The decline of garden gnomes

Over the past 10 years, sales of garden gnomes have declined rapidly with fewer and fewer gardeners buying these quirky little people for their garden.

Gnomes date back to Roman times but the version we see today originated in Germany in the early 19th century and are known as Gatenzwerge (garden dwarf). They were brought over to the UK by Sir Charles Edmund Isham in 1847.

Over World War I and World War II garden gnome popularity declined, but in 1937, When Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released by Walt Disney, garden gnome popularity increased.

The majority of gnomes are male with long white beards and a red hat with female gnomes being rare and sometimes resembling witches! 

Recently supermarkets have been stocking a variety of gnomes, including females, with modern accessories like mobile phones and tabled.  This has helped once again increase their popularity.

Garden Trends for 2021

We are seeing more people getting into gardening in 2021 due to more time over the pandemic.  So here are the latest trends for this year.

A haven for wildlife: This year sees us creating little havens for birds, insects, and small animals. People are planting more and more wildflowers within their gardens.

Bees: Besides creating wildflower areas within their garden, people are also thinking about the declining population of bees and creating pollinator-friendly spaces.

Split levels have become very popular this year, with people creating tiers using a variety of materials. These split levels can also lead to focal points within the garden or quiet hideaways.

Another trend of the back of the lockdown is people growing fruit and vegetables.  Vegetable plots can be as big or small as you need them to be, and you don’t always need a greenhouse.

This year, going back to nature is the theme for our gardens following the time we spent within them in 2020.

Top Shops for Garden and Patio Furniture

Choosing the right garden furniture is very important as it needs to be of good quality, durable and aesthetically appealing. You want your garden or patio furniture to look great, be comfortable and be able to withstand the elements. No garden furniture is cheap but there is a marked distinction in the quality available, so it is good to know which shops offer some of the best.

1. Hen & Hammock
2. John Lewis
3. Andrew Crace’s Designs
4. Habitat
6. Garden Trading
7. The White Company
8. Benchmark

As with any garden or patio furniture, the better care you take of it, the longer it will last so try to protect it as best you can, by keeping it clean and dry. It is always wise to get a good quality cover over your furniture in the winter months and perform any necessary maintenance, such as resealing or repainting wooden furniture.

Will the High Street Survive the Pandemic?

In the years leading up to COVID, the High Street was already facing troubles, with less business and an uncertain future. Then a pandemic hit which brought in restrictions, fear and forced closures. Many smaller businesses that were reliant on a high street location have either had to close or convert to online shopping. The obvious result, all these travel and shopping restrictions, have forced consumers to online shopping en masse.

So once all of this is over, many are wondering what will happen with the high street? Will it survive or will those locations be transitioned into different industries or uses? Research has shown that the decline of retail is further driving down the chances of visitors, even more. However, many locations that were previously retail shops have transitioned to ‘multifunction’ or nonretail facilities that are trying to attract visitors. Additionally, some retailers are simply adapting and overcoming by reinventing their store experiences in an effort to increase footfall.

In future, it is likely that the high street will look much different than a decade or more ago, but there is a chance it will adapt to still be a hub for new activities.

Choosing a Gazebo

Spring and summer are soon approaching and that means spending more time outdoors! If you are looking for a way for enjoying your garden more this year, consider purchasing a gazebo for your patio or garden. Gazebos are an incredible multi-purpose investment that help to improve your outdoor experience, but it can be difficult to choose which one is right for you. Here are a few tips to choosing the right gazebo.

Consider Design and Usage

What will you be using the gazebo for? Is it for leisure and relaxation? Or for an event like a garden party? Do you want it to add sophistication for your garden or is it strictly for a functionality? Before making a choice, you need to determine if you are simply wanting a functional product and what aspects it may require, such as side panels or netting. Or you may want a gazebo that is not only functional but helps add beauty to your garden. A gazebo could also be used for a particular event like a wedding or party, so it is important to consider colour and style.

Determine the Size of the Space and the Gazebo

You will need to consider the size of the space that you have to work with, in order to determine the size of the gazebo you will need. Also, depending on what the intended usage is of the gazebo and if it will be the right size to fit your needs. For instance, if you have a small family and the gazebo is for home use, a 10×10 sized gazebo may be perfect, but if space is limited, you may need an 8×8. Larger gatherings or families may require a 12×12 gazebo.

Choose the Right Material

Gazebos can be made from various materials such as wood, steel or vinyl. If you are wanting a more permanent garden feature, you may want to consider a wood gazebo that you can paint to suit the colours in your garden. Steel gazebos are another strong and durable option but if you are looking for something simple and easy to deal with, there is also the vinyl made gazebos.

All gazebos have their pros and cons but knowing your options and what you should consider, can help you to choose the one that is right for you.

Xbox Mobile Gaming Accessories

Are you looking for an awesome gift for an Xbox Gamer? Finally, after 19 years of gaming, Xbox have released their first mobile gaming accessories, in September. Gamers are excited to now take their favourite Xbox games anywhere through the use of cloud gaming. The cloud gaming does however require a subscription with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, but this is still exciting news for Xbox gamers!

The Razer Kishi

This universal mobile gaming controller is for use with Android mobile device and creates an ergonomic game controller feel, once the Android product is connected to its centre. It extends and retracts as needed for playing or storage and offers pass-through charging for your smartphone for long gaming sessions.

The Power A

The new MOGA XP5-X Plus Bluetooth controller works with the cloud gaming and Android mobile devices to deliver mobile gaming with the familiarity of an Xbox style controller that also has a detachable phone clip and mappable advanced gaming buttons. It also includes an integrated 3000mAh rechargeable Power Bank that can charge Android mobile devices on the go.

The 8BitDo

For the retro-style gaming controller fans out there, this device also possesses a clip and Bluetooth technology compatible with all Android tablets and mobile devices.

High Street Sales 2020

In general, retail sales have now risen above pre-pandemic levels, since July, however the statistics show that many High Street shops are still struggling. Online sales have lowered slightly since the ease of lockdown restrictions but they are still more than 50% higher than in February. Due to the higher volumes of internet shopping, many High Street sales are still not doing well. The best being Household goods stores, with an increasing six percent above February 2020 levels.

DIY products have also sold well this year as people were keen on home improvement projects during lockdown. Whilst areas like fashion, lifestyle and many others falling by over 20% from last year. This issue has especially hit shops that do not deal in online sales and have either forced them to close, struggle on precariously or request government help.

People have been expressing a pent-up need to shop, however if the store does not have an online presence, then they have really missed out on sales this year. The small business sector has been hit the hardest with many collapsing under the extreme pressure of 2020. To help fix this, people really need to focus on supporting small, local businesses and becoming loyal customers.

Grocery Sales on a Steady Decline Post Lockdown Relaxation

Grocery sales from the past four weeks are the lowest they have been since February, a mere £9.7 billion. This is however still a higher figure than pre-pandemic numbers as restaurants and other hospitality facilities are still subdued. According to new data, even though shoppers continue to return to supermarkets more regularly, they are spending less on each trip.

In the UK, Morrisons came out on top, amongst the ‘Big 4’, in terms of sales growth and market share in the 12-week period ending 9 August. Whilst Asda saw the biggest drop, according to Kantar. Online grocery shopping has once again hit a new record in the last four weeks, preceding 9 August, with an increase of 13.5 percent of all sales, currently ordered online.

Other shopping trends have seen an increase in the sales of healthier options with vitamin and mineral sales up 34 percent, herbal teas up 19 percent and nuts up 21 percent, however there is also the increase in alcohol sales, rising by 28.3 percent just in the past four weeks.