Two mini DIY garden projects

It’s been a bit of a wet and dull summer this year, but no excuse I did manage to get out in the garden and undertake two mini DIY projects.  Nothing grand but I thought I’d share.

Adding some colour to the wall

The first was adding a bit of interest to an outside wall that needed some repair. Every year we give it a bit of a white-wash to brighten up a dark corner, but this year I also needed to patch up some holes where the cement grouting had fallen off. An opportunity to sprinkle in some design I thought.  I found some glass beads in a drawer, which I’d had for absolute ages so thought I would put them to better use.

My plan was to incorporate the glass beads into the cement I was going to patch with.  This is how it turned out.  Pictures sometimes say far more than words so here we go.

The glass beads… of the holes…..the cement.

First I applied the cement and then I poked in the beads.  Had to use my fingers…. I know, I know you should not use your fingers, cement is not nice stuff.  I washed quickly afterwards.

DIY garden wall project with glass beads on the blog

Once the cement was nearly dry I just cleaned off the surplus with a cloth.

DIY garden wall project with glass beads on the blog

Then when it was completely dry I painted. I painted over the beads too as the paint easily wiped / picked off when the paint had dried.

And here is the finished product – look carefully you can see a few of the other holes I filled.

DIY garden wall project with glass beads on the blog

What do you think, was this a good use of old beads?

Adding some interest to a garden planter

Now the second project.  This was really a correction to a project from last year when we (yes Mr Husband did most of the building and correcting here) built some garden planters to use as wind screens by giving them perspex panels.  However, in reality when the wind got very blustery, which was frequently the case the planters just blew over.  What a mess.  So this year we took out the perspex but I wanted to a something instead to catch the eye and provide a subtle visual screen. This needed to be very inexpensive as I’d already spent too much money on perspex!! I used string and beads…so total additional cost £3.  Here are the pics to take you on my journey.

Firstly how the planter looked with the perspex.  They looked fine but just acted like sails in the wind.

And this is the string and metal beads plus the eyelets I needed to add to the wooden uprights so I could thread the string through.

And this is the finished look.  My mother thought it looked like beads of rain on the string…which is just what I was trying to achieve (yeah).

DIY wooden garden trough project with blog

My plan for next year is to get some plant growing up the string….. let’s see how that goes.  What do you think?  I may try adding some other things to the strings to give it an Autumnal or Halloween look.

Hope these two mini projects give you some ideas, it’s great working on a simply project in the sunshine.


Get decor inspiration from Chatsworth House

The other weekend I finally got myself into gear and went to Chatsworth House for a look around.  In the past I’ve walked around the grounds and gardens but had never been inside the House, which is a bit shameful as it’s my local stately home, everyone should have one don’t you think.  Where I lived before my local stately home was Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, which I loved to visit – great for children too.

Now back to Chatsworth, which incidentally is also great for children, everything you need to know about the place you can find on the Chatsworth House website . In a nutshell Chatsworth House is located in Derbyshire, UK with history going back to the 11th Century, and Chatsworth being home to the Cavendish family since 1549.  The 12th Duke of Devonshire, Peregrine Cavendish continues to care for the house.

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

I have to say the inside of the House is very lavish (gold is the colour) and the free flow wandering lets you meander around at your own pace, lingering where your interest lies.  I did take a few snaps inside the house to share, it was quite dark so they’re not the best.

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

I particularly liked the compact ‘en-suite’ inside the fitted wardrobe, and the way the sumptuous bed had been hidden by a large scrolled bed end, creating a partition for a home-office. This is an idea I’m going to try and apply in my own home, without the bling of course.

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home


Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

Take a look at the wallpaper, very on-trend theme of  nature & wildlife. And there were many many chandeliers, of course.


There’s an exhibition exploring five centuries of fashion at Chatsworth, currently going on until mid-October, so if you are a fashion fan you will have fun spotting some classics gowns as you wander through the Chatsworth House.


