Saturday, 30 April 2011

What I Bought This Month...


1. dress
2. sports bra
3. pj bottoms
4. 2 charity shop books
5. bra

I was a bit naughty this month and bought a new dress from Asda, I really love it, I was really miserable because I've lost my job and I was with my mum, who is always a bad influence ...well, that's my excuse anyway...I like wearing it but only if I try not to think about the children who were probably paid 1p to make it and the fact it's from an evil supermarket...eek!  From now on I'm going to not slip back into bad old habits of buying something 'to cheer myself up' but to do nice things to fill my time instead, like going to a walk or making something or playing the guitar.  I also bought 2 new bras (very necessary, my old bras weren't working!) and a pair of PJ bottoms, the PJs and the sports bra were only £1 each in Marks and Spencer's sale.  The books were only 15p each, one was Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, which has a reaaaaallly long waiting list at the library so I thought I'd give it a go...I wonder if I'm the only one who thinks it's rubbish?  I'll give both the books to my National Trust place when I've read them.


This bag has some old t-shirts in, a new duvet set that I've never used, some notebooks, some finding Nemo teddies and a pair of shoes.  The pile is stuff I'm going to sell online, 2 dresses, 2 bags, a top and some jewellery...

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Things I Love Thursday...

This week I love...

* the Easter bunny bringing be veggie haribo, a bunny candle holder and an attempted homemade vegan Easter egg * vegan sweetcorn fritters * cat shoes * friendship bracelets * birkenstocks and the fact it's warm enough to wear them * bouncy castle cake * rag rug progress * walking home in the dark and the starry sky being so clear it was like being at the planetarium * homemade burgers * watching Emma * buying new organic flour and almond oil * Glee * magic new TV recorder * listening to Sheryl Crow and Maximo Park * nice walk in the sun * seeing the cows in the field at the bottom of my road * garlic bread * lovely goodbye drinks with my old work colleagues * another interview next week for another library assistant job - yey! * ladybirds * planting lots of veggies * email from em *

What do you LOVE this week?  I hope it's a lovely one and you have sunshine to enjoy! xxx

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Product Swap...Face Masks..

The reason for posting this ridiculous photo of myself for the world to see is that I've swapped to a more eco friendly type of face mask.  Possibly.  I have tried to give up face masks altogether, which would be the most eco friendly choice, but it makes my skin matter how much I wash or exfoliate my face, or drink lots of water, or eat nice, healthy foods, or exercise, it gets all spotty and blackheady unless I do a facemask on it.  My skin is worse now than it was when I was a teenager!

I used to use those little sachets of mask, but the packaging (plastic foily stuff) isn't recyclable.  So after reading James Wong's   recipe for a homemade face mask from powdered clay and a quick bit of ebaying I found myself with a little bag of rhassoul Moroccan clay.  Which still leaves me with two problems...does Morocco need it's clay back?  Is it sustainable to dig up clay from Africa and ship it to England to go on my face?...and it still comes wrapped in plastic that I can't recycle (at the moment...although some plastic bags will be recyclable at supermarkets soon ).

So I have my little bag of clay, which I will use up (I mix it with a little water, then put in on, let it harden then wash it off, just like a normal facepack, it makes my skin all nice and soft and gets rid of some of the goo blocking my pores too), but then after that I need to find another alternative I think. 

I've also started using Purity Organic anti aging serum and mask, which was on offer in Superdrug for £2!  I've never heard of them before, but it's really nice and moisturisy...I've started to notice a few wrinkles creeping in and I'd like them to stop there please, I'm only 26!

Do you use facemasks?  Are they eco friendly?  Please tell me if they are and my skin will thank you forever!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Split Pea Burgers Recipe...

I found a packet of yellow split peas in the back of the cupboard which had been hanging around for a while so I had a think about how I could use them up and this is what I came up seems like a lot of ingredients and a lot of steps, but really it's just bunging things into a pan!  I used to make burgers like this all the time when I lived in Spain and had no access to pre-made vegan food, you can sneak all sorts of healthy things into them (I don't usually eat carrots, or oats but they're both in here!) so you  know your burger is full to bursting with nutrients!  I tried to go a bit Moroccan with the spicing of these burgers, but you can change that and add which ever spices or extras you like!

