A Garden Paradise

I have to admit, I love gardens and gardening. I love pretty, country cottage front gardens with rose bushes decorating fences to sprawling back gardens with perfect, immaculate lawns and a summer house perfect for spending lazy afternoons in.

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My own experience with gardening however, has been somewhat limited. I have had several, small gardens which were quite sheltered leading to some very miserable looking plants, which like me, were in desperate need of some sunshine and perhaps a holiday to the Med for a couple of weeks! This was followed by a patio space of the extreme opposite. This space was south facing, leading to sweltering Summers, and sunshine all day long. Whilst my tomatoes (and I!) absolutely thrived in the sunny weather, the lack of shelter ensured not much else would grow!

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One garden I really admire is my mum’s garden, located in Whitstable, Kent. She has always had a passion for gardening and it shows through her beautiful garden designs and flourishing plants.

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I asked her a few questions about her garden and her passion for gardening.

How would you describe the design of your garden?

I have designed the garden by imagining separate rooms. The top garden, furthest away from the house, is the most formal. It has a Summer house, accompanied by a newly built oval pond on an oval lawn.

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The middle garden, is home to the fruit trees and also a vegetable patch with a greenhouse (along with resident frog, who I’m sure will be delighted once the pond is finished!)

The lower garden, closest to the house, is for pots to enable easy movement and an ever changing view from the conservatory. There is also a small patio area with lawn. It has a seating area, with a table and chairs for family BBQs and a vine covered pergola for when it gets a little bit too warm in the Summer. It’s lovely and cool in the shade under the vines.

What are your top 3 favourite plants and why?

  1. Fruit Trees – Beautiful blossom in the spring, shelter in the Summer and fruit in the Autumn.
  2. Cistus – Papery flowers that open in the sunshine. An evergreen plant, they remind me of a south facing garden that I came across whilst walking by the Thames.
  3. Roses – I tend to choose roses that are repeat flowerers with a beautiful scent to make the garden smell wonderful.

What garden project are you currently working on?

The pond! After putting in a Summer house towards the rear of the garden, I have decided to build a pond opposite. I often sit out there in the evenings as this is when the sun is in that part of the garden – it’s lovely and warm!

If you could have a garden anywhere in the world where would it be?

I would love to have a Mediterranean garden. Mediterranean plants remind me of the wonderful holidays I have had and are some of my favourite plants to grow in the garden.

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A garden should be somewhere you can enjoy every day, somewhere that you can spot changes every day. It should cover all the senses – from the smell of the herbs, to the beautiful sight of the roses, the tweeting to be heard from the birds, the taste of the delicious fruit being grown and the plants with the most unexpected textures to feel.

For those with their first garden, where do you recommend they start? Do you have any tips?

Always start with a plan! Shape the garden to your own style. Always include a tree for height – preferably a fruit tree.

Starve plants so that they can develop their root systems.

Encourage wildlife – I have birds regularly visiting my garden to have a wash in the bird bath and to feast on my fruit trees! I have a resident frog in the greenhouse – who I hope will hop into the pond once finished! I also would love to encourage some hedgehogs into the garden.

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Water regularly and feed plants once a week throughout the growing season.

Ensure you walk around your garden to keep a check on things!

Dig in plenty of blood and bone! (*I have been assured that these come in pellet form from garden centres after enquiring what on earth it was!!!)

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For some more garden hacks and tips on how not to kill your plants make sure you check out this amazing article from Pocketful of Rye, so useful for first time gardeners!

Get ready for Summer 2016 in your garden with fantastic discounts with My Voucher Codes – perfect for adding furniture to your garden, or for purchasing some new tools for your shed!

All images are my own taken of my mum’s garden.

Becky at Pretty & Petit

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29. The Treasured

My featured business this week is…The Treasured!

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If you need amazing gift inspiration this is the number one place to visit! From homeware to stationary to fabulous accessories this website literally has a gift for everyone in your life.

