Thursday, 30 April 2015

Things I Loved, April 2015.

This month I've loved, 

* Having 6 days leave from work! * sunshine * watching lots of films, 'Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll', 'Pretty in Pink', '10 Things I Hate about you', 'What we did on our Holiday' and 'Clueless' * Easter * chocolate bunnies * chocolate hedgehog/bunny cake * picnic in a flowery park * PICKING UP THE KEYS TO OUR NEW HOUSE! * my boy and his bro' pushing down an old tree in our new garden * gardening! * pain aux chocolat * buying seeds and paint and choosing carpet and buying our first piece of furniture (an IKEA day bed off Ebay for the conservatory, so comfy!) * I've seen my nieces lots this month, my biggest niece is so interesting at the moment, her language is developing really fast and she's starting to get really grown up, my littlest niece is growing up too she's 6 months old now and does a bit of standing-ish when you hold her up and lots of leg kicking! *  BBQ *

How has your month been?

Monday, 27 April 2015

Gardening, April 2015.

Our new garden is gorgeous, and it needs a lot of love to become even more gorgeous!

I cleared up the little raised patio bit.  I chop a branch off the straggly holly every now and then when the mood takes me!

I started digging away some of the grass/weeds on the raised bed on the left, this is after one day,

And this is after a week.  I REALLY want to get this all dug, but I hurt my back doing it on the first day, so I'm only doing a little bit at a time now.  I've hit a really stoney and buttercup-py patch at the moment so it's taking ages to dig. 

I planted my first plants!  Some polyanthus that used to live on my balcony, and on the far right is a tiny Hebe that apparently changes colour to pink in the winter, that I picked up for 50p (reduced from £8!) in Wilkinsons.  The sedum and that lovely fern-y looking weed were already there, just hidden by the long grass.

Joe cut the grass on the left hand side too, which makes it look a lot better.

I am quite smug about the fact that the soil is looovely!  Not quite so smug about the buttercups though.

I've borrowed some space in Mum's greenhouse to start some seedlings off.  I've got sweetcorn, courgette, kale, a chilli pepper called 'little elf' and some fancy sweet peas that change from pink to blue.  I have lots of seeds to start off outside too. 

These are the seeds I've got growing, or have waiting for some garden space, so far this year,

Beetroot - detroit 2
Broad Bean - bunyards exhibition
Chard - bright lights
Chilli Pepper - little elf
Courgette - royal flush
Kale - dwarf green curled
Lettuce - iceburg 2, salad bowl mixed
Onion - (bunching) iahikura
Spinach - apollo 1
Spinach Beet - perpetual spinach
Sweetcorn - minipop F1

I want to plant a couple of apple trees, but I want unusual varieties and especially one with pink flesh.  Let me know if you have any apple tree recommendations!

And for flowers I've got Livingstone Daisy (sparkles mix), Marigold (French petite mixed), Nasturtium (tutti fruity mix) and sweet peas (turquoise lagoon and royal mixed).

I've got some packets of wildflower seeds that I want to plant too.  There's an article on gardening for wildlife in the May issue of Vegan Life magazine, which I've been reading with interest. 

What's going on in your garden this month?  Do you garden for wildlife?

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.

Monday, 20 April 2015

A Photo an Hour, April 2015

April 19th was the date set for this months Photo an Hour challenge, organised by Louisa and Jane.  

10am - I had a lie in and finished off my book (I was reading a graphic novel called The Cute Girl Network).

11am - I was a bit overzealous with the garden digging yesterday, owchie!

12pm - My back hurt, so I refused to move from the sofa and watched the Hollyoaks omnibus...

1pm - ...and The Big Bang Theory.

2pm - I seemed to have used all my kitchen utensils, time to do the washing up I'd been putting off all week. 

3pm - I ordered some seeds off the internet, and made a list of what I have and want for our new garden.

4pm - Pancakes for lunch/dinner/hungrytime (when I'm on my own for the day I just eat when I'm hungry, rather than at traditional breakfast/lunch/tea times.  I may have had a packet of crisps for my breakfast.)

I seem to have missed 5pm!

6pm - Watered my little balcony garden with my trusty elephant watering can.

7pm - Sunset.

8pm - I was wandering round with my hair up in a bun, it was covered in coconut oil to condition it.

9pm - Bath time.

10pm - On second thoughts, coconut oil conditioner, bicarbonate of soda hair wash and vinegar shine rinse, in my mini, flat sized bath, with a bad back, may not have been the best idea!

11pm - Book and bed.

12am - I got up to go to the loo and found it was already occupied! EEeep!

Did you take part this month?  Did you have a more exciting day than me?!

You can see my other photo a day posts here.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Library Love, A Little Something Different, Ruby Circle, The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp, The Little White Horse.

Library Love, A Little Something Different, Ruby Circle, The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp, The Little White Horse.

In the last month or two I've been reading, 

A Little Something Different - Sandy Hall
I really liked this story of Lea and Gabe's relationship, told from everyone's point of view apart from their own.  I especially related to their college professor and the staff in their local coffee shop rooting for/imagining/intervening in their lives, as someone who works with the public I definitely decide which of my customers I think should get together! 

The Ruby Circle - Richelle Mead
This is the conclusion of a 6 book series (Bloodlines), which kinda carries on from another 6 book series (Vampire Academy), so in all I've read 12 books about these characters.  Everything was wrapped up pretty neatly, which was satisfying, but it wasn't the best book in the series.  Which is a shame because I was looking forward to it for ages.

Library Love, A Little Something Different, Ruby Circle, The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp, The Little White Horse.

