E is for… Eco

E is for… Eco

I am trying desperately to reduce, reuse and recycle and one of our recycling Eco successes is reusing the pallets that our roof tiles arrived on. I hate throwing anything away, and am a terrible hoarder, but with some great sites like freecycle and ragging all our old textiles through the cubs I do think it is getting easier to be a little more Eco.

eco recycling

So this week I wanted to share with you our pallet recycling, runner bean growing, raised bed. Simply disassemble the pallet and then using the pieces cut to size my other half made this great raised bed. With the addition of a liner, some packaging to add drainage, compost, canes, and plants I am pleased with the patio sized veg garden.

recycle pallet bean planter

If you have been inspired by the letter E, why not join in with PODcast alphabet photo challenge or have a look at our photos so far:


Beautiful Flowers

When I was offered some beautiful flowers to brighten my day I could hardly say no, and when they arrived I was a little disappointed that they didn’t look too happy. I followed the instructions and popped the roses in hot water for an hour, and fed the lilies. Now look, a week later and they are blooming their little socks off!

Beautiful flowers

I love beautiful flowers especially if they are blooming in my garden, there is something really special about growing something from a really tiny seed, then seeing it full-grown. Sometimes I even pick a few flowers and pop them on my kitchen windowsill or dining table.

I have always enjoyed gardening, and had mixed results from growing from seed. There was the time I planted carrots and one popped up. Or the time I planted suede and 200 popped up! I did well with sweet corn in the first year, but no luck since. I have had the same luck with flowers, and it seems all or nothing. Sutton Seeds have a fantastic range of seeds to choose from. This year I couldn’t resist having a go at growing some new flowers. Yes The Soup Dragon is going to grow some Clangers, which are actually Dahlia’s. I can’t say I am confident, but I am sure it will not be the fault of the seeds. If I don’t have some amazing blooms to show for my efforts it wont be because of Suttons seeds as they have over 200 years of garden expertise.

suttons seeds

If like me you like healthy ready to go plants, without the hassle, I think their range of plug plants look like a great alternative. Suttons Seeds also sell plenty of soft fruit plants and even fruit trees which you can have sent direct to your home address with a reasonable postal charge and lots of special offers. We have some great fruit plants in the garden, including red and black currants, and I like to try out unusual plants too like my Pineberry’s (white strawberry’s).

This year I will be having one last try to grow from seed, then I think that buying my plants in will have to be a serious consideration! Wish me luck growing my Clangers, and why not have a look at Suttons Seeds website for some great garden plants for all gardening abilities!

Disclaimer I was sent some flowers in return for this post.





Crafts4Kids grow your own garden

Crafts4Kids grow your own garden is a great activity to get your children growing and we decided that Easter was the perfect time to get growing. Crafts4Kids is a website full of creative and educational gifts for all ages and has some very unique and exciting kits with everything you might need to both craft and experiment to your heart’s content.

flower garden

Crafts4kids our grow my first ever garden kit RRP £14.99 comes with everything you need. The box with its drawn flowers contains a windowsill planter, crayons, soil, seeds, dibber, and labels. To get started simply remove the jacket and start personalizing your window box. With a line drawn flowers box to colour-in,keen artists will love this little garden. The boy was surprisingly keen to get colouring and got out a box of art supplies he had been given for Christmas. Usually reluctant to put coloured pen to paper I think being at home for two weeks meant anything new became fun! The only problem we had with this kit was the box was wobbly on its side and difficult to colour in but this wasn’t too much of a problem and we found that not leaning on it hard helped.colour-in

Next fill with the box with the soil provided (save a small amount to cover the seeds) and sow the seeds with the dibber. Choose from Nasturtium, Sunflower, Cosmos, and Cornflower, these easy to grow plants are ideal for kids as they are pretty much fail proof! At least I hoped they were as I have never been that good at growing anything from seed. It turns out however that the boy might have green fingers like his great Nan. Next label, water in and keep damp as they seeds take 14 – 21 days to germinate depending on the environment. Once your seedling have appeared you can choose to pot on, plant out or thin and grow in their window box.planting seeds

