Sunday, 9 September 2012

Chapter 3. Food and cooking.


Food and shopping is generally far more expensive than it was say even five years ago. You will have all noticed that you are getting far less for your money these days. The Thrift Sisters recommend shopping around and definitely don't dismiss the budget supermarkets. Ok you may have to queue for longer and pack yourself but in the more expensive supermarkets guess who is paying for these extra staff? You, of course.
Aldi and Lidl have just as good vegetables and meat so give them a go too. There vegetables may not be class one but are just as tasty and fresh.
Shopping comparison sites are also very useful to judge the real cost of these so called  grocery 'offers' which have received a lot of bad publicity lately. Research them carefully. You may be spending less on them but the other none offer products can more than make up for this meaning you are not actually saving anything.
Markets are a great way to save and you can buy excellent fruit veg and meat. Also make a shopping list, stick to it and base it on a meal planner so you don't come home and find you are missing vital ingredients for main meals.
If you can shop without the kids then do so as that way you won't find lots of sweets, cd's magazines and even toys finding there way into your basket!
Cook from scratch when you can. There are some fabulous websites, blogs and cooking programmes. Teach your kids too. Also , a slow cooker can prove invaluable in the winter months and few minutes in the morning assembling ingredients can mean you have a economical, healthy meal ready when you come home from work.
For more ideas check out our eBook-'Help-I've got no dosh!' available from Smashwords .

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Chapter 2. Household and Toiletries.


Chapter 2.

Facial oils can be made using olive oil as a base and adding essential oils to your personal taste. Simply place in a pretty bottle and use morning and night.

Household Cleaners.
These can contain many harmful chemicals. There are many general cleaners that can be made quite easily

General glass/window cleaner
Add water, 3 tbs vinegar and a squirt of washing up liquid to a spray bottle. This makes an excellent window cleaner.
General cleaner.
Bicarbonate of soda is a very useful household substance. This can be made into a paste and use as a general cleaner , stain remover and as a milder alternative to bleach.
Grated Soap can be used as a cheaper alternative to washing powder and has similar results.       Please check out our eBook for more advice. Follow this link.  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/164781

Sunday, 29 July 2012

We are serialising our eBook- 'Help-I've got no dosh!'. Here is an excerpt of the first chapter on finances.



Chapter 1  Finances


Sometimes this is an uncomfortable topic that can generate a lot of anxiety. If you have debts though, as most people do then its time to take a deep breath and really look at what you owe especially if any of the following apply to you.
·        Your credit card balances are steadily increasing but your income is steady or decreasing.
·        You can only afford the minimum repayment on your cards.
·        You are juggling bills and using credit cards for essential items such as food or utility bills.
·        You are near the limit on your credit cards.
·        You are working overtime or have a second job just to pay off your debts.
·        You do not know much you owe and are scared to find out.
·        You are hiding the extent of your debts from your partner or loved one.
·        You avoid answering the telephone to creditors and are worried about bailiffs calling.
·        You constantly worry about money.
·        You have used or are considering using ‘pay day loans’ just to get by.

       Please check out our eBook for more advice. Follow this link.  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/164781





Sunday, 22 July 2012

Green celebrities-Bill Gates.


 Bill Gates
Another surprise new entrant to the Ecorazzi, Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates has shown his heart is in the right place on both the environment and ethical issues. He recently made an appearance at the Live 8 concert in London's Hyde Park in a bid to urge world leaders to do more to ease the problem of Africa's crippling debt and extreme poverty. Since making his fortune, Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money (about 52% of his total fortune) to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, founded in 2000. Go go Gates!
For money saving advice you can buy our book,'Help-I've got no dosh!' available from Smashwords and Barnes and Noble for $1.95. Follow this link
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/164781  for more information.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Green celebrities- George Clooney

He saved plenty of lives as a doctor on ER, but we'd say he's had a larger impact on the real world, now that he tirelessly fights to aid refugees around the world. Clooney is a United Nations Messenger of Peace and has supported organizations such as Save Darfur. He has also worked to raise awareness about and decrease our nation's dependence on oil by being a part of films such as "Syriana"--which fictionalized the rampant corruption of the oil industry--and by driving an electric car.

