Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Homemade Take-away plus Aldi news

We don't get takeaways very often, if we do it is because we have Tesco vouchers which are converted and even then it is reserved for birthdays and celebrations.  But when we do I am always thinking I could have made it myself much cheaper.  Unless you have it delivered I don't think it saves much time either, by the time you've gone to pick it up and queued and waited - I could have rustled something up at home.

Anyway tonight I thought I would do my own takeaway - not that healthy but I did use wholemeal flour and serve with a salad.  I did both a pizza and garlic bread.  It is so easy and tastes much better than anything you buy in the shops.  It is also something you can prepare in advance, cling and put in the fridge until later.  Dough freezes very well so this can be done whenever I have time, then taken out the night before. The whole thing including salad came to £3.30ish which will feel 4 of us.  Not too bad.  I used a tin of tuna which claims to be dolphin friendly and is caught by pole not net.

Strong Wholemeal Flour       25p
oil                                       5p
salt                                      1p
sugar                                   5p
yeast                                    5p
Tuna                                    1.00
Passata                                 10p
Basil                                     10p
Sweet corn                           20p
Peppers                                16p
Cheese                                 50p

butter                                  20p
Garlic                                  15p

Tomatoes                             23p
Spring onions                       25p
 Lettuce                               10p
Cucumber                            12p = £3.30 (ish)

I cooked the whole lot in my mini oven for about half an hour.  I have no idea how much this costs me - I really should - but a shop bought Pizza would still need cooking. 

Just a couple of heads up - from October 13th  guardian article Aldi will be taking credit cards.  This is great news for those of us who use cashback credit cards for groceries (always paid off in full).  Also any Amex CC customers there is £15 off £40 spend at Morrisons (online delivery only), go to your account and look under offers. 

Weather is still fab up north.  I was too warm last night and it was apparently 19 degrees today, with glorious sunshine and just enough breeze to dry the washing.  Its looking good for the rest of the week - can't believe it is first day of October tomorrow.  Have a great evening folks.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Beef Pie, Fruit Cake and Old Maps

We don't eat a lot of beef, but if I find it on a yellow sticker I will buy it.  So we had slow cooker beef brisket for Sunday Dinner and today I made a beef and potato pie from the left overs.  The beef joint cost me £5, I can't remember how much it weighed but there was enough for a big Sunday dinner, a pie and a bit for the freezer (not sure what I will do with that yet).  So I think it was fairly good value for money.

As well as the potatoes I added half an onion and a blob of mustard to the gravy mix.

I always blind bake the pastry first because my cooking skills are not good enough to guarantee a non soggy bottom. 
Served with peas, sweetcorn and carrots.  There was a lot of nom-nom-noms whilst everyone was eating.

I also made a fruit cake.  This was done using Frugal Queen's boiled fruit cake recipe, which I think is originally from Mary Berry.  I have to admit in my 41 years I have never made a fruit cake.  I always thought it looked a bit faffy and time consuming.  But I really enjoyed making this and Dh's face lit up when he saw it.

I cut 14 good size pieces from the cake, they will be put into the freezer to go into lunch boxes throughout the week. I always do this with cake because if it is frozen it stops me from eating it when I get the 3pm munchies.

The rest of my day was taken up with OU.  It arrived last week and though I have had a flick through it, with a horrible cold I lost all enthusiasm for anything.  So today, feeling much better I got cracking.  I was a little put off by the first part which was studying 16th Century maps :o[...but as I started to read it actually became quite interesting.  Apparently historians can tell a lot from an old map.  The first explorers did not only set out to establish territory and trade routes but map making in itself was highly prized and valued.  We feel we know everything now, but can you imagine what it must have been like sailing into the unknown and discovering new, strange places.  It must have been exciting and terrifying at the same time.  

