Friday, 23 December 2016

For Christmas, pretty Gisela Gottschlich illustrations.

Merry Christmas everyone!  

Here are some gorgeous retro Christmas illustrations to look at and say 'oooh' and 'aaaah', they're from 'My Big Christmas Book' and I think most of the illustrations are by Gisela Gottschlich.  

For Christmas, pretty Gisela Gottschlich illustrations. From retro book 'My Big Christmas Book'.  Secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #giselagottschlich #christmas #retro #illustration

For Christmas, pretty Gisela Gottschlich illustrations. From retro book 'My Big Christmas Book'.  Secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #giselagottschlich #christmas #retro #illustration

For Christmas, pretty Gisela Gottschlich illustrations. From retro book 'My Big Christmas Book'.  Secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #giselagottschlich #christmas #retro #illustration

For Christmas, pretty Gisela Gottschlich illustrations. From retro book 'My Big Christmas Book'.  Secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #giselagottschlich #christmas #retro #illustration

For Christmas, pretty Gisela Gottschlich illustrations. From retro book 'My Big Christmas Book'.  Secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #giselagottschlich #christmas #retro #illustration

For Christmas, pretty Gisela Gottschlich illustrations. From retro book 'My Big Christmas Book'.  Secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #giselagottschlich #christmas #retro #illustration

For Christmas, pretty Gisela Gottschlich illustrations. From retro book 'My Big Christmas Book'.  Secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #giselagottschlich #christmas #retro #illustration

For Christmas, pretty Gisela Gottschlich illustrations. From retro book 'My Big Christmas Book'.  Secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #giselagottschlich #christmas #retro #illustration

For Christmas, pretty Gisela Gottschlich illustrations. From retro book 'My Big Christmas Book'.  Secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #giselagottschlich #christmas #retro #illustration

For Christmas, pretty Gisela Gottschlich illustrations. From retro book 'My Big Christmas Book'.  Secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #giselagottschlich #christmas #retro #illustration

For Christmas, pretty Gisela Gottschlich illustrations. From retro book 'My Big Christmas Book'.  Secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #giselagottschlich #christmas #retro #illustration

For Christmas, pretty Gisela Gottschlich illustrations. From retro book 'My Big Christmas Book'.  Secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #giselagottschlich #christmas #retro #illustration

I hope you all have a lovely festive season.

Lots of love, Susie xx




Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Eco friendly articles and actions, December 2016.


Eco friendly articles and actions, December 2016. From secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukblogger #ukecoblogger #ecofriendly

Just in time for Christmas, here are a few easy online actions and interesting articles to make the world a better place, 

Quick grow some wildflowers and stop using pesticides - some species of bees have been put on the extinction list for the first time ever! 

Photo via BBC

I think I'd like to live in Tinkers Bubble in Somerset, please.


Ask supermarkets to switch to paper stemmed cotton buds (the plastic kind are cloggging up our sewers and oceans), by signing this open letter.

Support for fracking in the UK is at an all-time low. Despite the government backing fracking wherever it is proposed, people and communities object to it.  After the ratification of the Paris climate agreement the UK government needs to take action and keep fossil fuels in the ground by banning fracking in the UK.  More than 200 areas of the UK are earmarked for possible fracking - let’s stop it now before the floodgates open.
Via Friends of the Earth.

Sign Friends of the Earth's petition against Fracking.  

So, Theresa May's government wants companies to make lists available of all their foreign workers.  Bit scary, sign this petition to say that's not cool Theresa. 

Photo via mmn.com

If I can't live in Tinkers Bubble, I'll live in this 'agrihood' in Detroit.
 

I post these kinds of things on twitter all month, so find me there if this is your kind of thing too!

 
 
 

Friday, 16 December 2016

Vegan rice krispie treat recipe, with Freedom Mallows vegan marshmallows.

These vegan rice krispie treats are sweet, light and yummy!  I was sent some vegan marshmallows from Freedom Mallows to try, they're delicious to eat on their own, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to whip up some lovely vegan treats!

Vegan rice krispie treat recipe, with Freedom Mallows vegan marshmallows. By UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganrecipe #ricekrispietreats #freedommallows

You will need

1 75g packet vanilla Freedom Mallows
2 desert spoons vegan margarine
2 or 3 cups of rice krispies

Pan, spoon and a tin or tray.

How to make yummy vegan rice krispie treats

Melt the margarine in the pan over a gentle heat.

Add the vegan marshmallows and stir until they've melted.

