Time to Get Real - Focus on the Job at Hand

Time to Get Real - Focus on the Job at Hand

The last day of January!!  Thank goodness!

January is possibly my least favourite month of the year,  except for 1993 when my first born arrived - that was a good year!  It's the barrage of self-improvement, do this, don't do that, messages combined with dark mornings, dark nights and generally gloomy weather that does nothing to revive my spirits for the start of the year ahead.

Tomorrow will be different.

Already the days are getting longer.  It's a lovely feeling to leave work and it's not pitch black.  You know that in a few short weeks the weather will improve, buds will start to show and moods and spirits will lift in anticipation of Spring.  As Love Unlimited sang, "It may be Winter outside, but in my heart it's Spring"!

The promise of warmer days, more time outdoors gets me to planning.

Not planning dry February, or 100 press ups a day, I start planning my garden.

What will I grow this year.  Is it worth fighting the grubs for my organic veg?  Is the work planting from seed better than just buying trays of bedding plants?  What colour am I painting fences and furniture?

It's now that I start my check list, feel free to use mine if it's of interest!

Plant Regeneration

Trim back hedges and shrubs to avoid those ugly woody stems that develop over the years.  Prune back old stems to encourage new shoots in the spring.

Roses are an example of a plant that benefits from regeneration (but not all roses).

Winter Tip: When all the leaves have fallen make time to clear unwanted or poorly looking plants and feed the soil.  It might be a good time to plan your display for spring on this new blank canvas?

Did you know? All wild nesting birds are protected by law. These means that you cannot deliberately disturb a wild birds nest between 1st March and 31st July. For many woody plants, winter is the best time for pruning and it avoids disturbing wild bird nests.

Know your plant before you prune!  Different trees, shrubs and climbers all have different needs and at different times of the year:
Winter pruning often involves cutting back woody growth and therefore takes longer and results in large amounts of cuttings. By getting these jobs out of the way in the off season you’ll be free to concentrate on the planting and maintenance in the spring and summer.  Your garden will look better and you’ve spread the workload and cost over the year.

General Tidy Up. British winters can be cold, windy and frosty but we can also get quite warm spells too and weeds will continue to grow during a mild winter. By clearing the debris of leaves and broken and damaged plants you will improve the look and well-being of the garden. Good garden hygiene also helps to reduce diseases. Sweep away leaves and moss from paths and hard ground.  Leaves will fertilise weeds allowing them to establish themselves in cracks and paths.  Regular weeding means less weeding.

Winter Planting. Some plants (like roses) lie dormant in the winter and so can be moved.  As long as the soil is not frozen or waterlogged, these dormant plants can be planted before they 'wake-up' in the spring.

Bulbs such as crocus, tulips and iris are often planted in late autumn. Herbaceous plants (Daffodils, cyclamen and periwinkle) are often divided and replanted in early spring depending on your local climate.

Only heavy frost and snow will stop a keen gardener!

Soil Preparation

Winter is a good time to re-design ready for spring.  If you want to add a new border, feel free to leave the soil in clumps as the cold, wet and frost will help to break it down naturally, it will also kill off any pests by exposing them to natural predators such as birds and the hedgehogs you’ll attract using the seeds from the Spring Seeds, Winter or Nature Seeds gift boxes.  The same rules apply to any vegetable plots.

Is your lawn a state? Often if you have pets and/or kids your lawn area will take a hammering over summer and so the winter is a good time to remove sections of turf, add/remove soil and relay. Lawns can be reseeded and grass grows if the temperature is above 5 degrees.

Landscaping Repairs

Now that you can see your garden in its bare bones, what repairs are needed?

- Repair any leaks on sheds and greenhouses

- Invest in a water butt

- Create or purchase a compost bin

- Repair and paint fences and furniture

- Repair any loose paving slabs

- Pressure wash paths and patios

- Build or buy a bug hotel

When you have a list of hard graft jobs like this to consider you certainly don't need a January exercise plan!

Check out our Garden Collection for gifts that will inspire your green fingered loved ones!  You'll also find some garden inspired gifts for Mother's Day too.

 Spring is about to spring - and I for one can't wait!

 

Heartfelt Gestures: 5 Ways to Show You Care Without Breaking the Bank

Heartfelt Gestures: 5 Ways to Show You Care Without Breaking the Bank

Most meaningful gestures often come from the heart, not the wallet. In this blog post, we'll explore creative and thoughtful ways to show you care without spending a lot of money.
Unlocking Savings: The Advantages of Online Shopping in the January Sales

Unlocking Savings: The Advantages of Online Shopping in the January Sales

From the comfort and convenience of your home to the global marketplace at your fingertips, the online realm enhances the traditional sales experience. Embrace the digital era to unlock savings, access exclusive deals, and make the most of the January sales without the hassle of in-store crowds. Happy shopping!
Christmas Gift Ideas for Couples

Christmas Gift Ideas for Couples

Christmas is a wonderful time and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing the smile on your loved ones faces when they open a well thought out gift box
Reduce Stress and Gain Back Time.  Ideas and gift suggestions for busy individuals.

