Archives

Cleaning The Old Fashioned Way

As I said previously, I am having a break from my blog during March, but as promised I will share one of my favourite blog posts each Friday instead.

Below is one of the first posts that I talked about ‘old fashioned cleaning’….I hope you enjoy it:

.

This week I’ve decided to write about  ‘cleaning the old fashion way’.  I am not saying I don’t ever use harsh chemicals, but I do try and minimize their use as much as possible now.

I simply feel that the old fashioned cleaning methods are just as good and often cheaper that our modern chemical cleaners.

Over the years we have all become more and more reliant on harsh chemicals and powerful cleaning products, in the hope that we can reduce cleaning time and eliminate all germs and bacteria.

I am very guilty of this as I used to proudly call myself the ‘Dettox Queen’, which I now feel very sad about, but we live and learn.

Some products contain chemicals that are toxic if ingested and when these products are used they are also released into the air of our homes and then inhaled or absorbed through our skin.

My opinion is, that this has somehow led to the increase of allergies and intolerances that children and adults now suffer with.  When I was a child most of these allergies were very rare or unheard of.  I also think that by excessively using ‘anti-bacterial’ products, we are also decreasing our resistance to bacteria and reducing our immune systems in ourselves and our children.

I remember there was a discussion on the television not so long ago, about chemicals found in breast milk.  Below is an interesting link regarding this:

www.nrdc.org/breastmilk/chems.asp

Something else that I should also mention is that chemicals can threaten the environment, animal and plant life, when they are leaked out through our drains and into the watercourses below, so I think this is a good enough reason alone for me to reduce my usage of them.

.

So this is what I use:

Old Fashioned Cleaning Products

.

Lemon juice – this is a mild acid which has a bleaching and deodorising effect.  It also dissolves grease.  It is an antibacterial and antifungal cleaner.

White vinegar – it’s cheap and harmless to use and is a good multi-purpose cleaner.  It is especially good as a glass and mirror cleaner and removes limescale easily.

Bicarbarnate of soda (also known as Sodium bicarbonate and bicarb, and baking soda) – this can be mixed with lemon juice, vinegar or just water to produce a gentle abrasive paste that is a great stain remover and a multi-purpose cleaner.  It’s good for cleaning tea and coffee stains on cups and cleaning stainless steel items.  It is best known for how good it is at deodorising smells as it absorbs odours and neautralises them, so it is good to use in the fridge, in shoes and to remove odours from carpets.

Lavender Essential Oil – I use this on some pot pourri near my toilet instead of an airfreshner.

Tea tree Essential Oil – This has anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, so I add a few drops to my vinegar spray in my kitchen.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil – This oil is great for removing grease and oil, for example, around cookers.

I must stress it is always best to test these products on small hidden areas when you first use them.

.

You can find more information on all the above ‘old fashioned’ cleaning products here.

I hope someone will find this information useful.

.

.

Tonight for tea we had ‘Spinach and Poached Egg Florentine’ served with home grown new potatoes and a freshly picked salad.

The recipe is here:

.

Spinach and Poached Egg Florentine:

500g Spinach, washed and any thick stems removed

4 Eggs

A little bit of olive oil or a knob of butter to fry

1/2 pint of a plain white sauce

Grated Cheese to sprinkle over the top

.

Fry the spinach in a little olive oil or with a knob of butter, until just tender

Make the white sauce

Arrange the spinach in an oven proof dish with four wells in for eagg each.

Break an egg into each well and pour over the white sauce.

Sprinkle cheese on the top

Bake for 12 minutes on Gas 5 / 190C / 375F and then increase heat for 10 minutes to Gas 6 / 204C / 400F

.

Spinach and Egg Florentine

 .

 

.

Thank you for reading my b;og today.

Homemade Christmas Gifts…

This week I have been busy again.  I started the week by making another batch of laundry liquid.  It still amazes me how much I save by making my own liquid and it only takes about fifteen minutes to make approximately three months worth (and I wash a full load every day).

SAM_2461 SAM_2463

I also made some more dishwasher liquid too, using soap nuts:

SAM_2470

And I topped up my homemade multipurpose kitchen spray too, using white vinegar and a few drops of teatree oil.  The vinegar cuts easily through grease and dirt and the teatree oil turns it into an antibacterial spray.

SAM_2465

All of the above things help me to save money around the home and I don’t use any nasty chemicals either.

