Thursday, 28 March 2013

Dishwasher Delight!

Bit of a late blog post today but Neils jumped ship for a few days away so my backside definitely has not sat down today. I am currently enjoying my first hot cup of tea of the day!! (its amazing!!)

One of my favourite labour saving device has got to be the dishwasher. With 5 sets of dishes at every meal time and a business which produces large quantities of washing up, there is nothing nicer than loading the dishwasher up and pressing go. The biggest downside has to be the cost of dishwasher tablets, personally I feel they are hugely expensive. It had got to the stage where I was questioning our use of it. Lets be honest, when you have hot water, sink and washing up liquid it isnt exactly essential.

So i set about finding out what else could be used as an alternative to the expensive tablets.
After searching the internet i came across  many different recipes for dishwasher detergent but i wanted it to be easy to make with ingredients that werent going to be like hunting for a needle in a haystack.
Finally i came across She has published a recipe for the tablets so i took it and adapted it and this is what i ended up with:

2 cups of borax - available from most chemists or hardware stores.
2 cups washing soda - available from all major supermarkets.
1 cup salt
1/4 cup of lemon juice
15 drops of Lavender essential oil
1/2 cup of water

Mix all the ingredients together and then push it into ice cube trays. To keep them as tablets I then placed the trays in the freezer for 12 hours, lifted them out and let them sit for a few hours before pushing them out and putting them in a storage container.

I also read during my searching that white vinegar in the rinseaid compartment is fab........its true!

I managed to make 52 tablets out of this mix, it will all be dependant on the size of your ice cube trays. On this quantity I calculated that it cost me £1.30.

So, it wasnt difficult to make, it was certainly cost effective but does it work?

YES!! It does, really well. I thought it was as effective if not better than shop bought. On top of that it smells great, no chemicals, no it.

Have a go, you really will be impressed.

Right, im off to bed.

Good Night,

Love n hugs,

Suzi  xxxxxx

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Lets save money in the kitchen!!

Following on from yesterdays blog post about our Frock Swap Parties, I thought I would systematically work round the house telling you about the different things we do at Nice Buns, Nice Life Hq to save money.

Lets start in the kitchen.

Toys on floor, boots at door....a normal day in Nice Buns, Nice Life Hq kitchen!
The kitchen is one place where I would say we all spend a lot of money. Between antibacterial sprays, washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets and that's before we mention washing powder or the food in the cupboards.

Today we will tackle Anti-bacterial spray and washing up liquid.
I did a lot of research into both of these and was shocked at quite how simple they were.
For the Anti-bacterial spray I filled an old spray bottle with water and then added 10 drops of Pure Tea Tree oil and 10 drops of Pure Lavender oil. Shook it all together and hey presto, its ready to use.
Tea Tree oil is anti-infectious, anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Lavender oil is anti-infectious, anti-septic, anti-viral and anti-bacterial. A simple and cost effective alternative to store bought products. We purchase our essentials oils of ebay so as we can get them in larger quantities. Trust me, when you start this, it is addictive and you will find you will be using them for everything!

The recipe I use for the Washing up liquid is:
1 litre boiling water
2-3 drops tea tree oil or lavender oil
 2 heaped teaspoons of grated soap
 2 heaped teaspoons of Soda Crystals - available from all supermarkets, hugely in expensive and useful for lots.
1 tsp white vinegar - Again buy a large bottle as it is used for loads of different cleaners around the house.

Mix all of these ingredients together and then leave for a couple of hours before you use it. We kept an old washing up liquid bottle so we refill that. When you make it up it will just look like cloudy water but once left for a couple of hours to cool it will take on a gel like consistency.
The biggest thing you will notice with your homemade washing up liquid is that it won't foam as you would expect. This is because there is no foaming agent, makes sense now eh? I suppose what we should be asking is why is there a foaming agent in mainstream products? Does it help? Ours doesn't clean any less. We are really pleased with it, the only thing to remember is that it doesn't contain a degreaserator so if we are washing anything really nasty we add a glug of lemon juice to the water.

Nothing in these recipes are dangerous for children so get the kiddies making it with you. It is great fun, it really doesn't take much effort and they will love the change from watery soap to gloopy cleaner. Maybe you can even con them into washing up to test it. We have failed this bit so far.

Tomorrow we will tackle dishwasher tablets, now this one was so fun and so successful that I cant wait until we have to make more!!

Little changes will make a big difference over time.

Love n hugs,

Suzi xxxxxx

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

We have snow money!

Well after another crazy couple of weeks at Nice Buns, Nice Life HQ I have finally found five minutes to sit down with a brew and catch up.
March has been a month of Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting, Frock Swapping and now Snow!!
Thats right, the end of March, obviously Spring missed the memo!

