4 Amazing Gardening Hacks That Really Work

I’ve never seen gardening as a chore; in fact, I find it quite therapeutic and I’m looking forward to when spring rolls around so that I can dig out my Cath Kidson gloves and get cracking with tackling the weeds.

I find myself nodding when people say that they feel a certain kind of peace when surrounded by nature in their garden, as well as helping them unwind and relax from their day-to-day workload.

And one of the most fulfilling moments is to see flowers, plants and crops grow – especially when it’s all down to your creativity and perseverance. If you’ve just recently started gardening, or would like to learn tricks on how you can be a more efficient gardener, here are a few weird, yet amazing gardening hacks that really work…

Nappies as fertilizers

Used nappies are not particularly nice to handle and no doubt you’d usually look to dispose of them pretty swiftly. However, if you have young toddlers, instead of throwing away their used nappies, you can use them for your hanging pots.

Believe it or not but the waste in nappies can effectively enrich the soil, which leads to your flowers and plants blossoming faster and more beautifully. What you need to do is place the nappy at the bottom of the hanging pot and cover it completely with soil. Once you’ve filled the pot with soil, start planting in it like you’d normally plant a seed.

If you need to see how it’s done, visit Sand Paper and Silly Putty, which posted the original idea in its entirety.

Use cooking spray on your lawn mower

If you’re all set to use your lawn mower and you want to keep tufts of grass from sticking to your mower blades, apply cooking spray on them before using it. This really works!

Take note that if you’re using a mower that runs on petrol, empty the tank first before turning the mower over to apply the spray. Otherwise, the petrol may spill out, and it’s pretty difficult to clean that when mixed with cooking oil.

If you don’t have a suitable mower to cut your lawn with, then it might be advisable to purchase one that runs off a battery instead of petrol. Leading hardware retailer Screwfix showcases a range of lawn mowers that are powered by lithium ions that can be detached upon cleaning the mower.

Just to be safe, remove petrol tanks, batteries and any other components that can be detached from the lawn mower before spraying the cooking oil on the blades.

Make your own weed killer

Vinegar has various uses apart from its true purpose as a condiment. Aside from its use as a home cleaning agent, it can also be used as weed killer.

Pests dislike the strong odour emitted by vinegar, so you can take advantage of this by creating weed killer with vinegar.

Use Apple Cider Vinegar, which is eco-friendly and keeps flowers, plants, and crops safe and sound. To make a homemade weed killer, you can check out the instructions at One Good Thing.

Put extra herbs into your freezer

If you find yourself being overwhelmed by herbs in your garden and want to plant something new in your pots, you can put your extra herbs in an empty ice tray, fill it with water or olive oil, and freeze them!

Frozen herbs can keep their freshness for months when stored in a freezer. If you need to use them, all you have to do is defrost them.

These hacks will not only save you time when gardening but could also save you money in the long run.



February & March Snapped Up

Welcome to the new Snapped Up linky! 

If you love shopping – and snapping up bargains (and you’ve blogged or vlogged about your latest buy) the #SnappedUp Linky is for you!

Home and Horizon has teamed up with Family Makes to bring a fantastic new monthly linky which celebrates all your best shopping buys; from thrifty finds through to one-off pieces and unique gems.

In my new role as Shopping Hauls Round-up Editor for BritMums, I’ll be picking a selection of the best ones to feature on the BritMums site, promoting your blog posts to thousands of readers!

You can link up a blog post or a vlog (or both! with a maximum of two links)

But wait, there’s more….every month we’ll also pick a random winner to win a fantastic prize!

This month we’re giving away a ticket to the 2017 Traverse Conference in London worth £89!! 

The conference takes place from 24th-30th April and offers a week of events, culminating in a weekend conference.  Follow the 3 simple rules below for your chance to be featured on BritMums AND win a ticket to Traverse!