.

In the garden:

I also managed to buy another bag of woodchip to complete my the paths in the new area in my kitchen garden:

IMG_2869 IMG_2873

I then brought a couple of bags of soil conditioner to spread over two of my beds (I will buy some for the other beds another day):

IMG_2886 IMG_2885

I have left the soil conditioner on the top of the soil so the worms can do the hard work for me over winter.  I have also covered the two beds with weed suppressant to prevent weeds from growing and to also prevent the winter rain from leaching the nutrients out of the soil:

IMG_2889

I am already looking forward to growing crops in this area next Spring.

.

Preparations For Christmas:

.

Well Christmas is nearly here and this week I have been turning my attention to Christmas presents.

On Saturday I talked to BBC Radio Leicester about Christmas presents on a budget:

You can listen to the interview here if anyone is interested.  The interview starts 11 mins into the show.

I love chatting to Radio Leicester and they always make me feel very welcome.  I hope this comes across in the interview.

One of the things I talked about was homemade presents.  I love homemade presents as I always say they are “from the heart and not just the bank account”.  I took in three homemade presents to show (and taste) and explained that they are far cheaper to make than buy and by making them yourself you can have far nicer presents for far less money:

SAM_2457

The present on the right looks like a Christmas pudding and my daughter made these for all her friends and teachers last year and kindly made this one for me to take to the radio show.  It is a chocolate orange with maltesers stuck on with melted chocolate and she melted white chocolate over the top (to look like cream) and she put a little bit of plastic holly on the top.  She wrapped it in cellophane and it looked fantastic.

The box in the middle had homemade truffles in.  I love homemade truffles as they are so easy to make and look and taste really good:

SAM_2455 SAM_2454

.

I also took in a present of which contained cubes of chocolate with cranberries and sultana’s and this is how I made it:

First I melted a bar of my favourite chocolate in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water stirring all the time…

SAM_2439

When the chocolate had melted I added some cranberries and sultana’s and mixed them until they were fully coated in the chocolate (you can use anything you enjoy e.g. smarties, maltesers etc)…

SAM_2443

I then poured the mixture into a tin / container that was lined with clingfilm (you can use silicone bakeware too if you have it)….

SAM_2444 SAM_2446

I then left the chocolate mixture to set (don’t put it in the fridge).

When it was set I took it out of the mould and removed the clingfilm….

SAM_2448

I drizzle some melted white chocolate over the top and again left it to set…

SAM_2449

When it was set I chopped the chocolate into cubes and wrapped it in cellophane….

IMG_2878

Top chefs will tell you that the chocolate should be ‘tempered’ to keep the shine on the chocolate, but if you slowly melt the chocolate and keep it away from the fridge whilst setting, I don’t think you need to for this.

.

.

This week, as Christmas is near I turned my attention to my Christmas hampers.  I started by covering my homemade jars of jams and chutneys with a pretty pieces of tissue paper, tied with a bow:

SAM_2467 SAM_2466

And then I wrapped a few surprises (including my homemade wine) to also go into my hampers too and then I started to put them altogether:

SAM_2473 SAM_2477

I am very pleased with the result, though I do still have two hampers to do.

.

I also made three mini Christmas cakes this week and a full sized cake too.  The Christmas cake recipe I use is very easy and can be eaten straight away, without having to continually ‘top it up’ with brandy.  The recipe is here.

SAM_2468 SAM_2471

I like to give the mini Christamas cakes to our parents, as they are just the right size for them to enjoy.

I decorated the mini cakes and wrapped them in cellophane and I think they look great and I would be very pleased to receive one….so lets hope they like them:

SAM_2488 SAM_2489

Just incase you are wondering, I brought my roll of cellophane approximately three years ago on-line and I still have loads left.

SAM_2479

  I checked this week and you can buy a 100 meter roll of clear cellophane for about £12 (incl. delivery).

.

mrs-claus[1]

.

Before I finish today I wanted to show you a lovely couple of chocolate logs that my daughter made last week for her friends at school…..apparently they all enjoyed it.   The recipe is here.

Each chocolate log costs approximately £1.50 to make and tastes delicious……to buy a supermarket ‘finest’ chocolate log it costs £3 and I bet it wouldn’t be as nice!

