Chelsea Flower Show 2012

May 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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After weeks of dreadful weather the sunshine has finally made an appearance right in time for this week’s Chelsea Flower Show which opens to the public today.

Yesterday celebrities, show judges and Her Majesty the Queen were invited to Chelsea Flower Show’s Press Day where the show gardens were judged and guests were able to take an exclusive tour around the show.

The Queen at Chelsea Flower Show 2012

The Queen at Chelsea Flower Show 2012

I was lucky enough to visit the Chelsea Flower Show many years ago and have followed the annual event for years because I admire the creativity of the gardens that are often designed with specific occasions in mind. Many of this year’s gardeners have taken into account this summer’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games but they were also required to work around the recent drought and hose pipe ban.

One gardener who concentrated primarily on environmental elements was Diarmuid Gavin who has created the highest ever garden featured at the show. The striking garden scales 80ft and is designed in a pyramid frame with seven stories. Adding a touch of Royal Britannia for Press Day, Diarmuid invented 75 Chelsea Pensioners to line the pyramid garden, where they could admire the magnificent views from the high rise garden.

Diarmuid Gavin Chelsea pensioners

Diarmuid Gavin garden with Chelsea Pensioners

Although I like Diarmuid’s boldness I have to say that his garden isn’t particularly visually pleasing for me. Instead I like the garden which have a more relaxed and rustic feel. The L’Occitaine Garden and Chris Beardshaw’s ‘Furzey Gardens’ are favourites of mine because they are both understated but beautiful. In contrast I also like the Thai exhibit which is vibrant, energetic and full of life.

The Royal Horticultural Society, who hosts Chelsea Flower Show, has also focused on practical gardens in 2012’s show. They’ve included a rehabilitation garden that has been used to help wounded and ex-service men and women get back into the garden. The rehabilitation garden is fantastic to see as I believe that getting outdoors is a fantastic opportunity for people to enjoy life once again.

Amanda Holden in L'Occitaine Garden

Amanda Holden in L’Occitaine Garden

The RHS have also called on celebrities fans of the Chelsea Flower Show such as Dame Judi Dench, Joan Collins and Fearne Cotton to decorated plant pots which will be auctioned for charity. All proceeds will be ploughed back into The RHS who work with children to help them benefit from the pleasures of gardening.

There is a lot going on at this week’s show so I’d recommend reading The Telegraph’s live coverage or visiting the Chelsea Flower Show website for updates on awards, featured gardens etc. I’d love to hear from you if you’re visiting the show so please feel free to leave a comment below.

The first day of spring… 2012

March 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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It’s officially the first day of spring and I couldn’t be happier to see flourishing daffodils and lambs bounding around fields as I’ve always felt that spring has a wonderful way of naturally uplifting people’s spirits.

For me bright and early spring mornings are splendid not only because they make me feel refreshed and revitalised but because they give me a chance to get up early and run errands before I get to the office.

Spring Daffodils

Spring has finally sprung

And I’m not the only person who feels a sense ‘get-up and go’ when spring finally arrives as often older people feel a sense of relief to see the end of winter and a start to spring because they find it easier getting out and about.  Whether it’s tending to the brightly coloured flowers which have recently popped up in the garden or going for a light stroll around a National Trust park that really do start to bloom at this time of year.

Read my guide to easy access gardening for elderly and disabled people which is full of useful tips on how to enjoy time in your garden this spring and summer time.

Lucky for us there are lots of things to look forward to in spring. Easter will shortly upon us, which means Easter egg hunting for us grandparents, and we can also look forward to May’s bank holiday weekend- a chance to have a good spring clean before a busy summer celebrating The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 Olympic Games.

Spring Google Doodle

Today's Google Doodle

The joy of the first day of spring has even spread to the internet as search engine Google have dedicated today’s Google Doodle (created by fashion brand Marimekko) to spring. True to the season the doodle is brightly coloured and features flowers, butterflies and birds. It boldly captures the spirit of spring which has sparked a storm of positivity online as thousands of people have commented on the eagerly anticipated arrival of spring on both Twitter and Facebook.  

I’m happy to say that there is a glimpse of spring sunshine peering through my window, fingers crossed it will last until the weekend when the clocks go forward one hour which means summer won’t be too long away!

15 minutes of exercise a day can boost life expectancy by three years.

August 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A new study released today suggests that by simply exercising for 15 minutes every day life expectancy can be boosted by three years and the risk of death cut by 14%.

Whereas previous statistics offer unobtainable advances, stating that getting fit and staying healthy takes hours of gruelling work in the gym. I find these statistics really encouraging as 15 minutes of activity each day is achievable for everybody.