The website hosts a range of beautiful imagery of their products along with costs averaging under £20 a gift so perfect for special occasion purchases! I love how simple this website is to navigate which is great for when you’re in a hurry for last minute present buying.

Orders are processed, packaged and posted within three working days and if you’ve opted for second class packages will be delivered within five working days although they usually arrive sooner.

I’ve included some of my favourite treats from the website but let me know yours in the comments!

 

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Sleep Tight ‘Hoopla’ Hand Embroidery Kit – £11.50

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Cloud Desk Tidy – £14

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Metallic Shape Notebooks (Set of 3) – £10

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Miss Unicorn Tote Bag – £11.99

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Mr Panda Cushion – £14.99

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Pyrite Bunting Necklace – £16

Click here to visit their website for the full range of wonderful gift ideas.

Becky at Pretty & Petit

Dreams of Dubai

“Dubai, with all of its glitz and glamour rose in the heart of the desert.”

Soroosh Shahrivar, The Rise of Shams

Personally, I find the city of Dubai one of the most fascinating destinations in the world. With its contrast of old and new, historical and modern and it’s merging of a variety of cultures that use the destination as a gateway to the rest of the world, it is the ultimate city of dreams. When I was a little girl I first discovered the city of Dubai in an encyclopaedia (with the rise of the internet I’m not even sure they still exist!) At school I would create collage after collage of research in the form of images of future designs of architectural magnificence that Dubai was looking forward to, in any other city these would have stayed pipe dreams. Not in Dubai.  Most of these mesmerizing structures have now come into fruition or are certainly under development.

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The city of Dubai. Image from Tumblr

When the opportunity arose to take part in Travelbag’s blogger competition with a prize of a trip to Dubai came up I was beyond ecstatic. It took me back to those school days where I would be cutting and sticking images of a destination I could only ever dream of visiting and I had to get involved.

There are two sides to Dubai, and it is these contrasting sides that I would absolutely have the pleasure in exploring. The history of Dubai as a small fishing village; growing, developing and expanding into the metropolis it has become, a symbol of the modern UAE. A symbol of a prosperous future for not only the city but the country as a whole.

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History of Dubai. Image from Viralnova.com

On the first day we would start with a day of visiting historical Dubai. We would enjoy a historical tour, savouring the cultural aspect of Dubai, marvelling at the fashions, savouring the tastes and smells of the souks. We would visit the food souk, the spice souk and the gold souk exploring what each of these had to offer. This would be followed by a visit to the Jumeirah Mosque. I find mosques absolutely beautiful and fascinating. They are such a peaceful environment as well which provides a calmness and sense of wellbeing.

Jumeirah Mosque. From Flickr.com

Jumeirah Mosque. Image from Flickr.com

In the evening we would escape the hustle and bustle of the city to the desert on a Desert Safari. Enjoying the surroundings of the bedouin camp we would enjoy belly dancers and arabic henna painting into the night.

The desert of Dubai. Image from 99traveltips.com

The desert of Dubai. Image from 99traveltips.com

Rising early, the second day would take an intense look at the architecture of Dubai. This is a city which has a landscape that looks like something out of this world. We would start the day by taking a visit to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, standing at 829.8m tall, venturing to the dizzying heights of the 125th floor to view the landscape around us. We would marvel at the World’s largest the fountains of the Burj Khalifa lake as they perform their daily shows, at night sending beams of light into space!

The Burj Khalifa - Image from Harpers Bazaar.

The Burj Khalifa – Image from Harpers Bazaar.

After coming back down to Earth we would visit the Dubai Mall. We would have some retail therapy, before exploring the other attractions the Mall has to offer, such as visiting the DubaiDino, a dinosaur that has been transported all the way from the USA and Sega Republic for some video gaming fun! No doubt we would also end up in the candy heaven that is Candylicious!

The most beautiful candy in the world! Image found on valentinadepertis.blogspot.se

The most beautiful candy in the world! Image found on valentinadepertis.blogspot.se

We would take in the beautiful city scape, including the many towers that dominate the skyline. My favourite would have to be the Twisted Tower, the Cayan Tower standing at 306m high.

