8 reasons why pets are good for children and your family.

So your child wants a pet? Are they demanding a kitten or a cute puppy? Do they dream  of their own pony or pet rat? Obviously, getting a pet takes thought and preparation but they are an essential part of family life in my opinion.

Before you decide, here are the top 8 reasons why a pet is a great idea for your child and your whole family.

Read more

My Glorious Gardens series: Exbury Gardens in May.

The prices and entry times

We decided to make the most of the Bank Holiday and take a trip to Exbury Gardens in the New Forest, Hampshire. My colleague at work was telling me that it was definitely worth the trip at this time of year to see The Rothschild collection of Camellias, Azaleas and Rhododendrons. Whether you are a horticulturist, amateur gardener, family or lover of colourful places and views, this is the place for you!

The Steam Train which is a 20 minutes ride through the gardens.

Tickets for the gardens can be combined with a steam train ride which children would love. You can also take dogs so Dottie came too. Not surprisingly, the teens stayed at home…..revising apparently! The gardens are quite extensive so comfy shoes are a must but there are clearly marked paths and a map to help guide you. Children can take part in a family trail, there is a fantastic woodland play area plus various picnic sites to choose from. There are a few steps towards the lower part of the garden but a shuttle service is offered for a small price which can take you and pick you up from various places around the garden should you need it.

The gardens are absolutely stunning and now is definitely the time to go. There are so many acid loving plants here including my favourite Acer’s. The photographs show you better than I can describe it to you. All I can say is the smell was amazing!

Stunning pink azaleas
Peach Rhododendrons
Dottie and I striding through the many paths
Stunning yellows azaleas
Lots of places to rest

In the centre of the garden is the Japanese Garden with bridge, cascades and ponds. This was the highlight for me as the plants were ablaze of colours.

The Top pond in the Japanese Garden
The pond in the Japanese Garden
Acer’s in the Japanese Garden
The Cascades in the Japanese Gardens

At the very end of the garden was an amazing view of the River Beaulieu and you can just see the Isle of Wight in the distance. It took about 11/2 hours of wandering to reach this part and marks the end of the garden. The benches offered a lovely rest and the views were worth the walk.

Looking over the river Beaulieu
You can almost see the Isle of Wight!
Dottie admiring the view

After this we went to the Tea Room for a coffee and piece of cake which was very reasonable in price. You could also buy Toasties and Panini’s. At the entrance there is another restaurant which has a greater choice.

Dottie waiting for scraps!

All in all this is a brilliant garden to visit and definitely worthy to be part of My Glorious Gardens Series!

I’ll leave you with my favourite Acer’s……



My Random Musings
3 Little Buttons
Two Tiny Hands
Cuddle Fairy

My Glorious Gardens Series: Introducing Bowood Woodland Gardens

This is the first in My Glorious Gardens Series and I’m super excited!

Each post will review a garden or beautiful outdoor space that I have visited. 

Bowood Woodland Gardens near Calne, Wiltshire

IMG_5312 (2)
Sign with details of openings and prices

My first stop is the beautiful Woodland Gardens at Bowood near the town of Calne in Wiltshire. The walk is 2 miles from Bowood House and Gardens and can be visited separately.  Under 12’s are free so its super value for money. Personally, if I had children I would link this visit and see the main House and Gardens too as the playground is absolutely amazing! Oh and there is a fabulous hotel, spa and Tractor Ted for little ones so you could easily come for a weekend. The main Garden was designed by Capability Brown and they are holding special Capability Brown Days this Spring and Summer 2017. This is not a National Trust property but still owned by the family of Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne.

Take a look on their website:


The woodland garden is absolutely stunning! I have so many photos to share with you! There are bluebells, Magnolias, Rhododendrons and Azaleas galore as well as a small place to have tea, cake and ice-creams.

Sam, the man on the gate let us in a little earlier than 11am so we had the place to ourselves. You are given a free map and guide and the walks are clearly signposted. We took The Walk of the Week.

I don’t really need to write much more because I’m hoping the photos speak for themselves!


There were little places to sit and admire the views.
This is a rare photo of me!
The rain held off. Just!
Some of the plants were absolutely huge!

I think Dottie enjoyed herself! Well behaved dogs are allowed on leads.


Dottie amongst the bluebells.

And then, of course we couldn’t resist taking lots of close-up shots!


Close up of an English bluebell

In the middle of the Gardens is a Mausoleum for the family which is in a magnificent spot. You can go inside and read about who is laid to rest there.

