We teamed up with Shared Earth Learning this month to host a staff/volunteer/trustee team day at Vallis Veg, the home of many of Shared Earth’s projects! It was the perfect autumnal day for putting on our gardening gloves, breathing in the fresh air and getting back to nature!
All 3 managers, 4 of our volunteers and 3 trustees joined one of Shared Earth’s directors, Jen, to make compost boxes out of old pallets, a leaf mulcher and getting beds ready by doing lots of weeding!
A huge thanks to our wonderful operations and marketing manager, Jess, who organised the day, making some very yummy leek and potato soup, which we heated up on an open fire!
A little more about Shared Earth Learning Co-op, they are a charity that aims to nurture love of nature! They offer a range of projects, such as Forest School, helping kids learn using the outdoors, Play Ranging, bringing outdoor fun to kids in Frome, gardening groups for teens and adults and much more.
They will be hosting a Pumpkin Day and Harvest Swap on the 30th October, with a range of fun activities for all ages! See what other events they currently have on here.
Did you know we have an Apple/Grape Scratter and an Apple Press available to borrow? Here is a simple step by step guide to making your own apple juice. You can also use a Blender/Food Processor for the first part of the process, instead of the Scratter. Feeling lazy and want apple juice quickly? Why not borrow one of our Juicers instead? But for all those wanting the old school, rustic technique, here it is:
An optional first step is to wash your apples using water and small bit of vinegar, if you are worried about dirt or other nasties. Then, you will need to chop your apples up into smaller pieces. This is not so necessary for our Apple Scratter, but it can be a good idea to make sure any rotten or wormy parts are cut away! You can keep the cores and bruised areas (this makes the juice sweeter!). If you are using a blender, it is a necessary step to chop into smaller pieces, to make processing easier.
Next, use our Apple Scratter to crush your apples! Make sure the Scratter is clean by running hot water through the cogs beforehand. Put the Scratter on top of a clean bucket before pressing. You may need several clean buckets ready to fill. Then simply turn the handle! You may need another person to feed in the apples while you turn with both hands! Alternatively, you can use our blender to crush your apples!
Next get our Apple Press ready by cleaning with hot water. Then put a straining bag or muslin into the apple press to furthur strain your juice. Make sure you put a clean bucket underneath the Apple press, ready to catch the juice trickling out. Then start turning! Crank it down as far as it will go.
For a helpful visual of this process, this is a great video!
When you are done straining the apples, make sure to compost your pulp. To allow the pulp to compost well, mix it with newspaper, cardboard, straw or crop wastes.
Next, sterilise your bottles by washing them out thoroughly, then filling them with warm water containing a little sodium metabisulphite. Screw the lids on firmly and lay the bottles on their sides. Leave the solution in the bottles for at least half an hour, turning them once or twice to ensure that every part of the inner surface has been disinfected. Immediately before filling them with juice, rinse the bottles out with warm water.
Next fill your sterilised bottles with your freshly squeezed juice. You can pastuerise your apple juice by leaving the caps off and putting them in the pans of hot water. You should keep them as close as possible to 77C for half an hour. You might need to add some cold water to the pans from time to time to keep the temperature steady. Don’t overheat the juice or it will oxidise, spoiling the flavour. Before the pasteurised juice cools down, screw the tops back on the bottles. Then lie them on their sides, so that the warm juice sterilises the lids, which might have picked up some germs while the bottles were cooking. And you’re done!
Make sure to clean the Apple Scratter by running warm water through it when you are finished. If you find the cogs are getting a bit stiff, you can use a bit of food grade AC-90 lubricant, provided with the Scratter, or you can use rapeseed oil. Simply spray or pour a small amount into the cogs after washing.
Need help in the process? If you are struggling and need a question answered, this is a great page!
We got a mention this week in the latest Frome Food Network newsletter. Check it out for more info on harvesting apples and why not sign up to get all the latest Frome Food news yourself.
We all know the cost of energy is going to go up dramatically this winter and running a fridge-freezer costs around 7% of your total energy bill. Because it’s one of the few appliances that stays on the whole time, it can be difficult to try to save some of that energy.
But here are some useful tips that you can help to cut down on costs. Some make more difference than others, but every little bit can help when prices go up.
1. Clean the back of your fridge
The coils on the back of your fridge are part of the condenser that cools room temperature air to keep your food cool. These coils can get quite dusty and dirty over time, especially since we rarely clean the back part of the fridge, unless you happen to be moving the fridge. This dust and dirt makes them far less efficient and takes more energy to cool the air down.
Dirt can also reduce the lifespan of your fridge, so every 6 months or so, make sure you give them a clean. You can use a duster or the suction nozzle of a vacuum cleaner to do this. Make sure to unplug it temporarily before you do.
2. Turn off the ice maker
Make sure to turn off your ice maker if you do not use it regularly in the winter. Only turn it on if you really need it during the summer or a party, or use ice cube moulds instead. This can make a big difference to your running costs.
As time goes by, frost can build up on the sides of your freezer and drawers, making it far less efficient and more expensive to run. If your lucky to have a freezer designed not frost up at all, no need to worry, but if not, you could cut its running costs by defrosting every few months. (Also a great way to use up all those meals you put in the freezer and forgot about!)
