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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Life's a beach.. and a few other things!

Recently we've been enjoying the great outdoors here in Scotland.
We found a lovely beach which Paddy has great fun on.





As you can see, they don't get too crowded!

We've also explored the local woods



and we've been continuing the house renovations too. 
We have new double glazing, our living room is in the process of being insulated and plaster boarded - before we get to decorating. It will be warm and fresh looking when finished. Once that is done and the house is dusted - oh how dusty building works make it - then I am back on book 3 of my Leaves series. 

Hope you've had a wonderful summer!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Garden starts to blossom

My wee Scottish garden is starting to blossom and look delightful.
I hope you have enjoyed watching it develop.
Once the trellis plants grow large enough to give some more form and shade, I'll post a "more mature garden" update!

Here you can see the garden from my painting room - and a little of my painting in progress.


and here you can see a calm corner, with a couple of gargoyle statues amongst the greenery

plus, a little woodpile to make a home for the garden insects

Now I'll be sitting out there, in a shady spot, writing some more to the third book in my Leaves Series.
The editor and I have been chatting and I'm raring to carry on!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Winning a prize from "8 in the Universe"

As some of you may know, I have an online presence on Twitter, as well as my website and blogs.

Whilst I was being sociable on twitter, I saw a competition to win a place at an aromatherapy workshop, run by "8 in the Universe" . They also offered a package of products, for one long distance winner.
To enter, I simply had to take a photograph of anything that was in eights - and hope that my photograph won.
I entered a picture of hubby's woodturning items - and to my delight, my photo won.

The aromatherapy workshop on "Summer Bodies" was held at 8 in the Universe's premises, in London.
Being in Scotland, I won the long distance prize.

Here is what arrived in the post..





and when I opened it, there was this..





removing the paper that said "summer bodies" it turned out to be a booklet of how each of the products was created and the uses of certain aromatherapy oils.




Here you see the products - and thanks to the booklet, I can re-create each of them!




The very next day, I decided to use all the products in my morning shower routine.

First up was the body scrub, which contained Pink Himalayan salt crystals - amongst other things. 
I mixed a tablespoon of the scrub with a little warm water to make it easier to use in the shower and it did what it was supposed to, exfoliate my skin. Because I was in the shower, I didn't really notice any aromas, but my skin felt fresher.

Second up was the facial scrub - and here I was in aroma happy heaven!
As I followed the instructions on gently rubbing into my face, the cocktail of essential oils transported me to a fresh spring day. Cleansing and purifying, like running in a spring meadow. My face felt soft and moisturised after use.

Lastly was the hand cream - and this is a tough prospect being judged by me. Being a reflexologist, I must have tried every hand cream going, but this - oh this was a delight! The aromas were revitalising, the cream itself plumped up my dry skin ( that's a lot of time in the garden) and my hands stayed moisturised all day.
I am won over by this little pot of magic!

If you ever get a chance to go on a Summer Bodies workshop at 8 in  the Universe, featuring Micha the aromatherapist - go! If my parcel is a measure of what you'll do and receive - you will thoroughly enjoy the benefits.

8 in the Universe have a website, which can be found  HERE

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Paving the garden

After the rockery, it was time to pave my Scottish garden. I already had my trusty plan, where the paving was marked in orange





and this is it, in real life






The paving stones are currently resting on the earth/old gravel, whilst I decide if that's exactly where they will stay. Better to live with something for a week or two, than to bed in cement straight away - and then be stuck with it, forever!

However, even with the paving where it is, I can still plant some of the items I bought - and here you can see a few in place.

Trollius (globeflower) by the water feature:

The water feature is a steel construction, coated with a special chemical, that reacts to the water where you live; rusting to give a protective layer. Each one will be different, as the chemical composition of an area's water is different. As you can see, ours will be a lovely shade of orange.

Around by the rockery, we have a few more little plants in - and you can see some of the statuary we brought with us, from Essex.

Eventually, all of the gravel will be the lighter coloured one - and then, we wait for the plants to grow and fill up the spaces.
Watching Chelsea Flower how this week just gone has made me want to see it finished even more - but I keep reminding myself, patience!

Friday, 13 May 2016

Making a Rockery in my Scottish garden

Do you remember what I started off with?
The rocks were already in place for the rockery, so all I had to do was choose plants  - mostly alpines  - and then what type of gravel to put at their base to improve drainage and stop them rotting.

This was before, you can see the rocks on the left of the photo.

Here are some of the plants -

 the gravel is "golden buff" colour - on a dull day, it looks a pale stone colour



on a bright day, the gravel looks white!





So there's my rockery planted  - next is to plant the climbers for the trellis, get the paving laid, new gravel, then I can plant the main body of plants!

Friday, 6 May 2016

Garden transformation

The next thing we had to do in our Scottish garden transformation was to demolish the old shed!



and finally, it's completely gone!


Next we took up the concrete slab, painted some trellis green, installed it on wooden posts in metposts (concreted in)

There are old slabs on the right to take up, as well as the rockery in front to plant. That's before we start on re-paving and dealing with the lower level of the garden, too! It's very enjoyable though, giving living things a new place to grow and be happy.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Making a creative space in my Scottish garden.

I am a creative person and I love to have a space which is conducive to creating. You all know we've moved recently and I have a new garden.
Well, I have this...


It's the ultimate in low maintenance gardens - and whilst it would suit some, it doesn't do anything for me. So I am going to change it. I thought too, that I would blog all the changes, so if you want, you can watch as I make a creative space. Like a very slow motion Ground Force, for those of you who remember the programme!

When we moved in, the removal men put a lot of Paul's wood store in that shed. That shed is rotten. I wanted it gone. The first thing therefore, was to make a new store for all Paul's woodturning pieces.
We decided it would have less impact up against the garage at the other end of the garden, especially if we painted it green.
The transformation of our 30x30 plot begins!
Wait! I hear you cry. 30 by 30 foot? Pat, that's tiny, compared to your old garden. That's true, it is. I'll let you in to a not-so-secret. I am getting older with every day. I have moved to a beautiful country. I don't want to be like so many of my older reflexology clients, who were tied to garden work all day because they still had their large gardens. I don't mind some garden work, but not at the expense of seeing this wonderful new country, Scotland. Its magnificence will be my wider garden - and no mowing involved. Why not keep the ultra low maintenance garden then? Because I still love to see plants and flowers and all gravel with no green doesn't do it for me. Are you ready now? Shall we begin?

The woodstore starts...




 The woodstore completed, inside all shelved out and containing Paul's wood.















Have you ever seen any of his turning? Here's a small example... my very own wand and wand stand...





























 
We'll go back to the garden. What does every garden need but a plan?
So, here is the plan, worked out on graph paper, so that everything will go in its place.

Plants have been ordered through J Parkers HERE
Some specimen pieces and rockery plants will come from Bridgend Garden Centre HERE
and if I happen to be in the supermarket and can't resist a special offer, I may pick up the odd piece too.
Mostly though, I am guided with my ordering and specimen plants as to what will grow in Scotland - and it is this book, Garden Plants for Scotland HERE, given to me as a present from my friend Lynne, that is invaluable in making good choices.

This is a long post, the next ones in this journey will be more pictorial. Will you join me for the transformation?