5 ingenious ways to reuse bottles, jars and glassware in your home

5 ingenious ways to reuse bottles, jars and glassware in your home

When you finish a pot of jam, a bottle of gin, or a jar of gherkins, what do you do with the empty pot? Often times I've thrown it straight into the recycling and not given it a second thought, but in more recent months I've started collecting used jars and bottles to repurpose them. 

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Finally making our bedroom lighting more 'wow' | Bedroom makeover update

Ok so the bedroom is slowly but surely looking like how I want it. If you want to see before + after shots, head on over here. I also did a little step by step guide to creating a gallery wall for the less confident decorator.

We got the whole bedroom re-skimmed with plaster, sealed it all, gave it some fresh colours, and now I'm sorting finishing touches. We're slowly making progress, we still have a way to go but it feels good :)

The lighting has been on my list of things to change since FOREVER. When we moved in I was glad of the previous owner leaving all of the light shades and window dressings - it's meant we've had more time to think about what we want to replace things with, but in the same breath it's slowed down my progress as it's never been a priority to make changes.

With the help of family run lighting specialists (who I will now forever look to when considering lighting fixtures and changes) Dowsing & Reynolds, we had a pretty seamless switch over from our plain white plastic light fixture to this shiny new copper cage pendant. 

Dowsing & Reynolds gave me the freedom to create my own bespoke light. From the colour of the ceiling rose, the material, length and colour of the cable to the shade, bulb holder and light bulb, you can customise a light to suit any space and fit it all as soon as it arrives without too much technical expertise (err, well, if you have a new build property that is). 

I'll tell you a bit about how everything arrives and how we went about assembling it, but for a full on DIY post, I recommend checking out Kimberly's blog Swoon Worthy where I stole inspiration and where I spend most of my spare waking hours these days (thanks Kimberly!)

Above is the basic kit you need for installing and hanging a light of this style. I chose all of mine on the Dowsing + Reynolds site, working to a copper theme with dark grey fabric cable, and a gorgeous vintage lightbulb. I asked Neil (he has no prior electrician experience) if he could remove our current fittings and install the whole light fitting and ceiling rose. It turned out very doable (he is pretty trustworthy with this sort of thing, and can turn his hand to anything although he'll probably disagree if he read this) until we reached a problem that only an experts mind could fix.

As we live in a flat built in the late 1800s, our wiring behind the ceiling rose had just 2 wires not the standard 3, so we had to get a sparky in to rewire and fit it for us. She did an excellent job at a really low cost (£25). It's one thing to bear in mind if you're thinking of doing a DIY job. In a new build, or in houses post 1920s I'd imagine it would be fairly simple. But for the sake of £25, we felt a lot safer having an expert come in to take over. And a huge high five was in order at the fact our electrician was a woman. What a legend.

Dowsing & Reynolds provide all the necessary screws, wall plugs and instructions to do this yourself but it's useful to have a cable stripper or stanley knife to cut the cable to the length you want it, and as I already mentioned, previous experience is better than none at all so if you do know electricians that don't mind doing small jobs, I'd ask them before you try it yourself.

Also one last thing - always remember to switch your power of at the fusebox before fiddling with any lighting or electrics. 

I can't wait to start plotting ideas for our living room now. I think something a little cosier in line with our traditional feel we have going on in the living room might work. I'm sure I'll find a tonne of ideas on the Dowsing & Reynolds website. 

Next on my list is to change those disgusting blinds!


DIY latte coffee art (for when your milk skills suck)

I got a new Tassimo Bosch Coffee maker this week and thought I'd try my hand at some latte art to share with you. 

You know the kind, white fluffy hearts or tulips neatly presented at the top of your cappuccino cup when you order in at Starbucks.

Well, you won't be surprised when I tell you, it didn't go so good *insert laughing emoji here*

I did a very short barista class a long long time ago at a coffee shop in Brighton, where I was taught about the fast and slow pouring, and the quick hand gestures needed to craft fine coffee art. As an avid amateur baker, with the piping skills of a 5 year old, I didn't hold much hope for myself, and I spent the class fooling around getting high on caffeine. 

I thought that being older, wiser and more serious about nailing the art I would give it another go with my shiny new coffee machine. 

I've always wanted to be able to wow people that come visit us, presenting them with tulip shaped milk in their cups. I watched handy Youtube videos to sharpen my memory of the class (thank God for Youtube) but after using almost 10 Tassimo pods and about 4 pints of milk trying to nail it, I gave up. It was too much of a cost, and I just couldn't steam my milk right. 

