Having Fun with Upclycing, Recycling’s Cooler Sister

Recycling may seem like a chore to most people but to creative types, or anyone on a budget like a student, there are plenty of ways discarded materials can be used to create functional pieces of furniture and even works of art. In recent years it’s become increasingly popular and fashionable to create unique objects for the home using what would once have been scrapheap fodder.

While the process of giving waste materials new life by turning them into something useful again could be classed as recycling there’s a word has been coined to distinguish itself from the more general term, and that word is upcycling. Although first coined in 1994 it’s only in recent years that the phrase has become more widely used.

For example the number of items tagged as being “upcycled” on craft-based ecommerce site Etsy has risen from about 8,000 in 2010 to over 260,000 in 2013. This is great news and shows the upcycling movement is growing. Websites like upcycling.co.uk have also sprung up, offering inspiration for new projects.

A good starting point for an upcycling project is the humble yet versatile wooden pallet. Designed to make the lives of forklift truck drivers easier wooden pallets can be the perfect building blocks for a unique piece of furniture that will last a long time. Popular pallet projects include various forms of seating, such as sofas and chairs, and tables.

Similarly crates are a popular and easily attainable item, and can be used to create rustic looking storage spaces and sturdy tables.

When it comes down to it there’s no limit to the things which can be created through upcycling. Some more unusual ideas include making handbags out of old books, bracelets out of forks and desk tidies out of old game controllers.  Another unique upcycling idea which has become popular is turning an old shopping trolley into a rolling chair.

For students some more easily achievable ideas including re-purposing an old cork board as a jewellery sorter, using Frisbees to support paper plates and turning a broken mini fridge into a storage unit for video games and console accessories.

It doesn’t take much to get involved and many of the most popular upcycling materials are common in scrap heaps and freely available, though obviously it’s wise to ask permission from the property owner before taking anything.

It’s also not hard to find materials for upcycling online, through classified ads, and it can be surprising what people are giving away for free. The beauty of this is that it benefits everyone involved and helps to reduce the amount of waste that might otherwise be going straight to the landfill.

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Is Birmingham’s New Super Library worth Checking Out?

September saw the doors of Birmingham’s new central library open up for checking out but the £189m cost of its development has left many wondering if it was worth it. There’s no doubt that libraries are an important hub for communities but the debate that’s been generated suggests that it’s too much to spend at a time when public libraries are disappearing at an alarming rate.

Figures indicate than since 2009 349 libraries have been closed and according to some sources there have been around 316 planned closures in 2013 alone.  With some of these closures resulting from funding cuts of fractions of a million it’s hardly surprising that some people are questioning the amount of money spent on Birmingham’s new library.

For Birmingham’s book lovers though it isn’t bad news. That £189m has gone into a building which houses hundreds of thousands of books in as well as amphitheatre, and it even has a garden area. It can accommodate 3,000 visitors and offers services that support local businesses, young people and children.

It isn’t the first time that a so-called super library has been created in the UK, and it seems that they’re appearing at the expense of smaller branches. This year has also seen Liverpool’s main library re-open after a £50m refurbishment, as four branch libraries in the city have shut their doors for good.

Though the super libraries have proved popular the overall number of people visiting around the country has been falling, and rural areas have been hardest hit. Like other key services that every community once had, such as a post office, the library needs to find a way to adapt to changing times.

Technological innovations may have threatened the traditional library model but these new larger centres show how the Victorian approach to book lending can be adapted to appeal to an increasingly diverse demographic. Books are still at the forefront of this but it seems the new way is to offer a centre which delivers multiple ways of sharing knowledge and bringing communities together.

It does seem hard to justify the extreme cost of Birmingham’s Central Library, especially in the current economic climate. However the library’s director has gone on record saying that if the plans for the library had been assessed a year later, rather than in October 2007, they probably wouldn’t have gotten approval. It might also not look have looked so bad, if its construction hadn’t been in the shadow of so many other library closures.

If smaller rural libraries want to remain open 2014’s challenge for them is going to be to remain relevant and broaden their appeal to communities, while staying within their budget.

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Charity Offers Free Cakes for Disadvantaged Children

A birthday cake may be a luxury which most of us took for granted as children but there are many families out there who have been adversely affected by the economy and can’t afford to buy their child a cake. Free Cakes For Kids UK is a charity that aims to rectify this sad situation though, matching up those in need with one of 60 groups of amateur bakers ready and willing to produce a tailor made birthday cake.