We enjoyed looking at the different seeds, the shapes and sizes and the boy was fascinated by how different they all were. The grow your own garden window box looks bright and colourful on our kitchen window, and our seedlings took less than a week to pop their little heads out of the soil. We decided to have a guess at which would be first and the results were surprising as I was convinced that the sunflowers would win. I hope we have some beautiful flowers to plant out later in the year, now we just have to look after them.crafts 4 kids gardening

Crafts4Kids have a great range of kits and toys for every age group. We loved our gardening kit, and would recommend this as a great different gift. With an easy to navigate website, drop downs you can choose an age range, interest or simply how much you want to spend. I have found some great kits for the boy who is really getting into experiments and science and will keep them in mind for his birthday later in the year.

If you would like the chance to grow your first ever flower garden then why not enter my competition below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:

  • The giveaway is open to the UK only
  • Please note, that by entering this giveaway you are consenting that I will pass on your e-mail address to Gifts4kids to send you their newsletter. E-mail address WILL NOT be shared or sold to any 3rd party’s.
  • It is mandatory to leave a comment in the post comment section answering the question specified. Other tasks completed will gain additional entries. The winner will be checked to make sure they have both left a comment and completed the task for the winning entry.
  • Winner will be drawn by the Rafflecopter randomly.
  • The winner will be sent an  e-mail to the e-mail address left at time of entry. The winner will need to reply to the e-mail within 7 days of the notification. Every effort will be made to contact the winner, but if no response is made within the 7 days a new winner will be chosen.
  • The prize details are stated at the top of the Rafflecopter, and no alternatives will be offered.
  • The prize will be posted by the promoter, unfortunately I cannot be held responsible or replace missing parcels. Please contact me if there is a problem.
  • Please alow 28 days from the close of the draw for your prize to be sent out.
  • For a simple guide to  Rafflecopter, please read Di Coke’s Rafflecopter Guide


Disclaimer we were sent this kit to review, the opinions remain our own and have not been altered.

Grobots from Galt

Grobots are a fab new and exciting way to get children growing. With four different and customisable Robo Crew figures to collect you can make them your own with the supplied stickers, water, and watch their hair grow. Available from the Galt website and other Galt stockists for RRP £6.99 these little ceramic robots look sweet sitting on our kitchen windowsill.


We started our Grobot adventure at half term and have had great fun giving our little robot friends different haircuts each week. Grobots come in a small plastic box with everything you need to get started. The Instructions are basic, and you will need to soak the figure in water before you start putting the stickers on. I would advise you do this before showing your children as once the boy had seen the robot he didn’t want to wait to get customizing. The instructions say that you should wait for the hair to grow, but we wanted to customise our Grobots straight away.

grobots 2

We were sent 2 Grobots Rosie and Red, you can also get Teccy and CanMan. Each has a unique colour and personality, with stickers to suit boys and girls. I set about adorning Rosie Grobot with little flower stickers and a weird face which the boy said made her look sad. The boy opted to pinch a few of my stickers to go with the smiley face that he had. There are plenty of different stickers which are all peel able and can be changed as the mood takes you.


Once we had finished putting the faces on our little friends we would have to wait and watch them grow. This didn’t take long with the first shoots appearing in around a week. the growing part of the Grobot is formed from a seed ball in the head of the Grobot. There was no mess and it was fun to see each morning who had the most hair. It turned out that Red won the hair race, and Rosie was left looking a little patchy. I have found that due to the round opening Rosie is also a little more tricky to water than Red with his square head. I also was told by the boy that Rosie looked sad so I gave her a new smile when she started to get new hair!

grobots with hair

We have enjoyed watching our grassy grobots grow, and trimming their hair into funky styles.

So here are our new friends, tell us what you think?

Disclaimer, we were sent this product to review, the opinions remain our own and have not been changed

Tractor Ted in Springtime

Springtime is a great time of year to get children excited about the world around them and especially how their food is grown. Tractor Ted is a cartoon character who tells children about farming and helps them to explore the farmyard without getting muddy! With real footage of farming machinery and animals, Tractor Ted is an inspiration to get kids growing for themselves.