  1. Comment on the hosts’ posts. (If there is one)
  2. Comment on the post before you PLUS one other of your choice (feel free to comment on more of course!)
  3. Grab the badge below and paste it at the bottom of your blog post
You can also tweet me @LaurettaCWright with the link to your post and the hashtag #snappedup and I’ll retweet it. I’ll also personally comment on every post.
Thanks for taking part – and remember to pop back later to see more great buys!
Home and Horizon Snapped Up Linky

 


The NEXT Big Thing: Stunning Interior Themes For Summer

On a cold, wet, windy morning I had just one thing on my calendar I was looking forward to: the NEXT Summer 2017 preview show, where I’d get to discover new interior themes lined up for my favourite season.

My first impression on entering the preview show was that NEXT is going tropical! Visions of colourful destinations featuring exotic flowers sprang to mind, coupled with an ethnic theme and an abundance of textures.

And there was definitely a pineapple vibe going on – ranging from pineapple themed glasses to stunning bedside lamps – one of my favourite pieces.

It was clear that many of the pieces had been inspired by global influences, with colourful fabrics and patterns, mixed with a variety of designs and materials.

So, here’s the low down on what interior themes you can expect in store for this summer…

Raw 

The NEXT Big Thing: Stunning Interior Themes For Summer

The Raw Theme

This interior theme celebrates traditional African craft techniques with tribal motifs, geometric prints and distressed, washed finishes.

Earthy tones of burnt ginger, deep brown and stone act as a warming palette that brings the heart of the Sahara into the show.

Salvage-style lighting utilises reclaimed pipes for an industrial edge, while the Wayney edge coffee table showcases earthy texture with an exposed oak grain finish.

 

Cuba 

The NEXT Big Thing: Stunning Interior Themes For Summer

The Cuba Theme

Next stop is Cuba. A nostalgic trend, dinnerware and fun picnic pieces sit alongside accessories in vibrant pops of chartreuse green and candy pink, to create a bright and cultured collection reminiscent of old Havana.

Brushed gold pineapples and wildlife prints add a fun tropical twist, while matte velvet upholstery brings a rich, opulent feel.

 

Supernature

The NEXT Big Thing: Stunning Interior Themes For Summer

The Supernature Theme

Pretty and opulent, Supernature sees hand drawn botanicals adorn linens and crisp cottons in a peaceful colour palette of fresh mint, lustful lilac and chalky blue.

Creating an air of tranquility, alluring marble-topped side tables add a contemporary edge along with lighting and accessories that feature open-wired elements to give the illusion of space.

 

Horizon

The NEXT Big Thing: Stunning Interior Themes For Summer

The Horizon Theme

Stepping outside, Horizon welcomes island life in the form of deep sea blues and jungle greens, Bold printed textiles are key and balanced by accessories inspired by the sea.

Occasional garden seating like the Andaman hanging chair create a versatile piece that can be used both inside and out for a bold statement.

There’s also see an update to traditional alfresco dining pieces with bench-style seating featuring striking hair pin legs for a modern twist.

So now you’re all genned up on this year’s NEXT interior themes, which one takes your fancy? And if you enjoyed seeing what’s new at NEXT, take a look at what’s new in interiors at Wilko this summer! 

If you fancy a quick tour of the NEXT press preview show, click on the video…



21 budget airline fares compared: get the most bang for your buck on your next holiday

With long-haul carriers wising up and starting to compete against the low-cost, budget airlines by introducing ‘Basic Economy’ fares, Brits are starting to reap the rewards of low-cost travel worldwide – and not just in Europe.

However, even though long-haul fares are comparatively lower than they were a few years ago, watch out for the added extras that budget airlines are imposing!

These include charging for meals/drinks, limiting hand luggage (yes, really) and not allowing seat selection.

To ensure savvy travellers enjoy a stress-free journey, Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) has put together a guide comparing what budget fares across 21 major airlines.

The Extra Factor

The research compares the lowest priced ticket fare available with major airlines including American Airlines, British Airways and easyJet, highlighting costs and services such as baggage allowance, check-in fees at the airport, costs for allocated seating and in-flight experiences.