Earlier this year the charity delivered its 1000th cake and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down with more volunteer bakers than recipients of cakes. It’s not just a localised service either and there are groups spread out all over the country, from West Cornwall to Aberdeen. One of the most recent groups to take part is Free Cakes for Kids Sheffield bringing together the city’s disadvantaged children and its best bakers.

While each group is responsible for its own activities they all work under the same umbrella ensuring a safe and confidential service. Not only are they doing a good deed but the groups encourage people to come together, promoting community spirit.

It’s also worth noting that the service isn’t just for families in poverty, it also helps those who are disabled and suffering through bereavement.

With the rise in popularity of baking, helped by shows like the BBC’s Great British Bake Off, it’s maybe not surprising that our philanthropic activities are becoming more kitchen-based. Free Kids for Cakes is just one of a growing number of charities which aims to help people through food and for Red Nose Day 2013 100,000 of Mary Berry’s bake off kits were downloaded.

There’s no doubt that the rise of the internet has allowed groups like this to flourish where they wouldn’t have before. It also means that baking for charity doesn’t have to be restricted to the big national charity days or the school fete.

Anyone interested in getting involved can join their local group, or if there isn’t one local to them start their own.

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Going to town with self-sufficiency – Todmorden

2008 was not a good year for the economy but one town in Yorkshire stood firm in the face of adversity and turned its unused public spaces into community gardens, offering free food and encouraging residents to get involved. That town was Todmorden and it didn’t take long for the idea to spread not only through the local community but nationally and internationally as well.

The movement, known as Incredible Edible, was started by former member of Todmorden’s council Pam Warhurst and a group of like-minded people. Their aim was simple – use the growing of food to bring the community together and change people’s attitude towards the environment.

It didn’t take long before the idea took off and a workforce of hundreds of volunteers got involved, and not just home owners. Even the local police force turned the flowerbeds outside their station into an area to grow vegetables, and gardens have sprung up in places as unlikely as graveyards.

Not only has the movement benefited the community economically in terms of producing free food but it’s also boosted the sales of local fruit & veg sellers and “vegetable tourists” from all over the globe come to visit the town. With those tourists in mind the Incredible Edible green route was created, a route which takes them through key sites around the town showing off the best that the community has to offer.

Now in its fifth year Incredible Edible is still going strong. Support continues to grow within the town, with the newly expanded Bear Cafe aiming to source even more of its produce from Todmorden and the surrounding area.

This year will also see the opening of the group’s Aqua Garden, which has been built behind Todmorden High School. The state of the art aquaponics, hydroponics and permaculture centre will be run by representatives from Incredible Edible and the High School and the vegetables grown there are going to form part of the school’s dinners.

In addition to the local interest over 50 groups in the UK have now joined the movement. Beyond the UK communities in places as far flung as Canada and New Zealand are getting involved.

Incredible Edible has been the subject of two inspiring and popular TED talks which offer advice on how to get started. The beauty of the approach used in Todd Morden is that it didn’t require funding, or permission from the council. Just a group of willing people and a place to plant vegetables.

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Create your own selling page completely FREE!

This weekend I’ve had a massive declutter of my house, I had been putting it off for ages. However due to having new carpets fitted, I thought it would be the perfect time to clear the clutter, have a good old spring clean and attempt to make some extra cash.  I was astounded by the quantity of stuff I have which has not been used for a long time and is just taking up much needed space.  I have now relocated and organised the clutter in my garage  and am slowly placing my for sale ads with the aim of clearing my garage by Christmas 🙂  

Creating My Selling Page

I thought the best way for me to place my items for sale would be to create my own selling page on ads’ere.  This will enable me  to post my selling page on Facebook, twitter, Google+ and I can also e-Mail the link to my page to all my contacts letting everyone see all my sale ads in one place.

This is the process I went through to create my own selling page:

  • Go to www.adsere.com
  • Register for free by simply adding your e-Mail address
  • Click on communities
  • Select create a community
  • Create a community title (e.g. Lisa’s Selling Page)
  • Select a Category best suited to your items for sale (I chose regional)
  • Choose an image for your page
  • Give your selling page a description, you may wish to let everyone know a little bit about you and where your items are from.
  • Decide if you want your selling page to be public so anyone can join or private so you are in control of your members.  If you do have people who want to join your selling page they will be kept up to date with your items for sale, as each time you place a new ad they will receive an e-Mail to inform them.

Once you have created your selling page you can start to place ads for free.  Placing ads on ads’ere is very simple, you can use photographs, video and even audio to help you sell your items.  Just make sure you choose community when you fill in the locality field and then choose your selling page this will ensure your ad ends up in the right place.

