The Pink Button Tree

The Pink Button Tree: July 2015

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

We have a greenhouse!


After a few months of pondering and saving we have at last bought a greenhouse! It's been a while waiting (since April) but we took the plunge and ordered one. It arrived at the end of last week and Mr C and I spent Saturday building it.

I have chosen a Palram Harmony polycarbonate greenhouse, measuring 6ft by 6ft. It took some time to decide whether to have glass or polycarbonate but eventually we decided that polycarbonate would be the best option for us. 

On Saturday morning I opened up the boxes, finding the 52 page instruction manual and then realising that there were 458 pieces to put together (this included nuts and bolts!). I'm not going to deny it, I started to feel a quite out of my depth! I'm generally a really practical person and almost get a kick out of building furniture and following step by steps in whatever I do, however this was a little different in terms of scale and size of anything that I've made before.

I spent sometime online trying do some research and to find some advice of what to rest the greenhouse on. After watching numerous videos from a range of greenhouse manufacturers Mr C and I decided that we would position it straight onto the soil, rather than make a concrete base, and that the frame would rest on a sandy base, creating a level bed for the greenhouse to be placed on.

Mr C and I levelled out the site for the greenhouse and constructed the base so that we had a frame to work around. We dug a small trench underneath the frame and added a layer of ballast and then a layer of sharp sand.

Greenhouse base on sand

We compacted the sand layer and ensured that the frame was square and level using a spirit level.

Greenhouse base

Piece by piece we followed the instructions to build the frame, slide in the polycarbonate sheets for the windows and roof, fit the window and lastly the door. After 7 hours of building we finally finished it, tired and a bit drained but immensely happy that the project was complete. During the process Mr C and I discovered the joy of team work, and how well we worked together. We managed to keep our cool when some of the pieces weren't fitting and when we misread the pictures in the instruction booklet and had to start again in some areas. It wasn't the easiest thing to build and we did struggle at times, I think that having that experience makes the greenhouse even more special for me.

I'm so delighted with our greenhouse and that we managed to build it from two boxes of flat pack pieces, it really did feel at times like a giant large set of Meccano and quite a challenge. The greenhouse has been properly put to test this week with high winds and thrashing rain, luckily we have two walls providing some shelter to the structure so we haven't worried quite as much. I've checked on the greenhouse each day, we don't appear to have any leaks and everything is still standing!

It's going to take some research and trial and error gardening to get the hang of growing under cover. I'm pretty excited and at the moment I am trying to decide on the internal layout of the growing space, planning a design for a hand built bespoke potting bench and deciding what to start growing at this time of year. I'll definitely keep you posted on my experience of having a greenhouse in a urban garden and let you know how I get on. 


Sunday, 26 July 2015

Simple pleasures...Rain on a Sunday

Rainy Sunday

I woke up this morning and I wanted to share with you one of my simple pleasures. It's pouring with rain here in Bristol today and when I woke my heart sank a little as I knew I that I wouldn't be spending lots of time in the garden... a moment or two later I felt immersed in joy, odd I know!

I got up, made a mug of Twinings Everyday tea and just sat listening to the sound of the rain pummelling our home, taking a moment to pause. The opportunity to hunker down during the summer is (hopefully!) a rare thing and taking time to slow down, reflect, plan and enjoy an unexpected day of rain is one of my simple pleasures.

Summer weekends seem packed with plans and opportunities, to get outside, to see friends and visit places. So when a rainy day comes along it feels a little special, an unexpected luxury pushed in amongst a busy season. I view rainy days not as negative or a problem, for me it's a chance to pause and re-plan my day, make spontaneous decisions about what to do so I can make the most of the day ahead, enjoy our home and have the opportunity to get a few things done that are normally reserved for other times of the year.

Here's what I hope to do on this rainy Sunday...

...sit and listen to the sound of the rain and pause

...plan a few things I want to do this year and do some research

...drink a comforting cup of tea or two or three (!) and read my favourite magazines to get inspired

...pick up my one of my crochet projects and listen to some creative podcasts

...tidy that messy corner of our attic room that I've been meaning to sort some of my book about greenhouse gardening and plan my planting for the next few months a 20 minute blitz tidy up of the house

...water my house plants, it's a treat not to have to worry about watering the garden

...potter around in my new greenhouse and plan how I'm going to use the space 

...venture out late afternoon with Mr C to a local coffee shop for a latte and a slice of cake

If it's raining where you are today why not take some time to pause and plan a day that you will love. I hope that you have a relaxing Sunday.


Sunday, 19 July 2015

July in our garden

Mini Dahlias

It's been a busy month for our garden with lots of change happening each week. I'm loving being able to spend a few hours each weekend in our garden, pottering and tinkering with our space. It's starting to feel like a little haven that I'm gradually shaping into a garden that I love.

In the garden this month...

A handful of strawberries picked at the start of the month...


Bright lilies bring a zingy bold yellow statement to the garden...

