Sunday, 31 May 2015


I am growing herbs in my container garden. Currently growing I have;

I use herbs in my cooking but I am looking into other ways to use herbs in the home. I have far more growing than we can eat,, especially the mint and parsley as they are almost a year old plants now so have really taken off.

Last night I saw that you can put herbs in your bath and that mint is a rejuvenating herb. As I have an abundance of mint I decided to cut some and place in my bath to see if it really did smell nice/ work.

I picked a small plastic tub of mint and popped it into my bath as it was running. I have to say I couldn't actually smell the mint once it was in the water. I wonder if you need a huge amount of the mint to make the bath smell?

What uses do you have for your herbs? Other than cooking with them what else can I use my herbs for?

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Foal farm

The children have been asking for pets for many years, but I have held fast to my no. Not because I don't like pets, but because we are out a lot whilst I am at work so a dog is a definate no. Cats are a no as they upset  my asthma. Both children have been asking for about 2 years for a rabbit. In our previous home I said no because the gardden was so small there was barely any left to play on as it was.
I have to confess to coming around to the idea now we live here. So today I took Stephanie to foal farm an animal sanctuary around a half hour drive away (if you don't take a wrong turn- oops!)
They have a policy of never putting a healthy animal down and they rehome many different animals. I took Stephanie for 2 reasons, 1 so that she can see how much care is involved in animals and have a chance to see some in a more realistic than a pet shop environment. 2, so that she can see what happens if animals are not taken care of properly. She came home full of understanding of the enclosure we would need to properly take care of an animal so that it is happy, and determined to adopt an animal (or 2 as the rabbits are to be homed in pairs). So we are now on a mission to create the kind of enclosure we would like- kind of an aviary so they have space to play, and to raise the £80 rehoming fee.

Some of the cute rabbits that the sanctuary have for rehoming. Stephanie had my phone to take pictures as we went round. She also took some of these;
 They are the information boards which were read diligently as we went around the different animals. Stephanie was able to tell me lots of the key facts about rabbits during our drive home. So she really diud take notice of the sanctuary's advice,

There were lots of animals at the farm;

One of these cows apparently does star jumps in the field, but they were sleepy looking whilst we were there so we will have to go back another day to see if we can catch it!
If you are in the area it is definitely worth a visit to the sanctuary even if you aren't looking to get any new pets.

Friday, 29 May 2015


I promised Stephanie last month that if she decluttered her room and kept it tidy until half term we would decorate. She succeeded  in the challenge. On Wednesday we went to B&Q where she chose a patterned wallpaper and a matching paint. Yesterday we took all of her belongings out of the bedroom except for the bed frame and wardrobe and pulled up the carpet. First job;
I am so pleased that my trusty old steamer works as half an hour later the wall looked like this;
Two coats of paint and two rolls of wallpaper, and an age shunting Stephanie's belongings back in their new homes and the bedroom now looks like;

Stephanie absolutely loves it, and I am pretty impressed too.
It does still need a new carpet but that needs to wait until I have saved some more.

Total costs so far:
2x tubs of paint £20 (2 for £20 offer)
2x rolls of wallpaper £22 (£11 each on sale)
Wall paper paste £5.12

I had a total of £45 in my quidco account so that pretty much covered Stephanie's room. Good job really as I am having the car door repaired on Tuesday which is costing £220 and the hoover broke whilst we were cleaning so I will need to dip into my savings to get a new one tomorrow. Always seems to be something doesn't there!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

My little slice of the world

I have been a little lazy on the running front this week. I have lost my mojo. After lots of battling with myself I managed to drag myself out this morning for an hour to run.
Look at some of the stunning places I have to choose to explore,

All taken a short distance from home, this is why I wanted to live here. I need to find time to get out there more and explore it. I used to know most of these places as a child. Then I moved away, roads have been re-routed, new roads built. There has been a lot of change but the picturesque areas are still there I just need to rediscover how to get to them.
I also feel much better for having got out for an hour to run, i even had a healthier breakfast when I got back than I have managed all week.

Are you taking a few minutes out for yourself today? I know it is something that is easy to forget but we all need a little time. I am lucky that as Stephanie is not due back from her dad's until this afternoon I was able to take a whole hour.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Making the most of what you have

I borrowed some gardening books from the local library recently as I have been looking for inspiration/guidance on how to make the most of our garden. I am really enjoying this book,
The thrifty gardener it has lots of practical advice on how to make things for yourself to improve your garden. I was really taken with the idea for a compost bin made out of recycled wood. I have really missed not having a compost bin since we moved here. So I started to read my freecycle emails more eagerly. I regularly check my local freecycle to see what is about, if I can make use of anything that others are offering. I have offered things on there which we no longer use. I was very excited on Friday to read that some had pallets listed on there, and even better for me they were already dismantled. This is crucial as I know from experience of trying that I can not fit pallets in my  little fiesta! I immediately emailed to ask if they were still available. They were so Saturday saw me and Dylan head out to collect a little bit of wood. When we got there I was astonished to find that the gentleman had loads of wood and he was very pleased for me to rehome it. He is doing building work on his home and has lots of pallets left by the builders etc.
My car boot was filled! All I needed to do was remove nails on most of the wood.

The unloaded wood, Well some of it- I had already started building when I took this photo. I couldn't wait to get stuck in!