For more money saving advice buy our eBook 'Help-I've got no dosh!' now available at Smashwords for $1.95. Follow this link https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/164781  payment b
y Paypal.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Green celebrities- Leonardo diCaprio


Check out our green celebrities series.  Starting with Leonardo diCaprio.
This outspoken young star has been a driving force behind the green movement for over a decade. He lends his talents to projects like the climate change documentary The 11th Hour (which he narrated, co-produced and wrote) and the upcoming eco-friendly reality program "Greensburg" (he's the executive producer) airing on the Discovery Channel's Planet Green, which chronicles the green rebuilding of a town in Kansas that was destroyed by a tornado; he established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation which helps raise awareness of environmental issues; and he's often caught tooling around Tinseltown in his Toyota Prius hybrid. DiCaprio stays green at home, too-with his $3,200 eco-friendly toilet!

For money saving advice buy our book 'Help-I've got no dosh! ' available from Smashwords by using this link   https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/164781  Purchase price is $1.95 via Paypal.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Kate Middleton recycles clothes!

Although it may not seem much to us, it it quite a major step for such a high profile person to be photographed twice wearing the same outfit.  Check out the above photographs. Kate looks fantastic and is setting a good example.  She is also reported to be arranging to sleep on the streets overnight in order to raise awareness for homeless charities. Prince William has already undertaken this task as this was an issue close to his mother's, Princess Diana's heart.
For money saving advice buy our book 'Help-I've got no dosh! ' available from Smashwords by using this link   https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/164781  Purchase price is $1.95 via Paypal.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Make elderflower wine!

Elderflower Wine 
Ingredients 

1 pint elderflowers (remove stalks) 
8 pints boiling water 
3lbs sugar 
Juice of 1 lemon 
Grated rind of 1 lemon 
½oz yeast 

Method

Add lemon rind to the elderflowers, pour boiling water over them and stand for four days, stirring occasionally. Strain through a fine sieve or muslin , then stir in sugar, lemon juice and yeast. Ferment at room temperature (not below 18˚C). When the bubbling has ceased, stir the wine and allow to settle for three days. Strain again carefully. Put in a demijohn to mature for three months, then bottle.
Elderflowers are currently in abundance so why not give this a go?
If you would like more money saving tips and halve your expenditure  then buy our book  available from smashwords   https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/164781 available at an introductory price of $2.95 or £1.90

Saturday, 16 June 2012

10 ways to save money on holidays!

If  the cost of holidays is making you edgy then check out our top ten ways to reduce costs.


1. Book early
It may seem obvious but the holiday industry is like any other business affected by the basic economics of supply and demand. The best time to book, according to travel agent Trailfinders, is 11 months before you're due to travel. The flights have just been released and there's plenty of cheaper seats available.

2. Book late
The rules of supply and demand also apply in last few days before the departure date. If there are unsold seats and hotel rooms, you can bag a bargain with a few clicks of the mouse, or a phone call or two.

3. Buy a package
The internet has been a godsend for people who wish to bypass the travel agent and arrange their own trips. But here's a little-known tip: if you are booking a flight and a car, or flight and accommodation, by packaging the two deals together, an agent can often offer a much better deal than if you were to book separately, even online.

4. Travel on the ferry at unsociable times
After years of outrageously high fares, the cross-Channel ferry operators have woken up to the fact that people aren't prepared to pay up to £600 to cross a stretch of water so short you can see the other side from our shores - especially as you can fly to Spain for a few quid. As a result, fares have plunged and if you can travel at night, it's even cheaper.

5. Stay at home
A change is good as a rest so why not move into the spare room or swap rooms with your kids for a week or two. It's free and can be great fun – especially if you can agree to swap roles so the children do all the cooking.

6. Share the cost
A holiday home that sleeps 12 people isn't usually six times more expensive than one that sleeps two. So if you can bear to share with friends or family you could save a packet.

7. House swap
You may think you live in a horrid, torrid suburban time warp - but to an American visitor your home could well the quaint historic corner of Britain that they've been yearning for. Likewise, their 'small' tumble-down hovel will probably feel like a mansion. Give it at try.

8. Check out the special 'anti-truancy' deals
As part of the Government's Every Lesson Counts campaign to cut down on truancy, major holiday companies have developed special deals such as free child places and money off for adults. Ask your school for details or contact the travel firms - but bear in mind that many of these offers may still be cheaper elsewhere.

9. Surf for a deal
It's one of the things the internet does best. Compare flights, create your own holidays and book online - or use it for research then phone around the High Street chains and haggle.

