This beauty is my go-to for any hard to clean areas or when I'm doing a deep clean! From getting burnt on food off pots, to getting the sink shiny again. I use it in the bathroom to scrub grime and soap scum off surfaces too! I love this cleaning paste. PLUS it's so simple to make and lasts for ages!
Place 1 cup of baking soda in a small bowl (or straight into whatever air-tight container you're going to keep this paste in, a jam jar or honey pottle works great) and then add about 1/4 cup of castile liquid soap (I use Dr Bronner's). [ie: 4 parts baking soda + 1 part castile liquid soap]. Add in 10 drops of essential oil if you want - try peppermint or anything citrus. Mix together until it forms a thick paste. Add a little water or more soap if it's a too dry. Store in an air-tight container and use as you need it. I find a small teaspoon size dollop is all I need for most applications. Apply to dirty surface & scrub, you can add a little water or cleaning spray (below) to surface as well to help the paste along.
This spray lives on the bench because I use it every day when wiping down kitchen surfaces. I used to love using store bought spray & wipe with the 'pretty' smells but now I have this more eco-friendly, safer alternative I haven't looked back. And I love knowing the beautiful smell is essential oils and not fake, cheap fragrances derived from chemicals!
Add 1 tbsp of baking soda, 1 tbsp of castile liquid soap & 10-20 drops of your choice of essential oils (use ones that have cleaning or disinfecting properties like tea tree, lemon, peppermint, eucalyptus or rosemary) to a spray bottle and then top up with water. Shake well before each use to re-combine all the ingredients.
Disinfectant spray / glass cleaner
This spray does two jobs - great for cleaning glass and it also has disinfecting properties with the vinegar and lemon essential oil. Now who doesn't love a multi-tasker?! I use this spray on windows (or pour a 1/4 cup into my bucket of hot water, along with a little castile liquid soap, if I'm doing a full window clean), bench surfaces, chopping boards, toilet seats, door handles etc and I spray my cleaning brushes & scrubbers with it before dousing them with boiling water to disinfect.
Simply half fill a spray bottle with white vinegar, then add filtered/boiled/distilled water to the top. (ie: 1 part vinegar + 1 part water). Add 20 drops of lemon essential oil (a natural degreaser, smells divine and is known for it's antimicrobial qualities). Pop the spray trigger on top of your bottle and you're done. Shake well before each use to re-disperse the essential oil. When using as a disinfectant spray just apply to the area and leave to dry. When using to clean glass (or stainless steel) spray on then buff off with a cloth.
A year ago today we announced to our family and friends that we were selling up. I remember the excitement of putting our plans into action. The nervousness of putting our beloved home on the market. And then I remember the frustration of waiting for it to sell. It took over six months which felt like forever! Ha. Now one year later as we break ground on our new section and get excited for the next chapter, I appreciate all the life we've lived in that year. I'm grateful that we took the leap and began living our lives on our terms, creating the life we dream of. We might not be there yet but I am reminded that it is all about the journey itself.
Ever since I can remember I've been a pretty driven person, always just wanting to get on and do whatever it is I'd put my mind to. I like to think I'm self-motivated. Others might call it impatient. I left school at the end of sixth form because I was ready to start a career rather than 'waste' another year in school! I've never shied away from a challenge (unless it involves heights) and I don't let fear of the unknown hold me back. Build a house at the age of 20 - sure. Quit my job to pursue photography - yip. Sell said house to go tiny - shit yea! I definitely prefer to be taking action rather than resting on my laurels (as Dad would have said).
I've talked a little about our decision to sell our house & go tiny but there's so much more to this journey that the square metre-age of our home. It's about lifestyle. We realised we were spending huge hours working to pay the bills. Did we really need to have this huge mortgage for another 20 years? We'd be 50 by the time we owned our home out-right and that seemed like a lot of life to be spent paying off an excessive asset. We dreamed of a lifestyle that let us do more travelling, spend more time with friends & family and the freedom to enjoy our hobbies. We realised a way to achieve more of this good stuff in our life was to downsize our home & in turn our debt. As we looked at alternative living our eyes were opened to new, different possibilities. We talked about selling up and just renting, we looked at nomad living travelling the world, we talked about the advantages & disadvantages of a tiny house on wheels or a house bus. We weighed up what we loved about our current home and what we could do without.
Now I'm not advocating that everyone should start getting rid of their possessions or sell their home! But I am all about living your best life and prioritising the things that bring you happiness. Perhaps you want to travel more, or maybe pay off a loan. Want to start your own business or learn a new skill? The biggest step you can take is to start. Don't just think maybe one day you'll do it. Make a plan, set some goals, start saving, enrol in that course - whatever you've got to do to begin the journey.
