sheep selfie

Ten Things

sheep selfie

We’re six days into our big renovation, and so far we have discovered two rotten flat roofs that need to be replaced.  If that wasn’t bad enough news, we had a fun visit from Building Standards on Thursday and found out that the existing staircase in the house doesn’t comply with building regulations and needs to be ripped out and replaced.  Excuse me while I softly weep in the corner.

Yesterday we spent the day at our local country park and I decided that I want to have some sheep, goats and chickens as pets.  Maybe some pigs too.  As this point in the renovations I’ve realised it’s basically just too tempting to put our house on the market as it is and move to an off-grid smallholding!  Fingers crossed next week runs a bit smoother!

This week’s links:

1.  Hawaii has become the first US state to ban the sale of sunscreen containing chemicals believed to harm coral reefs.

2.  Time to ditch the wet wipes.

3.  The case for imperfect veganism.

Perhaps the idea of veganism as a philosophy, as opposed to a practice, is what’s working against it. A practice is something that you will occasionally screw up, but that’s fine, because you’re working on it every day. If you screw up a philosophy — like a religion — you have exhibited some form of moral failing. A slip-up becomes a sin. And if one has to be perfect in veganism, why try it at all? Perfect, after all, is impossible“.

4.  Related, this story about vegan-shaming made me angry.

5.  Finding zero-waste balance.  Some sage advice from Erin on fitting some zero-waste actions into busy family life.

6.  Would you like pasta with that?  One solution to soggy paper straws.

7.  The complex privilege of shopping ethically.

8.  At 43, I became a vegetarian (and honestly, it wasn’t even hard).  Some lovely words from Sali Hughes:

I had no desire to join a gang that would have clean-eating charlatans and Morrissey for members. I could have it all ways – the occasional juicy steak or hearty pie, and still feel moral, moderate and zestful.

And so it happened while I wasn’t looking. Not so much a moment of clarity as a gradual falling away of scales. There simply came a point when there were so many conditions and disclaimers attached to my diet – no pork, no veal, no intensively farmed, only organic, sustainable and insanely expensive – that it just seemed easier and more honest to step up and stop altogether“.

9.  Why the ethical fashion movement can’t progress if it ignores plus-size shoppers.

10.  Finally, this article on seven things we’ve learned about Earth in the last 365 days is incredible.

Have a lovely Sunday!


homemade oven cleaner uk

Homemade Oven Cleaner

Hello!  Today I wanted to share a recipe from Fresh Clean Home – my homemade oven cleaner.

This time last year I barely came up for air as I beavered away on writing the book.  Honestly, ask me what happened in May last year and I cannot tell you, aside from busying away in my kitchen and on my laptop, so it’s a huge relief that precisely 365 days later I can share the fruits of my labour with you!

Anway, back to the oven!  I really like my homemade oven cleaner recipe because no noxious fumes come off it.  It was recently reported that regular use of cleaning sprays has an impact on your lung health, comparable with smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.  My clean green oven cleaning gel has none of that nastiness, but all of the effectiveness.

The best part?  You can pick up all of the ingredients (mostly from the baking aisle!) next time you’re at the supermarket!

Homemade Oven Cleaner Recipe

from Fresh Clean Home

Is cleaning the oven your least favourite job?  Mine, too, my friend, mine, too.  I shan’t admit how often I clean my oven (you might judge me), but let’s just say it’s not as often as I should.

For me, the big problem is that I find the caustic fumes from conventional oven cleaners overwhelming.  Instead, I’ve come up with this oven-cleaning gel that does the trick without the noxious atmosphere.  The gel ensures the cleaner clings to the sides of your oven overnight, allowing the soda crystals to really get in and help dissolve the cooked-on grease and grime.  The result is a clean oven without the chemical stench.

homemade oven cleaner uk

Photography for Fresh Clean Home by Rachel Whiting

You Will Need:

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (buy it from the baking section of the supermarket or health food store)
2 teaspoons glycerine (again, but it from the baking section of the supermarket)
2 teaspoons washing-up liquid
300ml just-boiled water
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons soda crystals (find it in the cleaning aisle of the supermarket)

Makes: a single use gel

Use: immediately


Put the xanthan gum and glycerine in a large bowl and stir well to fully combine. Add the washing-up liquid and stir again.

Put the just-boiled water in a jug and add the salt and soda crystals. Stir until the crystals dissolve.

Pour the warm solution into the bowl with the xanthan gum mixture and use a hand-held blender to pulse for 1 minute, until fully combined.

To Use

Switch off your oven at the socket and remove the racks from the inside.  Wearing rubber gloves, use a sponge or scrubbing brush to apply the gel liberally to the surfaces of your oven, including the door.

You can also use the homemade oven cleaner on your oven racks and trays, too, if you like.

Leave the gel on overnight, then in the morning, again wearing rubber gloves, use a scrubbing brush to give your oven a thorough clean.  If burnt-on spots remain, sprinkle over some bicarbonate of soda to give you some extra scouring power.

When you’re satisfied, wipe the oven down with a clean, damp cloth, rinsing the cloth in fresh water as necessary.

Warning: Do not use on aluminium surfaces.

Fresh Clean Home, packed full of natural cleaning recipes for every corner of your home, is available now through your local bookshop or via online sellers.  You can buy it here:

Amazon / Foyles / Hive / The Telegraph / Waterstones / Wordery