Tutorial: How to make your own Body Scrub

January 31, 2016

What I made and how I made it

Do you remember my post last week Kick Winter up the Bum and Be Happy? Well I mentioned that I was really enjoying some hand-made sugar scrub that I'd bought from a shop on etsy. Alas, yesterday I ran out. This is not acceptable and I cannot believe I allowed it to happen. I needed some scrub for my bath-time so I decided to do something a little bit crazy and made some myself from some every day kitchen ingredients. And do you know what? It is actually surprisingly easy!
I've put together a very quick tutorial here so that you can have a go at home (and I thoroughly recommend it!)

What do you need?

1x Cup of Granulated sugar (you could also use brown sugar)
1/4 x cup of olive oil
1 x tsp vanilla extract
1 x generous squeeze of honey
Jars for storage

 How to make it...

 Now this part is really easy, simply chuck it all in a bowl and mix!

It smells really good but please don't be tempted to eat it. It only has an effect on your skin if you rub it on!
Now put it into your jar and put it next to the bath to remind yourself to have a nice relaxing soak. Wet your skin, give this scrub a good rub into your skin to make it lovely and soft, and then wash off. It really couldn't be simpler.
If you have children in the house, I would also recommend labelling the jars so that they don't eat it. 

Why don't you try adding a spoonful of instant coffee to your body scrub? Or some coconut oil? There are endless possibilities! 


Something that I've been made aware of recently is that a lot of commercial facial and body scrubs contain micro-beads that are made of plastic. When these are washed down the plug hole, they end up in river systems and subsequently the seas. They mass in such great quantities that they can be harmful to marine life. We are being encouraged to use natural scrubs such as sugar and salt scrubs, or scrubs that contain apricot kernels. These are all much less harmful to the environment once they're washed down the plug hole as they are natural ingredients!

Hope you enjoy making your own scrubs! Do let me know in the comments section what other wonderful ingredients you add to yours!

Grape Tree Haul

January 27, 2016

Healthy Snacks Galore!

Rick and I recently discovered Grape Tree. I'm sure there are many of you out there that have already discovered Grape Tree but this is entirely new to us to please excuse our over-excited-ness!
We both enjoy a good snack in the evenings if we're watching television, or while I'm reading a book or something. Nothing wrong with a snack. Snacks are good. Our fault lay with what we were snacking on. It's very easy to grab a packet of crisps or a box of chocolates. We do live quite active lifestyles which is the only reason we are able to get away with eating such nonsense. So we decided AS A TEAM to invest in some healthier snacks. We are not cutting out the junk completely, because that's stupid. Everyone needs chocolate in their lives. We just feel that if dried apricots are just as tasty as crisps, we might as well eat them. 
So, where's a good place to get healthy snacks?


So we had Grape Tree recommended to us by Rick's mother (thanks Lesley) and we had a good peruse of what was on offer. We both have slightly different tastes when it comes to these things so we finally decided on these items. And I realise that some of these snacks are healthier than others.

  • Banana Chips
  • Deluxe Fruit and Nut Mix
  • Dried Apricots
  • Dried Pears
  • Goji Berries
  • Omega Seed Mix
  • Crystalised Pineapple
  • Crystalised Papaya
  • Milk Chocolate Peanuts
  • Milk Chocolate Raisins
The box arrived yesterday and we were both very excited. I decided to take pictures of the opening process...because it was an exciting time. 
I was pleasantly surprised to open the box and find some chocolate coins! What a nice little touch!

All very nicely packed. We like that, we like that. Shall we have a good delve about to see what's in here?

On first sight, the omega seed mix does look like bird food. But I'm not sure what else I would expect omega seed mix to look like to be honest. It tastes nice anyway. Very healthy. I've never tasted goji berries before and I was very excited to try them. They taste kind of sweet to begin with...and then end up turning more sour. I'm not even sure if that makes sense...but I like it!
Now the thing that I was most curious about was the dried pears. I like pears, and honestly I didn't know that dried pears were a thing. How would you dry a pear? (with sulphur dioxide apparently). I suppose...just like you dry anything else. Upon trying them...they taste just like pears. But kind of rubbery. So...a winner I suppose if not a slight anti climax.

So we now have all these packets of healthy and slightly less healthy snacks, where are we going to store them? Well it's a good thing we thought ahead and bought all these Kilner Jars!! How cute are these? I love these jars and would use them to store everything in my kitchen except they are a bit pricey. But we can certainly afford to splash out occasionally on a nice bit of kitchenware, especially when they are to store such lovely snacks! By the way we got these jars from amazon.
Look me in the eye and tell me that you don't want to just grab a handful and munch away! Hmm? I thought so. And something else that I think is worth mentioning is that because we spent over £35.00, the delivery was free. Bonus!

