Friday, 20 March 2015

Creating a Lawn Border for my Strawberry Bed - Review of EcoBorder

We are now well into March and with the improved weather sees the start of tackling jobs in the garden. Having had a lot of success two years ago from creating new strawberry plants from all the runners off my existing plants, an additional bed was created. It was rather a rushed job and was not particularly tidy. Now normally I would get someone else to complete any hard landscaping, neither mine or my sister's skills are up to erecting a greenhouse, setting up raised beds etc. We know our limits! 

EcoBorder Review
The Strawberry bed before and after its make over

When I was offered a new product for bordering a lawn or garden bed I knew of just the area in the garden that would benefit - my strawberry bed. EcoBorder by The Plasticspeople is made from recycled tyres, and come in 4ft lengths and can bend up to 70 degrees. The details of the product appeared straight forward, aimed so that even a novice gardener/DIY'er can install them. They come in a choice of 4 colours - brown, grey, black and red. I selected brown as I thought it most suited the location.

Recycleable Lawn Edging ideas
EcoBorder - Recyclable Lawn Edging
Equipment needed: a mallet or household hammer and some gloves. The EcoBorder comes with connector rods to join each piece together and stakes to secure them into the ground, along with easy to follow instructions.

Preparation: prepare the ground and border area first. Ensure the area it will sit is flat and clear of stones.

fitting lawn edging
Simple installation of lawn edging
Fitting: The connecting rods easily push in by hand, place each piece together along the border. Then using your hammer, tap the stakes into place starting at those nearest the joints. 

There was a corner to my border, now this is where  a little help was needed. I did have to call on my father to lend his mitre block, to create the correct angle to join the corner pieces together. If you do end up needing to cut the border, the job of sawing was pretty easy given the state of the saw my sister was using.

creating a lawn border corner
Use a mitre block for the perfect corner 
So what do you think? I think the border looks tidier and more presentable. The edging on the border will allow for the lawnmower to get right to the edge of the lawn when mowing.

Vegetable Raised Beds for bad backs
Improving the look of my vegetable and fruit planting area
I love… 
that you can quickly transform a border and tidy an area up with minimum effort. The mower edge design means no more lawn edging for this border. I have also prevented some tyres going to landfill by reusing them as a recycled product.

Perfect for…
landscaping a walkway, flower border or vegetable border. I bet the red colour border would look great for a child's play area.

Any concerns

The pack of 6 borders were quite heavy, but once opened the individual pieces were easy to carry, manage and fit. I have only had the EcoBorder fitted for a few weeks, so I can not comment on the prolonged installation of them. Though I am expecting them to wear well being made from recycled tyres. I will keep you posted should they fade, though I understand this should not be an problem.  

The important stuff…
a 6 pack of 4ft lengths cost £59.98 plus postage and can be ordered from the PlasticPeople website. 

Disclosure: I was sent a 6 pack of EcoBorder for the purposes of this review, all opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Create your own Annual Garden Seed Sowing Planner

At the beginning of March each year I collect my seed tins from the garage in preparation for reviewing the contents and planning my seed sowing for the year ahead. This year however I am approaching this task a little differently. 

Why not Pin me to your Garden Pinterest board 

Normally I would write down on paper which seeds I plan to sow and when. Now sometimes you can mislay paper and find it a few weeks later but not at the crucial time you need it for seed sowing. It is at this point I then go rooting through the seed tin again. Oh no, this year things are going electronic and every year after (if it all works to plan!).

garden seed planner calendar reminder
Add an Event for a week, be sure to select
a yearly repeat and an alert
So with seed packets at hand and my laptop on with my calender open I proceeded to set up my Annual Seed Sowing Planner. I start with setting up weekly reminders as to which type of seeds I need to plant and any consecutive sowing's. This only took a little time and I was sure to set up an annual occurrence for each item, along with a reminder to prompt me. Each seed sowing task was set for a week, that way I can plan this depending on my free time and other appointments I have planned that week. 

seed planner for the garden
The seeds scheduled for the week are detailed for each day in that week
By setting the seed sowing appointment to reoccur annually my seed plan will automatically roll forward year after year. Obviously if I decide I do not want to grow certain seeds again or want to include new plants I can easily add and remove the reminder appointments. I can also add extra notes to each one as prompts eg, plant 3 seeds to a small pot or sow in greenhouse or directly in raised bed. I always have my mobile phone within reach, so my seed sowing list is always to hand.

Additional information and uses 
  • If you use up all the seeds of one variety or have been unable to save any following harvesting, I can also set myself a reminder of seeds to order for the following year. 
  • You could also choose to set up a separate calendar for all your annual gardening tasks. 
I have great hopes of this working well, but time will tell. Failing that I still have an addiction to list making and pen and paper - who does not love stationery!  I would love to know if you have any alternative methods. What works best for you?

Friday, 27 February 2015

Sew a Little Secret - Sewing Project Review

I have really enjoyed finding my sewing mojo, though I am not confident in coming up with design and inspiration ideas for my own sewing projects. If you are like me then fear not I have just the answer #SewaLittleSecret from Owl and Sewing Cat.

Sew a Little Secret Sewing Project
Sew a Little Secret Sewing Project

Sew a Little Secret is a mail order Sewing project delivered to your door. It includes all the fabric, ribbon, thread, interfacing, pattern and full instructions required to complete a sewing project. Owl and Sewing Cat are based in Eastbourne and I am based in Shropshire, yet I felt as though they were right on my doorstep.

Sew a Little Secret Sewing kit
Sewing Kit with full instructions

Everything arrived all neatly packaged in a cardboard tube. The instructions were very clear and easy to follow, including photographs so you can be sure you are doing everything correctly. The only equipment you will need is a tape measure, some pins, a pair of scissors and of course a sewing machine and iron for pressing your finished project.

