Rehome & Recycle a Greenhouse or Cold Frame

I love discovering ways of incorporating upcyling projects in the garden, and if you are on a budget it is a great way to create something useful with little expense. I am currently recycling an unused children's wooden bench seat, this will be upcycled into a veg planter. But you can think bigger when it comes to recycling projects for the garden. You can often find people offering their old greenhouse for sale or for free, Freegle, Freecycle or the classified adverts in your local paper are a great place to find and rehome an an unwanted and unloved greenhouse.
recycle greenhouse cold frame greenhouse glass
Many times the owners will just be grateful that you can collect it and put it to good use. It may not be in the best condition, and will often having many broken panes of glass or none at all. If you worry about fitting glass into a greenhouse then polycarbonate panels are a safer and lighter alternative to greenhouse glass. Like glass each piece can be cut to your specific size, it still allows light and heat through.
recycle greenhouse cold frame greenhouse glass
Cold Frame

If you do not have room for a greenhouse or it is too much of a project, then how about creating a cold frame. These are great if you want to sow your seeds early or protect tender plants over winter, a cold frame can work just as well as an unheated greenhouse. Cold frames are much smaller and providing you have a hammer and saw it can be made using recycled pieces of wood. Check out YouTube for some great diy cold frame instructions.

Have you had any gardening upcycled successes?

Disclosure: This is a collaborated post.
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Rainbow Tie Dye Cake Recipe

It's birthday cake time again. This year my niece's cake of choice, is a Rainbow Birthday Cake, with a few modifications. My Rainbow Cake recipe does not have 7 layers of cake, but does have all the colour. I decided to use lots of bright colours into a 3 layer cake, to create a Tie Dye Rainbow Cake, and here is the recipe.
3 Layer Rainbow Cake Tye Tie Dye
It is not a difficult cake to make, the baking part is very easy, if you can bake a sponge you can bake this cake. A novice baker may find the butter cream covering a little tricky.

I bought the funky pink cake board for just £2 from Hobbycraft, this is where I also got my cake colours from £10 for a set of 8


3 Layer Rainbow Cake Tye Tie Dye uk

Ingredients for Rainbow Tie Dye Cake

9oz butter
9oz caster sugar
4 eggs
9oz self raising flour
tablespoon of milk if required
6 bright cake colours 
cake board 

Traditional Butter cream ingredients

9oz softened butter
18oz (500g) icing sugar
strawberry flavouring (optional)

Equipment needed
Mixing bowl
Electric hand whisk
3 cake tins (or use one twice once one sponge has baked)
scales
6 small bowls
6 spoons
6 piping bags
large serrated knife
palette knife
Greaseproof paper

Butter and line 3 cake tins with the greaseproof paper
Oven temp 180 degrees 

Method
  • Using a hand whisk
  • Cream together the sugar and butter
  • beat in 1 egg
  • add a large spoon of flour, repeat this until all the eggs and flour are combined.
  • Split the mixture evenly into 6 bowls
  • Add your chosen food colouring to each bowl, (I used the end of a spoon to dip into the pot of each colour) mix in. Remember you can always add more colour.
  • Use separate spoons so as not to accidentally mix colours.
  • Carefully spoon each coloured cake mix into a piping bag (you do not need a nozzle).
  • Snip the end off of each nozzle and pipe in a circle your choice of colour. Swapping colours at each circle. If you have any let over mixture I added it into the tin in large splodge of mixture to create a colour patch. Just make sure you have equal amount of cake mix in each tin.
Tip 
You do need to think about how you will stack your cake and where the colours will be, ideally you do not want for example 2 section of blue in the same place when they are stacked.
How to make a tye dye raindow cake

Place into the oven for 25-30 minutes.  Check it is cooked by pushing a skewer or knitting needle into the sponge, it should come out clean.

Leave the cake to cool for 15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
How to make a rainbow tie tye dye cake uk

Making the Butter cream
Using a hand whisk (this will give you a whiter looking butter cream) whisk together butter and icing sugar, add any flavouring should you wish. If your mixture is too thick add a drop of milk. It is far better to have too much butter cream than to run out part way through decorating a cake. 

Once the sponge has cooled, you will need to carefully trim with a sharp knife the outside edge and top of each sponge to remove the outer baked area. Removing the greaseproof paper at the bottom of each cake will reveal the vibrant colours of the sponge.

I secured the bottom layer of my cake to a cake board with a blob of butter cream. Then spread a generous amount of butter cream to sandwich your 3 sponges together.