Anyway, have a lovely evening whatever you are doing.  I will be having an early night with Simon Schama.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Sunday budget update week 3

 I know its probably not that interesting for people reading, but I'm finding it very helpful to do a week by week budget. Normally I work in months, but weekly accounting is definitely the way forward for me.  This current budget is only until 1st December as I save for Christmas. 

Not too bad this week but it has been a bit tight - I'm starting to wonder whether my budget is unrealistic.  But will keep going....

Week 3

Groceries            £64.65/£65
Under budget.  But only just.  Have struggled a bit, I think its the little top up shops that have really added up quickly.  I'm wondering whether this budget needs to be a little higher.

Petrol                  £15/£15
In budget just.  Red light has come on so I will need to put more petrol in today.  

Misc stuff            £19/ £20
Birthday presents for my brother + socks for both children

Christmas   £15
Total Christmas fund  £40

Plan of action for next week:
1) Do more baking.  Cakes/bread
2) Use up some of the meals in the freezer
3) Try to limit the amount of extra shops by getting most of what I need in one go
4) Do one walk to Aldi (leave car at home)
5) 3 no spending days.  
6) Buy nothing but groceries and petrol

Had a bit of an unexpected windfall yesterday thanks to a very generous relative - once the cheque has cleared I will transfer it over to the mortgage account.  Whilst my siblings were planning holidays and new stuff, I was calculating how much interest it will save me if I overpay on my mortgage (it's quite an eye opener) MSE mortgage calculator.  It's not that I am right and they are wrong, we all have our choices and different priorities.  My priority at the moment is paying my mortgage off early so I can help my daughter with her education, and hopefully DH can retire early.  I had a very interesting conversation last night which made me realise how late some people leave it to plan for their future.  I am always thinking ahead and couldn't sleep at night not having some idea of how we will support ourselves in old age.  Our plan may not be perfect and it may change with our circumstances, but at least it's a plan of some sort.  

..anyway, have a lovely Sunday whatever you are doing. 


Saturday, 27 September 2014

Old Codger's Survival Kit

It's my big brother's birthday today and he's 50! My lovely sister in law has organised a surprise party for him tonight, I can't wait, we do have a laugh when we all get together.  My big bro does like a party.

We don't normally buy each other gifts because quite frankly I wouldn't have a clue what to buy him and I am sure he he's glad he doesn't have to bother with me...but I thought I would make an exception this year as half a century is worth celebrating. Bearing in mind he has a very good sense of humour I thought I would make him a 'Old Codger's Survival kit'.  I decorated a shoe box with paper I already had, photocopied some childhood pictures and pasted them on.

Pipe £1 £shop
Slippers £3 Primark
Worthers Originals 89p Homebargains
Medication organiser 79 Homebargains
Extra thick bifocals £2 Joke shop in the market
Magnifying Glass £1.19 Homebargains

I haven't spent a fortune and it will give him a giggle (hopefully). 

Have a lovely evening whatever you guys are doing.

Friday, 26 September 2014

A bit of 70's kitsch

Has anyone noticed how trendy 70's decor is at the moment?  My kitchen is very plain black and white.  We deliberately fitted a plain kitchen so we can change the decor with accessories as and when our tastes change.  I have been looking for 70's kitsch to jazz up the plainness for some time.  Over the summer I have kept my eyes peeled at car boot sales and charity shops, waiting for just the thing that is shouting out for a new home.

Here's what I bought last weekend

These were £4 from PDSA.  I wish there were 4 in the set but unfortunately just 3, I couldn't leave without them because they reminded me of the wallpaper in our kitchen when we were growing up in the 70's - it was a nostalgia purchase.  I loved the yellow colour, it really stands out against the black tiles and black shelf they go on.  Underneath it says 'Tams Pottery', will keep my eyes peeled for more to match (or perhaps clash).

I also bought this.  I have seen these many times before in antique/vintage shops but couldn't afford the price tag.  Saw this in Sue Rider (£5) and snapped it up.  It is Hornsea Pottery and again reminds me of my childhood, I am sure my Grandma had one.  If only we had kept some of her things!  Who knew it would all come back into fashion?

