Post Comment Love and Blogger Showcase: 17 - 19 November 2017

Hello there and welcome to another Friday and another #PoCoLo - if you were here last week, it was great to see you. If you're new here this week, then welcome - I'm pretty sure you're going to find some fabulous blog posts, and maybe even new-to-you blogs in our friendly linky.

I've had another of those weeks when my mind and plans work faster than my body and reality can keep up with. I've planned to do so many things and not quite managed it, but there's still some week left, so who knows what I might achieve!

One of the things I have managed is the prototype for one of my Christmas projects. I'd bought a new die cut for my machine, but wasn't quite sure how it would work out. But it's all coming together nicely. There's still some glueing to do, and a lot more cutting too - but you know what, I think I've finally found a use for those miniature pegs I hoarded a while back!

Of course, I'll let you know how I get on.

The prototype box for my homemade advent calendar

Blogger Showcase: Mama Grace from Bards for Babes

1. Who are you?

I’m an actress who’s moving around the world with my humanitarian husband to bring up our family, and my blog is Bards for Babes.

2. How did you discover blogs/blogging?

I wanted to give my poetry an audience, I had written so many and wanted them to be read and enjoyed. I’d decided to join my husband abroad but I couldn’t find any acting work, so I shifted my focus to writing; I’m a creative and love to produce, so each day I would write. I’d heard of Wordpress and started playing about with putting them on and seeing what it looked like. I was pleased and excited with seeing them outside of a word document and hit publish and Bards for Babes was born.

3. Why did you start blogging?

When you act the journey is completed when you perform and because of the audience, well in theatre anyway, TV and film has a different time frame and payback. It can be scary having an audience because you are open to allowing how that person feels about your work coming back to you, good or bad but that’s the journey and I love it. I wanted that for my writing. I wanted the journey to be complete and I wanted them to escape my laptop and be read and enjoyed. I wanted Bards for Babes to be read by other mothers to their children.

4. What do you find most challenging?

I’m predominantly trying to write a play and the ‘blogging’ of the poetry can take up more time than I anticipated, which means I’m finding it hard to fit in both but I’m getting there.

5. What is your favourite topic to write about?

Oh, I don’t know. I guess I’m open to anything as a stimulus. I observe or live this experience and they’ll be an urge to create and have some fun from it. I don’t plan or write by topic, my poetry’s usually reacting to a need or experience she’s shown me.

6. Are you blogging for fun or do you have goals?

Fun. My goal is to have fun.

7. What is your favourite thing about blogging?

I write more because I have something to write for. I learn from my audience and of course reading my poems to Grace. They’re written for her.

8. Have you ever attended a blogging conference and if so, what do you think?

No.

9. What are your three best posts?

  • Rainbow Baby - I wanted to acknowledge my unborn child.
  • The Silent Partner - a nod to my OH and all the working parents.
  • Safe Dreams - I love bedtime and ending the day reading something that feels quite magical.

10. Describe yourself in three words!

Creative, passionate and focused

11. Are you a tea and biscuits or coffee and cake person?

Tea and cake, more specifically Rooibos tea and I love a homemade cake.

12. What’s your idea of a perfect night out?

Food, food, food. We don’t really do presents (we have 2 suitcases plus an extra 10kg allowance to move with each time, so it’s best not to accumulate stuff) but we love to treat ourselves to a really nice restaurants and travel. My perfect night would be a well-made G&T, followed by a meal of good food, accompanied by good wine and conversation. I also love live music, comedy and theatre.

13. Your perfect night in?

My husband brought a projector, we don’t have a TV and I love setting it up after she’s gone to bed. It feels like we’re at the cinema, quite magical. I also love listening to music and organically talking and working through what’s on your mind with the OH or he’ll set up the speakers while I get a bath and I’ll drift away to another place, maybe have a little boogie in the bath.

14. What would your best friend/OH/mum or kids say is your best quality?

My OH says my honesty.

Thanks Mama Grace, it's great to know more about one of our regular linkers, please do grab your "I was featured' badge.  

Please take some time to connect with Mama Grace on social media:  Twitter  -  Facebook  -  Google+  -  Instagram  -  Pinterest  - Tumblr

And before you link up, if you'd like to be featured in a future Bloggers Showcase then please do get in touch with either Morgan or myself.

#HabitatLightClub and a look at other parts of the store

Last week I told you how my new light from Habitat was right at home, and it really is. Today I'm sharing a bit more from the new lighting range at Habitat and that club visit. Of course it wasn't a proper club, it was in the basement of the Habitat on Tottenham Court Road and that made it kinda cool.

Habitat Light Club - that's a welcome
Arriving at the #HabitatLightClub we were met with a pink neon welcome and cocktails. And an array of lights. The music was on, and the lights were in time to the beat, which actually was pretty cool.
The scene for the club for the night #habitatlightclub
Not the usual decor in a club, but this wasn't a usual club
The copper trend's not going away just yet #habitatlightclub

While we sipped (gulped) our cocktails I wandered around juggling my cocktail, handbag and my camera much to MOH's amusement. But there's some great lights there - and while I'm late to the copper trend party, I'm glad it's still around. The colour of the lights below drew me over, don't they look effective all together?