Spring & Veg The New book Tractor Ted in Springtime RRP £4.99 is a colourful picture book with easy to follow pictures and information. The boy and I have always loved watching programmes with big machines, and while he is a bit to old to be watching Tractor Ted I know he would have loved this when he was younger. Tractor ted is suggested for children aged 2-6 and with plenty to interest children for early years learning

Come and have a look at the jumping lambs, muddy piglets and beautiful foals.  Lots of machines are used in springtime including the mower, forage harvester, hedgecutters and more.  This book even has fun games to play too!

tractor ted springtime

The Tractor Ted series also has a range of DVD’s available including Harvest Vegetables RRP £9.99. I love this series of child friendly films with the voice over from Ted1 himself. These fun films of everyday activities on the farm explain in an easy way all the different tasks that tractors do daily on the farm. With the cute addition animals there is something for girls and boys in every episode.

Les gets a puncture which has to be repaired before work can begin, and the waste from the children’s vegetable garden is taken away for recycling. Enjoy a visit to the farm shop to see a cake being made from carrots. No better way to get children into veg and growing their own!

tractor ted harvesting veg

Tractor Ted is the creation of two friends, mother-of-three Alexandra Heard and Somerset organic farmer, David Horler, whose children all loved to watch the real machines at work on the farm when they were young. Ted is now 11 years old and there is a series of 17 DVDs and 11 books (including activity books) which take children on a wonderful journey into the British countryside where they can learn about big machines, how to look after animals, where our food comes from and the seasons.

To find out more about Tractor Ted then why not visit their Facebook, twitter pages or the website where you can also find activities for your kids to enjoy.

If you would like the chance to win a copy of the new Tractor Ted in Springtime book and Tractor Ted Harvests Vegetables DVD then why not enter my rafflecopter giveaway below. I will be picking 5 luck winners so why not join Tractor Ted and inspire your children to get out in the spring sunshine to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
The giveaway is open to the UK only
  • It is mandatory to leave a comment in the post comment section answering the question specified. Other tasks completed will gain additional entries. The winner will be checked to make sure they have both left a comment and completed the task for the winning entry.
  • Winner will be drawn by the Rafflecopter randomly.
  • The winner will be sent an e-mail to the e-mail address left at time of entry. The winner will need to reply to the e-mail within 7 days of the notification. Every effort will be made to contact the winner, but if no response is made within the 7 days a new winner will be chosen.
  • The prize details are stated at the top of the Rafflecopter, and no alternatives will be offered.
  • The prize will be posted by the promoter, unfortunately I cannot be held responsible or replace missing parcels. Please contact me if there is a problem.
  • Please alow 28 days from the close of the draw for your prize to be sent out.
  • For a simple guide to Rafflecopter, please read Di Coke’s Rafflecopter Guide
Julie's Notebook #WinningWeekends

Triple M Rose food

Triple M Rose food is a great way to feed all the roses in your garden, without harming the environment, even the packaging of this super strength plant food is recyclable (except the 2 staples). Each hessian bag contains enough plant food for 4 weeks, simply suspend the bag in your watering can, leave overnight water your plants and refill. With enough liquid fertiliser for your needs you could produce up to 300ltrs of food for the cost of one little Triple M bag.

rose food

Triple M is available for £4.99 online from Elsie & Fleur, and contains 100% natural ingredients. OK so this one is horse poo! but it doesn’t smell, and a lot less messy than the alternative of putting horse manure around the garden. I have lots of roses in the garden, apparently the previous owner didn’t like them but I still found over 30 so he cant have disliked them that much. My favourite is the one in front of my front door. This is a dark red and very fragrant. I have been feeding my roses for the last week now and you can see all the healthy shoots starting to appear.


It will be interesting to see if by feeding my roses this year that I manage to keep them flowering for longer, or if they are more disease resistant. But I already love this little Rose food tea bag as a very easy way to keep my plants looking their best! There are 3 other plant foods in the range, for tomato’s, flowers and also a general plant feed. If like me you are quite forgetful then this could defiantly be the answer.

