Saturday, 8 March 2014

Cleaning up my act

Clean Cleaning Products!

Over the past year I have been trying to clean up our lifestyle somewhat. It started with a few beauty products , mainly for the kids, where I began to avoid unnecessary additives and preservatives. This then became a full on change to the way we ate with a "clean" diet ( see this post). Some of these rules have slipped whilst I have concentrated on my return to full time teaching, but I am reigning things back in again.

My middle son has also been diagnosed with a plethora of allergies so it makes sense to look also to what I am spraying into our environment . I just don't want to be adding to his sniffles.

I like a clean house, I admit it.

 It messes with my sense of order and calm if my house is not clean and in order. I just can't focus and feel out of control. I am not talking immaculate here, but general clean and tidy - as best as can be with 3 kids anyway! So I looked into changing over to environmentally friendly products wherever I could. This included washing powders as well. 

I stumbled across this brand on another blog and was really impressed with the results of the polish so took the plunge and ordered a whole range from The Big Green Smile. Most of these products are from Method, although the fabric softener is Attitude , as is the window cleaner. I felt that they were all very good value for money and good size bottles of product too. You don't need much to get the results needed and the smell is lovely - not at all artificial, just fresh, clean and natural. I am on to a winner here. I also got a load of coloured micro fibre cloths to colour code my cleaning too. 

Obsessed Moi?! 

Maybe just a smidge.

Cleaning Caddy

Daily Cleaners

This pink grapefruit multi surface cleaner is fabulous. Not only does it clean up any grease, it smells divine.

The bathroom cleaner gives a shiny finish and also a pleasant, just laundered scent to the room - I will be using a lot of this one.

This is a beautiful scent again - leaves the kitchen spotless and with a lingering smell of having been just clean for hours.

 Daily granite cleaner - there is a bit of a knack to this, but it does give a sheen back to granite that is smeared or dull. I use it once a day. ( Apologies for the photo)

This was the one that started it all off. I know when I spray this onto my wood I am putting something good into it! It smells great - not like artificial polishes do . It gives a moist shine and keeps working too.

This is the window cleaner spray - I use it on mirrors too. Great - no smears as far as I can tell!

Again a great product - I have gone through a bottle of this already. I can see a bulk order coming up!

The thing that I really like is that I know I am not pouring anything nasty down drains and into our environment. These products are effective and smell glorious. Definitely worth a look. They retail from £3.00 depending on the product. I got mine from The Big Green Smile. They have a wide range of products for sale on this site.

*I brought these products myself. I was not sent these to review. I am a cleaning junkie!

Monday, 3 March 2014

A few gifts

of the Laura Mercier and White Company kind.

There have been two occasions where my OH has arrived home with a gift for me over recent weeks. I haven't quite decided whether it is because he knows things have been tough or he likes spending the money I am now earning.

Either way I won't say no to gifts of the following calibre.

Laura Mercier ambre vanille souffle body creme - Oh this is good, so good!

Two white company goose down large, square pillows in soft grey . Perfect on the bed and for propping myself up whilst having a lie in over half term ( and in the sale I believe!) 

....and no my bedding wasn't ironed!

I could get used to this.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Family Meals

AGA flan

I am increasingly on the look out for easy meals that I can throw together quickly, simply and cheaply.

I am loving my Aga - it is so simple to cook on and fantastic for slow cooking. I can pop a casserole in early in the morning, knowing it will still be moist and tender when I return from work.

However, for those days when speed is of the essence I have a bank of meals that I rely on.

This flan is so versatile - you can make it with an egg and milk base and it is more like a quiche or use creme fraiche for a totally different taste to it. Both are simple and quick!! We call it an Aga flan , but you can cook it in anything!


Aga flan

Pre rolled puff pastry ( speed!)
Or any other cheese you wish to add to it!

3 - 4 eggs and a splash or two of milk OR a couple of pots of creme fraiche to make the base.

Any additions:

I have put rocket in this and some corriander paste ( this and chilli flakes - love them!) to add a bit of bite!

A lot is dependant on what you have in the larder.

  • Lay the pastry base in a shallow tray.
  • Chop the mozzarella into pieces and add any other ingredients to line the base - I added some peppery rocket.
  • Beat the eggs and milk in a separate bowl - I added 2 tsps of corriander paste to add a bit of bite.

  •  Grate over some cheddar and any other cheese you may wish to add.

  • Pour the milk and egg over the base. Instead of a milk and egg base you can just add a pot or two of creme fraiche. I just don't always have it in the fridge.

  • Season and grate some parmesan on the top.

  • Pop on the middle shelf of the roasting oven if you have an Aga. Temperature is about 200 degrees for about 20 - 25 minutes.

  •  She is done when the top has risen and is firm to the touch.

  • To keep things really simple serve with pasta and green veg 

I will post a few more of my quick and easy meals - they are becoming a bit of a necessity now I am teaching full time!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Flowers always make me smile.

Grey and Pink.

I love fresh flowers in my house. 

They always make me feel better about things (even though it is back to work today.) I have loved being at home with my kids having some rest and relaxation over half term. 

 I also have a bit of a thing for grey and pink at the moment so these were a no brainer - shown off beautifully in a charity shop bargain grey vase.

Hope the rain is subsiding where you are in the UK. Roll on spring!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Organising your Monika cupboard

or in this case, drawer!

The Monika cupboard. I have a few of these if I'm honest. Maybe not quite on this scale , but you get my drift - As soon as I organise one, another appears! 

My kitchen is probably the most organised room in the house. I was able to squash in loads of drawers and cupboards when we designed it so there is enough room for all my pots, pans and kitchen things. In some of the drawers  I had wood dividers put in to keep things organised , but my largest drawer quickly became like this.

A jumble of everything we dump in the kitchen - half of which is of no use at all. I am trying to reorganise some of my Monika spaces and get rid of the clutter. It is a constant battle, esepcially with a little girl who just loves bits and pieces.

I always have a 3 way plan - keep, throw and donate, when I sort through our things. If it is clothes I am sorting I add an e.bay pile also.

So my first step was to totally empty the drawer and see what there was lurking in there.

I got rid of about half of this stuff by putting it back where it should be in other areas of the house and throwing the junk. The things that we use and are useful I divided into sections using the ever multi purpose Birchboxes.

What was left was put back into some sort of order.

 I have kept to hand the useful items like clothes labels for the kids, parking money pot, spare window keys, tape measure,hand creams and nail scissors, spare sunglasses for gardening, tape measures and torches, pens etc

Come on 'fess up - do you have a Monika cupboard lurking in your dark corners!?