Lasting till Payday: Spend less on your water bill

Lasting till Payday header

It is utterly official… Mr Pigeon and I on average use half as much water as the ‘average’ couple.

saving money on your water bill

In fact, we use less than someone living on their own on a day-to-day basis….and yes…that is our actual water bill.

How do we do it? Well, I can assure you that we are squeaky clean, so it’s not the fact we aren’t washing, and Mr Pigeon works from home a lot of the time, as do I so it’s not like we are flushing ‘other’ toilets and washing our hands in other palces…. we just abide by some simple guidelines…

1: It doesn’t go on till it’s full.

Yes, yes, like mothers have told their children for decades, it doesn’t go on till it’s full. The two main culprits are of course the dishwasher and the washing machine. We make sure we fill ours with a full load each time before I hit ‘go’.If that means your machine only goes on twice a week, so be it.

You can reuse a side plate that has only had sandwiches on it you know, and that mug is good for at least a days worth of tea, you don’t need a clean mug every time, give it a rinse if you must…. but the less crockery you make dirty, the less times your dishwasher has to go on in a week.

Jeans don’t need washing EVERY TIME you wear them, in fact if you rotate wearing your pairs of trousers you can get 4-5 wears out of them before they need washing (unless you’ve split burger/milkshake/mud pies on them of course). I know that probably sounds super gross to some of you, but hey, I don’t smell and I work with teenagers…they’d soon tell me if I did…. and surely it’s only super gross if you aren’t wearing undies….and why the hell aren’t you wearing undies with trousers?!

2: Eco mode is your friend.

When your machine does go on, if there is an eco mode or a quick mode…use it. You’ll use less water, which is the point right?

3: Don’t throw it down the plug hole.

Your glass of water for through the night…still got half left in the morning but it’s looking a little manky? Got some water left over from boiling your eggs? Don’t throw it down the plug hole for goodness sake! Pour it into a pot plant, pop it in the dog bowl (they REALLY aren’t fussed about a bit of dust) pour it down your toilet so it uses less water next time you flush, whack it in your watering can for the greenhouse/garden on a dry day, throw it in the washing up bowl and use it to soak something later….just don’t throw it down the plug hole and then find you have to draw new fresh water for a job that doesn’t require it.

4: Rainwater is free.

You know we complain about the rain here in England? Well…why do we do that? Rainwater is freeeeeeee and can be used for all sorts around the home. We just collect the rainwater from our garage roof and we fill a very large water-butt in about an hour. During the winter we rig up and overflow system into an old wheelie bin that lasts us right through the summer dry spells. We use that water for all our pressure washing, watering the garden in summer, watering house plants, watering the chickens (not actual watering but you get what I mean), watering the greenhouse, and dog water. Yes…Chekhov drinks more from his garden bowl (read a massive orange flexi trug that we top up from the water-butt) than he does from his water bowl in the house….we think it’s because it doesn’t taste like human-y chemicals.Chekhov drinking from a bottle dog pointer cross

5: Showers are good.

We don’t have a bath in our house. I don’t miss it one iota as I fall asleep in them A LOT and am a drowning hazard so I have to bath with the door open (“I DON’T HEAR SPLASHING!”), but Mr Pigeon misses it a lot, but looks forward to going to hotels with work as he nows sees it as a real treat.

We in fact have a massive double shower, which is great for me as I can dance in there….true story. It is also great for washing the dog in when he is just TOO filthy for a quick swizz with the hose outside, he can shake in there all he likes without making a massive mess of my bathroom. Showers also save a lot of water if you compare the time spent in them to the amount of litres of water used. So shower, don’t bath to save water.

You can save more water by showering/bathing together too….just saying…

What are your saving water tips?

wpid-signoff2013.png

A whole heap of news…

Challaborough bay beach & Burgh island Chekhov pointer collie cross dog under legs Ringmore Beach Ayrmer Cove Tomatoes Chillies green homegrown Chekhov pointer cross under desk cutie Chooks Chicken eglu classic run Beetroot sharpie rock marker peekabo chicken fence ginger Gus & Chekhov Pointer cross The Pigeon's Nest Lucy MAde Me gazebo Bletchingley Fair Dairy outside

So I’ve been off galavanting, living life and biting off lots of things that are far too big for me to chew! I mean…why change the habit of a lifetime?

We actually went on holiday. Last month Mr Pigeon, Chekhov and I went on our first family holiday on our own…yep…we got married and didn’t test drive that first…..and if you remember we didn’t have a honeymoon…..thankfully it went well!

