My Spring cleaning adventure Part 2.

My Spring cleaning adventure Part 2.

Yesterday I tackled the bedroom with some help. Today I hope to continue cleaning working my way through the rest of the house. Hoping not to miss anything important I am using the help of About Home who provide a handy list of jobs with hints and tips to make sure nothing is forgot.

I tidied the living room again hoovering and removing cat hair from the carpet.

Next I wanted an air freshener to help get rid of the smell of cat. I wanted something long lasting but inexpensive. I also didn’t want anything with lots of chemicals as I am asthmatic and even if I wasn’t natural is better and often cheaper. I googled how to make my own and found an easy to follow recipe on blog 25. all you need is a container you can put holes in, baking soda and an essential oil of your choice.

First I prepared my container, blog 25 uses a mason jar which is very handy but, I had to make do with the contents of my kitchen.

I used an old (washed out) coffee jar with plastic lid. I tried to pierce the lid but I couldn’t manage this with the tools I had at hand. Instead I used an old bobble to secure a bit of fabric with pin holes over the opening. Before putting the fabric over the opening I filled a fith of my jar with baking soda. To this I added 10 drops of vanilla oil to ensure a strong scent. I then put the plastic lid on the jar and shook the contents to mix it together. After this I put the fabric lid over the jar secured with a bobble and found a home for my new air freshener on the windowsill.

(pics to follow)

After this I continued tidying hoovering the sofa cushions and putting away dry washing. My new goal is to ensure washing is put away straight away instead of leaving it on the sofa for days.

Tomorrow I am back at work so the rest of the deep clean is on hold till I have time to continue.

For now I would love to hear how your spring cleaning adventures are going?

Webistes

http://housekeeping.about.com/cs/cleaning101/a/springclnngguid.htm – about home website with spring cleaning list

http://blog.freepeople.com/2012/08/diy-2ingredient-air-freshener/ – blog 25 air feshener recipe.

My Spring cleaning adventure Part 1.

My Spring cleaning adventure Part 1.

Me and my partner are always complaining that we never have time to clean the house between us. We go to work, come home, eat and sleep. We both work 12hr shifts and like many people put off anything more than the basic dust and hoover as really don’t want to spend what little time we have when we are both off and awake cleaning the house.

This is a struggle faced by many of my friends who are of working age. Unfortunately very few people enjoy cleaning there is always something we would rather be doing such as taking the kids to the park, relaxing in the garden or just watching TV.

We finally decided to bite the bullet and start our spring cleaning today. I have a few days off work so no time like the present to gain some control over the environment.

First thing we did was open the curtains and windows. A bit of fresh air helps to blow away the cobwebs and any lingering smells. Then we cleaned the windows to get the maximum amount of light into the house which also helps with shaking off the winter and finally acknowledging the spring. Natural light can play an vital role when combined with other factors it has amazing affects on individual moods uplifting and re-energising.

We used a combination of vinegar warm water and washing up liquid to clean the windows till they sparkled (or at-least no longer had cat fur stuck to them).

Next we flipped the mattress (to prolong its lifespan) and changed the bedding. The bedding gets changed regularly in our house but there is nothing better then fresh bedding when you have spent the day cleaning.

Then I spent the next hour sorting through my clothes organising them into four categories : Bin, charity, keep but put into storage, keep and put away. I was amazed by how many clothes I had been hoarding that didn’t fit me anymore. My wardrobe has now gone from an overflowing mess to a neatly folded delight.

Whilst I was sorting out my wardrobe my partner made a start on washing the bedding we had just changed, catching up on some laundry and starting dinner.

I hoovered the bedroom floor and used a damp cloth to get up cat hair stuck to the carpet.

After that we put out the washing together and decided to have tea and call it for the day.

Tomorrow I will clean downstairs whilst my partner is at work.

websites

http://myfrugaladventures.com/2013/04/homemade-glass-cleaner/ – where we got the window cleaner recipe from.

https://uk.pinterest.com/sonoga/diy-cleaning-tips/ some ideas for making your own cleaning products.

