Over the course of our year and two months without supermarkets we have been asked many a question about cleaning products. Where we buy them, what we use, where can others buy them and so on and so forth.cleaning 1

We have found that as a consequence of changing our shopping habits the types and the amounts of cleaning products we buy and use have changed. We have made our own washing up liquid (successful but not perfect), we have made several version of our own kitchen spray and we have started using washing nuts. In short we have really tried hard to be better cleaning product buyers. As you may know when we do buy cleaning products we purchase them from the really useful shop in Faringdon (it’s actually changed names but we will always call it the really useful shop as…… it is really useful), the same place that caters for our toilet roll needs. Whilst this is great as we are fulfilling our brief of local shopping the more into this new way of life we get the more we think about the cleaning products we buy and use (sad maybe but……… this way of life gets under your skin).kitchen floor

So……..it’s been on our mind for a while and then into our inbox flies a solution! We received an email from a lovely (and extremely clever) gentleman called Angus from a new(ish) company called Splosh!

sploshNow we get many requests to try products and endorse things (both paid and unpaid) and we pride ourselves on saying no to them (apart from our free holiday but you did forgive us) even though it is often very tempting. However, the email from Angus was very different, it simply said he’d heard about our project and would we like to be sent some of his products – no mention of reviewing or endorsing, more like a gift. So instead of hitting delete we clicked the link and……….. we were greeted with a website that was clean and beautiful and on the second section said the words:

‘give supermarkets the push’!!!!! As you can imagine we were delighted and excited. Ten minutes later  we had read all about it and emailed Angus back to say we would LOVE to try his products.

To give a little more context here’s a little from the splosh website about how it started:

‘The Splosh story story starts back in January 2010. I was standing in the Hay on Wye Co-Op car park throwing plastic bottles into a recycling container, and was struck by the thought that what I was doing was pretty silly. Ridiculous in fact. I was buying bottles for stuff like washing up and laundry products, my family were using them once and then I threw them away – in perfectly good condition.

I turned to look at the supermarket, where mothers with children were pushing trolleys through the doors piled high with plastic bottles from their weekly shop. Could it be that these multi-billion pound businesses, which dominate the retail scene and whose bosses are considered some of the greatest business people in the country, had a fundamental inefficiency at their heart? Driving away from the Co-Op that day, an idea started to gel in my mind….

It took many months before Splosh was born. Designers, chemists and fragrance experts have worked hard together to create an extraordinary new concept. The idea is to sell home care products direct to customers as concentrates. It’s never been done before, and a lot of complex chemistry has had to be overcome in order to achieve it.’

splosh 1So…… today the postman arrived with our gift and we were extremely delighted, even before we opened the box we knew this was a good thing – it looked right!

splosh 6So inside the box was some loo cleaner, kitchen spray, laundry detergent and hand wash. As soon as nap time was upon us Becksie set to work ‘making’ the products. This was so easy and dare she say it REALLY GOOD FUN (we know, Becksie is SAD). It’s simple, you put the pouch in the bottle (ours were already inside the right bottle) you run the tap until it’s hot and….. you fill it up. Leave it a minute or two and the capsule dissolves and you are left with a full bottle of cleaning product.splosh 3

As soon as the loo cleaner was ready Becksie bolted upstairs and gave it a go – the result were amazing. It smelt divine. Downstairs the kitchen spray and hand soap were ready. Guess what AMAZING too! They smell great and they actually work really well. Then it was time to do some washing – Becksie was delighted to do washing! These bad boys have even made cleaning fun! WOW!

So here’s the deal we are in one day 100% converted and we promise we haven’t been paid or even asked to say these things, we are saying them because they are true and how we feel. We know lots of you lovely people will love them too.

splosh 4Here’s how it works – click here to visit their website, chose a starter pack which arrives at your door from these lovely folk in Hay on Wye. Make up the products, use them, love them and then when you run out keep the lovely bottles (we haven’t even mentioned how lovely the bottles look – they are really stylish and simple) and order refills to your door to make more delightful cleaning products.splosh 2

And the best bit is they are extremely reasonable, for example kitchen spray works out at about 99p per bottle! AMAZING!

So there you have a Team Pugh product review that was done because this company is wonderful and really fits with who and what we are! And as part of our year of less we will be slimming down our cleaning cupboard, using up the old (remember we hate waste) and simply having the few items we need purchased from Splosh, a lovely, quirky and British company.

BUT – don’t fear we promise to keep buying loo roll and other bits and bobs from the really useful shop 🙂



saucy 1We were fortunate enough to be allowed to have some of Da’s tomato crop – he’s had a very productive tomato harvest this year! So off we went and filled a bowl and prepared to make it all into tomato sauce to keep us going for a while.

So…….. wash and chop the tomatoes, there were quite a few that needed to be chopped up but it really only took about 3 minutes to prepare them. Place them in a heavy bottomed pan and add a good glug of olive oil, a sprinkling of sugar, a generous twist of pepper and salt and a sprinkling of cinnamon. You wouldn’t think it but cinnamon really makes this sauce come alive. As it was very chilly today we had our wood burner on so we put the pan on top of it and let it blip (what a great word) away for several hours.

saucy 2Whilst this was happening we made use of some windfall apples and made chutney (with the addition of orange, figs, plums, a few tomatoes and pear).

