Category Archives: Low Impact Living

Living a good and environmentally friendly life

Time at the Allotment

It’s that time of year when things are blossoming and blooming and everything is turning into a gorgeous shade of green. Suddenly, almost as if overnight, trees burst into leaf, fields turn golden and flowers are opening up and everything is light and bright with the good weather.

Today was spent happily weeding at the allotment, some things are a bit behind this year due to the weather, so some places do look a bit bare, but a few weeks and all will be covered and green!

And since Word press is playing up and I don’t seem to be able to caption the pics as I go, here is a brief one beforehand. First up are chives (with Mr Bumblebee photo-bombing the pics), then lavender, strawberries, garlic, redcurrant bush on the right and (tiny) blueberry bush on the left, beetroot, horseradish – which has taken over, and finally rosemary (had no idea the tiny white flowers were so pretty on a rosemary plant).

[These photos were taken with an I-phone and no filters applied – it was a really gorgeous sunny day today! :)]

Plastic-Not-So-Fantastic

Here is a link to a fascinating article about reducing our plastic use in June.

http://www.lowimpact.org/plastic-fish-oceans-2050-give-plastic/

The challenge is not to use disposable, single use plastic for either a day, week or month in June, with the aim of using environmentally friendly products and containers instead.

Some things are impractical, I’m afraid to say (anybody know how to get hold of toothpaste without using a plastic tube or container?!) but others are much easier.

  • Use cloth carrier bags for shopping
  • Take a lunch box to work not buy plastic wrapped sandwiches
  • Use a re-usable drinks bottle (which would probably be plastic anyway!)
  • No ready meals
  • Reuse plastic bags for veg (that you would buy loose in supermarkets e.g. mushrooms)
  • Buy glass milk bottles
  • Refill bottles where available (Ecover washing up liquid etc.)
  • Don’t use clingfilm/ plastic wrap – put food in a container
  • Be selective with what food and drink you buy

It does seem to be all food and drink doesn’t it? I am going to try this in June I think. But I work in a restaurant, so it will be hard to get away from single use plastic there!

I think the key to reducing your use and the recycling of plastics is to be aware of what is coming into the house in the first place.

Just a quick thought for today, Ellen xx

A Plethora of Grannies

Today’s post will show you a plethora of grannies.

But first…

(Incidentally have you seen The Three Amigos? It was one of my favourite films as a child! I’m weird I know…but it’s really funny). By the way, I don’t think I will EVER find a clip from a film that is relevant to an obscure and underused word of the English language, so I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself (especially as it came from memory and not a Google search).

What is a ‘plethora’? According to the online Cambridge dictionary it is: ‘…a very large amount of something, especially a larger amount than you need, or can deal with.’

ANYWAY…

Here is a little pic of what I have been making to try and get rid of some of the freebie magazine yarn.

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These ones below are obviously smaller and instead of 4+ rounds they have only 2 and then a round of double crochet (single crochet in US terms). I saw this pattern for a blanket made from squares like this in a book by Nicki Trench called Cute and Easy Crochet. I have a few balls of really soft yarn left over from YEARS ago, right when I started crocheting and didn’t know what yarn to get (so in my kind of style I ended up with 8 balls of it to practice with!). I will do as many of these diddlers as I can with the wool – no labels of course, I think it was Sirdar Snuggly but can’t remember- and then see how many I have. They feel really soft and snuggly and not as rigid as the others above.

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So there you have it kids. A new word and some new grannies. Does it get better than that? Actually it does…I can smell the chocolate cake my wonderful mother is making 🙂

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust – Wool For Wildlife

Just a quick post today. Was looking for some local groups on Ravelry to join and I came across this one and thought I had to share.

The group is called Yorkshire Wildlife Trust – Wool For Wildlife.

There is a link to their etsy shop which I will give you here https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/YorkshireWildlife?ref=l2-shopheader-name

They sell 50g balls of DK wool with a mixture of wool and alpaca, they are all in natural colours – no artificial dyes used. I love the colours – greys, creams, dark greys, blacks. All very autumn-ish and warm looking!

The Wildlife Trust uses a mixture of Hebridean and Charollais sheep to graze their land (or some of it) in an environmentally friendly way, and the wool from the sheep makes a little extra profit which can be put back into their conservation efforts.

So if you want to buy some very warm and snuggly looking yarn and help the environment at the same time, then definitely join the group on Ravelry (there is a code for an extra discount there too!) and have a look at their shop on etsy. And if you’re in the UK also check out the Wildlife Trust’s website and see if there is any event or something you can take part in – they do a lot of good for the environment!! 🙂

Wool + Charity + Environment = A Good Mix!!!

Ellen x

10 MORE BLOGS YOU MUST FOLLOW

10 MORE BLOGS YOU MUST READ

A few months ago I did a post called ‘10 BLOGS YOU MUST FOLLOW’. Since then I have, literally, followed DOZENS more blogs and I thought I would do an updated list here.

