Tag Archives: gardening

Coming up Roses by Rachael Lucas


I truly loved Sealed With A Kiss by the utterly gorgeous Rachael Lucas and couldn’t wait to dive into the pages of her new book Coming up Roses. Rachael asked me if I would like to review her book so of course I said yes! 

Would be gardening expert Daisy can’t believe her luck when her parents announce they’re off on a midlife crisis   gap year, leaving her in charge of their gorgeous garden. 

From the minute I started reading I knew where Daisy was, I could hear her speak every word she said and see the garden and such is Rachael’s charming and believable description of everything I could well have been there myself!

Having just emerged from a horrible break-up, some peace and quiet is just what Daisy needs.  Only, village life turns out to be anything but ……..

Anyone who has ever lived in a village will appreciate this and anyone who yearns to live in a village will long even more for village life. 

With gardens bursting with life and the summer months stretching out in front of us I can wholeheartedly recommend Coming up Roses. 

Well done Rachael on yet another fabulous book which I know many will enjoy.  



Nellie Knows – The Wokingham Paper :8 May 2015


This was previously published in The Wokingham Paper on 8 May 2015


As I have said before I do love May with its Bank Holidays and this past weekend has been a crazily busy weekend not just for us but countless other families as they enjoyed a 3 day weekend. We didn’t get to the May Fayre this year what with one thing or another but I heard it was good and the weather was brilliant. Let’s hope we have a dry spell for the next Bank Holiday and half term! We were glued to the telly on Saturday following the arrival of the new Royal Baby, Princess Charlotte looked so gorgeous in the photos. I’m certainly not broody and I don’t envy anyone who has a newborn with broken nights as I love my sleep so much, but I do love a cuddle with a baby. Thankfully a friend had a baby on Thursday so I can have a cuddle and then hand him back. I try and have an early night at least once a week which is my way of recharging the batteries and also gives me the chance to read without interruption.

I’ve got a massive pile of books to review which include If You Go Away by Adele Parks, Yellow Room by Shelan Rodger, The Silent Hours by Cecsa Major and M. D. Murphy’s Dark River Melody. I love reading and once I get started I struggle to put it down. I’ve thankfully passed my bookworm habits onto my children who all enjoy reading and one of them was the inspiration for the name of a character in Christina Jones’ Love Potions so that book is always going to be special. Whilst sorting out a box that had been in the back of a cupboard until recently I found the Jilly Cooper books we all read at school as teenagers, as well as Shirley Conran’s Lace!

In the garden
A few weeks ago I had great plans for one of my borders but now that everything is flowering I will leave it and just remove the dandelions and nettles, I will have to get to the dandelions before the children do as their seeds are the last thing I want anywhere near my garden! I really do relish being in the garden and like nothing better than a cup of coffee outside first thing, with the lovely weather it has been so nice to sit outside in peace knowing that as soon as someone stirs then the rest of the house will follow. Breakfast is the loudest meal of the day in our house and every week my lot change their mind about what cereal they actually like, but thankfully they all like fruit so we have heaps of it in a bowl as well as frozen blackberries we picked from various hedgerows last autumn which I throw into a smoothie or yoghurt or make into a summer pudding or crumble.

Speaking of hedgerow fruit leads me nicely onto Home Fires and Jambusters, I see that Jambusters by Julie Summers is the No 1 bestseller in Women’s studies on Amazon which makes me hugely proud. We enjoyed the first episode and are looking forward to the next 5 Sunday evenings as the plot unfolds, the cast is amazing and the location is Cheshire where a branch of my family live so I have a certain fondness for it. I’ve recorded The C Word but will have to find the right time to watch it as a friend who had breast cancer now has brain tumours and it will be rather close to home. I don’t watch much telly but I do enjoy watching reruns and films, we watched Paddington at the weekend which was great fun and if you’ve not seen it then I would recommend it!