So I came up with a fools guide to wowing visitors with their very own bespoke coffee art designs. It's laughable, but it made me feel a little less like a failure in doing this. 

As you can probably see from the photos (all very self explanatory and school girl) you cut out your guest's initial from some cardboard, place is over your freshly whipped milk, and sprinkle with cocoa powder (or in my case, Lindt Hot Chocolate sachets) et voille! 

One day I will nail the art to creating cappuccino + latte hearts. But for now, I'll settle with my quick and easy DIY art. 

All I need now are some visitors to show off my Tassimo creations, anyone fancy calling for a cuppa?

A chilled out crafty morning [& my first video]

You may remember me mentioning that I wanted to spend 2015 being a little more crafty, trying out new arts and crafts. Well, not one to shy away from my word, I did just that with the help of some brilliant crafty how-to's on Sykes Cottages blog. They have a really inspiring vintage DIY and craft guide for beginners which you'll see me looking at in our wee film below.
I first made some cute earrings from beads and wire, and then my own lavender votive candle. Not going to lie, I'm no natural but it was really fun switching off from technology and emails for a while to relax and make something with my hands - no pressure to do it well, no looking at the clock thinking about what I'm supposed to rush through next, just a chilled out morning with biscuits and beads. I can imagine how fun it would be to do a crafty weekend away in a secluded cottage.
Something else we tried for the first time - filming. Well, Neil filmed and edited. I just stirred some wax in a saucepan and ate biscuits at the speed of light. Tough job eh?
I hope you like the little film we made. Nobody told me halogen lights don't like being on camera?! Oh well, we live and learn. 

F & N x

DIY: Make your own lavender bath bomb

Did you read my recent '7 ways I've made my life better?' post? If so you'll remember me wanting to be more creative in 2015. 

I've long read DIY & thrifty home interior blogs wishing I could be even an inch as creative as the authors pulling together their own work of art for a mere £5, but in reality, it takes a lot of practice to become truly great at something. 

I find that the best way you can introduce yourself to new skills, is by purchasing beginner's kits with instructions and all the necessary basic materials so you can gauge whether you want to make this a long-term hobby of yours - and get good at it. 

Cue this Kirstie Allsopp Lavender Bath Bombes Kit arriving in the post from Hobbycraft last week. 

By the way is it bath bombs, or bath bombes? I'll never know.

After making from scratch 4 beautifully formed spherical bath bombs that kinda resemble ice cream, I realised it really wasn't as difficult to be crafty as my brain had always told me. I'm officially on the DIY bandwagon and here's how it panned out:

Inside the kit / Ingredients you'll need to make your own:

450g bicarbonate of soda
300g citric acid granules 
150g cornflour
5ml lavender essential oil
5g lavender dried flowers
4 sphere bomb moulds
1 spray bottle

Use half of the measurements above for 4 mini bath bombs like mine

1. Empty the citric acid granules into a large bowl, then sieve the bicarbonate of soda and cornflour on top of the citric acid.

2. Empty your essential oil into a spray bottle and spritz a thin layer all over the dry mix and stir it together. 

3. The instructions within Kirstie's pack says you should hear fizzing and bubbling as the mixture comes together, but mine was still very powdery. I added about 1tbsp of water (careful not to put too much in, or your bomb mixture will fizz away!) and found it came together much better.

4. Sprinkle your lavender flowers into the moulds (be artistic with this part, it'll determine the final look!) 

5. Now, fill the moulds pushing firmly together and secure. Leave them 24 hours to harden and combine.

6. 24 hours later, twist the moulds to release the bath bombs, et voile! Enjoy your bath!

I have yet to use mine, as we don't have a bath in our new flat (!) so I'll be sharing them with my nearest and dearests expecting a full review shortly after they use them.

Overall, I couldn't believe how easy bath bombs are to make at home. You could even try using rose petals to decorate, or different essential oils depending on your favourite smells. 

10/10 for making these kits, Mrs Allsopp! At £20 (now £15 with 25% off) they're a steal. I'm dying to get my hands on these kits too:

They'd also make wonderful gifts. Check out Hobbycraft's range of gifts to surprise that special someone and watch this space for more crafty affairs. 

Follow Fifi for more adventures // Photography credit: Neil William Shaw // Bath bomb kit c/o Hobbycraft