Friday, 8 June 2018

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.

Garden visits is a (newish) blog series where I visit gardens then blog about them! 

Last Sunday we went to an open garden event at a local hospice, the Severn Hospice in Apley, Telford.  I knew they had a big garden, but I wasn't expecting it to be so beautiful.

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

On the way in I spotted an owl, and on the way out I spotted a squirrel (or possibly a fox?!)!

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Somewhere in the middle I spotted a chameleon too.

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

As well as pretty bug hotels, there were pretty flowers, 

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Along the back of the gardens is a shady wildlife area called 'William's Walk', and I'm definitely borrowing some of their ideas for my own garden.  (would you rather live in 'Bugingham Palace' or 'The Bee's Knee's Hotel'?)

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

I definitely want to make a bumblebee nest pot in my garden - there are some instructions here

There were painted spoons all over the gardens, mostly saying nice, pretty things like 'pollinating plants' or 'butterflies welcome' but I liked this one most.

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

It's so magical, even fairies live there!

Garden visit, the gardens at Severn Hospice, Apley.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

There were craft stalls too, I managed to resist the gorgeous crochet blankets, but I came home with a driftwood tree and a garland too.  Oh and a plant.  And then we took my shopping and ourselves for a walk round Apley Woods.  It was a truly lovely day. 



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Friday, 1 June 2018

Charity shopping, what I bought on my holiday.

We spent a happy week in Wales and I picked up a few treasures, 

Charity shopping, what I bought on my holiday.  From UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #thriftshopping #opshopping #secondhand #secondhandfirst #retro #vintage

I finally own one of these classic retro deers, she's tiny and plastic and perfect.
Retro deer, 50p, slightly dirty charity shop near the clock tower in Machynlleth. 

Charity shopping, what I bought on my holiday.  From UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #thriftshopping #opshopping #secondhand #secondhandfirst #retro #vintage

Charity shopping, what I bought on my holiday.  From UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #thriftshopping #opshopping #secondhand #secondhandfirst #retro #vintage

These two came from an Ah-May-Ziing second hand shop in Aberystwyth, opposite the platform at the train station.  It's a good job I don't live in Aber any more or I'd have a houseful, and the furniture in there is to die for!  I couldn't resist a couple of little brown retro items that I knew would be light enough to carry round (carefully!) in my bag all day. 
Kilncraft Hermes mug, 50p and Brown drippy pot, £1, Craft, Aberystwyth. 

Charity shopping, what I bought on my holiday.  From UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #thriftshopping #opshopping #secondhand #secondhandfirst #retro #vintage

I picked up this cute retro tin in one of my local chazzas, you can never have too many tins.
Retro tin £2 (including contents, which was some quite grotty sewing thread I didn't really want!), Oxfam.

Charity shopping, what I bought on my holiday.  From UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #thriftshopping #opshopping #secondhand #secondhandfirst #retro #vintage

Last but not least, I have some fabric.  The brown stuff is a tablecloth with a hole in the middle and some stains, but I can cut round them and make use of it, I just love the pattern.  The pink is a pair of flannelette pillow cases that look like they've never been used!
Tablecloth, £1, local Sue Ryder shop.  Pillowcases, £1, slightly dirty charity shop near the clock tower in Machynlleth.   

Have you had any luck in the charity shops lately?

PS. Check out my other charity shopping posts for more like this! x





Tuesday, 29 May 2018

My homegrown harvest, May 2018.

I've just had a few little pickings from the garden so far this year, but the first of anything is always the sweetest!

These are onion scapes - unopened flowers from my Siberian perennial onions. Nice in a stir fry but they're a bit slimy to be honest!

My homegrown harvest, May 2018.  By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #gardenharvest #growyourown #homegrown #suburbanpermaculture

I'm not entirely sure what variety these are, I think some are red spring onions and some are baby leeks - they came out of the raised beds as Joe was emptying them to be moved.  They're very strong!

My homegrown harvest, May 2018.  By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #gardenharvest #growyourown #homegrown #suburbanpermaculture

'Scuse this terrible phone photo, but this is the first kale I've picked this year.  In fact I think this is the first kale I've successfully grown, so yey!  I know you're supposed to be able to pick it all winter, but my plant was only little so I waited for spring to come and for it to grow a bit more before harvesting from it. 

