Monday, 27 July 2009

Summerhouses and the Tooth Fairy

Well good evening/morning all. I know this is a strange time to be writing on my blog but I am just about to go off to bed and suddenly thought of something to write and thought it best to get it down before I forget!

My youngest was at hospital this week and had 3 teeth removed. Her back ones had taken such a battering and with the vitamins the hospital put her on when she was first born (pure sugar really) they were on their way out. So the poor wee thing went and had her first operation and she was such a brave wee thing. I was the one in tatters! So the tooth fairy had to pay her a visit and then tonight my oldest came through from the bedroom and presented me with 2 teeth! So I suppose the tooth fairy had better visit her too!!!

But hubby was busy today and erected the kids' summerhouse in the garden. I will add a photo or two tomorrow after we replace the windows and give it a lick of paint. It was donated by my best friend who had it in her garden and it was only used by my kids so she told us to take it for our garden. So we now have 2 sheds, a summerhouse, 2 compost bins and a herb garden!

We are getting there slowly - I just wish the weather would stay nice!!! But it is typical Scottish weather. Sunny one minute and thunderstorms the next!

So it's off to bed for me and then off in the morning to see the nurse about stopping smoking! That should give me some spare pennies to put in the fund for the dreams!!!

Goodnight all, sweet dreams xxx

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Composting for Newbies!

Well good evening all! I have decided to add this for any newbies who may stumble upon my lovely blog and are in need of some information or advice on home composting. I know I certainly found that when I started composting at home, I was unsure about what to put in the bin and what to dispose of in other manners.

Whilst browsing on the internet one day I stumbled upon a really informative site and wanted to let you all know about it. The website is and it is full of really useful information. I really devoured the section on home composting innovatively called "How to make compost"! Yes it really is that simple!

Anyway, I read this several times, and now I have a list pinned up on the wall of everything that can be put into the compost bin so that I never have to wonder and I just check the list if I am unsure about anything or if the kids ask what to do with their rubbish!

The article itself is pretty self explanatory but goes into details about exactly what can be composted and what cannot. In fact I'm off to my next door neighbour tomorrow to ask that the next time she is cleaning out her hamster, can she let me know and I'll put the waste sawdust into my compost bin to help the process along.

I was going to put a long list on here about what can and cannot be composted at home but I would really just be writing down what is already written on the website to won't go into too much detail. Although suffice to say I was surprised to find that hoover contents can be composted if it is mainly dust and that tumble drier fluff can also be put in as well! Needless to say, my tumble drier fluff is currently being collected in a spare kitchen caddy that I had lying around! I hate to bin anything that can be re-used!

I'm lucky that I have all girls as the clothes tend to get passed down, and we have managed to get quite a lot from freecycle lately. So once the little one has outgrown them, they really are not worth doing much with! Although I do tend to take them down to the fabric bank if they really are that bad. I have taken a lot of her stuff down to the charity shop but am going to start keeping it all for a massive car boot near to christmas, to see how much I can get rid of and make some money towards the kids christmas. My books get listed on and that is being kept towards buying books for the kids for christmas. Same thing with DVDs that we don't need any more. I must get round to getting shot of the old computer games as well. I have several cameras that do not work any more that I must list on a certain website to see if I can get anything for them.

I'm even knitting towards christmas pressies! The two little ones only have one teacher each so they have a hand made scarf each so far. I'm in the process of knitting a jumper for my best friend and am making more scarves for various other people as well. I really must make a list and start ticking things off when they are done. I'm also making mobile phone cases for the two oldest and for a few other people too. They are so easy and are really done within a day. In fact I made 3 in one day and that was just going back to it a few times. I will take some photos of the finished articles and post them just for some extra artwork!!!

Right I must get my behind off to bed as I have the dentist tomorrow morning so really need to get myself some sleep!

Night night all, sweet dreams to you all xxx

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Oops - Big apologies!!!

Well it has been around 8 weeks since I was last on to post any messages and I feel absolutely awful that it has been so long. But all that has been going on at home has really taken up our time and left me pretty much no time for much else. Just the odd checking of emails and thats been about it.

