Winter Care for your Garden: Fruit Trees

*This is a collaborative guest post

From autumn right through to spring there are a variety of functions that you should carry out in order to promote the health and growth of your fruit trees. A busy gardener never has the time to sit back, and if you prune and nurture your tree during the darkening days of autumn and winter you will be able to look forward to some magnificent blossom in the spring.

Buying your fruit trees

When you visit a fruit tree nursery in order to buy your trees make sure that you choose the right rootstock, as this will determine the eventual size of your fruit tree. Cherries, damsons, apple and pear trees all grow well in the UK’s temperate climate, you can also plant some fruit trees in winter, as long as the ground isn’t frosty. If you’re thinking of planting a tree in a container then you can wait until the summer before planting.

Use autumn to eradicate moths

Before winter sets in and you’ve harvested your fruit crop you should look for signs of winter female moths. An article in The Express describes how this pest can ruin your fruit crop, so it’s important that you ‘attach sticky grease bands to the tree before the end of October,’ to stop the moth from crawling from the ground and up the tree trunk and then eating the fruit blossom during the spring months.

If your tree is attached to a stake, make sure that you also put a grease band around the stake to stop the moth gaining access to your fruit tree trunk. You can reapply the grease bands throughout the autumn/winter months.

Pruning is a winter task

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), ‘pruning should be carried out when the tree is dormant, between leaf fall and bud burst.’ If you’ve never pruned a fruit tree before, the RHS website has some excellent advice. You should use sharp secateurs, a pruning saw and loppers. Start off by getting rid of any dead or decaying branches. Once you’ve eradicated the deadwood, trim the year’s new growth but remember to allow lateral or side shoots to grow. If you have espaliered or restricted fruit trees they won’t need pruning until the summer.

Bare root trees

Bare root trees can be planted in the winter as long as the ground isn’t frosty. Once you’ve bought your tree allow the roots to soak before planting. If your garden is covered in frost and you have a tree that you want to plant, simply place it in a container of moist soil until the frost has thawed and then plant it in its place in the garden.

Many varieties of fruit

The changing UK climate means that it’s now possible to plant figs, peaches and apricots, so don’t just stick with traditional apple and pear trees. Always remember that newly planted trees will need regular watering but it is important to make sure that the soil drains easily. Fruit trees are rewarding and beautiful so why not start planting yours this winter?


The Beginning of Us – Kara’s Story


This week’s Beginning of Us comes from of the nicest people I have met through blogging. Kara at Innocent Charms Chats is a complete gem! She has three beautiful kids and shares so many lovely things they have done, outfits they have worn and updates of them. Her blog is lovely to read and is a great insight into her family’s life together.

Here’s Kara…

I can not believe it is nearly 14 years since Ashley and I started dating, it has gone so quickly. Back in 2002 I was working for a company where we hired in about 10 agency staff each day, some would be regular others not so much. Ashley was one of them, because they started at 5am I would never see them in the morning and if I am honest most of them were not the sort of people I would talk to so when they came in to the office in the evenings I would sign their time sheets without a second glance.

Ashley on the other hand took a long glance and liked what he saw, for weeks he would listen to my voice on the lorry phone as I spoke to the driver (who he worked along side), he joked to the driver how nice he thought I was, so one day whilst no one was watching he took my phone number and saved it.

That night I received a joke text from him, I ignored them at first but he was persistant, I told him I was living with someone and was not that sort of girl, so we agreed to be friends. We chatted for weeks, he told me of his life and I confided in him of the awful relationship I was in, my fear, he would make me feel so happy.

After I left my previous partner thanks to Ashley’s support and friendship I decided I wanted to meet him in person (by this point I still had no idea what he looked like). When we met I did not feel any attraction at all, in fact he was not my type, so I said I am happy to be friends but no more. But within 1 hour of leaving him I realised I had already fallen in love with him.

