• Home
  • My New Favorite Toy: A Cordless Vacuum

    Morphy Richards 732000

    Hello – I hope you had a good Christmas period!

    Mine was the usual mix of fun, stress and anxiously looking the other way while my family bickers. In other words, the average Christmas!

    The good news is that a VERY good friend decided to splash out on me this Christmas and buy me a new cordless vacuum – namely the Morphy Richards 732000. He was very generous to do so, as he knew I had been looking up cordless vacuums for AGES (mainly on here but also elsewhere).

    And I LOVE it!

    I’m the type of person who enjoys trying to make everything efficient. I hate waste…especially wasted TIME. Hoovering the house always used to be such a chore, as my old vac had such a short cord that I was constantly needing to move it (not to mention tripping over it).

    The Morphy Richards gets rid of all that ridiculousness. It lasts much longer than I thought on a single charge and is also more powerful than I expected.

    Sure, it’s not the best or most expensive cordless vacuum. I also still need to occasionally get out the bigger vacuum when I want a deeper clean. But for everyday cleaning it’s amazing!

    What are the Benefits of a Cordless Vacuum?

    If you’ve never used a cordless hoover before you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Here’s why I think everyone should own one in 2017:

    • They don’t have a cord (surprise surprise). This makes it much easier to get them around your house and also makes cleaning quicker.
    • They are better for cleaning higher places and many have a detachable handheld. The Morphy Richards has this and it’s amazing how much easier cleaning becomes.
    • They have a much better battery life than they used to. Unless you have a huge home, you probably don’t need to worry about recharging during a single clean.

    It could be that I’m just excited because it’s a new toy – but I really think I’ll be using this handy machine for a long time.

    Have you got a cordless vacuum? Do you think it’s worth the money? And are you as excited about it as I am? Hit me up in the comments!

  • Cooking
  • How to Make the Perfect Fruit Smoothie

    veg-smoothie

    I think one of the best ways to get all your nutrients each day, especially if you’re not a vegan, is to have a fruit and veg smoothie each morning. Not only are they packed with nutrients and vitamins, but they are also great for energy boosting!

    I’ll get to the step-by-step guide in a minute, but the most important thing is to get your RATIOS correct. The best ratio is 1 part fluid/1 part fruit/1 part ice or frozen fruitI’ll talk more about this in a minute, but it’s the key to a smoothie that tastes nice (which is vital if you want to drink it regularly). I always start with a soya milk base, and then add the vegetables until I’ve got all the nutrients I need. Only then will I start adding fruit.

    Step 1: Get a good blender!

    The most obvious thing you need is a top quality blender. I recently replaced my old and battered Kenwood with a Nutri Ninja, on the recommendation of this guide to the best blender for smoothies. I’ve been really pleased with it, especially the Auto IQ which extracts the most possible juice and nutrients from each fruit and veg.

    Step 2: Start with the Liquid

    There are several options for a liquid base. As I mentioned, I enjoy a soya milk base, but here are the others you could try:

    • Water – if you want to focus on the flavours of the fruit rather than the base, then a liquid base is probably the best option.
    • Almond milk – a good alternative if you don’t like soya.
    • Fruit juice – this is the unhealthy alternative, especially if don’t squeeze it yourself, as fruit contains a lot of sugar.
    • Coconut water – if you love tropical tastes, coconut water is another good option.

    Step 3: Add Thickener

    Ice is the usual thickener, and you won’t need to use this step if you’re using frozen fruits. But it you want an even thicker consistency, try using dairy free yoghurt.

    Step 4: Add the Fruit and Veg

    Next, pick the vegetables (I use frozen) and add them to the smoothie maker. There are near-infinite combinations, but I like to include blueberry and banana in most of my smoothies.

    This is also the point where you should add some green veg. I’m a big fan of kale and spinach. You can also add some flax seeds.