  1. https://23littletrees.wordpress.com/ This blog is about 2 families in France living the good life – gardening, cooking, videos…all good stuff! I love the pictures and the food looks so fresh and yummy!
  2. https://myhippiebabe.wordpress.com/ One of my favourite blogs, I love the posts about making a passive income, not something I would have thought about if not for this blog! It has definitely inspired me to look into it further.
  3. http://freedom40plan.com/ This guy aims to ‘retire’ at 40…I have only come across this relatively recently, so haven’t had chance to have a proper look around, but it looks good so far!
  4. http://myfoododyssey.com/ lots of recipes, love the look of the cabbage rolls! This couple lives in Lithuania, so lots of Lithuanian recipes…good if you want to try something different!
  5. http://www.1500days.com/ this again is similar to freedom 40 plan, this time the goal is a debt-free portfolio in 1500 days. This also looks good, so will be checking back here every so often!
  6. http://proofreaderhannah.com/blog/  I would LOVE to get into proofreading and writing so this is my dream job site (don’t think I will be doing it anytime soon but it’s good to dream, right?!)…also I like the blog with little interesting, wordy facts about the English language 🙂  I get so annoyed at people who use ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’, ooh I see a potential blog post coming up!
  7. https://smallhousebigskyhomestead.wordpress.com/ Green living, sustainability, homesteading…what more could a blog need?! I love this blog!
  8. http://imnotahippiebut.com/ Another great blog to follow…check out the post about plastics in the ocean – it’s a recent post…climate change, animals, I like this blog!
  9. http://www.posiegetscozy.com/ I love the pictures on this blog…crafty things, home things, toddler things! Definitely worth a look. One of the more famous I think of the crafty type blogs, but for a reason – the pictures are amazing!
  10. http://candeloblooms.com/ And the best till last, lovely pictures, recipes (I made the apple cake a couple of months ago and it was nom!) and Mrs Blooms is possibly the nicest lady on the internet!

Have a look and see if any catches your eye here. One blog leads to another leads to another.

And it looks like some of these have one thing in common – FANTASTIC PICTURES, which I think is where my blog fails…I am just not arty in the photographic sense. In fact, when it comes to taking pics I am like a man shopping – buy the first thing that fits in the colour you want and that’s your shopping done! So, some future homework, I think.

And that’s me done for another post! Off to have a cuppa now, get ready for tomorrow (find out bus times into town – I haven’t had to get the bus in years!) and maybe see what is lurking in the kitchen cupboards for me to nibble on. Hopefully there is something nice and tasty, but I will settle for just something at this point!

Have a Wicked Wednesday! x

Christmas Lists

CHRISTMAS CHECKLIST

I like lists and I like Christmas so what better than to combine the two?!

 

Things to be doing now:

Order the meat for Christmas day. From a local butchers or independent local supermarket. Organic / free range is best but can be expensive, so buy what you can afford…and what you can eat!

Clean out the freezer. I have been using up pumpkin soup and still have a massive tub of carrot and coriander to thaw and eat…the more room you can make now the easier you will find it to fit stuff later. If you have time you can defrost the freezer now too. We always buy lots of bread rolls and freeze quite a few…so we always have enough for turkey sandwiches later on!

Get out the cards and tags and wrapping paper from last year and see what you have before you buy any more. I haven’t bought any tags or cards as I still have lots left over from previous years (from after Christmas sales when they are half price) so I don’t need any more, no matter how much nicer this year’s always seem to be. I also try to keep wrapping paper down as it is SO environmentally unfriendly. Can you re-use last year’s gift bags but give them to different people?

Do a thorough clean and tidy of the house. Wash windows inside, give old clothes and books etc. to charity shops, sort kitchen cupboards with the canned and dry goods, mop floors, check fire alarm batteries, get those cobwebs, find your Xmas cookie cutters and moulds…you know, all the things you put off doing!

Watch Nigella Lawson and Kirstie Allsopp and Jamie Oliver and all the rest and wish that a) I had their house and b) I had enough money to afford just what they were cooking, let alone their house!!

Make a list of food things to get on Christmas Eve or the day before. We get our fruit and veg on the market on Christmas Eve so it’s a nice atmosphere and it’s cheaper. Remember the stall holders don’t want to be left with lots of stuff over Christmas so you might be able to bag a bargain if you pick your time well! For things like bread and mince pies etc. don’t forget to order from your local bakery in advance!

Transfer all important dates into 2016 diary – to save a bit of money why don’t you buy a magazine you like that has a free calendar in it? If you get the magazine regularly, or even sometimes, then you are getting two for one!

Bake! If you make puddings and cake then the time is now if you haven’t already made them months in advance. Make sure you have some pastry in the freezer for quick homemade mince pies later on. Do you make your own cranberry sauce etc.? If you make it now you can also give some away as gifts to friends (and colleagues if you buy smaller jars).

