Natural Cleaning Part Two

vintage whisk brush.

vintage whisk brush.

Following my previous post which features lemons, vinegar and bi-carb we’re looking at herbs and oils this time

Cleaning with herbs

Herbs make amazing air fresheners, dried mint, lavender and sage popped into homemade muslin sachets keep wardrobes smelling fresh and clean

If you have a fire popping herbs wrapped in newspapers in amongst the logs gives off a beautiful scent

Sprinkling lightly crushed lavender seeds onto a niffy rug or carpet and leaving for twenty minutes before hoovering up freshens them up a treat

Cleaning with oils

Tea tree oil is a natural anti-bacterial oil, most people have a bottle stashed away. You need a very small amount, to make your own spray cleaner dilute a few drops in water and spray onto surfaces, if you’re cleaning mildew you need a bigger kick, so add 20 drops to a large bucket of water and use on a brush on the surface, this one’s great for a sweet smelling bathroom!

We looked at a vinegar floor wash last time, now I find the smell of vinegar pleasant but if you don’t then orange and lemon oils make good floor cleaners, together they smell great, dilute 15 drops of orange essential oil and 8 drops of lemon in 1 gallon of hot water, you can add some soap flakes to the piping hot water for extra cleaning power, a tablespoon should do the trick and dissolve well

Orange oil can be used to polish wooden furniture to a gorgeous shine just add 10 drops of orange oil to a cup of olive oil, dip an old rag in and give your wooden furniture a lovely shine, use a dry cloth to buff everything up afterwards!



Gift Wrapping with Tissue Paper and Fantastic Ribbons

I recently became a Fantastic Ribbons Blogger, my love of washi, ribbons and buttons is no secret so working with a brand that sells all of these lovelies and more was just up my street! Their strapline the more you buy the more you save are words all crafters love to hear, I am an organised crafter and like to stock up in one place so a discount that stacks up as you buy appeals to me.

My first project with them was to choose two items from their store and get creative. When I saw this fuchsia paisley wired ribbon and these candy buttons they just went together so well and said creative ‘gift wrapping’ to me!


Did you know that you can use wired ribbon for all sorts of crafty purposes? They make lovely structured bows, give texture to craft projects and it’s really satisfying to make simple roses from too!

I like to make gift wrapping look really special, especially for handmade gifts as I want that homespun feel to shine through.

If you cut about a half metre of wired ribbon and knot one end you can pull the wire out of the other end of the ribbon (just on one side mind) and gather all that lovely organza up, then simply start at the knot and wind the organza together in a concentric circle to make a rose (there’s a great tutorial here)

With some lovely tissue paper and ribbons and a few buttons glued in stacks you have a really special gift that’s so pretty your lucky someone will not want to unwrap!


Newcastle Community Green Festival And Our Farm

The Newcastle Community Green Festival has been part of my life for years now, I always look forward to it. It started in 1995 and in 1998 took on life as a two day festival of music, food and environmental and ethical activities and chatter in the beautiful Leazes Park.

We headed out today and the heavens opened, man it poured, but hey this is the North’s Glasto and mud is the order of the day! Before we left we visited the Farm at the top of the street, I guess this photo should have warned of the shape of things to come!



So, not letting rain stop us (we’re a resilient wee family) off we went!


Not many pics owing to the weather, but these give a flavour!


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Mumslist Celebrations

Real Life

Real life brought with it some celebrations this week, firstly I secured support for my postnatal depression support group and a rather excellent local mental health charity who I will name and blog about later next week has agreed to fund a room for our group to meet once a month, their funding support and support to get the group going will be a huge boost and I am delighted to have their backing! Later in the week I heard that I passed my Masters in Social Research Methods so you can call me Angela B MSc!

We’ve also had a tough week this week, Joss has started to show signs of being really very scared of monsters and we have no idea where this has come from which makes it hard as she can’t say what a monster is, or where one is, but just that she is scared. I’ve been doing some reading around this that I’ll try to blog next week as I’ve found some good resources.

Blog Life

A quiet one in many respects, I have reduced my blogging workload so I’m not blogging daily as frankly the weather is too good to miss some days!


I have had some great PR contacts this week ahead of a piece I’m writing on eco-parenting so that’s been sociable and productive too!


I was inspired by Mammasaurus’ mamas amazing collection this week, I have been gathering vintage bits and bobs of my own over the years, nothing compared to her selection, but I started to include some of my treasures into blog photos, why not get them out and enjoy them eh! So here’s my little seventies recipe card holder adding a touch of retro colour to my latest flapjacks!

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I passed my MSc!

A brief one for me today because I’m celebrating tonight! I heard I passed my Masters today so I can now use the letters MSc after my name if I am so inclined!

I have however been keeping busy so I have a guest post with the lovely Gina from Cold Tea and Smelly Nappies today, she has started a great thrifty blogger interview series and I was delighted to be the guinea pig (ahem, first blogger) to take part! Her weekly Thrifty Thursday linky is a must for ideas and support from other thrifters!