Add rice krispies slowly into the pan, until they're covered with a light coating of the marshmallow mixture and are sticking together.

Push into a tin, tray or pyrex dish and firm and flatten out with the back of a spoon.

Chill in the fridge, then cut into squares and enjoy!

Vegan rice krispie treat recipe, with Freedom Mallows vegan marshmallows. By UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganrecipe #ricekrispietreats #freedommallows

Vegan rice krispie treat recipe, with Freedom Mallows vegan marshmallows. By UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganrecipe #ricekrispietreats #freedommallows

Freedom Mallows come in vanilla and strawberry flavours, and they're free from egg, dairy, gluten, gelatine, soy, GMOs and nuts, and they're suitable for vegetarians and vegans!  Phew!  They're also yummy, soft and melt in the mouth-y.  

My chief omnivore taste tester, Joe, say's the Freedom Mallows are just as good as non-vegan mallows and that my homemade vegan rice krispie treats are just as good as the Kellogs ones he buys from the shop. 

Vegan rice krispie treat recipe, with Freedom Mallows vegan marshmallows. By UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganrecipe #ricekrispietreats #freedommallows




Have you tried Freedom Mallows yet?

Disclosure - I was sent the Freedom Mallows to try.  I only work with brands I like and all opinions are my own.  



 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Ways to be kind, to give and to do good this Christmas.

Ways to be kind, to give and to do good this Christmas. From secondhandsusie.blogspot.com UK Blogger

It's nearly Christmas and I've bought my fair share of presents, but there are other, more important ways to give during the festive season, for a happier, kinder world.  Here are some of them.  

Give money to charity.
This is the effort free option to give at Christmas, (if you have some spare cash that is!).  So many charities have websites that make it super easy to donate.  In general my personal favourite eco friendly charities are Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace and I like the Dr Hadwen Trust who fund non-animal medical research.   

If you're concerned about what's happening in the world right now then here are some more causes to spare some pennies for,

Planned parenthood (in light of the not so pro-choice business going on in America thanks to Trump and Pence).

For charities helping Aleppo check out these lists, from The Independent and Huffpost, and if you want to know why you should donate to help people in Aleppo watch this (warning it's very distressing).

So many elderly people are alone at Christmas, donate to Age UK, who provide lots of services for elderly people.

Your local wildlife refuge will be busy this winter looking after lots of hedgehogs and other beasties, I'm sure they'd appreciate a donation.  My local wildlife rescue is Cuan House and they do great work.

Give kindness.
Simple things like offering to help someone with a buggy up the stairs, holding the door or making way for the person using a wheelchair can brighten someone's day and make a little difference.

Donate your belongings.
There's an idea of a reverse advent calendar going round at the moment, put an item to donate to a charity shop or food bank into a box every day during advent then donate it at the end.  Or you can go the old fashioned route and go through your wardrobe and discard anything that doesn't bring you joy!   I've taken several bags to my favourite local charity shop (it raises money for the day centre my Grandparent's used), I even gave them the bag of 'good stuff' I was saving to E-bay, because lets face it they've been hanging round for 6 months and I'm never going to get round to it!

Buy second hand.
Pick up decorations or Christmas party frocks from charity shops or Ebay, it saves you money and reuses resources.

Give to food or toy banks.
In my area there are collections for both food and toy banks, by the local council and charities.  There are food bank collection bins in loads of supermarkets, so it's super easy to pick up a tin of soup to pop in while you're doing your shopping.  I don't tend to buy toys for the toy bank (too plasticy, my neices are getting nice cotton kitty-cat socks for Christmas this year!) and gifts need to be new, but I have a couple of new craft books I've never, ever read that I plan to donate.  The toy bank caters for young adults as well as little ones, and they're often short of gifts to give them, so it's a perfect opportunity to regift those brand new drawing books, plus some new ones, to a better home.

Shop local this Christmas.
Try to buy some presents or Christmas food supplies from your local market or shops.  Spending within your local economy means more money stays in your area and gets reinvested in more local jobs and services, and it makes your local business owners happy.

Give Compliments.
So far I've told the lady in the wool shop I love her window display (knitted 12 days of Christmas), several library customers I like their Christmas jumpers and one of my Rainbow guides that she has good dance moves.  I plan on giving at least 10 random compliments before Christmas comes.  You can do this really easily on social media too.  Just scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feed and spread the love to your online friends.     


What will you be giving this Christmas?







Friday, 9 December 2016

My favourite way to eat left over chips.

