Tips for building an outbuilding in your garden

Tips for building an outbuilding in your garden

If you’re looking for a way to increase the value of your home, your garden is a gold mine. If you’re looking for a place to escape from the family, food missiles being thrown by toddlers, and an incessant noise that you’re convinced is giving you tinnitus, your garden is a gold mine! We all need time to escape from the hub of the home, and an outbuilding is the perfect solution. Not only is it an extra room for your house, but it’s can look stylish for a relatively low cost. But, what do you need to consider when building an outbuilding?

Is It Going To Have Multiple Uses?

The possibilities of an outbuilding are endless, from an entertainment room to a gym, to a place to store all of your garden tools. If it’s going to have multiple users, you need to consider the materials for the building. If it’s going to double up as an art studio, while also a place to store plants in the winter, is it going to be warm enough or cool enough for the purposes? You need to think about the overall practicalities and factor these in when creating a budget for the outbuilding. The floor materials, as well as the internal walls, need to be practical enough, and so if you are working out the polished concrete floor cost, in relation to the interior and exterior walls, but you don’t have enough in your budget, it’s important to go back to the purpose of the building. Because if you want it to be an extra room, but it’s completely uninhabitable in the winter, you’re not going to get much use out of it, and therefore it’s a waste of money.

Does It Need Planning Permission?

This is when it gets into many technicalities. The bottom line is that if you are hoping to make it an extra room used for the purposes of getting five minutes away from everyone, rather than it being an extra bathroom, kitchen, or any other type of accommodation, you don’t need to acquire planning permission. If the outbuilding is within the Permitted Development Rights, you don’t need to get planning permission.

Other Concerns

If you live in a terraced house, you need to consider if building an outbuilding will prove to be annoying for your neighbours. This goes back to the purpose of it, but also, if you plan on setting up the building close to one of the neighbour’s walls, is this going to cause strife further down the line? If it’s a place for the kids to go and play, you need to think about the noise levels. It’s worth bearing all these in mind.

An outbuilding is a great idea to get an extra room, especially if you are all sandwiched together, but there are many things for you to consider. It can be a great place to go and escape to, but if it’s not practical enough, especially when the weather gets cold, are you going to be using it much? In which case, aren’t you just better hiding from everyone in the toilet?

This is a collaborative post.

Tips For Travelling With Young Children

Tips For Travelling With Young Children

If you want to escape the daily grind so that you can enjoy some sun with your family, you’re not alone. Brits are taking more holidays abroad than ever before; in fact, the number of holidays increased to a peak of over 65 million annual trips in 2015.

However, many parents start to feel a little nervous when they think about spending hours on a flight with young children. Tiredness, travel sickness and boredom can all cause some serious stress on the journey, so it can be useful to plan ahead. After all, you even need to pack for a day out with kids. Here are three simple tips to help you travel with young children.

Plan For The Flight

If you are travelling with young children it is often best to choose one straight flight, rather than multiple flights with breaks between. This is because it will be much easier and less stressful for all of you – and if you’re on a budget, it can also be useful to look for cheaper flights and hotels. After all, the average price of a holiday for a British family of four is £4792! Normally you can kill two birds with one stone by searching for holidays that include flights and hotels as a package, as this tends to be cheaper and it is easy to get direct flights.

Load Up The Tablet

Load up your tablet or phone with educational apps and games for children so that they have something to do during the flight. This will give you a break so you can relax, and it means that your children have a distraction if they dislike flying. Just make sure that you download games that can still be played while the device is on flight mode!

Prepare A Bag

Pack a bag with sickness medication, a blanket and some extra clothing in case your child spills food or has an accident. A comforter is another good idea as it makes it easier for your children to nap as you fly. It can also be useful to buy a mini-suitcase on wheels for them to roll with them, as this lightens the load for you while teaching your child about responsibility.

Flying with children doesn’t have to be expensive and stressful. There are lots of ways to lower the overall costs of the trip, and if you pack the right stuff the flight can be fun and educational, rather than tiresome and frustrating.

This is a collaborative post.

A Quick Guide to Understanding Stone And Gravel Types for Garden Setup 

A Quick Guide to Understanding Stone And Gravel Types for Garden Setup 

Everyone loves a garden or outdoor landscape that has a dash of stone and gravel. Gravel and stone can make even the simplest outdoor landscape look classy and upscale. What most people aren’t aware of is that there are several different kinds of stones and gravels available in the market. They are available in different textures, colors and more. If you’re looking to install some stone and gravel in your landscape, it’s essential that you know about the many varieties available. Today we have put together some details of the various kinds of stones available and some ideas you can incorporate into your landscape:  

Decomposed Granite 

One of the most popularly used materials in the outdoor landscape is decomposed granite. Decomposed granite is typically used by landscape artists for patios and pathways. This material gives the landscape a very rustic and rugged vibe. Decomposed granite comes in a tan color that almost borderlines on red and over the years with exposure to the sun the red fades away. The best part about using decomposed granite in your landscape is that it is very affordably priced and also easily available everywhere. Decomposed granite is best applied in layers that are very thin. A lot of people even add a little bit of stabilizer to the decomposed granite to prevent it from getting ruined during extreme weather conditions and excessive traffic.  

