Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Photo an hour, April 2017.

Saturday the 22nd was photo an hour day, and here are my photos.

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?
 
9am - breakfast crumpets and a read of my (awesome!) permaculture gardening book before heading off to work.  It's called Gaia's Garden if you want to check it out.
 
 
10am - at work with my chums Percival the Pig and Small Pink Hamster. 

 
11am - passed in a blur!
 
12pm - grabbing a quick slurp of water before going back out there.  I helped with a lot of homework and dealt with a lot of complaints about the wifi not working!


1pm - to market, to market to buy all the organic veggies.


2pm - wending my way home through the back alleys, this blossom tree is beautiful.
 
 
3pm - I managed to catch the end of An Audience with Victoria Wood while I ate my lunch.
 
 
4pm - 'I'm pretty sleepy so I'll just do some gentle jobs in the garden' turned into digging up a tree and replanting it!  Here is some apple blossom on another tree.


5pm - this tadpole is called fatty because he is the fattiest.  Him and me hung out in the lovely sunshine for a couple of hours.


6pm - just waiting for Joe to get home so we can eat dinner.


7pm - we spent the rest of the night chatting and catching up on telly watching, Doctor Who, Gardener's World and Project Runway.  There are no more photos, we didn't move.


1am - Waay too late to bed!  But there's always time for a chapter or two before sleep time.


Did you take part this time?
 

 
 
 

Friday, 14 April 2017

A yummy vegan chocolate fudge crispie cake recipe.

I love chocolate nest cakes at Easter!  This is my own vegan chocolate fudge version,

A yummy vegan chocolate fudge crispie cake recipe.  Perfect for Easter.  By UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganeaster #veganblog #chocolatecrispiecake #veganrecipe

You will need

200g dark vegan chocolate
2 big dessert spoons of golden syrup
1 tea spoon of vegan margarine
pinch of salt
rice puff cereal
vegan ready to roll icing

a bowl, spoon, microwave and a serving dish.

How to make vegan chocolate fudge crispie cake

First melt the chocolate in the microwave, then add in the syrup, margarine and a pinch of salt and mix it all together thoroughly.

Pour in the rice cereal a bit at a time.  It's a bit tricky to mix, because the chocolate mixture goes quite fudgy, but persevere and don't worry too much if there are some bits of cereal that won't get covered.

Press the mixture into whatever dish you want to serve it in, I've used a cute little Pyrex one.  You can also make individual ones, each in a small dish, bowl or tea cup. 

Then decorate it!  I've used some ready to roll icing to make mini eggs to go on top.

A yummy vegan chocolate fudge crispie cake recipe.  Perfect for Easter.  By UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganeaster #veganblog #chocolatecrispiecake #veganrecipe

Pop the cake in the fridge to set, then serve for pudding on Easter (or breakfast?  Well it is chocolate day!).


A yummy vegan chocolate fudge crispie cake recipe.  Perfect for Easter.  By UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganeaster #veganblog #chocolatecrispiecake #veganrecipe





Tuesday, 11 April 2017

How I made my washing up bowl pond.

The newest addition to my garden is a cute little washing up pond.  I don't have room for a big pond, but any amount of water is good for attracting wildlife and bringing balance to the garden.

How I made my washing up bowl pond. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #washingupbowlpond #minipond #suburbangarden #permaculturegarden #wildlifegarden

I was inspired by the RSPB, who recommend making mini ponds as part of it's 'homes for nature' scheme, and you can find their instructions here, but this is what I did to make my very own washing up bowl pond, 

You will need,

a washing up bowl
gravel
stones
sticks
terracotta plant pots
rainwater
pond weed
and tools, a spade and a spirit level

How I made my washing up bowl pond. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #washingupbowlpond #minipond #suburbangarden #permaculturegarden #wildlifegarden

Your little pond needs to be in a spot where it's light but not in full on sunshine all day.  The first step is to just dig a hole that your washing up bowl will fit into.

How I made my washing up bowl pond. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #washingupbowlpond #minipond #suburbangarden #permaculturegarden #wildlifegarden

Next, use a spirit level to check the bowl is level and adjust the hole accordingly if necessary. 

How I made my washing up bowl pond. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #washingupbowlpond #minipond #suburbangarden #permaculturegarden #wildlifegarden

Pop the washing up bowl in the hole and fill in any big gaps round the sides with soil.  Then you get to do the fun bit - making a nice little habitat for your underwater friends.  I added gravel to the base and a little terracotta pot for critters to hide in.  It's a really good idea to have a pile of stones and a stick to act as a ramp in and out of the pond so no-one gets stuck in there if they fall in (hedgehogs, I'm looking at you!).