Disclaimer we were sent this product to review, the opinions remain our own and have not been altered.

Getting into the garden with Twigz

The sun has been shining and this has been making me feel like I need to get back into the garden. Dad M has mown the lawn and the daffodils are greeting me with their cheery faces. Over the half term I managed to get out with the boy and start some of our vegetable growing preparation.

We were sent a fantastic set of garden tools for the boy to use by Bigjigs who are the UK distributers of the Twigz brand. These are proper gardening tools and not toys, so we set about seeing if they were up to the job. We were sent a shovel, hoe, rake, broom and soil rake and each of these has an RRP of £8.99 which I think is about the right price for tools of this quality. We were also sent some gardening gloves which have a RRP of £3.49 these are great value and fit much better than others the boy has tried.



First we needed to lightly dig over the vegetable bed ready for our garlic, onions and a rhubarb crown which I had bough earlier in the month. Now it is a little late to plant garlic, I know it grows better if it has a frost, but having had good success in the past I thought it worth a try. The boy used the shovel to dig out the odd winter weed before using the soil rake to level off the surface.

The Twigz range of tools are perfectly sized for the boy, so I was in no danger of long handles being wheeled around like I am when he uses my tools. They have nice smooth wooden handles, and brightly painted working ends which wiped clean easily after use. They seem very robust and certainly did the job they are intended for, although the shovel does have the shape of one you use for sand castles rather than a veg patch!

garden twigz


It didn’t take us long to prepare our vegetable bed and start to lay out our vegetables for planting. The boy loved separating the garlic into individual cloves. The onion sets were easy and I left him to plant them neatly a few cm’s apart. The boy really enjoyed being in charge and having the tools to do the job made my life much easier, I could go off and use mine knowing he wouldn’t come looking to borrow them. We found we had too many onion sets so the boy ran off to share them with our neighbour. I could hear him excitedly telling her all about his new tools and what he had been planting.

We are all looking forward to the summer now, and hopefully I will be able to keep the boys enthusiasm alive and we might get to eat some of our produce in the coming months too.

For more information on the Twigz brand they have Facebook and Twitter pages and you can also buy directly from the Bigjigs website HERE.

Twigz believe the more children understand about plants the greater their understanding will be of the environment they live in and will one day be looking after.


and I couldn’t agree more!


Disclaimer we were sent a selection of Twigz tools to review and keep the opinions remain our own and have not been changed.

Potter and Rest, New online Garden Centre

March is the perfect time of year to start thinking about the garden. I have decided that this year, I will spend a little more time looking after the plants and especially the fruit and veg in my garden. I am looking forward to eating more produce and cooking up some tasty meals with my home-grown produce.

blog banner 1020 x160 pix GIF - Copy

Potter and Rest have offered to help me, and I need all the help I can get. As the first ‘true’ online garden centre Potter and Rest will be offering customers the largest selection of plants with the emphasis on British grown and a five-year plant guarantee.


our garden

There is a ‘no quibble’ guarantee on all products, and expert advice making, Potter and Rest different to the other websites currently on offer. With online advice from experts who can recommend the ideal plant for a dark corner, or even help you diagnosis a pest problem from photos. Potter and Rest can offer you assistance on all aspects of the garden.


potter and rest

There will be some products and plant collections not currently available in other garden centres in the real or virtual world. As well as sections for wild care, pet care, sow your own, grow your own, outdoor plants, houseplants, plant care, equipment and tools, outdoor living and gifts.

The e-garden centre hopes to appeal to all levels of gardeners from complete novices to keen amateurs and on to expert gardeners. So if like me you are somewhere in the middle, but still need the reassurance of a little expert advice from time to time, then Potter and Rest are here to help.

Join me in wishing Potter and Rest a great start to 2014 when they launch, and join me and the boy in growing fruit and veg for our dinner and pudding plates!

Photos mine, and some courtesy of potter and rest