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Bonsai is the Japanese art of growing miniature trees in trays and dates back thousands years. The trees can be different specimens and it is actually quite a complicated process. There are so many different ways to grow a Bonsai tree and there are some really intricate and complicated trees available which cost a fortune and really show off the art form.
I have a couple of Bonsai trees both of which I bought from a stall at a continental market. I don’t know how traditional they might be but I like them and appreciate the ornamental quality of them. Although I have had them both a while now they haven’t got much bigger which is because they are kept artificially small.
I personally would never have the patience to grow a Bonsai from seed so I bought mine already cultivated but it still needs some taking care of. You have to prune it and also you may need to repot the Bonsai to keep the roots healthy. They don’t take a huge amount of caring for on a day to day basis but if you want to keep it for years then you will have to care for it.
The price of Bonsai trees varies wildly because of how intricate and how long they can take to grow. You can get cheap trees for £10 but you can also pay thousands of pounds for one that is older and more intricate. I would love a really old Bonsai but I couldn’t afford the money for it so am just hoping that with taking care of the two I have they will survive for the rest of my life.
I have been growing my own vegetables in my garden since I bought my house and had a garden for the first time. I am not a natural gardener but I do enjoy growing vegetables as it is nice to have something useful at the end of the day.
I do have to admit that to begin with I was a little bit conservative with what I grew and didn’t want to grow anything too exotic. I was more concerned with getting some actual veg so I only wanted to try growing things which were fairly easy to grow.
I grew onions and leeks in the garden and they worked well and I also grew some garlic in a pot as I read it was easier to do it in a pot than in the garden and besides I didn’t want to take up room in the veg patch with garlic when it is so small and even though I use garlic in cooking all the time a head can last me a couple of weeks so I didn’t need that many.
I just used a medium sized pot and combined soil with compost and then planted the bulbs and left them to their own devices. I kept them in an area where I knew the sun would get them often and made sure to water them well and often. I got a good few garlic heads from my pot and they tasted delicious and much nicer than the garlic that I get in the supermarket. It just had a nicer taste and I am not sure if that is because I grew it myself so I thought it tasted nicer or if the flavour was better but I think it was.
The only problem that I had with growing garlic was that it isn’t the fastest growing and I am a bit impatient and like to have fast growing vegetables but it was definitely worth the time and effort which to be honest was minimal.
I am not the greatest gardener in the world and don’t really enjoy the whole process of it so I keep plants to a minimum. I do have a few just for purely aesthetical purposes but I don’t have lots. When I bought my house and finally had a garden I wanted it to be low maintenance but one thing that I wanted was a vegetable patch as I have been obsessed with growing my own vegetables for as long as I can remember.
One of the first things that I ever grew in the garden was lettuce as I was told that this was one of the easiest things that you can grow yourself and it turned out that it was though they aren’t without some problems when it comes to growing them.
I sowed one packet of lettuce seeds containing 100 seeds and didn’t know what to expect but I was shocked when they germinated and it looked like almost the whole 100 seeds had sprouted. I never actually counted them but there must have been about 80. The whole process of growing them was so simple and I just used the soil in my garden that was already there along with some compost.
They were really fast growing as well and I was soon inundated with lettuce. I ended up sowing some more seeds to keep the crop going and these germinated just as well as the first ones did. They seeds cost next to nothing to buy and were excellent value when I seen how many lettuces that I actually got from them.
Lettuce can be grown in vegetable patches or even just pots if you haven’t got the room. I am going to grow some more this year but I am going to grow them in some large pots instead of the ground as they can be grown really close together and I would like the extra room in the vegetable patch to try growing something different this year.
Although they were incredibly easy to grow the only problem that I had with them was slugs. I soent so much time trying to protect these from slugs as the slugs were obsessed with them and I didn’t even know my garden had that many slugs. I lost loads of the lettuce leaves to slug bites and ended up spending ages removing them from the lettuces. This is a common problem though and nothing to do with the actual lettuces but it is something to be aware of when growing them.
I use herbs a lot in cooking so I decided to try growing my own and have been growing them very successfully for the past year. You can grow herbs outside but I have found it easier to just grow mine in pots and I now have a little miniature herb garden which I grow in my kitchen.