My homegrown harvest, May 2018.  By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #gardenharvest #growyourown #homegrown #suburbanpermaculture

Have you been eating anything from your garden yet?





Friday, 25 May 2018

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018.

Hey friends, I had a slight internet hiatus due to my internet breaking at home, and then going on holiday - but I'm back now to show you my garden again!

Here's the garden in April and then in May - I came back from a week's holiday and everything had grown at least a foot!

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #suburbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #organicgarden #gardenblogger

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #suburbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #organicgarden #gardenblogger

I took some cuttings from my Mum's fig tree a couple of months ago, just a branch, snipped off and cut into three.  I popped one into water and two into compost.  The fig cutting rooted in water has been the most successful, and I've potted it up to live outside.  The other two, in compost, are rooting more slowly, but I think they'll both grow eventually.

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #suburbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #organicgarden #gardenblogger

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #suburbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #organicgarden #gardenblogger

I've got lots of seedlings in the greenhouse.  I bought some tomato seedlings because I can never get seed to germinate myself.  There's onions, leeks, kale, sweetcorn, and delphinium seedlings in there too.  

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #suburbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #organicgarden #gardenblogger

I'm so behind this year with everything.  Usually I have all my seedlings in their raised beds by the time we take our annual holiday in mid-May, but there was just too much snow/cold/rain during spring for me to get things started in time.  My seedlings went to Mum's greenhouse for a holiday while I was away, and they're still not planted in their raised beds.  

Joe's 'doing' the drive.  I'm not quite sure what it entails, but apparently just whacking more gravel on top of the gravel already there isn't the right technique, and he's doing a lot of digging!  What this means for me, is that my two front garden raised beds have been temporarily taken down, so I'm seriously down on growing space.  The good news is that once the drive's been 'done' I have plans to squeeze an extra raised bed in, but for now I'm stuck waiting while Joe's stuck working hard. 

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #suburbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #organicgarden #gardenblogger

Joe emptied the front garden raised beds before he moved them, and the soil in them was so nice.  If you've been here for a while you might remember that I filled the raised beds using the lasagne method, about two and a half years ago.  The straw, food scraps, leaves and paper have all composted down and disappeared, leaving beautiful soil (which is currently piled up under a tarp, to be returned to the raised beds one day).

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #suburbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #organicgarden #gardenblogger

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #suburbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #organicgarden #gardenblogger

I'm really pleased with this little corner of the garden, I moved some plants about, and the dark leaved Psysocarpus Midnight is a lot happier on this side of the garden, and at the very far left you can see the Rowan tree I planted, isn't he so teeny and cute. 

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #suburbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #organicgarden #gardenblogger

I bought a new rose to climb up the fence too, I'm not sure it'll get going this year, but maybe next. 

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #suburbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #organicgarden #gardenblogger

I'll leave you with all these beautiful blossoms, and hope that I'm less in garden limbo by next month!

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #suburbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #organicgarden #gardenblogger

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #suburbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #organicgarden #gardenblogger

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #suburbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #organicgarden #gardenblogger

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #suburbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #organicgarden #gardenblogger

Diary of a Permaculture(ish) garden, April and May 2018. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukgarden #suburbangarden #suburbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #organicgarden #gardenblogger






Friday, 27 April 2018

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday.

Last Friday I had the day off work so I decided to try taking part in Friends of the Earth's new initiative, Plastic free Friday.   You're meant to go without single use plastics one day a week - Fridays - to help the environment.  I'm going one step further, because I've already cut out a lot of single use plastics, I wanted to have a completely plastic free day, but as you can see it was more difficult than I thought...

Breakfast.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

Despite trying really hard to have a plastic free breakfast, it didn't happen.  My organic mushrooms from Abel and Cole came in a plastic tray, my vegan margarine is in a plastic tub and although I store my seeds in glass jars they come packaged in plastic bags.  I made my own bread to save using pre packaged bread, but I used oil in a plastic bottle and even the bicarb was in plastic!  Urgh!

Getting up.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

I'm not wearing deodorant because it's in a plastic tube, it's about 20 degrees today so we'll see how that goes!  I have washed my armpits with soap (came in a paper wrapper) and a cotton flannel, so that was plastic free at least.  Sorry to say I've brushed my teeth with a plastic electric toothbrush and paste from a plastic tube, and put on moisturiser and sun cream from a plastic bottle too.

