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Friday, May 22, 2015

Keep Working Hands Feeling Soft & Healthy with Crabtree & Evelyn {review & giveaway}

I spent the vast majority of the long weekend in my garden, digging and weeding and planting. Over the next few months I will continue to spend every moment possible out there digging in the dirt. My garden is my happy place. But that happy place can really do a number on my hands. Forget manicures! These hands work hard, and I'm lucky I can keep even short nails, let alone pretty polish. I often don't even wear my gardening gloves, particularly when I'm weeding. The gloves make it harder to feel for and grip the smaller weeds.

Digging and pulling and scraping and drying out my hands in the soil leads to the need for lots of hand washing, which can also be very drying for the skin and nails. If I were more vain about my hands I guess I wouldn't garden at all, but as it is I just look for quality products to help me combat the worst of my offenses. And I've had great success with Crabtree & Evelyn. They have a line of liquid soaps, creams, and treatments specifically for gardeners.

The Gardeners collection is ideal for hands in need of a little tender loving care. Gardeners hand care is blended with natural ingredients and botanical extracts inspired by an English herb garden with notes of rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme and oak moss. They smell so fresh!

I've used the Gardeners Hand Therapy in previous years and love the rich, silky feel of the cream. Ingredients include macadamia nut oil and shea butter for a luxurious treatment that soaks in quickly, leaving hands feeling soft and nourished. The Gardeners Liquid Hand Soap combines soothing herbal extracts like alfalfa, carrot root and chicory leaf to deliver gentle cleansing and conditioning, as well as naturally deodorising sage, rosemary and cucumber. I keep these two next to the kitchen sink so I can wash and moisturise each time I come in from the garden, as well as to give my hands a treat after washing the dishes. You don't have to be a gardener to appreciate this duo!

The Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Duo comes ready to gift, in this gorgeous botanical box. You can purchase online or in-store, and it retails for $40 CDN. I'm currently using the box on my desk, holding note cards and pens. It's too pretty not to keep out on display!

A Giveaway

One lucky Raising My Boys reader will receive their own Gardener's Duo gift package, including the hand soap and hand cream, in this beautiful box. Entries are via the widget below and will be accepted until 12:00 midnight EDT, June 5. Giveaway is open to both US and Canadian residents. Best of luck!

Disclosure: I received complimentary product to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

WW - Backyard Birds {w/linky}

House Sparrow
House Sparrows

Male Cardinal
Male Cardinal

In the Garden: Hanging Baskets #DIY

Other than the time I spent sleeping (which was a fair amount), and an extended brunch with girlfriends on Sunday, I spent pretty much the entire long weekend in the garden or at the garden centre. I turned soil, added manure and fertilizer, removed weeds, and got busy setting up my planters. We even had our first meal of the year out on the deck. The weather in Toronto was stunning, the best Victoria Day weekend I can think of in years.

I decided to put together a little video to show you how easy it is to DIY your own hanging basket. You can of course buy one ready-made, but I think it's extra special to select and arrange the plants yourself. And, depending on where you would normally buy your basket, planting one yourself can save a lot of money. These things get pricey! Once you have the basket itself, you can use it year after year with new plants.

The basic tips:
1. Choose your colour scheme.
2. Choose plants that will fill in and vine down over the sides, not stand straight up.
3. Grasp plants firmly, right at the soil line, and gently pull or squeeze out of their garden centre pots.
4. Remove excess roots and soil from your plants. It's ok to be a little rough. Loosen roots to ensure best contact with soil.
5. Make a small depression in the soil and press your plant in. Firm it around with more soil.
6. The more the merrier. Containers should be planted tight for best moisture retention and best visual appeal.
7. Use a potting soil with a fertilizer added, or apply a fertilizer specific to planters. I like Miracle Gro products that feed continuously for 3-4 months. That way I don't have to remember to feed again during the summer.

Did you find this video helpful? Are there gardening topics you'd like to see me cover in future videos? Let me know in the comments below!
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