Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Buy local- support the underdogs and reduce your carbon footprint and food miles :)

A few weeks ago I was sent an email from one of my Uni lecturers inviting me to attend an optional seminar held by a eco warrior and scientist. The seminar aimed to enlighten us about our carbon footprint and the amount of food miles we tot up on items we do not need. I really enjoyed the seminar and my trips to Tesco have been unfulfilled and guilt ridden ever since! Seeing a line of eight fellow students demonstrating how far your sack of oranges travel (and the mileage involved) to get to you is quite shocking I assure you!

So, this led me to thinking. I already buy local where possible but I must admit that I do find Tesco and the like complete money magnets. It is no coincidence that when you pop in for a few key items (the staples, bread, milk, etc) they will be located at the back of the store. Meaning that you pass every 'Offer' gondola on the way too and from picking up your items. I am often disheartened by the amount our weekly shop comes too, less so admittedly since I have made a massive effort to plan meals and snacks more efficiently. In addition to this the food often does not stay fresh up until the use by date. Specifically I find the fruit and veg to be at the 'needs to be eaten within a day or two' stage from the day of purchase. There is no way it will last a week. Leaving the consumer with two options, One- eat fruit and veg that is less than fresh or 2- face gondola city a few times a week to buy fresh!

I now have a new system in place, well an ever evolving and developing system, that allows us to eat fresh produce that is locally produced and often organic. The best bit? It is also cheaper!

Some tips:-
  • If you are going to use supermarkets try to shop online where you will be less influenced to buy products you do not need.
  • Make sure you have a menu plan for evening meals for the week.
  • If you buy lunch out you will find it cheaper to take a packed lunch. This can mean preparing a little extra evening meal and taking the 'leftovers' or factoring the lunch into your menu plan.
  • Buy from local suppliers. That way you will get better value for money, a more personal service, you will know where your produce came from, it will be in season. I bet you will save money and have twice the shelf life out of your products.
  • When using markets for fruit and veg go at the end of the day. They do not want to take any produce back so you will get bargains! This does require some flexibility with what veg you end up with, not a massive issue if you menu plan 'chicken dinner with fresh veg' or 'lamb curry' (add anything from onions, peppers, mushrooms, peas- whatever you have!
  • Use your local butcher. I have said it before, I will say it again. My local butcher is the best. I am sure if you get to know yours and become a regular they will happily throw in a few extras/meet any requests for special cuts etc. Aswell as being experts on how to prepare your meat. Can you say the same about the server in the supermarket?!
  • I don't eat meat but ditto the fishmonger.
  • If you are feeling especially green you can make your own cleaning products. If like the 90% of us that have a million miles an hour life you do not have time buy in bulk. Make the most of BOGOF deals and coupons and find a small corner to store your stock. This also means you avoid that dash to the supermarket that ends up costing a few pound more than you budget!
  • Buy produce that is in season, this should happen naturally if using local suppliers, this will always result in cheaper, fresher food. It does not harm to have a vague idea of what is in season and when. Google is an endless source of help on that score!
  • Make the most of charity shops for kitchen bits and bobs, ornaments, furniture, clothes, accessories, books and everything non food related. One off bargain buys and the satisfaction of not looking like a cookie cutter person. And all for a good cause? What better reason to indulge in some retail therapy!
  • As with everything we do the best money saver is to *try* to help our children to understand that a certain brand of product is not better simply because of the marketing. Invest in some reusable containers, or better still save some yogurt pots, takeaway cartons etc. Buy in bulk and put a small amount in these containers for packed lunches. Let the children decorate the pot in whatever way you choose and they usually don't object (if they are young lol)

Monday, 14 March 2011

Sew Sew Happy!!