Ashley & I 2008

One month later I moved into his Mums house, within 3 months we rented somewhere. Then in Cuba less than 6 months after we met he went down on one knee and proposed, I said yes as I honestly knew that I would never spend my life with anyone else.

Ash and I 2012

In 2004, after being engaged for 2 years we got married at Lympne Castle and even though many begged us not to we knew we would work. In 2008 after 2 years of trying we were told we would not be able to have a child naturally, we headed off to America for a holiday and on the way back decided we would start trying IVF. Later than month as we went to start the process, me being very poorly it was confirmed there was no need as we were 10 weeks pregnant with Grayson.

Our Wedding Day 2004

I took a further 10 tests that night before I believed them and Ashley walked round in a total daze. When Grayson turned 4 months old we were given the news he had brain damaged and life would not be as planned, we were told the odds of us surviving our relationship through the next few years would be unlikely as it would be so tough. But all it did was unite us more, we became a perfect little family with a slightly different everyday.

Then in 2010 we decided to try for another child, knowing our high risks and in May 2011 we brought Addison into our family. Ashley held her so tight, checking out his perfect daughter and I knew that this was the best decision we had made. Unfortunately I lost my way and suffered with dreadful PND, Ashley being my constant rock gave up work in a heartbeat and become the one to care for us all. I returned to work knowing our children were in the best hands they could ask for.

After loosing our little squidge in 2012, we went on to complete our family in 2013 with Deacon, then last year as we had promised each other we renewed our vows on our 10th anniversary in November, with our babies by our side.

I am so thankful Ashley stole my number that day, I am not sure where our lives would be now if not, but I know even though they are bloody tough that we are in the places we are supposed to be, by each others side.

Thanks Kara for sharing your story. I love how you met and I’m glad that it all worked out. You have both been through so much in the last 11 years – who knows what the next years hold?!

You can read more Beginning of Us stories over on the Beginning of Us page and if you would like to feature in the series please do get in touch!

Portable North Pole 2015

For the last two years I have raved about Portable North Pole to anyone that will listen and it has very much become part of our Christmas routine. If you haven’t heard of Portable North Pole, and you have children in your life, then this is definitely something you should start using this festive season.


Portable North Pole lets you create videos and phone calls from Santa and all his friends at the North Pole. The calls and videos really help add to the Christmas magic and they’re something LP has loved over the last couple of years.

The videos can be edited, saved and shared across social media or by email and are completely personalised to fit in with your child’s age and abilities. You can add photos of the child, their achievements or anything that have got up to this year and even a photo of your home so Santa knows where to visit on Christmas Eve.


The phone calls are just as exciting, having Santa ring your actual phone and talk to your child and there are both Christmas Eve and general festive calls and videos to really build the excitement in the run up to Christmas.

Portable North Pole have a lot of different packages that you can sign up. The most comprehensive package costs just £9.99 and lets you create an unlimited number of videos and phone calls for multiple children. Now that Little Man is at an age where he understands Christmas this package suits us perfectly and is money well spent I think. It also lets you archive videos so you can save them and look back on them year after year.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 08.35.45

Videos cost from £3.99 but there is a free mini version although it is a lot more limited than the premium videos. You can also buy an unlimited call or video pass for a slightly higher fee. With all payments made to Portable North Pole 5% is donated to a children’s charity too.

For us, Portable North Pole is a big part of Christmas. We watch the videos in the run up to Christmas and have a special Christmas Eve video too – as well as Christmas Eve phone calls with Father Christmas. It’s one of those things that you start doing and then will never stop and I don’t mind admitting that Hubby and I love this tradition almost as much as the kids.


Portable North Pole have give me a discount code to get 20% off their services – just use code BLG20PNP at checkout.

You can also read our 2013 review here and 2014 here. If you’re still in debating using Portable North Pole, just do it. Your children will love it!


Disclosure: We were given a code to enable us to use Portable North Pole for the purpose of this review however all opinions are my own.

