Putting the Ultimax gardening gloves to the test

* This item was gifted by Wilkinson Sword
It must be said I’m a fan of pink gardening gloves. My regular go to gardening gloves are pink, and are also by Town & Country. They’re reliable, but somehow I do seem to go through quite a few, and I’m not quite sure why. While I do always wear gloves while gardening, I don’t think I go through them due to some kind of extreme gardening, it just seems to be the way it goes.

I always revert to buying the same sort - or style? (do gardening gloves have style, now that’s a whole other question I’m sure!), because I know they fit. They don’t have overly long fingers which mean they’re useless, and of course they’re pink. I mentioned before I like a pink gardening glove or two. Actually two gloves are better than one…

So when Wilkinson Sword offered me a different type of (thankfully pink) gardening gloves, I was sceptical. But then again, they were pink and so I thought I could definitely give them a go. And last weekend I did.

Ulitmax gardening gloves by Town & Country

I needed to dig my way into the greenhouse, which had become another storage space for our winter garden. And while I wasn’t expecting it to be mucky, I know what I’m like, and so the gloves went on. The blurb on the label says that these Ultimax gloves have “an innovative design offering an extremely close fit for unequaled dexterity.”

A rather full greenhouse

The palm of the gloves do look very high tech - there’s textured pads for grip and extra protection. And while the photo below looks as if there’s holes in the fingertips of my first two fingers, there isn’t, that’s the texture pads. You can see it more clearly on the thumb in the photo below.

ultimax - padded but still flexible

The gloves did fit well, the velcro fastening at the wrist kept them on, and I was able to pick things up that perhaps I wouldn’t have in my other pink gloves. I’m not sure I’d be able to sow tiny seeds in these gloves, but then again I’m not sure I’d want to. Even me, who’s someone not keen on having mucky hands, thinks that sometimes you have to feel the soil, and sowing seeds is one of those times.

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Thankfully there was nothing nasty or slimy lurking in my greenhouse and it wasn’t long before I’d cleared a space and found a new home for the things I’d moved. Something - a squirrel perhaps - had been in the greenhouse as pots had been disturbed and overturned, but whatever it was seems to have moved on.

The only downside for me with these gloves is the labels (see the photo above). They’re quite large, and while I’m glad this size label isn’t on the inside as that would most likely be uncomfortable, I’m not sure what value these labels add. They stand out literally and visually and I suspect I’ll be cutting them off as I found them distracting - but then again I’m not much of a label lover, and regularly cut them out of clothes too, so it could just be me, but if they were half the size then I think they’d be less intrusive.

Much clearer

I’ve still some more to do in here - including sowing some seeds and rearrange the benches so there’s more space to move in here, and hopefully incorporate some more growing space too. But these new Ultimax pink gloves are a keeper, and on their first outing had quite a workout.

A good day's gardening

Overall, it’s a thumbs up from me.

* While this item was gifted by Wilkinson Sword, I was under no obligation to share it here on my blog.


Reflecting on my week #80

Well, hasn’t the weather over Easter been lovely? You’ll have noticed it’s been unusually quiet here for a bit. Despite plans to catch up with myself and the tasks - and posts - I planned, I found I needed some much needed time away from my blog, and so I did just that.  Work too has been quieter in the run up to the four day weekend and I think that also contributed, strangely. I’m pretty sure it will be gearing up again for the rest of the week, but it was good to enjoy some headspace and time to think, and really reflect on which is the way forward. 

This Easter there’s been time at home, and some family time. I’ve cleared my way into the greenhouse, which was just as well as I brought some plants home from dad, and we’ve even had time for some gardening. I’ve also found some time for some crocheting, although that wasn’t without its challenges. 

The lacy scarf i shared last week had been growing, but I wasn’t happy with the starting chain which was too tight, and pulling. I think I needed to hear mum say to undo it. I knew that was probably the answer but to unravel nearly five inches worth wasn’t really my plan A.  However I’m pretty sure if I didn’t I’d have regretted it. As it goes I’m back up to, and past, where I was before, and it is much better for having restarted. But still, it was a little painful.

Norfolk and its big blue skies are best in the sunshine, and on this visit the fields were full of yellow rape flowers too. I think that makes it even more beautiful.

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Mum had been extra busy preparing for Easter, there were Easter Bunny egg cosies for our duck eggs on Sunday, and later that day we started on, but didn’t finish, a rather large cake!

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Back home on Monday, the weather was still good, but not quite as good as in Norfolk. The seedlings I’d brought home from dad had survived what turned out to be a longer than normal journey, mostly due to Bank Holiday and good weather traffic - while it’s nice to have the weather, they don’t always mix, do they? So now in my clearer-than-it-was greenhouse, there’s a couple of tiny squash seedlings, and a couple of slightly larger courgette seedlings.

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It was good to see our lilac starting to flower. I’m hoping it’s got plenty more flowers to come, and this year it’s due for another trim, but not before its finished flowering.

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And with two green bins to fill, we decided to make the most of the weather. The plan was to tackle the shape of the pear tree, but as it was a bit of a struggle to get the ladder out from where it was padlocked to the forsythia, there was a quick change of plan. The forsythia, which had finished flowering, was taller than we usually keep it, and so the ladder needed to be at its full extension, which meant the first step was about mid thigh-height for me, and so I delegated ladder duties to MOH. Which meant pruning also became much more of a communications exercise!