We walked the coastal paths for miles and miles, enjoyed the beaches (Chekhov especially loved the beaches), ate endless amounts of naughty yummy stuff and relaxed. I run at a million miles an hour here at home with a to-do list as long as my arm and it was pure bliss to realise that I had NOTHING to do. We went out of season due to the cost and the dog having access to the beach, but we had decent weather…not that that worried me…and I’d definitely go at that time again.

I’ve also been hitting the garden pretty hard this year trying to make it work for us. Our courgettes were a wash out, but with the amount of green beans, tomatoes, beetroot, swiss chard and chillies we have harvested this year, as well as two little pears from our baby pear tree, we won’t be getting scurvy any time soon.

The chooks have been out and spreading their wings. We have sectioned off a piece of garden for them to free range in now as their scent was making Chekhov dig MASSIVE holes throughout the garden……I did joke a one point that we could open a golf course, but Mr Pigeon dutifully filled it all in and reseeded….and yes…I get ‘a look’ from him when I said anything about the lawn…

Chehov has been progressing really well with other dogs. We had a stage 6 months ago where he was attacking other dogs whenever they came near him through fear, we’ve worked hard and he has come out of the other side and now has some really nice doggie friends, like Gus, who lives next door and comes for play dates.

Mr Pigeon has changed jobs and been headhunted and all that sort of glorious stuff, meaning I get to focus more and more on my small business…apparently I married extremely well! Teehee. He’s very excited about having his dinner on the table and his shirts ironed for work and I have to admit I’m quite excited about doing those sorts of things!

I guess the biggest news is that behind the scenes I have worked hard with Lucy from Lucy Made Me and we have only gone and gotten ourselves a studio space! We’ll be blogging our adventures of being co-operative small businesses here.

Whew…..

wpid-signoff2013.png

How To: shop for clothes at a car boot

When I challenged myself to buy no ‘shop new’ clothes until next August, I didn’t realise how good the pickings of second-hand clobber at car boots could be!

Car boot sales and selling your stuff quickly is actually quite attractive to a lot of people ranging in size and styles, and there is a lot of great stuff to be had. For me it beats eBay every time as you can touch and feel what you are buying (I’m a  feely toucher ok?!) and you can also avoid paying postage and gauge if it would fit you by eye, also it’s generally cheaper than charity shops.

Mums of Britain…there is a PLETHORA of fancy baby and children’s clothes and goodies being sold for 50p an item (and sometimes much less!!!) so get down there and have a rummage and save yourself a fortune! I cannot stress enough that any children I have in the future are going to barely have ANYTHING shop new, as the secondhand children’s market is blooming marvellous. I mean do people actually buy Moses baskets in the shops? I saw 8 last weekend….8 gorgeous Moses baskets for sale…. all for under £15 and in beautiful condition.

But what about adult clothing?….. I can already feel a few of you wincing at the thought of rummaging on a clothes rail in the middle of a field at 7am on a Sunday morning… but it really is painless…. and actually finding that bargain is one of my most favouritest feelings in the world…parrelled to eating something I have grown myself.

So here are my top five tips to shopping for clothing at car boot sales.

1 – Eye up the seller

The lady that looks like Wurzel Gummidge is very unlikely to by selling a sequin dress from Topshop, so cast your eye across the seller before you get on your knees and rummage to the bottom of the box of old dishcloths. This is also a good way to gauge the sizing of the clothing that the seller are trying to shift. This isn’t the be all and end all I might add, as there are a lot of bargains and lovely vintage to be had by people who are clearing out their wardrobes after 20 or so years. If you are after trendy stuff though, you want to aim for the 20 somethings who are doing the fairs with a friend or with their mums to make a bit of cash for the night out the following weekend.

2- Have a rummage

I once saw a girl literally dump a boot load of clothing onto a sheet on the ground and let people rummage through. £1 a piece she said, and oh lordy did I rummage. I came out with 5 gorgeous pieces, all from Topshop and River Island, all from the very bottom of the pile, threw my money at her and ran before I ended up buying too much (I was there selling at the time!). Rummaging is the fun of a boot fair. Rummaging doesn’t have to be hands on, I do a pretty good eye rummage now, but if something catches your gaze, be it a pattern or a fabric, pull it out and have a look, you can always fold it back up or hang it back up if it isn’t your sort of thing, people won’t be offended….honest!

Car boot finds floral

3 – What do you already own?

