Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Life lately, summer 2016.

Reading - I read the new Harry Potter book and was soo happy to be back in the Potter-verse even if I didn't love everything about the story.  I read Abundance by Alys Fowler and the new Doctor Who official cook book, both of which I loved and think I need to own my own copies of!

Watching - You guys, we got a new TV and Netflix last month.  It's been dangerous!  So far we've worked our way through i-Zombie, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and we're doing our annual re-watch of the whole of Doctor Who.

Working - Next week we have the Big Meeting to tell us what jobs will be left for us to apply for in our restructure/big budget cut.  I'm dreading it, but it'll be good to finally know after 9 months of uncertainty.    

Being angry about - Brexit.  And the Labour leadership vote debacle.  Grrrrr!

Staying home - this has definitely been a summer of home.  We haven't really been anywhere, after recovering from the cost/ecxitement of our wedding and having to buy lots of things for the house.  I'm happiest at home anyway, so that's fine by me.

Home renovating - Joe finished laying the cork floor and the kitchen is due to be delivered this week!  Eeeep!  We've also ordered a new bed and some furniture from IKEA!

Listening to - I found my Wicked soundtrack CD so I've been listening to that a lot.  And the mix CD of music we made for our wedding has been on heavy rotation too.

Cinema-ing - we went to see Ghostbusters and it was the best thing Everrr!  Ever ever!  Girl power, kill all the ghosts!  Yeah!

Auntie-ing - Suddenly they're all grown up, those nieces of mine.  The big one is just 3 and she 'does hair' and draws houses and asks me to make volcanoes for her and says clever things like 'eyes open is the reverse of eyes shut!' (and also slightly alarming things like 'I like hurting people'!!).  The little one is nearly 2 and is almost not a baby any more, sob!, she knows all the characters from Peppa Pig and picks up conkers from the alleyway because they're 'hedgehogs'! 

Blogging - I wrote a guest post for the lovely website, showing off my latest haul of retro homeware from Barnardo's charity shops.  And I collated a collection of Beatles crafts for cut out and keep. 

My most popular blog posts have been, 

I'm glad you all enjoy eco friendly loo roll as much as me! 

How has your summer been?  Good I hope?



Monday, 29 August 2016

Photo an hour, August 2016.

This month's photo an hour day was Saturday 27th. 

Photo an hour in organised by Jane and Louisa, anyone can join in and post their hourly photos on social media throughout the day tagging them #photoanhour.  Why don't you join in next time?
Here are my photos,
8am - My mum's getting married in a couple of months and I'm matron of honour.  I'm in charge of buying my dress, so I've been doing lots of dress research!
I went off to work and completely forgot my camera, so there's a pause here where I went to work, got the bus home, bought some vegetables from the market and popped round to mums for a natter.
2pm - My nice full fridge after restocking from the market.  There are some discovery apples in there that I'm very excited to eat, they're my favourite!
3pm - Finally sitting down to eat some lunch, cold leftover pasta, watching TV, not a very inspired photo.
4pm - Still on the sofa, watching Doctor Who, Strax is my very favourite.
5pm - It's a proper, miserable rainy kind of day.
6pm - We have a really big furniture order from IKEA coming next week, so we have to tidy and move stuff around for it this week.  This Very Heavy chest full of my crafty stuff has been carried into the spare room.
7pm - Just checking on my pepper, look how red it's getting!

8pm - I've started watching Jem on Netflix.  I never watched it as a child, but I love the way it looks.

9pm - My supermarket shopping was delivered, look at this special syrup tin!

10pm - Still tidying.
11pm - Book and bed.
I think this was a super boring day!  I felt really nauseous in the middle of the day and fell asleep during Doctor Who (so it must have been pretty bad!), the weather was pants and I alternated between tidying and watching TV all evening.  I think this is the first photo an hour when I lost the will to even keep uploading my photos to Instagram!  This time last year I was also having a boring, sicky day, maybe it's the time of year!
Did you join in this month?   Let me know if you did, I'd love to have a nosey at your day!

Friday, 26 August 2016

My suburban garden harvest, August 2016.

This plate just makes me smile.  I think it's such a beautiful little harvest!  And I picked my first carrots and purple sugar snap peas!

My suburban garden harvest, August 2016. #harvest #garden #growyourown #veggarden #gardenblogger

I've been picking the last of the onions I planted in my front garden raised beds last autumn, they're small but perfectly formed.

