Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The £0.10p bar of soap extravaganza

Ok, so you all know I love it when I make things for £0.10p... for a litre of home made washing up liquid, for a litre of home made liquid soap... well now I have done it for bars of soap as well...

Goat's Milk, honey & Oatmeal Soap

This soap is ideal for sensitive skin...
I bought 6 bars of plain Castille soap for £0.99p at the £0.99 store - any inexpensive soap you can find will do (Tesco do some I think)
I then used two of those bars, £0.32. Each bar is 100g.
I grated down all of the soap into a glass bowl. I placed this bowl of grated soap inside a pot of hot but not boiling water (bain marie method).

To the grated soap, I then added a little over 100ml of goats milk (basically, half of the volume of the soap), plus one tablespoon of honey, a teaspoon of ground oatmeal and half a teaspoon of cinammon for texture. You can judge for yourself how much liquid to add, just don't make it too liquid or the soap may end up softer than you would like.

Once completely melted, this is when you would add essential oil if you wanted and mix well.
I then poured it all quickly into a clean used butter tub (the 500ml size is good). If you don't pour it quickly, it may start to set in the glass bowl so act fast... and don't overcook!

Once in it's 'mould', this was left to cool some more and once cooler, then placed in the fridge for 3 hours.

I then removed it gently and sliced into 5 soaps, which are perfect hand soap sizes...

A fun thing to do on the weekend and if you have kids it's lots of fun. You can experiment with any soap and any 'flavours', just remember if you are adding aromatherapy oils to add these when the soap is close to cool (but not yet hard) as otherwise the oils evaporate... also do not add too much liquid (milk, water, lavender water etc) as otherwise the soap could end up too soft.

Ideas to add:
- Ground almonds
- Orange / lemon / lime / grapefruit zest etc
- Aromatherapy oils
- Dried lavender etc
- Old soaps you want to melt down and reuse
- Chocolate powder

This process is what is called the 'Melt & Pour' technique, so no scary lye is involved, just a fun quick 10 minute project to multiply 2 bars of soap into 5 nicer, gentler ones...

As these simply involve melting down and re-shaping with some added nice ingredients, you could give these to friends and family as a thoughtful gift. Wrap with some nicely edged brown paper or card, with a little sticker and even maybe a dried flower or emboss the soap with a shape you like.

If you were to turn all your soaps from 2 bars into 5 bars - that will keep you going a long time, and soap improves with age!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Shabby Chic... from unloved to much loved!

Here is what I was up to this weekend - an old 2nd hand table we have was always kept in a corner and covered with a linen tablecloth, as it was marked... I sanded it down, bought some Crown paint for metal and wood in 'Crochet' cream and I will next post the resulting table... took around 30 mins sanding and another 2.5 hours to paint and dry. I then dinished off with a light sanding once it was all dry. So in 3 hours and for around £9, we transformed it into something we now love and will cherish for years to come...

I also found a teacup at a local market for £0.50p, so am using this as a laundry scoop, with a glass vase I found at TK Maxx. The powder is 50% normal laundry powder and 50% soda crystals (Dripak - around £0.70p for 1Kg from Tesco). This saves cash and also softens the water which is greas our water is very hard in this area. So not only is it maintaining our washing machine, it's also softening our clothes more and also saving us money!

Friday, 8 May 2009

Dandelions Revenge... and eating healthier!

Hi everyone and I hope you are well!

My thoughts so far in May have been that usually, Summer costs us more than Winter. This mainly in terms of going out, holidays, foods etc. However, Winter also brings higher fuel bills, Christmas and all those new Winter clothes to keep us warm…

So now I find that food will be more expensive because I love salads and fresh fruit and veg in Summer, as our appetites are smaller.

Do you have any fresh Summer recipes that are not too expensive?

What I have started to do is buy dried aduki beans (one of the SuperFoods), soak overnight and batch cook them to freeze in normal ‘tin’ portions. I have made:

- Tuna, Spinach and Aduki salad with dressing
- Salmon, aduki beans with cucumber and some dressing
- Chick pea, aduki beans, feta cheese and tomato salad with dressing
- Healthier Lasagne with aduki beans and lentils in, together with thin sliced courgette/aubergine etc. This can be frozen in those aluminium tins you get at the £1 stores, and go from freezer straight to the oven

Those are just some ideas for aduki beans – very healthy and cheap too! I love them for lunches too. You can throw on some sunflower and pumpkin seeds to make it even healthier!

My next idea, which I will experiment with soon, is to eat some Dandelions… we have lots of weeds in the patio, and I have discovered not only are they edible, they’re good for you! I hope to take my revenge on those pesky things by eating them… only the newest leaves to start though, as the flavours are more delicate:

Dandelion Recipe

You can then even make infusions from the dandelion heads, thus using the whole flower for body and mind! I do hope this inspires you to think of Summer salads and eating for less…