More frugal tips from the MAIL !!


It’s most commonly used for cooking but baking soda has a multitude of other uses too – and they could make your life a lot easier.

The cheap ingredient, which everyone has a pot of in their kitchen cupboard, can be used to clean your house, boost your beauty and even improve your health.

We’ve rounded up the bizarre but brilliant alternative uses for baking soda, which is also known as bicarbonate of soda, and they’re guaranteed to have you turning to the wonder ingredient again and again.

Everyone has a pot of baking soda in their kitchen cupboard but its uses extend far beyond cooking. Here, we round up the incredible ways you can use the ingredient - including beating cellulite, removing tooth stains and as a deodorant 

Everyone has a pot of baking soda in their kitchen cupboard but its uses extend far beyond cooking. Here, we round up the incredible ways you can use the ingredient – including beating cellulite, removing tooth stains and as a deodorant

Remove tooth stains: Sprinkle baking soda on a cotton bud and rub it onto your teeth for a few minutes to remove any yellow stains.

Unblock your drains: Flushing your drain with boiling water then adding half a cup of baking soda – then one cup of vinegar and one cup of hot water – will unclog drains. Once the bubbles die down, run the hot tap water down the drain for about 30 seconds to one minute and hey presto – your drains will be new and improved.

As a deodorant: If you’re looking for a cheap and natural alternative to deodorant, experts say that baking soda has super-absorbing qualities if sprinkled under the arms.

Remove a splinter: Splinter removal doesn’t have to be a painful experience with knives and unsuccessful tweezing attempts. A paste of baking soda and water will draw the splinter out of the skin within a few minutes.


Baking soda is so handy because it helps regulate pH – keeping a substance neither too acidic nor too alkaline. When baking soda comes in contact with either an acidic or an alkaline substance, its natural effect is to neutralise that pH.

Beyond that, baking soda has the ability to retard further changes in the pH balance, known as buffering.

This dual capability of neutralising and buffering allows baking soda to do things such as neutralise acidic odours, as well as maintain neutral pH.


To remove dead skin: Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with water and use it to slough away dead skin on hands and feet – it will also remove odours.

Beat blackheads: For a quick fix, a paste of one part baking soda, one part toothpaste and two parts water can help get rid of blackheads on the face. With the mixture in a dish, it can be applied to the affected area using a toothbrush as often as needed. If applied every day before bed, blackheads will disappear.

To soothe sunburn: Mix a teaspoon with some water and smooth over any sunburn, rashes or ivy poisoning for instant relief.

To give hair a deep cleanse: If you use a lot of dry shampoo and hair styling priducts, mixing a teaspoon of baking soda into your regular shampoo will work to remove residue and give you super clean locks.

Beat heartburn: If you don’t have any tablets lying around, add half a teaspoon of soda to a large glass of water and drink it an hour after eating to reduce heartburn pain.

Clean your sofa: If you’ve spilled a drink on your couch or your dog has trodden muddy paws into it, experts say sprinkling baking soda on it before rinsing it off can remove the stains.

Clean your oven: When it comes to cleaning your oven, mix a half-cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water to make a paste-like consistency. Coat your oven evenly and let it sit overnight and then put a small amount of vinegar in a squirt bottle, spray a little to the baking soda residue and use a cloth to scrape it off.

Beat cellulite: Take one teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, mix them together and add some water. Massage intensively for three minutes to reduce dimples.

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Spring pleasures


Forgive the bad photo quality however I had to share these – my newly planted strawberry plants and mint.  I also planted an American blueberry bush and raspberries as well as herbs in pots for the altan.  Not all plants are out yet, it’s still too cold however I am so pleased to get my hands dirty and hopefully get to use these beauties in my meals and desserts in the not too distant future !!


A refreshing “down to earth” blog

Todays blog tip :-

This refreshing blog by Rhonda Hetzel who has written the books “Down to Earth”  and “the simple life” is now one of my favourites. She chose to retire early and lives well on less saying that her days are “enriching, productive and meaningful”.  I wonder how many of us can say the same thing !



Zero Impact

Bildresultat för bilder zero impact Familjen Ohlsson Fleetwood

I am afraid this clip is for  those who can speak Swedish – sorry !! the Swedish tv channel “UR” have a very good series called “Zero Impact” where families from all walks of life evaluate and re-evaluate their lifestyles in order to come down to the recommended koldioxid levels from the United Nations. In this episode the Ohlsson Fleetwood were given 30 days to reduce their waste.  They travel to Ghana where a lot our electronic waste is illegally dumped and is  destroying lives and the environment.  Some of their experiences I can relate to including buying unnecessary electronic “stuff” that is very “in” but ends up in a cupboard.  The other is flying and transport – this family flew 8 times in one year which brought their koldioxid levels to extreme levels.