For all the splendour of the House, the garden and grounds are still my favourite.

the vistas….Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

the plants…..

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

the greenhouses &  vegetable garden……


On a sunny day the gardens and grounds lend themselves perfectly for getting that rug out and having a hearty picnic as part of a family and friends meet-up.

The other thing I like about Chatsworth is they have a great shop. I normally skip the visitor shop at these kinds of places but I do visit the Chatsworth shop when I’m starting my Christmas shopping as they always stock some nice quality decor pieces and jewellery, bags etc, which are within my price range (well mostly).  The courtyard outside is a great place to sit for a coffee, even in the cold if you are all wrapped up.


So why has it taken me 3 years before I visited the Chatsworth House?? To be honest I don’t know, we do sometime appear to overlook things on our doorstep, which is why I will soon be writing the ‘Ten things I love about Buxton!’

Is Chatsworth House your kind of day out?

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

What’s going on in the garden in May

Thought I would start a little garden diary, giving you a glimpse of what’s happening in my garden.  As I’ve mentioned before I live in the ground floor / basement flat of an old Victorian Villa in Buxton UK.  Even though the bedrooms are underground, the living room opens out into a small private garden, just for us … and the neighbours for a cheeky glass of wine when the sun shines.  I think of it as another room in the home. The whole house is surrounded by a communal garden area, which we all share and maintain; it’s quite special but there’s always a a lot to do.

Today I’ve just got some pics from my piece of garden.  It’s a paved area with a large sloping rockery.  In the 3 years we’ve been here we’ve tried to add a little more variety of plants and take out some of those that had taken over – LADIES MANTLE !!

At the moment the daffodils and tulips have faded but the flowering perennials are springing back into life, as are the grasses.  It continues to be a bit of trial and error so far, seeing what will grow in the colder and wet climate of Buxton, but I like a challenge. Take a look at some of the pictures I’ve taken in the last few days.

These are looking particularly colourful at the moment. Top left Primula japonica ‘Millers Crimson’, on the side Euphorbia Griffithii and bottom left a Geum. I’m pretty pleased with these as they were all planted last summer and have survived!

winter bedding

I planted up these planters in November and the cyclamen are still flowering.  I’m going to move them soon to the fern section in the garden. The little evergreen shrubs I will continue to grow in the protected environment of the planters until they are a little larger to cope with the Buxton soil and climate.

I love taking cuttings and splitting plants (plants for free) and these are ones I did last year, waiting to be grown on a bit more before planting out.  By the way Mr Husband made the planters and the steps last year and they have survived the winter too 😊. May garden

This is the bigger picture of our rocky slope, it’s filling out with green but needs more colour.  I’ve just planted my Sweet Peas under my stick tower – I have grown them over winter and there is one flower about to open. Usually I don’t have much luck with Sweet Peas, so fingers crossed.

garden seedlings

I’ve got a tiny cold frame to keep all things little in, you know the ones needing a bit of extra protection over winter.  This year it was little lavenders I’d grown from seed in the summer, which are now bushy and living outside.  In the frame at the moment are 3 varieties of Calendula and 3 varieties of kale, which we’re going to plant amongst the flower beds. You can also see my shadow – I’m such an amateur 🙄.

A finally, let me introduce you to the garden cat.  He’s not mine (is it a he?), but always runs into the garden when we open the door and then follow you until he gets a tickle. We call him Cat, my neighbour calls him Snuffles.

garden cat

I hope to blog about the garden on a regular basis so you can see how it develops.  Next time I’ll show you the pond area…….. it’s a bit of a mess 😊


3 Indoor plants to try in your home

Indoor plants or house plants, call them what you want they are very on trend.  In my younger days, my house was full of plants, they were on every window sill and spare gap on the table.  It was a more of a gardening extension rather than a design thing. However, as life went on the house plants disappeared, I think a lot to do with taking holidays and at one point we were living in a fairly dark house.  However, now it’s time for them to return and bring life and air purifying properties to my home!