Ok, I will be the first to admit that this little guy is no contestant for 'best made rag toy thing'! However, I think I am a little bit in love with him. Just a smidgen! The best bit he was simple as pie to make. I am quite literally a beginner, my Mother bought me a sewing machine a few years ago. Yesterday I finally found the time to sit with sewing machine and YouTube guides and work out how to use it!
I made the owl by drawing an owl shape on the back of some scrap matieral, you can draw any size or shape- the only limit is imagination (and perhaps skill in my case!)
I then cut around the shape, leaving a cm or 2 around the edge for sewing.
Then I put this against another piece of matieral and cut an identical shape.
Put the two shapes, right side facing each other so the back of matieral is visible not the front.
Hand or machine sew around the lines you have drawn, leaving a gap large enough to stuff.
Stuff, I used the stuffing from an old teddy.
Hand sew the little gap up, making sure to tuck in the edges.
Sew on any decorations!
NB. It would be easier, on reflection, to dew the features on before sewing the two pieces of matieral together!

Once I got the bug I had to make a phone cover! I was incredibly proud as I didn't use any instructions or guides. Simple things please me! For the phone cover I...
Measured the size of my phone and cut two identical rectangles a few cm too big.
I machine sewed the top of eacch rectangle to give a neat top finish.
I turned the two pieces of matieral face inward, so I was looking at the back of the matieral.
Then machine sewed the two pieces together leaving the top edge not sewn.
Added some embellishments

Quite a cute little duo! And I can't say it enough but I only started sewing yesterday, these are so simple. Yes I did make lots of mistakes and no the finish isn't perfect. But as I tell my 6 year old 'Practise makes perfect!' And it was fun practising!!

My phone all dressed up with no where to go!

The worst photo of the lot, I really really need lessons with both the camera and photoshop!!
Ignoring the quality, and the fact you have to put your head on the side to see it....! Its a ... drum roll.....BAG BAG!! Yes, a bag for bags. Not a new concept but a damn handy one!!
I used to work for Nando's so I 'repurposed' and old apron into this handy bag-bag. If you want to know how to do it drop a comment below and I will post the know how!!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

A thrifty makeover- check out my new key cupboard!

Me and the Mr were at a bit of a loose end today so we decided to do what all sensible people in our situation would do (no not that!) and ... scour around the local charity shops! I have been looking for somewhere to store our keys for a while, the little one is getting a little fed up of us using her shabby chic 'bracelet' holder. I finally found my key rack lurking in the back of a charity shop for the grand price of £2.50! Ok, it had spice written on it and the colours werent to my taste but didn't I say I was bored!?
When we got in, via a very noisy and packed indoor park, I set to work. First I carefully removed the old deco from the front using a wallpaper scraper. Then I cleaned the glass, it's all in the prep the OH keeps telling me! I lined the inside with some pretty wrapping paper I had hanging around and spray painted a heart with blackboard paint (that as my other posts show has been used frequently since its purchase!) I love love love it! All it needs now is some mini hooks, it was way to cold and dark at this point to rummage through the shed.

My not so realistic view of how it will look on the wall :) I am one happy thrifty Mammy today!

Just incase you haven't had enough I have reposted the pic...ok you got me I can';t find my delete button!!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

If it stands still....PAINT IT!!!

Bought for £1 in a charity shop. Quick makeover and it is ready to be a portable tray for little one whilst still looking decent(ish) The pics don't show off the gorgeous orange paintwork, infact it looks distinctly unloved in this pic!
You can see the orange better in this light. Believe it or not it is the same on top, the camera does lie ;)

An old ottoman made into useful, understair toybox for the little one. I painted with lilac wood paint, spray painted a chalk board front and added some pretty transfers I had hanging around waiting for their moment in the spotlight!

Pretty plain at the moment but as the front is a chalk board I really didn't want to make the decore to fussy. The top is sturdy so doubles as a seat, bonus!

This is my absolute favourite thing I have done today. The hallway of our home is positioned in a shady area and can look a bit bleak even in Summer. The door didn't help as it was the same colour as the panel rims I have left unpainted. I was always a little too nervous to take a paintbrush to it but I am so glad I did. A pot of paint (£2 from No Frills 50% sale) and I was good to go. Wood paint rather than gloss paint seems to be a little easier to use and less of a thick, gloopy finish. It has a nice welcoming cottage vibe, I love love love love it!!