4. Fill her up!
Firstly, when buying a fridge, make sure you’re buying the right-sized one for your household. Buying a large on for 2 people is going to waste a lot of energy. Most of the time, the bigger the fridge, the more it costs to run.
If you have a fridge or freezer with plenty of unused space, you can always fill it with bottles of tap water or screwed-up newspaper. Otherwise you’re just cooling down air and making your fridge work harder. You can also put in fruit, veg and bread, which usually is fine in room temperature, but keeping it in the fridge could prolong it’s life, while helping to keep your fridge full.
However, you do not need to fill your fridge so much that you can’t see what’s in it. This can go the other way and cause you to spend more time standing with the fridge door open, making your fridge work harder to cool the warm air coming in. You can also keep fruit and veg and bread, which usually is fine in room temperature, but keeping it in the fridge
5. How efficient is your fridge?
All fridges and freezers are given efficiency ratings, the most efficient being A+++. Choosing an A+++ fridge freezer over an A+ model can save you around £200 in energy bills over it’s lifetime, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
This of course has to be balanced against the initial price of a new fridge freezer, so it doesn’t necessarily make financial sense to upgrade too often. Perhaps if you were already thinking about replacing your fridge, now might be a good time to do it.
6. Check the door seal
Make sure that no cool air is escaping from your fridge from a broken seal. This can make your fridge work much harder, wasting energy. Seals are usually the first part of a fridge to wear down and break. You can usually buy replacements online. Also keeping them clean, will helps to make them last
7. Keep it cool
Many kitchens are too small to give us much choice about how we arrange our appliances. However, if you can, make sure your fridge-freezer is in a shady, cool spot, ideally away from direct sunlight. The cooler it stays, the less hard it has to work and the cheaper it is to run.
Equally, keeping your fridge-freezer away from your oven, especially if your oven is inefficient and allows heat to escape, can help to keep it running more efficiently.
At SHARE:Frome we’ve been shining a light on the more unusual items that fill our shelves, some items that since working here I was surprised to discover whilst searching for other things to fulfill peoples orders. One in particular I’ve been wanting to borrow was a ice-cream maker. With this scorching heat not much could be better and with it being incredibly simple to make you can even get your kids involved with some personal flavours of choice.
Trying to make the most out of the still bright evenings a movie night outside is an activity for everyone. We have multiple projectors and large screens to go with them, not to mention our popcorn makers for a cinema snack as you relax on our inflatable lounger, sipping cocktails you made using our rather swanky copper cocktail set.
One last item that I believe could make this heat easier is a nice light meal and one easy favourite for many people is pasta. The ingredients are cheap being mostly just flour and eggs but it can be a struggle to roll it out flat and cut it into your desired size. Luckily we have a pasta maker that can do the hard work for you so it won’t be long before you’ve made up a batch of your favourite kind. It even does Ravioli if you want to treat friends and family to something special.
We have all sorts of weird and wonderful items in our Library of Things so why not scroll through our site and take a look as you never know what you might find to take you on your next SHARE adventure.
It’s festival season and we love being able to make your festival experience even more enjoyable and affordable! Instead fo buying a new tent, why not borrow one? We’ve got all the bells and whistles that’ll get you ready for any festival, come rain or shine!
An essential, especially if you are in a big group and need to lug your gear from one end of the festival to the other! We have a folding wheelbarrow, easy to store in your car, as well as sack trolleys, which are great for moving big tents! Alternatively, we have a wheelbarrow and a garden cart that can do the same thing!
2. Camping Shower
A luxurious item in the realm of festivals, this is a great alternative to waiting in queues and paying fees for showers. Why not avoid trying to clean yourself at the nearest tap, and shower with class! Our camping shower holds 20L and can be left in the sun all day to heat up, ready for a nice warm shower in the evening! We only have one so reserve it now!
3. Fire Pit
Who doesn’t love a campfire? We love this handy and portable fire pit, becuase it’s light, but still has large capacity for holding 5kg of wood. Just make sure to check festival rules before using!
We’ve got a large range of bunting, perfect for making your temporary home stand out amongst the sea of tents! From giant bunting, to handmade bunting, we have various lengths, to personalise your tent!
5. Solar fairy lights
Another cool option to make your tent stand out, especially when fumbling back in the middle of the night! These lights that can be charged throughout the day and turn on as soon as it’s dark. Whether you want colourful or plain, we’ve got a few to choose from. Alternatively, we also have battery powered string lights!
Who doesn’t love a little jamming by the campfire? Or a festival open mic? Ukuleles are a great, portable instument to pack, to get people singing. We also have bongo drums and a percussion set to get you in the festival spirit!
Have you got a festival coming up and have seen an item (or a few!) you like? Make sure you sign up as member and start reserving! It’s quick and easy to do online, but you can also pop into the shop during our opening hours, Tuesday – Saturday, 10.30am – 2pm, give us a call on 07983639611 or drop an email at [email protected] See you soon!
This post was kindly written by the wonderful Emma Croft from Get Gardening!
Have you always wanted to grow your own garden — and provide your own food — but you don’t know where to begin? Look no further: SHARE:Frome shares your definitive guide and starting point for creating your own green space to cultivate the earth, along with tools that you can borrow!
Before you plant
There are several things you need to determine before any seeds go in the ground (or, really, before you purchase any materials).
Where will you put your garden? The best location experiences at least six hours of daily sunlight and has good drainage in your yard.