Life is for living. If there's things you want to achieve or changes you need to make to live the life you dream of then start today. x
It's been a few months since we sold our home and began the planning stages of what I've nicknamed the "Horton Build 2.0" - our tiny home. During this time we've been working towards gaining building consent from the council and while it's been quiet on the blog here, we've been busy behind the scenes getting our ducks in a row so it can be all go once we're ready to break ground.
Technically we're building a small house at 65 square metres, as tiny houses are under 50sqm or even less depending on who you talk to, but tiny houses are a way of living - a lifestyle, more than a square meterage. The philosophy is about paring down, living simply, gaining financial freedom, reducing the consumer-driven excesses, being more sustainable & eco-friendly. For some people tiny house living is also about beating the property market, or the option to move about (if your tiny house is on wheels) or even moving towards community living with shared resources. For us going tiny is a way for us to move towards financial freedom, giving us more time for experiences. We've also become conscious about our footprint on this planet and wanting to live more sustainably.
So how did we come up with our tiny house plan? When Matt and I first started talking about the idea of going tiny we took a look at the footprint we were actually using of our four bedroom house. We realised we were only really using a third of the home. So we floated our idea of going tiny to our builder and he had us take a look at a few house plans to see if we could cut a plan in half or find a way of using something existing to base ours off. But we couldn't find anything that worked for us and we began drawing up house plans ourselves. We quickly became fixed on a long house configuration with a short hallway joining everything. In fact the plan looks very close to the configuration of half our old house! We got out the measuring tape and stepped out areas. We thought about the things we loved in our old home and what we'd change. We looked at house cladding, roof pitches and design styles everywhere we travelled. We found pictures online of interiors we loved. And then we went to see Josh at MAS Architecture in Invercargill.
Josh helped us bring our ideas to life. He took my basic drawings and created all the technical drawings, plans and details required for council consent application. Here's the concept we ended up with below. A 65 square metre home that opens up to the north onto a patio running the length of the house. The living and kitchen area has a pitched ceiling to create the feeling of a bit more space. We'll use sliding barn-style interior doors rather than swinging to save on space. We've added more room to the bathroom than in our previous home to allow for a big tiled shower. Our kitchen is based off our old one but tweaked slightly to give us more storage & more breakfast bar space. We're having a walk-around wardrobe in the bedroom which will also double as a 'headboard' for the bed. We decided to still have a spare room as we want this to be our forever home and this gives us options. It will double as office and storage space. And possibly the most talked about feature - an outdoor, plumbed in bath tub!
The home will be insulated including the concrete floor, plus the use of Low-E glazing for the windows. We'll make the most of the sun's warmth but we're also planning on having a small, low emission wood burner.
We're going with plywood for the interior walls and polished concrete floors as we've fallen in love with both of those 'raw' looks. When we started thinking about the interior of our home I really wanted the house to feel like a bach - with the comforts of home but also so that it feels a little like we're on holiday. There's nothing conventional about this build and we didn't want it to feel like our last home did with white walls and carpet throughout. Corrugated cladding will be broken up along the north side with a wood feature. The natural colours and textures of stone and wood will feature throughout the home, inside and out. From the stone bath, the concrete floors, right through to our plans for the tiled shower. With plywood walls the interior will have a warmth about it, contrasting against a white kitchen. Matt has created some beautiful pieces of wood & steel furniture and plans to create a vanity unit for the bathroom of the same style. I'm imagining potted plants throughout the house bringing the outside in and the big stacking door off the living area will open us up onto the patio for those cracker Southland days.
And for those wondering about storage and where all our 'stuff' goes... we're currently living in a small rental and we actually don't have a heap of things in storage. Most of the boxes and items in deep storage currently are Matt's shed things and he's getting another shed with this build. We're not having an internal access garage this time which is something we were okay with forsaking, but Matt's new shed is actually going to be bigger than our tiny house! 😂 We managed to pare down so many of our possessions in the process of down-sizing so the built in storage within this house plan will be more than enough for the two of us.
The next blog post update will hopefully be us breaking ground and I'm so excited for that stage. This tiny house has been on my mind for the last year - I dream about it frequently and can already visualise in my mind how it will look as I walk through it. It was initially a little scary thinking we had designed this house plan & what if it didn't work functionally, but we've had a year to nut it out, we've had the best architect we could wish for helping us every step of the way and it's going to be pretty neat living in a home we designed ourselves! I remember when we decided to list our old house for sale back in March 2018 and spending half of that year thinking it was all taking too long. Now I realise time has flown and the Horton Build 2.0 is all about to get very real!