Follow:
    Food, How To

    How To Makeup Apple Cider Vinegar (From Kitchen Scraps)

    I wish I could take full credit for this amazing waste-reducing recipe, but I can’t. I found it on the Zero Waste Chef around a year ago, only two months after I’d thrown out industrial quantities of apple peels from that year’s dehydrated apple batch. I was gutted at the time that I hadn’t found the recepie sooner. I hadn’t even been able to put it in a compost bin at the time either since we lived in a flat with no composting facilities.

    Since we bought and moved to our own home I’ve made four huge batches of apple cider vinegar. I use vinegar for my skin, hair, cleaning the house, cleaning food, cooking and even for my cut flowers. I use it a lot! For the moment I get as many apples as I can from my parent’s or in-laws’s gardens, but eventually, the plan is to have a few of our own fruit trees.

    I’ll normally make the vinegar when I’m about to make a large batch of dehydrated apples. I could happily eat these all day, they are so very easy to make and now I can get use out of the peels and cores too before they go to the compost bin.

    What I use: 

        • Large Jars: So far these are the largest jars that I have, a 1.5 ltr jar and a 3ltr jar.
        • Apple Peeler: I bought this one in Claus Olson 5 years ago.
        • Dehydrator: My abuela used one, my one has one and I use one too. They’re expensive but worth every penny if you dehydrate food regularly.
        • Sugar: I’m sure you could use brown sugar without any problems, but I use white.
        • Water: Preferably filtered but tap water will work fine provided there isn’t too much chlorine in it.
        • Demijohn: I love drinking this cider and it comes in a beautiful glass bottle that I can re-use.

    How To, Lifestyle

    Declutter With Me: My Jewelry Box

    Every time I think I’m done de-cluttering something else pops up. I swear, it’s like a never-ending revolving door! That door has slowed down in the last year, but still, it’s turning. To be fair though, each time I have another de-clutter I notice that I’m a lot more efficient about the whole thing. I’m more aware of what I use, what I love and I’m less de-railed by my tendency to try to hoard for the worst case scenario, what-ifs, or keep things out of a sense of guilt. If anything I’m quite brutal about the whole thing now, and I like it!

    Today’s target was my jewelry box. Like I mention in the video, at some point soon I want to replace our MASSIVE chest of drawers into some small IKEA Alex units. One for Corazon and one for myself where they can both fit perfectly into the wardrobe, out of the way and with all the space we need.

    Once I get those drawers I’ll turn the top drawer into my jewelry box so that I can see everything I have in one go. I have a lot of jewelry that I really, really love – but I don’t wear it because it’s either at the back of the earring wheel, down the side of the jewelry box, or in one of the drawers that I forget to open. This way – hopefully – I’ll be able to use everything better and not get back into bad old habits.

    Food, How To, Lifestyle

    Homemade Nettle Tea: How to Collect, Store and Drink It

    If nettles were people I can imagine they’d be that kind of quiet, slightly aggressive personality. Happy to be left alone, but behind a defensive facade, they’re one of the most fascinating people you will ever meet. Nettles, in my opinion, are a severely underate superfood. They have a host of health benefits, but the main one for me has being able to keep my anemia in check.

    It doesn’t help that I’m not a fan of the shop bought nettle tea. I’ve tried it, even forced myself to get through a few boxes of the stuff, but I always thought that it tasted of old hay. Not a pleasant taste in my opinion, but the fresh stuff…it tastes fresh and alive! The colour of the tea is a clear mint if the leaves are freshly picked from the garden, and every year I make a point to try and collect as much of the plant as I can for dehydrating.

    If you want to try and give it a shot yourself, then this video is for you:

    How To Dehydrate Using The Oven

    One thing I didn’t mention in the video is how to dehydrate them in the oven. Like I mentioned, I either air dry my nettles, or use my Excalibur dehydrator, I rarely use the oven, but on the occasions where that was my only option, here is how I did it:

    1. Wash the nettles thoroughly and lay them out on a tray over some baking paper
    2. Turn your oven on at the lowest possible setting and leave the door cracked open
    3. Every 5-10 minutes turn over the leaves till they’re all completely dry and crispy

    Next year I’ll try and be more organized and make a much more detailed video showing the different stages for growth (the leaves in spring vs. the leaves in winter) and show the other different varieties of nettle. I’ve already pointed it out in the video, but I want to stress it again. The plant I am using is stinging nettle, don’t confuse it with dead nettle or any of the other similar-but-not-the-same varieties.