I'm going to look out for more of these at the right price, I'd like a full set! It adds chatacter to  my modern, souless kitchen.

Have a great Saturday and don't forget to tell me about your charity shop bargains.

12 Weeks Until Advent!

Normally this time of year I am starting to slowly plan for Christmas.  I make lists start buying a few bits and bobs as and when I see something cheap. I start saving points and vouchers, a cupboard in the kitchen is cleared to start gathering bargains.  This year I am going to try a different tac.

I am not going to buy a single thing (other than food and petrol) for 12 weeks.  I won't even think about Christmas until the 1st of December.  In the meantime I am going to put away £15 a week (£180 Christmas fund).  This will buy all presents and extra food and drinks.

The reason I am doing this is to reduce the amount of stuff I actually buy for the Christmas festivities.  Buying little and often can sometimes mean I collect far too much stuff.  By having a single pot of money - when it's gone it's gone - I think will help reign in over consumerism.

So here's my budge for the next 12 weeks

Food and groceries £65 (PW) £280 (PM)
Petrol £15 (PW) £65 (PM)
Any other unforseen essentials (ie prescriptions, school trips) £20

= £365 (PM)

The kids have been fully kitted out and shouldn't need anything for awhile.  The only thing that will throw a spanner in the works is if the car lets us down or we need urgent house repairs.  I will post my expenses update every Monday to keep a track and to keep myself focused.

Anyone else thinking about Christmas? How do you budget for it?

Creepy potatoes and the easiest soup ever

You may remember that I bought a huge bag of spuds (16p a kilo) and was determined to get through them one way or another.  Well my freezer is full of mashed potato, and now the last few spuds are looking a bit...well...ropey.  They are still firm but looking a bit alien-esque.

Am I the only one who thinks there is something really creepy about sprouting potatoes? It's like they are growing legs...shudder

So I thought I would finally get them used up by making a big vat of Leek and Potato soup.  When I am home alone during the week I tend to use up left overs or make soup out of whatever I have in the fridge.  I also like to have some individual portions in the freezer which I can just grab and microwave when I am lazy busy.

4 generous servings

1.5 lb of potatoes                                                                                     11p
2 Leeks                                                                                                  50p
1 pt chicken stock                                                                                   free
2 teaspoons of Thyme (actually I didn't have thyme but would normally)       10p (guess)
A bit of salt                                                                                             1p (guess)
A bit of black pepper                                                                                1p (guess)
1 400 ml tin of evaperated milk                                                                  65p
                                                                                                         = £1.38

Chuck everything in the slow cooker (apart from milk) until potatoes are tender.  I put the potatoes in first and leeks on top.

I then blitz with a blender stick ( I roughly blend to leave it chunky).  Added evaporated milk, continued to heat for a few minutes on high.  Tasted and added extra salt and pepper. You can't see on the pic but it is still very thick and chunky.

I then freeze into portions.

This makes 4 generous servings of soup which at approximately 18p a portion, plus a slice of bread. It took about 4 hours in the slow cooker which is roughly 10p.  So that makes 21p per serving.

Anyway - phew that's the last of the spuds.  Hooray!

Thanks for the comments yesterday, I love reading them.  I did chuckle about the slugs.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Shepherdess pie and chilly evenings...

Despite the glorious sunshine we have had, I have finally conceded that autum is upon us.  Athough during the day I have all the windows open and the washing drying on the line,  it is a little chilly in the mornings and by the evening the temperature drops.  I have changed all the duvets to winter ones, the summer duvets have been washed and put away, I have swapped my clothes around, tshirts and thin dresses have gone away and jumpers and thicker dresses and skirts have come out.  I have put my summer dressing gown away and my fluffy hooded one is now hung up.

