How to plant a bulb tray • Styling the Seasons March

I love pots of bulbs around the house at this time of year. Window ledges, fireplaces and the coffee table covered with terracotta pots lined up in little rows. I picked up a wonderful antique galvanised bowl filled with Naricissus bulbs from one of my favourite local florists Sprout and Flower, and as the miniature daffodils started to fade I wanted to replant it with more colour, to bring Spring back into the lounge. 

They have the most beautiful and unusual selection of flowers. Blossom, wild flowers, all my favourites that you can't find in a supermarket. A trip to Sarah's sweet shop is like the best pic and mix you could ever imagine and every time I head back to the car giddy over the goodies wrapped in brown paper and tied with raffia. 

A bulb planter is the easiest thing to make and it's so satisfying seeing them grow a little more each day. It brings nature into your home decor and is such a lovely activity to do with your children.

You will need:

  • Container - bowl/pot/tray
  • Bark chippings/gravel
  • Bulbs of your choice (I used a mix of 15 blue and pink Hyacinth bulbs to cover a 15 inch bowl)
  • Moss/twigs for decoration
  • Water spray
how to plant a bulb tray 5.jpg

I emptied the pot of the old bulbs and put them in the garden shed to save and plant in the garden for next year. 

Line your container with a half an inch layer of bark chippings or gravel. This will allow any water to slowly penetrate through the roots. 

Take your bulbs and carefully tease them apart gently, trying not to damage the roots.

You want to give them some room to grow and spread the soil around your container. 

Place your bulbs in your container, with the roots submerged under a thin layer of soil. I like the element of surprise so Sammy and I decided not to be too prescriptive about the order of the colours of the bulbs. If you'd prefer a more organised planter, arrange in colours or a pattern of colours. If you need to, add a little extra compost to cover your roots. 

Add your moss, tear it into clumps and place in between your bulbs. I added the old twigs and collected a few more from the garden.

Spray with water. I used an atomiser spray from a weekend travel beauty kit so as not to soak the earth. I spritz the bulbs a couple of times a week and a week later, I can see the tops of the Hyacinth heads just starting to bloom. 

It's best to keep your planter in a nice room temperature, cooler spot, rather than in complete direct sunlight all day. Remember to spin the container around so all the bulbs get the chance to grow evenly. 

I love seeing all the photos and posts linking up with Apartment Apothecary and Lotts and Lots, seeing how everyone is bringing Spring time into their homes. 

I wonder what goodies Sprout and Flower will have this week...!

P.s. I am in love with a new polarising filter for my Canon DSLR that I was sent from Wex Photographic. All the photos in this post are straight from the camera card. NO tweaking, no sharpening, nothing! I will post a full review of the filter but just had to sneak in how amazing it is to the quality of the capture! How did I live without it?!

Coming Home

I have always been a person who has a hundred things on the go. I seem to wear many hats and every time I try and and give one of them up, my heart just won't let me and I start a new to do list! 

I see nothing but opportunity at the moment. Every new connection I make seems to lead to another and whilst life is still as busy as it's ever been, I can feel a seismic shift in finding a source of constant and stability to anchor us down. And that is our home.

We spent over a year searching for our beloved "forever house", somewhere with potential to outlast our boy's time at home, somewhere to enjoy when they fly the nest. A project. And although it's going to be a long journey, every little mark we make on this 300 year old former dairy farm house, makes it feel more and more like home. We have barely touched upstairs, bar me pulling off a piece of the ceiling by accident in the bathroom (This did not improve it!) and decorating the boys' attic room. Our priority was always to get a family space to eat and live in warm for the Winter, and now we can see the garden coming back to life, the trees are filling up with blossom and sunny days flood the house with a warm golden light. 

Coming Home Hive 3.jpg

We want to be at home. To potter at weekends and even though our calendar has more weekends away, family celebrations and lovely day trips with friends on it than quiet weekends in Somerset, it makes those all the more important. Lazy Saturday mornings to cherish, the bed full of boys taking us through their latest card board creation, that has to stay by my bedside table, not making the bed until the afternoon, leaving the playroom floor littered with Lego, because the boys are going to play with it again later. No rush to tidy up. 