One of the herbs that I was determined to grow myself is fresh mint as it is something that I buy a lot of so it would save me money and besides mint is always best when it is freshly cut.
Because I use mint so often I actually have a few different pots of it growing because I can’t get enough of it. I would probably be better growing it in the garden but I just don’t have the room for it.
You can either grow mint from seeds or buy a small plant from the garden centre. I actually have both and growing it from seed was painless and pretty easy. I was surprised with just how easy it was to grow the mint from seed in a pot the first time.
I just got a large well drained pot and filled it with soil and then sowed the seeds. I then used a plastic bag to cover the seeds until they germinated and then it got transferred to my windowsill in the sun to continue to grow. It was so easy and painless and the mint grew fantastically well with no special treatment needed. I was a bit worried when I first grew it that it would just die but it absolutely thrived in the pot on the windowsill and grew really large. The best thing about it is that it continues to regrow even after you have picked the leaves.
Mint is a really good and easy herb to start with if you are interested in growing your own as it takes very little maintenance and upkeep other than the occasional watering and it is a herb that has so many used in cooking. It can be used in teas, alcoholic drinks, salads, cooking and even just for chewing to freshen your breath.
I picked a pack of these up in Asda because I like to have a pack of lozenges lying around as I like to be prepared if I get a cold or just even a slightly sore throat.
In winter with the central heating on all the time and then going into the cold wind I can get a sore throat quite often so I tend to go through quite a lot of lozenges as I find that they soothe my throat and the sucking action lubricates my throat reliving the dry feeling that I get.
These lozenges are fine but they aren’t as good as some other brands. They offer quite good value for money though as they only cost £1.80 for a pack of 36 lozenges. I am not used to getting so many lozenges in a pack as you only usually get about 12 maximum and the way that I go through them it is good to get more.
The lozenges are blackcurrant flavoured with menthol and are just like boiled sweets that you suck to release the menthol and soothe your throat. They also have added vitamin C and eucalyptus but to be honest the menthol in these isn’t as strong as you get with some other brands. They taste nice enough and they give a little bit of soothing action to my throat but that’s mainly just because I am producing more saliva when sucking on them which helps to lubricate my throat.
These are basically just sweets with some menthol in them which means that you don’t get the soothing numbing feeling that you get with something like strepsils but it also means that you can have as many of these as you like as they contain nothing which can harm your health if you take too many.
These lozenges are ok for the money but they certainly aren’t as good as loads of other lozenges that you can get and I personally probably wouldn’t buy them again because the menthol in them was minimal and if I do have a cold or a sore throat then I want something a bit stronger which is going to make me feel better as quick as possible.
I’ve managed to only have one cold this winter but that was enough for me as there really is nothing worse than having a bad cold. There isn’t anything that you can do to make it go away but luckily there are plenty of things that you can buy to at least ease the symptoms of it.
I bought some Beechams Ultra from the supermarket and although they normally cost £4.49 for a packet with 10 sachets in it they had them on special offer for only £3.
The box contains 10 sachets of powder which you pour into a mug and then just fill up with hot water and stir to make sure that you have dissolved the powder. The powder contains paracetamol, phenylephrine and guaifenesin. The paracetamol helps with aches and pains while the phenylephrine is a decongestant and the guaifenesin is an expectorant to help lift phlegm from your chest.
The flavour of them is honey and menthol and I thought that they were very soothing to drink. The hot lemon flavour immediately made me feel better and I could actually smell the menthol in them which combined with the steam seemed to unblock my airwaves a little bit.
These didn’t make me miraculously better as soon as drinking them but they definitely did help with my symptoms. They helped ease the ache that you get when you have a bad cold and the really helped ease the pain in my chest. The fact that it was a hot lemon drink was also just soothing in itself and it also helped take away some of the dryness in my throat.
The only thing that they didn’t seem to help with was my nose. The hot steam coming from it along with the menthol helped clear it a little but the Phenylephrine didn’t work nearly as well as a nasal spray at unblocking my nose for any amount of time.
