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Getting Ready for Winter

Tuesday, 13 September 2016 15:49

 As the summer sun cools, and long days outside fade into hazy memory, now is the time to start thinking about how to get your garden ready for the colder months. Your small patch of the great outdoors is home to many welcome creatures, and their habitats will have gathered all sorts of debris during the summer.

First, let’s do an ‘autumn clean’ of your birdhouses or nesting boxes: begin by washing the insides to destroy any lingering parasites, which might otherwise infect next year’s brood. Whilst cleaning, check the houses and boxes are still rainproof. When they’re dry, add some new hay or wood shavings (but not straw), to ready these roosts for your birds, and keep them cosy and warm over the winter.

Now is the time to start feeding the birds in your garden, so put up bird feeders if you haven’t already done so. The birds will find the feeders quickly enough, and having a buffet on site will encourage them to stay and nest! During the late summer, birds will fill up on the glut of berries and insects hanging around. This means any old bird food may have been left for a while, and have become stale. Time to chuck it out, and start afresh.

There is a wide variety of bird food available for your feeders. I use a general everyday feed which is fine for the tits and robins in our garden, but if you want to attract goldfinches and greenfinches then add some Nyjer seed. Choosing a mix containing sunflower hearts (rather than the whole seed) reduces mess.

Right – that’s the birds looked after. What about your other garden friends? To encourage hedgehogs to stay and hibernate, you can buy or make a Hedgehog House There are plenty of tutorials and online guides to help you construct a simple home for these sweet little animals, or you can glam it up and buy them something truly luxurious!

Put your hedgehog house in a sheltered spot, facing away from the wind and out of direct sunlight; in the lee of a shed or bushes is ideal. Hedgehogs like to eat creepy crawlies – snail, slugs, beetles, caterpillars, worms – so keep the grass and vegetation long around the box to encourage a natural food supply and attract the hedgehog to the area. You can also tempt hedgehogs by putting out some delicious titbits just for them, like cat or dog food. They can eat most things we can, like cakes and biscuits, but remember: NO bread and milk!

It’s no good laying on a mouth-watering feast unless you’ve first made sure hedgehogs can get into the garden! One of the main reasons we see fewer hedgehogs than in our childhood days is because our boundaries are more difficult to get through. You can make tunnels under fences to give them their own prickly right of way, and as hedgehogs like to roam quite long distances, encourage your neighbours to do the same.

Remember to bring in your Bee or Insect Hotel now. All through the summer months these quirky nooks will have attracted solitary bees to your garden, as well as a variety of other pollinating insects. There are around 220 species of wild bees in the UK, called ‘solitary’ because they make individual nest cells for their larvae. Store the bee hotel (with its precious cargo of nesting bees) somewhere dry and cold, like a garage or a shed, until the Spring, when the glorious garden cycle will start all over again!

Bird Houses, Bird Feeders, Hedgehog Houses and Bee Hotels all make wonderful gifts for anyone who loves their garden or wildlife. We have some great novelty and decorative items which are fun and practical, so do browse our range.Even though autumn’s arrived, there’s still plenty to enjoy outdoors, so get your garden in shape for winter!

Red Lion - Lifestyle optTelephone feeder optHedgehog optTwo Tier Forest Mushroom opt



Children and Weddings – a Match Made in Heaven!

How to enjoy a wedding when you’re bringing young children

Blossom, green leaves, windswept sunshine – spring is peeking out at us at last, and with it comes Wedding Season! You may have already found hefty, linen-lined envelopes dropping onto the doormat, inviting you to champagne receptions, glorious rural banquets, or chic city hotels to celebrate with friends and family.

So far, so good – but if you have young children, what used to be an excuse for a huge party with your besties can become a minefield of parenting etiquette.

No matter how creative you are, weddings don’t come cheap. The time, effort and money invested by the bride and groom and their families matter to you – as their friends, you want to honour that by making the day go as smoothly and joyfully as possible. After all, marriage is a cornerstone of our culture, and celebrates family and community – so there must be a way for everybody to enjoy a wedding!

What to wear

Dressing your best is one of the ways we recognise the significance of a wedding day – and your little ones shouldn’t be any different. Every girl has something they simply love to wear: maybe a favourite dress, or perhaps their most fabulous shoes? If your daughter isn’t the frock type, she might enjoy choosing an accessory (like a new necklace, hair ornament or bag) to team with her jeans, and make her outfit extra special.