Over the past couple of weeks it has felt as though I've been away more than I've been at home, Rich has taken on the lion's share of school runs, bath times and bed time stories and I've had an overnight bag permanently packed ready for the next adventure. I left on Monday morning this week, watching 3 males waving me off, to head for London.

I was speaking to a lovely group of students at the Judith Blacklock Flower School in the afternoon, taking photos for Judith's book and magazine and brainstorming lots of ideas to work on together in the future! I left Knightsbridge at gone 7pm and literally lugged an enormous suitcase full of props back to Hatton Cross where my lovely taxi (aka my Mummy) was waiting to take me back to her house, feed me and force me to bed! 

I was up early again on Tuesday to head back into central London for The Brand Stylist's Colour for Creatives Workshop (That deserves at least one post of it's own!). I left Brixton station feeling like my head was going to burst, I was spinning with ideas and felt a million miles away from our little patch of the countryside. It's a balance being a working mother, investing time into your own business and sacrificing the pre school trip to the farm, an assembly or those precious seconds when every single day at pick up, Sammy's eyes light up and he runs into my arms. 

As I was on the train Rich text me, "Just come home." 

We are used to spending (almost) 24 hours a day together. We work together, sit at opposite ends of the dining table, bounce ideas off each other, so it feels alien to be apart overnight. 

I always feel such a sense of relief to be home, to hear the crunch of the new gravel under the tyres, to see the westies faces through the gate, their tails wagging so fast they might just fall off. And this time I came home to a Mama's Assembly. A nine page performance complete with a winking portrait and completely off his own bat, an appreciation that I "woke rily hard" for them. 

I love that we are creating a home for them, somewhere which I hope will have that same feeling of relief when they are grown up boys. To be back home. 

And when Hive got in touch with me about their new #cominghome campaign it felt like the most natural thing to share with you. This beautiful video captures the essence of what we are building for the boys. Such sentiment and warmth. See for yourself.

Hive are also offering a very lucky reader the chance to win a coming home experience like no other! Do you deserve a real treat? Do you know someone else who might? Head over to their Facebook page and leave a comment about what #cominghome means to you. The prize is worth £1500!!!!!

What makes coming back to your home special? Share it over on the Hive Facebook page and be in with a chance of winning. Good luck!

In collaboration with Hive, the UK's no. 1 connected thermostat giving you control over your heating and hot water system on the go with a beautifully designed app.  Full terms and conditions of the competition can be found here.

 

Ibis Hotel Edinburgh • #CaptureIbisStyles Bloggers Event

I recently had the great pleasure of a whirlwind 24 hour visit to the fine city of Edinburgh. Having visited only once before for a sunny hen weekend back in 2008, I could only remember snippets of this cosmopolitan city. 

Edinburgh has all the bustle of London but with a sense of fun. And that's what this trip was, from start to finish. I was invited to stay at the centrally located Ibis Styles Hotel at the foot of the famous George Street in St Andrew's Square and was thrilled to be part of their #captureibisstyles campaign to learn more about their commitment to design led interiors and their celebration of this hotel's Scottish heritage. 

Arriving at Bristol Airport armed with just my handbag and overnight bag felt like such a treat! No wet wipes, no mountain of non perishable, non sticky snacks to appease the insatiable hunger of a young traveller, no panic when the flight was momentarily delayed. Instead I relished those few extra minutes, with a cup of tea, a magazine that I got to read cover to cover, and soon I was settled into my seat.

Edinburgh is an ideal city break destination, especially from the South West. It feels exciting to jet off on a plane, even though it seems as though the pilot starts the decent as soon as you reach a cruising altitude! I chatted away to the lady next to me and before we knew it it was time to head out onto the metal steps and breath in the fresh Scottish air. 

The taxi service from the airport was incredibly efficient, a dual manned kiosk system and a friendly driver helped me with my overnight nags and we set off for the city. You are hit with a sense of history and tradition when you arrive at the St George's Square hotel. Proud of it's location, the hotel is beautifully decorated with contemporary tartan light fittings, exposed brick and furniture with sleek lines, a world away from the comparative "budget hotels" in a city centre that I have experienced before. There is nothing that feels budget about it, despite the very reasonable all inclusive price (Yes that's right no extras for breakfast!) from £62 a night, their stags and thistles aim to make Nessie whistle! I loved the sense of fun and humour within the mix of interior styles.

