Conclusion of LiveLagom

So, I’ve now come to the end of my LiveLagom experiment with IKEA.

It all started at the end of last year, when I set myself the new years resolution to live more sustainably. You can read my first instalment here.

“I live in a draughty traditional property in Glasgow and yet I haven’t done as much as I could to help insulate the house.” Resolutions for 2016

With the little changes I made with rugs, throws and swapping to LED bulbs I was keen to see if there was a real impact on my bills.

Rhubarb enjoying the new throw!


My electricity has dropped by £40 over three month period, which perhaps isn’t a huge reduction, but it’s a reduction nonetheless. My gas has also gone down by £50 over three months (in comparison to similar time of year 2015). I’m really happy with these savings; it all adds up!


Another major source of frustration that I was hoping to solve by participating in the project was lack of kitchen storage, tackle the amount of food waste I was creating and also look at better ways of recycling plastics/paper.

“I had no space to store things, the kitchen was jam packed & I was then not motivated to cook. Food waste was high, recycling was difficult and I had lost my mojo.” LiveLagom – an update


This simple set of shelves has been my saviour and was potentially my best purchase in terms of value for money and the results it achieved! I was able to re-jig the location of various bits and pieces in the kitchen – gadgets, mugs & glasses, cook books and even some food – freeing up vital space elsewhere for recycling. You’ll see in the photo below (on the right) that I now have two sizeable black plastic boxes for plastics and paper to be segregated.


In terms of areas for improvement, there honestly aren’t many. I had a few teething problems with my LED bulbs – I chose ones that weren’t able to be dimmed by mistake, but I managed to get that sorted easily enough. I also have had issues with the plastic containers that I chose (above left)… the pesky red lids are very tricky to close and looking back I should have selected containers that were see through so that I could check contents with ease. Something to think about if you’re planning revamping your food storage.

That leaves the question, where to next? If you are regular readers you will know that we’re moving house soon. We will certainly be taking our products, new learnings and new attitude with us to our new home. I’m keen to start growing our own vegetables again following the success of our outdoor lettuce a few years back. The new range of indoor growing cultivators at Ikea are also catching my interest – perhaps I’ll be able to grow some fresh herbs without killing them!!



Review – The Cook School Scotland

I had the most amazing day out at The Cook School Scotland, which is in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire.

I was invited along to try their newest day class, “The Family Meal’.

The whole day was superb and very well organised. We arrived to freshly baked scones with butter and jam and a cup of tea/coffee. What a great start to a Sunday! Then we had an introduction from the team and made our way to our individual stations.

On the menu was:

  • The Perfect Roast Chicken
  • Chicken Milanese
  • Butter Chicken Curry
  • BBQ Wings and Drumsticks
  • Chicken Stock
  • Braised rice and baked sweet potato wedges
  • Chocolate brownies

Vanessa taught us how to joint a chicken – something that I had never done before. I’m also a little squeamish, so wasn’t sure how I would get on – but it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I’m super impressed with myself!!

The day was split into sections, with a good mix of hands-on cooking and demos, as well as a few stops for refreshments and a trip to the on-site shop.

At the end of the day, we sat down as a group to enjoy the food we had created… washed down with a glass of wine (hurrah for not having to drive!). We also had plenty food to take away with us too. I ended up having enough leftovers for lunch and dinner the following day.

The day itself costs £95, which I think is fantastic value for money. If chicken isn’t your bag, then there are also a huge variety of other classes from Greek Day to Thai Street Food. I’m having difficulty deciding what to try next… but it’s safe to say that I will most definitely be going back.

There is also the cutest kid’s kitchen and they host children’s birthday parties (£200 for up to 14 children). I know my two would love this!



Jamberry nail wraps 

I have been absolutely loving Jamberry nail wraps. I was introduced to them by a friend, Rhona, and am amazed and how simple they are to use.

The wraps come in a variety of sizes per sheet, and you basically pick the right size, cut it in half, heat it up a little with a hairdryer and then apply it to your clean, buffed nail and file the top to size.

I started with an accent nail, and it lasted so well in comparison to my regular polish. I had the same accent nail for weeks and just changed up the colour of my polish:

I’ve since bought a few different designs – there are over 300 to choose from – and I’ve still got my leopard print pedicure on my toes which has now been 4 weeks. It was more time consuming to apply to each toe, but no more than it would take to do a couple of coats of regular polish with drying time. Another huge plus with these wraps is you don’t need to wait for them to dry. Straight away you can get on with stuff. I’ve seen me in the past painting my nails of an evening, then one of the little ones would start crying and my nails would be all smudged!

I hosted an online party last week, but if you missed it and fancy trying some for yourself then you can buy here.

