Clocks, Decoration, Heated Clothing, LED Candles

Christmas Inspiration

Well, it’s already 12th December! Half way through the month ‘til Christmas, eek! We all know someone who is particularly difficult to buy presents for – either they don’t want anything, or they’re fussy about what they get or they’re one of those lucky people who seem to already have everything… If you’re stuck for inspiration this Christmas, here are a few gift ideas:

Heated Clothing – Gloves, Socks, Jackets and More

Desperately needed at this time of year, our range of heated clothing will keep you even warmer than standard scarves and gloves thanks to the additional battery-powered heating elements. Stay toasty this winter whatever the weather with heated gloves, scarves, insoles, socks, gilets, jackets, leg warmers and much more!

LED Candles

LED battery candles are a smart alternative to traditional candles with real flames. They flicker like real candles but are flameless and completely safe. Attractive and long-lasting, they’re great value for money and can be placed anywhere. These practical candles come in a multitude of styles and functions, look great and create a wonderful atmosphere. I personally have a set of Two LED Colour Changing Real Wax Candles With Remote Control which sit on a bookshelf, posing no threat to my books, and I have great fun picking colours with the remote control!

Garden Clocks

Practical and attractive, a garden clock is an ideal present. With a range of designs, including wall clocks and bracket mounted, double faced clocks, our beautiful clocks are easy to read and make a delightful gift.

Meerkat Ornaments

Meerkats are overwhelmingly popular, thanks to the TV advert – and now you can fill your home and garden with the cheeky chappies! If you know someone who’s tickled pink by the cute critters, make them laugh this Christmas with an adorable meerkat ornament – from meekats with solar lights (which really work!) and golfing meerkats, to James Bond Meerkat and Meerkat planters, we have the one for you!

Water Features

I know what you’re thinking – water features are for summer, not winter! But now is a great time to grab yourself a bargain and many features can be used both indoors and out, so there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy one in your home during the colder months and move it outside if you wish once spring rolls around. Relaxing to the gentle sound of trickling water is a great way to de-stress after the hustle and bustle of Christmas!

Gardening, How To

Winter Planting

The winter may seem an unlikely time for gardening, but provided you can withstand the cold for a short while, there are many plants that are best started in the colder months in preparation for spring. Tulips and crocuses are great ones to start off with. If you’re more into fruit and veg than flowers, why not try growing your own rhubarb? And since the ground may be quite solid, it never hurts to have a spare planter or grow bed lying around.

If the thought of labouring outside in the cold does not appeal to you, you can still continue to enjoy gardening within the comfort of your home. Window boxes and trough planters are slim lined and fit neatly on any window ledge, allowing you to continue to propagate your bulbs and seeds indoors, rather than relying on whatever the local florist can provide. Herbs in particular are great for indoor gardening and you can often find handy and affordable herb growing kits which will also sit on your window sill and are ideal for beginners and experienced gardeners alike.

At this time of year, protecting your more fragile plants and flowers from the frost and cold is a big priority. If you are anxious about leaving them open to the weather outside, it’s best to store them inside a greenhouse. However, if indoor space is an issue, do not despair! Fleecy plant covers are just the ticket to keep your garden plants protected from frost. Cheap, effective and easy to use, they just slip over the plant and keep it safe from the harsh winter weather while still allowing moisture and light to penetrate through to the plant

Moles, Pest Control

How To Deal With Moles In Your Garden

Moles can be quite a blight on a gardener’s life. You’ve spent a lot of your time and energy on maintaining a smooth and beautiful lawn and garden, only for little mounds of earth to be pushed up higgledy-piggledy… Clear evidence that moles have taken over your garden!

Naturally this is very frustrating, but there’s no need to worry – there are a number of methods you can use to get rid of the moles from your garden:

Moles Traps

One solution is to use mole traps. These are galvanised metal traps which are placed into the tunnel, set and ready to catch the moles. They provide a fast solution and are safe for the environment unlike poisons. One benefit is that they can be used year-round, in all weathers, and can be used over and over again. Mole traps are a quick and efficient solution to your problem, but  are not very humane and there are much better alternatives.

Smoke/Powders

If mole traps don’t appeal to you, you may like to consider mole smoke or mole repellent powders. These are simple, humane solutions that are also cheap and effective. Simply place the lit smoke or the powder into the mole tunnel and let them work their magic – soon the moles will head off to another garden! Obviously, once the smoke or powder has been used up, there is the chance that moles may eventually return, meaning this isn’t a permanent, guaranteed solution to rid yourself of moles.