My suburban garden harvest, August 2016. #harvest #garden #growyourown #veggarden #gardenblogger

My suburban garden harvest, August 2016. #harvest #garden #growyourown #veggarden #gardenblogger

I've only planted a few broad bean plants, so I've not had a massive harvest, but enough to add to some chickpeas to make falafels.

My suburban garden harvest, August 2016. #harvest #garden #growyourown #veggarden #gardenblogger

My suburban garden harvest, August 2016. #harvest #garden #growyourown #veggarden #gardenblogger

Blueberries started ripening this month too!  I've had a fair few little handfuls, enough for Joe to enjoy for breakfast.  One of the strawberries in the raised beds has had a few late fruits on.

My suburban garden harvest, August 2016. #harvest #garden #growyourown #veggarden #gardenblogger

I made some lovely herby roast potatoes with my homegrown rosemary and thyme - yum!

My suburban garden harvest, August 2016. #harvest #garden #growyourown #veggarden #gardenblogger

Speaking of potatoes, I emptied my second pot of Casablanca potaotes, it was definitely worth leaving them in the pot for longer, I got loads more

My suburban garden harvest, August 2016. #harvest #garden #growyourown #veggarden #gardenblogger

I feel like this month has been a happy harvest month, I've eaten so much lovely homegrown food! 

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

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Make your own upcycled paper seed packets.

It's the time of year for saving seeds, and I like to make these cute little packets to store them in.  

They're a great way to use up or upcycle pretty paper, I use magazines or colouring book pages.  And they're super easy to make, with no measuring or using templates.  In fact it took longer to write out these instructions than it does to make a seed packet!

You will need
A5 paper

Make your own upcycled paper seed packets. #gardening #seedsaving #seedpackets #upcycled

Fold the paper in half then open it out. Cut a centimetre off 3 sides of one half of the paper, starting and ending at the centre fold.

Make your own upcycled paper seed packets. #gardening #seedsaving #seedpackets #upcycled

Fold the paper in half again, with the smaller side on top.  Fold the edges over to create a crease, then unfold and cut a square notch in the bottom corner and cut the top into a flap shape.  

Make your own upcycled paper seed packets. #gardening #seedsaving #seedpackets #upcycled

Glue the side and bottom flaps down, but leave the top one un-glued cos that's where you'll put the seeds in.  Once the packet is full of seeds you can tuck the top flap in, or glue it down.  Don't forget to label the packet with the kind of seeds and when they were saved too.

Make your own upcycled paper seed packets. #gardening #seedsaving #seedpackets #upcycled

Ta-dah!  Finished!  These also make great envelopes.  And you can make them any size you like.

Make your own upcycled paper seed packets. #gardening #seedsaving #seedpackets #upcycled

Make your own upcycled paper seed packets. #gardening #seedsaving #seedpackets #upcycled

Monday, 22 August 2016

Charity shopping - the one with the £3 Lloyd Loom basket!

I was so happy when I spotted this basket in the window of one of my local charity shops with a nice big £3 price tag on!  I ran in and snaffled it straight away!

Charity shopping - the one with the £3 Lloyd Loom basket! #charityshopping #charityshopblog #thriftshop #lloydloom

I've no way of telling if it's actually Lloyd Loom or just Lloyd Loom-esque,  I can't find a label on anywhere to tell me, but I don't mind either way, I like the shape and style of it.  This basket fits in lovely in the conservatory and will be useful to keep my wool in.  My husband has pointed out that not all of my wool will fit in this basket, so I'd better keep my eye out for another!
Lloyd Loom basket £3, Sue Ryder charity shop.

Have you bought any lovely bargains lately?

P.S. Check out my other charity shop posts for more! 

Linking up with Vintage Charm.


Friday, 19 August 2016

How to make mandarin orange ice lollies.

These mandarin orange ice lollies are the easiest things to make, ever!  I don't even want to call it a recipe, it's basically frozen fruit! 

How to make mandarin orange ice lollies. #icelollies #popsicles #recipe #vegan #healthy #veganblog

You will need
1 can of mandarin orange segments, in juice.
ice lolly molds

How to make your yummy vegan ice lollies
Open the can of mandarin orange segments and use a fork to help you scoop the segments out of the can and into the ice lolly moulds.  

Use the fork to scooch the orange down to the bottom of the mould and try to eliminate air gaps.  Nothing bad will happen if you have air gaps, the lollies just don't hold together so well.  It's probably best to use the push up type lolly mould for this reason, to contain them in case they get a bit fallling-apart-y.  

