Day 4 Good Clean Fun – Clear out the larder

17 11 2014


It is essential to clear out the larder every so often. It is the opportunity to throw out any stale biscuits or unused flour; do a bit of a personal stock take and reorder any sauces or herbs that are low in supply; do a Ready Steady Cook and transform your seemingly mismatched ingredients into an inventive family meal and of course clean up any spillages.


10mins later…


…perfection now off to do my online shopping with my updated list and use my rediscovered baking ingredients to bake a cake. Maybe a few episodes of Corrie first with one of those Belgium biscuits on my naughty bottom shelf.

Day 3 Good Clean Fun – Window Sills

14 11 2014

Window sill dust

Window sills are a bit of a novelty as I didn’t have any in my previous home. I have however discovered, that while they afford me the space to display some of my knickknacks, they are also dust magnets. So today I banished the cobwebs, dust and debris, so now my ornaments are showcased to perfection on each polished ledge.

Tips: Try to remove dust and dirt before adding any liquid as the muddy residue is difficult to remove from corners and try not to get wood soaked so not to damage the paintwork and make sure you dry the sill thoroughly afterwards.

I used a dry duster to remove any dirt before mixing some detergent in warm water. I used a microfiber cloth to wipe down each surface and dried with a paper kitchen towel. As I was doing this I took the opportunity to dust my ornaments including one of my tea light holders was filled with the remains of a bunch of flowers.

Window sill dirtThis was a moderately satisfying job as the results were visible and I did tackle the window sills in each room so I felt I had achieved something in the kitchen:

Window sill 4

the longue:

Window Sill

master bedroom:

Window sill 2and the baby’s bedroom:

Window Sill 3

I am rewarding myself with a cup of tea and a biscuit – but I will be sure not to get any crumbs on the carpet.

Day 2 Good Clean Fun – Microwave

14 11 2014

Microwave dirtyThis is a fairly neglected job in my house.

I don’t use the microwave that much but when I do the evidence suggests that it is usually to heat food that is vivid orange or red.

The problem is that as it is not used often, once the door is closed the food spatter is forgotten. It is unsightly, smells funky and lets face it unhygienic.

it took me 10mins to clean. I put a mug of already boiling water into the microwave and set the timer for 5 mins.  After that I simply wiped it clean with a kitchen paper towel. The glass tray went straight into the dishwasher.

I also discovered a lovely trick to get rid of all the nasty smells. After the microwave as been cleaned cut a lemon in half and place it cut sides down onto a saucer with a tablespoon of water. Set the timer for about a minute. Remove lemon. If necessary wipe down the inside of the microwave with a paper towel and it will now be all lemony fresh – lovely.

I didn’t get quite the same level of satisfaction doing this as I did for other tasks as once the door is closed the results are not visible. Still it is reassuring to know that it is clean and fresh for the next time it is used.

Microwave clean

Good Clean Fun – Make the bed

1 11 2014



This is a bit of a cheat as it is an everyday rather than a once a month task. However I have decided to include it anyway because it has a massive feel good factor for me.

The image above is not appealing. Returning to that bed in the evening after a long hard day brings me no satisfaction whatsoever. On the other hand a well made bed is warm and welcoming and lends itself to a better nights sleep – something which always makes me feel better. Another benefit is that it is a more appealing place to spend time with your partner.

Top Tip – Love them or hate them decorative cushions and throws can make your bed look really luxurious and a pop of colour in a monochrome room like mine can really make a statement.



30 Day Challenge – Good Clean Fun

1 11 2014


My underused cleaning products.

Like most people I have a dirty little secret.

Secreted in the dark corners of my home are little pockets of dust, dirt and grime that I am simply too lazy to address. None of these tasks in themselves are particularly arduous and most can be completed in under 10 mins but like so many others, I procrastinate and avoid these little jobs until such a time as they become a major hassle.

According to an article by Daily Mail cleaning up was one of the most common New Year Resolutions in 2013 and in the average UK household there are as many as 12 jobs needing doing around the house at any given time.

I love my home and I enjoy it so much more when it is clean and tidy. I also moved recently into a brand spanking new flat and everything is so bright and beautiful that I really want to keep on top of it. So as part of Project Tortoise; my personal quest to make my life just a little bit better; I will be taking on a 30 day challenge of my own devising to clean up my home. I am not talking about the everyday stuff like dishes or taking out the bins or at the other end of the scale the weekend engulfing task of cleaning the oven. My focus is those niggling little things that are seemingly unimportant so often get neglected and forgotten.

It would be lovely if some of you joined me so we can make a dent on the epic list of 316 million grubby windowsills, unplumped cushions and unsanitary children’s toys.

Some of my friends plan to participate in this challenge with me and I would love to hear from anyone else who wants to join in. It would be great to swap tips and share before and after pictures. In a few days I will publish a list of the 30 tasks to be completed during this first challenge as part of Project Tortoise in the meantime tell your friends and we can commit to bringing a little sparkle into our lives.

