Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Harvest, July 2015.

This month my harvest has been small again!

I've had a few handfuls of strawberries, these were the last.

And my first courgette.

Things are still slow in the garden, I think the soil needs some love (although it's a good texture, nothing's growing very well, I think it needs some fertiliser and compost!).  

Have you harvested anything from your garden this month?

Linking up with Harvest Mondays.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Charity Shopping, Fabric.

Oh, I was lucky at the charity shop!  

Charity Shopping, Fabric.

Charity Shopping, Fabric.

These two pieces of new fabric are huge (they're folded into quarters in the top photo!), one is a woven stripe pattern and the other is baby cord with tiny printed flowers.

£2.25 each, charity shop.

You had a lucky, charity shop day recently?

Friday, 24 July 2015

Garden, July 2015.

I'm still waiting for my garden to come together, and for the spread-y plants I've put in to spread and cover the bare soil, but there's been some progress this month.

Do you like my DIY plant markers?  They're just corks with a wooden skewer poked into them.  After lots of experimenting, I found the best pen to use to write on the cork was Biro, sharpies and permanent markers wouldn't work!   There are a couple of tutorials for this on one of my pinterest boards here, but they're really simple to make.

DIY cork plant name makers.

Joe and his dad brought this Very Heavy mangle from Joe's dad's garden to come and live with us.  I've put it under the kitchen window and I'll keep herbs on it, if I can bring myself to move the beautiful Livingston Daisies.  They're my favourite!  I've taken the tomato plants out of pots and planted them directly in the Belfast sink, with some calendulas and sunflowers.  While I was tying them to stakes I noticed there were lots of flowers and a few green tomatoes coming too!

Old mangle and Belfast sink in garden.

Livingstone daisy Sparkle Mix

My garden friend this month is this little green shield bug!

Shield beetle

I made a start on one of the back corners of the garden.  I wish I'd taken a before photo, there were weeds and vines and brambles so you couldn't see the corner of the shed or the tree stump!  I made a 'bee waterer' too!  It's the dish of marbles on top of the tree stump, so insects can have a drink without drowning.  You can find a tutorial for a bee watering hole pinned here, but it's basically marbles in a dish!

Bee waterer

My honeysuckle has grown loads and is spreading along the two-tone fence, with the ivy and clematis.  (Please note the 2-tone fence is actually 3 tone, the pale and green fence in the photo below, and the khaki green fence in the photo above are all one and the same length of fence!  The other side is painted brown!)

Honeysuckle and clematis to cover fence.

I'm still mostly concentrating on this side of the garden.  I cleared a lot from the back and planted a passion flower and a goji berry to climb up the wall. 

Summer garden.

How's your garden this month?

I'm sharing my homemade cork plant markers as my contribution to Make, Thrift and Tell, this month's theme is natural.  And linking up with Flaunt it Friday and Your Turn to Shine.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Street Art and Graffiti, Digbeth, Birmingham.

I went to an awesome little market in Birmingham last week, and saw some cool graffiti as I walked through Digbeth.

Street Art and Graffiti, Digbeth, Birmingham.

Street Art and Graffiti, Digbeth, Birmingham.

Street Art and Graffiti, Digbeth, Birmingham.

Street Art and Graffiti, Digbeth, Birmingham.

Street Art and Graffiti, Digbeth, Birmingham.

Street Art and Graffiti, Digbeth, Birmingham.

I love seeing all the street art whenever I go to a city, we only get boring tagging here (so far!).

Do you have interesting graffiti where you are?

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Photo an Hour, July 2015.

The 18th of July was chosen as photo an hour day this month!

Photo an hour is organised by Louisa and Jane.  Here's my day in photos,

10am - I had a lie in, then had a peek at the weather through the conservatory window, lovely and sunny.

Photo an Hour, July 2015. #photoanhour

11am - Vegan pancakes for breakfast!  They weren't the best, because I can't find the big pan and only had strong bread flour!

Photo an Hour, July 2015. #photoanhour

12pm - Walking into town with my boy, I love these old, red brick buildings.

Photo an Hour, July 2015. #photoanhour

1pm - We were looking for furniture in the charity shops, I wasn't allowed this matching, faux marble effect dressing table and wardrobe!

Photo an Hour, July 2015. #photoanhour

2pm - But I was allowed this cute little chest of drawers, that only cost £10.  I love the curved backs of the drawers, just a shame you can't see them when the drawers are assembled!

Photo an Hour, July 2015. #photoanhour

3pm - The new drawers are set up in the bathroom, I'm happy I can finally take the bathroom stuff out of the moving boxes!  I think I'm going to keep my eye out for some different storage for the bathroom and these cute drawers will end up in the living room with our other mid-century modern furniture. 