And when I wasn't busy painting furniture I was painting hallway, stairs and landing. I also had a pot of paintpod paint for £5 in the No Frills sale! A saving of over £25 on B&Q prices! I highly recommend using that paint, I used it with a normal roller and brush, it is the easiest paint I have ever used, glides on and only takes one coat, a perfect consistency!
I wonder what tomorrow will bring :) Hopefully more sunshine. Lets join hands and sing .... "The sun has got his hat on, hip pip hip pip hooray. The sun has got his hat on and he's coming out to play" Oh how I love bright, crisp days!

Friday, 4 March 2011

A much needed lick of paint = A new lease of life!

This isn't really one of those 'projects' I can detail the steps on. Unless you want 1, Take a slightly/very worn set of metal garden furniture. 2, Find DIY shop with 50% off everything including sale bin. 3, Find suitable outdoor metal paint for grand price of £1. 4, Spend cold but sunny afternoon in the garden painting old said furniture. Simple! I want to take some nice pictures with it all set up with the little centre piece pot but to be honest it got too cold and I got too hungry. It is top of my to do list tomorrow morning!
But that said I must admit I was very proud of my attempts. Mainly I guess as it was the first piece of furniture I have had the time to rescue this year (thanks in no small part to my studying schedule). I felt the familiar joy of bringing a nearly dead piece back to life. In this case it was less nearly dead, more really ugly. But in either case it is now a piece of furniture I will proud to sit at and drink my morning cup of tea or afternoon juice (no pepsi max anymore remember!)
This weekend is going to see me undertaking quite a few abandoned projects both indoor and out. I am like a child at Christmas today!
Ps, please bear with me on the photo front. I am trying, technology and me are acquainted but not friends. I will win it round though :)

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Oh No, I may have to say goodbye to my beloved...Pepsi Max

I admit, I am a junkie for the brown, fizzy, strange tasting liquid. A major junkie. I love it. If I am ever ordering a soft drink I would not think of any other, it is part of my weekly shop and indeed daily diet. I know that is terrible, I constantly consider swapping it for more water, juices, tea etc and invariable come back to my little caffeine drink. Not that I don't also drink all of the above but they are not a match for Pepsi Max. Now I have been aware for some time of the health reasons to stop drinking the stuff, the financial reason and in addition those god damn awful plastic bottles! But up until now I have always come back to, Oh well I am as eco friendly as possible but Pepsi Max (and long hot baths) are my two luxuries that make me happy. Sad but true!

Then the unthinkable happened. I stumbled across an article that made me feel too guilty to continue buying the stuff. Now that I have read it I cannot unread it and so the damage is done. I am going to be caffeine and fizzy stuff free. Bummer for me, bonus for not only the environment but my recycling box which creaks under the weight of those horrible plastic bottles! Have a shifty if you like

I remember when I was younger, probably about a decade ago now, there used to be a 'Pop Man' who used to come around in his van filled with locally produced (20-30 miles from my home) fizzy drinks in glass bottles that you returned when they were empty for a few pence off your next purchase. Bring back that pop man I say! And while we are at it, there used to be four milkmen on their rounds in the area a few years ago. I have not seen a milkman in the past year, I know there is still one. ONE. Why are we so determined to do away with local businesses, scupper any attempts at reusing our resources and replace every bloody thing with plastic. Ok, it may be slightly cheaper. But as this article shows at what cost? And I have always found the more I have of something, the more I use. So with this is mind, I will be tracking down that milkman and placing my milk order, if I find the pop man I will be one happy lady. As always I will continue to use the local butchers, newsagents and other small businesses in the local community. Long may they be available, I raise my glass (milkbottle) to them all.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Good Afternoon Mr Sunshine, let's make some edible delights!

The day I have been waiting for finally arrived...the cold winter sun shone on my tiny, suntrap postage stamp garden :)
And I was ready! Well, actually I was far from ready...

But alas I managed to get the fence, shed and gate revanished (using some very old and dodgy coloured vanish from the shed, eco might be slightly dodgy but thrifty? definately!) Job done, huge tick to me.