Well I hope I've provided some inspiration, those of you that are looking for a new healthy snack to get stuck into.
Has anyone else tried Grape Tree and absolutely LOVED it??
Leave a comment!!

Why I feed Raw

January 26, 2016

And why I will never go back...

Everybody meet Bosun. He is a 6 month old yellow labrador puppy and he is a massive pain in the bum. But I love him <3

The Beginning

When we first got Bosun three months ago, we were at a loss as to which brand of food we were going to choose to feed him. When we picked him up, he was being fed Iams puppy food, so we bought a bag of this and carried on because it was the easiest thing for the time being. He was a boisterous, energetic little puppy. Bouncing off the sofas, chewing things, running round like a lunatic and just generally being a puppy. We started approaching the end of our bag of Iams puppy food and I began to search "which dog food is the best for my puppy?",
Bosun is going to be a working labrador so I was looking at brands of dry kibble such as Skinners but I thought...well...it must be boring mustn't it? Eating biscuits each and every day for the rest of your life? And then I came across a whole community of BARF feeders!


It's not what it sounds like... BARF stands for Biologically Accurate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food depending on who you ask. The theory behind this of course is that dogs are carnivores. In the wild, there would be nobody cooking their food for them, putting it into tins and adding e-numbers to it! No. They would be running for miles every day hunting down their food and chowing down on raw flesh, bones, antler offal and whatever was available and this is what we should be feeding our dogs to keep them fit and healthy and to give them the best possible care. 
This school of thinking appealed to me on so many levels as there are so many health benefits to feeding your dog raw. 
  • Healthier shinier coats - because they're getting all the nutrients they need.
  • Breath less smelly - because they're not getting all the e-numbers and sugar that's added to commercial dog food brands so their teeth are in better condition.
  • Less number twos (and they're firmer and less smelly too!) - because the canine digestive system is designed to cope with meat, bones and natural things!
And these are to name but a few.
So I had decided that Bosun was definitely going to embark on a raw journey but where to start? hmm? Where to start. How do I switch my dog to raw food? So many questions. Do I just plonk some raw meat in front of him? Do I mix it in with his biscuit to ease his system into it?
What I needed was some experts!

Barf Feeding Help and Support

I joined a helpful and friendly group on facebook called Barf Feeding Help and Support. I asked them all the questions I could think of, even if I think they sounded a bit stupid. They gave me the tools and the knowledge that I needed to safely move my Labrador puppy onto raw food. So I did it. I took the plunge and I tell you, I would never look back. 
Here are a few tips and tricks that I have learned through articles, friends and my own journey.

Ellie's Guide to Feeding Raw

  • Your dog is never too old or too young to start raw feeding. Any dog will take to it. Don't be scared, just do it!
  • Never mix raw meat with kibble. Kibble digests at a slower rate than raw meat. If the two are consumed at the same time, the kibble will cause the meat to move more slowly through the gut, potentially allowing infection to build up. I left twelve hours between Bosun's last commercial meal and his first raw meal just to be safe.
  • Bones are good. Bones are your dogs friend! But only raw, never give your dog a cooked bone as they can splinter and cause damage to the throat and intestines. Raw bones do a fantastic job of cleaning your dogs teeth so that they don't need all these pedigree chum dentastix and all that rubbish. Start them off on a nice easy bone like a chicken wing or a thigh. Bosun now gets venison bones, beef knuckle bones, lamb ribs and all sorts!
  • Start them off on a nice easy to digest meat such as minced chicken and then give them a good variety. Bosun now gets offal, venison, pigeon, beef, fish and whatever else I can get my hands on. I order from www.nurturingbynature.co.uk who deliver to us. Fantastic products!
  • Don't be alarmed if your pooch's digestive system is a bit iffy for a day or two. They are getting used to it, but it will settle down very quickly. 
  • When they are a puppy, you should start feeding about 10% of their body weight per day. (so a 6kg puppy would receive 600g of meat per day.) As they get older you want to start feeding them about 2-3% of their adult weight. Bosun we estimate will be 30-40kg when he grows up so we are feeding him 700g of meat a day plus a bone. We also mix vegetables in with his minced meat like carrots and broccoli. Each dog is different however. Bosun will be a working dog when he grows up so during the shooting season, he will probably require more feed when he is working hard. If you can see your dogs ribs starting to show, up the feed. If you cannot feel the ribs, you can afford to feed them a bit less. 
  • All this is of course on top of a good exercise routine. Dogs need walking every day, sometimes twice a day...but I digress. Dogs and their exercise will be a completely different blog post!
An example of what I feed Bosun. He gets this amount every day, half in the morning, half in the evening.