Share your Selling Page on Facebook

It’s so easy to share your selling page on Facebook, just click on the share icon underneath the community to share to your own Facebook page or you can copy the URL from the address bar and post it onto someone else’s Facebook wall. For example I have shared my selling page on my local Facebook Selling page – people are able to view all my ads in one place instead of having to scroll through news feeds.  You can also share your individual ads if you wish.

Using ads’ere is an excellent way for me to stay organised and keep control of all my ads, from my ad management center I can view, edit or remove my ads at any time.

If you would like to set up your own selling page and need a hand, please feel free to e-Mail me and I will be happy to help lisasalter@adsere.com

Check out my selling page by browsing communities and selecting Lisa’s Selling Page 🙂 grab a bargain.

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Buying secondhand horse riding equipment

Horse riding has been my passion  since I was eight years old and I have been extremely fortunate to have owned ponies growing up and into my late twenties.  However, when I became pregnant, unfortunately I didn’t feel that I would be able to give both my horse and baby the attention they deserved, so made the hard decision to give up until my children were old enough to ride.    Luckily my five year old daughter has now fallen in love with horse riding, something I am really happy about, but it’s costing me an absolute fortune.  It is such a fantastic hobby for children, keeping them active in the fresh air and learning to care and look after animals is so important, plus keeping them off the streets is an added bonus, however, it can be very expensive.

Horse Riding & Equipment

The following basic equipment is needed for riding lessons, riding hat, jodhpurs, riding boots, back protector and gloves.   I am very reluctant to buy all new gear for my daughter because she is growing so fast her clothes and shoes do not last five minutes, so I have bought her secondhand boots and jodhpurs and gratefully received hand-me -downs from friends.  However, I do know that riding hats and back protectors should never be bought secondhand unless you know the person selling them.  All items which impact on a riders safety should be purchased with care, please click here for more information Basic Riding Equipment (The British Horse Society)

Owning a Horse or Pony

Keeping a horse or pony is a continuous financial commitment as well as being extremely time consuming, it is a huge responsibility and should not be entered into without thorough consideration .  Horses require your care and attention on a daily basis even on those dark freezing cold winters nights, they are totally dependent on you.  I have seriously considered buying a pony, but have decided that at the moment with work commitments and the age of my daughter, now is not the right time, so we are continuing with riding lessons for the time being.

The cost of keeping your horse or pony can vary greatly depending on whether you have your own land are going to rent a field or place your horse/pony in livery.  Other costs which need to be considered are:

  • Feed
  • Rugs
  • Bedding
  • Farrier (New Shoes)
  • Vets
  • Insurance
  • Transport
  • Tack

Click here to see the costs of keeping a horse or pony


You will need the following basic equipment  for your horse or pony – a correctly fitted saddle, bridle, girth, head collar, lead rope, grooming kit, first aid kit, rugs and equipment for mucking out. Buying new equipment will vary in price depending on manufacturer and quality. Secondhand tack and rugs are considerably cheaper but they need to be checked thoroughly for any damage or wear tear.   It is also advisable to have your saddle fitted by a qualified reputable fitter which you can find here The Society of Master Saddlers 

It is advisable when buying secondhand items that you purchase them locally so as you can view the items before you exchange monies and stay safe online.

Hopefully, I will own a pony again one day and my children can experience all the fun I did when growing up, I loved the gymkhanas at weekends and I’m sure they will too!   I have created the Horse Riding Equipment Selling Group on ads’ere a fantastic FREE place to buy, sell, swap or give away new or used horse riding gear, so please come and join me and hopefully we can all save some money.

Please be mindful that it is ads’ere company policy not to allow the advertisement of animals on our site.


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Get sporty this Summer with ads’ere.com!

We’re legally not allowed to mention the “O” word, but let’s just say it’s going to be a Summer of Sport and we’re going to love every minute of it!

Whether you’re an armchair competitor or you’ll be out there jumping up and down in the stadium, you can re-enact your favourite moments in the back garden with the help of our great Sports section.

Why don’t you take a look at some of these ads and plan your own mini Olym…(oops, nearly) event in your own home this summer?


OK so it’s not the size of a professional swimming pool, and is probably more suited to synchronised swimming than high level diving, but this 12ft x 4ft swimming pool would look great in any back garden and think of the fun the kids will have! We reckon it could do water hockey too at a push 🙂


Fancy making hockey even more fun by doing it on roller skates? And for free? Uni Roller Hockey in Royston are offering free lessons if you bring your own skates!

High Jump?

We don’t know about you, dear readers, but we not only can’t twist our bodies in the way the high jumpers do, but we can’t jump much higher than our own knees either. And let’s not even think about the pole vault…

But how much easier (and more fun!) would the highjump be if you had some of these great Kangaroo Jumpers? We want, we want, we want!