The grand Mausoleum

The walk only took us an hour but you could easily spend half a day here wandering around and perhaps, taking a picnic. There are toilets and a darling little cafe.

It was a great place to visit in Wiltshire and one that I would recommend!

View across the Wiltshire countryside.

My Glorious Gardens

Two Tiny Hands
Hot Pink Wellingtons

Funny pets…..and the latest garden pictures.

Just some photos to share of the animals and some of the garden which I know that my readers enjoy.

Hubbie and I have been busy again in the garden but we will now take a break to enjoy the Easter weekend! I think my teens are getting cross and feel a little ignored by all the gardening we have been doing! Here are some of the latest pictures for you.

This is Tiger. She is slightly bonkers but we love her!

Tiger the cat caught a mouse!
Poor mouse!
Poor mouse……

Tilly stretched out on the new path leading to the compost bin.

This is Tilly enjoying the sunshine on the new path that hubbie has almost finished. This leads to the compost bin. We have used old paving from the garden and bought some new red pavers to edge the path which look really great. We are really pleased with this area so far. We also planted a crab apple tree and a Japanese cherry next to the gate as they will only grow to be 4 metres tall and will suit this space.

Dottie sitting on the new path to the gate.
New Box plants around the veggie beds.

We planted some Box around the area because I had an idea to create a topiary type look to this part of the garden.

Bird bath we found in the garden.
Close up of the bird bath

Hubbie had to take a chain saw to the roots of the old apple tree so that we can flatten and level this area as we want to put a circular paved seating area here. We found an old bird bath in the garden so we all helped to roll this into place as it was so heavy! I think it looks great here and it will look even better once we have added pavers around the edge of it to incorporate it into the paved seating area.

It’s evolving but we do have an idea of what it will look like now…..

Thank you for all your ideas… we did add an Acer and a Magnolia too. We just need to add more plants and plant out the vegetables that have been in the green house! Oh and I think my tree Peony is about to flower!! Happy days. 🙂

Acer Palmatun Bloodgood.



The hazards of country living.

I walked my dog today. Actually, I walk my dog everyday but something happened to me that would NOT happen anywhere else but in the countryside. I’ll tell you about that in a minute….but it made me think about other “hazards” of living in the countryside.

  • Walking in fields…..

Don’t you just love walking in a green field with your dog or children or both. Striding across a field is the right of the British isn’t it? Visions of buttercups and wild flowers making perfect Instagram shots of dogs, children and dreamy sunshine….Until you very suddenly meet sheep. How do they do that?? Sheep tend to suddenly appear don’t they? Especially when your dog is off the lead! My dog would chase sheep if she could so beware of the hazard of sheep. Oh! And sheep shit….it’s sneaky stuff especially in white trainers. Then of course, there are cows. Cows can be scary and dangerous actually so just don’t walk amongst them basically.  Oh and watch out for their shit too because dogs love to roll in it….ugh. And just sometimes you find out that by walking in fields you make your husband allergic to pollen forever…..funny story that. I was trying to be romantic!

The tractor in the field next to the path.
  • Walking….but not on a track, trail or path

Again, that path that looks like it leads to a beautiful glade where you could take some fabulous photographs of the children running through the bluebells? Well. just. don’t.  There was a field near me that always had loads of poppies in it laced through the wheat in the summer. People would actually stop their cars to take idyllic shots of their children in the field ffs…….only to be chased away by the farmer. So beware of the hazards of the scary farmer! When I was young we had a game where we had to run away from the farmer……he caught us once. It frightened the living daylights out if me. Never again will I venue down an unmarked track……

  • The local pub

I love the local pub! Cozy corners, blazing fires, a great pub garden in the countryside! Actually, a proper local is one where everyone knows each other and I mean everyone. The local teacher, the local farmer, a smelly dog, your mum. Just don’t try to have a quiet meal really or go there underage…..My friend and I tried that once when we were about 15 and met…you guessed it, her mum. Unfortunately this also includes the local club or Young Farmers disco….even the bouncers know your friend’s mum…(God, why is it that everyone knows mum!!). I used to hate that! Also, don’t go into the local pub and expect food. Many do offer food but if you ask, they will look at you as if you are bonkers….”food?? No, no, no, sorry luv.”

  • Getting a mobile signal

Don’t expect a phone signal in the countryside. Things are better than they were but there are limits with service. So again, don’t go down that track to the perfect poppy field expecting to upload photos to social media. Or, don’t rely on your phone to get you to Gertlushville because you will end up down that track and you know that the scary farmer lives down there….