The 30 day “Good Clean Fun” challenge starts on 1st November.


Project Happy

1 11 2014

I am taking inspiration from The Daily Post and setting myself a schedule of sorts for the upcoming months by starting a project designed to promote a sense of happiness and well being.

Project Happy – I know, its a terrible name but it gives me a lot of scope. The premise  is based on the fact that I feel more secure and content if I am organised and have specific goals to work towards. Despite peoples preconceptions when they discover my job as a drama teacher I don’t do “airy fairy” and thrive with structure. So the plan is to look at how planning simple daily tasks can make me feel happier and give me a sense of accomplishment.

I will pick a topic each month e.g. my first month will be based on my home,  and I will set myself one 10 min task to complete per day and consider the feel good factor I achieve. I hope that my little and often approach will result in big changes to how I feel overall.

This isn’t a new concept in fact people often take this approach with healthy living, diets and weight loss. My hope is that other people will join in the challenge with me and consider how little improvements make them feel happier. If you decide to give it a go with me please leave comments and feel free to add photos etc. I will not be contacting people, sending email updates or Facebook requests – it would just be nice to know if anyone else is feeling happier by the end of the month. I am also happy to take suggestions for topics as long as they can be broken down into 10 mins a day.

My first topic will be about improving the environment in which I live – details to follow in a few days and the challenge itself will start on 1st November. Hopefully some of you will come along for the ride.

Things I thought I would never say

25 10 2014
Dino-cake made with my new Sainsbury's dinosaur cake tin

Dino-cake made with my new Sainsbury’s dinosaur cake tin

I picked up the phone this evening and spoke aloud words I never imagined would issue from my lips;

” I have a baking emergency! The icing for my dinosaur cake is lumpy and I don’t know how to rectify the situation!”

The only thing more tragic than having reason to utter these words, was speaking them into the answer machine of someone who had something more important to do on a Saturday evening.

For anyone who has not been keeping up to date with my blog this relates to an earlier post about a baking challenge. I have been challenged to make a chocolate marble cake for a Halloween party and my first attempt is pictured above.

I have already attempted dino-cake mark 2, but without any help from my “cake guy” (and yes I do actually have a cake guy!)

In one of my old jobs we used to keep a “stupid book” recording daft things people said – it served as a way of keeping things light on difficult days. With that in mind…

…have you ever said words aloud that have surprised you even as you uttered them?

Suggestions Please

24 10 2014


As you will have noticed I have been attempting a little baking while I am on maternity leave. I don’t want to be a total cliche but I decided that I didn’t want to be one of those Mums who cannot make their son a birthday cake. Not that I  am making any judgement about those who do choose store bought options – after all there is a wide range of fantastic cakes and treats available now without the hassle or the almighty mess that baking creates in ones kitchen. However for me it is about choice and having never baked a single thing in my life I felt that it was a case of now or never.

So far I have successfully attempted two simple recipes for Cheesecake and Pavlova.

To inspire me further, FOMS came home the other night with the object pictured. A dinosaur shaped baking tin (there is a bit of a ‘dino’ theme happening in our household at the minute).

The only issue is I have absolutely no idea what to do with it.

Next week I am taking my son to his first Halloween party and have been tasked with bringing a dessert so I implore any of the bakers among you to give me some suggestions of simple tried and tested recipes utilizing my dinosaur tin. Preferably something that will make me the envy of all the other Mums 😉

I will of course post a picture of the finished product.

Dream Home – Living the dream

23 10 2014

Visit to our property with Joseph in May 2014.


Anyone who has been following my blog will know that my longest held ambition has been to own a home of my own.

During my absence from blogging while I was pregnant with my first son, I achieved my dream. FOMC and I found a place in November 2013 and after much paperwork and going back and forth between solicitors, agents and builders we finally exchanged on 15th September 2014.

I love my new home. It is bright and airy, clean and fresh and the perfect environment in which my boy will grow up.

I have spoken at length in the past about how much home ownership means to me  and to be sitting at my computer writing my final post about getting onto the property ladder is simply the most amazing feeling in the world. On Saturday morning I was woken by my husband with a cup of hot tea and some buttery toast. I was still rubbing the sleep from my eyes as I walked into my living room to find my boys paying peek-a-boo on the floor with cartoons on the TV in the background. It made me feel really blessed and I realize that our difficulties in the journey to that idyllic Saturday morning will only make us appreciate it all the more.


Family on the balcony

Enjoying the view from the balcony September 2014

Pregnancy Photoshoot

21 10 2014


222-IMG_7264-bwcBack in January I posted about my upcoming maternity photo shoot.

I was looking for ideas for some bump photography as a keepsake of my first pregnancy.

Today I wanted to share the final image we choose.