In terms of baggage allowance, 19 of the airlines allow cabin luggage on-board and ten of the airlines researched, including British Airways, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Ryanair, also allow passengers to store one small personal item under the seat in front.

For those planning to travel with substantial luggage, nine of the airlines researched, including Emirates, Qantas and transatlantic flights with Aer Lingus, allow passengers to check-in luggage in the hold as part of the budget fare.

However, two airlines – Wizz Air and American Airlines – were found to not currently allow passengers to store cabin luggage in the overhead lockers as part of their Basic and Basic Economy fares.

And of course, when the baggage allowance does not suffice, all the airlines allow passengers to purchase additional luggage space for a fee.

The fees vary from £8 with Wizz Air to £171 with Qantas, depending on the flight route and the bag weight.

TOP TIP: If you think you need extra baggage allowance make sure you purchase this online prior to departure. Many airlines will charge even more money for add-ons purchased offline – i.e. on the phone or at the check-in desk!

For example, Monarch charges an additional £5 surcharge for any extra baggage purchased via the call centre. SWISS Air also requests an additional surcharge of £12 (€14) when extra luggage is purchased during check-in at the airport.

Seating arrangements

For travellers looking to pay a little extra to sit by a window or on the exit row, the majority of airlines provide passengers with the option to select their own seat for a fee.

Four airlines allow passengers to choose their preferred seat for free, including KLM and Qatar Airways.

However, passengers travelling in Basic Economy with Delta Air Lines should note that seat selection is not available at any time and seats are allocated by staff after check-in.

TOP TIP: To avoid unexpected charges once at the airport, passengers travelling with three of the budget airlines researched – Jet2, Ryanair and Wizz Air – should ensure they check-in online prior to arriving at the airport. All three of these budget airlines charge passengers to check-in at the terminal. Fees for doing so vary from £8 with Wizz Air to £45 with Ryanair.

For those eager to board the plane first, seven of the airlines researched provide priority boarding services at a price, varying from £4 with Wizz Air to £19.99 with easyJet.

Also, if you purchase allocated Priority Seat with Ryanair, you are automatically granted priority when boarding at the gate and similarly, those who purchase Priority Boarding with Wizz Air are also allowed to take an additional small personal item on board.

Grub’s up!

All the airlines researched offer food and drink in-flight with 11, including KLM, Virgin Atlantic and transatlantic flights with Aer Lingus, offering selected food and drink free of charge.

Free meals with British Airways are only provided on long-haul flights and, likewise, drinks are only offered complimentary if travelling with Icelandair.

For those in need of a caffeine boost, Basic Economy passengers travelling with Delta are provided with complimentary Starbucks drinks in-flight.

Admin add-ons

In terms of additional fees, many budget airlines charge travellers a further booking cost – regardless of the fare purchased.

For example, Finnair requests £4.50 per person for online bookings and Icelandair charges £15 per person for bookings made via the call centre or at the ticket desk.

Passengers who travel with Virgin Atlantic and prefer to use a physical paper ticket are required to pay an additional £25(!), while passengers travelling with Jet2 and Ryanair should keep their boarding pass close at all times, since the airlines charge £17.50 and £15, respectively, for reprints.

It pays to do your research before you travel so you don’t get stung with unforeseen (and often hidden) costs on seemingly budget airline fares. These airlines can be a sneaky bunch, so it pays to gen up on which airlines charge for what before you look to book.

Enjoy this? There’s more where that came from! Join us!


What’s in Store at Wilko: New themes for Spring & Summer

Wilko is launching four new spring/summer 2017 homeware collections this month – Decelerate, Symmetry, Unearthed and Enterprising Britain.

The new, affordable collections are due to appear in shops in mid-February, so here’s a sneak peek at what you can expect – and top tips on how to recreate the looks without blowing the budget…

 

1. Unearthed

 

What’s in Store at Wilko: New themes for Spring & Summer

Taking influence from around the globe, The Unearthed collection offers a mix of vibrant colours, motifs and patterns.