    Lifestyle

    Cloth Nappies – My Experience With Them and Why I Love Them

    I think if I hadn’t been using re-usable sanitary pads for myself for over five years now then I wouldn’t have found the switch to cloth nappies quite so easy. There is a bit of an initial ick-factor when you first consider the idea, after all, it’s blood or poop. I Why on earth would you want to wash that? It must stink! But the washable pads were amazing! Turns out I’d been having severe allergic reactions to the bleach in disposable sanitary pads for years and hadn’t even realized, they saved me a small fortune, and they were so much more comfortable. Allow me to emphasize this again, one felt like thin burning cardboard, the other one like a warm cozy pillow.

    Before this turns into a blog post all about cloth sanitary pads let’s just move back to cloth nappies.

    Like I mention in the video, I wanted to keep it reasonably short and to the point, so for this blog post I’ll be covering things in more detail that would just be boring if they were included in the video.

    My Washing Routine: 

    One thing I didn’t mention in the video is more about the poop. Specifically, once the baby has moved from breastmilk or formula and onto solids. As the word implies, solids present a lot more bulk in a nappy. Breastmilk poop dissolves extremely easily, but once the baby moves onto things like carrots, you don’t want to be fishing this out of the washing matchine after you’ve finished a wash. There are two different ways you can tackle this:

    1. After you’ve changed the baby’s nappy, head over to the bathroom and tip the nappy over the toilet. If you’re lucky and the baby had quite solid poos, it’ll all fall down and be flushed away. Simple, but let’s be honest, it’s rarely that simple.
    2. More likely you’re going to be looking at the world’s toughest cement mashed into the nappy, it’s sticky, semi-sentient, and it won’t be going anywhere without a fight. How I deal with these is grab some toilet paper and wipe it off the nappy. Not going to lie, I really hate this part, but somehow I’ve managed never to get poo on myself while doing this.

    If I follow these steps nothing lumpy manages to get into the washing machine, and the nappies come out of the wash white, clean and smelling like clean clothing should. Perfect!

    What Brands I Use: 

    This is where prices are going to vary wildly. In the video above I mentioned that I spent £364.39 in total on the nappies, liner, wet bag and a nappy bag. I went for the super cheap made-in-china brands. If I hadn’t, that initial investment could easily have been double or even triple what I spent. It’s going to be up to the individual person to decide what works for them, but I did try a much more expensive brand compared to the cheap ones and, honestly, I preferred the cheaper brand.

    A small note I want to add, the links below are Amazon affiliate links, if you’d rather not use an affilate link then you can type in the names into Amazon, eBay or similar websites.

    Nappies: 

    • Little and Bloomz: My favorites (other than the adorable newborn nappy my sister made me) and now that I have all the nappies I really have to pull myself from the screen sometimes and resist the urge to add to my collection. None of the poppers have worn out so far, any stains were easy enough to remove after sun bleaching, and they’ve easily handled the transition from baby to toddler.
    • Three Little Imps: I use these but I don’t like them, which is a shame because their customer support is fantastic! I don’t like them for two reasons; one, after 3 months of using them the poppers to adjust the size at the front had worn out so much that they kept coming undone on their own. I emailed them to ask if replacing the plastic poppers with metal ones (myself) would be possible, and they immediately offered to send replacements. I’d like to point out that they did not know about this blog or my You Tube channel when they did this. My second reason why I don’t like them though is because the pocket has a flap/cover which makes a poo-namie nappy really gross to deal with. I’ve included a picture below to show you want I mean. While baby hasn’t had any poo-explosions in a while, if he really fills that nappy up, then that flap gets covered in poo and trying to get the liners out without touching it is almost impossible.

    • One Cheeky Bee: Even though she doesn’t sell nappies, I am going to link my sister’s shop here just because the nappy she made is adorable and the cloth pads she makes are also beautiful. I’ll do a video all about cloth pads at some point, but for the moment, I’ll just link her shop.

    What liners I use:

    I’m going to rank these in order of my favorite to my less-favorite, but these are all liners which work beautifully for me.

    Easy Peasie Liners: These are longer and thinner than most liners, but in a flood, they’ll probably save your life. They’re super absorbent! On the downside, they can take an age to dry, I get around this by hanging it in the garden where there’s a constant breeze passing by the house. In the winter the only way I can get them to dry fast enough is if I hang them up right in front of the fire, so they can be a bit of work, but I think they’re worth it. 