Last week I wrote that I would be picking up a box of treats from Wellington Farm Shop one of my favourite farm shops, as well as ingredients that I turned into a tasty birthday meal for my husband I also picked up some Spitfire Cheese and some chilli and lime Cheddar, both had a real kick and it’s no surprise that it’s all gone. I really enjoy cooking and when I eat something out I will then recreate it at home. This week it was Mango Curry which was so easy to make. I fried some onions, leeks, garlic and chicken then in a separate bowl mixed Crème fraîche and mango chutney, added them all together and shoved in the oven (which is now working thanks to Kevin of Domestic Appliance Care and Repair) whilst I cooked the rice and prepared a salad. I made a meringue which I bashed up and added some soft fruits to make Eton Mess. I think it’s safe to say that the meal was well received as there were no left overs! On Sunday I made Lamb Curry with a sauce from Mama Eti’s which is an Indonesian street food company run by an old friend from my Holme Grange schooldays, that also went down well and we will be exploring more of the range over the coming months.

The football season is over but that doesn’t stop my girls kicking the ball around whenever they can. My youngest plays for Wokingham and Emmbrook Girls U10s and is taking part in the Futsal tournament next month, having just learnt the rules for football I now have to get my head around a different set of rules! She recently took part in an inter school football tournament playing against some of her Sumas team which was great fun for the girls and her school came 3rd. My husband used to play cricket and has been glued to the cricket on the box, however none of the girls have shown any interest in the game but they could be tempted to join their friends for the Friday Club Evening at Hurst Cricket Club for an early evening drink or something to eat, between 6pm and 830pm which runs until the end of July. Maybe we’ll see you there?


Clothing finds at Country Living Fair


Oh I had such a lovely time on Wednesday at the Country Living Spring Fair with Georgie of Common Farm Flowers and have spent much time admiring my purchases, checking out websites and kicking myself for not buying something when I saw it.  However in reality I had more than enough bags so will just have to do some online ordering unless I can sneak up to Islington tomorrow!  There’s so much to share with you but here’s a glimpse at the wardrobe edition!

If you are visiting the Country Living Fair this weekend then have a read of Georgie’s survival guide and do by all means have a look at my blog post about Wednesday but I make no apologies if you find you are led astray!

Stepping into the Business Design Centre you will be met by a stunning garden display by Lucy Summers Living which you will gasp at and stare at I tell you.


Who said gardening can’t be glamourous?  GardenGirl is a Swedish company producing comfortable and practical ladies gardening clothes and accessories.


Wow!  I love this range of rainwear from Blaest and had a good chat about the range whilst mentally choosing which colour!


Now this pinny from Pinny Pockets is a natty little thing!  How useful to have detachable oven mitts as I always lose mine!


I love the bags from Emma Cornes and her about page!

If you’re looking for stylish shoes then head to Its got soul who I have a great affection for, their shoes are so comfortable and in a wide range of colours.  I’ve got the pink brogues but I am going to add to my shoe collection very soon, oh so very soon!IMG_5178

As for the socks at Pittch, well I love them all!

Since buying a green Foxglove jacket from The Linen Press I have been wearing it daily and have had so many nice comments about it, I feel I might need to browse a bit more!!


There really are so many temptations – these were just a few!  Don’t delay – get your tickets today!

Mother’s Day – Earth Mother


That funny girl who is wise beyond her years, short for her age and has THE most perfect comedy timing was in the garden for most of the day yesterday.

After lunch she was watching butterflies, throwing the ball for the dog and walking barefoot in the border taking it in turns to balance on the sleepers and dig for moles. She’d worn shoes, shoes and socks, socks or has been barefoot. If the truth be told she’d also been wearing a retro Liverpool shirt with the no 7 on the back and a pair of Welsh rugby shorts. The football shirt isn’t hers and looked like a dress. It did look quite sweet with little grazed knees and grubby legs poking out underneath!

When Big Welsh came back from his cycle she helped him fix the mower, she happily piled earth onto uneven parts of the lawn, she cleared the grass away from the paths and borders with her bare hands and she washed her green pudgy hands before settling down to watch Shrek.

She’s the child that’s most at home with nature, whose mind takes in every fact and she retains trivia for a later date. She’s my earthy girl does that make me an earth mother? Together we potter in the garden and she marvels at butterflies, worms and ladybirds with me.

Thank you Laree for being the happy and dappy smiling girl, who is as happy in the garden as she is sipping a cup of tea at Lotte’s, reading on the lawn or soaking and swimming in the bath.