Garden Toys from English Heritage Shop

With the weather getting brighter and days getting longer, encourage your kids to go out and play in the garden. At English Heritage Shop we have a range of products perfect for providing hours of fun. Shop the full collection here.

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Fairy Tale Princess Play Tent

Bring their favourite fairy tales to life with this bright and bold play tent. It is decorated with bricks, colourful wildflowers and a grand golden door frame that is fit for royalty.

Our Price £40.00 – Click here

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Wooden Octagonal Activity Table

Ideal for playing games, building sandcastles and outdoor eating, this octagonal activity table is sure to keep your little ones entertained during the summer months. The table is crafted from wood, making a stable and durable piece that can be used year after year.

Our Price £225.00 – Click here

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Knights Play Tent Set

Bring your little knight’s imagination to life with this knights’ play tent. The tent has an impressive and eye-catching exterior of a castle, so they can become a brave knight with a mission to defend their home.

Our Price £40.00 – Click here

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Colobus Wooden Swing Set

Encourage your little ones to play together with this Colobus wooden swing set. The set has two swings and a two-seat glider meaning up to four children can play at any one time. The set is made from sturdy, pressure treated pole timber meaning it will be usable year after year.

Our Price £250.00 – Click here

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Horseshoe Pitching

Little cowgirls and cowboys will love this horseshoe pitching game. The game comes with numbered stakes that can be pushed into the lawn and several horseshoes so they can test their throwing skills. Perfect for the whole family, this game can be played in the garden, at the park or on the beach.

Our Price £10.00 – Click here

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Garden Tumbling Tower

Pile up the bricks and remove them one by one but try not to let the tower topple over! This wooden tumbling tower is a great outdoor game that will test children’s coordination and construction skills. It is sure to become a family favourite for the summer months and is a great game to play at parties and garden events.

Our Price £75.00 – Click here

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Bush Baby Wooden Swing Set

This Bush Baby Wooden Swing is a great way to get your children out into the garden to enjoy the fresh air. It is made from certified Scots pine, making it a sturdy and durable piece that can become a permanent feature in your garden.

Our Price £165.00 – Click here

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Discovery Create & Paint Easel

This create and paint easel is perfect for little ones who love arts and crafts. The painting screen can be easily cleaned to create a blank canvas ready for another busy day. There are 5 hexagonal storage holders for brushes, paints and garden trinkets as well as a growing station for beginner gardeners and a bamboo wind chime for added sensory play.

Our Price £200.00 – Click here

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Big Sale on Top Title Books from Waterstones

Are you getting bored in lockdown? Have you read all your books and looking for something new? Check out the big sale at Waterstones, but hurry, it ends tomorrow!

Paperback Waterstones

Use this code: STAYIN10 – 10% off when you spend £50 or more

T&C’s: Valid on basket value of £50 or more. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other code.

Up to Half Price on a Selection of Top Titles Books

Dear NHS Book

You can pre-order the new Dear NHS book that showcases 100 stories to say Thanks to the NHS workers.

In book news Waterstones have a feature on the 6 shortlisted finalists for Women’s Prize for Fiction where you can find out more about the books and the authors.

Womens Prize Fiction

And for those looking for something a bit more special then there are the exclusives and signed editions available at Waterstones.

Books

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Beltane Tarot Reading

Beltane is almost upon us, so today I share a Beltane Tarot Reading. I used my Druid Craft Tarot cards and set up a confidence spread. There are lots of conflicting emotions now. Many people are confused and lonely, others are embracing and thriving on life in lockdown. I am somewhere in-between, but I do feel the need for spiritual guidance. While Beltane is a fire festival and generally symbolizes new life and fertility, we may feel far from amorous with our partners right now. Alternatively, I heard that there has been an increase in the sale of pregnancy test kits in the past month, so maybe some partners are reconnecting now that they have time alone together… Where you do stand in the whole relationships and lockdown scenario?