Over all though these were a good option for easing my cold symptoms and they really did feel as though they were soothing my symptoms and made me feel better even if it was only for a short time.
Because these are medicines there are things to watch out for but everything is explained in the leaflet that comes with them but probably the most important thing is to ensure that you do not exceed the maximum dose which is four sachets in a 24 hour period.
I had seen this black gel in the shops for ages but hadn’t bought it until there was a special 3for2 offer on so I decided to try it out.
I think I picked up the wrong one as this one is designed for people with bad spots whereas they do a less harsh one for people with more normal skin who just get the odd few spots.
It contains charcoal in it which it claims is a powerful purifying agent to really deep clean your skin and clear out all the pores to help with spots.
It foams up nicely with water and you only need a small amount to wash your face so it will last for ages. After using it my skin felt so clean and fresh. It really felt as though it had cleaned deep down and got all the grime and muck from the pores.
I get a few spots and some oiliness but nothing really major and I think this was just too harsh for my skin as it really dried it out. I think it would be good for people with really oily skin as it will soak up the oil and dry out the spots but if you have normal skin then you might find it a bit too strong.
I liked the way this really left my skin feeling clean but after using it a few times I did notice it was really starting to dry my skin out around my nose and on my cheeks especially so I had to stop using it. I have still occasionally used it but not every day and I think it works well when my skin is feeling really grimy and in need of a deep clean.
I wish I had got the less powerful one as I actually do like this and think it works but this one is not for me though I would recommend it to people who have greasy and spotty skin as I think it would really help to combat them.
I don’t think men should be embarrassed at taking care of their skin especially these days when there is such a large choice of skin care ranges designed for men that you don’t have to buy something aimed at women anymore.
Even though there is nothing to be embarrassed about wearing a moisturiser and taking care of your skin you don’t want to look as though you are wearing anything and a ‘dewy’ look is not something that most men want their skin to have.
Luckily there is a whole host of products out there that help with unwanted shine and greasiness. L’oreal do a good anti shine gel as part of their men’s range which helps eliminate excess shine and grease from your skin.
You can either use the gel as a straight forward moisturiser though it isn’t that great as a moisturiser on its own but if your skin is quite greasy and only needs a little bit of moisture then this will work.
I think it is much better used as something that you put on top of a moisturiser to immediately matify your skin and leave it looking shine free. It soaks up excess oil and also that greasy layer that you can get with some moisturisers.
It feels nice to apply and has a nice fresh smell to it. You can see the silica in the gel immediately take away any grease and it lasts for a whole day to keep excess oil reduced to the bare minimum so that your skin stays shine free all day.
It is quite expensive though as it costs £10 but it does last quite a while as you only need to use a little bit each time on the areas where you produce the most oil such as your nose and forehead.
I love using anything with Dead Sea Salts in them because I am a big fan of the mineral rich salts and believe that they are one of the best things for a whole host of skin complaints.
One thing that I wasn’t keen on was the rich moisturiser because for me it was just too rich and greasy for my skin.
When I bought this it was because there was a 3 for 2 offer on and I was buying something else from the range. I get really dry skin in the winter and this is supposed to protect skin from the elements.
It is supposed to be light and non greasy but I found that when I used it the moisturiser reminded me almost exactly of an emollient cream. It was really heavy and greasy looking on my skin and it left it with a shiny greasy layer that took ages to soak in.
I do have to say that if you have dry skin then this will defiantly help it and any dryness that you might have will be gone after using this but unless your skin is particularly parched you will probably find that this is too heavy for you.
I just didn’t like how this felt at all on my skin. It was more the fact that I just couldn’t get it to absorb properly so I was left with this greasy layer on the top of my skin. It does absorb eventually but it takes ages and until then there is no mistaking that you have something on your skin.
It does work and left my skin feeling amazing but I just didn’t like the feel of it so I personally wouldn’t buy it again. I can imagine that this would be great for things like eczema and other dry itchy skin conditions but if you just have some normal dry skin then it will probably be too rich for you.
I love using the original Radox bath salts in a bath for soothing a weary body as they are very relaxing and soothing and good for sore muscles.
These are very similar to the muscle soak salts but they also have the added benefit of containing Eucalyptus to clear the mind and the sinuses.