Reduce Stress and Gain Back Time. Ideas and gift suggestions for busy individuals.

How do we find that work/life balance and sustain it so that we make time for us, reduce stress and find our inner peace?
How Time Flies - 3 Years On and Gifting has never been so easy.

How Time Flies - 3 Years On and Gifting has never been so easy.

It's been almost three years since we first launched Ooh-Box and it has certainly been a "journey".  In truth, if someone asked me would I do it now - I think I would probably say "No"! but so much time and love and energy has been invested and it's been slow - but then Rome wasn't built in a day!
Time for Bed - 5 Handy Hints to Help You Wind Down.

Time for Bed - 5 Handy Hints to Help You Wind Down.

We all need to chill out, unwind, de-stress and just take some time out away from the things that bug us, and focus just on ourselves.  Sound selfish?  We don't think so!
Tis the season to be jolly, or so they say?  Christmas Gifting - Ho! Ho! Ho!

Tis the season to be jolly, or so they say? Christmas Gifting - Ho! Ho! Ho!

We all love the HIgh Street and hate that shops are closing down but here are a few reasons why mixing up the high street with a bit of online shopping can make the whole Christmas shopping experience just a little more bearable. 
The Art of Finding the Perfect Gift: A Journey of Thoughtfulness

The Art of Finding the Perfect Gift: A Journey of Thoughtfulness

It's important to acknowledge that finding the "perfect" gift doesn't always mean finding the most expensive or extravagant one. We all know it’s the thought that counts and why we at Oohbox have gifts for all occasions and to suit all budgets.
Unwrap Joy: Embracing the Delights of Our Online Gift Shop!

Unwrap Joy: Embracing the Delights of Our Online Gift Shop!

In a world that's constantly evolving, convenience has become our steadfast companion. Whether it's streaming our favourite movies or ordering groceries online, technology has beautifully interwoven itself into our daily lives. And when it comes to gifting, we've got the ultimate treasure trove waiting for you right here at Ooh-Box! Let's dive into the sheer delight and boundless benefits of choosing our virtual emporium for all your gifting needs.

 

  1. A Universe of Choices:

Picture this: you're searching for the perfect gift and your options seem as infinite as the stars. From new arrivals and new homes, through engagements and weddings, birthdays and beyond our online gift shop boasts a universe of choices all in one convenient digital destination.

 

  1. From Anywhere, Anytime:

Gone are the days of rushing to brick-and-mortar stores amidst our busy schedules. With our online gift shop, you can indulge your gifting spirit from the comfort of your home, your favourite café, or even during a lunch break at work. The 24/7 accessibility ensures that your thoughtful gestures aren't bound by time or place.

 

  1. Doorstep Delivery:

Imagine the excitement of your loved one as they receive a package right at their doorstep, a surprise that's been carefully selected and thoughtfully sent. With our online gift shop, you can eliminate the hassle of physically delivering presents. Let the magic of doorstep delivery add an extra layer of enchantment to your gifting experience.

 

  1. Last-Minute Miracles:

Life can get busy, and sometimes, gifting occasions sneak up on us. But worry not! Our online gift shop is your partner in last-minute miracles. With expedited shipping options, you can rest assured that your heartwarming gift will arrive just in time to make someone's day extra special.

 

  1. Expert Curation:

Navigating through a world of options can sometimes feel overwhelming. That's where our expert curation comes to your aid. Our online gift shop is designed with categories that make selecting the perfect present a breeze. Not only have we created collections for all events, our gift boxes contain beautiful pre-selected gifts that complement each other wonderfully.  All our selected pieces could stand on their own two feet as a cherished present for your loved one.  Whether you're shopping for a green fingered gardener, student, or newlyweds.  From baby to bath chair, we've got you covered.  All our boxes come wrapped in our signature crisp white wrapping complete with wax seal and option for a personalised card.

 

  1. Enhanced Payment Security:

Concerned about online transactions? Fret not! Our online gift shop takes your security seriously. We employ top-notch encryption and payment gateways to ensure that your shopping experience is not only enjoyable but also safe.

 

  1. Exclusive Deals and Offers:

Who doesn't love a good deal? Our online gift shop showers you with exclusive discounts and offers that'll make your gifting spree even more delightful. This means you can spread joy without worrying about breaking the bank.  Your first order comes with 10% off!