DIY flower arrangements

Not much to report from my yarden this week, so I thought I’d blog about a new pleasure, taking some of our treasures indoors to enjoy and mixing them with the odd bunch of supermarket flowers to test out my arranging skills!

As a complete novice I’ve enjoyed looking at Pinterest boards on arrangements and exploring height and scale too.

These have been some of my favourite arrangements from the last few weeks, some from our garden, some from the store and some wild flowers gathered with Joss, who likes picking more than arranging!

Rose blooms

Small arrangement of wild flowers

Small arrangement of spare flowers

flowers blue

Small arrangement of wild flowers



Five Tips for Baby’s First Haircut

This blonde haired girly recently had her first haircut!


There’s something a bit nerve wracking about a) your baby growing up and b) trusting someone to help your baby through their first trim so that they are confident salon goers!

Here’s our top tips for that all important first cut!

1) Talk about it before you go
Don’t just decide on the day to let your tot know, get them used to hair brushing and talk to them about going to the hairdressers a few weeks before you go (this applies to first dentist trips too!). When we arrived at the salon I told Joss we were at the hairdressers and showed her around the salon, she took a few minutes to get comfortable, then chose a seat!

2) Choose a salon carefully
Try to go to your own salon, clearly it’s somewhere you should feel comfy to take your child to! Ask about which stylists do kids hair, not everyone likes to interact with children, luckily all of the stylists at my salon do, but it’s important to ask. The hairdresser was brilliant with Joss, she asked her about her day and talked to her like she was a grown up which she loves, then when she was relaxed she had a quick trim to get her used to the experience, there were no tears, no need for distractions and a lot of smiles!

3) Be prepared
A friend told me to bring a big tshirt with me, sound advice, Joss didn’t like the cape but hairs can be scratchy so we popped a big shirt on instead! Have a drink on hand and a few small toys too.

4) Start with a trim
Even if your tot is ready for a big all over cut start small with a swift trim to keep their attention, starting with a big ten minute sit may be off putting!

5) Take a souvenir!
Don’t be shy, ask the stylist for baby’s first curl for their memory box!


And here she is, sides left longer to grow in, and fringe and curls neatened off!


Ethans Escapades

Beginners Decoupage Around the Home

Inspire me!

So you can decoupage pretty much anything you like, and when you get good at it you can create beauties like this one I found on Pinterest!



If like me you’re a beginner you might want to start on a smaller project!

This one used scraps of fabric and PVA glue, finished off with ribbons and trims.

fabric decoupage kitchen jam jar

And this one, wood cuts and tissue paper cut into inch squares, with PVA glue

Decoupage letters paper

You get an idea for the effect here

Decoupage letters paper close up

What is decoupage?

It’s the art of decorating an object by gluing colourful paper, fabric or other mediums onto it, layering up and varnishing with watered down glue (I use three parts water to one part PVA) until the stuck on look starts to look like painting.

Where do I start?

How about starting with a jam jar and some inch squares of tissue paper or fabric scraps, some PVA glue and a brush or a sponge?

Start by applying glue to the jar using a small brush, do this only in the area in which you are covering for now. Lay your tissue or fabric piece by piece gluing if needed and keep going until your jar is covered, keep going, overlapping to build stronger colours and patterns and gently use your brush to smooth creases (don’t be too rough, some creases add to the homespun effect!)

Set aside to dry, then if desired coat in another PVA glue and water wash and set aside to dry one last time, this gives a varnished effect and takes care of any rough edges.

You can see me in action (excuse the post-dinner mess!) here

And the finished piece:


I am looking forward to transforming bigger pieces, dare I say furniture pieces next!

Wildflower Marina at Hebburn

Last weekend I planned to go for a walk to Hebburn to see the wild flowers. A few years ago South Tyneside Council invested in a wildflower planting scheme and we discovered it purely by accident doing a slightly different walk one spring. We didn’t make it last weekend but I thought about it all through the rainy week and the weather blessed us yesterday so Joss and I went to explore!

I am so glad we went, how stunning!

Wildflowers Hebburn Marina


And poppies too, my favourites!


We came across some friends

Wildflowers Hebburn Marina horses

We stopped for a snack


And admired the metal plaques along the marina


Home for icecream!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Minibeasts Mumslist

Real Life

A rain rain go away week for us – these gorgeous flowers are brightening it up though!

Rose blooms

We did have a lovely little morning out at the Hancock Museum pond-dipping and hunting for Minibeasts

Minibeast pond dipping

And I enjoyed making these little gift bags for Father’s Day gifts for Daddy and the Grandads, otherwise a quiet week for us!


Blog Life

Things are kinda quiet at the moment, I have an exciting review series to come next week all about eco-parenting choices, and I have been busy on a post about using decoupage to update your home, so more writing than publishing this week!


I’m really my enjoying craft at the moment so popped into Janet Clare’s beautiful blog, I’m on a bit of a nautical jaunt at the moment so it was great to see this amazing fabric, and also her work on birds which I’ve long been an admirer of.


(Janet Clare fabric, see here

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