Redhead Roundup – Food & Drink {25th November}


Here are a few foodie products we’ve been enjoying recently.

Crosse and Blackwell ‘Frozen’ 4 Kids Pasta Shapes in Tomato Sauce with Sausages

The children will often have beans or pasta shapes with their dinner if Hubby’s at work and we’re having a quick meal. When Crosse and Blackwell sent us some of their new Frozen Pasta Shapes I knew that LP especially would love them!


The range of Pasta Shapes in Tomato Sauce are great at getting children excited about their dinner and the shapes are easily recognisable – the Frozen shapes have all the familiar characters as well as snowflakes and LP loved pointing the shapes out as she found them.

LP and Little Man have never had pasta shapes with sausages in before so this was quite exciting for them. Both the pasta and sausages were great quality and something they both enjoyed.


Paul Hollywood Ready To Bake Bread Rolls

Hubby and I love having part baked bread rolls at home to have easily with meals or any time we fancy fresh bread. The smell of fresh bread is also a big benefit of this kind of bread. When we were told about Paul Hollywood’s new range of Ready To Bake Bread Rolls I knew they’d be something that would fit well into our lifestyle and I couldn’t wait to try them.


The range of bread rolls come in three different varieties – flour dusted wheatsheaf crusty rolls, a mixed pack of poppy and sesame seed topped rolls (3 of each) and a mixed pack of multiseed (linseed, sunflower, millet and sesame seeds) rolls, 3 blended and 3 topped.

We honestly didn’t have a preference when it came to the bread rolls and we really enjoyed all of them – as did the children. The rolls were great to have with dinner, for a bacon sandwich or just for lunch.


The different toppings added interest to the rolls and they were definitely more exciting than the rolls we usually buy. We’ll definitely be buying them again!


Godiva 12 Assorted Truffles

We love trying new chocolates and Godiva aren’t a brand I am familiar with at all so when a box of Godiva 12 Assorted Truffles arrived I couldn’t wait to try them.


The truffles are just one of Godiva’s great range of boxed chocolates that would be perfect as a Christmas gift. The truffles are so much bigger than other ones we have tried in the past and you can tell that they are great quality the moment you bite into them.

The Godiva truffles have a great variety of flavours such as Truffe Amande Miel, Truffe Caramel Sale, Truffe Speculoos, Truffe Mousse De Lait, Truffe Praline Amande and Truffe Mousse Vanille Miel. This assortment would make a wonderful gift and something a little different from typical High Street chocolate brands.


Disclosure: We were sent the above products to include in this post however all opinions are my own.

When is the best time to Emigrate?

*This post is in collaboration with Lend Lease

As a young couple I remember Hubby and I having a conversation about emigrating. It was one of those conversations that we had on and off for a whole evening and at the time emigrating seemed like such a lovely idea. We were both disillusioned by the UK, the weather was awful and sunnier climates seemed quite appealing.

But now, quite a few years on and with two young children, emigrating couldn’t be further from our thoughts. It makes me realise that we, as a family, have missed the boat – and I’m happy with that. For us, the perfect time to emigrate would have been anytime before our children started school. It’s easier than trying to settle in to a whole new academic system whilst relocating and also trying to stop the kids from missing too much school.

I have seen so many blogger friends relocate – Mama Mim comes to mind with her recent move to Australia and also Cool Bananas‘ imminent Australian move too. I can’t say I am not envious, of the lovely weather, beautiful beaches and places to live like Springfield Lakes – there’s a display village by Lend Lease that looks like such a great community to be a part of.

So for us, the UK will forever be our home. We have great family, amazing friends and we all have a really lovely life here. I can’t imagine moving abroad now but there was definitely a time it looked quite appealing. I imagine an overseas life being like something from Home and Away – surfing, endless brunches in diners and having Christmas dinner on a barbecue!

Have you ever thought about relocating? Emigrating abroad? What held you back, or what made you make that jump? I’d love to hear your stories.