Great colours, great lights #habitatlightclub

The DJ had taken up residence in one corner, and just in front was the bongo man - who was amazing, and I think every club should have one! There was also some street dance entertainers - oh boy, even typing that made me feel old, in actual fact I've no idea how to describe them, but they were awesome, somersaulting all over the place spectacularly. 

The DJ  #habitatlightclub
And of course Bongos #habitatlightclub

Unusually for me, I'd arrived at Habitat early so took the opportunity to take a look around the store. The rich petrol blues and bright yellow drew me over to this sofa.  I've realised that the petrol blue is a bit of a thing right now, I'm drawn to it - and I expect to demonstrate that here soon - and there also seems to be a lot of it about - have you noticed that too?

rich colours cushions and sofas at habitat

I was all for leaving with a couple of these floor cushions but the crinkled up face from MOH suggested he was less keen. I've no idea where we'd use them, or if I really needed them - but just look at the colours, textures and patterns - divine aren't they?

Texture and patterns in these floor cushions #habitatlightclub

Somehow - who knows how - we stumbled into the Christmas decorations department, which did nothing for MOH's facial expression as it was only October and he's very much of the opinion that Christmas starts around a week before the actual date. So I think I did well to snap a decoration that is so very me!

My perfect Christmas bauble?

Maybe if I'm in town again - on my own obviously - I'll sneak back and purchase at least a couple.  Wish me luck!

* Thanks Habitat for a great evening.

Gardening: It's the UK's growing hobby

According to recent research our love of gardening in the UK is growing. The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) reported that over two thirds of British adults visit a garden centre every year. Plus in 2016, the UK Houzz Landscaping Trends Survey revealed that 59% of homeowners prioritised outdoor living as the biggest influence in their overall outdoor project design.

So with Suttons, advocates of growing your own vegetables, let's take a look at some of the reasons why gardening is growing (pun intended!)

Taking an interest in our outdoor spaces

Results from studies suggest the entire nation is spending more time in their outdoor spaces.  Wickes has seen a 30% increase in year on year sales of garden lighting (which I can't solely be responsible for!) suggests that more of us are spending time in our garden even when the sun goes down, and not just over the summer months either.

It could be the rise in household disposable income that drives this trend. Research in 2016 concluded that 27 million people in Britain are getting involved in gardening, and more young people are considering a career in the industry too. There's been a sharp increase in the number of 16-18 year olds who are looking to complete horticulture courses at college - so gardening isn't just for the more mature any more, which I think is great news.

It wasn't that long ago when there were concerns for the future of gardening; there were plenty of reports that front gardens were being paved over for ease of maintenance or to provide somewhere to park.  I'm guilty there, but living in London on a busy road, parking is an issue - but in my defence, it was already tarmac-ed when we bought our house!

The reports that with the rise of urban living many people will be living without any access to a garden in the near future, worries me. I can't imagine being without my own garden space.  It seems though that trends have adapted and there's been a rise in purchases of shrubbery as people try to make the most of their limited spaces.

Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash

Surveys are showing that more and more of us are watching TV gardening shows for advice too - see it's no longer considered nerdy to watch Gardener's World and such like!  One in four Brits said they used gardening TV shows as inspiration for their own gardens, and it's easy to see why.  ITV's Love Your Garden, hosted by Alan Titchmarsh and also includes Katie Rushworth, who I spoke to earlier in the year for advice tackling my problem garden areas, saw its viewing figures hit 4 million this summer. 

Similarly 3.14 million tuned in to watch the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May, and if I'm honest I think watching it on TV is the best way to see everything, as I never see so much, and as unhindered, when I actually visit the show. But I'll concede the atmosphere at Chelsea is fantastic, and I think it's something everyone should experience once. Or gardeners at least!

Asking Google

Like many other areas of modern day living, we're turning to Google with our gardening questions. Looking at the search volume of "grow your own" peaks were seen around May. That could be because the weather starts to warm up and we can take advantage of two Bank Holidays that month. But what's astounding (or at least I think so) is that on average 50,000 more searches were made for that term in 2017 than in 2014. 

Yes, 50,000 more - that's a huge increase, isn't it?

Unsurprisingly the lowest levels for this search term were in December, when gardening is at an all time low, it's cold, it's wet and dark and there's plenty more exciting things to do, even if that is completing your Christmas shopping!  But even then there was an increase of 30,000 between 2014 and 2017.  Perhaps that's down to the rise in DIY kits including seeds, toils and soil given as gifts - or maybe it's frustrated gardeners planning their seed purchases and what they'll grow when gardening can start again?

Lots of us search for the location of our local garden centre, and more than you'd think. In April 2015 230,000 searches were made for the term 'garden centres near me' - by 2017 this had risen to around 700,000!

Other increases in search terms are:

  • 'gardening ideas' which saw its volume increase by around 130,000 between 2015 and 2017, and 
  • 'gardening programmes' which increased by around 350,000 in the same period.

As our love for gardening continues to grow it's likely people will find new ways to deal with the loss of green spaces.  If you're not already part of the growing gardening movement, then why not get into your garden (I'd recommend choosing a sunny, wintery day) or visit your local garden centre to see what's tempting so many of us!

Sources:

What do you think, are you part of the growing gardening movement?

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* This is a collaborative post which includes my own views along with prepared research