It exudes contemporary cool without a manufactured look. Original vintage books stacked between modern table lamps. Simple but stylish chairs and an inviting bar. This is not a hotel to use just as a bed for the night like so many other of their competitors. This is a hotel to enjoy. 

Ibis Edinburgh Review
Ibis Edinburgh Review
Ibis Edinburgh Review
Ibis Edinburgh Review

My room was decorated with giant water-colour thistle paintings spanning each wall, shades of calming purples and green and clever etchings of Scottish slang built into the wardrobe doors on giant friezes. The whisky barrels are a clever touch as rustic beside tables and the bright and cheerful chequered tiles in the pristine shower were a wonderful wake up call. Little details like the traditional telephone mixed with the smooth wood wood furniture appealed to the modern heritage style I love. 

Ibis Edinburgh Review
Ibis Edinburgh Review

We were treated to locally inspired cocktails in mason jars, (A big hit with a bunch of Instagram obsessed bloggers!) the most fabulous dinner in the hotel, and were all widely impressed at a menu that would rival any of the restaurants in the city. Beautifully presented, this was not chain hotel pub type food. Elegant dishes, gaelic inspired courses and a team of staff who are obviously and quite rightly, proud of their part of the Ibis empire. By the end of the evening, after one too many wines, we all said our goodnights and headed back to our rooms for a much needed, uninterrupted night's sleep. There is something almost magical about slipping into cool, crisp white hotel linen!

The morning started with a buffet breakfast, hot Scottish potato cakes, pastries, yoghurts, cereals, meats and cheese, and a coffee and tea station (That is available for use all day.) as well as juices. We enjoyed a tour of the larger penthouse suites, complete with stunning balconies overlooking the city. Cue the perfect opportunity of a wind/white hotel curtains moment to snap a new profile picture! Armed with packed lunches for later we headed out in an open top bus for a whistle stop tour of the city! Ibis and Gray Matter came up with a great way to engage all of us in a set of fun games, all sharing our Instagram snapshots in a series of challenges using the hashtag #captureibisstyles. I even won a prize for the most liked photo so thank you to anyone who liked it! We hopped on and off the bus, raced up the cobbled streets to the castle, met colourful characters and even managed a cuddle with the famous Bobby. 

Ibis Edinburgh Review
Edinburgh Ibis Review
Ibis Edinburgh Review
Ibis Edinburgh Review
Ibis Edinburgh Review
Ibis Edinburgh Review
Edinburgh Ibis Review
Ibis Edinburgh Review

I headed straight off the bus and to the airport to make my afternoon flight home and spent the journey pouring through my photographs. It was a pleasure to make some new blogging friends, Kate, Mandy, Emma, Clare and spend some time with the very lovely Zoe who I met at the MAD Blog Awards 2 years ago. I even got a cuddle with one of her gorgeous twins Harry and shared an ice cream with the adorable Ruby! 

The whole experience made me even more sure that we had made the right decision booking an Ibis hotel for our family trip to Paris this Summer. Ironically, we had booked our rooms for my Mum's 60th celebrations in July before I had the invitation to visit Edinburgh. After lots of deliberating and trawling through boutique and independent house share websites, we all came to the same conclusion. That when you book an Ibis hotel you are assured of quality, value and style. 

And that's exactly what The Ibis Styles at St Andrew's Square has in abundance. Tradition, heritage and Scottish wit, all beautifully packaged.

Thank you to Gray Matter and the Ibis team for their splendid hospitality. And if you ever want to take your family to Edinburgh I couldn't recommend it more. Perfect for families, with little ones who could be entertained by the toys in the lobby and couples alike. You can even take your dogs! 

#capturingcolour • Black and White

Well last week went against all my natural instincts! I almost felt I was fighting against my love of colour and the #capturingcolour week of black and white was definitely the most creative challenge for me so far! 

But the gallery was flooded with emotion, atmosphere and power photos that quite simply demanded a monochrome filter. Stunning images linking up from around the world, and I could have chosen a favourites grid 10 times over. 

I love how we all share moments on Instagram. That we build up a feeling that we really know someone because they share so many parts of their everyday life. Their bumps, their babies, millstone moments, and moments in between.

Such beauty and sentiment from the gallery this week. 

