Blog Post
My Year Long Challenge

The year is still very young but there is that realisation I will soon be another year older.  Anyone that follows me on social media will see I have been showing a little bit of what I have learned to do over my many years.  I think I have a skill in creating things whether that be knitted jumpers, children’s clothes, growing food in the garden, my obvious baking and cooking attributes and even the odd pencil or pen and ink sketch.

When did all this start?   I can remember at junior school being asked to design a board for the classroom wall for some historical project we were doing as a class and I had a great time designing the titles, sketches and lettering.  By the way I couldn’t grasp algebra !!

As a teenager I made my own clothes and recall being in such a rush to finish a dress in time for a Saturday night out I would try and skip steps by not finishing off seams.  Huge mistake because the first time the dress was washed the inside was a mass of knotted up frayed cotton.  As a young wife and mother in the 1970s we had very little money.  I remember the famous Babygrow  being released onto the market but they were so expensive (for me anyway).  I decided instead to buy a white flannelette sheet and a sewing pattern for a baby nightdress.  I made seven beautiful little nighties and embroidered a motif on the yoke of each one – all for a fraction of the cost.  The plan was that I would have a clean nightdress every night for my new baby – not realising he would actually need more than one each night in the early days.

I think when money is tight one’s resources are pushed and we are forced to become smart.  I learnt to never waste food, be careful with the use of energy and found I was able to make clothes, decorate a room, grow my own food and generally run a house very efficiently.

More than forty years on and I haven’t changed.   I still grow food, bake and cook and make some clothes.  My clothes making is now restricted to those special clothes which I know my family treasure such as christening gowns and hand knitted cable sweaters.  I would like to think they may have become family heirlooms.

I am rambling on now but I just wanted to set the scene for my year long challenge to start very soon.   Across social media I have decided to share what I know in the form of a regular recipe, hint, tip or Life Hack (I gather this is new language!)  I would like to start an interactive forum where you ask me for tips, recipes and maybe ask for solutions to your problems.   I will respond to your requests the best I can.  For instance I have had several requests for recipes recently so those requests will be dealt with first.   I have some interesting things in the pipeline ranging from how to blind hem a dress or trousers, make your own pastrami (for around 50p per 100g instead of £2 per 100g to buy), an abundance of baking tips and recipes through to suggestions on how to make your household pennies go a lot further.

My plan is that I will put up a “how to” video clip, recipe or a hint or tip on how to do something.  The topics will cover basically what I do, whether that is in the kitchen, the garden, around the house or just out and about.  I have written almost 500 cooking, baking and preserving recipes in the last three years and have a wealth of household tips and money saving ideas.  I will also try to keep everything seasonal.

Ask me things you want to know.  I have done a few samples recently to show the kind of visuals I will do.   I am on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest so have a look around.

Just in case you are wondering – I am not getting paid by anyone to do this nor am I receiving sponsorship.   My videos will be simple as I only have an iphone facility but at the same time I will make sure they portray the information being shared.  My recipes will all have photographs attached and my hints and tips will be comprehensive.

Put simply I feel I have a lot of experience and knowledge and at my age it needs to be communicated.   I used to wish that my grandmother was still here so that I could have asked her something.  By taking on this challenge I am doing my best to share what I know with those people who want to get better and smarter.  Home management is not easy particularly when money is tight.  I promise you I will not show you anything that will be expensive – in fact quite the opposite.

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