Save the Bank Gift Idea

Free word art for every occasion

Mothers day has just been and the next occasion I have coming up is my siblings birthdays in april. Sometimes the need to spend money on gifts and going out to celebrate occasions can feel never ending especially when your on a tight budget. So instead of breaking the bank I am going to create home-made presents for the next few occasions. Hopefully more if I have any success. I want to create something unique without having to spend hours working on it. Im all for gifts from the heart which you have spent time and effort making however with three separate birthdays in the next two weeks and very little time to make anything due to working twelve hour shifts I need something simple.

Looking at gift ideas on Facebook swap sites and google I found this website where you can buy personalised word art for any occasion :https://www.facebook.com/Wordartforyou

I really liked the concept but didn’t want to spend £13 buying something I could probably make myself. So I googled it.

The first helpful website I found belonged to another blogger Maggie.  http://blog.thelovenerds.com/2013/09/free-shaped-word-art.html Her website provided instructions on how to make your own word art using a free online engine called Tagxedo. http://www.tagxedo.com/app.html

I decided to give it a go. First I headed over to the website.

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Then I clicked on create. Next I had to install silverlight as I am now working on a new (second-hand) laptop.

This took me to the creation engine

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Next you need to click load. On the left hand side.Then you can either type in the words you want to use, upload a file from your desktop (perhaps of your favourite poetry) or choose a web address.

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For my first trial I chose to use a web address. In fact I chose the address for my blog.

Then I hit submit and waited.

Once you have chosen your text you can change the shape.

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I decided to try a dinosaur as they are awesome.

din 1

If you then want to change the colour of your creation use the theme arrow down the left hand side.

If you want to change which words are which colour then clock thee circular arrow next to colour.

If you want to change your text font then you can either select the circular arrow next to font for a random selection or use the arrow to pick a specific option.

The software is nice and easy and best of all free to use. Have a play around until you find something you are happy with.

“Orientation” : allows you to choose the direction that you would like your words to face.

“Layout” shifts the words around

When your done click on the save/share button to either print or save the image to your computer.

Good luck                                            dino blog

Kindness its not just for Christmas

Quick Christmas appeal

Christmas is amazing I love Christmas. I love trying to guess what presents I’ve got and if my partner will like what I’ve got him. I love cooking and baking in the run up to the big day. I always try to save some money in the run up to Christmas so I can get something nice for Christmas day and New Year’s Eve.

In all seriousness though Christmas is a time for family, forgiveness and thoughtfulness it’s not just about the presents. Whilst many people are getting ready for Christmas day, worrying if they have bought the perfect gift for their children and if the everything will run smoothly or if there will be another argument over what to watch on tv, others just see it as another day on which they have to somehow make ends meet and survive.

Giving and receiving presents is lovely but there is no need to panic if your gift costs less than their gift. That is not what Christmas is about it’s about appreciating what you have and trying to share a little of what you have with others who have less.

This year I am supporting a Christmas charity organisation called the big give (link at bottom) who raise funds and co-ordinate their appeals to help you help the charity of your choice. You can choose from location and cause to decide where you want to spend your money.

I am also trying to make Christmas go further by trying to raise awareness of the need to help others and be kind not just at Christmas but all year round. This doesn’t have to be a financial commitment it can involve donating old items to charity or donating time or even just letting someone else get on the bus before you or holding a door when you didn’t have to.

I am collecting the stamps I receive on Christmas cards and giving them to charity. It’s a small gesture that doesn’t inconvenience me in any way and can help someone else.

Don’t just be kind for Christmas be kind wherever there is opportunity. The benefits include making another persons day and being aware that you have helped someone when you could have not.

I hope you all have a lovely christmas full of love and appreciation.

WARNING: over kindness can lead to a sense of fulfilment and the need to help strangers.

Links

http://www.thebiggive.org.uk/ -charity donations to location and cause of your choice

Last minute Christmas chaos

Last minute Christmas chaos

Christmas is approaching in fact its only 3 days away. It’s a bit late to be suggesting ideas for presents, wrapping or organisation however many of us will still have last minute preparations to complete and people to visit before new year’s eve.