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But still getting the ladder into the right place proved tricky, and at times a long cane was used to point to exactly which branch and where it should be cut. The operation was further complicated as the forsythia has our large, and very prickly yucca plant beneath it. Thankfully I’d hit on the brainwave of covering that with our patio table cover, but only because it was still out drying having finally been removed from the table. It was just as well, as after slightly overstretching MOH toppled, while still up the ladder. It was definitely a slow motion fall, I’d seen it coming and was able to slow down the topple but not stop it completely.

Thankfully MOH was OK, however the yucca fared less well and so one of the stems needed to be removed. Typically it was the stem that was the most upright, but given the circumstances that was the least of my worries. The stake has been repositioned and the plan is to gradually try to correct the tilt, to see if that makes a difference. If it doesn’t, it seems that the yucca has made its own succession plans, as two new plants have started to form, and you can see them in the photo below to the right of the stake. My longer term plan for the yucca is to nurture these and any others that appear.

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So quite an eventful time gardening, and our bin filled even more quickly than we thought! Now that we’ve started gardening we become driven by the green bins, and how much we can get in them, as the larger, thicker cuttings take much longer to break down on the compost heap. There is, plenty to do, and I’m hoping there’ll be some chances this week for some seed sowing and pottering in the greenhouse.

Reflecting on my week #79

It’s been a bit of a food week here, which is never a bad thing, and I’m going to subject you to some of the photos. As I told you last week I was off work on Wednesday and went to brunch with Heston Blumenthal at the launch of the 4K Everdure barbecues. It was a sunny, but chilly day, and as expected the food was good. The ribs were definitely worth waiting for, and well, they didn’t hang around for long.

4kBBQ ribs Heston-style
4KBBQ ribs heston style didn't last long

The event took place at The Sipping Room in West India Quay, and as you’d expect I took a peek at the loos, and they were good. So as well as more about the barbecues, I’ll be sharing the latest in the Loo Series. And of course, just like buses good loos seem to come along in twos.

On Saturday we were out in town for a bit of a celebration, and headed to Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House starting off in the bar upstairs called the Blind Pig. Their cocktails are based on children’s books, and mine was based on Beatrix Potter’s Jemima Puddle-Duck, called Fowl Play. It’s ingredients sounded fascinating: duck fat washed Aylsbury Duck vodka, Blood orange, Chartreuse, honey, herbs and spices. It looked great and tasted lovely too.

Fowl play cocktail at the Social Eating House

I’ve no pictures of the food - although that was heavenly too - I was too busy eating it to photograph it. The cocktails on the other hand, well I was ok taking pictures of those, as it slowed the drinking down!

Remember that large - and pretty - skein of wool that I bought in Islington back in February? Well, it’s made it onto my crochet hook. I started making a shawl with a chevron and feather pattern but wasn’t happy with it, as it wasn’t as deep as I wanted it to be. But I was worried that if I made it as deep as I wanted, then I’d run out of wool, and while it’s lovely, it was also expensive and so I didn’t want to have to buy another one. Then again, a half-made shawl isn’t much good either, so I unravelled it all and looked again for a pattern.

starting a new crochet project

I found one and it’s working out better this time round. The pattern is based on groups of five, which I can cope with, and have quickly memorised. It grows pretty quick too, so I’m hopeful it won’t be on my hook for very long.

The final food shot of the week, is this home cooked Persian green bean and spiced tomato rice, which I made for tea tonight. Unusually I had all of the ingredients, and spotted it was marked as easy. What I didn’t quite read was the number of pots and the length of cooking time. The rice was par-boiled, that’s one pan. The onions, beans, tomato puree and spices were cooked in another pan, so that’s two. And then the combined ingredients were cooked for another forty-five minutes in a third pan, lined with greaseproof paper and the lid wrapped in a tea towel.

tasty persian rice

I’ve never cooked rice like this, but it was worth it.  The base could have been crunchier, and I suspect I could have had the heat on higher , but it was still good.  There’s enough for lunch tomorrow too.  Even MOH was impressed, and didn’t even ask if there was any meat in it, which is his usual for meat-free dishes.  It’s one of those ritual things, he’s ok with not eating meat at every meal but always needs to ask.

You might be wondering how my healthy regime is going, and it’s a fair question to ask. I’ve been asking myself that this week too, but it’s back on and I’ve stepped up a level on the fitness angle with a new 55 minute workout to replace the 35 minute one that I started with, and which initially gave good results. I hadn’t mastered the shorter version - as in a real class, I’m out of time and going the wrong way to those on the screen - but it was probably as mastered as it’s going to get.

So it’s been a productive evening, with household chores like emptying the dishwasher and putting the bins out, cooking an inappropriate weeknight dinner, and making myself exercise too. But also one that’s stood out for the shocking news about the fire at Paris’ Notre Dame.

NOTRE DAME IN 2010

NOTRE DAME IN 2010

Let’s hope they can salvage as much as possible, although from the pictures on the news I fear that may not be much.  It’s such a shame that this beautiful building has withstood so much that history had to throw at it, but couldn’t withstand a modern day renovation. Let’s hope there’s some more positive news emerging over the next few days.