Secondly I managed to empty all the old plant pots, destined for the scrap heap but with a little TLC appear to be fit for another decade or so. Incidentally, I have decided never to purchase another new plant pot. There are so many abandoned ones to be found, not to mention the hoards of them in every carboot sale and charity shop. I will make it my mission to rescue as many as I can use.

A quick trip around Wilkinsons proved rather fruitful, excuse the pun, as the small (an essential for my garden) perspex style greenhouses were all half price. I really want to become self sufficient eventually and I definately need to start somewhere. I need to learn and make those critical mistakes, feel the joy of producing my first fruit and veg, I really am so excited about it! If you had told me six months ago I would be considering stepping into insect world, rifling through compost and relishing the site of new sprouting plants I would have presumed you liked your drinks strong! I did have to leave it there though as part of my new pledge to myself is to consider all purchases before making them. That and I know due to the area we are located in the dreaded RAT is a problem. I do not wish to grow tomatoes for them to have a healthy salad lunch! I have now managed to get this fear in check thanks to an hours research, the links for which I cannot find at the moment but will find and link in here. The general consensus being, live and let live, whilst they do carry diseases they do also get alot of 'bad press' and are in many respects no more dangerous than other rodents. So consider me told, still don';t know if I can brave the greenhouse but I will say I now appreciate that each little creature on this earth has its part to play.

I did manage to get around to planting my sprouting garlic and shallots yesterday. I am beginning to think my approach to gardening is much the same as cooking, don't bother with the instructions just try it and see (as I am sure you can imagine this leads to quite a few 'interesting' meals but in fairness some genius creations too!)
If I have any luck with thhe garlic and shallots I shall post pics :) Essentially I just took a medium sized pot for each, planted a shallot/clove with sprouting part facing upwards about an inch under the soil. I watered them and put them out in the day and they are cosying up in the kitchen at night time. Wish me luck!

I have this vision of a beatiful little med style garden, all terracotta, glazed pots and shrubbery, vine tomatoes growing bright and strong in the sunshine.....We will see. As always these days I am taking pleasure in the little things, this is a fun, free, healthy, educational and great bonding experience for the family and I loved watching little one with her wellies on sweeping the compost away and ordering Dad to 'put the pretty plant by the gate so I can see it' Oh The Good Life....

Monday, 28 February 2011

The joy of being resourceful...

For many of my twenty seven(!) years I have dabbled with the idea of becoming a resourceful person. We all know the type, compost heap in the garden, stash of carrier bags in the boot, homemade preserves in the cupboard etc. Well tonight I feel I have made yet more leaps and bounds in that direction. I can't explain why or how, it isn't something I have done or not done, it's just my mind set I guess.

I recieved a bunch of beautiful tulips yesterday, my all time favourite flower, from my sister who knew I was feeling a little down in the dumps. Usually I would have oohed and ahhed at the flowers and given little interest to the packaging. Instead I popped the cone shaped cellophane in the drawer when I was setting them in a vase. Tonight I was using up some leftover pastry making jam tarts and I made a tear in the flour bag. Voila, that cellophane came in handy! I suppose the point of my story is not the wrapping, the use of left over pastry or the fac I recieved flowers but just the joy I got from reusing something. From beginning to think as a resourceful person and put my available resources to good use. Obviously that was just a small story to illustrate my point but there are a million and one things I have done over the past few weeks that tonight I am feeling very proud of. It has proved to myself that it sometimes is the small things that make a (healthier) world of difference.