250g dried split peas
2 small carrots grated
2 tbsp of dried tomatoes
1 tbsp of dried courgette.
1 and 1/2 onions
3 cloves of garlic
1 seeded dried chili
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/3 tsp chili powder
2 oxo cubes
2 squirts of tomato puree
2 squirts of tomato ketchup
3 tbsps flour
3 tbsps oats

You need to prepare the dried split peas according to the instructions on the packet (mine said to soak overnight in water, then boil for 30 mins) .

While the peas are boiling prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Put the dried tomatoes and courgettes into some water to rehydrate.  I only used dried veggies because there are some in my cupboard from last summer when I dehydrated a lot!  If you don't have any then leave out this step and maybe put in some fresh veggies instead. 
Heat some oil in a big pan then chop and fry the onions and garlic, after a few minutes add the grated carrot.

Use a pestle and mortar to crush the dried chili, cumin and coriander seeds with some salt and the rest of the spices, then add that to the big pan.

Drain the cooked split peas after 30 mins and add to the big pan, over a low heat, with the rest of the ingredients.

Save a little (about 50mls) of the split pea cooking water and use it to make the stock cubes, then add that liquid to the big pan.

Add the drained dried tomato and courgette, 2 squirts of tomato puree and tomato ketchup, salt and pepper to taste and give it a big stir.

Now's the time to add enough flour to turn the sticky goo in the pan into a dough you can shape into burgers with your hands...I added 3 tablespoons each of flour and oats, little by little, depending on the goo-ocity of your mixture you might need more or less.
Let the mixture cool a little then use a hand held food processor (or masher or food processor) to mash the peas, leaving a some whole to make a nice texture.

Put some flour on your hands, grab a handful of mixture and shape into a burger.  I made 9 burgers this time, but they're too big really (in the photo is one burger, that I cut in half so it cooked quicker!), you could get much more from this recipe.  I put them on baking sheets and into the freezer to freeze, then packed them into boxes (this stops them from sticking together too much).

To cook, defrost a little, then fry until golden on the outside.  I made a flat bread to go with mine, using this method only this time I added a little oil to the mixture, which made a much better texture.

Phew, that seemed long didn't it!

Happy Easter...

Hope you all have a lovely Easter! 

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Things I Love Thursday...

This week I love...

*rearranging the library and making it pretty * biscuit eating mouse in the garden * leopard blanket * sweet chili rice crackers *  Mum getting the keys to her new home * glittery stripey socks * skyping with Em * talking to my cousin in Australia * lovely card from everyone at work with nice messages in and exciting pink vouchers! * 45 minute tea break * doing baby bookworms session at work with Very Cute babies * big digging in the new garden and planting veggies * Trevor the toad in his private swimming pool * hot showers * sunshine * chips * lemonade * Luke being home * anti-wrinkle cream * double lollies * breeze through the car window on a hot hot day * pink clematis * juice in the beer garden with Luke *

What do you love, love, love this week?  Hope you're having a lovely one!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

New Garden...Day One...

Contracts exchanged on my mums new house last Friday, she's done lots of hard work in the garden already but now I have no work I've been helping too.  Thankfully the weather's been really dry, so the weeds have been relatively easy to pull out.

This is the veggie garden, which is two raised beds at the bottom of the garden...


6 hours later... the little bed and half the big bed have been cleared of weeds, covered in compost, contents of old grow bags we found in the greenhouse and organic chicken poo pellets and dug the little bed are dwarf broad beans, a couple of rows of spinach in between and lots of onions.  Nothing in the second bed so far but we plan to put our potatoes, beetroot, brassicas and lots of other stuff in, we need to have a bonfire to get rid of that massive pile of wood first!

This is Trevor the Toad, he had a bit of a shock when mums trowel nearly cut him in half, but he seemed quite forgiving about the whole ordeal, especially after we provided him with his own private swimming pool!