How I made my washing up bowl pond. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #washingupbowlpond #minipond #suburbangarden #permaculturegarden #wildlifegarden

Fill your mini pond with rainwater and add some pond weed.  My mum has a pond, so she kindly gave me some water, weed and frogspawn to start my pond off, but this isn't essential - the wildlife will find your pond all on it's own!  If you have some big stones and gravel then add them round the edges of the washing up bowl pond to make it look pretty, and to provide an extra habitat too.  The broken plant pot is there to hopefully tempt a frog or two to hang out by the pond!

How I made my washing up bowl pond. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #washingupbowlpond #minipond #suburbangarden #permaculturegarden #wildlifegarden

For a final flourish I planted some mind your own business (also dug up from around mums pond!) round the edge of the pond to hide the top of the washing up bowl a little bit.

And that's it.  Because I added water from an established pond I already have lots of wildlife in my mini pond.  I've spotted freshwater shrimp, water fleas, water snails and tadpoles.  It's well exciting.

My next plan?  Washing up bowl ponds all over the garden, and a bin lid bog area!


How I made my washing up bowl pond. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #washingupbowlpond #minipond #suburbangarden #permaculturegarden #wildlifegarden




 

Friday, 7 April 2017

What I ate in a day, a day of vegan food.

Last week I had a shopping list of things to pick up in town.  As I was getting the bus anyway, I decided to rope in the husband and go out for lunch too.  Here's what we ate that day, 

What I ate in a day, a day of vegan food. From UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganblogger #ukveganblogger #whatdoveganseat #whatIateinaday

I whipped up some vegan pancakes for breakfast, because pancakes.

What I ate in a day, a day of vegan food. From UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganblogger #ukveganblogger #whatdoveganseat #whatIateinaday

We had lunch at Novello Lounge.  We tend to go there because they have yummy vegan options, and it's pretty and cosy.  I had the vegan all day breakfast, which comes with toast, hash browns, mushrooms, pepper and spinach, falafel and beans - it's so good! 

What I ate in a day, a day of vegan food. From UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganblogger #ukveganblogger #whatdoveganseat #whatIateinaday

After that big lunch I didn't want to cook properly at tea time, so I made a vegan cheese quesadilla (my vegan cheese of choice is Violife), with a green salad, some crisps and nuts.  The market is selling these navel oranges 5 for £1 at the moment and I'm making the most of it! 


Don't forget to check out my other vegan blog posts for more vegan meal inspiration! 


 

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

What I've been reading.

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

What I've been reading. From UK book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #bookblogger #ukblogger #librarybooks #bookreviews

The Little Women Letters - Gabrielle Donnelly
If you need to read a fluffy book about the ancestors of the Little Women (assuming of course that they're real) then I can recommend this one.  A quirky lady with wild hair (Jo March's great great granddaughter, obvs) finds Jo's letters in the attic and their stories intertwine.  But WARNING the girl's dad is the most annoying character ever written and is likely to induce feminist rage (he has an imaginary wife, who he talks to, and about to his real wife.  Seriously.)

What I've been reading. From UK book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #bookblogger #ukblogger #librarybooks #bookreviews

The Manifesto on how to be Interesting - Holly Bourne
I've read everything Holly Bourne has written so far and I've loved it all.  I started with this book, wherein a quiet geeky girl undertakes to make herself cool with big consequences.  And lots of feminism.  In all her books.  Yey for feminism.

What I've been reading. From UK book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #bookblogger #ukblogger #librarybooks #bookreviews

How to Grow Food A Wartime Guide - Doreen Wallace
This is a funny little book published in the 1940s to help new gardeners dig for victory.  We follow a year in the gardening life of our family, newcomers to the country and to growing their own, with sage advice from their neighbour, the weatherbeaten lady.  It's delightfully vintage. 

What I've been reading. From UK book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #bookblogger #ukblogger #librarybooks #bookreviews

Saffy's Angel - Hilary McKay
I've been working my way through this childrens/YA series for a while, there are six books and some are better than other, but all quite good comfort reads.  I've seen this series likened to Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle, and other retro-feeling books, where the family are arty, and the parents do care but are a bit crap and the children are free to have all sorts of adventures with no adult supervision.  It's a sweet, charming series.

What have you got out from the library right now?


  
  

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017.

I'm so busy this month in the garden, I have so much I want to get done!