Beltane Blessings! @SpookyMrsGreen

Here is today’s Beltane Tarot reading. Do share your insights in the comments below, and feel free to ask questions if you need more detail.

Beltane Tarot Reading @SpookyMrsGreen

1, What is holding me back?

Two of Pentacles – This is about juggling your life right now. As the world has closed down, you may have succumbed to the serious and upsetting moods from people in the media and in your communities. Lighten up! There is a brighter side to your predicament, despite all the doom and gloom. Seek and ye shall find, as the old saying goes.

2, Why am I talking myself out of this?

Ace of Pentacles – Did you make a life changing decision recently and now you are having second thoughts? It doesn’t matter. Many people will have time to contemplate life during lockdown. Maybe you should say yes for once. Whilst your first instinct towards a new challenge is usually, “I’m not good enough,” you could turn that around, embrace your good qualities, and see where it takes you. It could bring fabulous possibilities for the future.

Druid Craft Tarot Pentacles @SpookyMrsGreen

3, Will this situation be good for me?

Nine of Cups – You feel lonely just like so many other people who are in isolation. Perhaps there is something else missing in your life. Use this time to find yourself. Try a new hobby. Explore new job possibilities. Seek a training course or further education for a subject you enjoy. Assess your relationships, both intimate and more distant ones. Let go of what you no longer need and make room for something new.

4, What are the positives for this choice?

Four of Cups – You are bored. We are all bored. We are bombarded with suggestions on social media, telling us to write a book, learn a new language, or exercise in the living room, but none of it appeals to you. It doesn’t appeal to me, either! That is absolutely fine. Rest your body and your mind, and gradually you will feel like trying something different. It might be a small step towards productivity. These are not normal times, this is a pandemic, and just because you are confined to the home does not mean you must be physically and mentally busy all the time. Rest is just as important, so make sure you indulge while you can.

Druid Craft Tarot Cups @SpookyMrsGreen

5, What are the negatives?

King of Swords – Life has already changed dramatically, and when this is over, you will face some tough decisions. When you decide to let go of old habits and beliefs you will feel anxious. Ultimately it is for the best. Stepping out of your comfort zone is hard at the best of times, but it will be even more challenging once lockdown is eased and we can return to old routines. We will create new routines, and we will struggle to adjust. Try not to worry about that now.

6, What do I really need to think about?

Seven of Swords – New ideas are forming as you rest and if you spend a little time researching and planning, you will emerge feeling proud of your achievement and ready to face the world. You have valuable skills and knowledge. Share them wisely, and do not be taken in by those who would manipulate you.

Druid Craft Tarot Swords @SpookyMrsGreen

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OLPRO Big Tent Sale ends Tonight!

Do you want to do some garden camping but don’t have the tent? OLPRO have just launched a massive sale across their tents for this weekend only. Not only are tents massively discounted, but OLPRO have also provided a further 20% off tents discount code that can be used on-top of the sale prices. Hurry, this sale ends 23:59pm Monday 27th April.


Code: TENT20

Offer: A Further 20% OFF All Tents

Click here to order

OLPRO Two Person Tent

OLPRO’s Big Tent Sale!

Click here to order

OLPRO Big Tent

Save £60 on Voyager Lightweight 2 Person Tent – Was £145, Now just £85!

Click here to order

OLPRO Windbreak

Best Seller – Witley 7 Pole Windbreak (Wooden Poles) – Only £40!

Click here to order

OLPRO Small Tent

Save 42% on Pioneer Lightweight 2 Person Tent! Was £130, Now just £75!