A waistcoat and tie dresses up a casual shirt and trousers so that your little boy looks the part on the day, too – you don’t need to spend much to create a wedding outfit which they can wear to every formal occasion throughout the year – and since many weddings have group photos taken, it’s a lovely way to show the bride and groom that your whole family appreciate the day.

Whatever the children wear, remember to make it comfortable, with various layers to keep warm during the inevitable chilly photos outside of the church or temple. A few extra changes are a good idea too, especially for babies.

What to give

When you’re browsing the gift list, involve your children in choosing the present you’re buying. Alternatively they may like to give something small themselves, like this sweet glass heart   Heart silver news Or even a handmade card or picture. Most of us no longer have the pepper mill from Aunty Jo, or vase from Graham in Accounts, but a lovingly hand drawn picture of the bride and groom with a bouquet will stay on the fridge for a very long time!


What to bring

Food is at the heart of every wedding – it’s a feast day after all! – so making sure that your children are well fed and watered is completely in the spirit of the event. Bring easy snacks like dried fruit and cereal for the service, and to hold hunger at bay in the long wait for the meal to begin later on.

There’s often a special menu for the children at the reception – check this out when you receive your invitation – and if it’s just smoked salmon and consommé on offer, pack some sandwiches and a cereal bar!

Baby wipes are crucial to keeping that wedding outfit looking snappy for longer, so bring those too, along with a favourite read, colouring books and pencils in case they need some help to get them from “I do” to the disco…

What to expect

It may be a long day, with possibly quite a bit of travelling to various venues, and you can find out about the facilities before you go, such as whether there’ll be room to park buggies, or a microwave to heat milk. Aim to enjoy it where you can, and don’t require perfection. Your family have been invited because you’re special to the happy couple – they want to include you at the very start of their own adventure together, and that’s something to celebrate! 





Fan optGiving great gifts — especially for men — gets harder all the time!

How do you find stylish and practical presents which really show how much you care?

Maybe the answer lies in buying something which combines all of the above with a deep satisfaction that your gift makes a contribution towards our global community, as well as your special someone…

That’s why Peach Perfect created the World Collection— gifts you can feel good about giving — starting with this unique, hand-woven, Maharjan laptop cover from Nepal, available in a range of designs exclusively from Peach Perfect.



Catastrophe in Nepal

Almost a year ago in April 2015, Nepal was hit by a massive earthquake: over two million people lost their homes; thousands lost their lives. Many of us respond generously in an international crisis like this one — but isn’t long before another disaster hits the headlines, and the world’s attention turns elsewhere.




Since last year many aid agencies and NGOs have worked hard to help the people of Nepal rebuild. Ramita news

It wasn’t just homes torn apart, or roads destroyed by the earthquake: the infrastructure of society — jobs, systems, daily life — came tumbling down with the walls, and putting that back together is a massive challenge. Before the earthquake there were already few jobs in the region, and young men were leaving for work abroad at the rate of 1,500 a day.


“We try to be like family”


The long term investment needed to get the Nepalese economy back on its feet is hard to come by.

GMA rectangle news is a not-for-profit organisation creating socio-economic maps of developing countries, and in the course of their work in Nepal, GMA came across a small business enterprise led by Ramita Maharjan. Her team support one another like a family as they work to rebuild after the earthquake, together operating a small sewing enterprise in Kathmandu. Ramita’s team design and create covers to fit 13” Apple MacBooks, using local hand-woven fabrics in a range of beautiful patterns. GMA have partnered with Peach Perfect to support this business as part of a drive to grow the local economy…  and you can add your support.


A gift to feel good about


These laptop covers are available exclusively through — and Ramita, her team and Global Map Aid receive an amazing 60% of the sale price!


 Blue green laptop case newscerise laptop case newsnoughts crosses laptop newsbobble laptop case news

Robustly made to a high quality from local weaves of natural yarns, the Maharjan laptop cover perfectly represents the combination of traditional skill and culture with the vision and drive to build a global future — and provide the survivors of the Nepalese earthquake with jobs, community, and hope.

Buy a gift which is elegantly and ethically designed — a gift you can feel truly good about giving.





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