IMG_2871

I also want to show you some wonderful cakes that one of my daughters friends made to take into school too this week:

SAM_2482 SAM_2481

I think the cakes look wonderful and it just shows what you can do with a little bit of imagination!

“Homemade really is from the heart and not just the bank account”

.

Thank you for reading my blog today.  I will be back next Friday as usual.

Have a great week!

Catching Up & An Apple Cake Tray Bake Recipe

Before I start today I wanted to remind anyone that is interested, that my usual monthly blog post of

‘What To Do In The Kitchen Garden In November’ can be found here.

There is loads of information in this post e.g. weather conditions expected, what to sow / plant / harvest in November, jobs to do and pests / diseases that you may encounter this month.

I hope it helps someone out there.

SAM_2293

.

This week I have started to get back to normal after decorating my daughter’s bedroom a couple of weeks ago.  It has felt nice making bread and cakes again:

SAM_2232 SAM_2244 SAM_2233

.

I also caught up with a few jobs I have been putting off.

  I started by flushing my plug holes with bi-carb and vinegar to ensue they don’t start to block up.  It’s great for removing food, hair and soap scum from your pipes.  It’s very simple to do:

I put one tablespoon of bi-carb in the plug hole and then I added three tablespoons of white distilled vinegar and left it for a few minutes to fizz away:

SAM_2241 SAM_2242

I then flushed it all down with boiling hot water:

SAM_2243

.

I also finally brought in the tomatoes that were sitting in my greenhouse ripening.  I put them there at the beginning of October and they have ripened well:

SAM_2134 IMG_2801

I left a few on my kitchen window sill to continue to ripen and I have left some out for sandwiches and salads,

SAM_2281 SAM_2280

but I have also managed to make some more passatta to freeze:

SAM_2279 SAM_2282 SAM_2286

.

In my garden this week I started to use another batch of lettuces that I have been growing under environmesh….I pick the outside leaves of the lettuces so they continue to grow.  They should be fine growing outside under the environmesh for some time yet, before the harsh winter weather comes:

SAM_2283 SAM_2284

One thing I noticed in my garden is I have somehow managed to grow a clematis.  I do remember that a clemastis used to scramble through the large photinia bush I used to have in the corner, but I assumed this was killed off when I cleared the area at the beginning of the year.

When I first saw it growing in the summer I twisted the growth around my trellis as I really wasn’t sure what it was (though I did suspect it looked like a clematis) and this week it has begun to flower….better late than never:

SAM_2294 SAM_2295

I shall leave the plant where it is as it obviously wants to be there and I will prune it in February.

.

I also finally bottled up the wine I made a few weeks ago.  I had a little taste and it is lovely already, but hopefully as it matures it will get even better.  These bottles will be great in my Christmas hampers:

SAM_2297

.

My lovely sister dropped in this week with some apples from the tree in her garden, as she has had a bumper crop:

SAM_2248

I sorted the apples and I wrapped up those without blemishes in newspaper and placed them in a cool, dark place to store them through the winter:

SAM_2267 SAM_2269

I then decided to juice the remaining apples, so I started by washing the apples and then removing all the bad bits:

SAM_2269

Unfortunately there were rather a lot of bad bits and when I chopped the apples in half I found that loads of them were bad in the middle.  I’m not sure if they are bad due to ‘codling moth’ or wether it is the result of ‘mouldy core rot’:

SAM_2270 SAM_2271

However, I did get enough good apples to do a little bit of juicing:

SAM_2272 SAM_2273 SAM_2274

It was a shame about the rotten apples but the juice we did get was absolutely delicious:

SAM_2277

.

My sister also gave me a few bramley apples, so I made an Apple Cake traybake:

.

An Apple Cake Traybake Recipe:

.

500g Bramley apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced (leave in water to stop them going brown)

350g self raising flour

280g caster sugar

225g soft margarine or butter

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp baking powder

2 – 3 tbsp demerara sugar to sprinkle over the top.

.

.

Preheat your oven to 180C / gas 4 / 350F and line a baking tray with greased, greaseproof paper.

Put the margarine, caster sugar, eggs and vanilla into a bowl and then seive the flour and baking powder into the bowl. 

SAM_2250

Mix until all the ingredients are combined and then add a little bit of water to the mixture if it doesn’t drop off the spoon easily.

SAM_2251

Spread half of the mixture into the lined baking tray and then arrange half of the apples over the mixture.