Ultrasonic Repellers

A final solution is to use ultrasonic repellers. These are placed into the ground and work by vibrating. The moles interpret these vibrations as the movement of nearby predators, and will begin to leave the area in fear. To get the best use from the repellers, you should use two or more to ‘herd’ the moles away from the garden, rather than place them in the middle of all the holes. Doing this will result in the moles becoming confused, and they may scatter in all directions. So, for example, you may want to start off with the repellers very close to your house, and gradually move them down the garden to herd the moles away.

These ultrasonic repellers are a great, humane alternative to mole traps, although they may need longer to take full effect. It is possible to purchase solar or battery-powered repellers; the benefit of solar repellers is that they are completely free to run, although their performance may decrease during the winter months due to the decrease in sunlight. Battery-powered mole repellers will work year round, though obviously the batteries will eventually need replacing.

Chimeneas, Fire Pits, Fireplaces, Outdoor Heating

Outdoor Heating

Now that winter is fast approaching, it’s a good time to start thinking about how to keep warm whilst enjoying your garden over the coming months. There are so many different types of outdoor heater that can suit any garden style, taste or price limit. Here we’ll run through just a few of the options available to you, along with their relative benefits and costs.

Electric Heaters

Electric heaters are a great source of heat, and are extremely easy to use which is probably why they have become so popular. All you really need to get up and running is a nearby electrical output, although these heaters work best in smaller areas, so are ideal if you’re looking to create an intimate patio setting, and work well in sheltered or enclosed areas.

One advantage is that, contrary to popular belief, electric heaters are actually quite eco-friendly. They don’t consume vast amounts of energy, and also don’t release soot and other nasties into the air. Another plus is that they warm up almost instantaneously, meaning you can have instant heat as and when you need it.

Of course, another advantage is that there are now so many styles and varieties to choose from, that you can find most styles to suit your own tastes. You can have stylish,    free-standing heaters that can blend right in with your other garden décor, or you can have simple, wall-mounted halogen heaters for something a bit more functional. Of course, you have to take into account that they only cover a limited area, but if you’re only looking for a small heated area, then an electric patio heater could be right for you.

Chimeneas

This is another type of garden heater that has recently become very popular. Originating from Mexico, these free-standing open fireplaces make a great addition to any garden, and are a fantastic traditional way to bring heat and ambience into your garden.

Whilst they were originally made from clay, there are now a wide range of materials, designs and sizes to suit all gardens and personalities. From traditional clay, beautiful cast iron and contemporary steel, there really is something for everything.

One thing to bear in mind of course is that you will need a source of fuel, which could start to add up if you don’t have endless amounts of wood laying about! Nevertheless, chimeneas look fantastic and come with added bonuses – My personal favourite is wrapping a potato in foil and throwing it in, for a delicious evening meal. You can also get some fantastic accessories, including scented firelighters to help delicately flavour your barbecues as well as creating a pleasant, fragrant environment.

Fire Bowls, Baskets and Pits

If you’re looking for something a bit different, then a fire pit may just be the thing for you. Whilst it may sound like a bare open hole in your garden, a fire pit is actually a fire contained in a free-standing, decorative basket or bowl on legs. They too come in a vast array of styles and finishes, and many also include safety features which are ideal if you’re concerned about an open fire around small children and pets.

The most basic version are fire baskets, which are literally steel or iron baskets in which to burn wood or coal. Most come with a grill, and it’s also wise to check whether a tray is supplied which can collect the fallen embers and ash, making cleaning up a lot easier.

If you’re looking for something slightly more decorative, then a fire bowl may be just the thing. These are a lot more contained, and usually come with a lid or insert, making them perhaps slightly safer.

All will usually come with grills, meaning they can make a stylish alternative to the standard barbecue. What’s great about them is that they are generally small and lightweight, making them ideal to stick in the back of the car if you’re taking a trip to the beach or going camping. The only downside of these fire pits is that, due to the fact there is no chimney, they can smoke rather a lot.

Outdoor fireplaces

For the ultimate statement in outdoor heating, you could always opt for an outdoor fireplace. There’s nothing quite like the ambient glow of an open fire inviting you in, and these can really enhance the environment if you’re entertaining outside. While this category could technically also include chimeneas and fire pits, the difference in style and cost warrants its own special mention.

They are by far the most expensive of outdoor heating options, but can be such beautiful, permanent fixtures and could even add value to your home. You can opt for ready made fireplaces that make the whole thing a lot easier, and even better means you can take them with you if you ever move home.

It will probably be cheaper to build your own, and whilst this could be a bit more effort, it means that you can build it to look like an existing wall, for a truly authentic feel (although you may want to check your local planning codes beforehand!). Outdoor fireplaces are great both for when you are hosting guests, or even if you just want to relax outside with a book and a glass of wine. You can cook a huge variety of things on them and they can create a real focal point in your garden.