We did have some good news. Because hubby is ex-forces, SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors and Air Force Association) agreed to help us get the things that we just could not afford to buy. So in the space of 2 weeks we had carpets fitted on our stairs, hallways and 3 bedrooms AND got a brand new cooker. The cooker we had was given to us and was really not big enough for our family but it was keeping us going. Now that we have a brand new one, the cooking is so much quicker and easier and better. And I felt so good when we got the carpets and the cooker, although the house is still recovering!!! Mess everywhere lol.

And then 5 weeks ago we got a kitten from our next door neighbour and she has been named Sapphire on account that she has blue eyes. However she is now about 12 weeks old and a complete and utter psycho!!! My hands are bitten and scratched all over!!! The kids are loving the kitten and she has certainly become a part of the family very quickly but she uses me like a scratching post lol.
My dad gave me a huge bag of shredded paper for my compost bin which is starting to look like a compost bin. It was about half full by the time all the paper went in!! But it has certainly started mulching down as we had a few days of rain and I left the lid off the bin for those days as the flies were starting to annoy the heck out of me lol. I do have a fair collection of tumble drier fluff to put in but am waiting till there is more veggie peelings to go in before the fluff goes in. We did put all the paper in but I made a large pot of exceptionally strong coffee which went in as well to wet it all down! Hubby said it was a waste of good coffee but it was the value cheapy stuff so when he found that out he sure changed his tune!!!

On the down side we got an electricity bill for over £1000 for 6 months!!! Have now spoken to the company and established that we have been on the wrong tarriff since we moved in and they have admitted it was their fault that none of our calls were actioned. So in the process of writing a stiff complaint letter and will see what happens with that!

There has been other stuff happening but not going to go into those just now lol. Am in the process of writing a complete list of all that I put in my compost bin to help others who are new to the process and are not quite sure of what can go in other than veggie peelings. I know a few folk who are a bit unsure of what else can go in their bins and their bins are not getting on the same as mine. I do have two but am only using the one at the moment. Am considering getting another one and getting it delivered to my mum's house so that I have 3 going. One to fill, one to mulch down and one to use! But it will take a while to fill one so will wait and see how it goes!

Right, am off to try and get this list into some kind of order. I think I will just have to add the link as it would be much easier lol.

See you all very soon, this time I intend to keep up with this, it's quite therapeutic lol.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

What a day it has been today!! The sun has been shining and the weather was absolutely lovely. And I have ended up with a lovely sunburnt face! I suppose that could have been from sitting out in the sun in my mum's back garden whilst dad painted fences but also could have been from all the walking around I did as well!

Hubby went out and has almost finished his little raised bed and I checked on my various plants which are at points throughout the garden. No shows on anything that I planted over the weekend but it is very early days yet.

I did want to try planting garlic this weekend but have since found out that it needs planting in something like September and left for absolutely ages so will just have to wait till then and give it a try.

Even my poor babies ended up all sunkissed from playing out. I was very happy with the little one over the weekend as she really got into the planting with me. She is such a wee thing and a really fussy eater that we are hoping she will eat the fruit and veg that we grow and it will help her come on with her eating a bit. She has already been bragging to her pals that she has planted "sweet tomatoes" with mummy and she has been promising me that she will eat them when they grow. We found out sometime last year that she has a condition called Constitutional Short Stature. It has something to do with her being premature when she was born and the fact that her dad has it as well. It basically means that she is a lot smaller than the other children the same age as her, and she will be monitored for height and weight. Apparently if she has not caught up by the time she is 10 or 12, then the doctors will look at giving her some form of treatment but because they are happy with her current rate of development, they are just leaving her at the moment. And I am happy with that as I really don't want her pumped full of allsorts just to make her grow a little taller and heavier. She will grow when she grows, till then she is quite healthy and happy and that's the main thing for us.

Well, tomorrow I am full of big plans for the day!!! I have a mountain of laundry to do and a living room that looks like Afghanistan on a good day! So they are the first things that will be tackled in the morning. Hubby is taking the kids to school so I will be able to just get on with things. Then I have a letter to write in application for a part time job in town and get that emailed off with my CV and cross my fingers. Then it is off out into the garden and start clearing more weeds from a small patch.