10. Check back later
Travel agents and internet users can reserve flights and holidays for several days without purchasing them. So if at first you find a deal is unavailable at the price you want to pay, you have a choice: pay the higher price or wait a few days to see if the places become available again.

We will be considering other tips so keep checking in with us. Bon voyage!




Sunday, 10 June 2012

Art from toilet rolls!

Ever wondered what to do with your left over toilet roll cardboard? Have a look at the picture above. Here the cardboard has been sliced and interesting pictures glued on them. The cardboard circles have then been arranged into an interesting shape and mounted on a wall to create an interesting and original piece of art work. This is easy to do and a brilliant way to recycle. Why not give this a go?

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Jubilee pictures!

With the diamond jubilee approaching, why not have a go at this picture made by using spare buttons. Just arrange how you wish, glue and voila! This would make an excellent centre piece for your Jubilee celebrations. You could do something similar using scrap paper, or general trash. Why not give this a go!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Fix an old garden chair!


Do you have any old garden chairs? As the weather has perked up you may be spending more time in the garden. Instead of throwing away old chairs why not weave acrylic wool  as above to create a colourful, original chair. The weaving is quite straightforward and easy to do. Why not give it  go?

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Bonsai tree made from trash!

From Tokyo check out this bonsai tree made from trash. This is a really imaginative way of reusing rubbish and creating something lasting and beautiful from nothing. If you fancy having a go then gather and clean rubbish and consider a backdrop. Arrange your rubbish and let your imagination run riot? The beauty of this is that what have you got to lose-absolutely nothing ! Go on give it a go!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Cocktail umbrella light shade!

What do you think of these lamp shades made out of cocktail unbrellas?  Cocktail umbrella sticks have been opened out, arranged to slightly overlap and glued together to create fabulous and unique shades. To create the circle fitting over the bulb two umbrellas have been opened and a glued together. A circle has then been cut through the middle to create the hole. The whole structure has then been glued onto the central umbrella. If you have any cocktail umbrellas lying around why not give it a go for a new and original look.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Advanced recycled art!

These two pictures were made entirely out of recycled scraps such  as beads, plastic, paper,pasta and buttons to name but a few. It is best to sketch out a rough outline first, gather your junk scraps and have fun arranging them. When you are happy with the colour and positioning then you can simply glue in place. This is an advanced project so keep persevering until you are happy with the results. Why not give it a go?

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Recycled candlesticks!

These have been made by using two different sized plastic bottles, one slightly larger than the other. Both bottles should be cut about two to three inches beneath the spout. The smaller spout can then be inserted upside down into the larger spout and glued together to form the candlestick. These are both stylish and cost almost nothing to make.Why not give it a try ?

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Junk mail tree picture!

Here junk mail has been cut into tree like shapes and glued onto a white canvass. The canvass has been framed to make a lovely, simple yet original picture. Junk mail can be used as it gives a unique, textured effect. Makes you almost wish for more deliveries. Why not give it a try?

Monday, 23 April 2012

More Junk Mail Art!

Here I have used junk mail and cut it into a two heart outlines and one heart. The paper is then stuck onto canvasses which I bought for about £4. Overall the effect is pleasing and stylish and a great way to recycle and make stylish art at the same time. You could cut out all sorts of other shapes to suit your particular interests. Why not give it a go?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Junk mail art!

Hate junk mail ? Why not gather it up and make a stunning picture as above. This is made using junk mail cut into interesting shapes and glued onto a canvas. The effect is a unique picture which can be hung pride of place in your home. Next time you have junk mail pushed through your letter box why not try a creative way of recycling it? The results could be amazing!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Recycling glass bottles!

If you are feeling artistic then why not have a go at painting left over glass bottles? These are wine bottles with the label removed. You need to use acrylic paints on glass.  It may be helpful to practice complex paint ideas first but at least any errors can be rectified by simply wiping them off whilst wet. Or you could try geometric or abstract designs for starters. These bottles have had inserts added so they can be used to store olive oil. They would also make lovely gifts or could be used for home made wine,candle holders etc. Why not give it a go?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Painted plant pots!

Now that Spring is here and you are starting to plant why not get out your paints to liven up plant pots? As seen above even a little paint on the rim can dramatically alter and improve the humble plant pot. Any paints can be used but if using water based paints it is best to varnish  in order to protect your art work Ceramic pots  work best and can be easily and dramatically improved with a little imagination. These also make great presents all year round so why not give it a go?

