Month: April 2020

It’s the little things that matter

Mother holding and kissing her girl in a garden surrounding.

Life’s most precious moments are in the details and there has never been a more prominent time that we are in to think about these. Ongoing small gestures can be so much more gratifying than grand displays. Not all of them are possible just now with the lockdown and social distancing but how great will it feel getting back to normal some time soon. Maybe everyone will not let life pass them by and not take things for granted.

We’ve curated a list of all the little things that bring the best of times (from a competition we run last Summer), according to you. Here are some of our favourites:

That first cup of coffee in the morning when the house is still silent and everyone is asleep. Leaving work on Friday, when the sunshine hits your face outside, and you just close your eyes and smile. Seeing the smiles on my kids faces when I get home from work.
Liam Bishop, entered via our site
Big family get-togethers – a great way for family members to catch up on relatives’ lives and strengthen family bonds.
Sophie Baker, entered via our site
When my baby, my partner and I are all laughing together, the feeling of warmth, love and happiness that flows between us make my heart burst.
Penny Bolan, entered via our site
My dog never leaves my side, he adores being with me and gives me lots of love, he melts my heart.
Lauren Henson, entered via The Dadventurer
I love spending time playing outside with my two girls drawing with chalk looking for bugs and playing hopscotch!
Claire Willmer, entered via The Dadventurer
I absolutely love going to the beach and splashing in the water with my three children. Afterwards we always go for some fish and chips. Heaven x
Claire Hart, entered via Everything Mummy
Driving along an empty country road admiring the beauty.
Brett Pereira, entered via Everything Mummy
Getting a chance to read the paper whilst listening to some music. Instead of the usual soundtrack to my life – children’s TV!
Alex Cook, entered via Who’s the Mummy
Hearing the birds singing first thing in the morning & knowing that it’s going to be a beautiful day.
Ann Gwillim, entered via Who’s the Mummy
Watching my baby daughter try new food… If it’s something she especially enjoys she puts her head to one side and makes little “numnumnum” grunts!
Carrie Landeryou, entered via More Than Toast
A family bike ride and picnic. Snuggling under a blanket in the sofa watching a movie and eating popcorn with my children.
Charlotte Astley, entered via More Than Toast
A cup of tea in bed with a good book, catching up with an old friend for coffee, seeing the blossom coming out on the trees and realising that winter is over for another year.
Chloe Shipman, entered via Mummy in the City
Sitting down the garden in the early evening watching the great tits feeding their brood. Joy!
Liz Slade, entered via Mummy in the City
The little thing that makes me happy is every morning I wake up and look to the side of me and see my beautiful sleeping boy. When he wakes up and spots me he instantly has the biggest smile on his face and it makes me so happy to see that face every day.
Anna Sherman, entered via our site
When one of my grandchildren cuddles up and says ‘Love you, Nan’ – three little words that make me tingle inside 🙂
Patricia Avery, entered via our site
The little thing that makes me happy is being woken up by my little rescue dog Maisie in the morning – she always nudges my nose with her cold wet nose and does a little squeak when I open my eyes – she is just too adorable.
Sandra Jo Siddall, entered via our site
Early morning walks with the dog, when the sun has come up and you can feel it’s going to be a gorgeous, sunny day.
Joe Dee Phoenix, entered via The Dadventurer
That moment when the kids are asleep and we both sit together for five minutes, but don’t say anything. It’s the little things.
Danielle Jackson, entered via The Dadventurer
I love the wild pheasants bringing their chicks into our garden each year – honoured!
Suzanne Brown, entered via Everything Mummy
Sitting with my husband with a cup of tea, listening to the birds in the garden and the horses in the paddocks neighing to each other across the fields.
Liane Amos, entered via Everything Mummy
Getting back from work, making a cuppa and having a lie down in my garden on my comfy corner garden sofa.
Laura Nisbet, entered via Who’s the Mummy
Taking the family and dogs to Hengistbury Head in Dorset and walking along the beautiful beaches, huts, harbour, wildlife sanctuary and woods. It doesn’t cost anything and we always have a wonderful day, whatever the weather.
Michelle Clarke, entered via Who’s the Mummy
Listening to the rain outside whilst curled up on the sofa in a big jumper.
Frida Becker, entered via More Than Toast
Impromptu BBQs which turn into late night gatherings finishing with marshmallows around the fire pit.
Jim Flowers, entered via More Than Toast
At 70 years young, just waking up in the morning.
Ian Price, entered via Mummy in the City
Browsing a vintage shop with my boyfriend on a rainy afternoon.
Jayne Hyman, entered via Mummy in the City
The dog sneaking into our bed for morning cuddles before I get up.
Joanne Smith, entered via North East Family Fun
Volunteering at my local animal rescue centre.
Amanda Tanner, entered via North East Family Fun
Breakfast in the garden in our nightclothes when our daughters visit and the weather is really warm!
Judy Herring, entered via our site
The smell of the pavement after it has rained!
Katharine Balyuzi, entered via our site
The little thing that makes me happy is every morning I wake up and look to the side of me and see my beautiful sleeping boy. When he wakes up and spots me he instantly has the biggest smile on his face and it makes me so happy to see that face every day.
Anna Sherman, entered via our site
I have to walk through a park everyday on my way to work. Something always makes me smile. It can be the squirrels playing round a tree or the seagulls doing their little dance to get worms. There is always something.
Jacqui Allen, entered via our site
When my girls play in the garden together and I can sit with a new notebook and sketch as I watch them.
Kate Dalgleish, entered via our site
I love the smells of fresh grass and being by the sea, also a nice cup of tea always goes down a treat.
Tracy Baines, entered via our site
A little bit of sunshine always brings a smile to my face.
Margaret McCaffery, entered via our site
We have an elderly neighbour who literally knows everything about nature and he loves to drop in and tell us how his bees are doing or how to spot badger poo, he’s an absolute delight and we love him dearly.
Bella Bazley, entered via our site
Putting the paddling pool up on a warm day in the garden, eating ice lollies and drinking wine!
Jodie Askew, entered via our site
Freshly baked bread topped with creamy butter.
Mike Cambridge, entered via our site
Cuddles with my cat and a really great book! It doesn’t take much!
Laura Gibson, entered via our site
Sitting in the sun with my shoes off, watching the birds feed and bathe in my pond, with a glass of wine!
Mary Graham, entered via our site


Why not give some of them a try.