Yellow lillies

I planted the sweet peas into the raised beds from a container. After two days this flower appeared, I hope for many more...

Sweet pea purple

Dahlias fill a small space in the raised beds. I'm in love with the beautiful petals and pretty colours...

Mixed mini dahlias

Mini pink dahlias

Dahlia and beetle

Newly bought lavender is bringing more bees to the garden and a glorious scent when I get up close...


A slow start with the tomatoes this year but now there are lots of little green tomatoes making an appearance...

Green tomatoes

Blueberries are starting to appear on both bushes, it's the biggest crop since we bought them...


The apple tree has so many little apples...


Apples on tree

Here are the raised beds gradually shaping the space with newly planted container plants.

Newly planted raised bed

I'll be popping back later this week with more gardening updates and to tell you how we made the raised beds and what I've planted in them so far.


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Urban gardening - Creating a doorstep container

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Over the past month or so I've been gradually planting up pots, moving plants and transforming our garden spaces. The weather has been amazing and I'm at long last experiencing what it is like to garden with light and heat! In our previous home we had a courtyard garden that was quite shady however we now have a front and back garden space to tend to, I'm trying to be much better with watering than I have ever been as in the warm weather everything drys out so quickly.

I thought it would be a good time to tell you a little bit more about my gardening journey as it is becoming a real interest and a hobby. I'm spending more time listening to things about gardening and planting, watching TV programmes about gardens and reading books and blogs. Over the next month or so you'll see a flurry of posts about our garden so I hope that you will enjoy my little series.

I'm trying to become a better gardener and so as part of the process I decided to take the plunge and create my own arrangement of flowers in a container. I've never done this type of gardening before, many of my gardening endeavours are really simple. I tend to pot up a few of the same plant, like geraniums or cyclamen, into a pot or window box and put it on display. I love having the simplicity of the same plants grouped together however I decided that I wanted to get a little creative and wanted to buy a few different plants to create an arrangement in a container that would be placed at the front of our home on the doorstep.

What sparked the project was finding this gorgeous baby blue coloured pot from the RHS collection at my local garden centre. Glazed pots like this are quite pricey for the garden but are a real investment bringing glorious colour and creating a feature in a space. I was given some money for my birthday a few months ago and I knew that I wanted to allocate it to buy something special for our garden space, this pot was just perfect. After finding the pot I really enjoyed wandering round the garden centre, discovering new plants, and thinking about how I could arrange them. I decided to go with a pink and white colour theme for the front of our home this year and luckily found some lovely plants.

Working from the back of the pot I arranged a Scabious (Pink Mist) in the centre and surrounded it either side with one Dwarf Pink (Whatfield Joy Alpine Dianthus) either side. In front of the arrangement I added two trailing Calibrachoa White to create a lower layer. I then finished it off with a few pieces of varigated ivy to soften the edges of the pot. I love the combination of pinks in contrast with the blue pot as well as the different heights of the plants.

I'd highly recommend getting a little creative and making your own arrangement in a pot. Each time I come home I smell the scent of the flowers, see bees enjoying the blooms and know that I created this arrangement, it makes me really pleased that I created something different.


Sunday, 12 July 2015

Blogtacular 2015: My key takeaways

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On Saturday 13th June I attended my first ever blogging conference. After taking a month off blogging, having a holiday abroad and sitting down at my desk on rainy Sunday I can at last tell you about the experience. It is one that I will never ever forget and I very much hope to repeat next year too. The joy and emotions I felt during the day were off the scale and I felt that I had found a community I really click with and who just get it. I'm sure that for those bloggers reading this you will know what I mean as blogging can be quite a solitary activity, so meeting people face to face who are fellow bloggers and are as passionate about it as you is something really special.

Blogtacular 2015 had a the perfect combination of inspiring speakers, enthusiastic bloggers all held at the stunning Royal Institution. Blogtacular as I mentioned in my last post is "a place for bloggers whose hearts beat with creativity to come together to meet, share and inspire" and it didn't disappoint. Meeting enthusiastic bloggers has enabled me to reframe what I do, feel more connected with my blog, and appreciate again the hard work that goes into creating content and blogging.

Stepping away shattered after the day, I felt full of hope and brimming with ideas. I felt a huge wave of raw energy, from meeting enthusiastic people and hearing about how they spend their time and how they build blogging into their week. I've been pondering the key things that I've taken away from Blogtacular and trying to digest everything. All the sessions I attended left me feeling really inspired, informed and feeling that plans are achievable.

Emotionally I felt a real mix. Since the conference I have been feeling excited and enthused by all that was said, from the continual theme discussed of collaboration, to dealing with fear, through to creativity and finding inspiration. However over the past month I've felt the need to pause and take a step away from my blog, take a deep breath, and look at what I do and how I've been feeling about my blog. I've needed the head space to just sit and think about many things, as well as blogging. I hate having gaps on my blog but when you just freeze when you sit at your laptop it's a moment when you need time off and to work things out.