Some of the things I have done include:-
  • Beginning to shop in charity shops, thus reducing my carbon footprint
  • Cut my food shopping bill in half for two weeks running by resourceful thinking and clever planning- plus we are eating healthier meals!
  • Reduced my waste significantly, admittedly some is just recycling but also alot of upcycling going on
  • Changed the midset of myself and my family towards the environment and the way we treat it
  • Cooked more- which I find relaxing and rewarding
  • Gained confidence in my ability to make these small changes
  • Made my first bowl using only magazines and hot glue- I will post the tutorial for this in the week. it looks fab!
  • Reduced our gas, water and electricity. This is easier for us to monitor as we are on meters but I am sure it would be just as easy to take meter readings
  • Spent less on 'things' and 'stuff' I have analyzed every purchase and more often than not decided I do not need it
  • Re organised my wardrobe and donated a lot of clothes and bric-a-brac to charity
  • Drank more water. Well it saves boiling the kettle every hour and is good for my skin :)
  • Had more eaten pack lunches from the princess. I have decided to use up the left over pasta etc in packed lunches instead of preparing sandwiches. This has been an immense success with my little fussy eater!

That is all I can think of for now. But above all of these things I have gained a great deal of pride and satisfaction in the way I run my home. I feel like I have become a fully fledged adult!!

I wonder what the rest of this week will bring?

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Thrifty tips for the eco minded ;)

After a rather large Sunday lunch (I know, oops) I am unable and unwilling to move, even to do the dishes! Speaking of which I am thinking of investing in a dishwasher, a second hand one initially from E-bay (fee-bay) I had the use of one during a short holiday in the Country earlier this month ans I must say it made cooking and cleaning up a breeze! Absolutely essential in the small cottage kitchen as there simply was not the room to cook and have dishes, pots and pans everywhere. I need one!
Anyways, I digress!! I thought I would pop on and detail some of the usual little hints and tricks I have started adopting to save resources, money or in the best case scenerio both!

  • White vinegar makes a fab and cheap fabric softener. I had heard this little tip a while ago but was put off with the thought of clothes smelling like vinegar- they don't! Try it, the clothes come out just as soft as they did with Lenor (my previous fabric softener) and with a few drops of free sample perfume the clothes smell lovely too :)
  • Kitchen roll tubes are a cheap and effective way of storing wires in a neat manner. Ideal if you have children as those little fingers tend to get into everything!!
  • Cold tea without milk makes a natural 'miracle grow' for most house plants. I always pop it into fresh flowers too, it has never done them any harm but I couldn't promish your meant to go that far!
  • Yogurt and spread tubs are fab for storing small portions of left over food in the fridge for the following days lunch. For me personally wasted food was one of the biggest wastes of money in our home. Following little tips and hints like these encouraged me to be more aware of food waste and reusing leftovers so it was more far reachign than you might think!
  • Herbs are simple to grow, nearly impossible to kill, add a little life to the house and garden and for the price of a pack of seeds provide endless flavour enhancers to pretty much any cut of meat and all veg! I will be doing a few blogs on herb gardens the next few weeks as I am only just regrowing mine after a move. Great fun, cheap, easy, they smell fab, deter many insects and rodents, have all the beauty of a house plant, liven up a boring meal, need I go on? Now is also the perfect time for stocking up. My local Aldi store had many herbs and salad leave seeds for the bargain price of 25p a packet. Remember herbs will keep growing and so keep giving!
  • Composting is the future! Well maybe the past and present too but a totally new experience for me! I always thought of this as too 'hard core' for my liking but it really is simple. You just need a good sturdy compost bin (with a lid if you suspect you have rats in the area) and all other resources are completely free! It will cut down on waste, is great for the environment, provides you with a garden essential and the little ones have great fun learning about composting too. A rewarding win win!
  • Your kettle uses a crazy amount of electricity as I am sure you are all aware. Only fill it with as many cups of water as you need, don't boil it and walk off and forget about it then come back and reboil (and lets face it, we have all done that a million times!) and your half way there to saving a good few pennies on the ol' electricity bill!!
  • Invest in a food processor, seriously these little guys take the stress out of cooking and make it an absolute breeze! I was bought mine by my dear (sometimes) mother as a christmas present and since I have been a sponge and pastry making machine. It also does all my veg and ingredient chopping, makes soups in seconds (see my previous post re soups) and has helped me create some fab sauces using whatever leftover ingredients I have. The little one is now eating alot of 'hidden veg' in various meals thanks to my very favourite kitchen gadget!
  • Dilute cleaning products by about 20-30% and you will still get the same results. This is especially relevant if you live with others who are a little heavy handed or less eco minded than your good self :) Most of us are in the habit of using over the recommended amount of product that the manufacturer suggests anyway.
  • Salt is a natural cleaner, helped by it being so abbrasive. It is great for scrubbing at stains and marks, for cleaning out vases or for cleaning the last off products before recycling them- pop a strong salt water solution in, the lid on and shake baby :) Alot more environmentally friendly than all the products!
  • Train your mini me's :) This is an obvious but often over looked tip. If our little ones are brought up to turn lights and switches off as they leave a room, turn the tap off when brushing teeth, recycle, etc then they will not only save us money throughout the years, they will constantly be a friend to Mother Earth and by the time they are raising children of their own they will be fully functioning eco warriors (maybe!)
  • Save that gift wrap to be reused and recycled with a little know how it can be a fun activity closer to holiday seasons to sit and do with the children. Keep a box of all used wrapping bits and bobs ready to wrap a last minute present. Please don't buy rolls of the stuff at christmas, such a waste :( Also cutting out the pictures on cards means they can be reused as gift tags. Free and the gift then has the personal touch!

