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.

5

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

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

welcome autumn

its the end of the summer. tomorrow i will be traveling back to wales and hopefully continuing my blog with all the adventures i get up to with my friends. Already a few plans are forming of things we would like to try and people we want to try to reconnect with. after all it is so easy to lose touch with friends when away from the hub of university life despite all the advances in technology.

English: Fallen Autumn Leaves at an Arboretum ...

English: Fallen Autumn Leaves at an Arboretum in the UK (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes it’s easier and nicer to get back to basics and do things for yourself. pick up the phone or send a letter.

A few days ago i went blackberry picking and today was rewarded with some homemade jam. I am very much looking forward to tasting it knowing i will appreciate it more because i picked the fruit myself.

Blackberry

Blackberry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I decided that a new university year means a new start its back to the books and also trying to stay fit. I often find hat trying to balance study exercise and pleasure is difficult to achieve. it is easy to see friends by arranging to study together however it is more difficult to fit in exercise around studying and find the motivation to undertake it after spending the day working hard.

I am going to be testing an app for  the Iphone and android phones called zombie run in the hope it will motivate me to get a bit fitter in between my library sessions. ( I will let you know how i get on later in the month). if you want to check out my progress it will be available at https://www.zombiesrungame.com/Hiddencat12/

Once again thanks for reading.

The wedding song.

Wedding Dress For Happy Couple in Love

Wedding Dress For Happy Couple in Love (Photo credit: epSos.de)

I’m getting married ! and what better to celebrate the announcement than Bob Dylan’s wedding song :

I love you more than ever, more than time and more than love
I love you more than money and more than the stars above
I love you more than madness, more than waves upon the sea
I love you more than life itself, you mean that much to me.

Ever since you walked right in the circle’s been complete
I’ve said goodbye to haunted rooms and faces in the street
In the courtyard of the jester which is hidden from the sun
I love you more than ever and I haven’t yet begun.

Me and my fiance have finally decided to set a date for our wedding. We want to keep the costs as low as possible so we will be doing it ourselves where possible and only calling in the experts where it is cheaper to do so or in an area we have no clue whatsoever and necessity demands.

We have already decided on our guest list of 50 guests. Now we need to finalize the date with the vicar who is not back till Monday and send out save the dates.

There is a huge list of stuff to organize in the next month or so but once that is sorted there will be little else until about a month before the wedding.

Here is the list of what me and The Count came up with when starting our list of things we need to do

Wedding countdown to do list

Finalise guest list

Decide budget

Inform bridal party of date

Book church

Book reception venue

Choose theme/ colour scheme

Pick dress and suit

Send out save the date cards

Choose and order invites

Set up a wedding website

Investigate photographers

look into Entertainment

research Caterers

Decide on honeymoon plans

Flowers

Choose Music

Create an order of service

Decide on order of plans for wedding day

Hair and makeup

Choose a cake

Favours

Vows

Toasts

Menu cards

Table plan

Seating arrangements cards for guests

Table decorations

 

The advantages of shopping around –reduced price TEFL course.

Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)

Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) (Photo credit: SEE TEFL Teacher Training)

 

Like many other students faced with a long summer and little job prospects I wanted to use the time wisely in some beneficial way. I decided after finishing my last assignment for the year that I would like to undertake a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) course in my spare time. This would not only keep me occupied and look good on my CV but would also provide the potential for me to work abroad after completion of my degree.

Unfortunately most of the courses I looked into were over £200 which is a lot of money when you have nothing coming in. I was chatting about this problem with a fellow classmate and she suggested checking Groupon (a coupon sharing website). She had got her own course on the recommendation of a friend from the sight at only £50 for 160 hours. This inspired me to have a look for myself. Although £50 was still a lot of money it was significantly cheaper than any of the other courses I had looked into.

On the other hand this led me to wonder why this particular course was so cheap. If I bought it through the TEFL-LINK website it would cost me £560 for the same course I could buy via Groupon for just £50. I looked at the terms and conditions and found that the only thing not included in the course was the cost of postage for the certificate which would be an extra £5.

I decided the best thing to do was look for reviews of the course and the tefllink website. When these came back positive I decided to go for the much reduced course.