Click here to order

Mummy Mondays SpookyMrsGreen

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Caring for our Elderly Community #WATWB

We Are the World BlogFest (#WATWB) celebrates special people and small stories of inspiration and hope in the world. Let’s face it, we need some inspiration and hope during this time of pandemic and social distancing. One news story that struck a chord with me this week was about carers in a nursing home in the North of England. I heard the story on the BBC radio 5 Live breakfast show earlier this week. A 94-year-old resident in the care home had been sleeping with a photo of his late wife because he missed her so much. His carer, a seventeen-year-old woman, decided to intervene because she was worried that he might hurt himself on the photo frame if it broke during the night. She had a copy of the photo printed onto a cushion and presented it to her patient. Click here for the interview. It brought tears to my eyes just listening to the man’s response, and afterwards his interview with the radio presenters. He was devoted to his wife, and he spoke about feeling regret and seeking her forgiveness for not being an attentive husband when they were younger. They were married for over 70 years, and theirs is a beautiful story of a simple, average couple that shared their lives together.

#WATWB We are the World Blogfest black

This story reminded me of my Nan and Grandad. My Grandad died at home in the arms of his wife just last month, surrounded by family just before lockdown was announced. My Nan must feel incredibly lonely at home now, but she is at least in a comfortable, familiar place and she has their two dogs for company. She was devoted to my Grandad in much the same way, and she raised four children while he worked on ships in the Royal Navy. He eventually retired from the Navy so that he could be at home with his wife and children because he knew that my Nan needed him to be around. It has been so easy for us as a society to forget about our elderly relatives in the collective sense. But when we investigate smaller family dynamics, we find a much more loving and caring picture. Last year a friend of mine travelled to Scotland and spent three weeks sitting with his elderly aunt in hospital before she died. He didn’t want her to be alone when all their remaining family are overseas. I have other friends who care for elderly relatives, whether that be regular visits to care homes, or visiting them in their homes. We do care, and we show it in little actions every single day.

Caring for our Elderly Community #WATWB

We are the World BlogFest (#WATWB) focuses on positive stories no matter where they’re found. It is all about spreading peace and humanity on social media. All participants post on the last Friday of the month, sharing a positive news story that contributes to making our world a happier, safer, and better place to live.

This month’s co-hosts are as follows:

Eric Lahti,
Susan Scott,
Inderpreet Kaur Uppal
Damyanti Biswas,
Dan Antion,

We are the World Blogfest #WATWB

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Strange Emotions

The past four weeks have been emotionally stressful for everyone here in the UK. It has been the same all around the world since late last year due to the outbreak of coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown of pretty much the whole world. How are you coping with your emotions and mood swings? I spent the first couple of weeks in lockdown feeling sorry for myself, worrying about my family and friends, worrying about the wider community, and crying for all the tragedies I heard about in the news. Then I decided enough was enough. My children are devastated that they can no longer play with their friends or go to school, my husband has depression and OCD which translates in him being out at work for longer hours that he really needs to, and I am essentially a single parent for the foreseeable future, with no chance of a break from my children until lockdown is over.

Strange Emotions

Using my reiki training, I decided that actually I don’t feel sad or worried or stressed. Deep down, when I really think about how I feel, I am OK. Yes, I cry when I hear sad stories in the news. I am very sad for a friend who recently lost her mother, and another friend who is grieving for hers. But there have been good experiences in amongst all the tragedy. People are coming together on social media; we are making use of video calling to keep each other cheerful. We can still take the dog for a walk and smile at people across the street. There have been heartwarming stories of individuals who are raising money for charities, supporting their local communities, and just generally giving people a reason to smile when normal life has been ripped apart.

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There are still days when my mood dips and I wallow in self-pity. I think that is part of the human condition, and I won’t try and make light of it. Sometimes we need to be alone to reflect on life and our situation. I believe that lockdown will prove transformative for many people, and they will emerge back into society with a new outlook and different priorities. Others simply take each day at a time and don’t want to face their demons or their inner selves, and that is fine too because it is not their time. I have faced many personal demons over the past fifteen years, and while I still have work to do, I feel it has prepared me to survive lockdown with my children. I will cry when I need to, but I will embrace the opportunity to laugh and have fun. It’s all about the simple things these days.

Strange Emotions (1)

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Bored at Home during Lockdown? No Chance!