Now before you buy that black jacket…how many do you already own? Or will those zany neon hotpants go with anything else you already have? (Yeah… I know…they’ll go great with that rainbow sequinned boob tube you bought at the last table!)

There is no point wasting your money and clogging up your wardrobe with things you aren’t going to wear or that you have 4 of already (cough cough…grey cardigans…I have 3).

Car boot finds leopard print

I’m not saying go with a list, that’s the opposite of what you should do, but go with an open mind and a rough idea of what you DON’T need.

4- Know what it is worth

A Balmain inspired cropped Per Una lined jacket at £4 is an utter bargain. Yes…I know…to some of you I just put loads of words together and threw them in a sentence… but if you are really looking for the bargains, you need to know what you are looking at.

I have a basic working knowledge of fashion and clothing design, no more than the next girl who has watched Devil wears Prada. I do have the benefit of knowing about stitching from my time at my sewing machine and I have a good idea about fabric quality from my love of vintage fabrics and clothing, but most of it is about common sense and looking at labels.

Before you ask how much, think of the number that you would sell it for and think about what you’d be willing to pay for it.

When you ask how much, consider the answer and then have another look at what is in your hand. Before you hand over your money, is it worth what they are asking for it. Has it got any holes in the lining? Has it got any stains? Is the fabric all bobbley? My friends have seen me throw money and run as the item is well under what I feel its worth, and they have also seen me put it down and walk away to think about it as I walk around.

5 – Feel the fear and buy it anyway

I never never try ANYTHING on at the boot fair. I put things up against myself. I have even been known to take a tape measure with me. I have also just bought things because I think the fabric is beautiful despite it being several sizes too small….those things get made into home decor so I can look at the beautiful fabric forever!

Not sure a massive faux fur leopard print coat would suit you? They are selling it for £3…..feel the fear and buy that sucker…because you would look fabulous in faux fur…I mean who doesn’t!

I felt the fear and bought this frock anyway.

mint green lace dress £1 car boot sale

It cost me a £1 (from the bottom of the heap from the £1 an item lady) and it is like NOTHING I normally wear or I own. I wore it out last Saturday night and got so many compliments (in real life and via instagram!) and I felt great in it…. after an initial freak out before I left the house (“I look like an ice cream at a wedding!!”)…. and added more eyeliner and bracelets to rock it up a bit.

I would never have bought a dress like this from River Island at full price (£30 +), I wouldn’t have risked the colour (I like black…a lot) and I wouldn’t have risked the length (it’s a little on the short side…but as long as I don’t bend over I’m decent), but for £1 I had nothing to lose…expect maybe my dignity if it had been gusty out!

It’s the perfect opportunity to play with colours and styles that noramlly you’d be a bit frightened of.

Happy hunting!

wpid-signoff2013.png

The jumper that bought the farm…

Regular readers will know that I LOVE an outlandish novelty jumper.

So imagine how extremely happy I was when Mama Pigeon presented me with this beauty this weekend, that had been languishing in a drawer of hers since late 1990′s. Oh god I love it.

Farm jumper

That’s right…there is a flipping FARM ON MY JUMPER…. A FARM!

Farm jumper back

And the back is just as cute!

This, my friends is why fashion sucks and clothes rule. Another disgusting jumper saved from landfill, another item added to my wardrobe for FREE. YES!

IMG_2153.JPG

Don’t Throwaway Threads

Fashion has become so fickle. And it’s boring the pants off me. Quite literally.

It’s looping and looping around,  and age-old ‘staples’ that I claim as fashion have slid back into the ‘popular’ stream, meaning that all the lumberjack shirts and leggings I’ve been wearing since…well since I pinched a couple of Papa Pigeon’s old shirts aged 14… are finally back ‘in’. I’m not saying the most fashionable bird around…far from it…I know that some of my clothing choices are down right ridiculous, but I like how they make me feel…and that my friends is what clothes are for. They are meant to work for you…not the other way round.

DOn't throwaway thread (2)

I’m not saying that fashion is a bad thing, but we need to see this beast for what it is. A money-making churning machine. I am appreciative that disco pants came back in…I’ve been aching for a pair of skin tights shinys since I saw Sandy in that last scene from Grease as a little girl….I know…issues…but I’m not willing to buy plastic ‘futuristic’ see through high heels, when we all know that tweed and english heritage will be back in this winter… just you mark my words (EVERY YEAR!).

