Welcome to My Make Do and Mend Life!

I’m a really passionate believer in the power that we all have, to change the world.
I don’t know about you, but for me, sometimes the world right now can feel like a pretty scary place. Climate change is well and truly here and the effects are being felt all around the globe. At the same time, it can feel like our politicians and leaders are making short sighted decisions based on profit and popularity, rather than on what the planet and our future on it needs.
And as one person, one family, it can feel like we are powerless to change it.
But we can.
Each time we make a different, more conscious, more thoughtful choice, about what we buy, or what we don’t buy (choosing to re-use or repair instead) we are changing the world.

Here at My Make Do and Mend Life you will find practical inspiration for small easy steps to get started living a more sustainable lifestyle, and to consume more consciously. Steps that we can all take, without having to shun the shops, and live off grid in a yurt in the woods (not that there is anything wrong with living off grid in a yurt in the woods if that is what floats your boat).

I’m Jen and this blog started life as My Make Do and Mend Year, when my family and I spent a year Buying Nothing New. It was initially a method of documenting our journey, but along the way this wonderful community sprang up, and I knew I couldn’t walk away at the end of our challenge.
We have relaxed the buy nothing new ‘rules’ a little now, but I learned during the year (and in the years that have followed) the power of our individual choices. The choices we all make every day. They really do have the power to change the world.
I learned that in the face of climate change, resource depletion, fast fashion and a throwaway culture, one person’s action really do count.

My aim with this blog is to unite a whole tribe of change makers, each doing their bit, to gently shake the world.
Who say “no” to mindless consumerism, and choose instead to re-use, repair, borrow, and thrift. To Make Do and Mend.

Join our Tribe of Change Makers!

We have a brilliant Facebook group, called A Make Do and Mend Life, which you can find here. They might not know it, but each and every one of the members of this amazing group is a change maker. Everyday they inspire me with their tales of mending and making do to keep doing the little things that all add up to make a big difference. Come and join us!

You can find me on Twitter (@makeandmendlife), RTing anything that takes me fancy and getting the twitter-sphere fired up to go out there and make change happen.

To keep up to date with all the latest, sign up to the newsletter. My aim is to send out a monthly newsletter with a summary of the latest on the blog, inspiration for Making Do and Mending, and gentle world shaking from around the World Wide Web, as well as a calendar of upcoming events like Repair Cafes. You can sign up right here.

Or you can get in touch by leaving a comment below, or e-mailing me: jen at makedoandmend-able dot co dot uk


Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 20.53.46



(Visited 9,783 times, 1 visits today)


  • Reply Reducing wasting in 2018: make do and mend - Saving money every day - frugal living December 26, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    […] you looking at reducing waste in 2018? There are some great ideas over at Jen Gale’s blog My Make Do and Mend Life. She took a break from it but is back! Very happy about this. What about you? Do you enjoy a make […]

  • Reply 1st Make do and Mend | SinginHinn January 11, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    […] penny that finally clunked through the slot of my brain was helped along by THIS lovely lady’s blog. I went there today for further tips to add to my Pintrest addiction […]

  • Reply Make Do And Mend: Baby Proofing The TV | Bean On An Adventure November 4, 2015 at 8:04 am

    […] This also doesn’t mean that I’m never going to buy anything new again. Jen, over at My Make Do And Mend Life, is an inspiration but I’m really not sure I’m up for that challenge just yet. Instead […]

  • Reply A year of upcycling | decadia designs June 23, 2015 at 6:21 am

    […] though, especially with all the fabulous blogs and Pinterest boards that are out there. Jen Gale of My Make Do and Mend Year fame, continues to rally the upcycling movement and provide all sorts of inspirational ideas, but […]

  • Reply Reloving | cwtch corner March 7, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    […] are all aware about the “make do and mend” trend right now, you can read all about  Jen’s Make do and Mend year   that has now turned into her Make Do and Mend Life. I say Trend because there are a lot of […]

    • Reply Jen March 8, 2015 at 11:33 am

      Thanks so much for the mention and the lovely words! Your magazine rack looks fabulous 🙂