How to make a rainbow tie tye dye cake

Once assembled make sure your cake is level and even around the edges. Add a generous amount of butter cream to the top of the cake, and gently ease this around to the edges.  Using a palette knife will makes this easier, you should also have a mug of hot water and some kitchen roll. You will find it easier if you wipe the palette knife clean and dipping it in the hot water as you work.

I found filling a piping bag with butter cream and then applying this to the sides of the cakes easier to cover. Then using the palette knife against the side of the cake, whilst turning the plate gave an even covering.

Tip 
If at anytime you find you are getting in a mess with the butter cream and it picking up the crumb of the cake, put the cake in the fridge for an hour have a cup of tea and then come back and continue.

I decorated the top of my cake using Choco Writers (see my Halloween chocolate designs for how easy this is to do or the 60th birthday cake), you can pipe easily with liquid chocolate onto baking paper. Once you have perfected your design and it has set it is easy to transfer onto your cake. 

Tip 
Any left over butter cream can be kept in the freezer until the next time you bake, or sandwich some biscuits together for a quick treat. 
How to make a tie tye dye cake


Love this recipe? You may also like my Loom Bands Birthday Cake.  
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Tips on Keeping Your Home Cool During Summer

We all want to keep cool during Summer, if it is hot outside then it can be equally as warm inside our homes. I have put together some of my top tips to help you keep your home cool during the heat of Summer.
Removing Heat
If you are cooking in the kitchen be sure to turn on your extractor fan, this will help remove the hot air from the kitchen. Likewise you can remove the steam and heat from a shower room by ensuring your bathroom extractor fan is also on. Particularly if you shower in the evening as you want the upstairs of the home as cool as possible for a comfortable night's sleep.
Keep the Blinds Closed
Simple things like closing the blinds or curtains in the day can help prevent your home feeling like a greenhouse. Luxaflex have designed blinds to keep your home cool, the clever design of the Duette® shade keeps warm air trapped inside it, helping to keep the heat from your home. Keeping the blinds down can really help prevent heat from turning your home into a greenhouse.
Heat efficient Duette® design blind from Luxaflex
Ensuring your blinds are in the right place at the right time is also key to keeping your home cool during the summer. Do not worry if you have gone to work, only then to realise you have left your blinds open and it is a scorching hot day. With new technology(Powerview Motorisation) Luxaflex has created a new system - these blinds can be programmed and controlled not only by remote control pebble whilst you are at home but also via an app on your mobile phone or tablet. So you might be busy at work or out shopping yet you can still operate your blinds to keep your home cool. This is also a great security feature, should you find yourself not returning home until late or you are away on your holidays, open and close your blinds as if you are still at home.

PowerView™ motorised blind
Adjust your blinds with the PowerView™ motorised control pebble with out getting up
Time Changer
If you normal heat your hot water in the evening, change the timer to heat it in the morning. This way you are not adding heat to the home during the night when you are trying to sleep.

Creating a breeze 
If you are at home you can open your window, opening several windows in different areas of your home can help create a breeze. Do bear in mind the security of your home, do not leave your front ground floor windows open if you are out or in your back garden.
Image Credit
 Dyson UK
Dyson Air Coolers can be found in homes and hospitals around the country. Significantly quieter than conventional rotary blade fans, these fans offer a stylish design and efficiently provide cool air. Easy to keep clean. Dyson fans are also quieter for night time use, and much safer than the conventional spinning blade fans. The latest fans also come with a built in air purifier.

Keep the heat down in the kitchen by using the microwave to cook with instead of the oven, or better still enjoy a healthy salad alfresco style.

Be sure you are using Energy Saving Light bulbs they emit 90% less heat than conventional light bulbs.  

Do you have any tips to share on how you keep your home cool?

Disclosure: This is a collaborated post with Luxaflex blinds. 
  
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Be Brave Choose Patterned Wallpaper

I know several friends who are redecorating at the moment, I have even found myself distracted by the many beautiful wallpaper designs when recently browsing through some home style magazines.  
This had me thinking, sometimes it is hard to take the plunge and choose a bold or statement design wallpaper. It is easy to choose the safe option. An impressive wallpaper design is there to make an impact, but you do not want to feel as though the room is overwhelmed by your choice of wallpaper. You want it to enhance, create an ambiance to your room, a statement wallpaper design on just one wall can do that. Less really is more, giving you the perfect 'Feature Wall'At times it can also be a mistake to have it pasted on every wall of a room.

Create yourself a 'Feature Wall' - choosing the right design for you. 

