An English Country Garden

Rose2Time to do something ridiculously British and talk about the weather! It’s actually been very kind to us so far this year with lots of sunshine interspersed with rain showers. As a consequence the garden has sprung to life. This being our first Summer here I was feeling quite wistful about my previous garden, though small it was an Edwardian walled garden where everything seemed to grow (including grapes). When we came here I loved the fact that we had a larger space, but it was sparse and unloved. Certainly not the English country garden that I longed for and it still wont be for quite a few years. Although over the last few weeks we’ve seen flowers opening and some colour appearing at last so I know we’re on the right path.

RosesFor my wedding I chose a deep red tea rose called Romance. I dearly wanted to grow it myself, but it isn’t available as a home plant so I looked for the closest Rose I could find and grew a couple of varieties in pots. They have a velvety soft look to the petals which I adore.

cornflowers1I’ve also developed a fondness for proper English flowers and planted hundreds of seeds. Unfortunately not everything has grown but the Cornflowers are a triumph. They look wonderful in vases along with Lavender sprigs and poppies.

CandyroseThis rather amazing candy coloured Rose came from a pound shop, I’m not sure it looks like the packet but it’s got a wonderful pattern to the petals.

LilliesWe’ve also had a go at growing Lilies in pots, these are by far my favourite, they’re so dramatic with their deep purple centres.

Unfortunately the end of the garden is resolutely refusing to grow anything much, which I think is caused by too much shade from a nearby tree. We’ll find the right plant to go there though I’m sure :)


Monster Head Wall Art with Bostik

bostikmon9Rarrrrrr! Did I scare you all? Probably not but pretending to be a scary monster is one of those essential parts of childhood. Why not combine all the thrill and amusement of shocking the family with a craft activity. Try out my Monster Head Wall Art tutorial and your little ones are bound to have a roaring good time! This blog was made from supplies given to me by Bostik as part of their Craft Ambassador program, search Bostik on the side bar to see some of my previous Bostik crafts.

bostikmon1What You’ll Need

Bostik Glu Dots

Blu Tack White Glu

Cardboard cone (buy a blank one from a craft store or make one)

Piece of felt

2 Polystyrene balls

Pompoms, feathers, foam shapes or anything you fancy to decorate your monster pal

bostikmon2Step 1bostikmon3

Every self respecting monster needs terrifying skin, cut some shapes from the felt and glue onto the cone using the Blu Tack White Glu, then leave to dry completely. My daughter cut out triangle shapes and glued them from the tip of the cardboard cone to the back to create scales.


Step 2bostikmon5

Draw some pupils onto the two polystyrene balls, these will become your eyes. Stick the eyes together using a Bostik Glu Dot. Then attach two glu dots to the bottom of each eye and stick onto the end of the cone.


Step 3

Time to decorate and let your imagination run wild!! We stuck foam hand shapes to the back of our monster’s head. Then we used wired feathers which were bent at a right angle and threaded between the eyes, these were stuck inside the cone using tape to give a really secure anchor. Small pom poms were stuck at random around the head using glu dots, and then we stuck a larger fluffy pom pom onto the tip of the cone/head to give the monster a bright blue nose.bostikmon8

Of course you could decorate your monster in whatever way you fancy.


Step 4

To hang the head on the wall simply position over a nail or picture hook (that may be a job best left to the parents if hammers are involved!!) then stand back and admire your monstrously good craft skills.bostikmon9

Pulled Pork Burger with Leerdammer Recipe

LeerdammerpulledporkIt’s finally starting to feel like summer and with lazy weekends on the horizon that means it’s time to dust off the BBQ and get cooking! That’s no excuse to be boring though, try out this yummy Pulled Pork Burger with Leerdammer Recipe created by those clever chaps as Leerdammer and you’re sure to delight your friends and family.


What You’ll Need

1.6-2kg rolled joint of pork shoulder

2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp mustard powder

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tbsp HP BBQ sauce, 4 tbsp tomato puree

2 tbsp muscovado sugar

1 tbsp cider or wine vinegar

6 brioche rolls

Coleslaw, to serve

6 slices Leerdammer Toastie & Burger slices


Serves: 6 Prep: 20 mins | Cooking: 5 hrs Method: Preheat the oven to 150°C, fan oven 130°C, Gas Mark 2.

Mix together the paprika, mustard powder and wholegrain mustard with 2 tbsp water and 1 tsp of salt and black pepper. Rub over the pork, then place it into a roasting tin, adding 400ml water. Cover with foil and slow-roast for 4½-5 hours. Prepare ahead up to this point 1-2 days before needed. Keep covered and refrigerated.

Preheat the barbecue. Mix together the HP BBQ sauce with tomato puree, sugar and vinegar. Brush over the meat. Barbecue the pork for two minutes on all sides until nicely browned. Alternatively, roast for 20-30 minutes at 200°C, fan oven 180°C, Gas Mark 6.

To serve, use two forks to pull the tender meat into nice chunky pieces.

Lightly barbecue or toast the rolls, pop in coleslaw and fill with the pork. op each one with a slice of Leerdammer Toastie & Burger.

On the side: or the coleslaw, finely slice g white cabbage and mi in  grated carrot and two finely chopped spring onions. Toss everything together in a 3-4 tbsp natural yogurt or mayonnaise. Just before serving, grate in an eating apple and add a squeeze of lemon juice.