Tag: diy

How to completely change your garden

Or How renovating your garden requires blood, sweat and multiple trips to the tip.

When my OH & I bought our house over 3 years ago, it looked very different. We spent the first month pretty much painting everything we could. Trust me, it needed it. Our house is 160 years old. Throughout its history, some of the owners have lovingly looked after it. Some clearly hated it and practised their awful DIY skills on it! So we throughout the process, we’ve discovered some lovely bits and some hideous bits. But we left the garden alone. When we moved in, it looked like this.

BeforeIt was pretty neglected. Bit by bit, we started to tidy up. The more we tidied, the more junk we discovered. It was a long, arduous and uninspiring task. I can’t even think how many trips to the tip we’ve done. Whether it was the shed, the debris behind the shed, the dead bushes and shrubs… It goes on. But finally, all of that is behind us. This year, we’ve had a new fence and shed built. We’ve completely gutted the garden, with the exception of a very lonely magnolia tree. And we’ve only got about one more tip run to do with a few more bucket fulls of rubble (seriously, no idea where it keeps coming from!) We’re not finished, but we’re really close. Over the last few weekends we’ve been working really hard on the house. Here are a few things we’ve done:

wallWe found these bricks under the earth at the back of the garden. Amazingly, most of them are in great shape, so we built a small wall around the shed. The shed is on a raised plinth so we needed something around it. I’m pretty chuffed with this find. Not quite sure what the numbers represent, but they are now on proud display in the garden. (Huge thanks to my OH’s step-dad for building it!) We have an ongoing battle with weeds in the earth around the shed so wanted something to stop this. So we put down some heavy duty weed barrier and put these lovely pebbles over it. They look lush in the rain and we’re going to add some ferns in pots around the side too.

On Sunday morning, I was very anxious about the weather. I wanted to paint the original fence in the garden to spruce it up a bit. It really needs repairing or replacing but we’re running out of time and money. The weather report said cloudy all day so off out into the garden we went. It started the day looking like this:

Before_back Before_frontIt did rain while we were painting, but just as we were finishing up and it was the briefest of showers. I had to run out for more paint, as we used the whole 5L tin before we finished and these taller panels will need a second coat. Fingers crossed for no rain on Saturday! Not only did we paint the fence, but we also dug in a border on this side of the lawn. There was one there before, but when we took out all the dying shrubs, the grass took over. Three days later and my body is still in agony from the work we did! But it’s so worth it, don’t you think?

After_front

Quite the improvement! We’re going to build some raised beds out of all scaffolding boards from a local supplier. They’re going to go either side of the patio. We are also going to powerwash the patio and plant up loads of bulbs that my Mum bought me and then we’ll be done until Spring. We’ve spent most of this years budget and we’re pretty exhausted, as we’ve also been working on a few bits inside the house too. Have to say, I’m very much looking forward to planting next year and not moving any more earth! Talk about a labour of love! We’ve worked so hard on our garden and I just can’t wait for it to be finished.

Poppy Proofing Crafty Chai Towers

We’ve been making great progress on our list of jobs that need doing around the house. Getting Poppy has caused a few to be more important and so we’ve acted on them sooner. Poppy has free run of the house, with the exception of sleeping on our bed. This is fine except our stairs are wooden and quite steep. Watching Poppy navigate her way down them is terrifying! They’re so awkward, my Mum’s elderly pooch, Harvey, can’t get down them at all. So we decided to carpet them. It’s not just for Poppy – they’re old stairs & creak a lot, I’ve never been completely happy with them, as I’ve been terrified about falling down them, being the clumsy oaf that I am! Last week Selkirk-Harris Carpets came and put in a lovely bit of carpet that we’re all very happy with!

Stairs

The difference it has made is unbelievable. The stairs are much quieter & easier to get down, for both Poppy & me! It’s also like walking on a cloud – Hello lovely underlay! The carpet also makes the stairs so much lighter, which is something we can never have too much of in this house! It even gets Poppy’s seal of approval.

Poppy on the carpet

One other change we’ve made has been inspired by Poppy’s muddy paws. Poppy often makes a beeline for the sofa after coming in from the garden. Now as the garden is in the middle of being redone, the borders aren’t sealed off & there’s a lot of dirt about. Poppy also really likes sitting on the borders! She then runs in the house, straight onto the sofa, muddy paws and all. We don’t mind Poppy on the sofa, but we do mind the paw prints left behind. You know what this means? Shopping trip for some new throws! We looked around at a few places online but couldn’t see anything we liked. Then we popped into Laura Ashley in Summertown, Oxford. I love Laura Ashley. A lot. Especially when there’s a sale on as you are guaranteed to get bargains galore! And, amazingly, we did! We bought two lovely throws 50% off! I love getting a good deal on things & we also came away with a basket for Poppy’s toys. Also in the sale. Awesome!

Throws

Poppy can get her muddy paws on these all she likes. Then, when we have guests over, we’ll whip off the throws & have our sofa back. Again, as you can see, Poppy is pretty happy with the throws! We’ve also had to start mopping the floor more often, which isn’t as much fun as shopping, but what can you do?! When Poppy isn’t sitting on the sofa with us, she’s napping the armchair, where she’s made a little nest for herself among the cushions! So adorable!

Homemade Body Scrub

The Finished Article

I have recently resigned from my job (for a number of dull reasons which I won’t bore you with) so I’m in the process of trying to cut a few corners until something new comes along. Where’s a better place to start than my beauty regime? I normally use the Sanctuary Salt Scrub but at £10 a go I wondered if I could do better.

Well the answer is simply yes! I’d read a scrub recipe on Daisy Green Magazine’s website, courtesy of Gabrielle Treanor, so thought I’d give it a go. I wasn’t disappointed.

Homemade Body ScrubI started with getting my ingredients together, minus the essential oil as I didn’t have any. However, I will be getting some to add to my next batch. This is the best bit of doing something like this. You can make your batch to whatever size you want. If you don’t want to be wasteful then just use a smaller measuring cup. By doing that you can also vary the oils that you use. Once you’ve got a few in then one week you can use rose, the next maybe bergamot, following that orange or peppermint. You could even mix and match to make your own unique scent.

Two Parts SugarOnce I’d measured out my sugar (and cleaned up the spilt bits – I’m a bit clumsy!) I poured it into a jar. This was just a clean one that I had to hand but if you wanted to make it bit more appealing (or maybe give it away as a gift) you could choose something pretty, tie some ribbon round the lid & attach a homemade gift card. (Family & friends be warned – something like this could be coming your way at  Christmas!) Obviously you’d have to check/find out if they were One Part Olive Oilallergic to any of the ingredients and check that you aren’t either before you smother yourself in it. I have had minor rashes from some scrubs before as I have sensitive & dry skin but I didn’t from this. The great thing is you are in control of the ingredients. You can buy organic, ethical oil & sugar so you know that it’s the best that it can be for all concerned.

The Finished ArticleOnce you’ve added the oil to your sugar you mix it up & head to the bathroom. I have really dry skin that can become really painful if I don’t moisturise it. This also contributes to ingowing hairs (gross!) so I need something that exfoliates well but isn’t too harsh either. This recipe fits the bill. It is cheap to make, easy & quick to do. You have complete say over what goes in & it doesn’t leave the shower covered in muck (much to the relief of my OH!) I was left with soft skin that tingled nicely. It has worked a treat on my rough bits but hasn’t hurt my skin. I will definitely be making this again. A fantastic crafty way to get summer skin – even if the weather won’t let you show it off! x

For other homemade beauty recipes have a look on Daisy Green Magazine.