And also I will be compiling a list of items that we compost, to try and clear it all up what we can and cannot put in the bin! The kids are getting really into composting so it will help me and help them.. I think I will post my list on here and it could help someone else who is new to composting. I know the thread on is really helpful. I think it's called "Homemade compost is so exciting!". It certainly has helped me immensely and is an invaluable source of information. As are many of the threads on the forums. Full of useful information and a great place to make friends.

So a good night to you all and I promise to post at least twice tomorrow! xx

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Well a very good morning to you all! And what a day yesterday was. I never did get all my housework done, the call of the garden was too strong for me to resist, although I did try!

Hubby did rather well and has now built his raised bed, not too bad for his first attempt! He did quite well at tiling the living room floor when we moved in as well, and he had never done that before! He just needs to finish the top and then fill it with compost and whatever else takes his fancy! And here is the proof of his efforts!

He did buy the blocks from a certain garden centre but the rest of the stones are the ones he blagged on his way home from work a couple of weeks ago. We did buy a bag of cement for the base and a bag of mortar for the walled parts. And he did also use the adhesive/grout that he used on the living room tiles when he ran out of mortar! How's that for recycling!!

I was also a rather busy bunny and got loads of pots planted out. I know I'm rather late at getting the seeds planted but I'm hoping to get some crops that will spur us on for next year. And the weather up here in the North of Scotland is starting to get nice and warm so the heat may just help my little plants grow big and strong. And not to mention the special feeds they are getting from me.

My own little recipe for lovely plant food is ..... tea. Yes good old fashioned black tea. Hubby drinks loads of tea. I can get through 100 tea bags in a week and I don't like to waste anything so I follow something my grandmother. I just use hot water from the tap and steep the tea bags to get some nice strong "tea". I then put it in the watering can and water it down so it is nice and weak and use it at night to water all my plants. And the houseplants seem to be thriving on it, especially my money plant. It is from a cutting of my grandmother's big huge one and my mum gave it to me and it really is thriving on my kitchen windowsill with all the sunlight and food.

I also have a vase with 3 bamboos in it and these get fed with a small amount of tea mixed with the water and they are really growing some lovely shoots as well.

Right, I must really get my behind off to bed as I am shattered and have loads to do tomorrow. So goodnight to you all and I hope your gardens are taking shape just in time for the nice weather to come in! Take care all xxx

Happy Sunday!

Good morning all and happy sunday to you all!

I am rather chuffed with myself this week as I managed to blag 4 half barrels for the princely sum of just £20! There is a charity place at the back of my mum and dad's house and they had loads of these half barrels lying around in their yard so I went and asked if they had any for sale and could I have 4 of them and I managed to get them for £20. Am dead chuffed as they normally retail for around £40-£50 each so have saved a fortune! And these are proper ones as when wet, they smell of whisky!

I know one will be at the front door with some plants in it for the kids to tend and one will be next to the back door with herbs in it, just haven't quite worked out what to do with the other 2 but will find something for them really soon!

Hubby has been busy and repositioned the shed so that it is easier to get to and we recycled some paving stones he had dug up to make a decent base for the shed to sit on. It looks pretty good if I do say so myself (just don't tell himself I said that, he'll get a big head).

We have seen a rather large plot for sale just round from where we live so we are going to phone up about it and see just how much they want for it. It looks like it would be enough for a pretty decent sized house with a huge garden and a massive driveway! But will have to look into stuff first! Don't want to be getting all hopeful then find that the owner wants silly money for a patch of land!

Hope you are all well. I'm off to do my housework and then hopefully get into the garden with hubby and the kids. Happy gardening!

Monday, 4 May 2009

National Compost Awareness Week 3rd - 9th May 2009

Good morning everyone!

I have just had a quick check of my favourite website and have just seen a post from an online friend of mine about National Compost Awareness Week which is running from 3rd to 9th May.

The website address for this is . It is well worth having a look at this website to see if there are any events in your local area. Unfortunately there are no events in my area but there may be in your areas across the UK.