You can add a little of the juice from the can to each mold too if you like.  

After a couple of hours in the freezer they'll be ready to eat!

How to make mandarin orange ice lollies. #icelollies #popsicles #recipe #vegan #healthy #veganblog

These ice lollies are loads healthier and cheaper than shop bought ones, especially if you get the orange in juice rather than in syrup - then there's no added sugar. This tin of oranges was £1, so each of my lollies cost 25 pennies!  Incidentally, one small can of mandarin orange segments it enough to fill my 4 silicone push up ice lolly moulds.  Yey!  

How to make mandarin orange ice lollies. #icelollies #popsicles #recipe #vegan #healthy #veganblog

If you liked this you might also like my 2 ingredient recipe for chocolate milk ice lollies.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Diary of a suburban food garden, August 2016.

This month has been hot!  Or rainy!  I've tried to get some gardening done in the cool evenings, but I haven't done much.  Poor garden, I'm going to start looking after it properly!

This snap pea plant has been excellent this month.  The variety is called 'Shiraz' and I have more growing in the greenhouse for a late sowing.  I'll definitely grow loads more of this next year - they're great in stir fries.

Diary of a suburban food garden, August 2016. #garden #suburbangarden #polyculture #vegetablegarden #fruitgarden

My patty pan summer squash finally has a patty on it!  Yey!

Diary of a suburban food garden, August 2016. #garden #suburbangarden #polyculture #vegetablegarden #fruitgarden

The front garden raised beds are my favourite part of the garden at the moment.  I think it's because they're easy and things grow well in them.  Although there's some lettuce that's not really growing much.  I've planted some more carrots and spring onions in there this month.

Diary of a suburban food garden, August 2016. #garden #suburbangarden #polyculture #vegetablegarden #fruitgarden

Diary of a suburban food garden, August 2016. #garden #suburbangarden #polyculture #vegetablegarden #fruitgarden

My mum was getting rid of this old bin she'd been using as a waterbutt so I took it off her hands.  There's a guttering pipe that comes of the conservatory but doesn't go all the way to the drain, so I popped the butt under the pipe.  It filled up really quickly and now I've got delicious rain water to water the garden with.       

Diary of a suburban food garden, August 2016. #garden #suburbangarden #polyculture #vegetablegarden #fruitgarden

Down the side of the house the garden's looking good.  The herbs are rampant, the buddleia is enormous and the raspberries are crazy tall this year!  My two new apple trees are growing well, no apples this year because they're only babies but I hope to get some next year.  Look at that ominous grey sky, that's what I've had to contend with most of the month!

Diary of a suburban food garden, August 2016. #garden #suburbangarden #polyculture #vegetablegarden #fruitgarden

I didn't plant any nasturtiums this year, and yet still they grow!  Good job, because they're my favourites.  Can you see my sweetcorn to the right of the photo?  They've had a slow start, and are the second lot I sowed, but they seem to be growing strongly now.

Diary of a suburban food garden, August 2016. #garden #suburbangarden #polyculture #vegetablegarden #fruitgarden

Diary of a suburban food garden, August 2016. #garden #suburbangarden #polyculture #vegetablegarden #fruitgarden

Mum gave me a pumpkin in spring, I planted it down the side garden and slugs ate it all up.  Mum gave me a pumpkin last spring, I planted it down the side garden and slugs ate it all up.  So I've taken the hint with this pumpkin mum gave me a couple of weeks ago and planted it in a pot by the conservatory.  No casualties so far!

Diary of a suburban food garden, August 2016. #garden #suburbangarden #polyculture #vegetablegarden #fruitgarden

It's a little late, but I had all these packets of wild flower seeds hanging about, so I mixed them all together and planted them in some big pots.  There's loads left so I'm going to scatter some in the garden and look out for some bare patches of ground around town to plant up too!

Diary of a suburban food garden, August 2016. #garden #suburbangarden #polyculture #vegetablegarden #fruitgarden

And here's the whole garden.  Not looking it's best I think.  I'm going to get back into doing my 20 minutes gardening a day, so hopefully it'll look a lot better this time next month!

Diary of a suburban food garden, August 2016. #garden #suburbangarden #polyculture #vegetablegarden #fruitgarden

How's your garden this month?  

Monday, 15 August 2016

Ethical OOTD.