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I wanted to let you know all about the conference and what was said, however for me the best way to sum it up is by telling you about my biggest takeaways from the day and what they have helped me to develop.

Self discovery

Before I headed to the conference I was pretty nervous as well as excited. I look back at the nervous me and see how much courage it took to dive in and just start talking. I'm a chatty person normally but sometimes get stuck for words in the most unlikely situations. When I arrived at Blogtacular I made a bee line for a table on the edge of the room and I just went for it. Taking a trusty comforting cup of tea I spoke to people who were feeling like me and gradually with more courage I got stuck in and gained confidence to just talk. On my journey to the conference on the Friday I wrote down my feelings and what I had hoped to get out of the day. I know that I've walked away with most of these ticked off.

Dealing with overwhelm

Since the conference (and before) I've had feelings of overwhelm as I'm feeling a little unsure about next steps with my blog. I've felt a little unsure about what to write, despite having a big list of post ideas it is all a bit too much.  I've felt overwhelm of the industry I am part of. I feel a tiny fish in a sea of bloggers, but deep down that overwhelm is calmed by thinking of the key people I met, and how I really believe being authentic and doing what I want is just how it will go for me. I don't have to implement all the ideas just what fits with what I'm doing. By taking a break away I've simplified my plans and thoughts and dealt with the initial overwhelm.

Practical skills

I attended a DIY blog design session and discovered a few things that started to slot in place, determined I spent a Sunday afternoon after the conference updating my blog design, switching on the mobile view, and trying to get my blog a little closer to something that represents me. It's simple, fresh and still has some of my favourite colours as touches. Without Blogtacular I wouldn't have had the confidence or practical skills to even try this.


I can't tell you how many wonderful bloggers I met on the day. Over the next few weeks I'll be continuing to take time connecting up with everyone I met, by reading their blogs, adding them to my social media connections and Bloglovin feed. I'm thinking about doing something creative with the business cards I collected, I want to remember the day through the talks but also the very inspiring people that I met. Meeting such an array of talent, enthusiasm, people keen to share their knowledge and awesome advice, swept me away and left me feeling really lucky to have been part of the day. I met only a fraction of the people there and those that I met were so very down to earth and authentic. I also discovered many bloggers who live near by too.

I felt energised by all the insights I gained and all the lovely people I met. Meeting fellow bloggers face to face was one of my most favourite parts of the day. For a few minutes you get to meet the person behind the blog, for a few bloggers I think I gushed a little too much about how much I love their blog, but hopefully this has given them a little bounce in their step knowing how much people love their little space on the web.

Going with your gut

I'm a big believer of the 'does it feel right' decision making process. I felt a huge gut reaction that I needed to attend the conference and that turned out well, I experienced and learnt more than I could ever have imagined. With the choice of speakers during the day and the busy schedule you have to select which sessions to attend out of three choices. At each point of the day I went with my gut, knowing what I most wanted to find out and how that fits with me at this phase of my blogging journey. The choices I made based on my gut reaction panned out so very well in many ways.

I have learnt to begin to truly trust my gut feeling once again. Over the past few weeks I have had a few things going on where I have just needed to trust a feeling to help me make quite a few big decisions. I've finally decided that some of my plans that I had so very much wanted to action, and what I feel I should be doing, but just don't fit with me and my life any longer. It can be a hard pill to swallow and process. Going with my gut has made me feel good about the choices I've made as it has freed up head space, time, and has opened me up to looking for something new and a different route.

Feeling inspired

I was most inspired by the engaging and deeply authentic Marta Marie Forsberg who talked about Creativity and Inspiration. Her story, her determination and her recent discovery of what she wanted to do made me feel very emotional listening to her story. I've only realised over the past year and a bit what I would really love to do (see my About me page) and hearing about what she has done has made me that more determined to take the next steps forward.

I felt inspired by the women I met during the event, so many different blogs each with their own real enthusiasm for what they create and write. Finding new British bloggers has opened my eyes to a whole new world of content and styles.

The day ended with an incredibly moving talk by Anthony Peters who talked about his story and about going against the grain. He is the creator of a documentary about creativity in the digital age called Made You Look. As a closing keynote speech it was just perfect and linked the handmade and digital space that many bloggers are part of and was very inspirational.

And so...

My memories of the day and the experiences I had still make me feel giddy and a little emotional when I think about them. I can't tell you how much I found out about myself, let alone about the world of blogging.

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Heading away at the end of the day we were greeted with a generous goody bag encapsulated in a pretty tote. The generosity of this event was huge, from the knowledge sharing of everyone attending to the time Kat and Kat must put into making it so inspiring and finding great speakers.

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My Blogtacular tote is hanging on my shelving in front of my desk so that each time I sit there and see it I'll remember the learning, feelings and experiences of the day. I heart Blogtacular and will definitely be going again next year.

If you want to join the virtual conference and see each of the talks that were filmed, head over to Blogtacular to buy a virtual ticket for the conference this year, it will be worth it! I've bought mine and can't wait to be inspired once again.

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