Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Garden Bits and Bobs...March...Planting Garlic and a Balcony Pond...

I've been playing on my balcony!  

I took my windowsill veggies (spinach, spring onions and kale, they weren't looking too happy!) and some sprouty garlic from the fridge, and planted them in a pot to put outside...

While I was out there I was sooo happy to see the bulbs I planted are coming up (daffodils, crocus and snowdrops) and my pansies are flowering...

And when I looked closer I noticed the forget me nots I dug up from mums garden last year are flowering too.  Forget me nots are my favourite flower ever. 

Oh yeah, and I made a pond.  Or at least a water feature!  This consists of a £2 plant pot, a solar fountain off ebay and will be filled with some plants nicked from Mums pond when the water warms up a bit.  I'm hoping the water might attract some different insects to my balcony and keep the atmosphere from drying out so much when it's really hot and gets direct sunshine in the summer.

Since then it's done a big, big snow on top of everything (photo includes part of my pink dressing gown sleeve, for your viewing pleasure).  Hope my little plants survive!

Are you doing anything garden-y, or waiting for nicer weather?

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Charity Shop Treasure...Retro Plant Pots, Pyrex and Dogs...

I bought these beauties this week...

The pot on the left was 60p, the one in the middle was 80p and the one on the right is a retro one that I've nicked off my mum!  It's hard to tell in the photo, but all the pots have brown speckles and a brown rim, so they kind of all match each other.

I got these retro pyrex-y cups, plates and bowls, £2 for the set.

It goes with all my other orange and pink flower-y pyrex!

These two vintage dogs, I've fallen in love with them and called them Miff and Biff, £2.50 for the pair.

Mum bought me a little caramel and brown coloured Wade whimsy dog for my printer's tray, and I bought myself a pink and white bunny (can you spot them?!).  I bought the tray for about £12 off Ebay a while ago.

You bought anything good?

Linking up with Lakota's Ta-dah! Tuesday.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Three Cheap, Easy Ways to Keep your Home Warm...

Even though it's nearly spring it's still cooold!  

I've done all these easy, cheap things to keep the warm in my home, and keep nice and cosy.

1.  Draught excluder - mine is a snake called Sir Sidney Sissington, who you can meet here.

2. Curtain - Mum put a curtain rail up for my above my front door, and gave me one of the curtains from our old house.  I keep this closed whenever I'm in and it really makes a difference...it's cold in the corridors outside.

3. Foil behind the radiator thingys - cut a bit of cardboard box card to a size that will fit behind your radiator, wrap loads of foil round it, tape the foil on and then stick the foil-behind-the-radiator-thingys behind the radiators.  I've done this on the radiators on external walls and walls that join up with my neighbours - I want to keep the heat in my flat not anyone elses!

Because I live in a big concrete flat this is about all I can do to keep warm.  I don't have any cavities to insulate and I can't even put that foam-strip-stuff round my doors (have tried, they wouldn't close! It takes longer that you'd think to remove sticky foam strip from around your door frames).  I do have thick carpets and underlays though, and lined curtains, which I close as soon as it starts getting dark to stop heat escaping.  I am also a big fan of sitting around in my big, pink, fleece dressing gown with a hot water bottle - very warm!

What do you do to keep warm in the winter (or unseasonably cold spring)?

Linking up with Lakota's Ta-Dah Tuesday.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Simple, Cheap, Natural, Eco Friendly Cleaning...

I always, always said that when I moved out of Mums I would use all natural cleaning products, and now I have my own little home that's exactly what I do.  I did some heavy duty bleaching when I first started doing the flat up (former inhabitant smoked, had a dog and had had a nervous breakdown, and not cleaned for what looked like several years).  But for the past 3 months this is all I've used...

  • For any cleaning of hard surfaces (bathroom, kitchen, sink) I use lemon juice, I just sprinkle it out of the bottle directly onto the surface, then wipe it up with a cloth.
  • For hard surfaces that need more of a scrub I use bicarbonate of soda, sprinkled on then wiped off with a cloth.  If it's super dirty I use lemon juice and bicarb. and let it fizz a bit before wiping off.
  • To clean the loo I sprinkle bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice in the bowl and let it fizz, before scrubbing it with a toilet brush.  I clean the rest of the loo by wiping it some toilet roll dampened with water and a little lemon juice - I flush this down the toilet so I don't have a toilet-germ cloth to deal with!
  • I clean my drains with soda crystals (washing soda), I pour about a quarter of a pack down each plug hole, then swish it down with a couple of kettle's full of boiling water.  (I have a drain problem in this flat, they get very clogged and the water backs up into sinks/bath...it is slowly getting better now I've started doing this every week though, I think they were probably very clogged before I got here!)
  • For dusting I just use a dry cloth, or a damp cloth if it's been a while!

  • I use Ecover laundry liquid and fabric conditioner.  I only use about half a capful of each per wash, so it lasts for ages.
  • I use Ecover washing up liquid, for washing up and to clean surfaces.  I also squirt a bit into hot water to clean my floors when I mop them.
As well as nor putting all sorts of horrible chemicals into my home and into the environment, using these cleaning products is really cheap...
Bicarbonate of Soda (same as baking soda) 60p - £1 a pack
Soda Crystals 60p - £1 a pack
Lemon Juice 40p-80p a bottle
Ecover Laundry Liquid £4 - £5 a bottle
Ecover Fabric Conditioner £4 - £5 a bottle 
Ecover Washing up Liquid £2 - £3 a bottle (you can usually get all the Ecover stuff on special offer though!) 

I'm really pleased with how well they all work, that I only have a few products that don't take up lots of room and that I don't have to use anything icky  and chemically in my home.

Do you have any more green cleaning tips for me?  What do you use?

Linking up with Frugally Sustainable.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Charity Shop Treasure...Dresses Galore...

I got two new dresses from the charity shop this week...

This Mexican one was £3.99...I've always wanted one of these so I'm really pleased!  I'm going to shorten it a bit I think, because it's a funny, unflattering mid-calf length.

This long sleeved, paisley dress was £5!

Have you bought anything marvellous recently?

Friday, 1 March 2013

Easy Green Things To Do This Month...March 2013...

Here's this months round up of easy eco actions and activities...

Sign Viva's petition to ask Amazon to stop selling Foie Gras.  I've also sent a message to Amazon directly asking them to stop.  Be warned, the photos on the page, of ducks being force fed, broke my heart a little bit.

Sign this petition to ask EDF Energy to stop legal proceedings to sue 21 activists for £5 million in damages for holding a peaceful protest against EDFs gas-fired power stations.

Send this online letter from The Wildlife Trusts to ask for Marine Conservation Zones.

Check out Climate Week, 4th to 10th of March...

Meatout - 20th March, have a meat free day...

World Water Day - it's on the 22nd March....

And Earth Hour, 23rd March.  (Feel virtuous indeed if you do something for all 4 events!)

Don't forget Mother's Day on March 10th this year...instead of buying an expensive present, try making your mum a meal or a cake, taking her on an exciting outing or giving her a plant or some seeds.

If you have any ideas to be added to this months list, then let me know in the comments section and if I like it, I'll add it!  And feel free to share any of this info (or the whole post) wherever and with whoever you like!