We haven't put the heating on yet, not cold enough for that, but by October I'm sure it will be on for an hour or two to take the chill off. I'm also starting to rethink my menu towards more autumnal food; chillies, pies, soups, stews......

I made a Shepherdess Pie last night - this is something we are more likely to eat during the autum and winter.  It is comfort food, slightly warming and very nourishing.  My DD loves it, in fact we all love it and think it's probably the nicest way to eat lentils (lentil and bacon soup is lovely too).  I'm sure you all know how to make it but I thought I would share my recipe...well I say 'recipe', I basically chuck whatever I have to hand in and hope for the best.

250 g of red lentils (rinsed)
1 Onion
2 Carrots (diced)
1 pepper/capsicum (Of any colour you fancy.  Can be replaced with anything to hand)
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil (or any herbs you have in your cupboard)
1 pint of stock (I used chicken stock)
1 tin tomatoes
a squirt of tomato puree

Mash potato and cheddar to top

It all gets chucked into the slow cooker and cooked for 4-6 hours.  I keep checking this as lentils soon cook - I don't want them turning to mush, just nice and tender.  When it's cooked it should thicken to resemble bolognese sauce. Obviously if you haven't a slow cooker you can make this quickly on a hob, just keep checking that the lentils don't over cook. 

I place it in a casserole dish and top with mashed potato and cheese, then grill. If I have a tomato spare I will slice that on top too.  I serve with any veggies that are cheap and in season.

Lentils are so healthy,  full of fibre, count as part of your five a day, low fat and are incredibly cheap. 

What is your favourite autum dish?

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Making a Face Scrub

I don't buy expensive creams, they always seem to make my blotchy, I need simple products.  My favourite moisturiser is Palmers Cocoa Butter. It does everything I want and is very reasonably priced (and smells divine).  I really should just stick to what I know works.....

Foolishly, after reading a glowing review online I thought I would give 'Kingsley House' Cocoa butter cream (from £world) a go.....I will not lie to you, it is the WORST moisturiser I have ever bought, thankfully it was only a pound! On reading the label it contains Sodium Lauryl Sulphate  (note to self: READ THE FLIPPIN LABEL BEFORE YOU BUY IT!).  Now, I am not hyper-vigilent about sulphates, if they are being washed off, but there is no way I am having this stuff sitting on my skin all day :0/.

As I am down to the last few squirts of my beloved St Ives Apricot Scrub, so I thought I would have a play with what I already have before I buy more. 

As I haven't done this before, it was all a bit of trial and error.  I put a heaped tablespoon of moisturiser (Kingsley House Cocoa Butter Cream) and then started to add sugar, a teaspoon at a time, until it felt 'gritty' enough.  I want it gritty enough to remove dead skin, but not so gritty that it is over abrasive.  I used my St Ives to compare and get it right. (I think I probably added 2 tablespoons in the end).

I then added a teaspoon of Castor oil (this is great for cleansing as well as softening and moisturising).  I also added 5 drops of both Lavender and Rose Geranium EOil.  Lavender is calming and Rose Geranium is anti ageing (it smells divine!).

To be a true test I scrubbed half my face in St Ives Apricot Scrub and half in my own concoction.  I wipe it off using water and a muslin cloth (you can buy these for around 59p in Homebargains and are fantastic).

Result - Both left my face very soft - absolutely no tightness or irritation.  St Ives was a bit grittier because of the size of the 'scrubby bits', but I still felt exfoliated by both.  My own concoction smelled nicer, almost like a premium brand.  Hmm...I will keep up with it for a few weeks and I may do an update.

BTW I only did enough for a couple of 'scrubs' as I am not sure how the sugar will react to the moisturiser and essential oils, it may slowly dissolve.  I will see how it goes and report back.

Have a wonderful Wednesday and I hope the sun is shining where you are.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Recycling Lipsticks!

I am on a personal challenge (which seems to have been going on forever) to get my make up and toiletries down to one item of each.  I have done pretty well, still lots of body lotion, eye shadows and lipsticks to get through.