There are a million other things which I will keep updating as time goes on, but alas it is now time for the little lady to have a bath and prepare for school, we are running very late this evening owing to visitors putting dinnertime back by two hours. So I may have to run a quick search on blogs related to time management ;)

Soup...the key to reusing all leftovers (please note their are exceptions-no half eaten sandwich soup is ever going to taste great!)

Oh I am well on my way to frugal loveliness, eco success and dare I say it? yes, I dare! Domestic Goddess status :)

Yesterday I made two huge pots of stew, one beef (endlessly popular in our home and my personal favourite meal in the world) and one chicken, the first time I have ever made chicken stew as I believe poultry to be too bland for stew. reasoning was, I will make a batch of shortcrust pastry and drain some of the stew fillinng, cover with gravy and make a pie. This can be frozen, total lack of effort as I was making the stew anyway :) Bonus! The pie, you will be glad to hear, went well. So well it never got to the freezer!!

Anyway, the stew was nice, tastier than I thought but we really didn't need two stews. I halved the beef stew, half for now, half for freezer (from experience freezing stews, curries, etc makes them taste nicer when defrosted-the flavours seem to 'mingle' better) So.... I popped all the stew filling and half the stock in the blender, whizzed for a minute and voila chicken soup :) It must be said, very nice soup too!

So this is my new lesson to myself today....soup it up!! When I make Sunday roast I often have its and bits of veg, potatoes and meat left over. I am going to keep the veg stock and left over gravy pop this in the blender with left over bits and Monday lunch is sorted!!

So come on people, put those odds and ends to good use and get some extra veg into you for lunch....healthier, thrifty and tasty.... homemade soup is my Sunday winner!!

Recipe- Chicken Stew

Chicken breasts
chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
dash of white wine (that could just be me! good excuse to open a bottle...)

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into bite sized chunks (about the size of a 10p coin)

  2. Fry cubed chicken until cooked

  3. Put chopped veggies into a stew pot/large saucepan with stock

  4. Add chicken

  5. Add wine and salt and pepper

  6. Bring to boil

  7. Reduce to simmer until all veg is soft and stew has thickened

  • If stew is too thin use cornflour mixed with cold water to thicken-as per pack instructions

  • remember to taste stew for flavour, never be afraid to throw any extras you have in- herbs, spices, play with the flavours!

  • I have not added quantities, I tend to throw an equal amount of each veg in and an average one breast per person

  • Remember to make extra if removing some for a pie!!

To make the pie just make shortcrust pastry:-

100g of lard

100g of stork or bakers butter

400g of plain flour

  1. Throw all ingredients into food processor (a must have item imo!)

  2. Add a pinch of salt

  3. Blend until breadcrumb consistency

  4. Add a drop of water into funnel at top until mixture takes on a dough consistancy- add water slowly, you won't need much!