    My Favourite Healthy Recipe

    If you’re looking for a simple smoothie recipe, I recommend the following. Make sure you useĀ  ripe bananas and drink it straight away!

    • 1 cup of filtered water
    • 1 or 2 bananas
    • Handful of kale and spinach
    • 1/2 cup strawberries (frozen)
    • 1/2 cup blueberries (frozen)

     

  • DIY
  • New Money-Saving Hobby: Sewing

    Example of a dress people can sew
    How great would it be to sew dresses like this?

    Sewing was always part of my childhood. My mother used to fix all our clothes whenever they had a hole – it was just the normal thing to do. She also loved knitting, although I never quite got the hang of that!

    Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m TERRIBLE at sewing though. I think I’ve attempted it twice to fix some clothes using a friends machine – both have been abject failures.

    That’s why I’ve decided to start practicing sewing. Apart from saving money when clothes break, I have friends who re-fashion last year’s clothes which would save me a lot of money. There is also evidence that suggests the process of sewing is good for your brains, as the concentration combined with small hand movements activates many regions of the brain. This is especially true of quilting, which UK newspapers have reported improves emotional, social and cognitive health (quite a list for such a simple hobby).

    Not to mention the self-esteem boost at looking at a lovely item of clothing and thinking “I made that!”

    I thought it might be interesting to document my progress on this blog. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

    • Watched several “guide to sewing” videos online (check out the video below which I thought was the best one)
    • Read a guide to sewing machines for beginners (I don’t want to waste my money on a machine that isn’t up for the job)
    • Researched sewing clubs in my local area (there are a few, but I’m not sure which I’ll go to yet)

    Here’s the video I’m talking about:

    If you’re new to sewing, or you just need a refresher, I highly recommend this video. It’s the first in a series by Sewing Parts Online, and teaches you how to wind and thread a machine. It also talks about installing a top loading and front loading bobbin (which was gibberish to me before the video).

    Look out for my first post about my sewing journey soon. I promise to post all my projects – good or bad – so I can get feedback and see what you think!

  • Veganism
  • What’s Wrong with Vegan Cakes?

    A vegan chocolate cake

    Credit to VegKitchen for the picture above.

    If you’re vegan, you’ve almost certainly experienced something like the following exchange:

    Them: “Oh wow, that chocolate cake looks amazing!”

    Me: “Yeah I know! I’m pleased with how it came out.”

    Them: “I bet. You won’t be able to eat it though right?”

    Me: “I can! It’s a vegan chocolate cake.”

    Them: “Oh…”

    They try to hide it, bless them, but they just can’t hide their disappointment. And I don’t blame them, because I used to feel like that too before I gave up dairy and eggs.

    But vegan cakes can REALLY be just as nice as the “real” thing! It’s true that you usually need to use more oil, but you can get a really nice soft sponge consistency with cakes that is surprising. There are also egg substitutes that have a similar effect without the ethical concerns.

    I had friends round this weekend and had the exact conversation I wrote above. They would never say it – they are too nice for that – but I know they were thinking “why couldn’t she have just baked a real cake!?”

    The good news is that their politeness meant that they had to try a bit – and when they did they completely changed their mind. I’ll probably type up the recipe, which is one of my own, in the near future, because it really was good.

    But until then, here are some tips for cooking the perfect vegan cake:

    • Make sure you weigh EVERYTHING correctly. I find vegan cake recipes are a lot less forgiving, you need to get everything right.
    • On the same note, pre-heat your oven so it’s at exactly the right temperature.
    • Eggs are usually vital for baking, as they bind ingredients together and maintain the moisture. That’s why you need a good vegan egg substitutes.
    • Shortcrust pastry is much easier than puff pastry, so stick to the basic option if you’re new to baking (you’ll have enough to think about already).
    • You can often just use substitutes from a regular cake recipe. For example, scones can be made from soy milk (unsweetened) and vegan margarine.

    Those are just a few tips to get you started. If you would like to see more, let me know in the comments!