So, I recently ventured to a local garden centre to see what they had as I’d remembered they had an unusually large selection of indoor plants.  I picked three, I thought I’d start small and as I’m always looking to get something for free was looking for plants large enough to divide and make more plants.  These are the plants I finally chose.

Easy care Indoor house plants

Let’s take a look at them one by one considering their needs for light and water as these seem to be the key things to keep them alive and looking healthy.  A dying plant is not a good look, trust me I’ve done that experiment.

Schefflera Arboricola dwarf umbrella tree indoor house plantThis elegant plant is a Schefflera Arboricola or to give its common name (and we all like a common names) Dwarf Umbrella Tree

Water: Wait until the soil in the plant dries out and then thoroughly soak.  I would stand it in a few inches of water (maybe in the sink) and let it suck up as much water as it wants. Yellow leave falling off is a sign you are watering it too much.

Light: It likes light but not direct sunlight.  Not enough light and it gets leggy, too much light and the leaves will burn.



Gardenia indoor house plant


Next we have a glossy Gardenia.  Now reading about these they appear a little fussier.

Water: They like a consistently damp but not soggy soil, they also like high humidity so give it the occasional misting.

Light: These also like bright but not direct sunlight, and as me they like it on the warm side, which might be challenge in my flat.

So, this little chap is already sounding challenging, but I’m going to persevere as it will have vivid white flowers and produces a gorgeous fragrance.  Since getting this plant my living room has been smelling delightful despite the plant only having one flower.

Spider plant

A finally this beauty is a Spider Plant, a house plant favourite. Apparently these are one of the easiest house plants to care for, so I had better keep this one alive. As you can see mine already has many little spiderettes, which I’ve already potted to make new plants.

Water: Not too much watering, they don’t like it soggy. They like to dry out between watering.

Light: Again, bright but not direct sunlight but they do like it a bit cooler.

Now I know how to grow these plants 🤞 there are still a couple of things I need to decide. Firstly, I need to choose some planters.  At the moment, the pots are on plastic trays to stop water and soil leaking over the furniture.   I need to think about how the planter sits against the decor where the plant will live.

And that brings me on to the second thing I need to decide, where to put them.  I’ve been moving them around constantly.  I think they will all sit in the living room, but when I get the spiderette plants growing I’m going to have them hanging in the kitchen.

I hope my ramblings have inspired you to get a few house plants and you’ll can join me on the ‘journey’ of keeping them alive.  I will update you in a few weeks when I’ve select planters. A blog post consisting of dead plants is not attractive so I need to get my green fingers out 🌱🌱🌱

Plant selection


My first time visit to the Ideal Home Show 2017

Just thought I would write something small about my recent visit to the Ideal Home Show 2017, Olympia London, as this was the first time I’d ever been to an interiors event.  It’s only now I’ve started blogging I feel the need to attend these things, and this seemed like a toe in the water dip event where I could just mooch about.  It also gave me an excuse to go down to London for the weekend (great beer and curry at the Warwick Arms), although it was a busy few days of mainly sitting on the train.

Anyway back to the point, what did I think of the Show?  Well they have obviously done this before 🙄, minimal queuing and plenty to see, eat and drink. There was a big food event going on at the same time, which the ticket also gave access to, so if you’re a foodie too there’s even more to look at, the aromas were heavenly.

The Show itself was a bit like going around a very big department store, with unlimited spending opportunities, including furniture and gadgets.  There were numerous celebrities on small stages around the venue giving their take on various aspects of food and design plus providing demonstrations, these were a welcome opportunity to have a sit down.

So was it worth it?  It was a good day out, and as my advance ticket was only £15 not expensive for an all day event.  It was also the first time I’d been to Olympia, which is an impressive building flooded with natural light. So worth a visit if you’ve not been before especially if you don’t have far to travel or have just moved into a new place and looking for interior ideas, as it’s all in one place.