If all the excitement of your own Summer tournaments has tired you out, then this match carp fishing rod could be the thing for you.

The gentle lapping of water, the sun’s rays on your back, the pride in catching that prize winning carp – kind of beats watching the archery doesn’t it?

Of course, you can make your own fun in the garden with balls, frisbees and games that you already have – but do check out the rest of our sporting goods section and maybe you’ll be winning your own medal this summer!

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You CAN make money from old rope!

OK, maybe not old rope but that old biscuit tin in the back of a cupboard, the hideous vase your parents got for their wedding 50 years ago, the dusty old jewellery your great aunt left you but you never wear, and much more.

Antiques never go out of fashion, and one man’s hate is another man’s prized possession.

If you have an attic full of stuff that you don’t know what to do with, it really could be worth a fortune.

Kiera Griffin thought her Grandmother’s old doorstop was pretty hideous (although we think it’s quite gorgeous actually) until she took it to Antiques Roadshow and it turned out to be worth £20,000!

John Richards bought a handbag in a charity shop for just £20 – it turns out it was a rare Philip Treacy bag and was in fact worth as much as £350,000!

And let’s not forget the very lucky mystery man who sold an old painting that had been covering a hole in a wall in his home to The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston for $1.2million!

Of course, you’d have to be very lucky to produce a story such as the three above, but you never know!

So, how do you find out what your old items are worth, and where can you sell them to make the most?

How much is my antique worth?

Of course before you go out to sell, you need to know how much the item you have is worth. This is pretty easy, but it’s still best to get more than one place, just to see if they tally.

5 places I can use to value my antique

Local antiques shop

Pop along to your local antiques dealer and let him or her value your item. Remember that they’re going to give you less than it is worth as they have to make money when they sell it, but it should give you a ballpark figure.

Check out online auction sites

Have a look on online auction sites such as ads’ere and see if someone is selling something similar. Keep an eye on the price it makes and have that in your mind when you’re selling your item.

Go to the library

Pick up a book on antiques and see if your item is in there – this is research you could do online too without too much effort.

Try and get on Antiques Roadshow 🙂

OK it’s a long shot, but you never know! Find out if they’re going to be nearby and pop along to see if that watch you’ve never polished could buy your next house.

Where can I sell my antique?

Depending on the amount of work you want to put in, there are a few places you could sell your item.

The local antiques shop

If you’re happy with the price you’re offered, then this is probably the easiest way to sell. As mentioned before, you may not get the exact value of the item, and it is of course possible that you could be reading about it being worth millions in the Daily Mail a few months later!

The local newspaper

Advertisements in local papers don’t tend to be expensive, and someone out there may recognise exactly what that grainy black and white picture is, and be willing to spend a fortune on it.

You could also end up fielding a load of phone calls and have people come to look at the item and not buy, so we’re not convinced on this route.

An auction room

If you have an auction room near you, this is a good way to go, as they’ll give you an idea of the value, and it’s in their interests to drive the price up as high as possible. Of course, there is their commission to consider, and even with a reserve price you could find yourself not getting the true value.

An online auction site

Not quite as easy as going along to your local antique dealer, as you’ll have to photograph it, write the description, set a reserve price and then hope it sell. But this is the best way, in our opinion.

A well written description and some great looking photos could see the bids coming in fast and furiously, and the spirit of competition means that some items go for more than their worth just because someone wants to own them!

We have a great antiques section here at ads’ere – why not list your items there, then all you have to do is arrange transport and collect the money. You could be on that beach in Hawaii in no time at all!

Check out some of our antiques for sale here.


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One Man’s Junk

Guest post from ads’ere member Sarah-Jayne Windridge-France

A little while back a friend asked me if there was a fire (or, perhaps more fittingly for Yorkshire right now, a flood) what would you save?  I have a list of approximately 90 items … with at least a couple of hundred in close reserves!!  In other words too, too much.

My life has always been pretty hectic, but with 3 kids and health issues, and a constant time famine, it seems to get more and more so.  I envy those of my friends whose houses and lives are immaculate and for whom clutter is a four-letter-word!  This is merely something that I aspire to, but will most probably never happen in this lifetime.  Oh to run away from everything and start anew.  I can’t tell you what a tempting thought that is!