Are you going to have a raised bed or do you have the space to put a garden in your yard? You’ll need a large garden to feed a family year-round.
What are you planting? Where you live can be a determining factor in what you can grow.
Strategize! Based on the answer to the second bullet above, you should draw out a map of the garden on either grid paper or specialized software. Pay attention to how far apart the seeds need to be placed.
What’s in the soil
Ensuring you have the best and most appropriate soil for the vegetables you’re growing is a critical part of getting started.
First, determine the soil type for where you live. That will determine what (if anything) you need to add to it for optimal gardening efficiency.
If you have a raised bed, use a combination of compost, topsoil, decomposed leaves, and other nutrient-dense materials like worm casings.
Mulch the soil and make sure you don’t step on the garden (as this compacts the soil and makes it harder for water and air to reach the roots, even if you’re not stepping directly on the plants).
No matter what, loam is the best kind of soil for your vegetables. It guarantees drainage but also holds on to nutrients, including humus.
Make sure you incorporate a plan of how you’ll get water to your new plant babies. Especially in the first few weeks, how often they’re getting water is critical to their health.
Happy New Year! We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! To get 2022 off to a good start, we want to help you to keep your new years resolutions! We have made a list of some of the most common resolutions and what items SHARE can offer to help you!
Staying fit and healthy is important for physical as well as mental wellbeing, and we offer bike stands that allow you to attach your bicycle and use it as an indoor exercise bike! Great for rainy days! For more indoor exercise we have an exercise ball!
Are you brave enough to go cold water swimming? We have wetsuits! Or why not keep it simple by getting some exercise by walking with our metal detector?
Eating ‘healthy’ can mean many different things and it can be hard to know what is healthy these days. The best thing to start with is focusing on eating more fresh fruit and veggies, as well as cooking from scratch and avoiding processed, fatty food. SHARE can help you out and has a great selection of utentils and appliances!
Getting organised is a great way to help you be more productive, achieve more of your goals, as well as having a clearer head. Plus, the process of organising can be therapuetic! Why not get your office organised with our laminators and credit card/paper shredder? Get your family photo albums up to date with our paper trimmer, or digitise them with our photo scanner. Update your home VHS collection to DVD with our converter. Give your house a deeper clean with one of our carpet cleaners or steam cleaners.
Getting organised can also mean decluttering. Why not donate any of your unused tools and electric appliances to SHARE? And staying organised means staying clutter free, so instead of buying that bread maker that would need storing, why not borrow it and save you the kitchen space?
This one is easier said than done, but we can start by saying…. Borrow, don’t Buy! You’ve heard us say this many times, but it really does help your wallet. Whether you borrow an item like a pressure washer from SHARE, or you simply borrow your neighbours hammer, you can save money by avoiding that quick but pricey online order.
Spend more time with family and friends
We offer quite a few fun items that bring people together. Unfortunately, the days of large social gatherings are still in the past, so why not focus on spending quality time with those in your household or bubble? You may be sick of seeing the same old faces, but perhaps you just need to do something fun together on the weekend? Have a movie night with one of our projectors, screens and popcorn maker! Get competitive with our table football, mini table tennis, giant Connect 4 and Jenga, or our wooden games set that includes 10 games in one, including Chess, Pass out and Checkers! Place your bets with our Poker set or show off your singing skills (or lack of) with our karaoke machine!
Food always connects people as it’s something we all have in common! Why not make a special meal for your family or a romantic meal for your significant other? Make a Spanish paella with our paella pan or hand-make some fresh spaghetti or linguine with our pasta making machine! Put together a yummy bruch with our crepe maker! Make a fun and delicious dessert with our chocolate fountain or fondue set or make some cocktails (and mocktails if you’re doing Dry January like me!) with our cocktail shaker set!
While restrictions are still be in place, taking travel difficult, why not travel closer to home? This is not only better for the planet, avoiding the heavy emissions that come with flying, but you can see what great places are right on your doorstep. Need a suitcase? We have one! Get cycling on your trip with our car bike rack. Keep your drinks warm with our flasks and your food cold with our cooler bag or cooler box. Make sure to stay hydrated on long car journeys with our water carrier. Keep connected to the internet with our portable modems. Need to change or pump your car tyres before a long journey? We have a car jack and axle stands and a tyre pump. Travelling with a baby or small child? Use our travel cot, clip-on high chair or childs bike seat. And don’t forget to wear a mask where possible, wash your hands and follow guidelines!
Reading is great for the mind, whether you love to read gripping fiction or interesting and informative non-fiction. Why not try a new genre? While SHARE doesn’t offer books, we do love libraries of all kinds, and that includes your classic local library of books! Save money, space and emissions by borrowing a book this week!
It’s been a stressful year, so why not take up meditation, yoga or a daily breathing exercises practise? Alternatively, take up gardening! It’s great for your mind and body, connecting you to nature, and is great for the planet. Browse our large range of gardening equipment, from spades and forks, to a garden hose and wheelbarrow. Keep your knees unbruised with our garden kneeler! Get ready for spring with our bulb planter and make your own eco pots with our paper pot maker!
During the cold months, the reduced light can be difficult for our mental health, so why not borrow our SAD lightbox? This can help with providing the illusion of sunlight, when it’s cloudy and grey outside. And lastly, a great way to destress is to have a massage! Do it yourself at home with our massage chair!