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Mini eggs in a mug !

Fed up of the expense of easter eggs and the large amount of packing rather than chocolate? Why not buy a mug and fill with mini eggs instead? This is not only a cost effective alternative to easter eggs it also means you have a mug to keep having eaten all the lovely eggs. Here we have placed a bag of mini eggs and chocolate bunnies in a mug but you could also use an egg cup as an alternative. Why not try this as a simple alternative to easter eggs?

Monday, 2 April 2012

Yarn Easter Eggs!

Why not have a go at making these yarn easter eggs, which look amazing. All you need are balloons blown up and tied. yarn, pva glue and a sharp needle. Simply place pva glue on the wool/yarn and wrap around the balloon evenly. Wait for the glue to dry completely and prick the balloon and remove. This makes a great craft activity for the kids so why not give it a try?

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Tin can as gifts!

This soft drinks can has been recycled to make an interesting gift. The can has been washed,covered in paper and small sweets such as smarties have been inserted through the tab hole. The tab has then been carefully glued down with a glue gun and the tab decorated with ribbons to make an interesting gift. You could use other cans where the whole lid comes off to insert larger items such as little Easter eggs for an Easter present with a twist. Why not give this a go?

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Recycled plastic vase!

I had this pop bottle lying around and decided to make a vase. I sliced off the top of the bottle with a sharp knife and cut the bottle into equal 1 inch vertical strips. The strips were then heated carefully over a gas hob, at a distance until the strips formed interesting shapes. The effect is simple yet effective. Why not give this a try rather than just simply recycling as this is a lot more fun!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Make a suncatcher!

Why not have a go at making this lovely suncatcher now the weather is improving and spring is here. This is made from a plastic lid. The art work is completed by using permanent felt tips such as Sharpies. Start by drawing the outline of your pattern with a black pen and continue by filling in the colour. Add a handle. A hair bobble or pipe cleaner will do very well. Attach to a window for a lovely effect. This couldn't be easier and is a great project for the kids. Why not give it a try?

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Plastic chandelier anyone?

Still on the recycling theme why don't you try making this plastic bottle chandelier which is made using one main bottle and lots of bottles cut and heated to make interesting shapes.The whole structure is held on by wire. What do you think? Is this taking recycling too far or is this innovative and stylish. What are your thoughts? Do you have any interesting and creative recycling ideas?

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Plastic bottle terrarium!

Plastic bottles can be recycled in lots of ways. They can take 1000 years to degrade so it is vitally important that they are recycled. This terrarium is made by pulling off the coloured outer section of the bottle by pulling, removing the label and cutting the bottle roughly in half. Please be careful with the knife!  Then push the half bottle back into the coloured section and there you have an instance terrarium for growing any type of plant in its own eco system.  Why not give this a go?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Recycling-tin can lanterns!

This is a really easy and stylish way of recycling tin cans. Clean can and remove the label. Draw the outline of the pattern with felt and make the pattern by  using  a hammer and nail and hammering the nail repeatedly to make the holes. This is surprisingly  easy when you get used to it but does take some practice. When complete paint can with emulsion. You may want to add a wire handle . Add a tea light and you have a stylish lantern from nothing. Why not give it a try!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Paper bead bracelet-mother's day gift!

These bracelets were made by finding colourful paper from magazines and free newspapers. Cut the paper into 10 inch strips like long  isoceles triangles tapering to a point, the base being about an inch and a half long. Paste pva glue to the wrong side and roll up the paper from the wider end first. Roll tightly and hold until the bead sticks together. You can roll onto cocktail sticks or I use a thin knitting needle. Use clear nail varnish to add gloss and protect the paper. Allow to dry and thread on elastic. Voila.  You have an original bracelet just right for a mother's day gift. Why not give this a try?

Friday, 9 March 2012

Make a vase from a plastic bottle!