 

In this era of instant gratification and seamless connectivity, our online gift shop emerges as a beacon of convenience, joy, and boundless choices. Embrace the magic of technology and let it elevate your gifting game to new heights. From  tokens of love to doorstep-delivered surprises, every moment becomes a memory when you choose us as your gifting partner. So why wait? Dive into a world where gifting is as joyful for you as it is for the ones you cherish. Unwrap happiness, one click at a time!

Making the Most of Your BBQ Party in the Rain: 10 Tips for a “Sizzler” of Good Time

Making the Most of Your BBQ Party in the Rain: 10 Tips for a “Sizzler” of Good Time

Picture this: a cosy garden, twinkling lights, the tantalizing aroma of grilled delicacies wafting through the air, and the cheerful chatter of friends and family. Now, imagine a sudden rain shower threatening to dampen your BBQ party spirits. While rain might not be the ideal BBQ weather, it doesn't have to be a show-stopper. With a little creativity and preparation, you can still host a memorable and enjoyable BBQ event, rain or shine. Here are some tips to ensure your BBQ party remains a sizzler of a success even when the rainclouds gather.

  1. Embrace the Weather:

Instead of viewing rain as a party pooper, consider it an opportunity to create a unique and cosy ambiance. Set up tents, canopies, or even a makeshift gazebo to shield your guests from the raindrops. Adorn these structures with string lights and decorations to create an enchanting atmosphere that makes the rain feel like a magical touch.

  1. Plan a Menu with Versatility:

When the weather forecast looks a bit gloomy, it's a good idea to choose a BBQ menu that can be prepared and enjoyed indoors as well. Opt for dishes that can be grilled and finished off in the oven. This way, you can keep the grilling spirit alive while ensuring that the food is served hot and delicious.

   3. Prepare Sheltered Cooking Area:

While grilling in the rain is not advisable due to safety concerns, you can set up a sheltered cooking station. Place the grill under a canopy or any other rain-resistant structure to keep the chef dry while they work their culinary magic.

  4. Stock Up on Supplies:

Be ready with an ample supply of umbrellas, rain ponchos, and even spare towels for your guests. This small gesture shows your consideration for their comfort and helps them relax and enjoy the party despite the weather.

  1. Game On, Rain or Shine:

Don't let the rain dampen the fun and games. Prepare a list of indoor games or activities that can be enjoyed if the rain becomes too heavy. Board games, charades or a quiz are excellent choices to keep the entertainment going.  Check out our blog from July 24th for ideas for the little ones.

   6. Beverage Brilliance:

Rainy weather calls for warm and comforting beverages. Set up a drink station with hot cocoa, mulled cider, or coffee to keep your guests warm and content. You can also prepare a range of mocktails or cocktails that complement the BBQ flavours and keep the party vibe going. 

  1. Comfort is Key:

Provide ample seating and cosy cushions in sheltered areas to keep your guests comfortable. Create inviting seating arrangements that encourage mingling and conversation, ensuring that the rain doesn't deter them from enjoying each other's company. 

  1. Plan B for Music:

If you had initially planned to have live music or a speaker system outdoors, make sure you have an indoor setup or waterproof speakers that can withstand the rain. Music sets the mood, and you don't want it to be drowned out by the raindrops. 

  1. Rain-Ready Decor:

Extend your party theme to accommodate the rain. Consider using water-resistant decorations or rain-themed accents to turn the weather into a playful part of your party's aesthetic. 

  1. Positive Attitude:

Your enthusiasm and positivity will set the tone for the entire event. Embrace the rain with a smile, and your guests are likely to follow suit. Remember, it's not about the weather, but the memories you create with your loved ones. 

In conclusion, hosting a BBQ party in the rain requires a mix of preparation, creativity, and a positive outlook. With the right strategies in place, you can turn a potentially soggy situation into a memorable and enjoyable gathering. So, keep the grill hot, the drinks warm, and the spirits high, and you're sure to have a sizzling good time rain or shine.

Our Sizzler BBQ Gift Hamper is the perfect party gift box for him or her and will make a unique house-warming gift or wedding present.  This "meaty" gift box contains a Valiant BBQ multi tool, printed apron, meat rubs and the fabulous Fire & Smoke BBQ recipe book by Rich Harris. (Does not contain meat)!

Embracing the Sun: Preparing Mind and Body for a Vibrant Summer

Embracing the Sun: Preparing Mind and Body for a Vibrant Summer

With the arrival of summer, our spirits are lifted, and the warm rays of the sun beckon us outdoors. It's the perfect time to revitalize both our mental and physical well-being, setting the stage for a fulfilling and joyful season.