  • Redecorating and restyling the whole room, this gives you a blank canvas you can choose to make your wallpaper the star of the show. Use it to influence the soft furnishing, furniture and overall colour palette. 
  • Maybe you just want to refresh a room, fed up with four magnolia walls. Creating a feature wall is affordable, by just wallpapering one wall you can help keep costs down. Or if you have fallen in love with a beautiful design that is a little more expensive per roll, at least you are only have to budget to wallpaper one wall! Choose a colour or pattern that will work with your existing furniture.

1.  Grey Chinese Blossom Tree Wallpaper  £10 per roll  2.  Blue Vintage Floral Frames Wallpaper £10 per roll  3. Teal Verdant Wallpaper  £15 per roll.  4. Black & White Eccentric Wallpaper £20 per roll.   All wallpapers by Graham & Brown

I find boutique hotels, or restaurant a great place to inspire, the hotel I stayed in last year on the Isles of Scilly had some wonderful wallpaper, which was used to great effect. Some times it takes a conscious effort to take a step out of your comfort zone, other times you are naturally drawn to a pattern or colour. 
5. Grey Trinket Box Patterned Wallpaper £10 per roll.  6. White Gold Polka Dot Wallpaper £15 a roll. 7. Blue Chinese Blossom Tree Print Wallpaper £10 per roll   8. Black / White On The Menu Wallpaper £15 per roll.   All wallpapers by Graham & Brown

I told you earlier I had been distracted by wallpaper browsing, and I am sharing some of my favourite wallpaper designs currently available online at House of Fraser.  I love the blue vintage floral frames wallpaper which I could see in my craft room, a bright but calming feel to it. 

Children's room are perfect for feature wall, choose a themed design maybe space or sea creatures, or just a beautiful selection of shapes and colours, such as the pastel harlequin shapes in photo 9. 

The White and Gold Polka Dot wallpaper (number 6) is great choice for a teenage girl or twenty something, a chic funky look, what a perfect background for a vlogger!

9.  Pastel Coloured Harlequin Diamond Wallpaper £15 a roll.   Pastel Candy Striped Wallpaper £15 per roll.  Blue & White Super Star Wallpaper £15 per roll. All wallpapers by Graham & Brown 

Do you have a feature wall? Or are you drawn to any of the patterns in this article. 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for House of Fraser.
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The Life Changing Magic of Tidying - Reading Challenge Update #3

It looks like my latest read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo, may be a book that will indeed change my life this year.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo
I feel I maybe the last person to the party when it comes to reading this bookfor the last year it has been popping up on my social media feeds. 
Having returned from holiday I received notification from my library that my book was ready for collection. I had forgotten all about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying book as I have been on the waiting list for 6 months. 
So the reading commenced... 

Synopsis
Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?
Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you'll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo's clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).
With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house "spark joy" (and which don't), this international best seller featuring Tokyo's newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home - and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.
My review
I thought Marie's style of writing a little repetitive at the beginning of the book. But in fact I think it is a way of preparing your mind to embrace letting go of items you may have kept for years. 

Within days I found myself looking at items around the house with a new attitude, yes they were what I wanted/needed during a certain point in my life and appreciate them for that but I do not need them now. They served a purpose and for that I am grateful, but they can now go. I realise that some items for example an ornament purely because I thought I would feel guilty for letting them go, that I had to keep them. But Marie Kondo has changed that approach, asking the simple question does it spark joy really did work.   

Everything has it's place..
Marie recommends a certain order to decluttering your items, starting with cloths and finally those items with the most sentimental meaning to them photographs. Once decluttered you have less items to store and tidy away. She believes that everything you have should have a dedicated location, so you never again have to think about where to put everything, you also know immediately where it is and where it belongs. 

Folding...
I have also changed how I store items, particularly clothes. Once you have read the book you will understand and totally appreciate why items should be placed so they are not stacked. Marie even describes a specific way items should be folded, do not worry if you can not follow it a quick Youtube search will find lots of demonstrations. My sock drawer if I do say so myself is a thing of organised beauty.  

I had early in the year decluttered my clothes, but having read this book I went back and I sent more clothes to the charity shop. I am 12 handbags lighter, and have them tidied  now so I now know what I have. I still have so much more tidying to do, books are next. 

At this point in my life I am open to change, so I welcomed suggests on how to lead a life with less clutter and more simplistic approach to life. I think for this reason I really embraced this book and the Konmari method. I have been singing the praises of how this has changed me, and now even my sister has been tidying and folding. 

Yes there are certain times in the book when I did not connect with the passion Marie clearly feels about tidying, but there again tidying is her life. I now appreciate the items I have far more, but I won't be talking to my handbag or shoes any time soon.   