 Woven plastic bottle vase



From a distance, you would never guess this vase was plastic. Plus, it’s virtually unbreakable, and you can recycle it if you decide to redecorate.
Difficulty level: Beginner
What you’ll need: large plastic bottle, scissors, pencil (for marking)
How to make it:
1. Mark and cut the smooth middle portion of the bottle to give an even edge that’s approximately 7.5 to 8 centimeters above desired position of fluted rim.
2. Measure and mark straight, evenly spaced cuts all the way around the bottle. Cut the segments in half; then cut each of those in half to make even, thin strips.
3. Carefully press and fold all the strips outward to make a level edge all the way around. Press the bottle upside down on a flat surface to ensure an even edge.
4. Weave the tip of a strip over the next one and under the next two. Fold and crease it so that the tip is at the place .
5. Fold and crease the next one the same way, but weave this one over two and under one. Fold the third strip and weave the same as the first one. Continue around in this pattern until the last three and tuck each one under the next until woven in completely.
Why not give this a try for a really original vase.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Making plastic beads from bottles!


Materials Needed for Making Recycled Plastic Beads

Recycled Plastic Bottle Beads Jewelry
Plastic Bottle Beads Jewelry
You don't even have to go to any crafts shop to collect the things required for making recycled plastic bottle beads. They are at your home- just go get them:
  • A clean plastic bottle or any other plastic item that resembles the hard plastic of a bottle.
  • Colors- it can be anything from acrylic paints, permanent markers or even nail polish.
  • Pliers – one and if possible two.
  • Scissors.
  • Heat gun or a hair dryer.

Steps to Make Recycled Plastic Bottle Beads

Do the following step-by-step and you'll get the very much home made colorful and attractive plastic bottle beads!
  • Take the scissors and the plastic bottle. Cut strips of plastic from it. A longer narrower strip will help you make round and fairly shaped plastic bead. Wider strips will give you large plastic beads that are often shapeless. The choice depends upon you according to the craft project you'll use these recycled beads.
  • Paint the inside of the strips of plastic with any of the colors you have chosen to use. You can make full use of your creativity here by using multiple colors and designs to make your plastic beads more and more attractive.
  • Hold one of the ends of the strip with the pliers. If you have cut triangular plastic strips, begin at the widest part. Now roll the other end of your strip around the end held in the pliers. When it is rolled tightly, hold the visible end and move the pliers so that they are keeping the whole roll together.
  • Now take the heat gun or the hair dryer and hold your plastic roll in front of the heat for about 30-50 seconds. Keep on moving it gently so that the whole roll is heated.
  • Your recycled plastic bead is ready. Just one more step- if you have used acrylic paint or nail polish, you should cover your recycled plastic bottle bead with a sealant to protect its color.
  • Make the other plastic bottle beads in the same manner.



Sunday, 4 March 2012

Age is no barrier to style!

Check out these stylish men and women. They just go to prove that style doesn't have to stop when the first flush of youth is over. Style is about being individual, being confident and doesn't have to cost the earth. Why do you slavishly have to follow celebrities when you can have such fun yourself. The lady on the left has used  an amazing hat, glasses and beautiful,classic jewellery to create a unique look whilst the men on their bicycles have paid attention to accessories and used classic coats to look very dapper. So they clearly demonstrate that for them age is no barrier to style and needn't be for you either.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Recycled paper bead necklace!

This gorgeous necklace is made from recycling strips of brightly coloured paper, specifically from a free A4 glossy advertisement leaflet. Simply cut the paper into strips of about 1/2 inch, apply pva glue and wrap the strips around a straw and leave to dry. Each strip forms a bead that when dried can be threaded onto cord to form a great, original necklace. We all get lots of junk mail and some of it is colourful so rather than throw it away why not give this a go. These make great, original necklaces that also make fab presents. Why not give this a go?

Friday, 2 March 2012

Regretsy-when it all goes horribly wrong!

Much as we love crafting and advocate readers to get  into crafts as a productive, enjoyable and original way to save money, at times your beloved craft items do not turn out as planned. Sometimes they can be salvaged but sometimes the disasters are just funny! Check out the Michael Jackson with what appears to be three legs and the the stuffed whatever with the fish head that is just plain scary!
We have all had disasters; soap that burns or won't set, knitted jumpers that are twice the planned size, bread that doesn't rise...
On the positive side it is well worth persevering with skills and you will get better. In the mean time check out www.regretsy.com  to see the funny side of crafting. It will certainly brighten your day!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Leap Year Traditions!