What's that I hear you say, left over chips?  Surely such a thing doesn't happen, you eat up all your yummy chips as soon as they pop out of the fryer/oven/takeaway.  But surprisingly sometimes there are left over chips, and this is how I like to eat them up.

My favourite way to eat left over chips. By UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #veganblogger #ukveganblogger #loveyourleftovers #chips #vegancooking

Chop the chips up roughly into bite size pieces.

Heat a frying pan and spray in a couple of squirts of oil.

Put the chopped chips into the pan, with a good sprinkle of paprika and
a finely chopped clove of garlic.

Fry for about 5 minutes, add a chopped spring onion for the last minute.

That's it.  Easy peasy, I like to eat it for brunch! 


My favourite way to eat left over chips. By UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #veganblogger #ukveganblogger #loveyourleftovers #chips #vegancooking


How do you use up your left over chips?  (if you ever have any, haha!)





Tuesday, 6 December 2016

What I've been reading.

Here's what I've been reading recently, lovely library books and some second hand finds too,

Book reviews by uk book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com Dumplin, Royal Wedding, Hag-Seed, Craft for the Soul, lovely library books and secondhand books. #bookreview #librarybooks #ukblogger #ukbookblogger

Dumplin' - Julie Murphy
Oh I loved Dumplin'.  Dumplin' is a self proclaimed fat girl from Texas, a high school student with a job in a fast food joint and a mother who runs a teen beauty pagent.  When her aunt dies, Dumplin' enters the beauty pagent and confonts lots of her own (and others) beliefs about her body (thoughts that ring true to me, as someone who is currently plus sized, but who felt fat even as a size 10!).  There's also a brooding, hot co-worker, high school friendships and Dolly Parton.  Read it!

Book reviews by uk book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com Dumplin, Royal Wedding, Hag-Seed, Craft for the Soul, lovely library books and secondhand books. #bookreview #librarybooks #ukblogger #ukbookblogger

Royal Wedding - Meg Cabot
This is the 11th book in the Princess Diaries series we probably all remember from our teenagery times.  In fact I found the whole collection of Princess Diaries books in a charity shop for 30p each and re-read them in preparation for reading Royal Wedding.  This 11th installment picks up the same characters in their twenties, it's nice to see where they all end up, and there's the promised royal wedding.  Perfect comfort reading.

Book reviews by uk book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com Dumplin, Royal Wedding, Hag-Seed, Craft for the Soul, lovely library books and secondhand books. #bookreview #librarybooks #ukblogger #ukbookblogger

Hag-seed - Margaret Atwood
Oooh this is a clever book, as all Margaret Atwood books tend to be.  Hag-seed is a retelling of the Tempest, set in the unlikely (but workable!) world of a prison theatre group. I love Shakespeare and I love Margaret Atwood and I loved this book! 

Book reviews by uk book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com Dumplin, Royal Wedding, Hag-Seed, Craft for the Soul, lovely library books and secondhand books. #bookreview #librarybooks #ukblogger #ukbookblogger

Craft for the Soul - Pip Lincolne
Craft for the Soul is a nice self-help style book to help you live a happy and creative life.  It's nothing ground breaking, but I found it full of gentleness, inspiration and nice ideas.  I love the craft section at the back too.

What have you been reading?  

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Life lately, autumn 2016.

So, it's been pretty quiet on the old blogging front for the last few months.

The last few weeks have been the worst.  A couple of weeks ago I had a miscarriage, I was 11 weeks pregnant.  I *knew* I was pregnant since the day I was (I just felt it), so I had nearly 3 months to dream and hope and plan.  We were planning on telling everyone after the 12 week scan, but I've ended up telling pretty much everyone our different news, as I've been such a weepy, hormonal mess.  Miscarriage totally sucks and it's hurty and my heart's broken.  It was a really scary, traumatic experience and I'm really fed up of feeling poorly!  

But.  During those 11 weeks my body did something magic and made a tiny creature (my body also felt very very sick a lot!  And so sleepy.), and I was so happy and excited, and the way I think about so many things changed, and I fell even more in love with my husband.  I wouldn't ever take back those weeks of being pregnant.  Maybe this will be my only, short, experience of carrying a baby, and I don't want to feel bitter about it.  But I wish with all my heart it had turned out differently.  


Anyway, I'm trying to focus on nice, positive things and getting back to some kind of normality, so here's what else I've been up to these last few months,

Watching - all of the Netflix, the new seasons of Arrow and Flash, we saw Dr Strange at the cinema, and very good it was too.