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

I've been planting seeds all over the place, down the side garden I've planted Californian poppy, crimson clover and vetch seeds around my apple tree.  Clover and vetch are used as green manures, their roots help the soil structure and fix nitrogen, I'm hoping by planting them here I can improve the soil a little, it's really poor in this bed.  I've also planted a little clematis up the fence at the back.

Lots of raspberry suckers have popped up this spring.  I'm really happy about that, because yey, I get free plants and free food!  Nothing else really grows very happily here, apart from weeds and Mediterranean herbs, so if the raspberries want to take over that's fine by me! 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

I made a cute little washing up bowl pond this month.  This is recommended by the RSPB as a good way to attract wildlife into your garden.  Mum gave me a bucket o' pond weed and frogspawn from her pond so I'm really hoping I get some frogs!

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

I decided it was high time I cleaned out my greenhouse, it's all shiny now.  And I've planted a LOT of seeds (see here for a list of everything I'm planting).  That packet of mixed perennials cost about 70p on sale last year, I can't wait to see what grows from it! 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

I've been seed starting in cut down loo rolls and egg boxes, and propagating in our conservatory.  I'm starting the seeds in there, then moving them to the greenhouse once they've grown on a bit.

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

Look at the buds on these blueberries - can't wait!  'Scuse the weeds.

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

Joe's been working hard on the hedge at the back of the garden.  He's trimmed a lot off the height, the only problem is it's quite thin now and people walking down the alley keep noseying in our garden! 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

The next job is to dig away some of that bank of soil at the base of the hedge and reclaim the garden!  The soil there comes out several feet and we're going to have to put that soil somewhere, soooo... I bought a couple of raised beds.  They're phase one of our project to get rid of the (horrible, patchy, weedy, bumpy) lawn.  I've only put one together so far, but there's another exactly the same.  We're going to fill them with soil and plant them up, then start mulching and planting over the lawn.  Until it's all gone.  Buh-bye lawn. 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, March 2017. By UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #gardenblogger #polyculture #ediblegarden #suburbangarden

It's looking very 'work in progress' right now.  I must finish painting the fence before summer kicks in and there's too many plants to get through.  I've got to get rid of that table too, it's been in the middle of the garden for ever, can you tell I'm not quite sure what to do with it! 

How's your garden this month?






Friday, 24 March 2017

Charity shopping, wherein I buy the best retro plates.

I shouldn't really be buying anything else from the charity shops, but I just had a quick peek in and this happened, 

Charity shopping, wherein I buy beautiful plates. By charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #thriftshopping #opshopping #ukblogger

At least there's only 2, right?  I keep seeing this Bacchus design as a full set, with all the plates, cups, bowls, teapot and the whole shebang, which is great, it's my favourite retro plate design, and I would love it, but I have absolutely no room for it.  I'm only allowed to buy orphan retro plates, so I snapped these up, even though they're not in the best condition.
Kiln Craft Bacchus plates, £1 each, local Air Ambulance charity shop.

Charity shopping, wherein I buy beautiful plates. By charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #thriftshopping #opshopping #ukblogger

I also bought this little Japanese bunny.  He has a little chip on his toe, but it's not much bother to him in his new life living in the top of a large plant pot containing a rubber plant.
Japanese bunny, £1, Sue Ryder charity shop.

Charity shopping, wherein I buy beautiful plates. By charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #thriftshopping #opshopping #ukblogger

Aaand this skully bracelet.  Beacuase it's so rainbowy.  But also quite heavy which may be why it made it's way to the charity shop in the first place.
Skull bracelet, 49p, Oxfam charity shop.

Have you had any luck in the charity shops lately?
P.S. Check out my other charity shop posts for more!  



 
 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Make one small change, regrow spring onion scraps.

Making one small change at a time can make becoming eco friendly loads easier.  Lots of small changes add up to a big difference.

Make one small change, regrow spring onion scraps.  By UK Eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #ecoblogger #springonions #scallions #regrow

Make one small change, regrow spring onion scraps.  By UK Eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #ecoblogger #springonions #scallions #regrow

Make one small change, regrow spring onion scraps.  By UK Eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #ecoblogger #springonions #scallions #regrow

The spring onions I buy from the supermarket were grown in Egypt.  I'm not sure where the ones I buy from the market are from, not England though because all the English produce is labelled.  There are some serious food miles attached to my little green onions, so I want to get the most out of them.

