J is for Janice

J is for Janice From the day she was born, Janice was given everything she wanted. She didn’t need to cry for too long before either her doting father or loving mother would be at her side, fussing over her with reassuring words of comfort and kisses on her forehead. From this moment on Janice knew that she was a very special person and because of that she could have Read more

I is for Impossible

I is for impossible. Having blown out her one hundred candles, with a slight relieve that her dentures didn’t come flying out covering the butter icing, Alice was quite exhausted and glad to be back in the solitary of her room, where she lit up a stogie and sat back in her chair. As much as everyone had made a great fuss over her centenary birthday, with just as many making Read more

H is for Hipster

H is for Hipster. The reason the new eatery stood out so much to Donald, was its choice of setting up shop in a part of town where the most exotic experience to be had was a mangey charity shop for a local cat charity. But that’s how these Hipster cafe’s start isn’t it, they move into a place with low rent and once they are established others move in. Read more

G is for Glenn

G is for Glenn. I’ve always loved horror stories. Skeletons have been at the forefront. I had a full size paper, glow in the dark skeleton and then a bit later the poster on the opposite side of my bed was of a skeleton on a motorbike, which I thought was great! I think i got it after seeing th esketon riding a motoabike in the Hammer Horror, Doctor, Terrors, Read more

F is for Fur

F is for Fur. Roger lay in bed, every time he opened his eyes the room span madly making him shut his eyes tight again. Downstairs he could hear the others getting on and knew that he too had to get up. Ever so gradually, Roger held both hands tight round his face as he lifted his head off the pillow. With his eyes still tightly shut he made the familiar Read more

Brighton & Hove

Mother, Mummy, Mum. Happy Mother’s Day

0 to 60 (quid). Ten Top Things to do for your mum on Mother’s Day.

1.    Make her an origami heart. Be creative; use a colourful paper bag, a piece of old music sheet, a sheet from a magazine. Once the paper is folded, the end result can look really great, once you get the hang of making this easy to learn paper fold then you could make a whole collection of hearts to show your mum how much you love her.

Cost £0.00

2.    Take your mum around one of Brighton’s most iconic buildings, The Royal Pavilion. This Mother’s Day the tour guides are dressed to impress in authentic costumes from the Regency era, giving you and your mum and insight into the bygone year

Cost £4.90 (for Brighton & Hove residents)

3.    Put together a collection of books. With a little forward thinking, you can put together a set of books that you know your mum would love. There are some fantastic second-hand book shops including Amnesty international bookshop and Oxfam bookshop with hundreds of titles. Use your imagination, buy a bundle and wrap it up with some nice ribbon and pop one of those origami hearts (point 1) on the top and you’ll have a truly original gift and be helping some really good causes to boot!

Cost £10.00

4.    Chocolate, for most mums, is always going to be a welcome present, but don’t just grab a box while doing your weekly shop, get yourself down to the Brighton Lanes where shops like, the outrageous choccywoccydoodah, or the more traditional chocolate Hotel are on hand with a range of traditional and not so traditional chocolate range for every budget, but for this day, push the boat out and get your mum something really special.

Cost £20.00

5.    Mother’s day and flowers is all very nice, but think outside the box and buy her a Bonsai plant. These miniature trees are not as difficult to look after as you may think, they are also an excellent talking point for when your mum’s friendscome over giving you added brownie points.

Cost £30.00+

6.    Mother’s Day experience on the Brighton Wheel. Give your mum a chance to see Brighton as she never has before with the Brighton Wheel she’ll have the best panoramic views of the city. For under the £40.00 mark you and your mum can jump the queue, make use of the VIP lounge. The entrance fee also includes a glass of Moët and a small box of luxury chocolates.

Cost £35.00

7.    Champagne will plant you firmly in your mum’s good book for the rest of the year. There may be those who frown at such an idea, but this is all the more reason to get a very special bottle of fizz for your mum as it’s something that she would least expect, particularly if you go for a chilled bottle of Veuve clicquot Rose ice Dress to really show how you want to spoil your mum.

Cost £46.95

8.    For a very special afternoon to remember then it has to be a trip to The Grand for afternoon tea where a selection of cakes, scones, cream cakes and a selection of teas or for a very special treat add Champagne to the menu  for your mum to feel she is treated like a queen for the day. There are two sittings and it is extremely advisable to book well in advance to avoid disappointment. £50.00+

9.    Push the boat out and allow your mum to truly relax with one of the many luxurious treatments at Brighton’s premier health spa, The Treatment Rooms. The Treatment room offer gift vouchers so your mum can decided for herself which treatment she would like to indulged in, or you could choose one for her, why not buy the wonderful Lava shell Massage where mind and body are brought back into perfect balance.

Cost £62.00

Remember, whatever you do for your mum on mother’s day she going to love you no matter what you give her. Just remember the date this year Mother’s day is on the 18th March 2012, Don’t Forget!