Homemade decorations. Make your own bunting either knitted or sewn, very easy and quick to do. If you have kids you can make paper bunting and staple it to ribbon for speed. Paper chains and streamers are also easy to make. Try crocheting or sewing a paperchain for heirloom and handmade value.

http://www.housetohome.co.uk/room-idea/picture/make-your-own-christmas-decorations/3 These teardrops are easy to make out of paper with kids…make them singly and dangle them from the ceiling or tree or join 6 together for a star.

Think about the table on the day. Have you got….? Napkins, crackers, tablecloth (washed and ironed), Christmas place settings and coasters, candles / centrepiece, general decorations for table, things like gravy boat / sauce bowl / the all-important nuts and nibbles bowl / pudding plate / mince pies plate sorted, turkey tray and foil….

New pyjamas / socks for Christmas Eve. Just because.

And on a similar note wash your dressing gown so it is nice and fresh!! I have machine washable slippers too…

Make sure you have TV / Radio Times so you can see what’s on over the holidays…I may be 30 but I love watching the kids films…especially when everyone else is out ‘walking off the food’ and I have the house and TV and a HUGE SELECTION OF NIBBLES AND TREATS to myself!!!

Is anyone coming to stay for the holidays? Bed stuff / toiletries / wardrobe and drawers cleaned out for them.

Written all your cards? Make a list of who you are sending them to so you don’t go overboard and buy 3 packs when 1 would do…also make sure you post them in plenty of time. http://www.postoffice.co.uk/christmas/last-posting-dates

Start a new tradition this year…send a Christmas recipe to your friends in their cards, make them something, go on a course together, take a trip somewhere new and special, create a lucky dip with homemade / edible / rude / novelty things, give to charity…

Made a fresh batch of ice cubes – make don’t buy!!

Music: don’t spend a lot on cd’s and downloads….ask your friends what festive music they have and see if you can borrow them! Note that I say BORROW….not copy!!! That would be illegal…

Remember Christmas is a time to indulge but not to needless excess! If you don’t need it or will only use it once before throwing it away then seriously think twice before buying!!

 

Things to do in the week / day before Christmas Eve:

Pick up turkey / meat etc. and buy fruit and veg and last minute ‘bits’

Make homemade mince pies and anything that goes on tree…cookies, gingerbread men, and a gingerbread house?

Making homemade crackers? Now is the time…

 

Christmas Eve:

Make stuffing and prepare meat…work out timings and weight etc.

Wash the cutlery and plates and glasses if you are using ‘best’ stuff.

Need anything like prawns de-frosting? Do it the night before.

We use a hostess which we get out and clean on Christmas Eve. My gran got us it many years ago…you may laugh at the 80’s –ness of it but it allows you to keep your veg and the sausages warm and gives you room to prepare things and makes serving a hell of a lot easier! Also good for keeping leftovers for next day.

Get your outfit for Christmas Day sorted!

Presents put around the tree and give out cards to close family.

Leave a mince pie and a glass of sherry out for Santa – don’t forget a carrot for Rudolph!

 

List of things you will not want to be caught short on:

Batteries

Light bulbs

Bin bags

Sellotape

Ribbon / ties for tags and decorations

Extension lead for electrical equipment like tree lights

Ice cube tray / bags

Can opener and bottle opener!

Petrol in your car…speaking from experience here!

 

Try to have an eco-friendly Christmas if you can:

Re-use cards, tags and bags or make your own tags from cereal boxes or last year’s cards

Use re-chargeable batteries

Recycle everything…including aluminium foil

Use leftover food in creative ways…but you can’t beat bubble and squeak!

Donate and buy from charity shops

Use cloth napkins not paper

Donate something…food/ decorations/ gifts to care homes and shelters

If you have time volunteer somewhere

Car-share shopping trips and trips to get rid of rubbish

Use tree with roots to plant for next year or in a permanent home

Put out food for birds and wildlife

Use eco packaging…popcorn for example

Buy and use what you need and not the vast amounts we are told we need to consume…it’s good to party but does it have to be with Styrofoam plates and cups?

Do your shopping from local, independent retailers

Organic, fair-trade, free-range

Use re-usable shopping bags (they also stop people spying through plastic bags – great if you want to hide the present you just bought!)

http://www.nigelsecostore.com/eco-gifts-15.html

https://www.goodgifts.org/

 

None of the above is anything new. But it’s fun to list it!!

 

Have you heard of a book called ‘365 ways to change the world’ by Michael Norton? On every page there is something new to try / do / research and is a great book for making a New Year’s Resolution. Google it and see if anything takes your eye… http://www.amazon.co.uk/365-Ways-Change-World-Difference/dp/0743297784

 

And don’t forget to have fun…