I will be exploring other events and of course sharing them with you. Next weekend I’m off to the Cheltenham Wine Festival for a family meet up – not entirely clear what design inspiration I will get but I’m sure I’ll find something amongst the bottles.

In the meantime here are some of my pics from the Show.

This garden pod  from Ornate Garden was one of my favourite things at the show, I could see this sitting very neatly in my garden (if I could afford it – maybe Mr husband could build one?). You can see more about my thoughts on garden furniture on a previous blog
pod 2

I liked the lighting from this exhibitor Culinary Concepts London, a refined industrial look


IMG_20170325_104033 (2)

And there were a number of well laid out simple garden design ideas.

As I said the venue is a great space and worth a look in itself

So if you’ve got some spare time the Show runs until April 9th 😍

A plea to leave your garden furniture outside

I was talking to my parents the other day about how they were getting on in their new home. They are in their late seventies and early eighties, I won’t say who the older is as my mum would never forgive me – oops given that one away sorry mum 😁.  Anyway the person they had bought the house from left a garden table and chairs in the garage. A standard hardwood set you can buy in most DIY stores (it’s a bit like the one in the picture below), and it looked as though it had hardly been used, I wonder why 🤔, please read on.

outside tables & chairs (2)

Great I thought garden furniture, as one of the things I found annoying when visiting the parents for the weekend was the complete lack of garden seating.  So if the sun was out there was nowhere to escape for a cuppa and a bit of vitamin D boost for the bones.  But as the conversation developed it turned out not to be so great as it appears they are planning to keep this OUTSIDE furniture INSIDE the garage and just get it out if they have a BBQ. WHY???

As you may know from a previous blog I like being outside, especially sitting in the warm. My ideal day is where it is warm enough to sit in the shade, bliss – I don’t like trying to get a tan, the object of the exercise for me is just warming the bones and listening to the birds. Bearing in mind I live in the UK (Buxton) we’re not able to take for granted the sun make an appearance, things are very changeable.  So I see it as my duty to be prepared and have a seating opportunity in every part of the garden where the sun is likely to shine.  I grab a cushion from the living room on the way out and brush the rain water from the seat, and I’m enjoy the sun in an instant. This just cannot be done if you have to think of getting garden furniture out of the shed, assemble it and position it, as by the time you’re done the tea has gone cold and the sun has disappeared. Ten sunny minutes wasted fumbling about in the shed.

I’ve found some of the best evenings have started with an impromptu gathering of friends or family in the garden, you just pop out for the last 5 minutes before the sun goes down and before you know it wine and snacks have been consumed and blankets and stars have appeared. Who needs an invitation to a BBQ.

So a plea to my dear Dad: wood looks far better for a bit of weathering, so please leave the garden furniture outside for the summer, you will enjoy it much more I promise ❤️❤️

In case you are looking for new garden furniture, I saw this utterly clever garden pod at my recent trip to the Ideal Home Show 2017 from Ornate Garden, so check out their website if you like the look, is around £7-8000 (wow) but they were doing some show discounts so get yourself down to Olympia, it could avoid you having to build that conservatory.  I really need one in my garden to protect me from the wind.

Here are a few more affordable traditional garden sets I like that will withstand the elements and have the minimal cushions to store on a rainy day.  Outside is definitely better than inside, don’t you agree??

2 seat garden furniture (2)

A Bistro Table is ideal for an early morning coffee or early evening cocktail best positioned in the spot that gets the first or last sun of the day. Saw this online at Jacks Garden Store

rustic garden furniture (2)

A bit of rustic charm and you can see how the wood only improves with weathering. Great for a little lunch with friends. Saw this online at Garden Furniture Land

stylist garden furniture (2)

You would be dining in style and the minimal cushions can easily be stored indoors ready for action. This is from John Lewis

Wouldn’t in be fab to be able to afford (I can’t) and have room in the garden (I don’t) for all these seating options 😊.  But I hope it’s given you some ideas for enjoying summer.