If you’re looking for maximum impact, with exotic design pieces that offer a natural yet creative edge, this is your look.

Get the look:

This isn’t a look for shrinking violets; it’s time to let your hair down and find your adventurous streak!

Go for bold colours on your walls such as a dark, deep blue (the Wilko Statement Matt Emulsion After Hours is ideal) and, to complete the theme, add some vibrant accessories and daring patterns.

If you’ve collected any memorabilia from your travels, throw this into the mix for an eclectic look that is sure to attract admiring glances from visitors.

What to buy:

What’s in Store at Wilko: New themes for Spring & Summer

This Wilko Words Canvas 48 x 48cm for £6.

Featuring the words ‘Be happy, Be silly, Be kind, Be honest’, this bright addition will create a great focal point in a kitchen, living room or bedroom.

2. Symmetry

 

What’s in Store at Wilko: New themes for Spring & Summer

If it’s the simple life you’re after with clean lines and understated quality, the Symmetry Collection conjures up images of cool and calm, with warm reds and greys offering a core background.

Offering functional yet elegant features, this range is ideal for those who are on a budget and are looking to update their current décor.

What to buy:

What’s in Store at Wilko: New themes for Spring & Summer

This Wilko Symmetry Blossom Duvet Set Double (144 thread count & includes 2 pillow cases) for £14.

It’s a reversible duvet set and the good news is that minimal ironing is needed!

Made from soft touch polycotton, the duvet set is machine washable and tumble dryer friendly, plus co-ordinating items are also available.

Get the look:

You’ve probably already clocked them in the shops, but copper accessories play a large part in this theme, coupled with reds and warm greys.

Geometric accessories also add instant style and charm and as a strong base, opt for a soft grey paint (such as Wilko Matt Emulsion Urban Grey), to allow bright red accessories to stand.

3. Enterprising Britain

 

What’s in Store at Wilko: New themes for Spring & Summer

If you’re the creative type, then the Enterprising Britain collection could be just what you’re looking for.

Offering a selection of creative design ideas, couple with a mix of patterns, materials and colours, this eccletic theme has been designed to stand out and impress.

What to buy:

What’s in Store at Wilko: New themes for Spring & Summer

Visions of the great British afternoon tea and picnics in the park spring to mind, so this 3m Wilko Riviera Floral Bunting is just the ticket and costs £5.

Hang it inside to add a quirky look to your dining room, bedroom or kitchen and then take it outside for an afternoon tea party with friends. Co-ordinating items are also available.

Get the look

If you’re looking to recreate this look, then you need to unleash your creative side and be daring.

Throw together different materials, colours and patterns and tie it all together with vibrant wallpaper that injects even more colour, such as the Arthouse Super Stripe Pink/Teal/Yellow paper.

Look for accessories that pick out the colours in your background (wallpaper) colour including bright pinks, on-trend teals, packing a punch purples and fun floral patterns.

4. Decelerate

 

What’s in Store at Wilko: New themes for Spring & Summer

If the natural, down-to earth look is more your bag, then check out The Decelerate collection which is all about a simple, unfussy lifestyle.

Conjuring up images of a slower pace of life – and mixing rustic, natural materials with calm and tranquil animals – this look offers a timeless relaxed vibe that will leave you feeling calm and collected in no time.

What to buy:

What’s in Store at Wilko: New themes for Spring & Summer

This cute watercolour fox cushion will never go out of fashion and costs £7.

Team it with other accessories from the range to add to the relaxed, back-to-nature vibe.

Get the look:

If a more natural, understated look is more your thing, then opt for a more muted, earthy background paint (or wallpaper) and use accessories to make this theme pop.

Natural colours of English sage paint or a subtle woodland-themed wallpaper work well, coupled with accessories and statement piees that offer more depth to the overall look.