Pea Gravel  

The name of this gravel pretty much speaks for itself. The shapes and sizes of the rocks of this gravel resemble peas. You will find this gravel in a range of white, grey, tan and brown shades. A large number of people use pea gravel as filler stones. You can also use this gravel for your pathways and patios. The pea gravel is also very reasonably priced and can be sourced with equal ease. If you’re planning on installing pea gravel, it is advised that you have a proper barrier to ensure that the pea gravel is always in place. This gravel tends to get all over the place if it isn’t kept within in a proper barrier.  

River Rock  

This type of gravel is relatively larger in size than the pea gravel. It is used by people to create dry creek beds. The river rock gravel is easily available. You can even place it in a low flowing water stream or an artificial water body. These rocks are affordably priced and easily available. However, if you’re planning on installing this rock, you need to ensure that you are on top of weeding. Weeding through this rock can prove the be an absolute nightmare.  

Crushed Granite Gravel  

While this gravel is the cousin of decomposed granite, it has a few differences. The crushed granite gravel has particles that are larger than the particles of the decomposed granite. This gravel is ideal for patios and walkways. Finding crushed granite gravel is not as easy to find as decomposed granite. It may be a little priced than decomposed granite too.  

 Mexican Beach Pebbles  

These are gorgeous black pebbles that look fabulous when placed in waterbodies and all outdoor landscapes. They can be used as decorative rocks too. The Mexican beach pebbles are slightly on the expensive side. Finding these pebbles in rural areas can be a bit of a hassle. If you’re planning on giving your outdoor landscape a very Zen vibe, then these pebbles are the perfect options for you. If you’re planning on installing these pebbles, make sure that maintenance is in the area is done regularly. Make sure that dead leaves and other fallen foliage are cleared out from the rock bed on a regular basis. Also, ensure that the weeds are taken out regularly.  

Gravel And Faux Plants  

If you’re looking to decorate your outdoor areas breathtakingly and fabulously, you can mix up a few artificial trees and faux plants along with these fabulous pebbles or gravels. You can use the larger rocks like the Mexican beach pebbles to decorate the silk tree options. The finer gravel can be placed in pots of the artificial plants and so on. You can also use some gorgeous and vibrant artificial flowers and hanging baskets in the outdoor landscape areas. Using this mix and match combo will make your commercial and residential landscapes stand out like stars in a dark night’s sky.  

Gravel Is Fire Retardant And Protects Your Landscape  

While most people only look at the beauty aspect of any landscape, they don’t realize how important it is to ensure that the landscape is also fire retardant. While there are several things one can do to make sure that the landscape is fire retardant, the installation of stones, rocks, and gravel can also help. Stones and rocks are by nature fire resistant. In the event that a fire is to break out, these rocks can break the fire and prevent it from spreading further. The rocks and stones can also be used to keep a distance between the trees and prevent the landscape from becoming overly crowded. Landscapes that are cluttered have more chances of catching fires than those that have plants that are evenly spaced out and separated by rock or stone markers.  

The best part about installing gravel and stones in your landscape is that irrespective of weather conditions, the gravel will not really spoil. Further, the gravel can enhance the character of the overall landscape and can also have played a major role in ensuring that your landscape is fire retardant and the people working in the premises or the people living in the premises are safe from harm. Gravel is mostly inexpensive and can be purchased for landscapes that are massive in size too.  

For all of you out there who have always wondered about the various available options of stone and gravel, this is the best guide for you. Most of these materials are available globally and can enhance your landscape from simple and plain to upscale and classy!  

This is a collaborative post.

Learning to drive at 30

Learning to drive at 30

I can’t quite believe it but soon I will be taking a driving test for the very first time, at the grand old age of 30. I’m doing something that most people would’ve done in their late teens and early twenties. So, why now? Why has it taken me until 30-years-old to learn to drive?

For many years I lived in a big city, public transportation was adequate and so I never really had any desire to spend what little money I had on driving lessons. It would be fair to say that driving didn’t interest me at all.

Years went by and, at 25, I had my first driving lesson. My boyfriend (now my husband) had badgered me so much about how it would change my life to be able to drive that I eventually caved in and booked some lessons with a local driving instructor. Unfortunately, we were not a good match, I was a very nervous driver and my instructor seemed to be more accustomed to teaching cocky teenage boys. For example, whilst I drove down a bendy road, he asked me if I liked “hospital food” because that’s what I’d end up having if I continued driving the way I was. That was on my second lesson. He was probably joking, I know that now but I was terrified and I needed an instructor who was supportive, not one who only served to increase my nervousness. I promptly stopped my lessons and that was that.