These are great to use if you are suffering from a cold as they will help to open up your airwaves. I get a blocked stuffy nose all the time and the Eucalyptus alongside the steam really help with open up my airwaves and making breathing through my nose a lot easier.
You use the salts by pouring in some to a bath while running it and allowing them to dissolve in the bath water. You do need to give them a good stir with your hand to get them to dissolve properly though as otherwise they can just sit at the bottom of the bath.
Also you do need to be generous when adding these to your bath and throw in a good couple of handfuls to be able to get the full effect from them.
As well as being good for sinus problems they are also very soothing for sore and tired muscles and it is a very relaxing experience. I don’t find that these give me any trouble with my skin and there are no bubbles to irritate it either.
They smell great though the Ecuolyptus does make them smell more medicinal than the original bath salts smell. It’s still a nice smell though and very relaxing.
These are slightly more difficult to get a hold of than the original muscle soak salts but it is worth hunting them down as they are really good. Independent pharmacies seem to stock them more than the bigger shops and they cost around about £1
I love Radox bath salts and think that they are so much better and so much more effective than the bath foams that they do. They bath foams are nice enough but I honestly think the bath salts really work whereas the foams are just more for relaxing.
I love using the Muscle Soak when my muscles are a bit tired or sore. It is great for when you might have worked out a bit much at the gym or even if you are just a bit tired after a long day and want something to help you relax.
I have sciatica and I find that these are really helpful with soothing my back muscles and making it a bit less painful so I like to use them before bed.
The bath salts are natural mineral rich sea salts which also contain Thyme in them. You dissolve the salts in hot water and you need to make sure and get your hand in the water and give them a good stir to make sure they are all dissolved or else you will get into the bath and be lying on the grainy salts.
Once they are dissolved there are no bubbles so don’t buy them expecting them to give you a bubble bath because they don’t produce bubbles.
The smell of this is herbal and really relaxing. I really like the smell of thyme and this smells quite strongly of it and I think it smells soothing and relaxing.
Lying in a bath with these salts really relaxes your entire body and although hot water alone will soothe your muscles this makes it even more soothing. I have used all sorts and I still think that mineral salts are the best thing for soothing the body.
As well as being relaxing and soothing your muscles these are also really good for your skin and they make my skin feel soft and also clean.
The great thing about these bath salts is that not only do they work to relax and soothe you but they are also dirt cheap. I bought a box of these salts a couple of weeks back and they were only 85p and the box is big enough that you will get quite a few baths out of it.
When I am sunbathing I always use a once a day sunscreen and then use either a lotion or a spray when I feel like I might need it just for extra protection and peace of mind.
I’m not really fussy about which brand that I use so long as it has a decent level of SPF and also protects against UVA. I’ve bought the Aldi sun spray a couple of times and thought it was really good for such a cheap price.
For just £2.79 you get a spray bottle which has 200ml of sun screen in it which is the same as most bottle of sunscreens including those which cost £10 and over. I got one with an SPF of 30 but there was also a lower SPF of 15 available.
As well as the SPF of 30 it also has 5 star UVA protection so again it is just as high and in fact higher than the majority of big brands.
It feels pleasant to use with a nice smell and it sprays out of the nozzle well without blocking it and I found that it was really easy to rub into my skin. It provided perfectly fine protection for my skin from the sun and I was really happy with it overall.
The only problem that I have with it is that it is so hard to get because as soon as Aldi get any in stock it sells out so quickly and then it isn’t available for weeks. I don’t know if this is the case in all Aldi’s but it is in mine and it is quite annoying when you want some and there is none in stock.
I have used Corsodyl for years on and off as I have had loads of trouble with my gums. The last time that I was at the hygienist she gave me a row again for smoking and told me that I had a bit of inflammation in my gums and she recommended that I try this instead of the Corsodyl.
I bought it in the chemist and I paid £4.85 for it. I’d seen the bottle before but I mistakenly thought because of the white colour of the bottle it was for whitening teeth. It is actually a medicated Hydrogen Peroxide based mouth wash used to treat mouth and gum irritations and infections.