Easy to make sewing kit
An easy to follow sewing kit #SewaLittleSecret

The Sew a Little Secret sewing project I received created a hanging organiser, a beginner’s level project. I think you will agree the choice of fabric and colour is fabulous and it looks great too. I thoroughly enjoyed making my secret project a Hanging Organiser, so much so I have dropped major hints that I would like another Sew a Little Secret sewing project for my birthday in April. I loved the surprise of not knowing what I was going to make, what secret project awaited me.

Making a Hanging Organiser
So pleased with my Hanging Organiser
Sewing a Hanging Organiser
Sewing a Hanging Organiser

You can buy your own Sew a Little Secret kit, you can choose a one off sewing kit for £20.95 choosing either beginner or advanced level, this includes postage. Or a six month subscription for £18.95 per month or a one of payment of £99. I think this is really good value for money. By the time you have purchased fabric, a pattern and all the extras required you will certainly have spent more then £20.

Making a Hanging Organiser
Fabulous fabrics for the Hanging Organiser

I am so envious of those of you that live within visiting range of Owl and Sewing Cat, I fear it would become one of my favourite shops to visit, surrounded by fabric, buttons and ribbons – sewing heaven!

Disclosure - I was sent a Sew a Little Secret project for the purposes of review.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Sticky Ginger Cake Recipe

This recipe for Sticky Ginger Cake was easy to follow and most successful. I have received a request for the last few years to bake a Ginger Cake for my uncle's birthday, and this was his lucky year. I relied on family feedback as I am not a lover of ginger myself, and was reliable informed it was a most delicious moist slice of cake with a good balance of gingerness to it. 
Sticky Ginger Cake Recipe

Recipe Sticky Ginger Cake

  • bowl or electric food mixer
  • scales  
  • 2 lb/2 pint loaf tin  
  • baking parchment/ loaf tin liner
  • cooling rack
  • measuring jug
  • sieve
  • measuring spoons
  • wooden spoon
  • chopping board
  • small knife

makes 1 loaf cake - 8 to 10 slices

175g plain white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
175ml sunflower oil
85g dark muscovado sugar
85g golden syrup
3 eggs
3 pieces of stem ginger on syrup, drained and finely chopped
2 tablespoon of the syrup from the jar of stem ginger
optional sliced stem ginger to decorate cake

Sticky Ginger Cake Recipe
Sticky Ginger Cake Recipe
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / Gas Mark 4
  • Line the 2lb loaf tin, I prefer to use a loaf tin liner
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and ground ginger into a bowl.
  • Add the oil, sugar, golden syrup and eggs, beat them until you have a smooth batter. I used my K Mix and the K attachment.
  • Add the chopped ginger and mix briefly.
  • Pour into a lined loaf tin.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. It should be well risen and firm, check with a skewer to see if it comes out clean. The cake will have a very dark colour, this is normal.
  • Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire cooling rack until cool. 
  • Before serving brush the top of the cake with the ginger syrup and decorate with sliced ginger. 

Slice the Sticky Ginger Cake Cake to serve, you should get 8 to 10 slices.  The jar of stem ginger in syrup I bought is sufficient to make another cake, just as well it tasted delicious.

This recipe was taken the Marks and Spencers recipe book 1 mix, 100 cakes.

Other recipes you may like to try:-

Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Wrapper Review and Giveaway - Give your sandwiches the picnic treatment everyday

I have been pleasantly surprised this week by a piece of plastic lined gingham fabric, a simple idea with a practical function. The Wrapper is a reusable sandwich wrap, that keeps your sandwich or food fresh and securely wrapped and sealed. 
The Wrapper a reusable sandwich wrapper
The Wrapper a reusable sandwich wrapper

I have been using The Wrapper for the last week and been most impressed, the plastic lined fabric once folded around your sandwich fastens securely with a velcro fastening. I often end up eating my sandwich at my desk at work and found using The Wrapper most practical, if folded out and protected my work area capturing any crumbs.  It kept my sandwich fresh and moist. There was room enough for my fruit and a slice of cake, a picnic at my desk. This stylish, functional and re-usable alternative to a plastic lunch bag was spotted by my colleague who was most interested. Once lunch was finished a quick wipe over the plastic lining and The Wrapper was ready for reuse. There is even an area for you to write your name on.

The Wrapper a reusable sandwich wrapper
Place sandwich on reusable sandwich wrapper
The Wrapper a reusable sandwich wrapper
Fold around your sandwich with the
reusable sandwich wrapper
The Wrapper costs £5.50 each, is a reusable product made in Scotland and comes in a selection of fabulous fabric designs. I think this is a great product and will continue to use it, I feel like I am taking a treat from my craft room to work each day, I love the pink gingham design.

The Wrapper a reusable sandwich wrapper
Sandwich all wrapped and ready for work


Wrap-it are offering two of my blog readers the chance to #win there choice of The Wrapper.  

How to enter
To be in with a chance of winning this lovely prize confirm your entry using the Rafflecopter widget, for extra entries complete the additional tasks. If you can not see the Rafflecopter widget below, you may need to refresh your page using F5. For more information on how to enter you can watch this Rafflecopter video or visit fellow blogger Super Lucky for a simple guide on using Rafflecopter. 

Remember if you enter the competition by tweeting be sure to include the link to your tweet. If any of the links are not working on the widget leave me a comment or tweet me.

Closes 28 February 2015. Winner must respond within ten days of being notified, after which time a new winner will be selected. UK entrants only. For Terms and Conditions click the link on the Rafflecopter widget.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: I received The Wrapper for the purposes of this review.