Photo an Hour, July 2015. #photoanhour

4pm - We moved the new compost bin to the bottom of the garden and I've started filling it.  I feel soooo much better now I can compost!

Photo an Hour, July 2015. #photoanhour

5pm - Joe, putting up some trellis for clematis to grow up, either side of our front door.  There used to be a porch there, and it's been knocked down, so there are marks on the walls.  We're hoping the trellis and plants will disguise it a bit.

Photo an Hour, July 2015. #photoanhour

6pm - I originally cleared this patch down the side of the house for the compost bin to go, but it turned out a bit too small and the ground was too uneven.  Shame as I spent 2 hours digging out an enormous fern!  I've planted some raspberries and a courgette plant in the space for now.  

Photo an Hour, July 2015. #photoanhour

7pm - Dinner time!

Photo an Hour, July 2015. #photoanhour

8pm - I only water the garden a couple of times a week, if it can't tolerate a bit of drought, it can't live in my garden!

Photo an Hour, July 2015. #photoanhour

9pm - Watching a film, it was called 'Something Borrowed'.

Photo an Hour, July 2015. #photoanhour

10pm - Before I go to sleep I have to write down at least 5 nice things about the day in my gratitude journal (is there a less wanky name for one of these?!), and read some of my book.  

Photo an Hour, July 2015. #photoanhour

Did you take part this month?  Let me know if you did, I'd love to see your photos!

I'm trying to take part in #photoanhour every month this year, you can see my past photos here.  

Saturday, 18 July 2015

What do Vegans Eat? Vegan Meal Ideas, July 2015.

People always ask me 'What do you eat?', so here are a few of the vegan meals I've eaten this month.  

It's not very healthy this month, as we're in the middle of kitchen renovations!

Asda vegan chocolate orange buttons What do Vegans Eat?  Vegan Meal Ideas

 Asda Free From Choc Orange Buttons.  I'm addicted to these vegan orange chocolate buttons, the only problem is that there aren't enough buttons in the bag!

Waffles, vegan sausage and mushrooms. What do Vegans Eat?  Vegan Meal Ideas

Waffles, sausage and mushrooms.  Did you know you can cook potato waffles from frozen in the toaster?  My friend at work gave me this piece of advice and it's been very helpful in the house with no oven!  Toast once to defrost and a second time to crisp up.

mini party rings What do Vegans Eat?  Vegan Meal Ideas

Mini Party Rings.  Party Rings are suitable for vegans now, and the mini ones are the best because you can fit a whole one in your mouth!

Mujadara Lebanese lentils and rice  What do Vegans Eat?  Vegan Meal Ideas

Mujadara.  I used a mixture of a food network recipe (for the quantities) and a Yotam Ottalenghi recipe (for the spicing) and a bit of doing my own thing, to make my version of Mujadara.  I've never made this Lebonese rice, lentil and onion dish before but it's super yummy.

Naan Bread  What do Vegans Eat?  Vegan Meal Ideas

Naan Bread.  These 'Pana' naan breads are 49p for a pack of 2 from Home Bargains, and they're the only pre-packaged naans I've seen that are suitable for vegans.  I like mine toasted.

Vegan Veggie Balls Ikea

Ikea Veggie Balls.  'Scuse the terrible photo, my phone doesn't take good pictures, but I had to tell you about the vegan meatballs I ate at Ikea.  They're made with lots of veggies, and taste herby and delicious. The small veggie ball meal includes 10 veggie balls, tomato sauce, rice and broccoli, although I skipped the sauce and had chips instead of rice. Mum had the rice and sauce and it looked really nice (I just cannot deal with sauce on my food!). And it only costs £3.50.  So nice to have a vegan option available. 

Have you eaten anything deliciously vegan recently?

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

No 'Poo, My New Shampoo. Washing your Hair with Aloe Vera.

No 'Poo, My New Shampoo. Washing your Hair with Aloe Vera.

Let me introduce you to my new shampoo.

Yup, it's an aloe vera plant!

I read about using aloe vera as shampoo on the internet (I think in this excellent blog post about natural no 'poo alternatives) and decided to give it a try.

It's the easiest thing in the world, just snap off a leaf, wet your hair in the shower, squeeze the gel out of the leaf, and massage it into your scalp.  I try to leave it for a few moments before rinsing it out.

Using the aloe vera leaves my hair soft and shiny and it seems to help hold the curl in my hair too (I've read about using aloe vera as a natural hair gel, so that makes sense!).