It's the easiest thing in the world to replant spring onion scraps. I store my spring onions in a mug of water in the fridge door, which keeps the roots nice and juicy - if you don't do this then you might need to add a step, and stand the cut off bits in a little water for a couple of days to get the roots rehydrated.  Cut off about a centimetre of the white from the base of the spring onion, make a little hole in a pot of compost, poke the spring onion scrap in, cover the roots as best you can.  Keep the pot watered and pop it somewhere nice and sunny, like a windowsill.  You can keep adding rooty scraps to your pot as you go, until it's full.  Take out any that haven't worked (it can happen to anyone!) and use that space to regrow new onion scraps.  

You can cut off your regrown spring onion greens and add them to all your yummy salads and meals!

Don't forget to check out my other small changes to help you live a greener life!





Friday, 3 March 2017

Life lately, winter 2016 and 2017.


Healing - so, I'll start with this, as I started with it last time, and I think it's important that we talk about miscarriage, so many people go through it.  I'm feeling a little better after my miscarriage last year, it's funny (aka horrible) living with something you'll never really get over or feel better about, but I feel happy sometimes and that can only be a good thing.  I had a real run of feeling poorly and sorry for myself last year (was 2016 good for anyone?!) nauseous pregnancy, miscarriage, then I fell over and twisted pretty much everything, then had norovirus and then a cold, but I've been ok the last few weeks and I'm trying to look after myself now, eating lots of greens and going swimming.

Swimming - I'm back to my swimming, it feels really good!  I'm really slow again though, so lots more practice needed.

Auntie-ing - My day off work is the day mum looks after the niblings, so I go to play most weeks which is lovely.  Big niece asked me to walk her into nursery school last week and I felt all warm and fuzzy.  We do lots of drawing and playing dollies and reading books and watching either the Gruffalo, We're going on a Bear Hunt or Peppa Pig.


Reading - I've been loving anything by Holly Bourne and lots of gardening books.

Watching - at the cinema we've seen La La Land and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, and the new Star Wars and that's about it, winter is the season of hibernation after all, not gallivanting to the pictures.  And hibernating in front of the TV is pretty much all I've felt up to this winter, I loved the new Gilmore Girls, and loads of other stuff on Netflix - iZombie, Crazy Ex Girlfriend, Santa Clarita Diet, Riverdale.  I've rewatched my Ugly Betty DVDs too and I loved that. 

Listening to - I saw a band called The Small Glories and I've been listening to them loads ever since, and the La La Land soundtrack.  On repeat.  I'm really sad that my Taylor Swift CD is lost somewhere in the house and has been for months - come back to me Taylor I need to shake it off!

House renovationing -  Mum paid for us to have a beautiful new front door, Joe painted it pale blue and tis lovely and warm.  Joe's mate is a blacksmith so we've commissioned him to make us door numbers and a DOOR KNOCKER IN THE SHAPE OF A SNAIL - oh yeah!  We bought a fireplace too, and lots of picture frames so we can get some art on the walls.  Joe demolished the old shed too and I'm having a worrying urge to dig up the lawn and turn it into a flower bed!


Guiding - I've started helping at a new unit, I only go once a fortnight because of work, but I stay for Rainbows and then Brownies straight after.  They're lovely.  Some of the Brownies used to be my Rainbows, so it's nice to see them again.  We did a happy smile challenge badge too.

Eating - it's a hard job but husband and I have decided to try every curry place within delivering distance to find the best.  Our usual has been replaced (they started putting egg in the bhajis!!!!), my current favourite is called the Blue Elephant (though I like Bangla Pride too), but there's still more to try.

Looking forward to - we've booked our holiday in May to Aberdovey and I'm sooo excited to spend some time by the beach!  The touring production of Wicked is coming to Birmingham so I'm going to try to get tickets to see that too.


Working - the whole of 2016 was spent wondering if I'd have a job, we were told in January 2016 the library service was being severely cut, and basically prepare for the worst.  The date we could reapply for our jobs kept being pushed back, until the week before Christmas we were told we would be 'slotted in' (those who were left put into  jobs as close to their original hours as possible, as well as losing some staff to voluntary redundancy) so at least there was no need for interviews.  After something like 350 days of waiting to hear if I had a job I've ended up with in the same post with the same number of hours.  It's a relief, but it was an irritating and stressful process and we've lost a lot of good library people along the way. 

Gardening - so much to do, I wish for nice dry weather so I can get out there more I want to the garden to be beautiful this year.

Blogging - I wrote a little thing for Cut out and Keep's blog and one of my real life friends started her own blog so you should go and check it out, it's called Book Forager.  

The most popular posts here have been, 






Hope you've had a good winter and you've kept all lovely and cosy and warm!