The finished compost bin. It is made in four levels and then the roof. Each layer comes off separately so that you can turn the compost and easily get to the compost at the bottom of the bin. I will keep you updated on just how easy this is in practice once we get using it. I am so pleased at how well it has come out. All it has cost is the petrol to collect it and as the collection point was only 9 miles away was a very minimal cost, and a few screws.
With the offcuts of the wood from making the compost bin I made this little planter
Perfect for the tomato plants I was given today.

I have already made another slightly larger planter, and plan to make more as the week goes on with the remainder of the wood. I will share once they are complete. For now I must dash- Dylan has made dinner tonight and I have been called. 
How are you spending your bank holiday?

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Race for Life

Today was our local Race for Life. Stephanie and I were signed up. I didn't get any pictures before we started as Stephanie was starting to feel nervous. She set off at a sprint leaving her school friends we had bumped into behind. She does like to sprint through the crowds in and out of tiny gaps, people always comment wow look at her she's little to be running quicker than us. In their astonishment to watch her they unknowingly block my way so I am left runnign behind  'excuse me can I get through excuse me' as if I am a rather impatient person! Sorry if you are one of those I had to do this to I rpomise I am not rude just trying to keep up with my 9 year old! LOL
It was a very warm day and at 2 miles roughly Stephanie started to get tired and hot and bothered. She asked if at the end she could squeeze any water left in her bottle over her head. So I squirted her with mine (my bottle holds more) Resulted in a mini water fight. She soon forgot that she had been moaning and reached the 4k mark. "We are nearly there?" and off she sprints again.I passed some people I know from work a quick wave and I carried on going- Stephanie was still sprinting ahead. She is quick when she wants to be.
We get to the finish line in an amazing 33 minutes;

That is almost 10 minutes quicker than her time last year! 

a little hot at the end

So we had an ice cream each- perfect!!

A quick face paint and we decided to head off down the high street. We popped in the fruit and veg shop for some supplies and then it was time to come home. Where Stephanie decided to go out on her bike before we went to my sisters where she played in the paddling pool and on the trampoline with her cousins before heading off for her 1 hour swimming lesson!

I am so proud of her. I hope she will continue to be this happy and enjoying her sport.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Peaceful Sunday

Today is a beautiful day already. I have been awake since around 6ish. I got up a little while ago and started to make breakfast. I decided to eat al fresco as the weather is lovely. It is so peaceful where I live it feels like i was on one of our camping trips!

I have taken a sound-scape on my phone to share with you but I can't work out how to log it here. It is all of the different birds which visit our garden singing and calling. It is one of the many reason swhy I absolutely love our new home.

I will share another day if I can work out how!

Hackney run

Today I went out for another race. I'm not going to lie, I didn't not feel like it when I left this morning. I could have happily stayed home and pootled about the garden. But it was booked I was going!

This race was in Hackney marshes, so I jumped on the train and headed off. I got to walk from the train station through the Olympic park to get there. I have never been in the Olympic park- it is fabulous! I have an amazing day planned out for the upcoming school holidays! There is the aquatics centre, if I am able I think I will have to book us a swim there, we can go in the velodrome and watch people whizzing about on the bikes. We can hire a bike for a couple of hours and go off exploring. There are play parks, the river to wander. Loads!

Eventually I found my way to the marshes. As I was an hour early and people where still setting up I went for a wander. I found a little river full of canal boats. Swans swimming along. From a foot bridge to cross the river you can see the Gherkin in the background. It is hard to think that from this scenic and tranquil place you are so close to the busy-ness of 'normal' London.

Soon it was time to go and check my bag in. I was 'found' by another member of my running club. I hadn't met Mick before but he was very chatty and friendly. We stood and chatted for around 20 mins before the race.
Here I am ready for the race to start.

After the race I met up with Mick again, We were both very impressed with the medals, very weighty and not what was expected from a free race. Turns out Mick and I needed the same train home so we strolled around the Olympic park park to the station. Mick has a lot of knowledge about the area and shared this as we walked. He has also convinced me I want to sign up for a race there in July where we get to finish on the actual Olympic track! How amazing is that. I just need  to book but not until payday as I am still sticking to my very strict budget!

Monday, 4 May 2015

Roller Skating

Around  year ago a local indoor play place expanded and had a roller ink added. Stephanie has been asking for ages to go. We finally got around to it this weekend. It is where Stephanie had her birthday party. 
We got up on Saturday morning and iced the cakes I had made the evening before, pink naturally!

When we gotto the party I discovered that I could have two adults on  the rink with the children as part of the party price- this hadn't been mentioned when I booked. Perfect as I was asking if my sister and I could go on with the children and how much it would cost.  
I have only ever been roller skating once before and that was at a grown up place which involved alcohol. My nerves were not strong enough and I sat on a chair and laughed at everyone else!

This place for children has a specially designed floor to reduce speed- perfect. I was quite happy bambi-ing around the rink. I really enjoyed it. So did the birthday girl. It was her second time at the rink. She does have a pair of skates which she received for Christmas so is a little more practised than I am.

Here she is in motion!

Hiding under the table because she didn't want her picture taken!

We ended up skating for nearly two hours as there was a lot of parties happening at the same time and staff were so busy. All children went home happy having thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

I think I am going to have a birthday party this year- guess where I want it!!