I haven’t had a lot of time recently to enter competitions, I have been so busy catching up on reading and gardening and working loads. So the few competition wins I’ve had I’m very grateful for. I have won 3 beautifully made cushion covers, all with a red theme. These I won on Twitter with @designacushions
. I can’t wait to go out at the weekend and look for cushions for them. They will be perfect for my spare bedroom.
My other wins include a roll of plant tape. This will come in really handy for the garden. An iphone cover and some little jewellery bits from the lovely Shannon at raspberrykiss.co.uk
. A gorgeous book called Style Forever from a Facebook competition and a beautiful 70th anniversary edition of Thomas the Tank Engine.
My favourite win of the month so far was from @Almondycake
, it was this gorgeous Cadbury’s hamper. I am a huge chocoholic as you know by now, so these are the treats sorted out for the next few weeks!
I would love to know what is your favourite kind of chocolate?
This is one of my azalea shrubs out in bud. It’s a gorgeous red colour and stands out well in my back garden against the barked area. My back garden is sloped into the hill, so I have found that azalea’s are perfect for bringing colour and interest to this drab area.
The azalea’s I have are very young plants, so I am looking forward over the coming years to see them grow and develop. This is my white azalea below, it’s very forward compared to the red one above. They have such beautiful spring blooms and bring joy to my garden.
So as you enjoyed my other hints and tips post’s here is another 7 Hints and Tips to add to the series. This time on how to plant and care for azalea’s.
- Appropriate Location – choose a location that is not in direct sunlight. Azalea’s prefer the morning sun and afternoon shade. My shrubs have the morning sun and are shaded by the house in the afternoon due to them being planted in the slope. Azalea’s grow well when planted under shady trees
- Soil Conditions – Azalea’s love well drained acidic soil. My garden has a very high clay component in the soil, so to get around the drainage problem, I loosened up the soil with lots of compost and other organic matter. Another way to get around bad draining soil is to plant the shrubs in pots or raised beds.
- Watering – When newly planted, azalea’s need to be watered every 2-3 days until the roots are established. They need to be kept moist, not wet or dry. Too much water is just as bad as too little.
- Mulching – Azalea shrubs like some sort of protection around their roots. This can be pine bark, pine needles, wood chips or something similar. This helps to keep the roots warm in winter, retain moisture around the roots and keep weeds away.
- Pruning – To keep the shrub full bodied, you can prune azalea’s after blooming. Prune no later than 3 weeks after the blooms have died down, otherwise you will be cutting off next years flower buds.
- Fertilising – I think the best time to feed your azalea is after blooming. Only use a little as they are light feeders and only require a small amount of feeding, otherwise you could burn your plants. Do not use any fresh manure on your azalea’s as it is too strong, and could kill your plant.
- Common Diseases and Pests – Insects that can affect azalea’s are lace bugs and spider mites. Lace bugs are more prone to attack your shrub if it is grown in full sunlight. They attack the underside of the leaf sucking out all the chlorophyll, leaving the leaf a grey-white colour. The azalea can be treated with sprays which you can buy from your local garden centres who can advise you on the best course of treatments.
I was given an ebook copy of Rooted and Four Other Disturbing Stories by Shane Hall to read and review for my blog. A word of warning is that the short stories are not for the faint hearted!
“Inside are five brief and unsettling stories based on the dark, unknown corners of humanity and beyond. Five paranormal terrors await, from an impossible video rental store run by a smiling teenage girl, to the corners of reality where humans are locked away, and even to a sunny parking lot where a person who looks just like you is walking closer and closer”
My first thoughts were that the cover is very haunting and disturbing. Perfect for letting us know what type of book it’s going to be.
I read the book in only an hour, I didn’t know the stories were going to be that short, but it was a very good scary hour. The stories are very well written, nuggets of pure gold in the horror/psychological universe. I re-read a couple of them after I finished to make sure I captured the whole picture of the story.
The first story Vivian’s Video is just plain weird, I really loved it! Next up comes How to Satisfy the Keymaker, this was my least favourite and one of the shortest. Then came John Adams Two. This one was the best, imagine meeting yourself in the car park? What would you do? The last two stories are called A Friend in the Depths and Rooted.
I love that the stories are original. They show great talent from a new author, and I can’t wait to read more from Shane Hall. It’s a short book that I will read again one day when I am looking for a quick scare. Perfect for quick reading under the covers before bedtime, a note to parents, not suitable for children.
I have given Rooted and Four Other Disturbing Stories 5 out of 5 stars.
*Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for a honest review. All views and opinion’s expressed are my own.
I have had such a huge amount of success with my last couple of giveaways that I have decided to run another one for you. This time it’s a chance to win a paperback copy of the children’s bestselling book School for Stars by sisters Holly and Kelly Willoughby. It’s 2 books in 1, containing the first two books in the School for Stars series. The book is aimed at 8 to 12 year olds although I do like a good school series myself.
The School For Stars series is all about twins, Molly and Maria Fitzfoster and their new friend Pippa Burrows and their school lives at the prestigious acting/dance/drama school called L’Etoile, School for stars. The trio share the same dream of becoming superstars, while being different in their own ways.
For a chance to win this book, please fill in the Rafflecopter below. Due to postage costs this will be a UK only competition.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms and Conditions:
There is one prize of a paperback copy of School for Stars – The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative will be offered. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter.com from all valid entries and be notified by Twitter. The winner will have 7 days to respond with a valid UK postal address before a new winner is selected. Open to all UK entrants aged 18 or over only.
Facebook and Twitter are in no way associated with this giveaway.
Entry to this competition confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.
I have done quite a few scenery photos for #MySundayPhoto recently so I thought this week I would try something thing different and go with food. This is a lovely fresh but really hot madras curry. It was amazing!
Last month I won this book with @joythestore
on Twitter. It is a book I heard about before and so really wanted to read it. My luck was in when I was announced as one of their competition winners.
The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson is a cross between a romance novel and a mystery psychological thriller type of book. The two main characters are Annie and Kate, old friends that are living in two totally different worlds and not sure who they are anymore.
Annie is a hippy type of girl working as a masseuse in various little rooms around London. One day she meets Stephen in one of these little rooms and he becomes her boyfriend and her ‘night in shining armour’ rescuing her and giving her a new working space in his office building. What Stephen doesn’t know is that Annie has a secret from her past that she doesn’t want anyone around her to know.
Kate has run away from Dublin, suffering from stress and burnout and ends up at a livery yard working for Mark Waverley in Somerset. Kate is scared that she is going to be found at any minute, but this doesn’t stop her from having feelings for her new boss.
I love the way the author Lucy switches each chapter back and forth between Annie and Kate’s stories. It’s written in a very clever way. I think Kate’s story is my favourite because of her love for Mark and his horse Stumpy and the way their relationships develop. The story keeps you holding on for more as you progress through the book. I really wanted to know why Kate ended up in Somerset! The characters are very well thought out and you will learn to love them all.
My only criticism is that it does start of fairly slow, but now I can see it was building and keeping us on tenderhooks till the end.
I would recommend this book to mystery romance lovers. It’s perfect for holiday reading and it will keep you on edge till the very end. It’s a book I will be proud to keep on my bookshelf and I’m glad I have been given the opportunity to read it.
I gave The day We Disappeared 4 out of 5 stars.
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