After we started Bosun on the raw diet we found that he calmed down a hell of a lot too. Upon further investigation it turns out that a lot of commercial puppy food is packed with sugar. Imagine your toddler on a sugar high. Hmmm. Now imagine that toddler with fur and teeth! Yep! We thought he was just being a puppy, but no he was just constantly high on sugar. Of course he still plays, he is still a puppy. But he's not bouncing off the walls and trying to tear the curtains off the rails. So it benefits us all round.

To finish, here's a few pictures of a happy, healthy Bosun playing on one of our walks.

Well there you have it, I hope that I can convert at least ONE person out there to start feeding their dogs a raw diet.
Do you have any questions about feeding raw? Or do you have an experience to share?
Leave a comment!
Happy Feeding!

Favourite Blog Posts from the Week

January 25, 2016

As a blogger, I enjoy reading blogs myself. Sometimes someone's blog post sticks in my mind and I go away thinking, "yeah!"
Here's a quick round up of some of my favourites from the week just gone.

Charlotte over at The Tea Drinking English Rose finally wrote her story about giving birth to little Olive. Dramatic and heartwarming. Have a tissue handy!

I loved Kristin's article about creating a reading ritual over at My Life as a Teacup. It's so true, we all feel like we need to read more but can't find the time or end up slouched in front of the tv instead!

I cannot wait to try this green smoothie recipe by A Beautiful Mess when my juicer/smoothie maker arrives next month!! Yummy!

I was surprised and really happy to see Ashley's post over at Lazy Daisy Jones. She has begun to crochet a swan head from the same book that I got for christmas! Exciting stuff!

If you don't already read these blogs, pop on over and check them out.
And although these photos have nothing to do with these blog posts, I just wanted to show you what Bosun gets up to while I'm blogging.
Did you read any great blog posts that I should know about this week? Leave me a comment!

Sorry the photos are a bit blurry, my hand was shaking because I was giggling to myself.

Tutorial: How to make a Lavender Scented Pocket

January 24, 2016

What I made and How I made it

So during the summer I collected a whole bunch of lavender to dry out and use around the house. I have done a few crocheted items like this, but still had loads of lavender left over. I found a whole stack of scraps of material that I had at the back of a shelf and kind of bodged these cute little lavender scented pockets. I think they would make really cute little gifts for somebody, mothers day gifts, thankyou gifts etc. You can make them as big or as small as you want and you can even decorate them with buttons or glitter if you like!
Lavender was traditionally used in wardrobes, cupboards and drawers to keep the moths out (moths hate lavender!) and stop them making holes in your best dress that may only come out twice a year. It also keeps everything smelling great!

These are so quick and easy to make that I thought I would make a little tutorial so that you can make a few of these at home.

Here's what you will need:

  • A cardboard circular template approximately 20cm in diameter
  • Tape measure
  • Material scraps
  • Muslin
  • Ribbon
  • Pencils
  • Pair of compasses
  • Thread
  • Big Needle
  • Little Needle
  • Dried Lavender
  • Scissors

Let's Get Started...

Start off by measuring a small rectangle of muslin approximately 8cm by 16cm and then cut it out. 

Get your small needle and some thread and start to sew up two edges, leaving one edge open so that you can put your dried lavender inside. This small lavender cushion will not be seen from the outside so it doesn't have to be overly neat. I'm no seamstress and don't own a sewing machine so my stitches are abysmal, but they do the job.

Fill your  little pocket with the dried lavender and sew up the remaining edge. It should look something like this, although I should imagine your stitches would be a bit neater. I think it kind of looks like a little teabag!

Next, use your cardboard template to mark, and cut out a circle from your scrap of material. Keep your marks on the wrong side of the material so that they will not show on the outside of the finished item.

Set your compasses to 7cm and mark a circle on the wrong side of your material. This is going to be the line around which you stitch your ribbon.

Using your large needle and your ribbon, follow your circular marking. Start from the "correct" side of the material, and leave a long tail. Keep your stitches even, I made mine roughly 1.5cm all the way round. When you come back to the beginning of the circle, finish again on the "correct" side of the material. You should have two long tails on the correct side of the material.

Now is the part where you get to bring it all together. Place your material, correct side down. Place your little lavender filled muslin pocket in the centre and pull the ribbon tight around it.

Tie a beautiful little bow, and there you have it, your finished little lavender pocket! You can put a little stitch in at this point so keep it all together, but I prefer not to. The reason being is that next year or the year after when the smell runs out, I can replace the little cushion inside.

I have made a lot of these, in various guises and use them in drawers, in cupboards, in shoes, in suitcases, in handbags and just basically anything that I'm going to store for a long time to keep the moths away and keep everything smelling fresh!