Reading - so much comfort reading, I bought the entire series of Princess Diaries for 30p each in a charity shop, so I've been working my way through them.  I've just started Margaret Atwood's Hagseed too, I love a bit of Margaret Atwood! 

Home renovating - The kitchen cupboards are (almost!) in!  The quote for the stainless steel worktop was £3000!!!! We're going to have a plain white one instead!  Our new massive wardrobe with a slide-y door from IKEA is a thing of wonder.

Weddinging - My mum married her partner last month, ending a 12 month period where my brother, me and our mum all got married!  The wedding was lovely but that's enough weddings for now!

Auntie-ing - I was chief bridesmaid at mum's wedding, my main job being in charge of my neices.  I had a handbag full of distracting toys so each time they looked like they were making a break towards clinging to mum's legs (their location of choice!) I was on hand to offer Peppa pig colouring books/toy mice/bubbles/tiaras/dollies and so on.  Needless to say I didn't see much of the wedding!  


Printing - I went on a lino printing course, I printed a snail, it was so good!  When we sort our garden craft shed we're definitely having lino printing supplies in there!  We were taught by a local artist called Amanda Hillier, check out her prints, we were so lucky to be able to be taught by her!

Playing - a lot of words with friends with my mum! 

Buying - we bought a new mattress, funnily enough husband wasn't happy sleeping on the double mattress I've had since I was 15.  New mattress is king sized and so high I might need to buy a step to help me get into bed!

Being scared - by the American election results!

Working - the date we have to reapply  for our jobs keeps getting pushed further and further back, we'll be in December before we can submit our applications!  I'm doing some super fun freelance writing for a vegan leather brand that I'm really enjoying.

Guiding - My Rainbow Guide unit has closed and merged with another due to lack of adult helpers, I'm sad because I loved my little Rainbow unit.  I'm going to help at the unit we've merged with, hope it's nice there too!

Looking forward to - thank goodness that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, AND the new Gilmore Girls are both nearly out.  I'm realllly looking forward to both of them!  I can't wait for our traditional visit to Birmingham's Christmas market either.   

Blogging - well, I haven't really been blogging, but I will!  


Hope you've had a good autumn and have been finding lots of crunchy leaves to stomp through and making yourselves into blanket burritos and snuggling up! 


 
 


Friday, 28 October 2016

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016.

I have to hang my head in shame and admit I've neglected the garden (again!) this month.  I think I've been out there once all month, whoopsy!

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden


Having said that the garden isn't looking toooo bad, I've used a clever camera angle to cut out most of the mess though!

I even have some flowers still going! 

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

And my sweetcorn, minipops, is growing little cobs.  I planted it super late so I'm hoping to get a super late harvest before the frosts hit.

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

I'm not asking why the lettuce I planted in summer is only growing now, I'm just excited to be eating home grown lettuce in October!  This is my front garden raised bed, I cleared the fridge out and found lots of tiny garlic cloves we hadn't eaten so I planted them.  You can see them on the right of the raised bed, they've all grown so I'm hoping for bulbs in the spring!


Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

I've had a few ripe tomatoes from the tiny tim variety I planted from seed.  Only one san marzano tomato ripened, even though the plant had loads of tomatoes on it! 

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

Look how beautifully red my blueberry bushes have gone.

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

My best garden thing this month is my raspberries.  I think I said before that I was letting the branches flop over to hide the berries from birds.  This has worked really well and the berries have been huge and delicious! 

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

How's your garden this month?





Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Vegan review, Vegan Life Magazine.

Vegan Life Magazine is my favourite magazine, I'm always so happy when my next digital copy pings up on my laptop!   I thought I'd show you a little peek at October's issue.

The cover always has something really, really yummy looking on it!

October's issue of Vegan Life Magazine reviewed.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganlifemagazine #veganblog

You can check out the vegan diary to see if there are any fun events going on near you.

October's issue of Vegan Life Magazine reviewed.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganlifemagazine #veganblog

One of my fave sections is the vegan finds page, I love finding exciting new vegan friendly products!

October's issue of Vegan Life Magazine reviewed.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganlifemagazine #veganblog

There's a monthly feature to give you ideas on how to use the contents of your veg box.  I don't get a veg box delivered, but there's still lots of inspiration for how to use up seasonal fruit and veg.

October's issue of Vegan Life Magazine reviewed.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganlifemagazine #veganblog

Each issue contains a few interesting and well balanced articles.  I liked this one about teaching animal rights.  

