A Place to Enjoy

Ten Must Haves for your Garden this Summer

British Summertime is always unpredictable, but we all love our gardens at this time of year. If you can’t go out then stay home and enjoy your garden, maybe even invite some friends over. Fire up the BBQ or have a garden party.

I set myself a challenge to find 10 things on Etsy which would make my garden more fun and inviting.

I am an Etsy Affiliate, so if you click through my links and go on to buy something, then I may earn a little money. It will cost you no extra though so thank you so much for your support of my blog x

1. Garden Furniture

You need somewhere to sit and enjoy your garden. It can be a lovely patio set, an outdoor table and chairs, a bench with stools or even a picnic blanket. You can find what you need on Etsy and I have some in my favourites. I have a ratten garden set myself, but I’d love a real wooden picnic table like this one.

wooden picnic bench for the garden.
Wooden Picnic bench

2. Flowers and Plants

You can make your garden look so much nicer with careful planting. Depending on the size of your garden you can have flower border, flower beds, raised beds, or pots.

Here is a good starter pack of 5 mixed plants.

Five garden plants in pots
5 Mixed garden plants

3. Lighting

When dusk falls but it’s still warm, it’s lovely to be able to spend more time outside. For this you will need lighting and there are lots of ways of doing this. Solar lamps are great for this and you can plant them anywhere. However, we love fairy lights and we have some just like these all around our seating area. They are also solar powered so the sun during the day keeps them alight at night.

garden fairy lights.
Fairy Outdoor solar powered lights

4. Garden Ornaments

Whether they are on your lawn or your patio, ornaments can brighten up your garden and create a focal point. I’m a big fan of wall hangings, wind chimes and all kinds of figures. But this gorgeous peacock really caught my eye.

metal peacock garden ornament.
36 inch hand painted peacock

5. Fire Pit

When it gets cold you can replicate a camp fire with a fire pit. Some of them are ultra modern like this one. (If you don’t want to use it as a fire pit it would make a beautiful flower planter.

fire pit
Fire pit

6. BBQ

When it comes to Summertime our thoughts turn to BBQs. We have already had our first BBQ this year and it’s only April. You can get everything you need on Etsy for the perfect BBQ, from actual BBQs to utensils and aprons. I found this really nice sign though and it would look great on the wall behind our BBQ area.

BBQ master wall sign
Personalised BBQ Grill Master Sign.

7. Dinner Sets

Whether it’s for the BBQ or a picnic, you’ll be needing something to eat off while outside. I love this melamine plate bowl and beaker set from Emma Bridgewater.

plate, bowl and beaker set with yellow flowers and bumble bees.
Plate, bowl and beaker set.

8. Bunting

Parties outside are great. I have four children with summer birthdays and we are well rehearsed, like this Frozen party we had for Boo’s 7th Birthday. There are lots of ways of decorating but bunting is a must.

pretty hummingbird bunting for outside.
humming bird, outside bunting

9. Gnomes

Some people love gnomes and some people don’t. I’ll let this fabulous decoration tell you how I feel about them.

T rex dinosaur garden ornament, attacking garden gnomes.
T Rex garden gnome massacre.

10. Gazebo

The weather is unpredictable but don’t let that keep you out of the garden, stick up a gazebo instead.

blue garden gazebo
Pop up Gazebo

I did it! Ten things from Etsy for your garden. I hope you enjoyed my selection but if you’d like to see more you can visit my Etsy Favourites here, or maybe you’d like to see the Editors Picks.

You might enjoy another of my blog posts Things to Save and Splurge on in Your Home.

A Place to Reflect

Earth Day Event Invitation from The Green Grocer

On 22nd April to co-inside with Earth Day, Bookshop.org will be hosting a special event with The Green Grocer Author and Iceland MD Richard Walker. This will take place as an online debate with Chris Packham ( naturalist, television presenter, writer, photographer, conservationist, campaigner and filmmaker.)

The Green Grocer Event

To get your invitation to this special event all you have to do is buy a copy of The Green Grocer (affiliate link) and then you will be e-mailed an invitation to the event. Remember to save the date and time, April 22nd 6.30pm.

The Green Grocer

Learn how to green your business with the help of one of the UK’s leading corporate activists.

Running a sustainable business doesn’t mean that you can’t make a profit. In this inspiring book, readers that own businesses of all sizes will learn the value of pursuing ethical policies through the journey of the author’s quest to “do it right”.

Inside the pages of this sustainable business book, you’ll find:

– Expert advice on practical ways that businesses can help reverse climate change and promote social justice while generating a profit
– Chapters addressing plastics, responsible supply chains, the impact of COVID-19, and building a legacy that inspires the next generation
– Real-life examples from Iceland’s ongoing quest to be sustainable give insights into leadership and sustainable business


In the face of global warming, companies are moving towards more eco-friendly business practices and embracing their corporate social responsibility. The Green Grocer explores how one business owner did just that.

Richard Walker, who owns a GBP3bn supermarket chain, Iceland, is disrupting this critical sector with his own brand of corporate activism. From restricting single-use plastic to eradicating palm oil from products in his supermarkets, he explains how you too can make genuine progress on sustainable initiatives while being realistic about profit margins, and obligations to customers and employees.

This intimate, challenging, and encouraging book, offers clear-sighted experience and inspiration for any business, whether a large corporation, a start-up, a kitchen-table entrepreneur, or a sole trader, to make a difference.