  • Reply The ‘Make Do and Mend’ Challenge | Retro Revivals January 8, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    […] However, one woman who decided to challenge this concept is Jen Gale, from My Make Do and Mend Year. […]

  • Reply Buy Nothing New Maand 2014 gehaald November 3, 2014 at 8:01 am

    […] mij. Een echte uitdaging is om te proberen om een jaar lang (!) niets nieuws te kopen, zoals een gezin uit Engeland of  Multiple Mum, een Australische moeder van vier. Uit hun blogs blijkt dat ze niet zulke enorme […]

  • Reply Your Preparation Station Show: Can you buy nothing new for a year? August 21, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    […] literally almost everything rather than replace it?  That is exactly what my guest, Jen Gale of My Make Do and Mend Year […]

  • Reply This Old Thing - Curtain becomes girl's jumpsuit! | miydiy.com August 6, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    […] if upcycling is right up your alley, be sure to check out one of my favourite blogs:Make Do and Mend Year. I’m sure you’ll come away […]

  • Reply Make do and mend | braith an' lithe January 8, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    […] do and mend’ to find a picture of the book, what came up first but a WordPress blog: http://mymakedoandmendyear.wordpress.com/about/  The author is spending a year not buying anything new…I’m off now to read more […]

    • Reply Jen January 8, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      Thanks for linking up! The year ran Sept 2012-Aug 2013, but as you can see, I am still blogging and wittering on about all things Make Do and Mend 🙂

  • Reply notjustgreenfingers September 19, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    I’ve just found you blog and I’m looking forward to all the reading ahead of me. What a great challenge!

    • Reply Jen September 19, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      Thankyou so much.
      Grab yourself a cuppa-hope you enjoy!

  • Reply liesap August 4, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Hi Jen.
    I have nominated you for a ‘Shine On’ Award.
    I have only just discovered your blog and am already addicted! LOVE IT!
    Liesa 🙂

    You can read about it here –

    • Reply Jen August 4, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      Hi Liesa
      That’s so lovely, thankyou so much, and thankyou for your kind words.
      Have just popped over to your blog to have a peek.
      Good luck with everything-giving up sugar sounds uber hard-hopefully it will hep with your IVF.
      Thanks again.
      Jen x

  • Reply Give me a T, give me an E, give me a D, give me an x | THE STEPHEN JUDGE - BLOG June 22, 2013 at 10:42 am

    […] Melia and Sarah Russell, calmed us down and talked about how music is helping those with dementia, Jen Gale spoke of a year of ‘make do and mend’, Jane Perrone of do it yourself salad and how […]

  • Reply manchesterflickchick June 15, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Hi Jen,

    I have nominated your blog for the Sunshine Award!

    This is given to bloggers that inspire others with their creativity and positivity. You are definitely one of the best candidates for it!

    All you need to do to display the award, is answer a small list of fun questions and nominate (pass on) your own 10 blog nomination for the award.

    Here’s my example http://manchesterflickchick.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/ive-got-a-sunshine-award/

  • Reply saraband May 21, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    saraband says:
    May 21, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Can you think of a way to upcycle “cholesterol reducing drink” bottles (e.g. Benecol)? We get through 14 of these a week and I’d love to find a use for them. (OH suggests making a raft ….!)

    • Reply Jen May 21, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      I’ll give it some thought-raft sounds a good idea to me..!

  • Reply saraband May 21, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Can you think of a way to upcycle “cholesterol reducing drink” bottles (e.g. Benecol)? We get through 14 of these a week and I’d love to find a use for them. (OH suggests making a raft ….!)

