Modern Mummy

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

5 Tactics That Will Help You Achieve A Thoroughly Modern Family Garden

Imagine a garden that looked neat and tidy with minimal effort, but still provided an attractive outdoor space for you and your family to enjoy! Well, that is precisely what a modern style garden can do, as long as you design and create it right. Luckily, this is a topic you can find out more about in my post below.

Image Credit

Minimise the grass 
One of the characteristic features of a modern garden design is that the amount of lawn is reduced. It's not that is abolished altogether mind you, it's just that grass tends to look a great deal neater and be easier to maintain if it's contained. To that end, many modern gardens combine squares or rectangles of grass, along with paving and decking, creating a function, yet minimal look.

Of course, to keep your grass look at neat as possible you will need to both install it and maintain it in the right way. When it comes to laying the turf, it is well worth spending the time and effort to ensure the ground is as flat and level as possible. Something that will not only enhance the look of your lawn but also make it super simple to mow.

Additionally, try to steer clear of more organic lawn borders and beds and go for clearly delineated borders with wood, concrete, or raised beds instead. Then with a little work with a garden strimmer you will be able to keep the edge look sharp and clear no matter what the time of year.

Create some shade 
Next, if you are looking to create a workability family garden with modern features, making sure that there is some shade where you can all eat, or simply just enjoy being outside is a must.

Of course, you have a range of option available to you for this including creating a covered terrace or even using a large piece of canvas to create a sail that will shade the space underneath it.


Grow your own 
Another feature that modern gardens need is the ability to provide produce for the home, something that is likely to only increase in popularity as time goes on.

Of course, it is often a greenhouse that is key to achieving a viable crop, as this help to provide seedlings with the necessary heat, light, and humidity that they need for a healthy start in life before they are planted into the garden proper. Sadly, the issue with this is that until very recently greenhouses have not been a feature that blends well into a modern style garden.

Luckily, with products like Cultivar greenhouses now on the market this needn't be a concern. In fact, you can even get custom built greenhouses in a very modern style that will enhance the look of your outside space, rather than looking out of place. Something that means growing food even in modern style garden is something that is achievable for many families.

Water features 
A key aspect of many modern style gardens is the integration of a water feature such as a fountain, pond, or even stream. Of course, the execution of this needs to match the style of your outdoor space, and that means moulded Rocco fountains with cherubs are out.

Instead, consider integrating a sunken pond in a rectangle style into your design. This being an addition that can not only look aesthetically pleasing but break up the lines in your garden, and add some texture as well.


Alternatively, you may wish to install a modern style foundation, something that you can get in either spherical or rectangular designs. These can be particularly effective too, as they provide a relaxing trickling sound, and can be run on solar power, and without direct access to a water source. Something that means you can position them anywhere in your outdoor space for maximum effect. 

Temperature control 
Finally, while family gardens of the far future may be space where we can control the temperature completely, we aren't quite at this point yet. However, including features in the garden such as a fire pit or outdoor heater can help you ward off the cold, and get as much use as you can from your outside space all year round as a family.


Of course, fire pits will need to be installed in a manner that not only fits with the modern design but is safe as well. Alternatively, outdoor heaters can be positioned high above seating areas which means there are much less likely to pose a safety risk for younger members of the family. Something that perhaps make the latter a more practical addition to a modern, family garden.


Tuesday, 26 February 2019

DAYS OUT IN LONDON // Zog at the Rose Theatre, Kingston

And just like that, half term is over and the kids are back at school. Is it just me or do these holidays feel like they're getting shorter and shorter?

We had a brilliant week that was the perfect mix of lazy mornings at home and out-and-about fun; the highlight of which definitely had to be the press performance of Zog - the stage adaptation of the book by Julia Donaldson - at the Rose Theatre in Kingston (the stomping ground of my youth, no less - and what a joy it was to be back!).

We're regular kids theatre goers; I love watching the girls get immersed in the magic of a live stage show. There's something so special about seeing your favourite stories come to life in front of you, especially when there are real life people in it - and puppets, and lights, and music, and special effects.

Up until last week I would have said Stick Man was our favourite out of all the kids shows we'd seen (funnily enough, also a Freckle Production), but since seeing Zog, I think we might have a new entry at the top spot!

I'm not sure whether that's because I feel like its aimed at slightly older children than Stick Man is (which mine now are, at 6 and 9) or whether its because the musical score was written by none other than the legendary Johnny Flynn (more on him later) but it was utterly, utterly brilliant from start to finish.

We loved the puppetry, we loved the clever costume changes and we loved the simple but effective set. The cast were brilliant and engaging and hilarious, and the show had lots of audience participation which is always a winner. The girls and I all agreed that it was just a lovely, lovely show.

I realise lovely is a bit of a strange word to use in a theatre review but if you've read the book I think you'll agree that it's just the loveliest story about friendship - and this production of it has been put together perfectly. It's an ideal show for all the family; it kind of bridges the gap between really young kids theatre and stuff for tweens and I can't think of any other show that does the same.

As I already mentioned, the music was written by Johnny Flynn who is one of my favourite musicians of all time. It was brilliant, and must definitely be used as a selling point for any older family members that might be reluctant to go. In actual fact Johnny and his wife and family were sat in front of us at the press performance.... and I was completely and utterly star struck!

Zog is now on a six month tour around the UK - detailed listings here - and ticket prices start at just £12.50.

We invited to the Rose Theatre as guests of Freckle Productions in exchange for this review. All words are honest and my own.

Fancy production photographs courtesy of Helen Maybanks.
Photo of two ratbags in front of the Zog poster taken by me.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

An Anti-Valentine's Day Post with Clas Ohlson

This post contains gifted items from Clas Ohlson, although I was under no obligation to write about them.

I didn't expect to receive any presents this Valentine's Day, so you can imagine my surprise when the Parcel Force man rocked up my path carrying a h-u-g-e shiny red box tied up with a big red bow earlier today!

Sadly it wasn't from a secret admirer, but it was from my friends at Clas Ohlson - and the big red box contained one of their awesome Valentine's Block It All Out kits. I chuckled more than once as I opened it.

Looking for a little token pressie for a friend this Valentine's / Galentine's Day? Why not treat them to one of these:

Love-sick bags, £4.99 - not REALLY sick bags.... these can be used as gift or sweetie bags. However feel free to safely deposit your vomit in them when all those soppy, romantic people around you start declaring their love for each other!

Ear defenders, £6.99 - to block out the sound of cringy chat up lines, emotional oversharing and your own sobbing ;) I'm going to use these to block out the sound of my whingy children on a daily basis, never mind just Valentine's Day.

Eye mask, £2.99 - the best way to ensure you see no public displays of affection is to keep your peepers firmly closed. Or, if you're like me and need complete darkness in order to be able to sleep both at home and whilst travelling, this eye mask is BRILLIANT, and I'm not just saying that because I was sent it. Its padded and super soft and the strap can be adjusted to fit your head perfectly. For £2.99 I most definitely would recommend!

Popcorn maker, £24.99 - I don't know about you but I plan to spend tomorrow night watching Meg Ryan films whilst eating a shed load of popcorn and drinking a shed load of wine (just as well I was also sent a bottle opener, £2.99 - which is an essential in every grown up's kitchen drawer).

Foot spa, £14.99 - because I fully intend to relax while I'm eating that popcorn and drinking that wine.

Cat (or dog) gifts, from £1.49 - what better way to complete the kit than by including a little something for that special furry creature in your life? Mabel has already lost her new toys under the oven.

Thank you for thinking of us Clas Ohlson!
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