And finally, volunteering is great way to contribute to your local community, make connections and support important causes that help people and the environment. At SHARE:Frome, we are so grateful to have a wonderful team of volunteers that help us with running the shop, repairing items, PAT testing and generally supporting the cause.
Unfortunately, 2020 was a difficult year for allowing volunteers into the shop to help out and we were not able to induct any new volunteers. With 2021 now here, we are hopeful for the spring to bring the chance for our current and new volunteers to join us again! If you would like to volunteer with SHARE once that time comes, please fill in our volunteer form and we will keep you posted!
In this blog post, I’ll be showing you how to use our wonderful pasta machine which you can borrow for only £6.10 a week (or borrow this one for £2.05)! I have chosen to make vegan spaghetti, but you can find recipes easily online for fresh pasta with eggs, as well as recipes for tomato pasta, garlic pasta, herb pasta and more. Get creative! You can also use gluten free pasta flour!
What you will need:
1 cup plain flour*
1 cup semolina flour* (*Or you can use 2 cups of pasta flour, which is already mixed for you, much easier!)
1/2 TSP salt
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water
Start by mixing your ingredients. Pour your flour into a bowl, make a little well and pour in the wet ingredients. Start mixing. If you feel it needs more liquid, add extra water in very small amounts. Make sure to knead it for a few minutes. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look well mixed. That is the beauty of this machine, it will mix it for you!
Rest your dough in the fridge for 30 minutes to let the gluten develop. During this time, it’s good to make sure your machine is clean before using it. Head to the end of this post to see how to do this. Please note: It is very important that you don’t use water or anything wet to clean it, as it will rust.
Next, get the machine ready, by inserting the handle into the hole of the right hand side (opposite side of the numbered dial). Then clamp the machine to your work surface, making sure the handle is hanging over the edge of the surface. Use the hole in this same side to attach the clamp.
Once the dough is rested and the machine is ready to go, set the dial on the left side (opposite the handle) to 1, by pressing the lever and turning at the same time. You will see the gap inside the machine change it’s width. You want to start with it on it’s widest gap. It will then lock in place.
Next take a handful of dough, about a tennis ball size. Roughly knead it flat so that one end will fit into the machine. You are now ready to start rolling!
The best way to do it is to hold the dough above the machine with your left hand and turn the lever with your right hand. The turning can a bit stiff at first, but as you work the dough, it will get easier. You will see the dough coming out on the side facing you. Use your left hand to guide this flattened dough out of the bottom.
Once you have worked the dough for the first time, it will have a funny shape. Simply fold in half and repeat step 4. Do this several times over, folding and rolling. It will start to take more if a neat rectangular shape and the colour will become more even. You can also try folding it length-ways and width-ways to get a more even shape.
Next, adjust the gap size by turning the dial to 3/4 to start with and then 5/6, repeating step 4. This will roll your dough out thinner. If you want thicker pasta, leave it at 3/4.
Then use the cutter to roll along the length of your rolled out dough. This will make sure the edges are straight and the width will fit the spaghetti/tagliatelle cutter. This is also good for making neat lasagna sheets. Any off cuts can be added to the next piece of dough to be worked through the machine. When a sheet is completed, make sure to sprinkle some flour on the top and bottom before piling up the sheets, to stop them sticking to eachother. This will also help the pasta keep its shape after cutting.
Now you can move onto the cutter attachments of the machine. Making sure they are clean, attach the 2 spaghetti/tagliatelle cutters on either side of the machines. It is important they are both attached, to balance the weight of the machine. They simply slip into place on the front and back of the machine.
Next choose what size spaghetti or tagliatelle you would like to make. I went for the smaller spaghetti. Remove the handle from the main part of the machine and attach it the hole on the side of your chosen cutter.
Grab one of the rolled out sheets and start feeding it into your chosen cutter, turning the handle. Put a bowl underneath the machine so that it catches the spaghetti as it comes out.
Almost there! Now put a pot of water on your stove to simmer. Once it is simmering gently, drop your pasta in. It will only need about 2-3 minutes, so keep an eye on it! Taste to see what softness your prefer. Drain the water and add your sauce! Voila!
I added a red wine and mushroom tomato sauce to my spaghetti, sprinkling fresh olives and plum tomatoes, and drizzling on some homemade pesto!
To clean the machine, use paper towels or a DRY cloth to wipe down any dust, flour or oil, making sure to get into all the cracks. Do not use any water or fluid on the machine, as this will cause rust.
To clean the main part of the machine, you can feed a paper towel through the gap.
For the cutter parts, use the brush that is included in the set to get into all the cracks.
Ever wondered why someone might borrow things instead of buying them? What’s so great about SHARE? Well, there are 4 main reasons why it’s better to borrow instead of buy. Whether that’s borrowing at SHARE:Frome, or borrowing from friends and family!
1. Save the environment
Did you know that in 2019, SHARE:Frome was able to save 199 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, 254 tonnes of raw material use and 22 tonnes of manufacturing waste! By borrowing items from SHARE or your friends and family, you are saving unnecessary production of new materials, such as plastic and metal. The production of these materials and new products emits a large amount of greenhouse gases, all contributing to global warming. Not only that, by extending the life of these useful items, you are avoiding them being thrown into landfill! At SHARE:Frome, we make it a priority to repair as much as possible before our items come to the end of their lives. Keep a look out in the future for our Repair Cafe’s, a great way to get your own items fixed!