There has been some talk online about how to alleviate boredom at home during lockdown. I cannot understand how you could possibly be bored at home! During the past four weeks since our school officially closed, my daughters and I have been busy decorating the living room, working in the garden, walking the dog, playing games, doing crafts and all sorts of other little activities. In fact, I am just as busy now as I was before lockdown. How are you finding the new routine? Do you even have a routine anymore?

Bored at Home During Lockdown_ No chance! (1)

Today I decided to start the new school term with a properly structured school day at home. It took a while to clear our dining room table so my girls can use it as a school desk, but we got there. We have been busy with craft projects. During the Easter holiday my girls and I painted some eggs to make Easter decorations, we printed posters and coloured them in to stick in the windows, and last week my girls made a collection of dolls using foam stickers they found in our craft boxes. I seem to spend most of my time running around tidying up behind my children and my mostly absent husband. How does he create so much mess when he is at work all the time?!!

Bored at Home During Lockdown_ No Chance!

As for my work, well that is all on the back-burner. So far during lockdown I have only read one book from my book club backlist, I haven’t found time to sit quietly and meditate on my reiki training, and I haven’t even looked at my current manuscript. I can barely keep up to date with my blog posts. Granted, I had a very lazy weekend and I am slightly addicted to a game called Matchington Mansion, but I won’t worry about that. My priority now is keeping the children entertained as much as possible and helping them when they feel upset about missing their school friends and their old activities and socializing. Oh, and I have to learn how to be a dog trainer because our dog is behaving very badly indeed, and we were about to book a personal behavioral specialist just as lockdown was announced. Any suggestions, dog people?

Mummy Mondays SpookyMrsGreen

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Find Your Spring with Waterstones

Waterstones are still proving to be very popular with online shoppers and although distribution is taking a little longer, they are open and adhering to the guidelines for managing their warehouse. Stock up your bookshelf to get you through the next few weeks.

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Educational books are very popular as are children’s books, but they also have a great range of half price offers including the new David Walliams book, Slime and Mrs Hinch, Household Heaven.

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Up to Half Price on Top Title Books

For book lovers they also have their April books of the month.

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My Spiritual Journey: I’ve Been Isolated Before

Many people are struggling with lockdown as we enter week 4 here in the UK. They have enjoyed some enforced rest and quiet time, they have been working on home projects that were long overdue, and they have made the most of their time off work. But now they are getting bored, feeling lonely, and frustrated because they cannot go out and do all those busy activities that were previously a way of life.

My Spiritual Journey_ I've Been Isolated Before

I have been in isolation before, in many different ways. The ones that stick in my mind today are memories of 2008. This was before I got married but my husband and I were settling in to our first mortgaged home together. My dog, Toby, had died suddenly and I was recovering from eye surgery. Due to a lifetime of chronic eye pain, ingrowing eyelashes and drooping eyelids (something that generally only affects elderly people), I was recommended for Eyelid Rotation surgery in both eyes. Due to the nature of the procedure I had to have the operations on different dates, and each time it required me to take four weeks off work to recuperate. The first operation came and went while I had Toby. He was my nurse, my companion and my therapy dog. I wasn’t lonely while I had my dog.

Toby-Too @SpookyMrsGreen

The second operation came shortly after Toby died. I was completely alone for four weeks while my husband worked long hours and did overtime at weekends. Back then we had a reclusive neighbour on one side who stayed in his house, and we hadn’t yet gotten to know our neighbours on the other side. I was grieving and felt completely lost and lonely. I was still settling into the town we had recently moved to, so I didn’t have any local friends or networks. I couldn’t leave the house because I was physically unable to move far. We didn’t have social media back then. I decided to channel my energy into something productive. I had been reading about Tarot cards and crystals for holistic health and wellbeing. I began to meditate, I made notes from the books I was reading, and I got out my Tarot cards and crystals and began to study them.

