Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Rosemary and Lavender - Natural insect repellents and other uses.

Something I do every summer is make bunches of rosemary and lavender from the bushes in my garden.
Rosemary and lavender are both natural insect repellents, including mosquitoes. Although not bees. Bees love lavender - but I quite like bees so don't mind!

This year my rosemary bush has become a bit wild and smothered my lavender bush somewhat, so after a good prune I've been left with lots of rosemary to use along with a decent amount of lavender. Unfortunately though, because my lavender has been almost covered by the overgrown rosemary, it hasn't got any flowers on it yet this year. But never mind as both plants still smell absolutely gorgeous :-)

My lavender (left) and rosemary (right) bushes after pruning.
The rosemary bush was about 5 times bigger!

I use two or three stems of each plant to make each bunch. Either securing together by winding around and tying a single lavender stem or by using garden twine. I then hang them outside the back door and from the pan rack on my kitchen ceiling. Not only do they smell really lovely, I definitely find that I get fewer insects in the kitchen when I have just made fresh bunches.

Finished bunch, hanging by the back door.

There are loads of uses for both rosemary and lavender. My favourite is lavender biscuits, which I will try to post a recipe for at a later date. A good use for rosemary is to put a few sprigs on barbecue coals. This infuses the barbecued food with a subtle rosemary flavour.
Below are a couple of links to other uses for both plants…



Saturday, 19 May 2012

Book Review - "Landy" and "Fender" by Veronica Lamond

We have been fortunate enough to receive some children's book to review. They are Land Rover story books, written and illustrated by Veronica Lamond. My husband found out about them and thought our three year old daughter, Lucinda, would enjoy them - as he is currently trying to educate her on Land Rovers!
The first book to be published is "Landy". It is the story of a Series I, abandoned in a field when his owner got a new truck. Then one day, a man called Jack found Landy and took him home to repair. Landy and Jack then start planning their future together.
This story is particularly relevant to us as my husband is called Jack and also likes to repair abandoned Land Rovers.
It's quite a moving story. There is a part where Landy reminisces about when he used to work on the farm and I actually got a lump in my throat reading it!

The sequel to "Landy" is "Fender". This story is about a Defender called "Fender" and his owner, Dan. Dan and Fender live near the beach and arrange a beach clean-up, which also turns into a seal rescue. We like how Jack and Landy also feature in this story. Although they aren't mentioned, they are included in the illustrations.

Both books are beautifully illustrated by Veronica herself. Lucinda and I sit for a long time, picking out all the detail in the pictures and discussing them. Lucinda likes to look at what the people are doing on the campsite and what rubbish is being taken to the tip.
The books are available in paperback and hardback versions, direct from www.landybooks.com

Hardbacks are £9.99
Paperbacks are £6.99

You can request a dedication and Veronica's (the author) signature when you buy books from the website, which is a lovely personal touch.

There is also a new book called "Landy's New Home" due to be published around the end of June. We're looking forward to this and finding out what Landy might do next.

There is a section on the website for Landy readers to submit photographs of themselves enjoying the books. This is a nice feature and I will be submitting my own photo soon.

Landybooks also supports a small community based organisation "Wamumbi Orphan Care" in Kangema, Kenya.
Their website is www.wamumbiorphancare.org.uk