Win a £40 Bouquet of Flowers from Debenhams

Gynaecological  Cancer Awareness Month

Sept 2015 was Gynaecological  Cancer Awareness Month and there was some excellent campaigns running.  If you have an Instagram account you may have come across the hashtag #ladygardencampaign, which was a partnership between Top Shop and the Gynaecological Cancer Fund, a new charity with monies going to support research at the Royal Marsden.

The Campaign received a lot of celebrity backing with the likes of Ellie Goulding and Elisabeth Hurley donning jumpers with ‘Lady Garden’ boldly emblazoned on the front.  And the Duchess of York, Fergie lending her support at a Lady Garden Luncheon.

Cancer Awareness Sept 205

The main aim of the campaign hopes to encourage woman to talk more about their bits and become aware of what the symptoms of  Gynaecological Cancer are.  Unlike Breast Cancer and Skin cancer, where physical changes can be detected;  lumps, dimples, discharge, change in moles etc, many of us are not aware of what to watch out for when it comes to the Big 5 Gynaecological Cancers.  Click on the image for more information.

Gynaecological Cancer Awareness
Picture Courtesy of CDC

I thought I would take the opportunity via this Flower Competition to remind my lady friends how important it is to attend regular Cervical Screenings.  It’s not the most pleasant thing in the world, and I can think of a zillion other things I’d rather do,  but early detection is the key to successful treatment.  Most woman don’t get screened before it’s too late and are not diagnosed till stage 4.  With cancer there is no stage 5.  50 Woman a day in the UK are diagnosed with some form of Gynaecological Cancer.

‘too busy to attend her screening and now admits that not going for her smear test is one of her biggest regrets.’  Jenny Croston a 38 year old mother of two

Hopefully this prompts at least one of you to book your screening today.


It’s Give-away Time!

Now it’s your turn enter for a chance to Win £40 to spend on any bouquet from Debenhams Flowers.

Next Day Flower Delivery

Whether you want to send flowers to a loved one, treat yourself or simply cover up the fact you’ve forgotten a special occasion at the last minute, Debenhams Flowers is definitely the destination of choice.  I recently used their Flowers Delivery service and can highly recommend, I wasn’t sure what I wanted, left it up to them and they put together a gorgeous bouquet for me, and if you’re also short on time they do a Next Day Flowers delivery service as well.

Debenhams Flowers are kindly offering one lucky winner to win a £40 voucher to spend on a bouquet of your choice.

If you want to be in with a chance of winning, simply enter the competition via the Rafflecopter Form below.  Full terms and conditions can be found at the bottom of the form.  In short, open to UK residents 18 and over. Closes on the 1st Nov 2015.

Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Debenhams Flowers, 

This competition is listed on Loquax, Prize Finder and Competition Hunter.

Kids have no idea where food comes from

Too many children grow up thinking vegetables come from the supermarket rather than from the ground’ Alan Titchmarsh

Why it’s important to teach kids gardening

I was doing a bit of research for this post I wanted to write about the fantastic things the Gardening Club is doing at my daughter’s school and became distracted and stunned by how little kids know about where their food comes from.

In 2010, as part of a promotion for his Food Revolution, Jamie Oliver went into a class of First Graders (six-year olds) and presented them with a variety of common vegetables.  He holds up a few tomatoes and asks the kids what they are.  They are all stumped, faces screwed up and then one offers ‘potatoes’.  They thought Cauliflower was Broccoli and that a Beetroot was Celery.  This was truly frightening.

But, Apparently it’s not just American Kids who are oblivious when it comes to food.

‘In 2013, a British survey found that almost a third of the country’s primary school children thought cheese was made from plants and a quarter thought fish fingers came from chicken or pigs.’

‘LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), surveyed 2000 people aged between 16 and 23 years and found a third of them did not know that bacon came from pigs.’

‘Researchers also found that four in 10 young adults did not know where milk came from, with 40 per cent of them failing to recognise the link between milk and a picture of a dairy cow.’


Growing up as a child, my grandmother was an avid gardener, she had the most amazing vegetable garden, she grew absolutely everything herself in meticulously planted raised beds.  She also had a cold cellar where she kept all the produce, what they didn’t eat fresh, she canned.  She made the best Raspberry Jam ever.  We also had our own vegetable gardens over the years and in my 30s I had an allotment so I’m fairly familiar with most vegetables.

However, I can now see why many kids are naïve when it comes to the origins of what’s on their plates and if you asked them they would probably say it comes from the supermarket.  Children only see adults selecting fruit and vegetables from the produce aisle and putting it in the little flimsy plastic bags or having it delivered to their doorsteps, many kids don’t have an opportunity to see or experience the journey (Sowing, Planting and Harvesting)  before the produce reaches the supermarket.