Blip blip

Blip blip

After a couple of hours remove the fully blipped tomatoes from the heat and add basil and thyme before blending the sauce. Check the seasoning is still to taste, we added another twist or three of black pepper.

saucy 5Take a muffin tray and some silicon baking cases (paper ones just wouldn’t cut the mustard). saucy 4Fill each case and allow the sauce to cool. Pop in the freezer overnight.

saucy 3Remove from the freezer and pop out of the cases into a freezer bag and viola you have sauce pots ready to be used as you see fit. On pizza bases, in a spag bol, a lasagne, just with pasta and cheese, over chicken………. and so on and so forth!

Saucy indeed!

Scoop and Save (Jump and Wave)

scoop and save 1Is it just us or when you think scoop and save do you immediately want to say jump and wave – as in….. ‘Scoop and Save, Jump and Wave’!?? Ok yes then! Anyway if you didn’t before you will now!

scoop and save 5A digression indeed…… the question is what happened to ‘scoop and save (jump and wave) shops’? When Becksie was young in the mighty metropolis of Skegness there was a scoop and save (jump and wave) shop. Becksie clearly remembers going with her Grandad and being allowed to scoop the items into the bags. The bins were red with a plastic white scoop. Ian also recalls a  similar shop that he used to visit with his Nan.

scoop and save 2Nowadays the only place we ever see this kind of shopping is on trips to Devon! What’s Devon got that we haven’t? Now Millets Farm have frozen ‘scoop and save, jump and wave’ selling fruit, vegetables and baked goods but……. what about everywhere else?

scoop and save 3Questions are:

1) What happened to these shops?

2) Does anyone know of one local to us?

3) Do you have fond scoop and save, jump and wave memories?

4) Are they not around for hygiene reasons?

5) Do they actually help you save (wave)?

6) Can someone open one in Faringdon?

scoop and save 4

Free Stuff

free 1We recently blogged about food for free, which got us thinking about getting other things for free.

This is a bit of a double-edged sword, as Team Pugh love a good deal (such as things, for free) but also Ian has a serious hoarding issue. Freecycle is a bit of a gem for this, and the daily barrage of emails Ian receives to his phone bring a world of possibility (and to be fair to Ian not all that much junk). Some useful things are acquired, some unuseful (to us) things are disposed of, all in all a very useful process we often refer to as a ‘tat exchange’.

Ian currently has several bits of tat that he is on the watch for, and other things crop up ‘that will definitley be useful one day’. There are also several items on Ian’s radar that he is considering disposing of, but has not quite made the jump (such as the crate of assorted wires in his shed that are only useful if you are living in 2004).free 2

As great as Freecycle is there is one form of ‘tat gathering’ that Team Pugh loves even more….a dump stuff outside your house and let people take what they want kind of event, usually completely spontaneously found and some real gems to be found, such as our lovely pink chair, old metal chest and (not so much) a 1980s knitting machine we once got from outside a house being cleared (the knitting machine was trialled but ‘tat exchanged’ a few months later.free

This all really goes back to the issue of waste, and like food waste the amount of good, usuable items that go into landfill or just fester is shocking, maybe what the world needs is a big warehouse where anything usable that people didn’t want could be taken and people could go and get things they needed? How amazing would that be? We did come across community repaint a little while ago which is like the warehouse (which we calls tatsville) but for paint – brilliant idea!

So, aims for next week, obtain large warehouse and launch national media campaign and pass on some of our useful but unused items. Hmm, might be a bit ambitious, perhaps we will just start small and find a retro enthusiast for Ian’s wires…..

Charity Shop finds

After our (Becksie’s) epic fail regarding the purchase of dining chairs we were feeling some what despondent about our favourite way of purchasing things. Until……. we spotted this little beauty outside of the same charity shop said chairs came from!!!!charity 2

The charity shop has only gone and TOTALLY redeemed itself! This little beauty was only £2.95!!! Team Pugh have already had £2.95’s worth of fun from it! It has also helped us to decide there is a good chance Lizzie is right handed and not a lefty like her daddy!

charity 1

We love charity shops as you never know what your going to get. We must say some of the highly branded really picky about stock charity shops annoy us. We like what we call an ‘old fashioned’ charity shop, the sort where anything goes and the prices are reasonable.

Team Pugh have always been fans of getting pre-loved items either in charity shops, on freecycle or at a carboot. Lately Ms Allsopp seems to be getting out there and shouting about filling one’s home for free (although we notice she is driving miles to source this ‘free’ stuff – Aberdeen to Birmingham!) which is fantastic and a great media reminder that you don’t always have to rush out and buy new. In the spirit of ‘filling one’s home for free’ we thought we’d share just a few of the treasures Team Pugh have got over the years:

Regular blog featurers - these lovely blue bowls came from a charity shop in Birmingham. There used to be three but someone (IAN) broke it!

Regular blog featurers – these lovely blue bowls came from a charity shop in Birmingham. There used to be three but someone (IAN) broke it!

This lovely lamp was just £1 from a car boot sale!

This lovely lamp was just £1 from a car boot sale!

All of these tins found their way from charity shops to our window sill

All of these tins found their way from charity shops to our window sill

This amazing basket was one of Becksie's favorite recent finds!

This amazing basket was one of Becksie’s favorite recent finds – the cat was not included in the deal!