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Brighton & Hove, Flash Blogs, Health, Leisure, Literature, Plants and Gardens Leave a comment

Brighton: A City to Visit, a Place to Call Home

From the moment Prince Regent drew up plans for his infamous weekend palace, The Royal Pavilion, and it’s surrounding gardenin the heart of Brighton, the city has gained itself a known as the place to go for a cheeky weekend away. However, since its promotion from a town to a city, its reputation as the place you must visit has lifted the city of Brighton above all other UK cities with many a tourists realising there is more to this little city then a stick of rock and a stroll along the prom. In fact a recent survey showed that a whopping 94% of Brighton residents live in a happy home, which reflects just what a great place Brighton is to live.

So what makes Brighton such a special place? For the people who live in Brighton and the vast amount of tourists alike, when it comes to shopping Brighton has the whole range covered. For the traditionalist, there’s Church Hill Square, and Western Road for a whole range of popular high street brands; but don’t be fooled into thinking that Brighton is just another identikit city, far from it. Just like the little islands that populate Venice, one just has to take a step to left or a jump to the right and suddenly you find yourself surrounded in a very different place. For example, there are Brighton’s famous lanes, a part of town that what many people regard as ‘the soul of the city’.

Here you will find narrow winding alleyways, with the old fisherman cottages turned into an array of outstanding quirky shops, selling everything from souvenir shops, military related paraphernalia, traditional and alternative jewellery to suit every taste. Mingled around are also a host of pubs and eateries for every occasions, from a quick bite and pint to something a little more special. Across the road there are even more to discover in the North Laine, where pop art, vintage clothes, and the alternative theatre, Komedia, merge into the legendary Kensington Gardens were everything and anything can be found; from herbal remedies, vintage clothes as well as a multitude of hidden gems under the roof of Snooper’s Paradise.

But perhaps the most important aspect of Brighton City has always been the way it welcomes everybody, regardless of race, creed, religion or sexual orientation. For those who come and visit Brighton they quickly realise there is something special going on 365 days a year covering all bases. From the Brighton festival, children’s parade, LGBT pride, traditional, alternative and street theatres, famous bands, up and coming bands and food fares galore. And unlike many a seaside town that closes when winter sets in, Brighton still has a few surprises. From the ‘ghost’ and ‘infamous murders’ walks, World Book Night, winter solstice Burning of the Clocks and there’s now even a Zombie March so even the undead don’t feel left out from this very special city we call Brighton.

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Brighton & Hove, Fiction & Books, Flash Blogs, Gothic horror, Leisure, LGBT, Literature, Outdoors, Plants and Gardens, QueenSpark Books, Zhoosh 2 Comments

Small Garden, Big Plants, No Problem

So, you have a small garden, this does not mean that you must have small plants and shrubs. In some cases having small low plants may only emphasise just how tiny the garden is. The key to creating an illusion of space is to invest in plants with some height. With many people experiencing a warmer climate, it is now possible to grow some more exotic plant. Bamboo for example not only brings height to your garden, but also creates excellent privacy as it can be grown similar to hedging. There are over 1000 types of bamboo in existence, but there are only two things you really need to know before you purchase this type of plant. For the small garden it is best to avoid the rhizomes of running bamboo. Although they make great hedging, their root system will quickly spread and take over. The root system is shallow, spreading across lawns, underneath patio and will quickly dominate water supplies, killing off others plants in the garden. A more friendly type of bamboo for the small garden is clumping bamboo. As the name suggests, this type of Bamboo grows in clumps with minimum spreading to other parts of the garden. This type of bamboo grows much slower then the running bamboo, but over time will spread in a controlled fashion. For those who wish to use containers, it is advised to either re-pot as the plant increases as the strong root system will eventually break the pot.

Banana plants are another popular plant that is relatively easy to grow and manage, and can bring a real feeling of the tropics to any garden. As with most plants, they can be bought over the internet, but also check for local specialist garden centres where you can see the plant up close and choose the size and maturity that is right for you.

Once planted, make sure you water and add fertilizer during the summer months. With the unset of autumn, it is of the utmost importance that the banana plant is wrapped up using a combination of straw and a quality garden fleece. Cut of the main leaves and wrap the plant including the crown to keep frost at bay. The banana leaves can be chopped up and dug into the surrounding soil allowing the plant to re-ingest the nutrients.

One final suggestion for tall plants in a small garden is a bay tree. When purchasing, look for bay trees labeled, Laurus nobilis, or Bay Laurel as the leaves from these tress can be used for cooking. Other strains may be poisonous. Bay trees can be planted straight in the ground, or in a container pot. For the smaller garden, it is important to keep the tree pruned back, other wise it can grow up to 60ft. But do not let that put you off. There are many positives for growing a bay tree, as mentioned there is the culinary use of the leaves, apart from pruning, bay tress are quite happy to be left alone. Are not too fussed about what soil they grow in, but will thrive better in well-drained soil. Their root system is shallow and can withstand times of drought, but do appreciate a good soaking from time to time.

Finally, with your plants chosen, now allow your imagination to flow free by establishing a theme for your garden. Although many garden centers offer a range of ornaments, for something truly original, have a hunt round car boot sales and reclaiming yards. gather together an anchor, some chunky drift wood and old rope and your ships away!

So, there you have it, three very different types of plants, that can bring height, shape and texture to a small garden, a little bit of imagination and the promise of some sunshine later on and you’ll have a small garden that is perfectly formed.

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Flash Blogs, Leisure, Outdoors, Plants and Gardens 2 Comments