Fast forward another 5 years, I’d turned 30 and had two young children. I now live on the outskirts of a city. Anybody who has had squeeze a pushchair onto a tiny, rammed-full-of-people bus will know what a pain in the backside it is to use public transport with kids in toe. It’s never fun (well, the toddler thinks bus rides are awesome but I definitely do not).

I finally felt like it was time to put my fears aside and try to learn to drive, again. I asked around on my local Facebook page for instructor recommendations and after the same name popped up a few times, I got in touch with Steve – who is now my instructor and has been since the end of last August. He is firm but fair and most of all, very encouraging.

In January, I took my theory test after spending many hours online, learning the highway code and taking mock hazard perception tests. I passed with flying colours and was relieved to have it done and dusted so I could then focus on the practical skills.

I still, even now, get incredibly nervous before a driving lesson. And it’s not a skill that has come easily to me but I am so excited to be in a position where I have a test booked (I won’t be disclosing when exactly, but it’s soon). But do you know what? Whether I pass or fail that test, I’m proud of myself for getting this far.

I’ve also bought my own car which I’m driving (accompanied by husband) on a daily basis – a visit to the garden centre at the weekend and pre-school runs during the week. Those little journeys are all adding to my experience and confidence. I’m determined to do this!

If you too are learning to drive and feel you’re now ready to take either your theory or practical tests then you can contact the DVLA for more information on how to arrange them.

Lots of luck and happy driving! :)

Jenna xx

This is a collaborative post.

Our garden plans for Spring/Summer 2018

Our garden plans for Spring/Summer 2018

This time last year, almost to the day, we had just moved into our house. Spring and Summer 2017 was all about getting settled in our new home, doing the the essential decorating (there was some feature wallpaper that we could NOT live with) and we also had a new kitchen fitted. It was a busy and expensive time for us.

Fortunately, we now had a sizable back garden which the girls could enjoy when we had good weather. It’s a garden that’s mostly laid to lawn and relatively low maintenance (certainly compared to our previous back garden which required far more gardening skills than I possess). It was great to be able to fill up the paddling pool and watch the girls play happily. We are all so much happier when we’re outside.

The girls enjoying being out in our garden last year.

Whilst we’ve been able to enjoy our garden without having to really do much to it (except mow the lawn every other ruddy day – or so it seems), this year I want to focus on making it ours. There’s a few areas of the garden that definitely could do with a bit of TLC.

I thought I’d share some before photos and, hopefully, in a month or so from now I can share an update of what we’ve managed to do to get our garden looking it’s best.

Here’s the list of things we want to do:

Deck ‘The Ugly Corner’ – the previous owners of our house had a wooden playhouse in the back left-hand corner of the garden, they wanted to sell it to us but we didn’t think it was worth what they were asking for it so we declined. Unfortunately, the area where the playhouse stood is a bit of a mess and is by far my least favourite thing about our garden as it currently stands. We’re planning to have a small area of decking built there before the summer, so we can enjoy it as place to sit. I’m not very keen on the brick wall either and would like to paint it in order to brighten that corner of the garden up a little.

Buy a parasol – our garden is south facing which is LUSH! But there really is no escape from the sun which isn’t ideal when the littles are playing out in the paddling pool. We’d really like to invest in a large parasol in order to give the girls some shade when they’re playing outside.

Repaint the planter – we inherited this planter from the previous home owners (they didn’t try to make us buy it separately!) But it’s looking a little tired and the paint is flaking off. I’m not sure if it can be saved but I’ll give it a good go. I’m sure it’s nothing a lick of paint can’t fix!

Add some colour – we have a few hanging baskets which are all looking a little lacklustre and could do with some new flowers. I want to add lots of bright and pretty flowers around the rest of the garden too. Although, with two young children and a dog (who will eat anything) I need to be careful as to which plants I choose. If you have any child/pet safe plant suggestions, throw them my way!

Add garden lights – I am obsessed with fairy lights. My husband jokes that it takes him half an hour to go to bed at night because he has to turn off all of the fairy lights around the house. Obviously I’m gonna want to add some nice solar lights in the garden. At least hubby won’t have to turn these ones off! ;)

Grow our own strawberries – we planted some strawberry plants in our Vegtrug last year but as it was their first season, we didn’t get a lot of fruit from them. I tried to take care of them throughout the year and hopefully I’ll be rewarded with lots of yummy homegrown strawbs this summer.

I think that’ll be enough to keep us busy for now. I’ll be keeping a keen eye on Groupon’s deals as they regularly have some fab offers on garden items including; parasols, outdoor lights, plants and garden toys.

Do you have any garden plans for 2018?

Jenna xxx

This is a collaborative post.