The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp - Eva Rice
There are nearly 600 pages in this book, which is a lot for me, but I loved another of Eva Rice's books (The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets) so I thought this might be worth the armache of holding a heavy book in bed.  It was.  Soo worth it!  Lovely, and retro, and swinging-sixties-y, and posh musician boys called Inigo and Digby.  It was so good!

The Little White Horse - Elizabeth Goudge
This book has been doing the rounds of all the staff at work, it finally got to my turn!  I really liked this book, it was written in the forties though and it took a bit of will power to get over many, many lines like 'the room was so well laid out, it was far beyond the doing of a mere man' (seriously).   The story is exciting though, about family secrets, lions and unicorns and friends.  

What are you reading?

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Low 'Poo, an Update 1 Year on.

I can't actually believe it's been over a year since I started experimented with going low 'poo.

FYI - low 'poo means using less shampoo, and it's less extreme version of going no 'poo, which means using no shampoo.  

You can see all of my low 'poo blog posts here.

Low 'poo hair, one year on! I wash my hair using water, SLS free shampoo bar, cider vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, and it's lovely and healthy and shiny.

So, how's it going?  

It feels pretty normal by now to be only washing my hair once a week or so.  I used a natural, SLS free shampoo bar and rinsed with diluted apple cider vinegar, until Christmas when my shower broke a bit.  Since then I've been washing my hair once a week in the bath (confession, sometimes I only have a bath once a week.  No one seems to have noticed this in the slightest!  Perhaps I'm going low soap too!).  

I just swoosh my hair in the bath water a bit (I use a tiny bit of Lush bath bubble bar in the bath water, I don't know if that's cleaning my hair or not, makes it smell a bit nice though!), massage my scalp and rinse with a couple of jugs full of clean water.  I generally skip the shampoo bar and vinegar unless my hair feels really grimy (then I add shampoo) or really dry or dull (then I add vinegar).  I still use either almond oil, or coconut oil as a leave in conditioner after washing.  

Low 'poo hair, one year on! I wash my hair using water, SLS free shampoo bar, cider vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, and it's lovely and healthy and shiny.

I've washed it with bicarbonate of soda (the traditionally recommended no-poo option) just once in the last year.  I can see how it works, as it made my hair really fluffy and soft and got rid of a big greasy-patch that was annoying me.  If you google 'no 'poo' or 'low 'poo' you see a lot of people saying that using bicarb and vinegar ruined their hair, which I can believe.  I read some tips from the blog Lulastic, about using very diluted bicarb, very occasionally, which works great for me.

I'm really happy with being low 'poo, my hair is really shiny and feels healthy.  

Are you low 'poo?

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Our New Home.

So, this is our new home.  There's a lot of work to do, perhaps more than we thought when we'd first looked round, but we plan on being here for a long time so we'll get it done!

Would you like a guided tour?

This is the hallway, we're going to paint it yellow.

The first room you come to is the living room.  Complete with ladders and all the carpet that we ripped up.  The previous owners had dogs/cats/cigarettes/an aversion to cleaning, so the carpets were gross and pretty stinky.

Next is the kitchen/dining room.  I have a feeling this is where all our money will go!  There is a lot of interesting pipe work and electric work going on!


The dining room leads to the conservatory.  It's so gorgeous!  I'm going to put a day bed in there for luxurious lounging!

The garden, so far I've seen a great tit and a squirrel!

The first room upstairs is the bathroom.  If anyone knows how long you have to not clean your bathroom, for it to be completely black behind the toilet, please let me know.  Sadly we can't afford a new bathroom for a while, but I spent 3 hours cleaning it so we'll live with it for now.

This will be our bedroom.  Hopefully there's room for us to build in a wardrobe.

Spare room.

This will be Joe's computer room.  He's painting it gray.

This is the view from our lounge window.  I think it's lovely!

We've spent all weekend cleaning, so it's feeling a bit more like 'ours' now.  Joe bought a steam cleaner, which has been powering through the years of dog hair and dirt.  Seriously, it's so so dirty in there.  And the boiler broke today!  And we opened the dishwasher to find a George Forman gill, on a pile of newspapers and a curly wurly!   

We'll get there!  Any home renovation tips?

Saturday, 11 April 2015

We Did it!

We got the keys to our new house yesterday!

We won't move in for a while, as I still have my little flat for a bit longer and there's lots of decorating to do.  Today Joe pulled up all the old carpets and I spent about 3 hours cleaning the bathroom.  Oh my gosh, it's soooo dirty!  

I'll have more photos soon!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

I'm an eCycle Best Green Guardian!

A couple of weeks ago a lovely man from eCycle contacted me with some interview questions, asking to feature me as a Green Guardian on the eCycle Best Blog.

I was glad to be asked, and excited when the article went live a couple of days ago!

You can check it out here, if you're interested. 

There are lot's of other Green Guardians on the eCycle blog, so I'm in good company and I've found lots of new blogs to read too!

Friday, 3 April 2015

Easy Eco Actions, April 2015.

Here's this month's round up of easy, eco friendly actions, 

Jobs are under threat at a UK plastic recycling plant, use Friends of the Earth's online email action to ask to keep the factory open.  

Chemical company Bayer keep trying to sue organisations that speak out against them, fill in Friends of the Earth's form to ask the EU's Pesticides Commissioner to stand up to them

Sign Sum of Us' petition, asking Coca Cola to keep a reusable bottle scheme in Germany, rather than replacing it with single use plastic bottles. 

Use the RSPB's form to write to your MP, asking for a parliamentary act to protect and prioritise nature

Other things I've read..

I loved this article about friendly crows.

And this one about how to recycle less.

France has a lovely new law that says new commercial buildings have to have solar panels or green roofs!

Have you ever heard of potatoes being grown like this?