As many of you know, Neil and I have battled hard to get to were we are ( The Journey So Far - A Dream Come True) . We are not out of the woods yet so we continue to strive and follow our dreams on a daily basis. It's not always easy, we are very lucky as we have such a strong relationship so we can always rely on each other if one of us is losing focus.
Some days it feels like money, or the lack of it, is all we talk about. Continually number crunching and always working towards a successful business and a comfortable existence. These converstaions generally provoke lots more thought processes to take place and many more random conversations that generally begin with, 'what do you think about?'.
It led us to sit down and evaluate what we spend money on and where things can be cut back. Its scary when you write everything down but also very good to help you pinpoint wastage.
Over the coming blog posts I will share with you, how we save money at home, things that work, things that don't and everything in between.
The one thing that is very important to me is that our children wont miss out. I never want them to feel like they have to do without, however I do want them to learn how to live well within their means.

Whilst enjoying a rare few moments to myself a few weeks back I had a bit of a eureka moment (as you do!! lol) . The one thing that Neil and I rarely do is shop for clothes for ourselves. Before the kids arrived I had been to a Frock Swap party when we lived in England. It was a really super night out so I decided we should organize one.
The initial feedback was amazing. On the night we had 11 ladies arrive, bringing with them dresses, skirts, trousers, hand bags, jewellery etc
Everybody paid £5 at the door to cover costs. After a nice brew everyone started to relax and the swap began. The idea being that everybody brings items that they no longer use and they exchange them for something that somebody else brought.
We had a fab night, there was lots of girlie chat, lots of outfits being tried on and finding new homes. It was great. A cheap and productive evening out!

March must be the month for Frock Swaps as Ikea Balfast is holding a Frock Swap party this Thursday from 6pm in their restaurant area. If you are free pop down and give them some support.

We were contacted by Ikea to do an interview for the Belfast Telegraph in relation to our own event. Obviously we jumped at the chance and later that week I was interviewed by Claire Mc Neilly from the Belfast Telegraph. I love telling people about what we do and what we hope to achieve and it was lovely to be interviewed by someone who appeared as equally excited as us!

Our Frock Swap was a great success so we are holding another one on the 12th April, 7.30pm - 9.30pm. This one will be slightly different as we are including mens and childrens clothes in the swap. So if you have some outfits in the back of your wardrobe that you know you will never wear again, come along and swap them and while you are here bring any clothes your kids have grown out off and swap them too.

Whats not to love? As far as i can see its a win win situation, you get to enjoy a great evening out whilst getting a new wardrobe all for £5!

And lets face it, if we can save money where ever possible then when the big things creep up like car tax, insurance etc, the chainsaw packing in (Shouts Neil from the front door), then hopefully we should have the money to sort it and life will be that little bit more comfortable.

Love n hugs,


Saturday, 2 March 2013

Is that...THE SUN!?!?!?!?

Well hello there.  How are you?

Hasn't it been nice to see some sunshine peaking through and a hint of spring on the way?

This little glimmer of warmer days ahead made us abandon the workshop and run away to the seaside for a spot of beach combing. Well wrapped up of course!!

It makes for a wonderfully crafty day for you and the kids. Head for the beach with your back packs and hunt for pretty shells or bits of stones and old glazed tiles that have been washed up by the tide. Bring a flask. Pour a cup of tea? Coffee?...Whiskey?...It's a bit early. OK, now allow yourself to dream about where these things came from. Think Spain and Italy rather than 10 minutes up the coast. Meanwhile the kids will run round finding all sorts of stuff. You will know you have enough treasure when the kids start complaining about being cold, wet and hungry. Home time.

Right then...Lunch eaten and everyone suitably warmed up, lets have a dig through the bags. Disgard sand, rubbish and rogue sea creatures. Don't laugh! They'll be in there!! I guarantee it!! Sea snails, hermit crabs, you name it. What do you expect? You were drinking tea(?) the whole time. (Anyone would think I'm projecting my own daft mistakes onto you.)

With the good stuff separated and laid out, come up with a design or picture for a little mosaic. changes the shape and sizes of the tiles with a small hammer. Get dad in on this bit. Dads love hammers!!

Next glue the bits into your design in a box frame and you have a lovely little reminder of a nice day out and some decor for the kids rooms. I recommend a hot/warm glue gun and if daddy is particularly useful you can get him to grout between for a more finished look.

Pictures to follow of our latest finished creations. We are STILL waiting to see if our daddy is particularly useful. Here's one of our seaside trip to keep you going.

By the time you have all that done it will probably be dinner time. Fish and chips anyone?

Love & kisses