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S.M.C – Scottish Mothers Collective

After a hugely successful launch party at Hutchesons Glasgow, the Collective are now getting psyched for the next event…

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On the 9th June, from 6-8pm at WEST Brewery we will be having a ‘Women in Business’ focus with two #mumbosses Petra Wentzel, Director and Entrepreneur of WEST Brewery and Claire Henderson, Managing Director of Dick Winters.

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Tickets are £10 each for the event, which includes drinks and canapés on arrival.

Head on over to Eventbrite to book yours now!

Follow us on Instagram @scottishmotherscollective

TV Favourites

Given my ongoing Crohn’s flare, I’ve been watching a bit more TV as I try to get some rest. It also gives me something to do when I can’t get to sleep… thank you steroids!! :-0

Here are my current favourite shows:

The Secret – ITV

This is the story of a real-life double murder. James Nesbitt plays Colin Howell, a respectable dentist who became a killer in partnership with a Sunday school teacher, Hazel Buchanan (Genevieve O’Reilly). It has been really well done, and I’m hooked. This is exactly the kind of series that I enjoy. True life & gripping plot. It’s rubbish having to wait for the next instalment!

Hinterland – Netflix

Another murder series, this time dramatised. Set in Aberystwyth, Wales, troubled DCI Tom Mathias solves murders whilst searching for redemption. The show is now in its third series, but I’m just starting out with Season 1 on Netflix. Again, I’m really enjoying this box set and it’s been really easy to lose a few hours as I sit engrossed with a cup of tea!

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Doctor Foster – on DVD

I really enjoyed the TV series Doctor Foster, which I bought on DVD from Amazon. It was addictive and I quickly sped through the episodes. Suranne Jones plays Doctor Foster, a woman who suspects her husband is having an affair.

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LiveLagom – an update

It has now been over three months since I collected my #LiveLagom haul from IKEA Glasgow. I had chosen a variety of products to help me tick a number of boxes for living more sustainably. As a working single mum I wanted to pick items that wouldn’t require too much effort as I wanted to start with baby steps. I think if I had forced myself to do too much too soon then I wouldn’t have stuck with it.

First on my list was a generously sized rug to cover my draughty floorboards. I wanted something stylish, and the cow hide I chose is just that. However in addition to looking good, it has made a dramatic difference to the dining room making it feel much warmer in there now. I also chose a large grey throw for my bed and I don’t need to have my electric blanket on for as long now (yes, I’m only 34 but I swear that my ‘EB’ was one of the best Christmas presents ever!!).


I also replaced some of my lightbulbs with LED bulbs. I measured the speed of rotation on my electricity meter before swapping the bulbs, and after the meter was slower to make the same number of loops. Again, another simple change which made an immediate impact. Another money saver has been the battery charger. We go through a lot of batteries with Wii remotes, kids toys and such like. Being able to recharge the batteries is a quick & easy change that has saved money.

My battery charging station

However for me it’s been my kitchen that has given the best results. Storage was a big issue of mine which had a few knock on effects… I had no space to store things, the kitchen was jam packed & I was then not motivated to cook. Food waste was high, recycling was difficult and I had lost my mojo.

My motivation crept back slowly, and I had a huge clear out. Out of date food was taken to my daughters nursery for the children to use in arts and crafts (cinnamon bark for tree trunks and oregano for leaves in a sticky picture anyone?!), Tupperware with no matching lids were repurposed and replaced with new tubs, and kitchenware that I hadn’t used in a while was charity shopped.


A set of shelves gave me much needed storage space. A few tweaks here and there freed up two spaces for paper and plastic recycling boxes. Plastic containers have allowed me to save food rather than it go to waste, taking leftovers to work for lunch for example.


The kitchen is still small, there’s no way of getting around that unfortunately. However a few clever storage solutions have given it a new lease of life.

The drugs don’t work…

I have Crohn’s Disease… can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it already on Ethel Explores, but I certainly wrote about it over on Glasgow Mummy. My diagnosis story is here if you are interested to find out more.

In November last year, after a year of active inflammation, my consultant decided to start me on HUMIRA, in addition to the azathioprine which I am still taking. Initially the results were amazing, and I managed to cope well with the self injecting. However, the effects didn’t last long and we don’t know why. My blood levels of the drug are therapeutic, and I haven’t developed antibodies against the drug either. Rather frustrating!

I had a bad day on Friday last week, and my IBD nurse admitted me into the day unit at the hospital for observation and urgent blood tests.

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I was discharged 4 hours later with a box of prednisolone tablets to start taking. This is only the third time I’ve had to resort to steroids, and personally I hate them because of the horrible side effects (insomnia and weight gain anyone?!). That said, I know they will sort out my current flare quickly.

The next step is to let the HUMIRA wash out, and I will be starting infliximab in a fortnight.