This is another part of the garden, under the Damson tree (we think that's what it is anyway!) mum cleared away all the weeds then we planted a rhubarb and a courgette.  I made a protective courgette force field from some clear plastic which I cut sharp points into, there are a LOT of slugs and snails in the garden and if any try to climb over and eat my little courgette I hope they'll get spiked and change their minds!  I also put some spring onion seeds round the bottom of the mound of earth the courgette is on, hopefully they'll grow before the courgette gets too big!

Phew! Me and mum have both had to have a lie down on the sofa after that!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Library Love...

This month I've loved reading....

The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon by David Almond and Polly Dunbar
This sweet book is meant for children, it's about a boy who belives that the moon is a hole in the sky and that sausages are infinately better than war!  The illustations are by Polly Dunbar, who has illustrated many beautiful children's books and this is another.  The characters are drawn so beautifullly and theres a double page full of hot air balloons that's just magic! 

The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachen
I tried to read this book twice before I got into it, but if was definately worth it.  The main character is a welsh girl who belives she can fly (this is a book for adults, honest!), life in a welsh village, lots of quirky characters, a murder, families and growing up.  I thought it was absolutely lovely. 

The Garden to Kitchen Expert by Judith Wills and Dr D G Hessayon
This book alphabetically lists vegetables and fruits tells you when to plant, when to harvest and how to store them.  Then it has lots of yummy sounding recipes for each fruit or veggie too!  Perfect!

Brilliant Interview by Ros Jay / Preparing the Perfect Job Application by Rebecca Corfield
This afternoon I'm off to work my final shift at the library (sob!) so I've been making use of these books to help me find a new job.  Most of the info in them seems like common sense, but it's good to be reminded of the basics, and some of the tips are things I'd never thought about (for example, if you're applying online for something, it's likely that the company will use a computerised programme to search for keywords features in the job ad. in the application, if it finds the keywords required then your application will go through to an actual human to read, if not you don't stand much of a chance! Who knew!)  I did an application for a job in a school using all the instructions in these books, and got an interview, they've already contacted my work for references and now I'm using the interview book to prepare myself for the next step!

Have you read anything you love recently? 

Friday, 15 April 2011

Things I Love (almost on) Thursday...

This week I love...

* vegan BBQs * suncreamy smell * giving Betty the Bike a bath then having a wobbly ride round the garden * Bev at work saying 'bloody hell you've lost weight' * getting a job interview for a job I reeeeaaally want and finding out they've already asked for a reference from my work * tie dying * seeds sprouting * getting the keys to mums new house * sunshine * seeing a flying duck * Dr Who adverts - I'm excited!! * Leonard and Leonra Linnet in the garden * cute, biscuit eating mouse * enormous snowdrops * cute and helpful bar man * skyping with Em * thank you card from my little 2nd cousin * laminating and cutting out hundreds of eggs for an Easter trail - surprisingly fun when surrounded by national trust vollys and staff! *

Hope you've had a great week!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Tie Die Duuuuude...

This weekend it was lovely hot weather so I knew if I did some dying it would dry quickly.  I've had this turquoise canvas bag for came backpacking with me a couple of years ago where it got all sorts of yellow and brown and black stains on it.  It's the perfect size so I decided to dye it and bought some dylon machine dye in Antique Grey.  I popped it in the machine with my bag and then thought hang on, I could dye more stuff at the same time and had a quick raid of my bedroom.  I found 4 cotton hankies to dye, and a pair of knickers! Yep that's right, I now have tie dye pants!  They make me laugh...A Lot!



The blue zips on the bag didn't dye, so I might replace them, or I might sew buttons all over the bag, which might distract attention from the bright blue zips! 

Here are my tie dyed hankies!  I'm sooooo pleased with them!  I used rubber bands to tie them, which worked really well.  I had a peek at them in the middle of the dying process and it didn't look like the tie dying had worked, so I was very happy and surprised to see it actually had!

To the right you can see my glorious tie dye underwear!  I'm not usually a fan of showing my undies off online but I'll make an exception this once!  I also dyed the NY t-shirt my mum brought me back from her holidays.  It was Very White which isn't wise for me, so I saved a little of the machine dye (I thought it would be too dark if I put it in the machine and I was right!) mixed it with salt in a bucket and hand dyed the t-shirt, which I will now be able to wear without fear of getting chocolate, mud or pen all over it (actually, I probably still will it just won't show up as much!)