  • Beautiful bird song and peace and quiet

Ahhhh. The countryside. Waking up to only bird song and not hearing traffic or city noises. Actually the truth is being woken up by owls hooting at 5am or by crows making their nests is soooo noisy! There is also the sounds and sights of mating animals to make anyone blush. Bring it on I say but it can be unexpected when you are imagining being “in tune with nature.”

Robin singing
  • Culture, fitness classes or popping to the shops.

Now I live quite near to the city of Bath so I could go there for a museum or for the cinema but it’s still a drive.You can’t really “pop” to the shops. In fact, in the country you drive a lot. You can’t really rely on the buses to come on time so you do have to have a car. Hope your car doesn’t break down either as there’s no cafe to pop into whilst waiting for the breakdown truck. You know that scary farmer may turn up and actually help if you hadn’t been caught down his track in the first place? My children get on the bus to go to Bath but they are not that regular and are non-existent after tea time. Here’s you thinking we walk everywhere and that’s why we all have rosy cheeks in the country! No, actually we are all unfit bastards as there are no decent fitness classes either…unless you want everyone to know what you look like in that old pair of leggings. You can guarantee that they will be talking about that in the pub! Oh and the rosy cheeks are possibly due to all the alcohol we consume at home as we can’t just pop to the theatre or try that belly dancing class.

  • Do NOT change anything about your house.

You want to change the posts on your gate? or to replace the wall with a fence? In fact, do you want to paint your house pink? Don’t. Old Mrs Jones will be round to tell you off! You know her? Yes, she’s married to the scary farmers brothers cousin. You see the pace of life is so slow in the country that everyone remembers EVERYTHING that happens since the dawn of time. The other thing is that everyone knows everything because they all gossip about it at the only pub or shop. There’s no mobile signal you see and she was just on her way to see the Scary Farmer and was “just passing.”

  • What to wear.

I wish I could “do” fashion but do you know what? There is absolutely no point. I wear jeans, T-shirts, the odd sweatshirt, country boots, jumpers and an old coat. I sometimes wish I could smarten up a bit and I do wear quite nice stuff to work. I have clothes I never wear so now don’t buy them. To be honest, once my lovely white trainers were ruined by sheep shit I decided that long, brown boots are definitely the way forward. They also protect from ticks (yes, really). And jeans are just so practical…..

So, now for what made me think of this blog post…..I was happily walking the dog this morning and could hear that a tractor was coming. I only walk part of the way along a tiny country lane so I often meet no one and very rarely see traffic. The tractor slowed down and the driver told me that as he was pulling a trailer would I mind moving back to the gap in the hedge. So I dutifully did that and he passed by. Thank goodness I thought as I saw his trailer was basically full of shit (he was muck spreading the fields I expect). I carried on to the woodland where I let my dog off the lead. I’m enjoying the sunshine and generally having a relaxing walk. What I didn’t notice was that the same farmer was spreading his muck in the field that runs alongside the woodland…….

Well, I couldn’t get out of his way in time so, you guessed it, I was basically sprayed with  flecks of shit! Great…..OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE COUNTRY WHERE SHIT IS EVERYWHERE……IMG_5191

PS I still love it though 🙂

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Potty Adventures
Life Love and Dirty Dishes


Lovely Spring sunshine…..

I love Spring! I love the sunshine and the slight chill to the air. I love the colours in the garden in the beautiful, crisp light that we get at this time of the year. I love the emerging new life as the whole garden seems brand new. My favourite place during Spring is my garden so I haven’t had much time to write! Instead, I have been hard at work, digging, building, weeding and planting.

Here are some photographs I took today:

I have peonies appearing which I love. The tree peony did not flower last year (our first year at the old house) so I have left it as I believe the buds were cut back last year which was why it didn’t flower? I am happy to be corrected on this and if there is a peony expert who would like to advise me, I would be grateful!


The first tadpoles have emerged in the pond. I did see newts eating some of them but I expect that is what newts eat!


We haven’t made any major decisions on the middle garden but we did add these Box plants around the edge of the vegetable beds. The Box on the left was in an old planter and was obviously desperate to spread its roots so we reused this. The new Box plants look very small in comparison but I expect they will catch up eventually!

The animals seem to be loving this lovely Spring weather!

Happy Wednesday everyone. I have got some new ideas for blog posts but equally, I’m enjoying this fabulous Spring sunshine…..right back outside!