My Spiritual Journey

This was a time that brought about a huge change in my emotional and spiritual personality. I grew up. I stopped wallowing in self-pity. I took charge of my life and my situation. I decided to accept my chronic eye condition and continue to fight through each day, just as I had done all my life. I felt like I had taken huge steps to becoming the person I was supposed to be, and those changes continued to evolve during the next few years. When I look back now to that lonely time, I realize just how different I am these days. Yes, I still indulge in self-pity and I still feel lonely sometimes. But now I am surrounded by loving friends and a fantastic community, my spiritual practice has become a daily habit, and I know that there are more changes to come. Who knows how life will look after lockdown? All we can do is make the most of it and embrace the opportunity to take charge of ourselves. When did you last have a significant spiritual development?

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Real Life in Lockdown during a Pandemic

I joined the social network for A Chronic Voice because I needed to find people who understand what life is like with chronic pain. Today I have written a post using the April link-up prompts, to show my experience of living with a chronic pain disorder. Click here to find other blog posts from fellow chronic pain sufferers, or #spoonies as we call ourselves online.

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Returning

Is life returning to some form of normality? We are still in lockdown and expect to remain so for many weeks or even months to come. I find that life hasn’t really changed too much, now that I have settled back into routine. The only difference for me is that I cannot do the long canal walks I did with my dog every day, and my children are at home all the time. There is no distance, no quiet. I am mindful not to complain about them being under my feet and noisy, but I’m sure you all appreciate the joy of complete peace and quiet.

Understating

Which brings me to my next point. I made the most of my free time while the children were at school. I would sit quietly and meditate without interruptions. I could work on my reiki self-healing and distance healing. I could sit quietly, without the chatter of what I call “kid tinnitus.” Now I find myself back in the habit of preschool days, when I would hear echoes of child cries even when they were asleep. I am constantly on alert, waiting for the shout of, “Mum!” I really think we have understated the importance of schools not only as a valuable space for children to learn and socialize, but also to give their parents some time alone for self-care. I have never appreciated school more than I do now that it has been taken away.

Real Life in Lockdown during a Pandemic

Distancing

Distancing from my friends and family is hard. We walk our dog up to visit the in-laws a couple of times per week, because my mother-in-law has severe depression and is full-time carer to her husband. She is finding lockdown very hard because they cannot leave the house, he refuses to get out of bed most days, and she is lonely. She struggles to use the internet and therefore doesn’t have social media connections. I miss my friends, but at least we can see each other on Zoom and we send messages throughout the day with group conversations. The same with my family. I can speak to my Mum on the phone and she has learned how to video call, but I really miss seeing her and having a hug. I just hope she’s still at home when all this is over…

Stressing

I have lots of stress factors to consider. My marriage is struggling and has been for many years. My husband has depression just like his mother, only he refuses to acknowledge it. Instead he works all day every day. He leaves home at around 6am and returns around 9pm, even on Saturdays. He spends most of Sunday on his laptop checking the bank balance, redoing our family budget, and using his work laptop for other busy stuff. He might give the children a couple of hours of attention, but I am left to take care of all the basic needs. Then there is the stress of my chronic eye pain. It is always worse if I catch a cold or similar virus, so I am becoming increasingly stressed about contracting Covid-19, especially with my husband being a key worker. I cannot explain this situation to other people because my condition is so rare that most health professionals have never heard of it. I am not considered at risk, nor even able to claim social support, since I don’t have a recognised disability. So now I am stressing because my freelance work has stopped with lockdown and I cannot earn any money while I am home alone with the children full time.

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Celebrating

Is it worth celebrating right now? Do we have anything to celebrate? Yes, we do. We celebrate the joy of being alive, and the fact that we have safe, comfortable homes in which to live. This weekend we have celebrated our large garden, where I set up a fun Easter egg hunt for my children. They enjoyed it, and I felt better for that. When lockdown ends, my friends and I will celebrate with a big reunion, and we will be very thankful to have each other. One friend has already lost a parent in the past week. I hope we will have proper cause to celebrate on the other side of this pandemic. Stay safe, and be well, my spoonie friends.

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