October's issue of Vegan Life Magazine reviewed.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganlifemagazine #veganblog

And I'll just leave you with this carrot cake pancake stack, the recipe is in October's issue of Vegan Life! 

October's issue of Vegan Life Magazine reviewed.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganlifemagazine #veganblog

Don't forget to check out my other posts about Vegan Life Magazine too!


Disclosure - I get a digital subscription to Vegan Life Magazine in return for giving them a shout out every month.  I only work with brands I like and all opinions and ideas are my own.  Images in this blog post are courtesy of and belong to Vegan Life Magazine.  Vegan Life Mag is ace, you can subscribe here.


Friday, 7 October 2016

How to make vegan potato and lentil bake, the perfect autumnal comfort food.

Now it's officially autumn it's officially time for comfort food!  Yey!

This vegan potato and lentil bake is my take on one of my Mum's vegan recipes.  We call it Monday Bake because Mum would cook it on Sunday night in the oven with the Sunday dinner then reheat it to eat on Monday after we'd all had a busy day at work and school.

I still call it Monday Bake, although it can be eaten any day of the week, and it's even good zapped in the microwave at work for lunch too.

How to make vegan potato and lentil bake, the perfect autumnal comfort food. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #comfortfood #vegan #veganrecipe #veganblog
 
You will need
2 large carrots
3 medium sweet potatoes
6 medium potatoes
2 leeks
3 cloves garlic
6 handfuls fresh spinach, or a couple of handfuls of frozen spinach
2/3 cereal bowl of red lentils
a little oil
2 oxo cubes.

Steaming pan
ovenproof dish
bowl
jug

serves 6 (you can make it in a big huge oven dish, or split it into smaller dishes to store or freeze)

How to make your yummy vegan lentil and potato bake

Put the kettle on, or get some water boiling in the steamer pan.

First slice all the root veg into slices about half a centimetre or so thick.  Peel any veg you think needs peeling, but I usually make do with giving everything a good scrub.  Mix up the sliced veg and add it to the steaming baskets, then steam until they're soft.

Put the red lentils in the cereal bowl, and top up with water, just to soak them and help speed up the cooking time.

While the veg is steaming, cut the leeks up into fine slices, then fry in a little oil until they're soft and a bit caramelised.  Add the garlic, sliced or crushed, about 5 minutes before the leeks are finished.

Roughly chop the spinach.

Make up some vegetable stock, I do about 500ml boiling water with 2 veg oxo cubes.

Ok, so that's your prep all done and you're ready to layer up the bake then bake it! 

Put a layer of the leeks in the bottom of your dish, then a layer of lentils, then a layer of spinach, then a layer of the potato, sweet potato and carrot slice mixture.  Pour a little stock on to just cover the layers.  Carry on building layers until the dish is full up, or you've run out of mixture! 

Pop the dish in the oven to bake, about 200 degrees for an hour.  If you use a glass dish you can see all the layers and keep an eye on the lentils to let you know when it's cooked, if they're still orange and hard looking it needs more time! 

After an hour you can eat it, or let it cool and fridge or freeze it.  It's waaay better eaten the day after, the flavours get better the longer you leave it.  And it's best served with homemade garlic bread! 


How to make vegan potato and lentil bake, the perfect autumnal comfort food. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #comfortfood #vegan #veganrecipe #veganblog
 


   

 

Friday, 30 September 2016

My suburban garden harvest, September 2016.

I've had a few little bits and bobs of pickings to pick in my garden this month.  

I was really happy to get my first patty pan squash, it's only little but it's cute.  I'm not sure how to eat it though, any ideas?

My suburban garden harvest, September 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #harvest #suburbangardening

I had my first cherry tomatoes (from plants grown from seed, variety 'Tiny Tim' and my first San Marzano tomato too. 

The tomatoes in the paper bag and the cucumber came to me as a kind gift from one of the lovely housebound ladies I choose library books for at work, we write letters to each other about our gardens so she knows I've not had much in the way of tomatoes this year!

My suburban garden harvest, September 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #harvest #suburbangardening

My suburban garden harvest, September 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #harvest #suburbangardening

My first pepper ripened too!  The variety is 'lipstick pepper' and they're a sweet pepper I've been growing in my conservatory since spring.

My suburban garden harvest, September 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #harvest #suburbangardening

Another first, the first raspberries.  These are 'autumn bliss', and the berries seem so big and delicious this year.

My suburban garden harvest, September 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #harvest #suburbangardening

So, not a massive harvest, but enough to keep me a happy bunny!


How has your garden been this month?  Have you had lots to harvest?