    One Cheeky Bee: My sister doesn’t seem to sell these at the moment, but hopefully they’ll be back in stock soon. The reason these are the second on the list is because the edges tend to curl after a while. They’re lighter than the Easy Peasie liners, just as absorbent but dry faster.

    Earthtopia Liners: Just as absorbent, but two of them have come loose around the edges, which was quite annoying as they weren’t cheap. Still, a few minutes with a needle and thread and it hasn’t been a problem since.

    Lifestyle

    How I Store My Baby Clothes + Trying To Keep A Minimal Baby Wardrobe

    Since baby was born two things I’ve been keeping a very close eye on are this toys and his clothes. Both of them have the potential to get out of control, and as someone who really likes to keep things simple and minimal, I keep a very close eye on what I have, keep and use.

    I cannot handle clutter. Especially since I got really, really sick last year. It’s even more important to me now to try and maintain a certain order and simplicity to everything. So I have a very strict set of rules before the clothes even get into the drawer.

    1. Are they easy to put on? This rule is one I’m brutal with. I don’t care how cute it looks, if it makes me want to scream at 3am while I’m sleep-deprived and in pain, that thing is going in the donation basket.
    2. Once it’s folded does it take more than one row up in the drawer? I give myself a little leeway here since some items like grows or vests are used a lot more than jumpers or trousers, but in general, I try to keep to one row.
    3. One drawer per age group. Because baby is such an enormous boy (an 8-month-old wearing 18-month-old clothes) these can have quite big jump between each draw, but so far I should be able to keep everything from 0 months up to 3 years old just in this chest of drawers. And if he ever has a sibling I’ll already have the perfect capsule wardrobe ready.
    4. Label each drawer. This might seem really excessive, but it makes it really easy for any friends or family who might be helping to know exactly where everything is. It also makes it easier for my sleep-deprived brain to remember where I should put things.

    How To, Lifestyle

    The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Made

    It occurred to me the other day that a lot of the stuff I share online is quite polished, or at least, I try to make sure it’s as good as I think I can get it before I share it. Someone commented on an old video on my makeup channel the other day saying how they wouldn’t try to replicate the video because they’d just mess it up, and it made me a sad because they were under the impression that I didn’t mess up either. I do mess up, at lot! And normally when I do mess up that video never ends up on the internet. So, today I want to share this video which is just about the worst thing I’ve made in a long time.

    In my head it would be a sleek, tightly woken weave shade would soften the harsh light in the bedroom. Instead, I made a bedraggled looking nest which makes my son laugh every time he sees it. Nothing says “that sucks” like a 9-month-old laughing at your creation.

    If you like my videos and want to be kept updated follow my mailing list →

    How To

    Making Rosemary Water

    Today is another one of those videos which is really, really simple, but I want to cover it so that I don’t have to cover other things like sage and thyme water, which I’ll be using in future skincare videos.

    Rosemary water is something I use a lot, especially for skin and hair care. It can be used in the bath (great for soothing tired irritated skin) it’s great for your hair, a DIY air freshener/linen spray, but my main use for it is as nappy water for baby’s cloth wipes. It’s absolutely great for soothing irritated skin or nappy rash! 

    Normally each bottle I make will last around a week to a week and a half before the scent starts to get weaker, so I never make a huge batch unless I’m likely to use it up very quickly.

    Although I mention it in the video, I’d like to mention this again; don’t use rosemary that has been sprayed with any kind of weedkiller or garden sprays! If you don’t have a bush growing in your garden, or don’t know anybody who has one in their garden, then the dried herb version will also work, or rosemary tea.

    If you like my videos and want to be kept updated follow my mailing list

    Food

    Gluten-free Banana Cake

    Today let’s talk about cakes.

    Specifically, I want to share a recipe for a gluten-free, sugar-free cake that I would happily eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has no gluten or sugar in it – not even honey- so I can eat it as much as I like! But if you prefer something more sugary, feel free to add a teaspoon of sugar to the mix, or a tablespoon of honey.

    Recipe: 

    • 1 Ripe Banana
    • 100g Desiccated Coconut
    • 100g Almond Flour
    • 1 Egg
    • Vanilla Extract (optional) 

    If you haven’t seen it already, I have a video on how to make vanilla extract here.