Benefits of Gardening & Outdoor Living

How gardening can help you feel good

While a bit of weeding and pruning might not seem like the most energetic of activities, studies show that gardening goes beyond providing a good workout, as it can also be therapeutic and reduce anxiety as well as physical pain.

Research has shown that prolonged light exercise, such as gardening, can burn more calories than a gym session, in spite of feeling much easier to do. This physical exercise, in combination with spending time outdoors being creative and productive, can also improve mood and self-esteem. Amazingly, images and recordings of natural environments alone have been proven to reduce feelings of pain and even improve healing times in hospital wards.

The therapeutic value of gardening is becoming more and more recognised, according to the Royal Horticultural Society, which promoted the positive impact of horticulture and green spaces at the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show, with two Chelsea gardens pledged to NHS patients.

Garden tweaks to improve wellbeing

Aside from green-fingered tasks, there a few tweaks that can make your outdoor space reach its full wellbeing potential:

  • Create space to sit in
    It’s really important to find a place in your garden to enjoy its beauty and serenity. You can choose garden furniture to reflect your taste, making it an elegant and useful part of your living space. Whether it’s with al-fresco meals at a dining set, basking in the glorious sun on a lounger or enjoying some tranquillity with a good book on an outdoor sofa, take the time to relax in your outdoor space.
  • Grow from seed
    Grow plants from seed either on your own or as a fun way to get children to experience the joys of gardening. The enjoyment you get is timeless, and people of all ages will not grow tired of seeing their seedlings germinate and then grow on in the garden.
  • Try your hand at growing fruit and veg
    There’s nothing more exciting and rewarding than nurturing tasty fruit and vegetables to put on the kitchen table. Buying vegetable seeds and planting them with your children is an affordable and easy activity for the school holidays and teaches them how food is grown.
  • Fill your garden with plants that welcome wildlife
    By growing flora that attracts bees and butterflies, your garden will become a hive of activity. Plants from the Lamiaceae family, including lavender, rosemary and sage are best as they’re also low maintenance and easy to keep.

For more useful advice, have a look at these handy tips on creating a feel-good garden from RHS award-winning designer Matt Keightley.

The health benefits

Whether you have a lifetime of gardening experience or are just getting started, we’ve created a handy visual guide. From the physical health benefits to improved mental wellbeing, our guide covers the benefits of outdoor living across all age groups.

The benefits of outdoor living don’t stop there either. Having created a beautiful garden, it can be enjoyed in many different ways, from enjoying a morning coffee on a comfy garden chair to hosting BBQs for friends and family.

BBQ Safety Tips Cheat Sheet

BBQ Cheat Sheet logo for the fire safety and tips blog.

The sign of a good dinner party is guests leaving well fed, having had fun and full of praise for the host. With this summer set to be a scorcher and plenty of good reasons to host a BBQ for friends and family, there’s never been a better time to earn a reputation as the king or queen of the outdoor party.

Meat Cooking Temperatures

First and foremost, you’ll want to serve tasty food that shows off your culinary prowess. Ensuring that meat reaches the perfect temperature in the middle is the key to achieving this. For example, it’s important that the internal temperature of chicken or pork is high enough to kill off harmful bacteria and be cooked all the way through. Whereas, keeping an eye on the internal temperature of steak will allow you serve it to your guest’s tastes. Turning meat regularly will help you cook it evenly and safely.

The different flavours can be enhanced with marinades, sides, perfect drink matching and your own charming hosting.

Top Tip: Preventing flare-ups will stop charring, for better flavours and an even, healthy cook.

BBQ Fire Safety

A fire safety issue at a BBQ can be more damaging to your reputation as a host than a biblical downpour just as you serve the food. However, with a few simple steps, it’s easy to remove the majority of risks.

Firstly, it’s imperative to prepare properly; cleaning and maintaining your BBQ will help avoid risks. If you have a gas BBQ, annual checks by an authorised expert will also decrease the chance of accidents. Selecting the right spot for the BBQ is also important –  be pragmatic; ensure it is away from hazards and in a place where you can concentrate on the task in hand, but not so far away that you’ll deny your guests of your sparkling wit.

Top Tip: Beware of shirt tails, sleeves, apron strings, ties, long beards… BBQing is as much about spectating as it is about the taste, just keep people at a safe distance.

Meat Heat: the Ultimate BBQ Cheat Sheet

Following our handy guide will help you to take care of the basics and ensure that you are are an attentive host, serving up perfectly cooked food and avoiding any safety mishaps.

Although some BBQ safety advice may seem like common sense, it is a key part of the art of outdoor dining. If you get the safety element right, all the other parts of being a great host will build from there. That should mean the only things you’ll have to consider after the event are disposing of ashes or empty gas canisters and, of course,  what to cook for your next event.

For more tips on making the most of your outdoor space with great BBQs, take a look at our guide to barbecuing for guests with dietary requirements or the Everdure by Heston Blumenthal BBQ recipe page.