Cayan Tower. Image found on skyscrapercity.com

Cayan Tower. Image found on skyscrapercity.com

Ending our exploration would be a visit to the manmade islands of the Palm and The World. These fascinated me as I was growing up, a playground for the rich and famous, these are located in the waters of the Persian Gulf and as the name suggests are in the shape of a Palm Tree and all the countries of the World. 

The second day would end with a trip to Burj Al Arab, the most luxurious hotel in the world. It was this architecture that first drew me into want to learn more about Dubai. This is the ultimate icon of Dubai and an architectural wonder. We would enjoy cocktails in the sky bar looking over the beautiful coastline and city of Dubai as the sun sets.

Burj Al Arab - Image found on homedit.com

Burj Al Arab – Image found on homedit.com

After two days of absorbing the architecture and the cultural aspects of Dubai Day three would be time for some fun in the sun! Ironically, the first activity of the day would not be in the sun and would involve a visit to Dubai’s Indoor Ski Park located in the Dubai Mall. A faux winter wonderland, this ski park is 22,500 square meters with a variety of activities available including skiing and snowboarding.

The Dubai Ski Park. Image  found on thechive.com

The Dubai Ski Park. Image found on thechive.com

After a couple of hours skiing we would head to Dubai’s Miracle Garden, the world’s largest natural garden full of the most colourful displays and breathtaking landscaping I have ever seen! When I was researching more about these gardens I was absolutely convinced to put them on my bucket list and I’m sure after seeing the images below you will too!

Dubai Miracle Garden - Image found on travel.cnn.com

Dubai Miracle Garden – Image found on travel.cnn.com

Dubai Miracle Garden. Image found on icosnap.com

Dubai Miracle Garden. Image found on icosnap.com

Our final day would end with a trip to the Atlantis resort. Located on The Palm, this breathtaking hotel is a reflection of the Atlantis in the Bahamas and plays host to rooms surrounded by an aquarium so you can literally spot stingrays and beautifully coloured tropical fish from the comfort of your own bed! Aquaventure Water Park is also part of the resort with some of the best water rides in the world and we would spend the afternoon zipping down water slides and relaxing in the sun. After enjoying a fun filled afternoon of meeting sea lions, visiting Dolphin Bay and enjoying the sights of the Aquarium we would visit one of the 23 fantastic restaurants to choose from for the most delicious meal before sorrowfully heading back to the UK.

The Atlantis Dubai. Image found on telegraph.co.uk

The Atlantis Dubai. Image found on telegraph.co.uk

“Pilgrims from all over the world were making their way to the place deemed the pearl of the Middle East. The city was reminiscent of a modern-day Persepolis. Its buildings, like towering pillars, tested the sky’s limit. The evenly paved roads belched with the smell of new tarmac, as if a million masons woke up every morning and by hand lay asphalt one grain at a time. People of all colors, ethnicities, creed and social statuses came bearing money, knowledge or experience in order to build their legacies in the new kingdom, sprouting out of the desert.
Dubai had arrived.”
Soroosh Shahrivar, The Rise of Shams

Becky at Pretty & Petit

Garden Paradise

Yesterday we visited Quex Park in Birchington, Kent. Covering over 250 acres the park is home to a museum of natural history, a house and gardens. We started off by having a look round the Powell-Cotton Museum, a museum that has a Natural History theme and has some incredible exhibits originating from Africa and Asia. They have to be seen to be believed but I won’t spoil the surprise! It was a wonderful museum and we really enjoyed the fact that it was so child orientated – there was lots of things to see and do including a safari trail and learning about different ways of research through drawing, handling objects and working on the computer. There were lots of amazing interactive elements to the museum which were particularly enjoyable.

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As it was such a beautiful, sunny day we went for a walk round the gardens at the back of the house. There was a pretty woodland walk with bluebells and peacocks sheltering under the trees and a large pond to the back of the main lawn. We then walked over to the walled garden (accompanied by the resident cat!) and walked around viewing the different flowers and plants. There was Wisteria over the walls giving it that Secret Garden effect. We walked over to some huge greenhouses which were filled with hundreds of cacti plus lovely smelling Jasmine.