Throughout the summer I tend to wear nude or pale lipsticks, sometimes just clear gloss but when autumn comes around I tend to change to darker plumy colours.  Looking through my tin of rejects (I don't throw any makeup away because it's way too expensive) none of them were quite right....too dark, too purple, too red, too bright....One of them I use a lot as it is a nude colour with a bit of a shimmer.  I am down to the last bit of 'scooping' from the bottom.

So I got very excited last night when I stumbled across a tutorial on Pinterest on how to use up unwanted lipsticks.  It was one of those 'why didn't I think of that sooner' moments.

I sliced a chunk out of each one and added it to a cleaned out little candle tin, along with a blob of vaseline for gloss and extra autumnal lip protection.

Heated it over a candle.  It took less than a minute for it to melt.

It looked a bit hot pink so I added some more beigey-nude.

By the time I had showered and put on my make up it was set.

It's definitely the plumy colour I wanted.  I think I like it.  I will wear it this week but may add a touch more purple and a tad more nude. I'm glad I added the vaseline as it glides on nicely and has a slight glossy look without being too glossy.  My lips feel moisturised.

Have a lovely Tuesday!

Monday, 22 September 2014

Bargains week 1

Good afternoon.  How's your Monday going?

Sun still shining here, and it's warm with a gentle breeze for the washing to dry.  It looks pretty good for the rest of the week.

I have been taking my time over everything today as I am still not quite right and feeling dizzy and tired easily, but certainly better than the weekend.

As my weekend wasn't exactly exciting I thought I would share a few bargains that I bought last week.  I may do this every week as I like to see what other people buy especially if it's a bargain and it may just help someone else.....

240 tea bags for £2.00 - Farmfoods
I am the only one that drinks tea but I go through an awful lot of it.  Our general rule of thumb is anything under 1p per bag is good value.  FF's have the best deals on teabags, it may not always be the same brand, but it is my first port of call when I need to stock up.

500g of lentils 69p - Home Bargains
This will do a couple of meals (almost always Shepherdess pie which is my daughter's favourite).  This is the cheapest I can find near me, if anyone knows of anywhere cheaper I would love to know :0).

Hair gel 2 for £1 - Poundworld.
I wasn't holding out for this being much good, but sometimes you have to try things.  Both me and DD get through gel quickly, our favourite is L'Oreal Invisi hold (£3.50ish).  We like it to give a strong hold but not crunchy or stiff.  Amazingly this did the job perfectly, I have tried it everyday for a week and am very impressed.  The packaging is cheap and not nice to look at...but you can't have everything for 50p.

Yardley Soap £1/120g - Poundworld
Unfortunately because of DD and Dh's skin problems we cannot use any old soap, even Dove soap leaves their skin dry and itchy.  It seems it's the more expensive soaps that are agreeable with their skin (L'Occitane, Lush or specialist independent soap shops).  So I had spied this in £world and thought I would give it a whirl.  After a week both DH and DD ask me to buy more as their skin feels moisturised after using it.  No eczema breakouts, no itching!

I did notice however that Holland and Barratt have an offer on Olive Oil soap (Olivia) at £1.15/125g (offer being by one get one half price) so this is even cheaper (86p/125g).  Will buy some next time I am passing and let you know if it's any good.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Sunday budget update week 2

Sorry I haven't blogged for a couple of days - been sick as a dog.  Weather is pretty good up north, still very warm.  Sun is shining and I have the washing out drying on a gentle breeze.  Not sure what we will do because I am still not 100%.   Anyway, here's an update on my budget.  Epic fail this week but will do better next.

Week 2
Original budget in green

Groceries      £80.84/£65
Massive overspend!  I am not too worried as I have bought some things in bulk that can be stored away (teabags, washing powder, freezer is chocca)

Petrol            £12.50/£15
Under budget.  But only just.  Running on fumes for the last day. Need to put a bit more in for next week.