Gardening Ideas for Kids

Alan Titchmarsh believes children should be taught gardening as one of the “basic skills of life” and I agree with him.  We are very lucky at our school and we have a gardening club which is run by a very enthusiastic parent volunteer.  This year they are hoping to enter St Albans District Schools in Bloom Competition.

The kids have been very busy planting everything from potatoes to petunias and are involved in the process from sowing the seeds, to planting in the ground, harvesting the crops and they will also go on to sell some of the produce.

Meet Straw Barry!  Genius!

 Gardening ideas for kids

Anyone for a game of Mini-beast Noughts and Crosses?

Garden games for kids

Who would have thought of planting potatoes in tires.

Ideas for recycling tires

A Greenhouse made from Recycled Bottles courtesy of the Site Manager

 Ideas for recycling soft drink bottles

It’s amazing what a lick of paint can do to a derelict picnic table.  The kids now have a potting table.

 Potting table made from recycled picnic table

My favourite is the Daffodil Welly planters.

Creative Gardening Ideas for Kids


We also received a selection of mystery bulbs from Spalding Bulbs.  The kids had a blast trying to work out what they were.  They haven’t come up yet but we will report back once they do.  Hmmm.  I wonder what they will be.  They could be flowers or vegetables.

Thanks to all the hard work from our parent volunteer, I have no doubt that these kids know where fruit and vegetables comes from and if you showed them a potato they could identify it.

Good luck in the competition.





What to do when your Hamster is Dying

When a Hamster Reaches the End

The guilt is setting in

One day I will tell my daughter the truth…..

Upon returning home from our annual trip to Canada for 3 weeks we noticed a considerable difference in our 2 year old hamster, which is equivalent to a person in their late 80s, she had aged visibly.  Her eyes were dull, she lost a tooth and was moving very slowly.  In the past, you wouldn’t dare leave her on the floor for a minute or two or she’d be gone, now she just waddled around like a little old lady, often toppling over.

The End Is Nigh

However, a couple of weeks ago she really started to go downhill.  Caramel, the hamster, had stopped grooming herself, her bottom teeth were excessively long, her abdomen was swollen along with one of her eyes, she was incontinent and cold to the touch.   Some thought her lethargy may be down to going into hibernation, but we know our hamster well and she was definitely on the way out.

After a bit of Googling, I learned that hamsters of this age, are susceptible to tumours, which would have explained the swollen abdomen and the swelling could also be an indication of impending heart failure. I was torn about what to do.  I had a long conversation with a mobile vet and she said there is very little a vet could do besides, euthanizing her and disposal.

Decisions, decisions

After reading, When a Hamster Reaches the End by David Imber, as she did not appear to be in pain and it seemed imminent, I decided to keep her at home and care for her giving my daughter the opportunity to learn about the cycle of life and caring for the elderly.  Plus, I felt that her natural surroundings would be less stressful than putting her in the car and taking her to the vet.

She could no longer feed herself, we hand fed her water, yogurt and the juice from crushed grapes several times a day.  We used cotton buds and olive oil to clean up her bottom, baby wipes to clean her fur, gave her extra bedding and I often kept her in my coat when working at the computer to keep her warm.

‘It’s just a Hamster for Goodness Sake’

This went on for about a week.  Each morning, I would secretly hope that she would have passed away in the night, but she didn’t.  I really couldn’t watch it anymore so arranged to have the vet put her down while my daughter was at school.  It was all very swift and professional, using an injection, I brought her home in a box and told my daughter a white lie, that she had died naturally in the afternoon.  I couldn’t believe how upset I was,  I couldn’t even speak to the vet as I would have started blubbering, which I put down to worrying about my daughter being upset.

What do do when your Hamster is Dying

But when I told my daughter, she asked to see her, went up stairs, gave her a quick cuddle and then quickly said, ‘can we bury her now?’   The actual burial was more humours than sombre.  The area she chose to bury it was laden with tree roots and dry soil, but with the help of a neighbour and an axe we managed.  Plus, I never realised what a busy thoroughfare the area was, full of cyclists, dog walkers and commuters all looking at us suspiciously but with a quick over the shoulder remark ‘Hamster’ it appeased their curiosity and they carried on.

In the end, I’m glad we did keep her at home for a time so we could care for her and keep her as comfortable as possible and I think it gave my daughter a chance to say goodbye properly and made it all a bit less tearful.

Would you have done the same?




Win £100 worth of NEAT Storage Kit

Smart Storage Solutions


Storage really is a premium in our house as it is fairly small and we don’t have any built in wardrobes or storage spaces.  I really do have to keep on top of clutter or it quickly gets out of hand and if you’re a parent you will realise what a challenge this is.