  5. Knead on floured surface and form into a ball

  6. Pop ball in fridge (in clingfilm or dish) for 15 mins to harden

Use the pastry to line a pie dish, scoop ingredients from chicken stew out with strainer type spoon (you won't want the stew stock) add generous amount of bisto gravy, put pastry shell on top and .... cook :)

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Today's lifestyle change.....The *whispers*...Charity Shop!!

Today, a day that shall be recorded in my memory forever, Saturday the 26th of Feb 2011, I made my first clothes purchase from a charity shop!
It was a liberating and exciting feeling, kind of like being a child involved in a treasure hunt. I had no idea what to expect!
Now, as an avid reader I am no stranger to charity shops, I have even bought alot of my kitchen ware in various ones over the years (I am quite Cath Kidson country in style-I will post pics of my kitchen soon!) and so love love love all things crockery!
But clothes? Now I would previously have laughed and said 'Oh no, that's not for me!' But guess what? It is!!
Today I bought....

  • One vintage scarf to add to my ever growing yet always used scarf collection. It is gorgeous, vivid pink and blue and a bargain at £1.99! The more observant amongst you may note it is my Mr modelling the scarf, my hair was...ummm....not great at the time ;)

  • A peachy orange loose knit top for my little girl, really unusual and the sort of colour that looks fab with dark denim .... £1.29!

  • A set of old shell postcards that I intend to frame to make a collage of postcards for my dining room. 99p!!

  • A pretty long sleeved pink top for myself that I will wear as a casual top for shopping, school runs, dog walks, studying, blogging and generally life! £2.49!!

And the best bit of all, it is in keeping with my new ethos....reduce, reuse, recycle!

I have always donated clothes to charity shops, mainly as I am a little to lazy to keep up with the ebaying items that sell for 99p! But I had a real insight today into how exciting and satisfying it can be for the buyer. Therefore I have made a pledge to donate all possible items to local charity shops to ensure someone else benefits from our outgrown/ill fitting/not our style clothes!

I also noticed the charity shops were alive with not only the older people I had imagined but also bright, young funky people looking to buy clothes and restyle (or upcycle if you will!) them to suit their tastes. This led to a new found determination to dig my old sewing machine out! Damn it, I can make that size 10 top I fancy a size 14 with the clever use of panels (well maybe!)

Obviously, remember to wash clothes before use and be vigilant in checking the condition as they are used. Aside of that, what are you waiting for? Go grab yourself a bargain and when you return you can smugly rifle through your purchases whilst convincing yourself you have done the charity, your purse and indeed the world a favour! It worked for me :)

Welome to my ramble through the world of thrifty and green....literally a whole new world!

Hello readers and bloggers!

Welcome to my humble little blog :)

A quick intro.... My name is Kate, I am a twenty something Mum of one (currently ttc child number two-babydust needed!) with a wonderful partner (soon to be Husband)

I have always been interested in all things 'green', 'eco', 'thrifty', 'upcycled' etc but of late I have begun to get into it in a HUGE way!

The aim of this blog is to bring together tips and hints, pictures, stories, advice and inspiration for anyone who is interested in living a thrifty (and who in these current times isn't?!) lifestyle.

The benefits for myself and my lovely family are going to be:-
  • Teaching my little girl the value of money, helping her to develop the basic skills that so many of us don't have these days- to cook, to shop on a budget, to furnish her home on a budget, to use a sewing machine and perhaps more importantly to respect her world!
  • To save money!
  • To not be wasteful, I had begun to get depressed with the vast amount of 'stuff' cluttering up our lives and home!
  • To understand the difference between 'needing' something and 'wanting' something...and preferably being able to turn this into 'how can I create something similar on a budget/by upcycling'
  • The most obvious reduce our carbon footprint and food miles! In doing so we hope to...
  • Support local businesses, I really don't want to watch my local businesses die whilst the chainstore fat cats thrive!
  • Here is the big one....we also hope to start a related business at some point...but more about that as it unfolds!!