OOTD is fashion blog talk for 'outfit of the day' in case you weren't sure!  

Ethical OOTD. #OOTD #ethical #fairtrade #outfitoftheday

I picked up this lovely new dress in the Nomads sale.  It's lovely and soft and cool, perfect for swishing about in on hot days.  It's Fair trade too!  The dress is sold as a midi, but I'm 5 foot 1, so it's a maxi on me! 

It's still available on the Nomads website if you want to grab one for yourself, in this turquoise colour, and there's a terracotta version too.

Ethical OOTD. #OOTD #ethical #fairtrade #outfitoftheday

Ethical OOTD. #OOTD #ethical #fairtrade #outfitoftheday

Dress £24, Nomads.  Shoes 2nd hand Birkenstocks.


Friday, 12 August 2016

Eco review, Greencane paper.

Greencane Paper make eco friendly and biodegradable toilet paper, paper towels and tissues, from sugar cane and bamboo pulp.  Eco friendly loo roll is the kind of thing that excites me, so I was really happy to be sent some to try out! 

Eco review, Greencane paper biodegradable toilet paper, kitchen roll and tissues. #review #ad #greencane #biodegradable #ecofriendly #ecoblog

I was sent Greencane's mixed paper box, which is huge and will impress your postman and make your husband ask where all this loo roll is to be stored!  It contains 32 rolls of toilet paper, 6 rolls of paper towels and 3 boxes of facial tissues.  
Eco review, Greencane paper biodegradable toilet paper, kitchen roll and tissues. #review #ad #greencane #biodegradable #ecofriendly #ecoblog 
Each case costs £23.80, which I think is really good value.  You can also chose to get a case of 48 loo rolls, 24 kitchen rolls or 24 boxes of tissues for the same price.  You can make a one off purchase or subscribe and be sent your chosen box of Greencane paper every 6, 12 or 18 weeks - how handy is that?!

Eco review, Greencane paper biodegradable toilet paper, kitchen roll and tissues. #review #ad #greencane #biodegradable #ecofriendly #ecoblog

I've been using Greencane paper for the last couple of weeks and I'm really impressed.

Toilet paper.
The loo roll is really smooth and soft and strong.  It's so smooth that to be completely honest, when I opened it my heart sank, because it looked really thin and I thought it was going to be no good.  That couldn't be further from the truth, and I think it's probably down to the materials it's made from.  I'd guess sugarcane and bamboo are stronger than wood-paper, so it doesn't need to be as thick.  We usually use triple velvet, and Greencane's toilet paper is as soft and as strong.  Also the rolls are really long and last ages!  We're converts!

Kitchen roll.
I gave the kitchen roll the greasiest task I could find, soaking up the oil when I fried poppadoms.  I don't use kitchen roll often, but it's handy for a few cooking jobs and it stood up to the task really well.  

Facial tissues.
Again, I rarely use tissues as I prefer reusable, fabric hankies, but I do use tissues if I have a cold and Joe isn't a hanky fan!  We've both had summer colds and the Greencane paper tissues have been soft and gentle on our noses.

Eco review, Greencane paper biodegradable toilet paper, kitchen roll and tissues. #review #ad #greencane #biodegradable #ecofriendly #ecoblog

Eco credentials.

Greencane is made from sugar cane fibre (a byproduct of sugar production, one tonne of recycled sugar cane pulp saves 17 trees) and bamboo (quick growing and low impact) and 30% wood pulp. 

The harvesting methods for sugar cane and bamboo are kinder to the environment than felling trees.

The paper's made from GMO free and BPA free materials, and bleached with non-chlorine bleach.

The packaging is plastic free.  The clear part of the wrapper is made from plant based cellophane that will biodegrade in a commercial composting facility.  (The only niggle I have with Greencane is the inclusion of the cellophane panel.  I'd much prefer totally paper packaging, and plastic free tape on the cardboard crate.  However, there's still waaaaay less plastic packaging on the Greencane than on conventional loo roll products.) 

Greencane paper products are made in a nice factory subject to external environmental audits.

Eco review, Greencane paper biodegradable toilet paper, kitchen roll and tissues. #review #ad #greencane #biodegradable #ecofriendly #ecoblog

Keep up with new developments on Greencane's twitter account and buy your lovely biodegradable loo roll from

Disclosure - I was sent a case of Greencane paper to review.  I only write about products I like and I like Greencane paper.  All opinions are my own, but some of the photos I've used belong to Greencane.