There is also a link to get some handy composting hints and tips. I have had a look and it was very interesting and I did get some rather good tips from the website!

It is truly amazing what can be put into a compost bin. I knew about vegetable and fruit peelings and grass cuttings. I also knew about loo rolls and brown materials but never knew that you could compost old woolly jumpers and cotton t-shirts! I was mildly aware about the wee issue of composting but did not understand why but this website has various links which answered my questions about the wee problem! So I have dutifully explained this to hubby and I think I may just be able to get him to wee in a bucket once a month so that it can be diluted and added to the bin.

We are truly well into the composting and if it can go in, then it goes in! The kids now have the job of ripping up unwanted paper for the bin. We have two bins and for some reason we were given two caddies so one is kept just for the veggie peelings and the other is for the loo rolls and paper waste. The kids take great pleasure in coming up and asking if various bits of paper can be composted!

Feel free to take a look - it's a free website and you may find some interesting tips there!

Happy composting to you all!!!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Can't Sleep

Well it is 5am in the morning and I can't sleep so I thought that I would come on the laptop and add a little update and another photo to my online diary as I have been rather lax at posting and I am feeling rather guilty!

My youngest daughter planted some tomato seeds the other week and I was concerned that they would not grow as it is a bit late for planting from seed and I have had these particular seeds for over a year! But on checking this morning, there are a couple of seedlings poking their little heads out of the soil! She is over the moon about this. She is only 4 and is such a fussy eater that we are hoping that she will eat the veggies that she has grown herself. If it works just watch me get her to plant all the veggies next year!!

My oldest is now not chuffed as her flowers have not grown at all yet! But try and explain to her that the seeds were free and they may not grow! But she is going to help me in the morning and do some more planting. The kids are off school on Monday for the bank holiday so should get some decent planting done if the weather keeps up!

Have also listed on Freecycle for some fence posts and fence panels so that hubby can get the garden fenced in and hopefully create a bit of a wind break as our garden is rather windy. I would rather get off Freecycle and know that I'm recycling something that someone else doesn't want anymore than pay a fortune at a garden centre when I might not have to. I was also a bit cheeky and advertised for slabs so that hubby can do a patio area and hopefully slab our driveway at the front. Then I topped it all off by asking for pots and stones/bricks for the raised beds. Hubby has also got into the recycling mode as he always stops and checks any skips that he sees now. So far he hasn't seen anything that he could use but you never know what's going to happen.

And I have finally opened and ISA to start saving for my dream ... a house with land!!! I have only so far paid the £1 to open it but will be adding to it as I get some spare cash. I think dream number one is to be debt free but the big dream is definitely a house where hubby needs a sit on mower! It's been a dream of ours since our youngest was born. Somewhere where we can keep chickens and ducks and geese and maybe a couple of piggies and possibly be a self-sufficient as possible but that's a dream for another day!

Right am now starting to get tired! Typical, just when its almost time for me to get up, that's when I get tired! Well I will heed my poor aching fingers and go off to bed and will post more later on! Take care all xxx

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

OOPS!!!! Update number one!!

Well hello to you all. Big apologies to all of you for the gap in postings. I have slapped myself for it though!

So there has been quite a lot of news to report since my last posting all those many days ago!

Firstly hubby was coming home from work on Easter Monday (yes he had to work lol) and spied a skip at the side of a house full of stones. They were the kind that are seen in the old fashioned stone walls. So he goes up to the house and politely asked the owner what he was doing with the skip full of stones. Well, it turns out that the skip was to be collected the very next day and he was just getting rid of the stones. So hubby nicely asked if he could come back later that day and take some of the stones out of the skip. The owner was quite happy for him to do that so he came home, emptied the boot of the car and promptly went straight back to the house. About an hour later he came home with a car full of stones!!! But they are going to good use. He is building a raised bed and is using the stones to make the walls round it. But the only downside is that he needs more stones as he only got enough for one part of the wall!!!