SAM_2252 SAM_2254

Put the rest of the cake mixture on top of the apples and then arrange the remaining apples again on top

SAM_2255

Sprinkle the apples with demerara sugar

SAM_2257

Bake for 45-50 minutes.  Ensure the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer….it is cooked when the skewer comes out clean.

SAM_2259

Leave to cool for ten minutes and then slice.

Serve hot or cold on it’s own or with cream or ice cream.

SAM_2264 SAM_2261

Enjoy!

.

Thank you for reading my blog today, I will be back next Friday as usual.

Have a good week!

 

A Pitta Bread Recipe & Sad Potatoes

It’s been a strange week at the allotment as there has been some lovely ‘highs’ and one massive ‘low’ which I’ll tell you about in a minute.

The highs first…..The produce is coming thick and fast and I am picking peas, podding them and blanching them as soon as possible (and I’ve still not managed the one hour turn around that ‘Birds Eye’ do, lol)….but they still taste delicious!…together with the mange tout that my husband and youngest daughter fight over when I cook them for dinner.

SAM_9465IMG_2307

I’m picking salads crops almost daily now and I can honestly say they taste far better than supermarket salads, that don’t seem to have any taste.

SAM_9437

The cucumber in the photo is from a spare plant that I put in my polytunnel at the allotment and it has been producing cucmbers for about a month now.  The plant was grown at exactly the same time as the other three plants that I have in my greenhouse at home, but this plant is far further forward than the others.

It could be that this plant was planted into the ground in my polytunnel (the greenhouse plants are in pots), or it could be I have shading over my greenhouse at home which has slowed the growth?….I will probably never know.

My greenhouse cucumbers

My greenhouse cucumbers

.

This week I picked my first beetroot and boiled it for a salad tea.  It was so sweet!

These are the beetroot that I sowed in newspaper pots back on the 8th April and transplanted to my allotment a few weeks ago.  I have read that beetroot dosen’t like to be transplanted, but by growing it in newspaper pots there is no root disturbance and they can be sown earlier, before the ground has warmed up.

SAM_9436 SAM_9439

I’ve also been picking my first gherkins from my polytunnel.  This year I haven’t grown so many as I find that they don’t last too long when you pickle them.  So I have only grown enough for a few jars over summer.

I pickled my first crop this week.  It’s really easy to pickle gherkins and I wrote how to do it here if anyone is interested.

Gherkins that I pickled this week

Gherkins that I pickled this week

.

One thing I did at the allotment this week (with Mr Thrift’s help) was to start a new compost area.  I have a problem with rats in my compost bins over winter, so I decided to put my bins on slabs to see if this may help.  We laid some spare slabs in the utility area and I will start to gradually move my dalek compost bins over each time I empty one.

These bins are where I put my peelings, etc.

SAM_9445

.

And now for this weeks allotment ‘low’…..my potatoes have succumbed to the dreaded ‘blight’!

I didn’t spot it at first and dug up my first potatoes of the year (which incidently were mouth wateringly delicious):

SAM_9438

These are my second early potatoes called ‘Marfona’.  As you can see they are still quite small, as these actually grow much bigger and can be used as baking potatoes.

…..But then I spotted the tell tale signs of blight!

First I spotted the marks on the leaves:

SAM_9441

And when I looked underneath I found a couple of stems where it had spread:

SAM_9443

There was no doubt about it….it was blight.

I always find potato growing such hard work and it is so disappointing when this happens!

.

Blight is a wind blown fungus that can travel long distances.  It spreads when the temperature is above 10C and the humidity is above 75% for two consecutive days, known as a ‘Smith Period’.   In the UK outbreaks can occur from June onwards and apparently it is usually seen in the south west first.

The early stages of blight can be easily missed and not all plants are affected at the same time, however it will spread rapidly.

Symptoms usually seen are brown patches that appear on the leaves and stems and spread very rapidly.

.

I noticed that the blight had only spread over half of my ‘picasso’ potatoes (early main crop) and half of my ‘marfona’ potato crop (2nd early), but I know it spreads really quickly.

If you catch blight early enough you can stop the fungus from going down into the potatoes by cutting off all the foliage, so none of it is above the soil and then leaving the potatoes underground for at least two weeks without digging them up (so hopefully they are protected).

So this is what I did.