2. Save money
Many of our items are as little as 50p for a day, so instead of buying a badminton set for £10, why not borrow it for a weekend for £1? And the original cost of many of our items are quite expensive, such as our dehumidifiers worth £250 or carpet cleaners worth £160, so by borrowing a dehumidifiers for £16 a week, you could save around £200, if you only borrow it once or twice a year. And to borrow a carpet cleaner for only £12.50 a day, twice a year could save you around £100! In 2019, we were able to save our members all together £13,6029, by borrowing instead of buying!
And don’t forget that if you are currently on benefits, you could be eligible for our Low Income membership, for only £1 a year, saving you 75% off all borrows. That’s only £3.13 for a one day carpet cleaner loan! Our Student membership is also £1 for the year and saves you 10% off all borrows!
3. Save space
Ever got frustrated by the fact that your juicer you use once in a blue moon, takes up so much space? Or trying to fit your lawnmower back in the shed every year? By borrowing instead of buying, these kinds of items are a great way to save space in your home! Who needs to buy a dehydrator when you could just borrow one from SHARE? Why not try it out first before buying one? This is also great for moving house, or when your house is being renovated. Need a temporary hob or oven while your kitchen is a no-go zone? We have a range to choose from!
4. Connect to community
The last reason to SHARE, but certainly not least, is the wonderful sense of community it brings. We all have felt the loneliness that came along with the pandemic. We now feel the importance of community more than ever. Simply asking your friends and family if they have a drill you could use or offering to fix a broken hedge trimmer, can brighten your day, as well as theirs. But being a member of SHARE:Frome, whether you are a regular borrower, volunteer or supporter of our ethos, helps to grow and strengthen the community of Frome. A conversation, a laugh, a lending hand, a donation, a tutorial on how to use an item, a quick repair, are all small but powerful moments of connection that all make up a strong and resilient community!
Ever wondered what happens when you sign up as a volunteer at SHARE:Frome? Once you sign up, either by sending us a Volunteer Application or coming into the shop to have a chat about how you’d like to help, here is a little guide on what a normal volunteering day at SHARE:Frome looks like!
What days and how long would you like to volunteer?
First, we will decide how long you’d like to volunteer each week and which days suit you best. We like to have our volunteers come for one open day each. It’s good to have a set day, such as Saturday (our busiest day!) or you could alternate days, or even come in for several days if you have the time and enthusiasm!
Alternatively, if there is something very specific you would like to help out with, for example, social media, writing blog posts, creating a window display, flyering, sharpening tools, repairing electrics or PAT testing, you could volunteer just 1 or 2 hours per week!
Our library coding system
On your first day, you will be inducted in the shop, which involves showing you how we code and store all of our (over 1000) items. Just like a library of books, we like to keep everything well organised, with each item and location clearly labeled so we can find things easily. Our volunteers help us to keep this system working well, by relabeling and reorganising items so that we make the most of the space we have.
Our online loaning system
Next, you will be shown our online loaning system, Myturn, which is how we carry out borrows for our members. You will be shown how to add new items that have been donated, putting item listings into maintenance when they are broken or need a PAT test, as well as making sure each each item listing has a good, clear description and image. We also like to link a PDF manual to all the items that need it, so that members can use the items correctly
Welcoming customers and checking over items
You will also be welcoming and talking to our members as they borrow and return items. When someone loans an item, you will need to check whether is it has all it’s parts/attachments, and checking it over when it gets returned. We like to ask our members whether it worked well, if the manual was helpful and if it needs a clean.
Keeping the shop presentable!
You will also be making the sure the shop front is presentable! Updating our shop sign every few months, choosing our item of the week to display, as well as dusting items, vacuuming the shop and watering the plants! We have a selection of items from each of our 10 categories displayed, so keeping these displays new and exciting is also great!
Free subscriber membership
When you join as a volunteer, after a 3 month probation period, we will offer you a FREE subscriber membership, which saves you £3.33 a month, but also gives you 25% off all borrows. See this post for more on this membership.
On Monday this week we were excited to host a volunteer tent check in Rodden Meadows, only 5 mins walk from the SHARE:Frome shop! All 8 of us walked down to this peaceful spot under (finally) glorius sunshine. We piled up 3 big tents and the repair and waterproofing kit and got to work!
We tested a newly donated Eurohike 4 person tent, our very popular Bell Tent, which needed a small mend, and our castle of an 8 person tent, the Eurohike Buckingham (it really is a small palace…). This tent was in need of waterproofing, which is a fun job of spraying waterproof fluid all over the outside!
These events are really great if you want to encourage the repair and reuse mindset, as well as socialise with like-minded people. We felt like a great team and it was nice catching up with all the old volunteers after so long, as well as new members to the team!
Would you like to get involved in more events like this? Whether it’s tent checks, repair cafe’s or helping out in the shop? Head to our volunteer application or simply pop into the shop during our opening hours and we would love to have a chat!
To see what other big and small tents we have to offer, click here!
The carpet cleaner uses 40ml detergent per 1 litre of warm water. To fill the tank, push in the button on the water tank as shown to release it from the machine and unscrew the cap to fill.