There is just one down side having read the book, I have been focused on decluttering I am 2 books behind on my reading challenge!

I am off to open and gaze upon my beautifully folded cloths, I am not exaggerating. Honestly, I open a drawer and it brings a smile to my face. 

I scored this book 5/5 on Goodreads.

Order the book now from Amazon and start a new clutter free life.

      
You can keep up to date with my past and present reads by visiting my Goodreads page, see the link in the sidebar on the right hand side of your screen. 

Have you read any books that have had an impact on how you live?

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Refreshing Iced Tea and Tea Ice Lolly Sugarfree Recipe

Are you enjoying the sunshine or dodging the thunder clouds, either way I guess you could say this is a typical British summer. But with days of extreme heat it is ideal to find a shady spot and enjoy a glass of tea. Yes you read it right, we British as renown for our tea drinking no matter how hot the day is, but this time let us try something different. Iced Tea or a cooling Tea Lolly, both are easily made at home and healthy.
Making Iced Tea with Yogi Tea
Cooling Ice Tea and Ice Lolly made with Yogi Tea
Inspiration for this arrived in a wonderful Summer Hamper from Yogi Tea. So with the temperature gauge on the rise, I put the kettle on!  Well you do need to brew tea first to let it cool down. 

Licorice Mint Cooler Iced Tea / Ice Lolly

250ml Licorice Mint Yogi Tea
60ml apple juice
1ml lemon juice
fresh mint

Brew the tea with boiling water for 7 minutes, allow it to cool before chilling in the fridge. Add the lemon and apple juice. Serve with ice and a sprint of fresh mint. 
Alternatively pour the Licorice Mint Cooler drink into ice lolly moulds. 

What a healthy and refreshing alternative to a sweet syrupy ice lolly. 
Yogi Tea Licorice Mint Cooler
The perfect shady spot to escape the heat
Want to find out what goodies were in my Yogi Tea Summer Hamper? Watch my YouTube Unboxing video. Visit my YouTube channel to see my other unboxing videos. 

Disclosure: I was sent a Summer Hamper from Yogi Tea.
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Learn to Crochet Successfully with Beautiful Things Semi Virtual Courses

I have made much progress in my quest to learn to crochet. This is down to the clear and easy to follow instructions in the Beautiful Things course, which makes learning crochet from the comfort of your own home both relaxing and rewarding.  
Pretty Crocheted Flowers
In my previous post I shared some of the basic crochet goals I had reached, which you can still catch up with here or why not watch the unboxing video of me unpacking the crochet starter pack. 

From there I moved on to learn more crochet stitches, a Treble and the Half Treble. I have shared my progress not only on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but also the Facebook Group especially for everyone who enrolls on the course, everyone is so supportive. I posted photos of my crochet successes and my practice pieces, I do not want to call them failures after all I am a beginner and we all know how the saying goes 'practice makes perfect'. 
Learning to crochet with Beautiful Things
The next step in the course is to create something pretty. Yay! You can follow Claire on the video and there are step by step instructions and photographs in instruction book to make a lovely flower. It is so helpful to pause, rewind and watch the instructions as many times as you need. The flower combines all the techniques and stitches I have learnt on the course. My first flower was not perfect but lots of crocheted flowers later and I had really gotten used to the pattern. 

My lovely little flowers have received lots of compliments and both my sisters have been impressed with them. 

I have now accomplished:
  • Double crochet
  • Half Treble crochet stitch
  • Treble crochet stitch
  • Slip stitch
  • Understanding simple pattern instructions
  • Creating a crochet flower
  • Crocheting with confidence 
  • Interacting on a Facebook Group (optional)
I even took my crocheting and instruction guide on my cruise holiday, and I was not the only one crafting. There were quite a few fellow cruisers who were knitting, crocheting or sewing. Even the shop on board sold lots of crafting supplies. 
All equipment supplied to start you crocheting
If you want to find out more about the course or maybe you would like to learn crochet yourself, the Beginners Crochet course from Beautiful Things cost £40

Disclosure: I received the Learn to Crochet course from Beautiful Things in exchange for this review.
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Refreshed, refocused and ready

I am well and truly back from my holiday, a rather splendid cruise around the British Isles. My break away has left me refreshed and embracing a slower pass of life, not that I have been a busy person prior to it. Since taking redundancy I am still finding my path on just how much self employed work I want to embrace. Reflecting on this has made me realise that during my holiday I have achieved a number of things and it has also shown me I am ready to make a few more changes. So what better way than to share some of these than with a Five of Friday themed post.