SAM_9442

Unfortuanately, my potatoes won’t grow any bigger now, but I will be happy with the potatoes I have if this saves them.

Incidentally, you CAN put the blighted top growth in your compost as blight can not live on dead plant material….but it will survive in the seed (i.e.potato) which is another reason to use fresh seed potatoes each year and dig up any ‘volunteers’ that grow around your plot.

I noticed that my ‘desiree’ potatoes and tomatoes that are growing in a different patch have not yet been affected, so I will be monitoring them very, very closely.

One thing I am wondering, is when I used the ‘Nemaslug’ (nemotodes) for the first time last month as a trial, I had to keep the soil moist for two weeks (which I wasn’t happy about at the time as it was a lot of work).  I wonder if all my watering increased the chance of blight as the leaves were continually wetted for two weeks?….I suppose I will never know.

SAM_9322

.

At home this week….

I cleaned three old photo frames using bi-carb, water and an old toothbrush.  And they came up lovely.

SAM_9460 SAM_9462

I also sowed up a hole in my old ‘comfy’ trousers, which will keep them going a bit longer.

SAM_9448

And I decided to make some pitta bread at the weekend to go with my homemade houmous.

So it has been a good frugal week.

I realised I haven’t shared my pitta bread recipe with you before.  I use my breadmaker to knead the dough, but you can just as easily knead it yourself.

I hope this easy recipe will help someone out there:

.

Pitta Bread

.

500 grams strong white flour

2 teaspoons of fast action dried yeast

25 grams margarine or butter

½ teaspoon salt

310 ml water

.

Put all the above ingredients into your breadmaker on a ‘dough’ setting or ‘pizza dough’ setting.

SAM_9449 SAM_9450

When the dough is ready, preheat your oven Gas 7 / 425F /220C.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a rough ball.

SAM_9453 SAM_9454

On a floured board, use a rolling pin to make oval shapes approx. 4″ x 8″

SAM_9455

Put them on a greased baking sheet.

SAM_9456

Put in the oven for 5 mins and then turn them over and for a further 5 mins until they are cooked.

SAM_9457

Wrap them in a tea towel to keep them soft and warm if you aren’t quite ready to eat them.

SAM_9458

Enjoy with home made houmous (recipe here).

SAM_9459

.

Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back next Friday at my usual time.

A Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe & My Allotment This Week

Before I start, I don’t usually advertise anything on my blog, but I thought I would make an exception for this:

Transition Leicester are holding a ‘Leicester Green Open Homes And Living’ event….

Their website says “Would you like some ideas about making your home and/or life greener? Come and look around the homes of people who are changing their homes and lives to reduce their carbon footprints and talk to them about what it is like”.

For details on the houses, their availability and features, click here I can imagine it will be a real eye opener.

.

————————————————————————————————————————–

What a busy week it has been at the allotment.  Due to all the rain we had last week I have had to work twice as hard to catch up with my planting.

First though, I had to dig up my old spring broccoli and curly kale before I could even start planting:

SAM_9209

I then planted my outdoor cucumbers (burpless tasty green), leaving them under glass to give some protection for a couple weeks as it has been really cold and wet and they do not like these conditions:

SAM_9232

My runner beans and tomatoes were planted out:

SAM_9202

And my sweetcorn, butternut squashes, patty pans and courgettes:

SAM_9210 SAM_9231

And more spring onions and lettuces:

SAM_9224

And some more cauliflowers under environmesh and I planted cabbages under bottles as they were small and I wanted to give them a bit of protection from slugs and the cold

SAM_9201 SAM_9218

I also planted my leeks that were sown way back in January.  If you haven’t planted leeks before, it is a bit unusual the way they are planted.  You can read how to plant them here.

SAM_9222 SAM_9220

I also planted my celeriac, which like plenty of water and they certainly had plenty of rain on Wednesday this week…

SAM_9223

…and I finally got round to planting some flowers- sweetpeas, nasturtiums and tagettes.

SAM_9214 SAM_9215

I also planted some nasturtiums around my runner beans as a sacrificial plants.  The blackflies prefer nasturtiums to the beans and so they leave my runner beans alone.

.

I also invested in a very large net from ebay this year to stop the pigeons from eating my peas.  I hope to be able to use it for years to come as it wasn’t the cheap sort that you can buy.

A few years ago I didn’t need to net my peas as the birds never bothered with them, but they seem to eat everything these days, including my lettuces which I still find strange.