I’ve shared a few Clever Storage Ideas for Small Houses in the past, but I’ve done a few more things recently that I thought I would share.

I love my Scarves!

Ideas for Storing Scarves

We’ve got a lot of wasted wall space, sadly I don’t have the budget to get customized shelves and cupboards.  For years all of my scarves hung on our door, making it impossible to close it.  I had 3 stylish hooks put up, now I can easily find my scarves, my necklaces are no longer in a big knot and we can close the door.

The man drawer

How to Keep Man Drawer Tidy!

Admit it!  We all have one of these in our houses, which contains everything from take-away menus to remote controls that you no longer have the  device for.  I purchased a few cheap plastic baskets, and can now locate the Phillips Screwdriver when I need it.

How to tidy cupboards

We also have a cupboard which has everything from Craft materials to medicine, which is really not something you want to mix up.  Again a few plastic baskets has done the trick.  I can quickly access the Calpol or poster paint when I need it.

Clever storage baskets and boxes really are the way forward.  My next mission is to sort out all the shoes in the bottom of my wardrobe, make sense of my knicker drawer and put my winter clothes away in the loft.

NEAT Storage Solutions

Win a Full NEAT Storage Kit

To celebrate the launch of NEAT with Anthea Turner, we are giving away a full storage kit from the NEAT range.

Launching on 2nd July and available to buy exclusively from Britain’s largest home-grown TV shopping network Ideal World TV and online at, NEAT combines style and functionality to give customers a range of products that not only look great but are also full to the brim with smart features to make life easier. The collection includes wardrobe and drawer storage solutions, hangers, zip boxes and baskets, with each product cleverly creating a smart storage solution.

Win NEAT Storage Kit

Whether seeking a solution for the mountain of shoes in your bedroom – our clear zip boxes are the answer! Or storing away your winter clothes, NEAT offers a solution for all your storage dilemmas.

Anthea Turner will be appearing on Ideal World TV on 2nd and 3rd of July at 8pm to showcase the products.

To enter simply use the Rafflecopter form below.  The full Terms and Conditions are at the bottom of the form but in short it’s open to UK residents only Aged 18+.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This competition is listed on Loquax, Prize Finder and Competition Hunter.

How to Make S’mores in the UK

Camping at the Bull - Borehamstreet

I love nothing better than sitting around a camp fire drinking beer.  This probably stems from all the camping that I did as a child in Canada, minus the beer of course, I waited till I was a teen for that.

Who needs Graham Crackers anyway?

We used to make S’mores while sitting around the campfire, which is a toasted marshmallow sandwiched between two graham crackers with a piece of chocolate.  You always want ‘some more’ hence the name.  We’ve recently taken up camping in the UK and have purchased all the necessary gear.

Essential Gear for Cooking While Camping

I wanted to carry on the tradition of Smores with my daughter but became a bit unstuck when it came to sourcing Graham Crackers.  I can get them on pricey American online food shops, but couldn’t justify the delivery charge and price,  so was looking for an alternative and think I’ve done just that.

How to make Smores in the UK
Photo Courtesy of ‘Where in the World is Rebecca Today?’

For each Smore you will need:

  • 1 Marshmallow
  • 2 Digestive Chocolate Biscuits
  • Wooden Skewer or a stick (you may have to use a knife to get a point on it)


Place a marshmallow on the end of a stick.  The hold it gently over the flames, not in them, rotate slowly to evenly roast the marshmallow.  They should be golden brown on the outside and gooey on the inside.  If you put it too close to the fire they will most likely catch on fire, unless you like the taste of charcoal.

Do not try this at home!

But if I’m honest, this is what we tended to do as kids as it was great fun, albeit dangerous, waving a flaming marshmallow around at night and resembles shooting meteors if they come flying off the stick and could seriously burn someone, but I did grow up in the 70’s where Health and Safety was pretty much  non-existent.

Once your marshmallow is nicely toasted, simply sandwich it between two digestive biscuits with the chocolate facing inward and Voila!  I’d be surprised if they didn’t want ‘S’more’.

Starting a Fire can be Tricky

We recently went camping at Town Farm near Tring in Herts.  It was very last minute so we hadn’t brought a lot of stuff with us, so we purchased firewood, firelighters and a fire pit on site.  This is the first time I’ve come across ‘Flamers’ an all Natural Firelighter,  which are untreated, wax dipped fine wood shavings.

All Natural Firelighters - Certainly Wood

As a true veteran of building fires I wasn’t convinced, as it just looked like a small bit of wood shavings and I thought it would go ‘puff’ and disappear, but I was wrong.  It was probably one of the easiest fires I’ve ever lit, which was a godsend as it was only April in the UK.  Flamers are now on our essential camping items and will also stock up for our wood-burner at home.

How to Light a Fire