You can read more about my adventures in low 'poo and no 'poo here

(FYI - low 'poo means using less shampoo, and it's less extreme version of going no 'poo, which means using no shampoo.  I've worked my way up to no 'poo over the last year or so, I haven't used my sls free shampoo bar for a couple of months, and mostly I wash with water only, sometimes with aloe vera, or apple cider vinegar)

Would you ever stop using shampoo and start washing your hair with leaves?

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Charity Shopping - The Man Edition. Glass Paperweights.

My boy isn't adverse to a bit of charity shopping, so I thought I'd start showing you some of the things he chooses too.

charity shop, retro glass paperweights

All these glass paperweights were bought from various charity shops on the same day!

charity shop, retro glass.

We're not quite sure what this is, a vase?  tealight holder? lampshade?  It's cut off very sharply at the top, so we think maybe it was once part of a light fitting.  £1, charity shop. (exciting new charity shop in town, woohoo!)

Have you (or your boyfriend/girlfriend/etc!) bought anything fancy from the charity shop recently?

Linking up with Flaunt it Friday and Vintage Bliss.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Library Love, The Plain Janes, My Faith in Frankie, Plants from Pips, Ally's World.

The Plain Janes, My Faith in Frankie Review

This month I've been reading, 

The Plain Janes - Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
The drawings in this graphic novel are so good, and I loved the storyline about a group of girls (all called Jane) trying to change the world with art installations in their neighbourhood. 

My Faith in Frankie - Mike Carey, Sonny Liew and Marc Hemple
This graphic novel is about Frankie and her own personal God, who gets jealous when she starts dating.  The ending was a big surprise to me, in a good way!
Plants from Pips, Ally's World Review

RHS Plants from Pips - Holly Farrell
I liked this cute little book about growing unusual plants from fruit pips.  I want to grow a lemon tree and an avocado!

Karen McCombie - Ally's World Series
I've been binge reading the Ally's World series during my house move.  They're from the teen fiction section, and although they were published when I was a teenager I didn't read them at the time.  I think I needed to read something really light and easy that had no mention of making weighty decisions about carpets or where to move the boiler to!  I liked the stories about Ally's quirky family, especially her big sister Rowan who wears crazy outfits and makes shrines to Johnny Depp in her bedroom, even though they're not aimed at my age group!

What have you been reading?

Monday, 6 July 2015

Retro Seventies Crafts #3. Accessories.

These are the last of my retro craft cards. 

They were published by Hamlyn in 1979, and these ones all feature beautiful accessories, for you or the home.

Retro Seventies Crafts 1970s

Retro Seventies Crafts 1970s slipper socks and cloggs

Retro Seventies Crafts 1970s rag place mats

Retro Seventies Crafts 1970s string bags

Retro Seventies Crafts 1970s macrame jewellery

Retro Seventies Crafts 1970s plaited rag rug

I especially like the slipper socks (and the green clogs in the photo!) and the blue Portmerion pottery in the rag place mat photo.

You can see more here.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

How to Make Vegan Cheese from Nutritional Yeast and Pine Nuts.

My boy invented this dairy free, soya free, vegan cheese substitute, and I think it's super yummy.  It makes lovely cheese flavoured stuff to sprinkle over pizza or pasta.

It's simple to make too, you'll need,

Pine nuts
Bread crumbs (the kind that come in a tub)
Nutritional Yeast
Onion granules

and a pestle and mortar.

The measurements are flexible and it's best to try it out and adjust to your own tastes.

How to make DIY vegan cheese from nutritional yeast and pine nuts

Pop some pine nuts into the pestle and mortar, about a tablespoon or so, depending on how much vegan cheese sprinkles you need.  Crush them with the pestle and mortar.

How to make DIY vegan cheese from nutritional yeast and pine nuts

Add some breadcrumbs and crush a bit more.

How to make DIY vegan cheese from nutritional yeast and pine nuts

Mix in some nutritional yeast flakes.

How to make DIY vegan cheese from nutritional yeast and pine nuts

Add a little, tiny pinch of salt and some onion granules.  Give the mixture a final crush in the pestle and mortar and then it's ready to use.

How to make DIY vegan cheese from nutritional yeast and pine nuts

We usually use this as a pizza topping, but you can use it however you like, maybe on an oven bake, or over pasta. 

I also love using nutritional yeast flakes to make my own vegan cheesy crisps

What vegan cheese alternatives are your favourites?

Vegan Life Magazine issue 7
Photo c/o Vegan Life Magazine

This issue of Vegan Life Magazine (which is the pizza issue, need I say more!) has lots more ideas for vegan cheese alternatives.

Disclosure - I have been provided with a free digital subscription to Vegan Life Magazine in return for reviewing this publication.  I have my own little page in the bloggers section on their lovely website.  All opinions are, of course, my own.