Chores.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

I washed up with some fairy liquid from a plastic bottle left by the previous owners of our house.  I use a loofah and wooden brush to wash up, and some really old cloths that get washed and reused to wipe the kitchen worktops.  I use Method eco friendly cleaning sprays for the kitchen and bathroom, and Ecover loo cleaner, all three have had a use today and all are in plastic bottles.  I put the dishwasher on, the tablets come in a cardboard box, but each tab is wrapped individually in plastic.  I usually use Ecover laundry liquid, but I have soapnuts so I used them, and white vinegar as fabric conditioner, to do a couple of loads of washing, which I dried in the sunshine.

Shopping.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

I went to Wilkos, Holland and Barretts and Boots on the hunt for some plastic free sanitary towels, I found some in Boots and they were suuuuuper expensive, but I bought them and had a nice chat with the lady at the till about being plastic free (she buys her apples loose in the supermarket!).  I bought some antihistimines in Wilko, which come in plastic blister packs. I Really wanted some crisps but resisted, and instead bought some loose nardicotts, a cauliflower and a lettuce from the market.  The lettuce was all wrapped in plastic, but so is the organic lettuce that comes in our veg box, and I'm still waiting for my homegrown lettuce to get going.  FYI I am regretting not wearing deodorant. 

Lunch.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

I had a huuge green salad with the aforementioned plastic wrapped lettuce, another homemade flatbread, vegan cheese, nuts and pretzels.  The cheese, nuts and pretzels were all in plastic.  Sigh.  I am beginning to feel disheartened. 

Gardening.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

This was a fairly plastic free afternoon, but I did use some compost that comes in a plastic sack.

Dinner.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

Joe came home super late from work, and I fell over in the garden like a wally and twisted my ankle, so we had a takeaway.  And some snacks before the takeaway came. Ahem.  

Bedtime.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

Back to my plastic-y tooth bush and paste, and my medicine - at least the eczema cream only has a plastic lid, the tube is metal.

I tweeted companies throughout the day asking them to reduce their plastic packaging, but only got replies from a few (Abel and Cole, Oral B, Aldi, B&Q, Wilko), I suppose as long as we keep giving our money to companies that use plastic packaging they won't change their business practices - it's hard though because who doesn't use some pre-packaged foods, household and personal care stuffs!

So, as you can see, Plastic free Friday is not easy and I have to go away and think about how I can cut more plastic out of my life.  Have you ever tried Plastic free Friday?




Friday, 20 April 2018

15 ways I use coconut oil instead of conventional beauty products.

I used to spend loads of pennies on beauty products, but over the years I've replaced them all with coconut oil.

Conventional beauty products contain loads of chemicals and some of them are harmful, and they're generally packaged in plastic which I try to avoid. 

This huge jar of coconut oil cost £15 and has lasted me well over a year so far.  If I used conventional beauty products I'd be spending over £50 (calculated using prices for basic vegan friendly products on Superdrug's website).  Here's how I use it...

15 ways I use coconut oil instead of conventional beauty products. From UK #eco-friendly blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #coconutoil #plasticfree #ecofriendlyblog

Face
Lip balm
Under eye cream
Serum - if it's a really cold day, or my skin is a bit dry, I pop some coconut oil on my cheeks before I put my moisturiser on.
Day cream - if I'm not going out I'll use coconut oil as a face moisturiser, but if I'm going outside I use a cream with SPF instead.
Night cream
Face exfoliator - make a really nice exfoliating and moisturising face mask by mixing coconut oil, oats and sugar - rub in into your face and leave it on for a few minutes before washing it off.

Body
Body lotion
Hand lotion
Cuticle balm
Foot lotion
After sun
Body scrub - mix a little bit of coconut oil with granulated sugar for a nice gentle exfoliator. 

Hair
Leave in conditioner - I melt a teeny bit in between my palms and then run it through wet or dry hair.
Frizz ease - I used to use sooo much Frizz Ease, coconut oil doesn't give quite the same effect but it does help keep frizzy hair at bay. 
Hair protector for swimming

Is there anything else I can use coconut oil for?!?