All posts filed under: The Great Outdoors

Which Wildlife Should You Encourage to Live in Your Garden?

As tempting as it may sometimes be to keep your garden free from bugs and animals, a lot of creatures are actually beneficial to the garden and indeed the bigger picture.  From bees, which are important pollinators of various plants and fruiting trees, to ladybirds, which feast on aphids, together with Dobies, retailers of flowering plants, we take a look at the wildlife that you should be more welcoming to and why. Butterflies and Bees Butterflies and bees can be great additions to your back garden. They are natural pollinators, which means that they help spread your flowers around the garden and encourage growth.  Encouraging bees and butterflies into your garden is easy, simply opt for a selection of bright, colourful flowers and let nature do the rest. Beneficial Insects Not all insects are a annoying – some have their uses and can actually protect your plants from infestations of smaller creatures.  Aphids, for example, are a problem for many gardeners.  The small insects, also known as the greenfly and blackfly, suck saps from plants …

How Your Garden Can Help Combat Climate Change

Climate change and its devastating effects are hot topics now more so than ever before, with seemingly every environmental phenomenon attributed to global warming, including the recent spate of sunny weather and high temperatures in the UK.  As a nation, we are constantly being urged to take steps to reduce the amount of rubbish we generate, including rejecting plastic straws and utilising reusable cups in coffee shops, but is there more we can do at home?  Or, more specifically, in our gardens? Size Doesn’t Matter According to the Royal Horticulture Society (RHS), with more than 85% of the British population living in towns and cities, our gardens make up a quarter of total urban areas in many cities, so you may be able to do more with your garden space than your realise.  When it comes to cities and large towns, domestic gardens can act as air-conditioning systems.  Trees and hedges can help to provide insulation during the winter months, cutting energy consumption, too.  Place your evergreen shrubs and bushes carefully around your property to …

Active Kids = Happy Kids

With childhood obesity still a major national problem, keeping our children active feels more important than ever before.  I am lucky that my two, particularly my son, are naturally active and energetic but I do still nurture and facilitate their love of activity by giving them opportunities to play outdoors.  Every day after school they are either playing in the park (football, climbing trees, racing around) or they are at a club (dance, football, basketball, rounders, swimming, gymnastics…).  Either way, I ensure that they get at least an hour of exercise every single day. Admittedly, it is more difficult in the winter months, though we do still get outside as often as possible.  If it is very wet or very cold, we are a bit more stuck and it really shows in my children’s behaviour, particularly if they have endured wet play at school too.  Sadly, there are only so many times you can go swimming or to soft play before it either gets boring or too expensive!  At times like this, I rely on music …

Summer Photo Opportunities with the Kids

Cast a glance outside my window right now and you would struggle to believe me but summer has arrived, technically, and the days until school breaks up are well and truly numbered.  Summer holidays are a great time to explore with the kids and, hopefully, should provide some colourful backdrops when it comes to taking photos.  I tend to take a few similar shots each year, at the same location, to illustrate how much my children have grown.  It’s a fun thing to do and can result in some gorgeous photos, given the right location. Here are my top four summer photo opportunity locations: The beach On a bright, sunny day, few places can beat the beach for photography potential, particularly if it’s a candid shot you’re going for.  If you’re not fortunate enough to live by the sea, perhaps you have a beach holiday or even day trip planned?  A good camera is a must on a sunny day; click here for some great deals on Canons. Up a Hill If you won’t be …

Britain’s Most Beautiful Gardens

Britain is home to some of the most beautiful gardens – from The Alnwick Garden (including the Poison Garden) to the grounds of Kensington Palace. For this article, we’ve teamed up with Oldrids and Downtown, retailers of stunning conservatory furniture to get you in the mood for the sunny days in our own beloved gardens, to discover some of the most beautiful gardens in the country:  Kensington Palace Gardens  Whisk yourself off to the magical world of Neverland by visiting the incredible Kensington Palace Gardens, which was the key inspiration behind the famous children’s book series Peter Pan. As well as being home to our favourite royals, the palace is world renowned for its spectacular garden space. The Sunken Garden will make for an intimate experience and allow you to develop your peace of mind during your stroll.  The palace prides itself on its gardens, and keeps up with the historic traditions that were once in place. In the spring, tulips, pansies and wallflowers bloom, whilst during summer, you will see geraniums, cannas and begonias …