Hubby is now a very happy bunny as his shed was delivered and he put it up straight away! It is only a small one (6x4) but it's enough for now. And he has been promised that when the money situation is better, he will be getting a bigger metal one! But this one will remain as a potting shed of sorts. The kids are also getting their own shed! My dad is getting a new one in the summer so the one he has at the moment will be transplanted into my garden as a kind of wendy house for the girls to play in and store all their garden toys in during the winter! Although this has made me wonder about this bigger shed hubby wants. I don't know if he will really need a bigger shed if the kids' one is to be used to store their stuff!

Compost bin number 2 also got delivered! So Derek the Dalek now has a girlfriend by the name of Davina! I just have to get the sticky faces so that they will be more fun for the garden! Derek is coming along nicely with his composting. I am going to go and buy some activator as hubby just will not pee in a bottle for me to use as activator for the composter! But am still working on him and I'm sure that I will get him to wee in a bottle one day - I'll just have to wait till one day when he has had a couple of beers!!

Okay that's enough updating for one post or it will end up being a book! Am off to add some photos now and will post another update later on today - I promise!!!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

I almost forgot!!!

I almost forgot part of today's entry ... chickens!!! We were driving home from dolphin watching when I joked about getting a goat as they keep the grass down and provide milk! Hubby was none too impressed and replied to me that a "bloody goat will just eat all the herbs and plants". So I suggested chickens as we could get all the eggs we wanted then and it would be much cheaper and we could use the chicken poop as fertiliser or chuck it in the compost bin! Hubby remained quiet and then just said "maybe" so I might just be making progress but we shall just have to wait and see!

Night night all xx

Day 2 and not much done yet!!

Well it's day 2 of my adventure and what a lot got done ... not! We were all late up as hubby stayed up last night watching Quantum of Solace on DVD. I popped off to bed as I had managed to watch the whole film the night he bought it! So today, got the kids sorted, fed the dalek and beggared off into town for some retail therapy!

We went to our local Poundland and got some rather good bargains. I bought 3 of those pop up green bins to use as planters. I'm advertising on Freecycle for a couple of barrels for potatoes but these bins will do for radishes and carrots hopefully.

Hubby bought himself some gardening gloves and I bought 4 packets of seeds. Not bad you may think but it gets better. Each packet of seeds had 6 different varieties of seeds! So 24 different seeds for £4!! Bargain!! Well happy and it looks like I will be growing my chillie peppers after all! Hubby was dubious about chillie peppers but I'm not going to use them in my cooking too much, I love to use the dried ones to flavour olive oil so will be able to have a stack of dried ones. We only spent £12 in the Poundland so well chuffed with my bargains. Oh I almost forgot ... I got a gnome!!! He is rather cute with a little plant pot attached to himself so once there is something in the plant pot then I will definitely post a photo of him. You should have seen hubby's face when he saw my gnome in the basket! I'm calling him Gordon after the kids cartoon series (Gordon the Garden Gnome!).

The only downside was that the kids were with us (only joking really!) and they insisted on buying easter bonnets as well. We then went outside and stopped off at the easter market on the street. Hubby bought some herbs from a Frenchman who had a stall. He had grown everything himself and his sun dried tomatoes were delicious!! So another £13 went there.

Then it was back to get the car after it had been washed in the local shopping centre car park, complain about the fact that the car was still filthy and there were scratches that were not there when we parked the car! So hubby got his money back and off we went to see the dolphins. Although when we got there the water was quite choppy and although I didn't see any dolphins hubby and the kids did. I was much more content to collect mussel shells on the shore. I came home with a good pocket full and they will be crushed tomorrow and sprinkled in my dalek just to keep him hungry (he is called Derek the Dalek now!).

On the way back we stopped off at Focus for some more retail therapy (!) and got some already potted herbs for hubby's herb garden. He already has a rosemary bush that accompanied us all the way from Germany and a bay tree that we got in B&Q last week. So this week he got thyme, oregano and sage. They will be re-potted along with the chives from Tesco's tomorrow and hopefully they will grow quite happily in our little garden.

And then the bombshell. I bought hubby a shed! Focus has a 6ft x 4ft overlap shed on sale for £109 but we had to pay £25 for delivery so in total it cost us £134 plus another £33 for the stuff we bought for the garden! So no more spending for us for a big while!!! Shouldn't have really spent that much but we desperately need somewhere safe to keep all hubby's garden tools and his bike but we now have to wait for the delivery so hopefully that won't take too long.