It does so by killing the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing gum infections. It also stops them from spreading.
The mouth wash inside the bottle is a blue liquid and it smells like medicated mint. You use it like you would any other mouth wash by filling the cap and then swilling it about your mouth for 2 minutes.
What makes this so different from other mouth washes is that when you swill this around your mouth it releases oxygen in the liquid and it starts to foam up in your mouth. This is really weird the first couple of times you use it but you soon get used to it. The foam works brilliantly and removing debris from in between the teeth and really cleaning in the gaps.
Unlike Corsodyl this actually tastes quite pleasant too. It is really mild and it doesn’t sting or burn like Corsodyl and it leaves your mouth feeling incredibly clean and fresh. Unlike Corsodyl it also doesn’t stain teeth so that is another thing in its favour.
I had never used Hydrogen Peroxide in a product like this before and I wasn’t sure if it would even work but it cleared up my bleeding gums in no time and made them look healthier quickly.
Since using it the first time I have become a total convert and I think it is just as good as Corsodyl but without the unpleasantness that that one has. It is much nicer to taste and it works just as well and in fact it might even work a little bit better because it really does leave your mouth feeling so clean.
Because it is a medicine there are a few warnings and some mild side effects that can happen but these are rare and no worse than with any other medicated mouthwash.
My dog suffers from a contact allergy from something that he encounters on walks in summer. It makes him itchy which he scratches insistently which can then cause bleeding. I took him to the vets and she said it must be a plant or something that he is rubbing against and other than just not taking him walks there wasn’t a lot she could do other than recommend some creams.
She recommend a particular cream which helped but I wanted to try this too because I really believe that tea tree can work wonders for skin conditions in the right quantities. I didn’t want to try and mix anything with pure tea tree myself for him as I didn’t want to get the quatities wrong and end up irritating his skin even more.
As this was designed for small animals I was confident that it would be in the right quanitities not to irritate his skin any further.
I paid £4 for the pot of cream and I thought this was quite reasonable as the one that the vet had originally recommended had cost me considerably more.
It has a nice smell that isn’t too strong for sensitive pet’s noses. It is a mild medicated smell with tea tree and smells perfectly pleasant and just like a lot of human creams.
I was really impressed with how well this cream worked. The first time that I used it my dog’s skin was red and sore looking where he had been scratching and chewing it and this took a lot of the redness out of it really quickly and I could definitely see an improvement straight away in my dog as straight away he didn’t feel the need to continue biting and liking the sore area.
I now use this all the time when he has any sore bits of skin and it takes away the sensitivity from it and really helps to heal the skin. I have to use it quite a lot in the summer to be sure that whatever is causing his irritation doesn’t flare up but in winter I only have to use it occasionally but it really works so is worth every penny.
I like to use tea tree products on myself so when I saw this shampoo with tea tree for my dog I decided to buy it and see if it worked on him as much as it does on me.
He can get itchy skin which the vet says is a reaction to something that he encounters on walks. It only happens in summer though but it is almost impossible to discover what is causing it and although it irritates him a little bit it doesn’t cause him any pain.
I use a cream to soothe it when it happens and I bought this to hopefully help soothe it even more. I also just think tea tree is such a clean smell and he can whiff a bit so I was hoping that it would freshen his coat for longer after being shampooed with it.
I expected this to smell a lot stronger since it contained tea tree but it is quite a gentle smell. It is really hard to get a good lather going on his coat with this and I ended up using loads of the shampoo when washing him with it just to make sure he was completely covered.
It did leave his coat looking clean and gave it a nice shine but I wasn’t impressed with the smell as it barely left any on his coat. It was freshener but no fresher than it would have been with a normal dog shampoo and I have used others which have left it smelling much fresher than this left it.
It also doesn’t seem to do that much for his skin either. It does help a little with the itching because when he first comes out of the shower he doesn’t itch as much to begin with but it doesn’t last long before he starts itching again.
I think it helps in combination with using the cream but I certainly wouldn’t just use this on him in hopes of it keeping the itching at bay as I don’t think it is strong enough on its own. It is an ok shampoo but if your dog has irritated skin then don’t rely on this alone to get rid of it.