Saturday, 6 June 2015

Recycling French Yoghurt Pots - an e-book

I often find myself wandering off into new areas (for me) of Social Media.  It's simply amazing how many varied platforms for sharing both your skills and interests there are!

Whilst we were having our new kitchen and pantry installed, (plus two bathrooms and a bedroom) I found Pinterest was a great distraction.  I had to spend hours at the Laundrette, as we couldn't use either the washing machine or the tumble drier.  Sitting exploring, pinning and making new boards was a great way to pass time and I moved from 300 followers to 13,000 which was a fabulous bonus, it's wonderful to have connected with so many people.

Once the house was reconfigured I  found I was too busy to devote the time needed to Pinterest and although I still love it and spend a few minutes every day there, my focus moved to Instagram, where  I am slowly trying to improve my skills.  At the same time I tried to move my blog to Wordpress, which took a great deal of energy, but simply didn't work for me,  for a few months I lost focus and concentration.

I still took photos, still had ideas, still wanted to be creative so I decided to explore self publishing, purely for myself.

Last summer I ordered a book from Blurb, which contained my favourite photos from my first year of Instagram.  It's a lovely little book, and a delightful record of a wonderful year.

 I was pleased with the quality of the paper and the photographs and thought that I would make myself a second book, with the challenge of incorporating some (small amount of) text.  Again this book was simply for myself, I wrote some text and collated photographs for a little book:  Glass Yoghurt Pots.

The book is a small collection of fun ideas for recycling the gorgeous glass yoghurt pots that are found in markets and supermarkets throughout  France.

 I'm delighted with this book and now I would really love to order a set to give to friends, but because it would be a print to order run, it would prove very costly, if not prohibitive.  Fortunately there is another option, I can give my friends a copy  as an e-book for free! At the moment it's only iPad compatible, but should you have an iPad and wish to download a copy please click on this link:

Do let me know if you enjoy it, and should you wish,  please feel free to share it with your friends. (if you really don't like it then simply delete - it's free after all!)

And start collecting those yoghurt pots next time you're in France.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Simple Human Bin (for Lakeland)

I firmly believe that anyone attempting to produce good meals needs decent equipment. Can you imagine cooking without saucepans, washing up materials, and great ingredients? A good kitchen also needs great organisation, and I really appreciate sturdy, reliable equipment right down to the kitchen bin I use.

I was therefore happy to be asked by Lakeland to write a review of this Simplehuman 30 Litre Touch Bar Kitchen Bin.

The bin arrived extremely well packaged. I was impressed with it's size and also the shape, which I think would fit into most kitchens, far more easily then the traditional round bin that I used to have.

The bin came with it's own, easy to fit, bin liners, which have proved themselves sturdy and reliable. They fit inside the inner casing and the lid pops on neatly.

Kitchen Equipment Simple Human Bin from LakelandOne of my favourite features of the bin is it's tidy presentation, the black lid and inner casing are both strong and easy to keep clean, and I love the fact that I can open it, even if both hands are full, I simply push the flap with either my hip, knee or elbow and it quietly opens for disposal of kitchen waste.

The bin was indispensable in the kitchen during a baking day, and also whilst I cooked both Sunday lunch and tea. I did not have to keep tying up the bag and running to the outdoor dustbin, it had a large enough capacity to take a full day's waste.

To really run it through it's paces I tried it in other situations in the house too.
My daughter was having a fun day one weekend making craft.  This involved copious quantities of  paper, glue and  sparkles, and there was a great deal of re-planning and thought.  Much of the paper ended up as scrap, and instead of finding the craft room ankle deep in scrunched paper, I found it all neatly stowed in the bin.  It was very simple for me to take the bin bag to the paper recycling centre and empty it.

Kitchen Equipment Simple Human Bin from LakelandI also used the bin in my utility room, when I was having a tidy up, again it's size was a huge advantage.  I filled it with junk and it saved many trips to the outdoor dustbin.
This bin is a perfect addition to the kitchen, it sits neatly at the end of the workbench, near the sink.  It's shape ensures it is not intrusive.  It has saved a great deal of toing and froing.  I can use it in other rooms in the house when needed too. And it has a stain free surface, so resists fingerprints and other marks remarkably well.

The Simple Human bin is available from Lakeland, follow the link here.  The bin is available exclusively online, and as I have said the delivery service was super and the bin arrived in perfect condition.  Whilst you look at the bin, it's worth having a quick look at some of the other Simplehuman kitchen equipment that Lakeland stock, there are many lovely, labour saving devises there.

Many thanks to Lakeland for sending me the bin, which I am delighted with.  I was asked to write the review, once I had received the bin, I have not been paid for this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Previously published on

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Birthday Celebrations for the Dog

We have always had rescued dogs, usually we have had to celebrate their birthdays on the anniversary of the day we collected them from the Rescue Centre.

the dogOur latest rescue Greyhound, has a superb pedigree, both his parents won many races, and he and the rest of his litter are registered at Newmarket. As a result we know when his birthday is, and we think it's fun to celebrate, after all he is an important member of the family.

He wasn't as successful as his parents and he retired early. He was just three and a half years old when he came to live with us. He is a wonderful dog, a great advert for rescued greyhounds making a great family pet. Although he is large, he is very gentle, and kindly towards both people and other dogs (he does love to chase squirrels and rabbits though!) He adores walks and he'll usually have a sprint whilst out. The rest of the day he is happy lying on his bed (or the sofa) and snoozing. As soon as he arrived we organised his Pet Passport, he travels well and sleeps quite happily overnight in the car on the ferry. It is wonderful to be able to take him on all our holidays to Brittany.

birthday cake for the dogWhen he  turned five last year  my daughter and I baked him a cake. We made a Classic Victora Sandwich, which we filled with buttercream and strawberry jam and decorated with sugar paste. We lit five candles and she generously blew them out for him! Of course, we couldn't let him eat the icing, it would have been bad for his teeth, but he did have a little of the sponge cake, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

For his sixth birthday, we decided to bake him some biscuits, and chose an Oatmeal Recipe (we added some grated cheese and parsley) from the Lily Kitchen's Dinner for Dogs recipe book.  He enjoyed them, though I think he prefers cake!

The book is super, full of recipes for dogs, I am going to try and make more for him.  He loves Lily's Kitchen prepared food, but it seems impossible to find in our part of Brittany.  He is a large dog and therefore eats so much that it would be too difficult for us to bring sufficient for a nine week break in the summer!

 There are many, many unwanted greyhounds and they make wonderful pets.  If you have space for a wonderful companion in your life then look at Hersham Hounds, we got our last two rescued Greyhounds from there.  The dogs who are rehomed from there have previously raced at the Wimbledon track, and if you are queuing for tennis over the next couple of weeks  you may meet one or two.

If you don't feel that you have room for such a large dog, then you could consider another dog, both Battersea and the Dog Trust are always looking for suitable homes for unwanted dogs.

Do let me know if you have ever baked a birthday cake for your dog, and we'd love to hear about your dog too.