I have been asked to remind you by subject A that when in doubt there is always the option of the 24hr petrol station. Who doesn’t love a free bumper sticker or windscreen cleaner?

For those of you who still need gift ideas here are a few of my favourite easy to make pressies:

Personalised crokery -Anything from a mug to plate to bowl can be customised using a sharpie marker and 30 mins in the oven:

  1. To start you need a white mug some sharpie markers I use black for writing quotes but colours are fine too.
  2. Design- anything you want draw or write make it personal to you and the person your gifting
  3. Pop it in the oven whilst cold (it needs to heet gradually to prevent cracking)
  4. Turn the oven to 175C or 350 F
  5. Leave the mug in the oven for 30 mins
  6. turn the oven off leaving the mug in untill cool
  7. Gently handwash, dry and giftwrap.

Cake mix in a jar- put all the dry ingredients for a cake together in a jar make a handmade label with the recipe and instructions and wrap.  My favourite variation of this  which is bread rather than cake in a bottle can be found on messynessychic’s website (link below)

Links

http://lifehacker.com/5992703/use-a-sharpie-to-make-custom-coffee-mugs-personalized-plates-and-more – just one website with instructions for personalising your crokery.

http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Sharpie-Mug-DIY-Project-24955886 – another website with instructions and ideas for diy gifts

http://www.messynessychic.com/2014/12/17/this-diy-gift-guide-rules-cheap-last-minute-ideas/- some cute and quirky diy gift ideas.

http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/holidays-occasions/quick-bread-in-a-bottle            – recipe by messynessychic for bread in a bottle.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/23/8-diy-gift-ideas-20-minutes_n_4492789.html – 8 quick gift ideas

The mystery of the missing year

For those of you who have been dedicated to supporting my blog I have to apologise for my MIA status of the past year.

There have definitely been several major changes. I have moved house, finished university, started full time work and now have a SMALLER kitchen than ever before.

The least eventful of these was the finishing university. Although I have spent 4 years working and playing hard I have now graduated with a 2:1 BA in Religious studies. Leaving me more aware of religion in society but ill equipped to apply this knowledge to life outside university or the world of work.

Next was moving house, I have moved from beautiful wales to still not sunny Yorkshire. The move was the biggest thing I have had to organize in my life so far and for any last year students thinking of moving I suggest to start planning early.

There were several setbacks with the move itself. We had to be out of the house by June 28 and were going to hire a man and van however one of our friends suggested we hire a van and they would drive which was considerably cheaper. Unfortunately they fell ill with pneumonia and were unfit to drive a few days before the move date. This left us with a mad scramble to find a man and van or substitute driver.

We had several offers of friends who wanted to help however due to the short notice ended up hiring a man and van from www.anyvan.com to move the contents of our house the 500+ miles.

The guy who arrived was lovely he loaded everything into the van and helped with a few last minute jobs such as emptying the bins for the final time and vacuuming the stairs. He kept us well informed of arrival times making a stressful day that bit easier.

The new house is a two bed with a basement which has now been converted into a ‘gym’.

There is 3 of us sharing as well as two cats, two rats and a very lonely singular mouse (due to an unfortunate death).

Finally, the new job. Well it’s a job. AND I LOVE IT!

I’m working full time in a job I got offered whilst still at Uni. I walk to work most days and feel like it’s something worthwhile. I’m three months into my six month probation and looking forward to further training.

And that’s it. Here are some photos of things I have been doing over the past year:    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 054

Houdini

Houdini

Houdini

Houdini

Baby Houdini October 2014

Baby Houdini October 2014

Last years snow

Last years snow

Getting ready for christmas

Getting ready for christmas

My Easter Present from Lampeter University

My Easter Present from Lampeter University

Trip to St Davids

Trip to St Davids

Trip to St Davids

Trip to St Davids

Spot the kitten dec 2014

Spot the kitten dec 2014

Day at scarborough

Day at scarborough

View of Lampeter over the valley

View of Lampeter over the valley

Baby Echo jan 2014

Baby Echo jan 2014

Links

http://www.anyvan.com/view-profile/GordonF – profile for our lovely removal man.

http://www.uwtsd.ac.uk/lampeter/ – Lampeter University website

http://www.stdavidscathedral.org.uk/index.php?id=760 – St Davids Cathedral Website

christmas countdown begins. the importance of gift not present giving

Its not even December but for many the Christmas countdown has already begun. Shops are selling Christmas related goods and adverts such as the coca cola ‘the holidays are coming’ Christmas reminders are starting to gear up.

usually i like to have all my  Christmas shopping done way before December and I know many others try to do the same out of a desire to avoid the maddening crowds.