Fun Facts About Leap Year

Leap Year calendar2012 is a leap year, with 366 days instead of the usual 365 days.
Why?
It was the ancient Egyptians who first figured out that the solar year and the man-made calendar year didn't always match up.
That's because it actually takes the Earth a little longer than a year to travel around the Sun — 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds, to be exact.
Therefore, as the hours accumulated over the centures, an extra day was occasionally added to the calendar, and over time the practice became more or less official.
The Romans first designated February 29 as leap day, but a more precise formula (still in use today) was adopted in the 16th century when the Gregorian calendar fine-tuned the calculations to include a leap day in years only divisible by four - 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024, etc.
Another stipulation ruled that no year divisible by 100 would have a leap year, except if it was divisible by 400. Thus, 1900 was not a leap year ... but 2000 was! Go figure.
Thankfully, all this intricate plotting will continue to keep us in tune with the seasons over the next several thousand years.
Born on a leap day?
Leap year babies : Anthonio Sabado Jr. & Ja Rule
Leap Day babies: Antonio
Sabato Jr. and rapper Ja Rule.
According to astrologers, those born under the sign ofPisces on February 29 have unusual talents and personalities reflecting their special status.
Most have to wait every four years to "officially" observe their birthdays, but leap year babies typically choose either February 28 or March 1 to celebrate in years that aren't leap years.
Some famous people born on February 29
Born 1976 - Ja Rule, rapper
Born 1972 - Anthonio Sabato Jr., model & actor
Born 1916 - Dinah Shore, singer
Born 1904 - Jimmy Dorsey, bandleader.
Born 1792 - Gioacchino Rossini, Italian opera composer
February 29, 2012 event calendar
On the international scene, 56 countries will observe Rare Disease Day on February 29, 2012calling for more research into ailments that have no known cure
On a lighter note, international women's football meets to compete on February 29, 2012 in the annual kick-off to the Algarve Cup in southern Portugal.
Leap Day traditions - no man is safe!


While leap day helped official timekeepers, it also resulted in social customs turned upside down when February 29 became a "no man's land" without legal jurisdiction.
As the story goes, the tradition of women romantically pursuing men in leap years began in 5th century Ireland, when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about the fair sex having to wait for men to propose. Patrick finally relented and set February 29 aside as the day set aside allowing women the right to ask for a man's hand in marriage.
The tradition continued in Scotland, when Queen Margaret declared in 1288 that on February 29 a woman had the right to pop the question to any man she fancied. Menfolk who refused were faced with a fine in the form of a kiss, a silk dress, or a pair of gloves given to the rejected lady fair.

Leap year on stage & screen
The day also plays a pivotal role in the fictional The Pirates of Penzance, the most famous Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera that was translated to Broadway and the silver screen.
In the story, the hero Frederic realizes his apprenticeship binds him until his 21st birthday, but since his birthday falls on February 29, it means that technically he is only a young lad - and won't reach his 21st birthday until he is in his eighties!
A leap year poem to remember it by
Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty-one
Save February, she alone
Hath eight days and a score
Til leap year gives her one day more.
Let us know about any other leap year traditions...

Thrift shop chic!

Thrift shop chic is where its at! Just look at these models in outfits derived entirely from thrift and charity shops! Not only do they look amazing ,all these outfits cost peanuts and are brilliant in terms of your pocket and carbon footprint! Some of our most stylish friends refuse to pay full price for anything and manage to root around in thrift shops and put together outfits for next to nothing! And many of these friends are not poor they are demanding more for their money and have an eye for a bargain. Here are our top tips for thrift shopping.

  • Choose thrift shops in affluent areas as these items are likely to be of a high quality.
  • Browse regularly as bargains are likely to be snapped up quickly.
  • Develop a relationship with the staff and that way they'll let you know if there are any items coming in that are likely to be of interest.
  • Go in there with your eyes open and with a positive attitude. Thrift is chic and there are many bargains to be had if you just keep looking!
Good luck and let us know if you pick up any good buys!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Lavender in a pot!