Misc               £16.00/£20
We bought a new duvet and set of pillows for the spare room.  We decided this was a need rather than want.  So still under budget

Christmas fund £10 (Sainsburys Voucher)  
Chritmas fund total £25
Because of overspend on groceries won't put anything away this week.  I have however made a £10 Sainsburys voucher on surveys which will be put towards Christmas   

Have a lovely Sunday.


Thursday, 18 September 2014

How shoes can make a grown woman cry

Every now and then me and my daughter like to look through a big box of keepsakes. We don't keep everything, but notable school work, reports, certificates, art work, and quite a lot of baby stuff went into the box.  I must be feeling hormonal because when I found these tiny shoes I felt a lump to my throat and a tear in my eye.  Aren't they cute?  Was it really 14 years ago DD had her first shoe fitting?! I remember first shoes cost a small fortune and they hardly wear them before they grew and needed new ones again. It was a hugely exciting event for DD to get new shoes and everyone had to be visited to see them and acknowledge how beautiful they were.

DS on the other hand always hated having new shoes fitted, at first I put it down to him being a boy, but looking back I think it was almost certainly another sign of his autism.  At 13 he still doesn't like it much and we have to find the same type of shoe, or something very similar before he will relax. If I think about it too much it can make me feel deeply sad that such seemingly insignificant changes can make him so anxious.  It's not easy but we always get there in the end, I do my best and fingers crossed it will be good enough.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Henna Heaven Henna Hell

My roots are looking really bad and have decided I cannot put it off any longer.  I have totally given up on chemical dyes and have used henna for years.  I have a love/hate relationship with it because it takes a whole morning to apply, plus the cleaning up afterwards, but I love the colour it gives me, it's just what I want without the damage of box dyes.

I have tried both dried henna and henna Caca Rouge bars from Lush.  Both do a good job but I do tend to keep going back to these Lush bars because it's easy to purchase, I trust that they use quality henna, the conditioning ingredients within it suit my hair leaving it soft, and it does give a colour I really like.  Henna experts pooh-pooh (no pun intended) Caca bars as it really is just a henna gloss, but I have found it gives me a strong colour that hardly fades.  If it works, it works.

The bar costs £8.50 (recently gone up in price :o( ),  but it will do 2 applications and because of its permanency I only use it 4 x a year.  That works out at £17 a year for hair dye.  Not too bad. I know that you can get hair dye from £land or Homebargains cheap, but I like the benefits henna gives me and I know its cruelty free and won't damage my hair.

I chop up the henna bar roughly with a serrated knife, put it in a jug and add hot water from the kettle.  I eyeball this until it is quite runny and mash out any lumps.  As I stir it it gets thicker, I usually leave it it for 5 minutes for it to thicken.  It should be the consistency of thick yogurt, or creme freche.  If it is as thick as mash potato it is too thick and will not bind to the hair but fall off in clumps. If it is too thin it will start to run down my face and get everywhere which is really annoying.

I wear old clothes to apply henna and cover the floor with old towels.  Lush always provide rubber gloves, if you ask they will give you a second pair if you intend to do more than one application.  I  divide the hair, clipping it back, then scooping some up in my fingers I start slapping it on.  I will not lie to you...it is a messy job! Yuk!

I wash any henna off my face and neck (using an old flannel or cloth), then wrap it all in cling film.  I blast the whole head with a hairdryer on high heat, just for a minute or two (this gets the cuticle open and makes the henna bond quicker). 

 I then wrap it in a turban to keep warm and wait....and wait....for a couple of hours (fingers crossed no one comes to the door).

Whilst I'm waiting I will write a bit about henna....

You should only ever buy body art quality henna from reputable sellers.  I have use Hennaboy.co.uk which is very good, but a bit pricey.  I am suspicious of very cheap henna, or henna that comes in different colours.  Henna should be red, though indigo can be used to darken it.