Step 2 – Turn on the machine
To turn the machine on, press your foot down on the power button (right hand side). To angle the handle of the machine use the foot pedal on the left hand side and press the handle down and back (just like a normal vacuum cleaner).
Step 3 – Spray the water
Press the trigger at the top of the handle as you move the machine forwards – this sprays the carpet with the cleaning solution.
Step 4 – Clean those carpets!
Release the trigger and pull the machine back slowly to extract the dirt and solution from the carpet. Repeat across the area to be cleaned, maintain a consistent speed when spraying the solution and pulling the machine back. You will see the tray at the bottom of the machine start to collect the dirty solution.
Step 5 – Empty and Clean
Once finished, remove the tray at the bottom, empty and then rinse out to clean. Make sure to give it a really good clean, as there can be a build up of dirt that means future cleans are not as efficient!
Want to borrow the carpet cleaner? Reserve it now by following our tutorial for reserving!
We are very excited to have our POP-ular Popcorn Maker up and running again! Some of you may remember this retro machine and the fun it can add to a kids party or movie night! Here is a short guide to making fresh popcorn and also how to clean the machine when you are done.
Step one: Heat up
Start by heating the machine by plugging it in at the wall and making sure the pot is connected to the machine (see image). Then turn the heating switch on the right hand side of the machine. Wait for around 3-5 minutes for the pot to heat up, but DO NOT forget about it!
Step two: Add oil and popcorn
When the pot is heated, turn the heating switch off and measure out 1 tablespoon of oil (we love using olive oil, but you can use sunflower oil or even coconut oil!) and half a cup of popcorn kernels. Use the little handle of the pot to lift the lid and pour the oil in, then the popcorn. Make sure you have put the glass bowl into the machine and closed the door. Turn both the heating switch back on and the light switch, and let the popping begin!
Step three: Empty pot
Once the popping has finished, turn the heating switch off. Then turn the pot upside down by pushing the red handle to the right of the pot. Empty it completely into the bowl below and enjoy! You can then repeat this process by adding more oil and popcorn to the pot, turning the heat switch on and enjoying another batch!
Step four: Let it cool
Once you have finished making the popcorn, make sure to turn off the heating switch and let the pot cool. This can take around 10-15 minutes. Once it is cool enough to touch, remove the pot from the machine. To do this, pull the cog at the top forward so it unclips. Then pull the pot out from both sides of the 2 metal bars.
Step five: Clean
Using a paper towel, wipe down any oil inside the machine. Then wipe down the outside and inside of the pot. A paper towel works well because it soaks up the excess oil. You should not need to clean at all with soap if the oil has been wiped away, but you can use a damp cloth to clean further. Do not immerse the pot into water and try not to get the electric cable wet while wiping.
What to do if you burn the oil
Sometimes (we’ve all been there..) the oil may burn due to using too much oil or not enough, or simply leaving the popcorn in the pot for too long while it is turned on. Make sure to use the recommended oil and popcorn quantities to avoid this. If you do end up burning the oil, make sure to clean the pot thoroughly before returning the machine back to SHARE.
To do this, start by wiping away any excess oil using a paper towel. Then using 3 parts boiling water, and one part vinegar, carefully pour this mixture into the pot, making sure not to get the outside of the pot wet. Try to cover all burned areas with the liquid. Leave this to soak for around 5-10 minutes, before using an old toothbrush to scrub away the grime. A toothbrush is useful because it allows more access to the hard to reach corners. Make sure all burned oil has been lifted from the surface, then pour away the liquid without wetting the outside. Carefully rinse out with water and wipe dry using a paper towel. And there you have it, good as new!
Remember, if for any reason, you cannot clean the pot, or it is returned dirty, we will charge a cleaning fee of £5. This makes up for anyone who wanted to borrow it after you, as well as the time taken for one of our volunteers to clean it.
Curious about the borrowing process with SHARE? Once you have become a member here and reserved your item through our catalogue (here is a tutorial on how to reserve), here’s what you need to know for check ins and check outs.
When you check out:
When you arrive to collect your item, make sure to give it a once over to check that you are happy with the condition and are sure you know how to use it. If you are unsure, many of our items have PDF manuals that can be found on their listings on our website.
If you have signed up as a member online, we will need to check your ID for your first borrow and ask if you would like to sign up to our monthly newsletter.
We will then confirm the duration of your loan time and calculate the loan cost. For more details about our borrowing fees please check this post
When you check in:
On returning your loan we will ask you a few questions about your experience: Did it work well? Is it broken? Is it clean? Was it easy to use / did you need a manual?
We can then determine its return condition and if there were any issues pass them on to our fixers to make sure that everything stays in great shape.
A few other things to note…
Non collection and late fees:
If for any reason you do not come and collect your item at your arranged time you will still be charged for the loan. This is because by reserving the item you will have made it unavailable for any other member to reserve during that time.
In order to make the service run as smoothly as possible for all members, any item(s) not returned on time will be charged at double the loan fee for each day that the item(s) are not returned. It is therefore very important that you contact us if you feel you won’t be able to get your item(s) back on time.
Cleaning and loss or damage fees:
We are unable to provide a cleaning service due to lack of facilities so we are relying on each borrower bringing the item back as clean as possible. If an item is deemed to have been returned in an unsatisfactory state you will either be asked to take it back home and clean it before returning it later the same day or be issued a cleaning fee of minimum £5.
