Saturday, 28 February 2015

Lauriston Castle Gardens

Lauriston Castle has beautiful grounds overlooking the Firth of Forth. The highlight is the Japanese Garden, which is a haven of tranquillity.

Through the gates you have a lovely view of Cramond Island in the Forth.

There are water features and gravel gardens, it really is very pretty and well worth a visit.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Wildlife Garden, Gorgie City Farm

Alongside the rabbits, the wildlife garden has always been my favourite part of Gorgie City Farm. However, as it is tucked away in a corner of the farm, it has in general often been overlooked by visiting members of the general public. That should all change in the future, following a recent redesign of the garden, which sees new water features, dry stone walls, seating and access walkways added.

The new wildlife garden was designed by Tracy, of the Farm's Gardening Team and opened by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh earlier today. Here Tracy and the Lord Provost are planting a commemorative tree

Not much is yet growing in the garden, but the mural gives a hint of how alive with wildlife it all will be in a few weeks time

While I was there I walked round the rest of the farm. They have some adorable pygmy goats at the moment

I was also pleased to see that the roof of the Farm Education Centre is now covered with solar panels

with a sign explaining the benefits of solar power

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Urban Bee exhibition

At the weekend we visited Edinburgh's Botanic Gardens. You can see the birds we saw here and in the nearby Inverleith Park here.

We also went round the very interesting and informative exhibition about Urban Bees.

This exhibition looks at some of the different species of bees found in urban areas of Europe, explores some of the difficulties facing bees in general (such as insecticides and pesticides), looks at the consequences of declining numbers of bees (including the effect on food production) and looks at how we can help our local bees (including planting necxtar rich native plants in our gardens and building homes for bees).

The exhibition also looks at insects, such as hoverflies, that mimic bees and also looks at insect pollination of plants in general.

I was slightly disappointed that,despite a sign inviting visitors to don 'bee bibs' and pretend to be a bee, that option didn't seem to be available. Or maybe that only applies to the special children's tours of the exhibition.

I really liked this sign at the foot of the model bee:

I wonder if the organisers had had problems earlier with people trying to dismantle the bee? 

Urban Bees is part of the European Union Life Urban Bees Project. It will be on display at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens until Sunday 7 June.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Left Behind (Book One) The Forbidden Voyage by Anne Polcastro

Endirion is a thirteen year old boy. His hairless skin is green and it glows. Like everyone else on the poisoned Mother Planet, he lives in a cave underground, only venturing to the surface to forage for herbs or hunt animals. Both herbs and animals are badly damaged by suradiation (a form of irradiation from a mysterious form of energy that wiped out human civilisation as we know it).

After an incident during a meal he is banished to the Dump where he must work together with his enemy Harlo, another banished boy, sorting recyclables from rubbish.

One night they are forced to camp overnight on the Dump and then discover a mysterious settlement which according to their world view shouldn't exist. As they work to find out about the settlement and it's strange technologies from a bygone age, the two enemies learn to work together and even become friends. As they investigate the settlement's mysterious power source, they find themselves travelling to the Madlands, the area closest to the site of the Disaster that ended civilisation.

Set in a convincingly unpleasant future world, this is an intriguing story of friendship and adventure, with plenty to say about environmental destruction and social inequalities.

Left Behind (Book One) The Forbidden Voyage, a middle grade novel by Anne Polcastro. Thanks to the author for sending me a review copy of this book

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

This Good Box - a preview

I was delighted yesterday to receive a parcel in the post from This Good Box, an ethical subscription service in the UK. The parcel was part of their trial to find out what people think of their service before their official launch in Spring 2015.

The parcel arrived all beautifully tied up in purple tissue paper and contains:

ginger lip balm from Raw Skincare

a lovely recycled paper-bead bracelet made by Sarah Mamaganda from Awamu, a social enterprise that works with women in the slums of Kampala, Uganda

a white chocolate lolly from Chocolate Memories, a social enterprise in Northern Ireland that offers training opportunities to young people with autism.

a card designed by Jenny Jackson, printed on recycled card

and This Good Box merchandise - an insirations postcard and two badges!

Not only is this a lovely little parcel of goodies, but obviously they can read my mind as I was going to be buying lip balm again very soon and ginger is one of my favourite flavours!

So thank you to This Good Box!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Jazzing up a boring Hat

I bought this lightweight wooly hat recently from a second hand shop, but felt it was missing something. So I added the floral type decoration, which was sitting in a bag of 'broken jewellery' which I recently bought from another second hand shop.

I quite like the way it looks and will be happy to start wearing it once the weather is a wee bit warmer. At the moment it's still weather that demands my thick thermal hat, though it's been beautifully sunny today!