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Quex Park is truly a wonderful place to hold weddings and special events. It’s so peaceful and there’s lots of space for little ones to run around. There is something for everyone, including a craft village, Jungle Jims for the little ones and a beautiful garden centre. To find out more and to plan your visit click here.

BBC Gardeners' World Live 2014 (13th - 14th June 2014)

If you’re feeling inspired by this post for your own garden then BBC Gardeners’ World Live is coming to Birmingham NEC on 11th-14th June 2015 with special guests including Monty Don, Carol Klein and Mary Berry. Visit the beautiful Show Gardens which will be reflecting current trends, visit one of the largest floral marquees in the UK and learn more about growing your own fruit and vegetables in the Grow&Eat zone. Click here to book your tickets and use discount code: GPR15 to get an additional 15% off!

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Becky at Pretty & Petit

Pretty & Petit visits The Ideal Home Show

My first time at the Ideal Home Show was last year (2014) on its last occasion in Earls Court. 2015 brings a new era to the show as it makes the move to Kensington Olympia. The event fitted the venue perfectly with each zone in its own separate spacious hall, making the show easy to navigate from any entrance.

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I usually visit the event on a Thursday evening, which is a bit like late night shopping when the show stays open until 9pm. It’s a nice time to visit as it’s slightly quieter from the day trippers and doesn’t have the weekend rush which means it is far easier to navigate around the event. Make sure you leave plenty of time for your visit though – there is so much to see (and purchase!) and you won’t want to be rushing round at the end!20150402_193300

We entered through the garden section, full of beautiful gardens, inspirational garden houses and beautiful water features. Living in central London currently means we have a bit of a distinct lack of garden but I now feel inspired to fill our balcony with water features, a pergola and a green house along with a hot tub! Maybe I should wait until I have a large enough garden to do that though?!

The food section was our absolute favourite part of the show! There was so much to choose from, everything from Chinese, Indian, Caribbean, Hog Roast, through to Ice Cream and Confectionary! We had delicious chilli and bratwurst German sausages which certainly filled us up! We also had a look around the Willy Wonka chocolate competition – Ideal Cake Decorator of the Year, which had some beautiful cakes!

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British Gas, as one of the main sponsors of the show, provided a number of stands exploring sustainable solutions for the home. There was information provided about loft and cavity wall insulation which will be provided free with support from the Government to the 90% of homes that need it depending on eligibility. You could be saving as much as £145 on your heating bill in a single year by having cavity wall insulation. By having loft insulation you could be saving as much as £150. Click here to find out more!

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Smart Meters are the new upgrade to how your energy usage is measured. British Gas is currently upgrading properties with this new technology across the country for their customers. If you are a British Gas customer this will mean you will no longer receive estimated bills, as readings will be automatically taken and sent directly meaning you will have a lot more control enabling you to see just how much energy you are using before your monthly or quarterly bill arrives. Click here to find out more!

Hive is ‘the clever way to control your heating and hot water.’ Using an app from your mobile, computer or tablet, you can control your heating remotely so there is no need to waste money heating an empty home again! It also has an optional feature alerting you if you have left your property with the heating on, again saving you money. Click here to find out more!

You can get a full range of Home Inspiration tips and advice from British Gas by clicking here to visit The Source. Helping you to get the best out of your home.

The Ideal Home Show has a number of show houses on display and this year, in true election spirit they had Number 10 Downing Street as one of the houses! It’s amazing to see how they literally flat pack and build these houses into the event. It’s definitely a key feature of the event.

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I attend a lot of exhibitions and events and what I found especially good about this show was the amount of stalls and businesses exhibiting. It was though every space had been used productively, partly down to the fantastic displays by the stall holders but also by the company that set up the event layout. It was very impressive!

To find out more information about the Ideal Home Show please click here.

Becky at Pretty & Petit