SAM_9212

.

Also, I finally got round to nipping the top couple of inches off my broad beans to stop the blackflies as they love the top growth.  The best time to do this is when the first beans start to develop on the plants, but as you can see in the photo below, I was a little bit late on one or two of them, but I’m sure they will be fine.

SAM_9203 SAM_9206

.

Finally at my allotment, I have had loads of people ask me what is wrong with their onions this year and I have said the same thing over and over again….it’s the allium leaf miner, which is a fairly new pest.  You can find information about it here.

My onions have been hit too and I will be covering them with environmesh next year:

SAM_9234

.

.

During half term when it was raining nearly all week, it was lovely to have some time to catch up at home.  Especially as my daughters were off school, as I love spending time with them.

One of the things we did was toasting marshmellows over a candle.  I had forgotten how good they taste and they took me back to when I was a Guide (many years ago).

I absolutely love the melted marshmellow taste:

SAM_9192SAM_9193

.

During the week I also managed to catch up on some long overdue jam making sessions with leftover fruit in my freezer.

I made rhubarb jam and strawberry jam:

SAM_9186 SAM_9188

SAM_9189 SAM_9191

I find jam making quite thereputic and it is so easy to do.

If you haven’t made jam before, you can find a strawberry jam recipe and some jam making tips here if you are interested.

.

I also managed to give my drains a bit of a clean  by pouring 1 tablespoon of bi-carbinate of soda down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar.  It bubbles up like a volcano for a few minutes and then I flushed it all down by running the hot tap for a few moments….the result was clean smelling, unblocked drains!

SAM_9187

.

I was also able to take time to make some nice salads from my polytunnel and some nice meals for the family without rushing….it was such a pleasure:

SAM_9179 SAM_9195 SAM_9184 SAM_9182

The last photo is homemade shortbread, which is one of the simplist recipes I have.  You can find it here.  I use pure margarine as my daughter is lactose intolerant, but you can use normal margarine or butter and they taste even nicer.

.

The photo my daughter took as we picked them

The photo my daughter took as we picked my strawberries

This week I made some luxury strawberry ice cream as double cream was on offer at Tesco….and the taste is absolutely delicious!…and yet again so easy to make.

I used my strawberries from the allotment as they are ripening nicely.  These are a very early variety that I planted two years ago:

SAM_9248

.

Luxury Strawberry Icecream Recipe:

300 grams strawberries

300 ml double cream

140 grams of caster sugar

.

Puree the strawberries in a bowl with a hand blender / liquidiser or a fork

SAM_9241 SAM_9242

Add the caster sugar and the double cream to the bowl

SAM_9243 SAM_9244

Give it all a mix with a spoon until it is all combined

SAM_9245

And add it to your icecream maker to do the hard work

(If you haven’t got an ice cream maker, just put the blended ingrediants into a container and freeze.  Remove from the freezer every 1-2 hours and mash vigourously with a fork to break up the ice crystals)

SAM_9246

As there are no chemicals in the ice cream, the ice cream will be quite hard when you take it out of the freezer to use, so it is better to take it out for fifteen minutes or so before you eat it.

Then enjoy it!

SAM_9173

.

I actually made double the amount of ice cream and it filled an old two litre plastic ice cream tub and I worked out it cost me just £1.85 to make.  I’ve checked on the Tesco website and the ‘posh’ ice cream is far more expensive than that!

Within an hour of making the ice cream, some of it had disappeared out of the tub….it must have been the ice cream fairies…so beware of the ice cream fairies if you make it too.

SAM_9249

Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back again next Friday

My woodland garden this week

My woodland garden this week

Have a good week!

Radio Leicester – Old fashioned cleaning/Cooking from scratch etc.

Just thought some of you may be interested in my Radio interview with Jonathan Lampon this lunchtime, on Radio Leicester.

The interview was about moneysaving…..cooking from scratch, old fashioned cleaning, meal planning, value products etc.

The interview can be found here and it starts 2 hours and 9 minutes into the show.

Today people texted in and phoned in with questions and I absolutely loved it…..Thank you for asking me onto your show Jonathan.

:

SAM_8631

I’ll be back on Friday as usual.

 

Back To Basics & Making My Own Cleaning Products.

