Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Fix that Trampoline!

Our trampoline has seen better days. The safety netting tore and the padding fell apart. All that remains is the trampoline itself which is, in fact, in good condition. However, to get new netting and padding is going to cost a fortune and I am not sure how much we actually need it now that our children are a little older.

So I was pleased to spot this top tip from the USA. Purchase a load of pool noodles and cut them to the size of the springs holding the bouncy bit of the trampoline to the metal frame. And there you have it - a bit of extra safety for peace of mind without spending a fortune on bespoke trampoline accessories!

Of course, this is no substitute for not watching your kids properly when playing!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Cleaning Make Up Brushes

I've covered make up expiry dates, as well as DIY make up pads but I haven't given a tip on how to easily keep make up brushes clean. Obviously, you can just wash them in a little soap and water but I've found a great combination of products to use to remove make up much more easily and quickly is 1/2 portion of olive oil and 1/2 portion of washing up liquid. Just mix it together, swivel the brushes in the solution, rinse and there you go!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Homemade Fruit Vodka

Do you have a surplus of vodka? No? Or do you instead have a surplus of fruit maybe, from a tree in the garden? Or you've bought too much on special offer and it's likely to be binned? That's more likely, I would imagine. One way of preserving fruit and preventing it going to waste is to make fruit flavoured vodka.

Firstly, choose your vodka. The internet recommends a middle of the road one - avoid cheap chemical tasting ones but equally, don't waste money on the high-end ones.

Then choose your fruit. Strawberries, apples, blueberries, watermelon, lemon - whatever you fancy and love! Wash the fruit and remove seeds, pips and stems. For citrus fruits, get rid of the white pith.

Slice the fruit into chunks and place in an airtight jar or bottle and then cover with the vodka. The proportions seem to be a matter of personal preference, so it may be a matter of experimenting until you get the blend that suits you, but a little research seems to point to about half and half, or maybe 2:3 fruit to vodka - the more fruit you use, the stronger the flavour.

And then just wait for about two to five days! If you do want to speed it up, give the jar a little shake each day. And sample after a couple of days, until it tastes how you want.

Once it's ready, strain the mixture into a new bottle for a fabulous fruity drink or a mixer that can be used as the basis for a unique, tasty cocktail - use a coffee filter or some muslin fabric or similar. Another idea is to pour it into nice bottles with pretty labels, and they can be given as gifts. Store out of direct sunlight and it will keep indefinitely.

As an added bonus, the fruit will make the base of a lovely alcoholic fruit salad, so even that is being used again. (Note that this fruit will be laced with vodka - it's not suitable for children and could still make you tipsy so be safe.)

You can also use herbs and spices such as chillis or basil - it doesn't have to be just fruit. You can also combine ingredients; I heard that strawberry and basil is a great combo. I even read that someone has made bacon flavoured vodka with the fat! Basically, experiment with the tastes and flavours you love best and don't let that fruit (or vodka) go to waste.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Funny Top Tip!

Having trouble waking your baby when you need a rest?  Why not take advantage of this handy hint?

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Homemade Dried Chilli Flakes

I love having a selection of fresh herbs and other edible plants in my kitchen and garden and, in the main, most of them get used. If they don't, I use one of my two methods for preserving them - found here and here. However, there always seems to be the humble chilli plant that I may use one or two chillis from and then the plant gets ignored and fades away. The following year, I buy another - they are so pretty and I am convinced that this time, I will use it more often!

So how can I get my money's worth and make sure that the poor plant isn't going to waste? I can dry the chillis! First of all, chop them in half. For extra spice, keep the seeds or remove them if you want less. Place on an ungreased baking tray and pop in the oven at the 'warm' setting (80° C - 100°C) or several hours, until they are completely dried out or dehydrated. This will be a number of hours - 5 or 6 at a shot - and to be extra crispy, I would turn off the oven and leave them overnight.

Pop the lot into a plastic bag and crumble (or if you're lazy so inclined, a food processor is good). But make sure you don't get any in your eyes! Place the lot in a jar or pot and there you have it, homemade dried chilli flakes and a plant that hasn't gone to waste. And wash your hands really, really well when you're done.

Bonus top tip - plastic gloves are always good when working with chillis!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Funny Top Tip!

I'm a little clumsy myself and I think this is a good excuse for being so!

Monday, 14 April 2014

DIY Milk Bottle Watering Can

Rather than waste money buying watering cans, why not use an old plastic milk carton to water plants? Just rinse it out, poke holes in the lid and voilá! A watering can for both indoor or even outdoor use. The beauty pf this is that you can have any size you want (depending on milk bottle size, of course) and if it is cluttering your space, you can just recycle it and start again when you next need one.

Another bonus for me is that I always lose the spray spout bit of the watering can, so this is a much more cost-effective way of replacing it!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Funny Top Tip!

I don't think I actually recommend this tip, but it's quite a good way to remember passwords...

On second thoughts, use letters, numbers and symbols. Difficult to remember but better than getting hacked!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Easter Holiday Ideas

So school's broken up for the Easter holidays and it's time to find things for the kids to do! I think that Easter is a great time to indulge in lots of crafty activities so my top tip today is to find which shops are offering special offers on Easter crafts and projects.

Hobbycraft have a good selection of items on offer at the moment and loads of kids' Easter craft items.  There's 3 for 2 on certain items such as scrapbooking paper, Hama beads and stickers.  There is 25% off Crayola.  There are half price art sets and craft trunks. There is buy one, get one free on Play-doh.  And Easter crafts start at jusyt £1. So basically, it would be really easy to stock up on a selection f Easter products to keep them amused for, ooooh, a few hours at least! And there will be some lovely items made at the end to give as gifts - or keep!

Friday, 4 April 2014

DIY Fabric Make-up Pads

I use a lot of disposable cotton wool pads to remove make-up, nail varnish, put on cleanser and toner and so on which isn't really very environmentally friendly.  So I've made some washable fabric pads which only took a little time, it will save me money and I can stop feeling guilty about not being green!

I used some spare flannel fabric that was in my sewing bag, nothing fancy. It can be cut into any shape you like; I did basic circles. I put a little more of the fabric in between two layers to bulk it up and sewed around the outside by hand - again, nothing fancy but enough to keep it all together snugly and for it to 'look' like a cotton pad.  And there it is - a reusable, washable pad for those particular beauty needs!  Next time though, I may try squares and use the sewing machine.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Expiry Dates on Make Up

Make up should be thrown away after a period of time - just like food, it has an expiry date which, if ignored, could mean there is risk of infection, rashes and so on.  Here's a list of how long items should be kept once opened:
  • Mascara - this is first as it expires the fastest and it's the eye area where you really don't want nasty germs and bacteria...  Throw out after 4 months. 
  • Concealer - 12 months. 
  • Nail Polish - 12 months.
  • Foundation - water-based foundation 12 months, oil-based 18 months. 
  • Lipstick - 1 - 4 years
  • Powder - 2 years.
  • Blusher - 2 years.
  • Pencil eye liner - 3 years.
  • Eyeshadow - 3 years. 
  • Lip liner - 3 years. 

Of course, get rid of it if it's looking manky or smells!


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Inspirational Top Tip

I believe this to be so true, that it's important to take the positive from what can be perceived as negative and make the best of a bad situation.  I think back to so many times when things have seemed to go wrong or terrible things have happened but I realise that, had it not been for those, certain other wonderful events would not have occurred!

Think positively and take the good from the bad - a great way to achieve physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

April Fools!

Why not tell your child(ren) you've bought them an iPad?  They will be thrilled!

Kobo (UK)