    The portions above will make a small cake with enough food for four people to have a slice.

    1. Pre-heat the oven at medium heat 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
    2. I  normally mash the banana first into a pulp with a fork – you can use a mixer if that’s what you have. Take your time on this to make sure the banana is a lump-free mash.
    3. Add the coconut, the almond flour and the eggs. Mix together till it’s a fluffy paste and then mix in a dash of vanilla extract.
    4. Put the final mixture into a pan of your choice, I cook in cast iron, but any stainless steel pan will work.
    5. Cook for 25-30 minutes.

    I have also made cookie versions of these. There will cook in 20-25 minutes, depending on how cooked you like them.

    If you want to cook larger portions, then you need to add an extra five minutes each time you add to the amounts listed. But I wouldn’t go further than doubling the portions above unless you want to cook in a few separate pans. Once you triple the portions, the inside of the cake can stay a little too moist and crumbly, I tried it twice to check how it would cook, and it was not ideal for a firm cake. But f you prefer more of a crumbly consistency, then go right ahead! Drown it in cream and it’ll still taste delicious.

    Follow my mailing list for new content!

    How To

    Making My Own Perfumes (From Whiskey Bottles)

    Yup, you read that right. Whiskey bottles.

    Early last year I did something I never thought I’d do; get rid of all my perfumes and start making my own. The reason for this was that I’d noticed that they triggered my hayfever really badly. You know when it gets so bad that your sinuses are puffy, your eyes are watering and can feel your throat and ear’s itching constantly? Yea, that.

    It got to the point where my wedding perfume would leave a red mark if any of it touched my skin. So I gave away some of them, sold the more expensive ones and started from scratch.

    As it is – and I’m sure you know if you’ve been following me on Instagram – I like my essential oils. At the moment I have two boxes, one for oils which I used more medicinal (pain management, skin soothing etc.) and some which are purely for their smell.

    Today I’ll be sharing the two perfumes I really like wearing, my daily perfume and my special occasion/weekend perfumer.

    Before I start though I want to make two things clear; One, I am not a professional perfumer. This is purely something I do for fun for myself, I enjoy experimenting, failing, and trying again until I find a mix I like. This is in no way up to a professional standard.

    Next thing I need to note is that if you think you may be allergic to any essential oil, don’t use it! I cannot stress this enough. Just because it is natural (as much as a super distilled version of anything can be natural) it does not mean it can’t hurt you. I am very allergic to clove bud, ginger and cinnamon for example. While it won’t send me into anaphylactic shock, I will get a rash from hell if it ends up on my skin. Oh, and if eat the edible versions of those plants my intestines will start to bleed, so there’s that…

    Anyway, I think you get my point. Check you’re ok with an oil, or the original ingredient before you use it, and consult a good aromatherapy book if you want to check the safety data.

    The Basic Ingredients:

    • 80-90% Vodka – This can be any kind, it doesn’t have to be the expensive stuff. In fact, I use the cheapest brand I can get from Alidi. I have used an expensive vodka in the past, but to be honest, I didn’t notice any difference in the final product to warent the price difference. If you can perfumers alcohol is a better alternative to vodka if you want the oils to mix well, but as vodka is all I have to hand right now, that is what I’m using.
    • 10-20% Essential Oils

    One thing I like to do before making a new scent is check Fragrantica for ideas if I want to try and replicate one of my old perfumes. It fantastic for listing the top, heart and base notes of perfumes, and even if I don’t end up replicating anything, sometimes just looking through different perfumes gives me some new ideas I want to try out.

    My Daily Perfume:

    My Special Occasion Perfume:

    I’ve linked where I bought everything above (please note that any Amazon links are affiliate links) but don’t think that you have to use exactly what I use. If you want to use different brands go right ahead!

    How To

    How To Take Old Labels Off Easily

    As someone who re-uses and collects a lot of jars, taking old labels off is something that drives me nuts. I hate having to spend ages scrubbing away at a bottle, only to find I missed half of the sticky gum and need to wash it all over again. Turns out there’s a much easier way, that is using Lemon essential oil.

    Actually, it’s not just lemon. Most citrus essential oils will do the job. All you have to do is put a few drops on the label, leave it there for a minute or two, then rub it off. If I’m feeling really lazy – which, if I’m being honest, is most of the time – I put the oil on the label right before I go to bed and then wipe it off in the morning with a towel. Simple!