This weekend I spent a happy hour checking our finances were in order.  I regularly make sure that I have entered every little purchase to make sure we know exactly where every penny has gone to.  This helps us to save money in the long term as we can see if there are any problem areas that we need to concentrate on.

Unfortunately we are not perfect and one thing I noticed this time, is we are starting to visit the shops more and more often.  Each time is for something I have forgotten to buy on my ‘big’ shop at the beginning of the month.  This wouldn’t be quite so bad if we just bought what I needed, but the supermarkets are clever and we nearly always come out with an extra something that we don’t really need and it uses up more of our food budget.

Recently, I have been working so hard on my allotment (due to being poorly in Autumn) that I have started to take shortcuts when I come home and I have been making ‘easier’ meals and not sticking to my meal plans.  So I know this is at the root of the problem and this has got to stop and it’s back to strictly keeping to a meal plan for us.  Luckily I have just about ‘caught up’ with my winter jobs at my allotment, so hopefully I can get back to normal now.

SAM_8557.

Regular visitors to my blog will know that one thing I do regularly to save money, is to make laundry liquid.  On Saturday I ran out of my last batch of liquid, so I made some more.

I prefer to wash our clothes using homemade laundry liquid, as I know what goes into it….I suffer quite badly with excema and I used to find that shop-bought powers and liquids always made my excema worse.  My homemade laundry liquid doesn’t seem to affect me all, which is great and it is really really easy to make.

The laundry liquid only takes 10-15 minutes to make and it lasts for weeks.  It is great for every day washing and the last time I worked it out a few months ago, it cost me approximately £1.75 to make and I managed to get 71 washes out of it.  This works out at a staggering 2.5p per wash….the supermarkets can’t beat that!

The recipe for the liquid is here.

SAM_8627

I use old ‘pop’ bottles to store the liquid in, which I label and keep under my sink.

.

This weekend I also made some more dishwasher liquid using ‘soapnuts’:

I know there will be people reading my blog today who use them regularly for washing clothes, but unfortunately I didn’t think they washed our clothes very well even though I followed the instructions to the letter and I did try using them various times before I decided to give up.

So my soap nuts sat unused for ages, but I couldn’t bare to throw them away as I had paid good money for them.

Picture 030

In January I discovered that you can use soapnuts to make a dishwasher liquid and this is something I have been trialing since January and I have found it works really well.  When my stash of soap nuts finally run out, I will definately buy some more.

SAM_8028

  I find that if I use the liquid in my dishwasher every wash, then grease builds up inside my dishwasher, so I have found that it works best if I use it for two washes and then wash once with a shop-bought dishwasher tablet once and then use the dishwasher liquid twice etc.  This way it still saves me quite a bit of money.

You can find how to make it here.

My Dishwasher Liquid

My Dishwasher Liquid

.

Incidentally,  I also topped up the rinse aid compartment in my dishwasher this week.  Again I don’t buy a shop-bought rinse aid, I use white distilled vinegar which is very cheap to buy from your local supermarket and works just as well.

SAM_2526

.

Another thing I did at the weekend was to make some more ‘multi-purpose vinegar spray’.  I use this to clean down my work surfaces in my kitchen, our table mats, my cooker hob etc.  Again it is really cheap to make and it lasts ages, but more importantly I know what goes into it.

All it is made of is distilled white vinegar (which most supermarkets sell), with a few drops of ‘Tea Tree Oil’ (which I buy from Wilkinsons).

Distilled white vinegar is great as it’s cheap to buy and cuts through grease and dirt and is antibacterial too, so it kills most germs.  It does smell when you first spray it, but the smell doesn’t linger and no one will know you have used it.  White vinegar is milder than malt vinegar and dries odourless.

I mix the vinegar with a few drops of Tea Tree Oil which has anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties too.

This makes a fantastic natural multi-purpose cleaner and it lasts for ages:

SAM_8631

.

I use a lot of ‘old fashioned’ cleaning methods as I like the thought of not using chemicals and saving money at the same time.  I wrote about all the ‘old fashioned cleaning methods’ I could think of here if anyone is interested.

I find that I feel rather smug now when I see people with expensive chemical cleaners and washing powders in their trollies, knowing that I wash and clean for a faction of what they are paying.

My cleaning cupboard consists of only a few things that clean eveything in my house…and that’s the way I like it..

SAM_2503.

Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back on Friday at my usual time.