This made me realise that there was probably lots of potential savings on the web for things I had never even considered checking. This strengthened my resolve to check in future and try my very best not to pay more than necessary. I bookmarked groupon and moneysupermaket an am going to test them out next time I need to purchase something online.

http://www.moneysupermarket.com

My friend sent me the link for the course which is https://www.groupon.co.uk/deals/special/tefl-express/22121740

And tefllink can be found at http://www.teflink.com/

I hope this helps and you save money in future too. If you know of any other great ways of saving money please do share.

Best wishes

Rachael

Homemade gift kombucha starter

This is my first full day back in sunny Yorkshire since Easter.  I spent the day unproductively enjoying the sunshine that has been reluctant in its appearance. This post is dedicated to my sister whose birthday is next week. She has just moved flat and I wanted to get her something nice but personal. For this reason I decided to make a gift this year rather than buying one. She is very supportive and often offers me both ideas and encouragement for my blog. After careful consideration I decided to gift her with a kombucha starter kit.

I researched what kombucha is in an earlier post along with instructions for starting your own.

http://wp.me/p3vj8Z-8Y

Kombucha

Kombucha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is what I learnt about basic Kombucha care:

Kombucha type of drink made using a micro-culture which is sometimes refered to as a mushroom or scoby. The mushroom is used to fement a mixture of black tea and sugar in order to produce a cold tea that can (depending on care) taste like anything between vinegar and champagne (although its usual taste is similar to cider).

You have to keep your kombucha mix in a glass jar out of direct sunlight. The lid should be removed in order to let air in but covered (I find kitchen roll and a rubber band work well) in order to stop dust and flies.

The scoby should not be allowed to come into contact with metal as this will kill it.

There are two ways to make kombucha either a batch at a time or in a running (continuous batch). For the batch at a time method you transfer some of the last batch of ready kombucha and the scoby to a clean glass jar and then add the cooled black tea and sugar mix. For the continuous batch every time you take out some of the liquid from the kombucha mix you replace it with more cooled black tea and sugar mix. For the second method it has been suggested that you add slightly more sugar than in the initial batch as the pre-existing mix as well as the new tea feeds off the sugar.

Plain kombucha takes 10 to 14 days from adding the sugar black tea mix before it is ready to drink.

The ready kombucha can be flavoured by decanting into another glass jar, without the scoby and the kombucha needed to start the next batch (or continue brewing), adding your flavouring of choice and leaving it a few days to take on the flavour.

I hope this explains the basics for those of you who are interested. I hope to do a post in the future about the different recipes which include kombucha.

Best wishes

Rachael

The world is what you make of it so let’s make it the best. =D

Kindness

Kindness (Photo credit: -RejiK)

The kindness of friends and their friends.

I was helping a friend to pack this week. It feels like I’ve been doing this a lot lately. Everyone is finishing their degrees and packing up ready to re-join the real world.

Anyway, one of the things I have found is that as I help people pack they often want to throw out things that are perfectly usable. I hate waste and so offered to run a few trips to the charity shop for anything still usable. Some of these things for example a pair of well-loved trainers were beyond even the charity shop but I offered to give them a home as I love to make do and mend where possible.

To that end this week I have acquired: a new feather duvet with cover and two pillows for the guest bedroom, This will be seriously appreciated when the weather gets cooler as there is no heating in the spare room; Two pairs of loved trainers which although well-worn and battered will be usable with a bit of basic DIY; Some unloved posters which I will pass on to new student in September to help them feel more at home; An unopened bag of tropical granola and three bags of stuff for charity.

I would help my friends regardless but I love the fact that we help each other and keep things out of landfill that little bit longer. Through avoiding the need to buy new things and making other peoples day by working out who would benefit best from items that would otherwise be binned we share the kindness that is often reserved only for close family. For this reason my friends are family and almost strangers are our friends. We keep an eye on those who we see but do not know and try our best to support one another in our community. Even if it is only little things such as saying hi and offering a cup of tea we try to watch out for each other and share some kindness in this world.

The world is what you make of it so let’s make it the best. =D

Best wishes

Rachael