Bucket List
This is not something I have set in stone, I do not even have a master list pinned on a board anywhere. It's more of a case of ideas kept safely in my head and voiced occasionally to my family and friends. 

Two ticks on the virtual bucket list..
Go on a cruise. I plan to share lots of photos and information about my cruise on Cunards Queen Elizabeth ship, it sailed around the British Isles stopping in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. I can not say I had any particular expectations about cruising, but I was delighted by the standard of service and and quality of food enjoyed during my time aboard. 

The Giants Causeway. The main reason I picked this particular cruise was that it stopped at Belfast, and gave me a chance to visit the UNESCO World Heritage and National Trust site of The Giants Causeway. This natural phenomenon has been on my virtual bucket list for many years. Though the trip from the ship started with a shower of rain, I was so pleased the sun came out and for the rest of the day the tour remained several steps ahead of the rain. Even with all the visitors it was still an amazing place to visit, and I am so delighted I did. 
Unplugged
Majority of time during my holiday I had limited access to the world of social media and wifi. Whilst I was keen to share my adventures with you all via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I also realised just how refreshing it was to step away from the constant checking of my phone for messages, emails and the electronic world.  As such I am on the brink of enforcing a no electronic devices ban on set hours for set days. Do let me know if you have tried this and if you have any tips.

Crochet
This extra freedom gave me more time for creativity. I successfully completed my Learn to Crochet the Easy Way course from Beautiful Things, and I am looking forward to taking my crochet to the next level with the intermediate course. Crochet is a great way to distract me from the electronic world.  Although I do love looking at all creations everyone posts on Instagram and their blogs, which is great for inspiration and motivation.
Writing
I have always had this small yearning to have something published. I guess in a way you could say that by creating and writing this blog I have achieved this. But I have decided to take it a little further and plan to publish my own e-book. Things are still in the planning and creative stage, but just by typing this and putting the idea out there I feel I have taken the first step. It will not be a novel, but something creative.

If you want to join in with Five of Friday then take a visit to the very creative Amy at Love Made My Home blog. 
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Recipe: Pineapple Pie

When I shared my bake of this Pineapple Pie Recipe on my Instagram and Facebook pages people were surprised and amazed by the recipe. It is not a typical English fruit pie, but a rather tropical creation. It was sweet, fruity, sticky and covered in pastry - what is not to like about that combination!
I love making shortcrust pastry, apart from my mum I make some of the best in the family - ah hem excuse me whilst I blow my own trumpet. But if pastry is not your thing than use pastry from the chiller section of the supermarket.
When making this recipe I found there was an excess of the sticky syrup. In hindsight I think it would of thickened if I had heated it longer but I was worried it would be 2 minutes to long and would catch on the bottom of the pan. Next time I will be braver. For that reason I choose not to add all the sauce into the pastry case, I did not want a soggy pastry bottom.  The upside to this was the leftover sauce made an excellent topping for ice cream sundaes or fresh fruit. Alternatively if you have any excess sauce you could put the in the freezer to defrost for another time.

Pineapple Pie Recipe

Pastry 
1 pack of frozen shortcut pastry
or make your own

Filling Ingredients
1 large pineapple chopped
8 oz sugar
1oz flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch cinnamon
pinch salt
1 1/2 oz butter

Instructions
  • Roll out just under half of the pastry and line your pie dish. Prick the base of the pastry thoroughly with a fork, or place a sheet of baking paper over the pastry and fill with baking beans. 
  • Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes 200 degrees c / gas 6.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • In a saucepan mix the pineapple, sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon  and salt, stir over a low heat on the hob. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Then remove from the heat and stir in the butter. 
  • Allow to cool.
  • Roll out your pastry topping.
  • Pour the mixture into the pastry base, it is at this point I decided not to pour all the syrup into my pie as I thought there was too much
  • Cover the pie with a pastry lid, pinch the lid and pastry base together with a little water and your thumb and finger. Or use a fork if you prefer.
  • Brush the pastry top with a little beaten egg.
Bake at 220 degrees C or Gas 7 for 10 minutes. Then adjust the oven temperature to 160 degrees C / Gas 3 for 30 minutes.
I plan to make this pie again and again, it was so well received and tasted so different to the usual fruit pies I tend to make. I hope that yet again I end up with more sauce than the pie needs as it was so tasty on ice cream. The only photo of a piece of the pie is not one of my best I am afraid, but as you can tell the pie was to celebrate a family birthday so everyone was eager to tuck in.
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