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Whats Happening in Your Garden?

In mine, all my seeds are sprouting and growing!  It's very exciting and I make sure to visit them at least once a day!

Here we have a courgette, spinach, peas, beetroot and broccoli...

... dwarf broad beans and leeks...


... cress, pak choi, coriander and basil...

...lots of herbs and strawberries...

...salad leaves...

... this is our fig, you can see some tiny figs on it already...

... leeks, these are last years leeks, they've been out overwinter, we probably won't pick them until we move house.

We also have cucumber, pumpkin, pepper and sunflower seeds still in the greenhouse waiting to germinate!

What are you growing?  How is it going?

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Things I Love Thursday...

This week I love...

* Glee * clean bed * chickpeas for lunch * garlic bread * reading 'The Bluebird Cafe' and 'The Earth Hums in B Flat' * Starting my rag rug! * sunshine * beautiful new dress * having a bubble bath, listening to the radio, reading and scrubbing my skin to make it all nice and new * talking to my Lukey on the phone * tidyish room * this sheep I see every morning and night on my train ride to and from work, that has 4 lambs that are always cuddled up to it * growing seeds * people at work saying they'll miss me when I leave (in 12 days!) * funny mud face mask *

What do you love this week?  Hope you're having a good'un! xx

Yey! Best Green Blogs...

Today my blog was listed on Best Green Blogs :)

You can see it here

You need to write a summary of your blog and take a screen cap of it then you can link your own blog to Best Green Blogs by following this link.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Rag Rug. Progress.

Since finishing the Harry Potter scarf I've had more time to dedicate to my rag rug!  I've got all the strips cut up, I hope I have enough, I've cut out my hessian and I've STARTED it!! I LOVE it already and it'll be perfectly pretty in my bedroom, which is a pastel palace.

Rag rug, how to.

Here are my rags, I have another boxful too but I don't know where it was when I was taking these photos.  Mostly I'm using nighties that have shrunk too much in the wash, I've used 5 and a couple of t-shirts too.

Rag rug, how to.

 It's a good idea to make a template from newspaper before cutting out your shape, I did a freehand heart first, which was interesting and abstract but also wasted some of my hessian :(

Rag rug, how to.

You will end up with bits of hessian EVERYWHERE....just warning ya!

Rag rug, how to.

Here are my first little bits of rag rugness! I love it!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

How to Make a Seed Sprouter...

This week I've been entertaining myself by growing alfalfa sprouts!  I made the sprouter myself from a jar and the toe of an old pair of tights (I always see those plastic, layered seed sprouters in the health food shop and think What? Do you not know you can make that for free?  Madness!)

I'm sure you all either know how to make this, or can figure it out for yourselves, but I'm gonna tell you how to do it anyway....

1. Find an old jar (doesn't have to be a jar actually, I've done this as an activity with preschool kids using plastic cups, so nay see through container will do) and clean it.

2. Find some fabric that will let water through it.  I used the toe of a pair of tights (I tried a square of pretty tshirt fabric, which didn't work and I thought about using the toe of a sock until I realised I'd be picking sock fluff out of my seeds!) I've also used one of those white kitchen cloths, basically, any sort of fabric with a loose enough texture to let the water out but keep the seeds in.

3.  Find some elastic bands.  Now you're set!

4.  Buy some seeds or see what you have in your kitchen cupboards.  I bought some alfalfa seeds (mine are from suma because I love their new recyclable packaging!)

5.  Put some of the seeds in the jar, put the fabric over the top of the jar and fasten tightly with the elastic bands.

6.  Put a couple of inches of water in the jar and leave the seeds to soak for a couple of hours, or overnight, the drain the water off (through the fabric!)

 7.  Keep the sprouter somewhere light and rinse the seeds with clean water every morning and night, until they've grown as big as you want them!

8.  Eat your sprouts and feel healthyful :)

Do you sprout your own seeds or beans?  What are your favorites?  How do you like to eat the sprouts?