We ask borrowers to flag any damage they notice as soon as possible. This kicks off the repair process and also ensures the next borrower is not let down. To do small repairs like unblocking the pressure washer or replacing the jig saw blades, our small team of local volunteer fixers will try to do simple fixes. When an item is beyond a quick fix, we decide whether it is more efficient to have it professionally mended or simply to donate/sell or recycle it. We understand that items will break eventually and we don’t charge members for these types of breakages. However, we do reserve the right to charge for items that are deemed to have been broken by serious misuse or neglect. If this is the case and the item is beyond repair the member will be asked to either buy a replacement or pay the replacement cost.
At this time of year, our pressure washers are in high demand! Whether you are cleaning your patio or washing your car, we have a range of pressure washers of different sizes and prices While they are mostly quite simple to use, sometimes they can be a little confusing when it comes to the right connections. Here is a simple how-to guide to show you how to use our trusty Pressure Washer #2, which may be small, but it’s got a lot of power! You can refer to this guide for any of our other pressure washers. You will also need hosepipe in order to use the pressure washer. Use your own or borrow our hosepipe!
Step 1 – Connections
To start with, make sure you have all the correct connections. Your hosepipe will need a female connection on both ends (see the image below). One of these will attach to your water outlet. The other will attach to the pressure washer.
You will then need a male connection on your water outlet or garden tap, and another on the pressure washer (see images below). Please double check that this connection is with your pressure washer when you collect from SHARE, or ask one of our volunteers to double check.
Next, attach the pressure hose to the pressure washer. For this particular model, simply insert the hose into the front of the pressure washer. To lock it in place, push the grey lever downwards.
Step 2 – Pressure Attachment
Next, find the right attachment for your job. This Pressure Washer #2 is a simple one, so only comes with 2 attachments, but some of our others comes with a variety of attachments for cleaning and scrubbing. To attach, simply push it into the pressure washer and rotate 90 degrees to lock it in place. To un-attach, push the attachment in slightly, then turn 90 degrees and pull out.
Step 3 – Water
Next, make sure you are in reaching distance of a plug socket. Try to keep the pressure washer as far from the socket as possible to avoid water getting near the socket. Once you have connected at the 2 water points, turn your tap on fully. Make sure you do not turn on the pressure washer while it is dry.
Step 4 – Power
After turning your tap on, plug into your power outlet (or turn on the outlet switch). You should now be able to trigger the pressure washer gun! Make sure that the gun is not being triggered when changing attachments.
To finish, unplug your pressure washer from the power outlet and then turn off your water supply. Make sure to let all the water drain from both the pressure hose and the hosepipe by disconnecting everything. And there you have it!
Have you looked through our inventory and wondered what our Consumables are? When borrowing certain items like our carpet cleaners and sanders, you may need to buy the carpet cleaner fluid and sandpaper to go with them.
We offer a range of consumables for relevant items and these will be mentioned in the item description. (See our carpet cleaner below as an example)
Here’s what you need to know:
The prices displayed for consumables are a one-off fixed price, not a per-day price.
The amount that we provide is a rough estimate based on how much the average use consumes. This will vary depending on the item and your needs – please ask staff if you have any questions when borrowing your item. Please note: if you need a larger amount of consumables you may find it easier to purchase these separately as we only carry small quantities.
With consumables such as blades, we always appreciate it if you can return them to us (especially if they still have lots of life left) but this isn’t required as you have purchased them for a one off cost.
Need to scan some old photos? Into film photography and want to save money by printing them yourself? Perhaps you have some old analogue prints from when no-one had a digital camera! I had fun playing with the Film Scanner with my developed negatives and also an old printed photo. Learn how to scan your negatives and photos by following this tutorial!
Start by seeing which frame you would like to use for your film or photos. There are 2 different film frames, one for standard film negatives and one for slides. And there are 3 photo frames in sizes 3.5″ x 5″, 4″ x 6″ and 5″ x 7″.
I will start with my colour film negatives. Open the film frame by pulling where it says ‘OPEN‘ from the back of the frame. It should make a click when opening and closing. Next, slot the first hole on the negative onto the first small rectangular ‘hook’. Once you have hooked the first, the others should fit along the frame. You will be able to see if the images are lined up correctly, as the borders will line up with the black frames. If they are not, simply move the ‘hook’ onto the next hole.
Then, on the scanner, make sure to move both the top switch and lower switch onto ‘FILM SCANNER‘. Press the on button to the left of the screen and you will be brought to the main menu, where is says ‘Capture’.
To move through the menu, simply press the left and right arrows. To move back to the menu, press ‘MODE‘. To select a mode, press ‘ENTER‘. To scan a film negative, press the right arrow until you reach ‘Film‘. Press enter and then select ‘Negatives Film‘.
Then, take your negative in the frame and insert it into the gap on the right hand side of the scanner. Make sure the side with the white arrow is facing towards you as you insert it. And you should see your images! They will be reversed so you can see what they will look like once saved. You can move the frames left and right to see the row of images. But, if you need to take the frame out, make sure you pull it out from the LEFT hand side!
To start saving your images, press the big ‘SCAN‘ button, and a few settings will appear. To scan, press ‘ENTER‘ to confirm, or use the arrows to cancel or go back to the menu.