  • Reply pennypinchingpeach April 18, 2013 at 4:03 am

    Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I truly enjoy following your blog, find you inspiring, and thought you deserved the Liebster Award. It is an award for up and coming bloggers whose creativity is appreciated. Check out my post about the award here: http://pennypinchingpeach.com/2013/04/17/another-award-times-2/
    Congratulations and keep creating a blog that folks enjoy reading! 🙂

    • Reply Jen April 18, 2013 at 7:58 am

      Thankyou so much for your very kind words, and the Liebster Award! So glad you are enjoying it 🙂

  • Reply My journey starts – 31st March 2013 | Rebecca's Waste Watching = 3 months without shops! April 3, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    […] after being thoroughly inspired by Jen who is doing a make do and mend YEAR – this is her blog! She also have 2 little boys! I was very very […]

  • Reply Melanie March 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Jen, Well done you. I try and go for really long periods trying not to buy anything but not with such focus or clarity. Loving the rules and totally with you on the pants. Not sure I would be able to make them either…mind you, I have some pants that have lasted well past a year so I could cheat there and just fall into the ‘make do’ category for those. All credit to you and really glad to have found you to follow on Twitter!…

    • Reply Jen March 4, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      Hi Melanie. Thanks for following, and for your kind words 🙂

  • Reply thedevolutionary February 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Don’t worry, Jen. No offence taken. Lots of people think we’re mad to be living like this, but we felt it was harder not to. It’s felt very pioneering at times, when it should be more and more mainstream (the IPCC report came out six years ago, for deity’s sake). What you’re doing here (and I haven’t had time to plunder the archives yet) is very accessible for people and, as I said before, is completely the future.

    My partner came across something yesterday that’s worth mentioning – she’s been creating toy animals from used T-Shirts and sweaters with a view to selling them. Yesterday she learned that it’s against the law to sell the items unless all the material has been checked by the powers that be. It’s a new law that came out last year. I’ll do a blog post on it soon, but you probably already know about it.

    Anyway. Like you say: Keep up the good work!

    • Reply Jen February 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      Wow, I can’t believe that. Who is going to regulate it? Are the powers that be seriously suggesting they are going to check out everyone’s raw materials..?! I look forwards to finding out more in your post!!

    • Reply bellaatstylemetamorphosis May 20, 2014 at 3:10 am

      I love your terminology “for deity’s sake”. Can I use it? 🙂

  • Reply vivjm February 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    I just read this inspirational post over at Climate Revolution, and thought of you as one of the people they should talk to. Have a look & see what you think: http://climaterevolution.org.uk/its-your-revolution/

    • Reply Jen February 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      Wow, what a great post! Thanks so much for linking it. I have left a comment 🙂

    • Reply thedevolutionary February 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Yes, thanks vivjm – I left a sneaky comment too (from the comfort of my yurt – really!).

      • Reply Jen February 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm

        Oh no! The yurt comment was really not supposed to cause offence! I just think that sometimes people are put off trying to do anything, as they feel they have to go the whole hog, and then get overwhelmed, so don’t even make small changes. Each and everyone of us can and should be taking action, in whatever way we feel works for us. And for lots of people that means doing things that will fit in with their daily lives and not cause them too much inconvenience. I admire and am slightly envious of your self-sufficiency!

  • Reply thedevolutionary February 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Brilliant idea. I will come back and plunder your blog soon. I was thinking only the other day that national newspapers should have a “Make do and Mend” section on the weekend instead of a glossy magazine. This is the future!

    • Reply Jen February 8, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      Agreed! It will have to be the future as the world’s resources become scarcer. If everybody did just a bit of Make Do and Mend, everything would stretch a lot further.

  • Reply Make do and mend | Small Farm Future January 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    […] across a great blog today My Make Do and Mend Year, written by Jen, a crafter and mother of 2 small boys, living in the South West, aiming to avoid […]

  • Reply Lisa December 4, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I’ve only just joined your year but i will follow with interest. I’m facing the prospect of needing to do something similar myself for financial reasons so I will be an avid reader of your blog. I wish you much luck on your MDAM year =) xx

    • Reply Jen December 4, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      Thanks Lisa. You will definitely save money doing it. And it’s not as hard as you might think. You just have to think and plan a bit more-which can never be a bad thing..! Keep me updated with your progress and shout if you get stuck-2 brains are always better than one!

  • Reply Lynn Bunniss August 23, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I’m organising a village Shwop in September. I’ll let you know where and when once it’s all set up. Good way to get rid of old stuff and find nearly new without the exchange of money. Best of luck with your year.

    • Reply Jen August 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Thankyou so much. Sounds great-please do let me know when and where-would love to come!

    Leave a Reply