Healthy hair, no splits or damage
Environmentally friendly/no animal testing
Very permanent, I don't worry about fading or buying special products for coloured hair, and doesn't need re-doing very often, just when roots are showing
It's fairly cheap - I think £4.25 per application is not bad
Gives a very vibrant, fiery colour that looks amazing in the sun (this is personal preference of course)
It covers grey hair well
You can play around with indigo and henna if you want a dark brown or black colour

Its very, very messy to apply
It takes 2-4 hours from start to finish (which is why I leave it so long between applications!)
It smells weird, not unpleasant but just weird (I like the smell of the Lush bar, they do a good job of making it nice, just a hint of henna smell.  Henna smell does fade quickly)
It takes some rinsing out, but gets easier with practise
It can be unpredictable on the first application.  Strand test definitely needed.
It is so permanent that it really needs to be cut out or dyed darker if you do not like it.  It cannot be stripped and peroxide can be very iffy (definitely no-no with indigo).

To rinse it out I jump in the shower with a bottle of the cheapest hair conditioner I can get.  I literally use half the bottle, which is why it has to be cheap. Shampoo is poor at removing henna, conditioner gives it the slip.  My shower needs a good clean afterwards.

Its not for everyone and its a bit lot of a pain to apply, but I am always chuffed after its is done.  It feels so soft and shiny,  I like the vibrancy of the colour.  It is very bright the for first couple of days (I wish it would stay that way) but after oxidisation it deepens a little to a more natural auburn/coppery colour.

 There job done!  It will be almost Christmas before I have to do it again.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Spitting Feathers!

.....Quite literally!

We have decided to replace the feather duvet in the spare room to a more washer-friendly polyester type.  We think this comes under need more than want as the cost of cleaning it out-weighs the cost of getting a new one.  Having the odd overnight guest I always wash the entire duvet and pillows, so it really was a practical decision.

I considered offering the old one for dog bedding, but when I thought about it dog bedding needs to be washed so frequently that it really wouldn't be practical.  So I decided to make some cushions (these will be much, much easier to wash).

The squares in the duvet were 15" so they were prefect for cushions as they were.  I just cut the square out so it only had one side open, I then got stuffing.  I did everything slowly and gently to avoid the feathers blowing everywhere!

I sewed up the open side but stopped when I got 3/4's of the way there and topped up the stuffing even more, it's amazing how much you need to make a thick cushion!.  Took it back to the machine and sewed it up.

1 cushion ready to be hot washed and tumble dried. Actually I did 3!  They took about 20 minutes each.

I then rummaged through my fabric and decided to make some cushion covers.  I don't buy fabric very often as I like to reuse what I have, but when I do I go to Fabworks - Dewsbury.  They let you fill a carrier bag of fabric for £5.  The sizes and type varies and sometimes you have to dig deep to get to the good stuff ;0).  Sometimes me and my mum share the cost of a bag, the last time we went I got a lots of raw silk, damask, and upholstery fabric for £2.50. (No affiliation other than being a regular customer).

I know I don't need to tell you how to make a cushion cover but this tutorial is so easy and she does an excellent job explaining for anyone just starting out. Thank you lovely lady for this.

...and here is what my duvet looks like now

With the rest of the duvet I rolled it up into a sausage and tied it in place.

I then cut out a piece of fleece (the fleece was bought dirt cheap from Ikea, I bought it because I liked the colour and thought it would be useful for crafts as it does not fray), and sewed it down the long edge and one short edge. I turned it inside out to make a tube and stuffed my feather sausage into it.  I tucked it in at the other end, didn't bother sewing it because I need to keep removing it for washing.

It's a draught excluder for the garage door.

 Feathers that got swept and vacuumed from the floor went straight onto the compost.

Any other suggestions for recycling a feather duvet would be gratefully received as I have another one in the waiting!

Have a great Tuesday.