Accessing your Scans via USB
Once scanned, the images will only be saved onto the scanner. To access the them, use the USB cable provided to connect the scanner to a laptop or computer. This connection is in the front of the scanner, to the left. You can also put an SD card into the scanner, to the right of the USB port.
Then go to the menu by pressing ‘MODE’ and go to the ‘USB MSDC‘ setting and press ‘ENTER’. This will then connect your your laptop/computer and you will be able to access the images. You will need to stay on this setting in order to keep access via USB. As soon as you leave this setting, the USB will be disconnected. Don’t worry though, you’re images will be safe still on the scanner, so simply go back to the USB setting when you are finished scanning. Once connected, open the folder ‘ION (D:)‘ (this may apear differently on your computer) and inside you will find a folder called ‘DCIM‘ and inside that, a folder called ‘100COACH‘. This is where you’re images will be saved and you can simpy copy and paste the images into a seperate folder on your computer.
Here’s how you can save those memories as digitial copies! Like before, you will need to make sure both the top switch and lower switch are set to ‘PHOTO SCANNER‘. Decide which print you would like to scan and see which frame it will fit. My photo fit into the 4 x 6 inch frame. It insert it, lift the ‘lip’ that has a smiley face on it. The print can be slipped into this gap and you can feed it into the frame. Then insert the frame with the image facing you, into the slot at the top of the scanner. Make sure the smiley face is pointing upwards.
Make sure you are on the main menu by pressing ‘MODE‘. Here you can either go straight to the ‘Capture‘ setting, which will allow you to scan without changing any settings. However, I found that this image was scanned as a 5 x 7 inch image, so some settings need to be changed. From the menu, go to ‘Crop‘. Press ‘ENTER’ and select the correct image size. I selected ‘4 X 6‘. You can then scan from here by pressing ‘SCAN’, or scanning from ‘Capture’ while the settings are saved in this size.
Unknown to me, the image suddenly mirrored itself horizontally! I was not worried too much becuase this can easily be edited once the image is saved to your computer. If this happens to you, simply use a mirroring tool when editing your images on your computer.
Scanning in Black and White or Colour
I also discovered that you can add effects to your scans. This is also good if you are scanning black and white images or negatives. From the menu, select ‘Effects‘ and then either select ‘Multi-colour‘ or ‘Black and White‘. If you start to use the scanner and find that everything is in black and white and you want to scan incolour, you probably need to change this.
And there you have it! When in doubt, refer to the manual that is provided with the scanner. This has more info on scanning slides, as well as rotating (unfortunately not mirroring!) and deleting images in ‘Playback’ and adjusting the resolution of scans in ‘Resolution’.
Here are my final images that I produced using our wonderful film scanner!
From pushchairs to baby bouncers, we have a large range of toys and useful items for mothers with babies. Need reusable nappies? We offer starter kits! Going for a bike ride with a little one? We have a child’s bike seat! Is a grandchild visiting for the weekend? We have high chairs and bed guards for temporary childcare. And our toys suit a range of ages, from newborns to 12 year olds. Explore more by selecting ‘Baby and Children’ to the left hand side of our inventory.
From from vacuum cleaners to carpet cleaners, we have a variety of cleaning equipment and items to get you through the all seasons. Want to decorate your home over Christmas? We have a variety of decorations and Christmas trees! Is your house feeling a bit damp? We have dehumidifiers of various sizes! Need to keep extra warm during the winter? We have several radiators! And on the other end, we have a fan to keep you cool in summer! Wondering why ‘Garden’ is included in this category? This section has several items that can also be used outside, such as fairy lights and hammocks! Explore more by selecting ‘Household and Garden’ to the left hand side of our inventory.
Reserving items can make borrowing much easier, as it ensures the item you want is available for you when you are ready to collect. Great for planning a holiday in advance or booking a carpet cleaner that’s in high demand! Here’s a guide to reserving on our website:
You can make a reservation online by signing in, (sign up here if you haven’t already) browsing the catalogue, and clicking ‘Reserve’ on the item that you want. You will then be prompted to select a date on a calendar. If you want to add more items to this reservation, simply keep pressing ‘Reserve’ on the items you want and they will be put in your Reservation Cart, a little image of a cart in the top right corder. To complete the process click ‘Complete Reservation’.
You will need to reserve any consumables as extra along with your item. See the item descriptions to see what is required. For example, the bubble machine requires bubble fluid. Simply add this to your reservation and we will have it ready for you. We will only charge you once for the consumables, not as a per-day price.
There is no maximum borrowing/reserving time. The likely loan length is factored in to the per-day price. Items such as reusable nappies, for example, are more likely to be borrowed for longer periods of time and so their per-day price is lower to account for that.
There is no limit to the number of items you wish to borrow! However, if you do not turn up to collect your reservation, you will still be charged a non-collection fee, the price for the loan. This is because by reserving the item you will have made it unavailable for any other member to reserve during that time. If for any reason you envisage that you will not be able to make your collection slot please let us know in good time in order that we can rearrange or release the item back to the catalogue for others. You can either call us during open hours on 07983639611 or email us outside of open hours on [email protected]
To cancel your reservation, log in to your account online, and click on your username in the top right corner. Click on ‘Reservations’. You can then find the reservation and click ‘Cancel’. If you are unsure, drop us an email or give us a call during our opening hours.
We have also put together a guide to reserving on your mobile phone here.