I would love to see any of these that you guys make. If you post pictures on your blogs, link back to me and let me know so I can see! If you put it on twitter, instagram or pinterest, tag me so that I can take a look! (links in sidebar)
Happy stitching guys!

Kick Winter up the Bum and be Happy!

January 22, 2016

This winter really has been an epic fail in terms of wintery-ness. We all look forward to crisp cold mornings, building snow-men, frosty mornings and the like. But all the UK has had this year is rain, rain and more rain broken up by a brief flurry of snow that stayed for a few days and has now melted. It's been pretty depressing mostly.

But there are so many ways in which you can get up, cheer up and buck up! We can kick this wet, horrible winter up the bum and crack on with being happy. Here is a list of the things that I love to do on those wet miserable days to cheer me up and make me feel like the rain is not getting the better of me!

1. Comfort Food!!

Thick, rich tasty sauces were made for winter. I love to spend my time cooking stews, pies, sauces and all kinds of yummy foods. I particularly like to use my slow cooker. That thing is seriously a life saver. I can chuck a whole bunch of stuff in my slow cooker, turn it on, leave it for a few hours and voila! Food! If you are stuck inside and you are being driven insane by the wind lashing against the window panes then get off the sofa and bake some cookies or a cake. The smell of baking will fill your home and create happy vibes. Trust me, it works. 
I got another book for christmas (I really like books!) called Game by Phil Vickery and Simon Boddy which is filled with Game recipes. I am a huge fan of game, I think its a fantastic natural resource that we don't take enough advantage of. I created my first meal from this book last night and I think it safely falls into the category of comfort food. This venison in a rich red wine sauce nearly didn't make it to the plate because I kept "testing" it in the saucepan!


 2. Embrace the Elements!

There are days when I have to force myself to go outside because the whether is absolutely gank. However, I have a 6 month old Labrador puppy who most definitely NEEDS to go out for walks or else he will destroy the house. Something I am a firm believer of though is that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. I have probably close to fifteen water proof coats, waterproof trousers, a lot of wellies, hats gloves and scarves etc. There is nothing stopping me from going outside, and do you know what? Once I'm outside, I genuinely enjoy every minute of it! I find myself thinking "Ellie, why were you being such a pansie?" There are so many little things that make me smile in the rain. Eg, when you see birds sheltering under bushes and leaves to try and keep dry, or Bosun chasing bubbles down the stream. In all seriousness, unless there's a hurricane going on outside, a bit of rain won't kill you.

3. Read something Atmospheric...

Ok...well you don't have to pick something scary...but I like to! When the wind is howling down the chimney and the wind is lashing against the window panes is, for me, the perfect time to read a classic horror story like Bram Stoker's Dracula or Shelley's Frankenstein. I find that I can really immerse myself into these books and soak up the atmosphere when I'm literally likely to jump out of my skin at any sudden noise!

4. Have a good sort out

So you've walked the dog, the slow cooker's on and you've read all the books in the house. Only one thing left to do...have a good sort out. When I came back home after christmas with my new goodies that Father Christmas had brought me, I spend ages trying to re-arrange cupboards and wardrobes to fit everything in. We live in quite a small stone cottage, the upstairs bedrooms have sloped ceilings so storage is quite difficult for us. The only thing for it was to have a clear out. And to be honest, once I'd started hooking stuff out from under the bed and the back of the wardrobe, I realised that there was just so much that I hadn't worn or used in ages and it was just there taking up space. I donated some to charity, chucked a few bits out, gave some bits away and I felt so much better for it. Honestly, because the house felt less cluttered, I kind of felt like my brain was less cluttered. So, all in all, a very good thing.

And now for probably the most cliched but probably the most relaxing and enjoyable...

5. Run yourself a nice hot bubble bath!

I know that so many people say this, but it really is true. It's amazing how soaking in a hot bubble bath surrounded by all those different scents can relax you and change your outlook on the day. I am constantly buying new bubble baths. My favourite one at the moment is Simple Replenishing Bath Soak . Smells gorgeous, and leaves my skin so soft it's unbelieveable! At the moment I am also loving a range of different hand-made scrubs and bath salts by a shop called Bubble Rabbit on Etsy. From this shop, I have bought the Chocolate Coffee sugar scrub and the Vanilla Tea bath salts. I wish I could convey the smell through the computer screen to you... it is truly divine.

And there we have it, my very best tips and tricks for beating those winter blues. I could list more...but we'll be here for days!

I would love to hear your tips and tricks for cracking through the winter months, leave a comment!
I will leave you with a picture of Bosun and me looking happy in the snow!

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