So to help myself step away from this big churny machine and to save pennies…I’m not buying any new clothes for 365 days. Don’t fret clothing hoarders… I will get some new-to-me clobber, but you’ll find me making it a mission this WHOLE year to only buy from carboot sales, charity shops, clothing swaps and to upcycle things I already have lurking in the back of my wardrobe. Women on average have over 3,000 items in their wardrobe (I think mine is about that…glup) and 60% of us whine about having nothing to wear for a night out…. that is insanity.

We also throw out soooo much fabric in this country and it drives me batty. NO fabric leaves this house in a binbag. All my old clothes are either shredded and used as stuffing for a multiple of things or the fabric picked apart at the seams and turned into housewares or items for my shop. I don’t actually think we have even thrown out so much as an old dishcloth… (they get boil washed multiple times and reused before I shred them and put them in the composter)… since we moved here….

So I’ll also be trying to show you what I do with all my old stuff that is honestly long past dead.

DOn't throwaway thread (1)

My biggest fear is basics and jeans. I already know that my black ballet pumps have had it and that I need another white vest, so they are going to be hard to find second-hand. Jeans for me are my holy grail. They have to be long enough and fit me both around the waist and the bottom…a seriously tall order that only Uniqlo has been able to fill recently…argh! My biggest weakness is going to be when all the jumpers come back into the high street….oh gawd I love a jumper. I’m however excited about trying out new shapes and things out of my comfort zone as I will have less choice.

Wish me luck!

wpid-signoff2013.pngI will be instagramming and tweeting with the hashtag #dontthrowawaythreads if you want to follow or join in! :D

 

Cranleigh Show with Lucy Made Me

If you follow The Pigeon’s Nest on Facebook….which you TOTALLY should by the way…not only am I witty and do I upload pictures of my latest makes in super quick time…. it is also where my lovely buyers get to see all the backstage action from the fairs I do with the gorgeous Lucy from Lucy Made Me.

I have officially stopped booking fairs and shows that require me to go solo as spending the day selling with Lucy is honestly the only way I want to sell face-to-face from now on. FACT.

I thought I’d just share some of the photos that Lucy took of our grand day out that started at 4am and ended at 6pm, which included playing shops, a very helpful and dishy platter man, our next door neighbour playing JAZZ music ALL DAY, us planning world domination, a large box of sausage rolls, free wine from a nice lady, being asked where our brick and mortar shop is….(eeeeeek we wish!) and stuffing our faces…a lot.

Enjoy!

Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show Lucy Made ME & The PIgeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show

The day ended with me sitting in a Kaboodle Bag that I will be reviewing VERY soon as I think it is flipping aces!

I mean HOW ELSE do loooong days like that end?

Lucy Made Me & The Pigeon's Nest at Cranleigh Show

If you want to come and have a giggle with me and Lucy in the flesh we will be at Godstone Village Fete on August Bank Holiday Monday. We will also be doing 3 DAYS (don’t get me started – I’m flipping terrified!) on the first weekend in December at the lovely big Christmas show at Caverley Grounds in Tunbridge Wells….we have a chalet and EVERYTHING….

We love having visitors and we promise not to be too over excited…. ok….that last bit is a fib…

wpid-signoff2013.pngPs – Did you spot the new skin ink? :D

How To: DIY a Laundry Bag

Laundry is a bone of contention at our house at the moment…I mean…how can one task take up SOOOO much of my life?

To ease my headache of ‘the dreaded sort’ we purchased two new bins and labelled them whites and darks….I know… how where we living like heathens before only having ONE bin? That simple addition of two bins has shaved at least 15 minutes off sorting time per load…hooray.

What I needed next was a laundry bag for the bathroom (I use a clean flannel daily and I use reuseable cotton pads that need hot washing) and a delicate bag for the bedroom for undies and whatnot.

Using two 12″ embroidery hoop (yeah…I actually had these lying around), some ribbon and two pillowcases I created two matching laundry bags by trapping the pillowcases in the hoops and attaching a hanging ribbon. These actually lay really flat against the wall so are great for small spaces.

embroidery hoop laundry bag how to pillowcase

This is looped over a hook on the interior of the door so it doesn’t fall down every time we open the airing cupboard.

I tend to take them out of the hoops and whack the whole bag in the wash. It helps keep away nasty pongs…especially from the bathroom one…boys seem to be able to make everything reek….including flannels! How is that possible?

So yeah, we have more laundry bags than people in our house…I’m the same with rubbish bins though…. got to have one in every room! There is probably a name for that right?

wpid-signoff2013.png