And that's about all of our day today. Not much really got done but we did buy supplies and hubby is determined to get out and de-turf some more of the garden tomorrow and hopefully get the herbs re-potted. He has also suggested that when we have a bit more cash to spare to buy a better shed, that the one we bought today can be used as a potting shed! At least he isn't planning on just getting rid of it!

We are also going to get a second shed in the summer. My dad is getting a new one and the one he currently has is the same size as the one we are getting but my dad is going to take his one apart and put it in our back garden as a kind of wendy house for the kids! So at least we don't have to spend out over £140 to buy them a wendy house when they can get a perfectly good one for free. All it will cost us is some manual work and a couple of tins of wood preserver and we are going to try and get the stuff that comes in funky colours so the kids know which one is theirs.

I'm ordering a second dalek next week as one just is not going to be enough, and I think I may just have to go back to focus next week and buy some of their compost accelerator to help get the bins working a bit quicker (or persuade hubby to have a wee in them lol).

Tomorrow am off down the shore with my kids for a nature walk with a twist. We are taking one of the little pop up bins and we are going to fill it full of seaweed. take it home and feed it to Derek! Between that and the mussel shells he should be a happy bin tomorrow.

Have just checked my household rubbish as well. My wheelie bin was emptied on Friday. Normally by today there is one full black bag and usually a couple of small carrier bags of rubbish. Well as of today we have only half filled a black bag in the bin! So we are really cutting down on our waste already by just having Derek!

Am also going to be pickling some eggs as hubby loves them and I absolutely hate the price of them in the shops. It is much cheaper to buy eggs and big jars of pickling vinegar and do it yerself! And I find that they taste much better. I have pickled eggs and onions before and they do taste much better than the ones you buy in the shops so may just have to go get some pickling onions as well!

Enough rambling for today, am off to take some photos and hopefully get them posted here, then its off to bed so I can get up really early tomorrow and make a good start!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Day 1 - The start of the journey!!

Well Hello There to you, my new reader!

Let me start by introducing myself to you. My name is Di and I am a 35 year old housewife and mother of two, with a desire to be more environmentally friendly but at a fraction of the price. Let's face it, in today's current economic climate, who wants to spend loads of money to be more environmentally aware, then find that the same result could have been had at a fraction of the price or even for free!

I'll add to that, the fact that yes I am Scottish, but that does not generally mean tight-fisted! We Scots are a generous race, but very careful with it. I have developed my thrift over the years, and firmly believe that it was instilled in me by my mother and my maternal grandmother, and I also think that I get my hoarding from nan as well!

And so to the goals that we have! We have recently moved house into a lovely little council house not far from school and family members. We have spent a number of years away from home so this is a lovely start to the new year for us. We have a number of goals but the main one being that the garden, which runs from the front, right round the side of the house to the back, gets completely overhauled and the driveway replaced before the summer is out.

I also want to grow my own fruit and vegetables so we are also going to try and become as self-sufficient as possible. I have informed my family that when the weather improves, we will be taking hikes into the forest to see what edible goodies we can find. I have recipes and books showing what foods you can find that are edible, and some of them brewable!! As and when these treks happen and if they are fruitful, will be noted here.

I have tried to get my husband to let me get some chickens, but still no luck in that department yet! That maybe due to the fact that at the moment, the garden is open but then again, it may be because we are not that far from the city centre. I'll keep working on him and let you all know!!!

We are also on a mission to become debt-free and will also update this blog with that journey.

Don't worry I will be posting photographs and letting you all know where I have sourced my cheap (and hopefully free) supplies for my gardening project.

I think my real goal here is to show our journey as a kind of diary to the world to show that it can be done on a tight budget and that you don't have to spend thousands of pounds on materials when you can source them quite cheaply and sometimes free of charge!

Right am off to bed now as I'm going to get up really early in the morning and see what I can get done before the troops waken up and demand feeding! Night Night all, and will post more tomorrow!