near future, it’s worth spending a little bit of time making sure it’s a seller. 

Your front garden is the first area of your house that a potential buyer will set his or her eyes on, yet you don’t have to spend much to make it look appealing. A lick of paint on the door, trimming the hedge, tugging out weed and clearing away rubbish will work wonders for your front garden.  

If you have a back garden and you’re still a year or more away from putting the place on the market, consider building a patio. A nice sitting-out area can become like an additional room, making your home feel more spacious than it actually is. When it becomes time to sell the place, make sure you de-clutter your back garden. Any toys, gnomes or garden tools that you normally have out should be stacked away. Invest in some seasonal bedding plants and get rid of all tired-looking plants that are bringing the place down. Cleaning the windows will ensure the garden can be appreciated from the inside, and likewise an attractive inside can be seen from the garden. 

Unfortunately, simply attracting a buyer isn’t enough to get your property sold. Conveyance is the process that follows upon an offer being accepted and includes, among other things, preparing legal documents. Legal delays can prove costly so it’s worth getting a professional conveyance service to help you. When shopping around for one, make sure to choose one where all legal fees are agreed on. That way you avoid the price escalating if you run into unforeseen difficulties with your sale.

 

seed planting

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”  ~Robin Williams

This is the month when gardening really kicks in and some of my major preparations have included the investment in a composter and a water butt. Living the dream people, living the dream.

I am guessing that as we have had so much rain this winter we’re most likely in for a very dry summer plus last summer we were transferred onto a water meter which is great as we’ve saved loads so far but come the summer and watering the flowers and vegetable patch well the meter will soon shoot up. Anyway two rainfalls and it’s already full!

The grass has been cut after a long (in more ways than one) winter and I have started to weed the flower beds. As I pass the roses and other plants I prune as needed remembering the 3 D’s – anything damaged, diseased or dead.

spring bulbs

I have planted seeds which have shot up over the past week including tomatoes, purple broccoli (which last year the snails demolished) leeks and carrots.

seeds growing

I also have the chitting potatoes preparing to be buried in the next couple of weeks too.

Not strictly gardening but still outside work, I have sprayed the entire block paving in front with weed killer, next job will be to drag it all out of the groves with my special weapon.

As a reminder for future years I thought I’d start a monthly reminder list then it’s easy for me to find. 

March gardening To Do list

1. Mulching – this is supposed to save hours of weeding which I hate in the summer. I am supposed to weed and then cover the ground with a 5cm mulch leaving a gap around stems, trunks and plants. I need to find out more about this.

2. Sow cut and come again salads and rocket. I love salad in the summer and eat it every day so it’s silly not to grow my own really, I shall find some quirky containers and get sowing.

3. Runner beans. I’ve not tried growing them yet but I need to expand my veggie plot and they seem pretty easy to grow. Early staking apparently is the way forward so this is on my list before the end of March.

4. Dig over the veggie plot and add new compost to it. I’m late on this one this year but still in time.

I’ll leave you with a shot of my Amaryllis that was received at Christmas as a bulb, I LOVE how it’s such a huge and colourful flower, oh and the wall behind is our ongoing DIY Hall project.

amaryllis

bbq

My husband is a very happy man when the sun is shining and the temperatures pick up as he has only one thing on his mind = BBQ.

This is when the man of the house takes over the kitchen and produces our family meal. No butting in or ‘interfering’ he knows exactly what’s to be done.

He’s in paradise as he fires up his ‘baby’ and to be fair he doesn’t create that much of a mess either as all his cooking is done outside.

bbq sardegna

We’ve been together for almost 10 years and as March enters our lives every year he starts talking about the upcoming bbq season, he was looking at his charcoal bbq the other day and asking me how long he’s had it, I am sure he’s thinking of investing in a new one very soon.

This weekend he put together some chicken kebabs to kick the season off and they were very tasty, simple cubes of chicken interspersed with whole mushrooms, baby tomatoes and green pepper. They were very good dad.

chicken kebabs

I’m hoping, along with the rest of the country I imagine, that after such a wet miserable winter we’ll be treated to a marvellous spring summer allowing lots of outdoor time and good food eaten from Dad’s bbq, with that in mind I’d like to put together a BBQ section here on Mari’s World over the next few months and to kick off I’m collecting all my BBQ recipes done so far together

Tex Mex Grill Steaks

Coronation Chicken

Coleslaw 

Tiramisu

Cranachan Trifle

Pavlova

Plenty more to come

garden harvest

It’s three years now since we moved in and three years that I have half heartedly been working on the garden.

Firstly I never thought it would be such a lengthy process.

Secondly I realise I MUST dedicate more time if I am to have hugely successful harvests

and Thirdly, I am 100% certain this is very much a learning curve at which I can only get better.

I had a good chat with Maggy Woodly from Life at the Zoo and Penny Carr from Being Mrs C on Google + this morning and I picked up some very interesting tips too.

My own harvest

  1. Carrots – they have grown all curly in a clump and next year I shall make sure I thin them out and ensure the earth is very well turned over.
  2. Potatoes – for my first year of chitting potatoes and growing them in a bag I am impressed with our harvest. Sadly one bag seems to have got a bug and the potatoes were ruined. This may have been my fault by cutting the growth off too early and leaving the spuds in there too long.
  3. Leeks – I pulled two up and they are very skinny, I learnt from Penny that they take forever and to just leave them in the ground even for a year!
  4. Broccoli – after last year’s disaster with the brussel sprouts I decided to go with broccoli and little did I realise they too would be a haven for caterpillar and slugs. In fact no broccoli came up at all, I imagine somebody ate the shoots when they were tiny so all I had was stalks.
  5. Tomatoes – usually I’m very good with tomatoes but this year I planted too late and have a very green crop – watch out for a green tomato chutney recipe coming up.

Work to do

  1. I’m still waiting for the apples to be ready for picking. I have the baby Golden Delicious tree that yielded 5 last year and has at least double this year plus the other sweet apple tree which suffered from aphids all summer so the apples are a little wonky in apsect.
  2. Bulbs – It’s the right time of year to get planting bulbs, I seem to have lost all the ones I planted 2 years ago as nothing came up last year so I am armed with daffodils and tulips ready to go.
  3. Cutting back and pruning – lots
  4. Wedding – lots
  5. Fruit trees – I’m so impressed with our apple tree i was wondering whether to invest in a second fruit tree and may take a trip to the garden centre to see what is on offer.