As of January 2012 I decided that I had procrastinated for long enough.  Besides, we’re brassic.  Having ploughed our life savings into a much-needed specialist extension/conversion for my disabled son, and something just had to give.  That is why this New Year’s resolution (of which I assure you there were many more) I have actually stuck to and, as the months sail by, I am increasingly proud of my resolve.  My hoarding gene is depleted.  I say depleted because for one who has always hoarded as if there were a war on, – I will never be able to totally eradicate my (sadly less slim and toned than I’d like it to be) body of this gene.  That is simply impossible.  BUT, as of this year, I have decluttered with gusto (albeit barely scratching the surface so far), sent umpteen bags of undesirables to charity (for which they have been incredibly grateful) and the rest of my abominable treasures I have taken to flogging on various ‘free-sites’ to the highest (take for that – anyone who’ll have it) bidder.

Now I’ll be honest I LOVE a good car-boot.  I don’t think there’s one friend that I haven’t dragged out of bed at the crack of dawn into a wet dark field to sell our oh so exciting wares!  It’s jolly good fun and can be a quick money making scheme too – particularly if you just want rid and are happy to release your sentimental clutches from your old faves for 50p!  British Summertime 2012 however, with a very special thanks to Mother Nature and her good friend Mr Rain, has put a complete car bosh on even the remotest idea of going booting!

So, to this end I’m decluttering and down-sizing my life in more ways than one and already have a fractionally clearer mind and far better conscience for it.  Now don’t go getting giddy – to date I can’t honestly say that any floor space is actually completely clear, nor are any cupboards empty … and don’t you dare enter my dining room (which currently resembles Steptoe’s backyard) … but it’s all very much a part of the plan and an ongoing project.  I am (almost) constantly searching and slim-lining…. drawers are suddenly sliding shut a little easier and cupboards and wardrobes are no longer hanging ajar … although some things are merely jiggled about a bit and put back in their place just neater!  I’ve not quite gotten fully to grips with the thrifty/frugal new me per se!

I have, however, *smiles very smugly to oneself* got the matter firmly in hand…. and a small number of select ‘classified’ sites that are crying out for old treasures/junk/much loved nuggets of youth … like mine, are getting it BIG TIME!

So, you ask, – am I EBaying like topsy … well actually no!  You see I’ve never been a real fan.  EBaying is incredibly time consuming (I can’t sit there watching all day or all evening for that matter) and, in all honesty, I can’t afford to waste money on goods that don’t sell or the constant trips to the Post Office for that matter!  Besides which I find it all a little sinister and impersonal.  I’m a sentimental fool at heart and unwanted or not – I like to think that my old treasures will be passed on to someone with a smile on their face and a twinkle of satisfaction in their eye..  I actually prefer more local ‘free-sites’ where I feel there’s a little human contact.  The onus is very much on me to ensure that I supply just what I offered, nothing more (well ok on occasion I’ve been known to give a little extra), nothing less – because 95% of the time I hand over the goods in person … often rather reluctantly.

Therefore the sites that I am championing are prelovednetmums and the newer and perhaps little known site adsere.  As a combo these three sites suit me down to the ground.  The amount of things and the scope of things I have blatantly posted on these sites in the past six months would make even the most fearsome of EBayers blush!  Everything from much loved children’s toys, to brand new and unworn designer underwear and nut holders!?* Each of these sites are providing me with something slightly different, but nonetheless useful.    The ads’ere Site Manager was so terribly impressed with the sheer volume of goods that I bunged on there, in such a timely manner, that she sent me the most stupendously delicious Easter egg, as a ‘nod’ to my foolhardiness … or is that foolishness – I do wonder!

Can’t quite believe the CR@P I’ve shifted… But then that’s what they say isn’t it ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ … and they’re right.  I love nothing more than rooting through charity shops and car boot sale stalls … though, for now at least, this is strictly forbidden territory – which I am finding incredibly and frustratingly hard to resist!  Y’see my other alter ego is a raging SHOPAHOLIC 😉

So, on that note, I shall quickly check my site accounts before I retire to bed and rest assured in my newly sworn proviso that as soon as something is sold, I vow to place another item, or two, in its place.  You may think that it’s hard to find something … but I assure you that everyone has something, and some of us have FAR more than most!  In the wake of my depleting treasure a little mound of pennies raised by sales are hastily placed in a slowly swelling pot fondly known as the ‘Forty Fund’ for that is my ultimate goal. (I would have said paying off the mortgage – but for once I set my sights just a fraction too high!).  If this keeps up by next year I will be having one ALMIGHTY  birthday shindig!


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Win a Delicious Movie Hamper & DVD of your choice

Competition now closed.

Thank you all for you entries.

The winners have been contacted or will be contacted in the near future. We hope you enjoyed taking part and that you took the opportunity to take a look around ads’ere online classifieds too.

Thank you again, and have a good day.

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