Trying to find that perfect gift can be time consuming and expensive. for this reason  try where possible to make my own gifts. which is possible with a bit of thought, patience and not too many materials.

My sister sent me this link and i had to share as it is about giving gifts not presents. Instead of buying something spend time with someone. It will be much appreciated.

http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/life/celebrate/20131024/the-gift-of-not-giving-a-thing

I’m sure you will agree.

Fungus Foraging or A day outside in the fresh if damp air.

English: fungus

English: fungus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fungus Foraging or A day outside in the fresh if damp air.

Last week I got invited to attend a fungus foraging course at my local woods. I was very excited by the prospect and after a bit of organising managed to get a lift to the start point.

It was a wet day but the tree’s afforded plenty of shelter from the rain. I was surprised and delighted by the turn out. There must have been 40 of us who had dug out wellies and braved the weather to explore the outdoors.  Other than me there were plenty of families many with children. It was fantastic to see how excited the kids were at the concept of searching for and identifying something so basic and often overlooked.

We searched for about an hour covering only a small area. Then retreated to the car park to display our finds on a trestle table and ask the expert questions about our finds.

Personally I was surprised by the vast variety of fungi we found in such a small part of the woods.

I had a very enjoyable day and would go to other events at the forest in future.

foraging and recipes 025 foraging and recipes 030 foraging and recipes 033 foraging and recipes 040 foraging and recipes 039 foraging and recipes 041

Jelly bean mushroom

jelly bean mushroom jelly bean mushroom

Jelly bean mushroom

foraging and recipes 052 foraging and recipes 053 foraging and recipes 054 foraging and recipes 055

Bonfire alternatives

Happy bonfire night. the 5th of November is celebrated every year in recognition of Guy Fawkes’ thwarted attempt to blow up parliament.

The weather as usual is cold and the nights are getting darker perfect for firework celebrations.

This year we  decided to use an alternative to sparklers as not everyone is comfortable with close range fireworks.

our alternative : glow in the dark bubbles.

we mixed bubble mix and the contents of a glow stick in a bubble  wand for supper awesome fun.

very easy to make why not have a go.

Sunset November 5, 2006

Sunset November 5, 2006 (Photo credit: Whipper_snapper)

(pictures to follow)

Apple Day

Left: sweet cider. Right: apple juice.

Left: sweet cider. Right: apple juice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today was apple day in the town where I live. As well as an assortment of stalls selling fair trade good there was also a traditional apple press.

Me and a friend collected two bags of apples and decided to have a go at making our own apple juice. Our two bags of windfalls made 1 and ½ bottles of apple juice (or about three litres). We are going to drink the half bottle this week and use the full bottle to make cider.

First we washed the apples.

Then we chopped them into quarters.

Next the apples were fed through a scratter in order to pulp them. Essentially this is a mincer.

Once the apples are pulped they are then put into a muslin bag which is put inside the press and squeezed. Our press had small enough holes that the apple couldn’t escape therefore the muslin bag was not needed.

Juice is transferred from the press via a tube and then collected in bottles and ready to drink or use as desired. We collected ours in a glass jar and then transferred it to plastic bottles due to the lack of stability plastic provides.

It was a sunny day and lots of fun. I learnt several new things.

We decided to use our full bottle of juice to make cider so we will be buying a bung and air stopper to attach to the bottle. This will allow gas to escape from the bottle without allowing air in.

I will let you know how the next process goes asap.

Other fun articles

http://quintessentialruminations.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/confessions-of-an-english-apple-scrumper/