Product Details

Earth Day

Earth Day is an annual event, currently in it’s 51st year. It includes a wide range of events globally in more than 193 Countries.

The theme this year is Restore Our Earth and features five primary programs: The Canopy Project, Food and Environment, Climate Literacy, the Global Earth Challenge, and The Great Global CleanUp.

Earth Day is the opportunity to educate and inform others about environmental issues and includes discussions on how we can prevent the potential disasters from climate change.

To join in your activities can be large or small. Here are a few ideas;

  • Take a Walk and note down animals, insects, birds and plants.
  • create a scavenger hunt
  • Discuss food chains
  • Discuss biodiversity
  • Clean up litter in your local area
  • Try a Meat Free Day
  • Create a garden patch or window box
  • Focus on saving energy and water

Earth Day Org has a complete Education Resource library where you can find out so much more about Environmental issues and Earth Day.

Earth Day 2021
A Place to Read

Conversations With Friends a book Review

Conversations With Friends is a book by Sally Rooney written in 2017. I listened to the Audible version which was read by the lovely Aoife McMahon.

conversations with friends bookcover
By: Sally Rooney
Narrated by: Aoife McMahon
Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 01-06-17
Language: English
Publisher: W. F. Howes Ltd

The Blurb

Frances is 21 years old, cool-headed and observant. A student in Dublin and an aspiring writer, at night she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend. When they are interviewed and then befriended by Melissa, a well-known journalist who is married to Nick, an actor, they enter a world of beautiful houses, raucous dinner parties and holidays in Provence, beginning a complex ménage-à-quatre. But when Frances and Nick get unexpectedly closer, the sharply witty and emotion-averse Frances is forced to honestly confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time.

My Review of A Conversation with Friends

The best part of this audible book was the narrator Aoife McMahon. I love to listen to a story in an Irish accent and she did a good job of capturing the characters. Although, I do think Melissa was a little deep voiced, I guess it was to make her sound older and somehow more refined than the two young girls.

I first read Normal People by Sally Rooney, which was a pleasant enough read. I ended up not watching the entire series when it was on television though.

Sally Rooney has a way of capturing normal lives and putting them into believable stories. But to be honest, I don’t feel the stories actually go anywhere. You may have some issues brought up to conquer but there is nothing drastic going on. In fact there is not a lot going on at all apart from a fair amount of romantic interludes.

Conversations with friends follows the lives of two young university students and their relationships with a married couple. None of the characters are particularly likeable but they all have their little foibles which I guess make them more interesting.

If you are looking for a nice relaxing read then this is your book. I’m not saying it’s bad, just don’t expect anything really thrilling to happen.

You can also buy this and other books in my online bookshop.

A Place to Reflect, health, Motivation

Ten Steps to Combat Stress in April

April is Stress awareness month and with dealing with the pandemic and now the aftermath and trying to get back to normal, stress is very real for so many at the moment. I hope I can give you some pointers to combat stress today.

I recently did a stress test on Stress.org and it came back that I have high stress in my life. It didn’t really come as a surprise. As a disabled mum of five, three of them have disabilities too, it can be extremely stressful for me.

Combat Stress

There are some simple things you can do to combat stress. I don’t have all the answers, but here are few ideas that may help. Remember, if things do get real bad for you, there is always help available

Ten Stress busting Steps

  1. Try to be more positive
  2. Eat healthier
  3. Get a good nights sleep
  4. Exercise More
  5. Use your technology items less
  6. Get to grips with time management
  7. Drink More
  8. Say No
  9. Practice Deep Breathing
  10. Prioritise your health

I’m not saying it’s easy. Even looking at that list causes me stress. I hate shopping and trying to eat healthy, but I do feel so much better after a healthy meal. It’s hard for me to exercise being disabled, but it’s not so hard to look after myself a little better.

Did you know that if you feel thirsty then you are already dehydrated. Hydration makes your body work so much better. Because of the treatment I have I need to drink a lot of water every day or I end up with terrible headaches. You can always ‘spruce’ up your water by drinking squash or cold tea, a favourite of mine.

Sleep is a problem for a lot of people, but if you try some of the other stress busting ideas, like an improved diet and less tech. Then sleep problems can improve.

The list is not extensive but a lot of the ideas work together, master one or two and the others can be easier. Even exercise, being disabled I find it really difficult, but I do try to move regularly. I definitely feel worse if I stay put for too long. It doesn’t matter how much you do, you just need to do what you can.

Mindfulness

I’m a big believer in mindfulness and wrote a post about it. To practice mindfulness you just need to be in the here and now and stop focusing on the past or the future. Over on the LSW Mind Card Site, you can find lots of things that can help with your quest to become more mindful. By joining the mailing list you can receive some amazing offers and this month, every Monday they are sending out really useful stress busting tips. I am an affiliate for LSW Mind Cards so if you click through any of my links I may earn a commission. It won’t cost you any extra though and I would only endorse the products if I really liked them. I use my Mind Cards daily. Today I picked:

Reflection: Take 10 undistracted minutes to reflect on the following quote and how it applies to your life in this moment…

Our Greatest Glory is not in never falling, but rising every time we fall

Confucius

Sometimes I spend the 10 minutes writing my thoughts in my journal.

combat stress with mind notes

Over on my Facebook page for this blog I’m going to attempt to share some stress busting tips on a regular basis throughout the month. I do hope you will join me.

I’ll also be asking for your stress busting tips.