Zero Waste Challenge


January and February have been  hectic  with school start, work and all-go on the home front however I had to have a go at this tip from Bea Johnssons blog (

One of Beas golden rules is to ROT, (the others being Refuse, Recycle and Reduce).  The idea is simple by keeping all food scraps and other composable matter from landfill you will also be  providing your family with compost for our garden –  win-win.

So how did it go in reality ! –

I bought this £6 pot so we could put all our food scraps in .  After one week this little pot was already full and beginning to smell !!    As it is still winter in Sweden and as I  haven´t bought a larger garden compost barrel yet there were only two options, one of which wasn´t feasible ie store waste in the freezer the other being throw it away with the rest of our rubbish.  Unfortunately as our freezer was packed full (as usual) my pot of food scraps ended up in the rubbish bin.  However I did learn some important lessons.  I haven´t given up.  I am going to get a food recycling bin from our local council as a short turn soluation before buying our own compost bin.  I think that it is a little compromise however at least the food waste gets to rot and become bio-gas to fuel our buses instead of ending up in the ground.  I will keep you posted on my progress…


The Buy Nothing year – 2017 !!

The Buy Nothing Year: How Two Roommates Saved More Than $55,000

Buy Nothing Year roommates Julie Phillips and Geoffrey Szuszkiewicz (Kevin Jesuino)

Remember  Geoffrey Szuszkiewicz, a 31-year-old accountant in Calgary who decided to spend a year with no money ?
A little over a year ago, Geoffrey Szuszkiewicz, a 31-year-old accountant in Calgary, began analyzing his monthly spending. What he saw, he says, was eye-opening: “I was spending so much every month, no matter how much I made it never seemed like I was getting ahead. It was typical lifestyle creep.”

Around the same time, his good friend Julie Phillips, 29, a communications advisor at the University of Calgary, was about to move into a new apartment when it fell through. “Geoff said, ‘You can move in with me, but I only have a bedroom for you to rent,’” she says. “The rest was packed with his stuff. So I got rid of over 80% of my stuff within three days.” (She was thinking she might move in a year and if so, she’d have to get rid of many of her belongings then.) But then she had a meltdown. “I was like, ‘Oh my god. What did I do?’ And then I was like, ‘Why do I need things anyway?’”

Over their first bottle of wine as roommates, they questioned their need for the objects that had drained their bank accounts, and, on a whim, decided to spend a year not buying anything. The domain name and Twitter handle for the obvious designation, Buy Nothing Year, were available. Julie recalls, “I said to this guy, ‘I can’t believe the name was available,’ and he said, ‘I can! You guys are crazy! Who would do that?’”

Within a week, they became a national news sensation. They suddenly realized that with the country watching, they had to follow through.

Buy Nothing Year roommates Julie Phillips and Geoffrey Szuszkiewicz in front of their aquaponics system (Kevin Jesuino)
They spent the first three months (August through October) phasing out all consumer items, such as household objects, electronics and clothes. Then, they cut out all services, including dining out, salon haircuts, and gas and instead began hosting lots of dinner parties — and biking or walking everywhere, even during Calgary’s long, cold winter. (For his 35-minute walk to work, Geoff would don long johns, winter boots, scarf, mittens and a hat. Though he was already fit when the year began, he lost an additional 10 pounds. When he had to go especially far, he took the bus.) They made their own laundry detergent and surface cleaners, but made a concession for store-bought dish soap, since the homemade version left a gross film on their dishes.
During the last phase, meant to start this July, they intended to stop buying food and grow their own with their aquaponics system and garden, but couldn’t produce enough to feed themselves. (Harvesting season begins in August, and their project ended August 3.) By then, Geoffrey says, “Buy Nothing Year had already accomplished a lot of what we wanted to accomplish, which was to live this downshifted lifestyle.”

They had also saved a lot of money: Geoffrey amassed $42,300 (46,000 CAD) and Julie set aside $13,800 (15,000 CAD). (Julie’s explanation as to why Geoffrey squirreled away so much more: “As much as Geoff saved, I don’t make per year.”) Here’s how they achieved their feat, how the project changed their lives and what habits they’ll retain. Plus, the slide show contains their top tips on having a Buy Nothing Year of your own.

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