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Summer Garden Design

7 July 2016
By Sarah

What embodies an English garden? A shed, roses, striped lawn, bird bath…and a gnome, according to new research! Apparently we're spendaholics in the green-fingered department, frittering away around £345 a year or £17,000 in a lifetime beautifying our gardens – mostly to upstage the neighbours' well-manicured lawn and bountiful hanging baskets!

This year we've worked with our (great) neighbours as our shared fence blew down in the winter winds. Admittedly, I was only going to spend money on a new fence and split-reed screening. But the fence project has spiralled into a garden makeover...

Summer Traditions

29 June 2016
By Sarah

Nothing heralds the British summer more than devouring a bowl of strawberries and cream while watching Wimbledon. This delicious culinary treat has been associated with the tennis event since 1877. Apparently some 23 tonnes of strawbs and 7,000 litres of cream are enjoyed during the fortnight, but no-one really knows why.

The link may be that English statesman Thomas Wolsey used to serve the treat and had a real tennis court at Hampton Court. No doubt, many of us we'll be hoping for a Brit win this year so we can wash down our strawberries with some bubbles!

Let's Celebrate Dad!

15 June 2016
By Sarah

When I was a child, I was always proud to present socks or a hanky to my dad on Father’s Day. Nowadays, fathers enjoy breakfast in bed followed by racing-car lessons, whisky tasting and stadium tours to celebrate their day. Then, many of us spoil dad with a home-cooked or pub Sunday lunch.

And because it's his special day, it’s the one time dad’s officially allowed to fall asleep in the chair, clutching the TV remote!

Memories of Summer

3 June 2016
By Sarah

My abiding memory of summer is the heatwave of 1976. Not for the unrelenting sizzling temperatures that lasted two months or for the shared bathwater because of the water shortages or for the legions of ladybirds that had a penchant for my yellow bathing suit – it was because our Red Setter had puppies and I can vividly remember playing with them on the parched lawn.

Growing up in the Seventies, summers for me meant playing out until it was time for tea – gulped down and then back out again until it was dark; long bike rides with my best friend – our parents never knew where or how far we went!

Here comes the summer fun!

23 May 2016
By Sarah

The sun is shining, the beaches are crowded and the wasps are out in force, which can only mean one thing: summer is on its way!
Nothing beats a summer’s day out armed with egg sandwiches and a flask of tea. And this year, there’s a whole array of fabulous things to do and see. Here are some of my favourites.

If – like me - you revel in Britain's heritage, The National Trust has over 500 properties and 200 gardens to explore. For silver screen fans, I’d recommend watching classics from Dirty Dancing to Breakfast at Tiffany’s under the stars at an outdoor cinema.