But it was this wonderful capture of a cow that immediately made me smile and take a second look this week. You can find her gallery over here @reniracicely, a powerful feed from a mother who has shared so bravely, her angel babies. Her love for the ones she has lost just blows me away, and her tribute images to them are so beautiful and raw. 

ReniraCicley instagram

This week we are sharing captures from around our HOME. What does home mean to you? Your hometown, your interiors, the places or reasons why you feel most at home? I love how everyone interprets the weekly theme differently!

#capturingcolour is a weekly theme on Instagram. Tag your HOME photos this week. Favourites will be featured next Monday :)

A little life update

Excuse the radio silence around here this week, all my good intentions of publishing my composition tutorial, fabulous trip to Edinburgh, my thoughts on raising what seems to be a pair of boys from the iGeneration (my little phrase not Apple's) and a couple of other ideas have been delayed, sitting 95% finished in my draft folder. 

I am probably my harshest critic and I as much as our everyday life is a tremendous rush, I refuse to rush my blog posts. I am so proud of this site and adore the people who take the time to read it, and I feel unless I am completely happy with the content it just has to wait! 

But hopefully it's worth the wait. I wish I had the ability to write at the speed of light, I wish our internet connection was faster than 1Mb. Uploading my photo heavy posts can take hours! But I just couldn't do them any other way. I love that our life is so full at the moment, a couple of extra hours in the day would be ace but instead, I am trying to break the day into bite size chunks. Have a priority list for each day, try and make a pocket of time in the day to answer emails (which I feel dreadfully behind on!) and make sure there is some quality time for the boys.

When you write a blog it's easy for it to become a full time job, a 24/7 full time job. I've slipped into catching up on my Instagram feed and comments at midnight, like a colourful bedtime story and we sit on laptops most evenings both juggle our different hats. But do you know, I love it! I feel so blessed to have all these incredible opportunities. My eyes are constantly on stalks when exciting collaborations ping into my inbox and I just want to be able to say yes to everything!

This week I've whizzed round the South West, been up to The Forest of Dean for a meeting for my property job, spent hours in a solicitor's meeting in Bristol and squeezed in a long over due catch up with one of my closest blogging friends Ruth and even managed a laptop free night at the village barn dance! I gave a little interview on Thursday to one of the national women's magazines all about making the best of situations and my desire to follow through on the principle of making the ordinary extraordinary. 

I want to present the best version of me online, the positive things we do, the happy times we share with our family and friends. And sometimes it's nice to savour it. Reflect on all the snap shots, the comments and feel proud. It takes hard work to juggle our hectic lives and many hats. Tag team parenting is tricky at times, when one feels they are picking up the slack more than the other.

But out of these challenges comes the most incredible opportunities for us as a family, for the longer term. I've been feeling at a crossroads lately, I feel torn in different directions, wanting to do it all and not knowing what to do next. So I booked a space on Fiona Humberstone's Colour for Creatives Workshop this Tuesday.

I've been going through her planning workbook, creating my mood board to take with me and collecting bits and pieces which hopefully encapsulate all the things I'd love my online life to be. A blog, a business, a creative  escape. I can't wait for a whole day to just think, think about what I am and where I want to be. 

I'm heading to London tomorrow to speak to a group at the Judith Blacklock Flower School about floral photography and social media, and if it wasn't for this blog, that opportunity would never have happened. My in laws often say we try to describe to our friends what a blog is but I'm not sure they get it! It's a strange concept to write a personal blog and for people to be interested in your rather ordinary life, but one I am so grateful for.

This year I wanted to do something for my readers, to bring them together and just do something positive and lovely. And as we hit the first official day of Spring this week, my notifications went wild. I am completely in awe of all the amazing parcels being sent around the country and the world for the Springtime Surprise Project. Just look. 

Springtime Surprise Project

There are still a few parcels in the post and lots of lovely people are writing about the project on their blogs. I am going to share links to all the wonderful posts later this week and if you would like to join in the next surprise project swap head over to surpriseproject.com and register!

I can't wait to finally share the photos I took in Edinburgh and all sorts of other lovely things later in the week! Happy weekend everyone. Thank you so much for reading, my rather waffly tale!

Linking up with MummyDaddyMe and #theordinarymoments