Even better 15 minutes of ‘exercise’ can be any sort of tasking activity which works up a sweat. So I’ve come up some efficient ways to get fit and do all of your daily tasks too.

Household activities

  • Climb the stairs– I’m guilty of piling things up and then taking everything upstairs in one go. Instead take things up when you need too. You’ll go up the stairs more times than usual but gain lots more exercise than normal too.
  • Wash the car– It’s a job which I always put off and usually end up going to a drive through service. However, scrubbing and buffing the car until it looks brand new is a great way to work up a sweat and saves pennies.
  • Gardening- If the garden is looking a little dishevelled why not go outside and pull out some weeds, mow the lawn or just have a general tidy up. Gardening really does get the heart rate going and is a great way to get some fresh air. But remember that gardening generally means lots of leaning over so take it easy and rest if you need too.
  • Walk the dog- This is one of my favourite ways to exercise as I love taking my dogs out for walks. In fact my dogs are so energetic that they usually end up walking me! I like to take alternative routes depending on what I’m doing on specific days, which is a good way to get some variety.
  • Play with grandchildren- If you’ve got grandchildren you’ll know that they can keep you active for hours never mind 15 minutes. But to make sure you do exercise plays fun games with them. I like musical chairs as it’s a classic game which gets everyone excited and with some much running around it’s a brilliant way to stay active!


Easy Access Gardening for the elderly and disabled.

April 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Yesterday I spoke about the concept of growing you own fruit and vegetables, which is a wonderful way to make the most of your garden and feed the family.

Getting out of the house and into the garden is great for everybody but especially elderly and disabled. As the fresh air and natural surrounding can instantly makes you feel happier and healthier.  My thoughts have since turned towards helpful ways for elderly and disabled people to get into the garden.

elderly and disabled driving

Some useful hints and tips…

  1. Having raised beds are your garden is perfect for anyone who struggles with their mobility. Raised beds are positioned so that you can reach then easily, even from a wheelchair or scooter, enabling you to enjoying gardening again.
  2. Easy Grip or ergonomic gardening tools are ideal for those who suffer from arthritis or problematic joints. Ergonomic tools are designed to make gardening easy for you therefore worth investing in. Even better we have some Easy Grip garden tools on our Ebay site.
  3. Benches are perfect if you struggle getting around the garden. Be sure that a bench is easy to get too, not too far away from you the back door and surrounded by beautiful potted plants for fragrance. Lavender would be perfect!
  4. A water sprinkling system is a good idea for gardens which are large. Sprinklers remove the hassle of having to maul a hose pipe around the garden and can be set to timers making systems easy to use.
  5. Finally, councils offer help and assistance for elderly and disabled people who need assistance with gardening maintenance. There are however, specific requirements which you need to fit before you will be considered eligible. Apply through your local authority.

Gardening- Grow your own fruit & veg!

April 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Grow your own

With a weekend of glorious weather, it seems that everyone got out and about and into the garden. Ideally, April is thought to be the perfect time to start working on the garden to prepare for summer time.

It’s great that more of us are getting green fingered and importantly seeing the benefits. As nowadays many families aren’t just potting plants and mowing the lawn but also growing their own fruit and veg.

‘Growing your own’ was popular in the 1940’s and 50’s as it was the most affordable way of providing the household with fresh fruit and vegetables. However, many families later turned to the more convenient option of picking up fruit and veg from the supermarkets. With raising prices and often a disappointing selection, more and more families are going back to growing their own, whether it’s in the garden or an allotment.

I read recently read that here in Britain almost 30% of all households grow something in their garden, which they later eat. A wonderful statistic that I am sure will rise during the summer time when the excitement of growing your own really comes alive!

grow your own

I have a greenhouse where I grow all different types of tomatoes from yellow ones to huge green tomatoes and the classic cherry tomatoes. I really enjoy growing then and making some delicious meals with my home produced tomatoes. They go perfectly in salads, with pasta and ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ are delicious, however slightly unhealthy so only ever served as a treat.

Impressively lots of people are finding different ways to grow their own. Instead of digging up the entire garden lots of people are investing in grow bags where you can easily grow tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, chilli peppers and even aubergines. Many households now use windowsills to grow different herbs which make a meal extra delicious.

I recently heard a great story of a local community where everyone grows something in their garden. Once everything has bloomed, the community exchange what they’ve grown with each other so that all can enjoy fresh, home grown fruit and vegetables. I think that this is wonderful and such a great way to get the whole community involved.

So with beautiful weather what better way to spend your time in the garden, with the added bonus that home grown groceries are cheap, healthy and a pleasure to grow.

I’ve attached my favourite (if a little naughty) recipe ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’. Enjoy…

fried green tomatoes recipe

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