£1 grog: How to make wine on the cheap (using fruit juice!)

The world needs more cheap booze.  Wine and beer are damn expensive. Clearly, the answer is to make your own.

I’ll come clean, to start with:  I am not a winemaker.  I am a total amateur.  BUT, you can use ingredients from the supermarket, equipment from a car-boot sale and be up and running this weekend for the same price as a bottle or two of wine from Asda… and after about 3 weeks you’ll end up with 15 bottles of the good stuff.

So how do you do it with no prior knowledge without it tasting flippin’ awful?

Like this… Continue reading

Advertisements

Vintage Linen is too Good to Part With…

Whilst sorting through our stuff (yes, this process is taking forever) I decided I really should do something about my endless supply of vintage linen. Doilies, place mats, napkins, handkerchiefs, the list goes on and on and I just didn’t think I’d be able to use all of it. I’ve already sold a lot of my lace trims, and I’ve given other stuff away, but what about these larger items? We used a lot of them for our wedding, so I was struggling to part with them. I was laying them out on the table to go through them when it occurred to me that they would make a great patchwork, and as we don’t have a tablecloth, it seemed like the ideal thing to make!

I positioned them all out on the table and pinned them together. I then ran them through the machine, zig zagging them together. This probably wasn’t the correct way to do it, there was a bit of buckling and ruching, but hey! I’m still learning! The result is a little rough around the edges, but I like it that way, and more importantly, I used my linen for something genuinely useful!

WP_20140609_007

WP_20140609_002

WP_20140609_004

Sugar free Jelly Worm Recipe

WP_20140605_010

Sugar is a big no no in our house. Don’t get me wrong, I have an obscene sweet tooth, but if the toddler so much as walks past the sugar bowl she becomes possessed by some sort of hideous toddler demon that is out for your soul! For a while I worried about ADD or hyperactivity, but it soon became clear that it was the sugary treats that was turning her into the very epitome of the terrible twos. Once I started to cut out pure fruit juice, chocolate, commercial ice lollies etc. we had our lovely happy daughter back. That is, until she goes to her grandparents and comes back kneed deep in marshmallows and chocolate buttons!

Of course, I don’t want her to miss out. Her diet was already slightly limited by her peanut allergy, so no sugar knocked even more items off her possible treat list. I started doing some research and found a wealth of recipes online. Unfortunately, the ones that replace chocolate recipes usual include peanut butter, so that’s a no go, but I did find one for jelly worms. She does love a gummy sweet, and she also loves worms, so I thought I’d give them a go. They were super simple and went down a storm. Now all I hear is “Can I have 1 wiggly red thing please mummy. No, two wiggly red things!”

 

Ingredients

  • 2 packets of sugar free jelly crystals
  • 3 packets of gelatine, or 3 leaves
  • 1 cup of water

Soak the gelatine leaves if you’re using them. Bung all of the ingredients into a saucepan and simmer until everything is dissolved. I then lined a lasagne dish with clingfilm and poured it in there. It should be a 1cm approx layer across the bottom of your container. Then out it in the fridge. It sets pretty quickly, I think it was in there for barely an hour. Then turn it out carefully and cut into strips. Hey presto, jelly worms. AND no more toddler tantrums! Bonus!

Saving money with LED lighting – a review

WP_20140604_003

It is no secret that I love a bargain, so when the lovely Jen at MyMakeDoandMendYear  featured an article about LED lighting with a giveaway I was pretty excited. We switched to energy saving lightbulbs when we moved into our current home, and although they have saved us money, they give me the most chronic headaches. The yellow dim glow just isn’t good enough, which means I don’t really put the lights on very much. This leads to Jamie constantly announcing that it is ” like a morgue in here” (which is ridiculous, as outside of horror films, I imagine them to be brightly lit, but anyhoo)…

So I commented on how I was looking for alternative lighting and would love to try an LED bulb out, and I was promptly sent one to try. I asked for a narrow lamp fitting, as I wasn’t sure what light fittings were available in my new house, so thought it best to get one I could bring with me. I tried it out and I wasn’t dissappointed, the light was immediate instead of being a slow build up as with the energy saving bulbs, and it has a nice cosy glow, instead of the dim yellow one that makes my head hurt so much.  Most important of all, I was amazed to read about the savings I could make by moving to LED lighting. As our new house has some halogen light fittings I think it’ll be well worth an investment. Just to show you those savings, here is the infographic that accompanied my new bulb

Won’t Cost the Earth – An infographic by LightBulbs-Direct to promote the Benefits of LED Bulbs for ‘Big Energy Saving Week’. To view the full image click here.

 

Disclamer, I was asked to review this bulb in exchange for a sample.

My Japanese Potato Salad recipe

WP_20140207_003

As you can probably guess, we eat a lot of Japanese food in this house. It’s healthy, easy to cook, and absolutely delicious! One of my favourite things to have in the fridge is Japanese Potato salad. It isn’t necessarily very healthy, but it is incredibly scrummy, and can also be a great way of using up bits and bobs in the fridge! This recipe isn’t strictly the ‘proper’ way of making it, it’s just a simpler way of doing it that works for us! If you don’t have Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise for this recipe, then normal is fine, but there is a recipe here for Kewpie style mayonnaise that tastes pretty much the same!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium potato
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • ham or cooked bacon
  • mayonaise (preferably Japanese if you can get it!)
  • spring onions

Peel and boil the potato whole. It is done when you can easily push a chopstick through it. This takes longer than you think! Mash together the eggs and mayonnaise. Slice the ham or bacon up into tiny rectangles and stir through.  Mash the potato and add the spring onions. You can also cook some cabbage or onion to add  to the spring onions. Mix the egg mixture to the potato until it is a smooth consistency, adding more mayonnaise if you need to. Feel free to add any cooked vegetable that needs using up!

That’s it! It keeeps in the fridge for a couple of days, but chances are, it won’t last that long! You can eat it however you want. I like to eat it from the fridge, with a spoon!