Lavender is a wonder plant which can be used  for a myriad of health issues such as;

  • Lavender flowers (fresh or dried) emit a strong, aromatic, uplifting scent when crushed between the fingers. For a quick mood pick-me-up or instant stress relief, crush and roll between your fingers a few of the flower buds and inhale the scent slowly and deeply. The combination of breathing deeply and inhaling the lavender scent will calm nervous tension, anxiety and panicky feelings within minutes.
  • A relaxing, soothing tea can be made from the flowers. Just put one heaping tablespoon of the fresh or dried flowers in a tea pot, and pour boiling water into the pot. Infuse for about ten minutes. This tea calms the nerves, settles the stomach and “butterflies” and induces sleep.
  • Lavender essential oil can be applied like a perfume to the hair, neck, ears or other body parts. Smells delicious!
  • Add several drops of lavender oil to your bath for a soothing soak, or just add a generous handful of the fresh or dried flowers if you don’t have the essential oil.
  • To make sleep more restful, drip a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow. Another option is to wrap a handful of the dried flowers in a cheesecloth sachet, tie and throw in your pillowcase.
  • To soothe a sunburn, add a few drops of the essential oil to water in a spray bottle, and mist sunburned skin.
  • Wrap a handful of lavender flowers in a square of cheesecloth and tie with a string. You can also drip a few drops of essential oil onto the sachet for an extra aromatherapy boost. Throw the sachet in your dryer to make your clothes smell great. This will freshen up to 25 dryer loads!
  • Apply lavender essential oil to insect bites and stings, cuts, scrapes and abrasions. Lavender is very anti-septic and helps destroy germs that can cause infections.
  • Infuse fresh or dried lavender flowers as if to make a tea. But instead of drinking it, let it cool down and use as a hair rinse to reduce dandruff.
  • Pulverized lavender flowers can add a unique and delightful flavor to salads, custards, jams, jellies and cookies, especially sugar cookies. It is a culinary relative to mint, sage, marjoram and thyme and can be used in the same fashion as these herbs. Lavender is so versatile in the kitchen, that virtually any experimentation with it will yield favorable results.

  • Lavender is easy to grow from seed and is a truly remarkable plant that is well worth investigating. Lavender plants can be given as gifts which anyone would be delighted to receive.

    Friday, 24 February 2012

    Herb planters!

    Ever wanted fresh herbs on tap that you can pick directly off your window sill? It is easy to grow parsley, basil, coriander and rosemary. All of these seeds can be purchased quite cheaply and when they are a reasonable size they can be transplanted into these tin cans with their labels removed. These look great, are eco friendly ,give you a ready supply of fresh herbs and also make great gifts. Why not give it a go?

    Tuesday, 21 February 2012

    Easy pancakes!

    Easy Pancakes.

    • 4oz (100g) plain flour.
    • Half a Pint (250ml) of milk.
    • 1 Standard Egg. (Size 2)
    • Pinch of Salt (half teaspoon)
    • Making the Pancake Batter

      1. Sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
        Make a small hollow in the center of the mixture and drop in the egg (not the shell).
      2. Begin to mix while gradually adding about one quarter of the milk. Continue to mix well until bubbles become visible in the mixture.
      3. Gradually pour in the remaining milk while continuing to mix.
        (if it's a bit too thick - then add a little water.)
      4. Pour batter into a jug for easier pouring into pan.

      Making the Pancakes

      1. Heat the frying pan, and place a small piece of lard/fat in the Center. Allow this to melt and spread over the pan.
      2. Get the pan nice & hot and when the lard begins to smoke slightly, stir and pour in some of the batter - approx 30ml or 2 tablespoons, or enough to thinly cover the bottom of the pan. (tilt the pan to help the batter spread evenly)
      3. Cook until nicely golden brown on the bottom. (shouldn't take too long)
      4. And now the only tricky bit of the whole operation - toss / flip the pancake to within an inch of the kitchen ceiling and position the pan to perfectly catch the pancake on the way down - cooked side up, easy.
      5. Cook the other side until nicely golden brown.
      6. Serve immediately with sugar, syrup, lemon or orange poured on top.
      7. Enjoy, anyway you want. 

      Have a great pancake day!

    Sunday, 19 February 2012

    #lfw Stella McCartney

    Well it's London fashion week when the designers, followers and journalists all flock to the latest shows. The clothes are divine but all with equally impressive price tags.
    But what about us lesser mortals who don't have £2000 per handbag  at least, though the Victoria Beckham Harper bag is absolutely divine! What about vintage purchases? Here's what we found at ebay. The above Stella coat buy it now for £440 and Stella jeans starting at £39.90! Ebay has brilliant vintage designer clothes which are well worth checking out! Why not give it a go?

    Friday, 17 February 2012

    Chocolate orange fudge!


    Method

    Prep: 10 minsCook: 10 mins | Extra time: 2 hours, chilling