Friday, 27 April 2018

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday.

Last Friday I had the day off work so I decided to try taking part in Friends of the Earth's new initiative, Plastic free Friday.   You're meant to go without single use plastics one day a week - Fridays - to help the environment.  I'm going one step further, because I've already cut out a lot of single use plastics, I wanted to have a completely plastic free day, but as you can see it was more difficult than I thought...

Breakfast.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

Despite trying really hard to have a plastic free breakfast, it didn't happen.  My organic mushrooms from Abel and Cole came in a plastic tray, my vegan margarine is in a plastic tub and although I store my seeds in glass jars they come packaged in plastic bags.  I made my own bread to save using pre packaged bread, but I used oil in a plastic bottle and even the bicarb was in plastic!  Urgh!

Getting up.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

I'm not wearing deodorant because it's in a plastic tube, it's about 20 degrees today so we'll see how that goes!  I have washed my armpits with soap (came in a paper wrapper) and a cotton flannel, so that was plastic free at least.  Sorry to say I've brushed my teeth with a plastic electric toothbrush and paste from a plastic tube, and put on moisturiser and sun cream from a plastic bottle too.

Chores.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

I washed up with some fairy liquid from a plastic bottle left by the previous owners of our house.  I use a loofah and wooden brush to wash up, and some really old cloths that get washed and reused to wipe the kitchen worktops.  I use Method eco friendly cleaning sprays for the kitchen and bathroom, and Ecover loo cleaner, all three have had a use today and all are in plastic bottles.  I put the dishwasher on, the tablets come in a cardboard box, but each tab is wrapped individually in plastic.  I usually use Ecover laundry liquid, but I have soapnuts so I used them, and white vinegar as fabric conditioner, to do a couple of loads of washing, which I dried in the sunshine.

Shopping.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

I went to Wilkos, Holland and Barretts and Boots on the hunt for some plastic free sanitary towels, I found some in Boots and they were suuuuuper expensive, but I bought them and had a nice chat with the lady at the till about being plastic free (she buys her apples loose in the supermarket!).  I bought some antihistimines in Wilko, which come in plastic blister packs. I Really wanted some crisps but resisted, and instead bought some loose nardicotts, a cauliflower and a lettuce from the market.  The lettuce was all wrapped in plastic, but so is the organic lettuce that comes in our veg box, and I'm still waiting for my homegrown lettuce to get going.  FYI I am regretting not wearing deodorant. 

Lunch.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

I had a huuge green salad with the aforementioned plastic wrapped lettuce, another homemade flatbread, vegan cheese, nuts and pretzels.  The cheese, nuts and pretzels were all in plastic.  Sigh.  I am beginning to feel disheartened. 

Gardening.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

This was a fairly plastic free afternoon, but I did use some compost that comes in a plastic sack.

Dinner.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

Joe came home super late from work, and I fell over in the garden like a wally and twisted my ankle, so we had a takeaway.  And some snacks before the takeaway came. Ahem.  

Bedtime.

What happened when I tried to have a Plastic free Friday. By UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #plasticfreefriday #plasticfree #friendsoftheearth #zerowaste

Back to my plastic-y tooth bush and paste, and my medicine - at least the eczema cream only has a plastic lid, the tube is metal.

I tweeted companies throughout the day asking them to reduce their plastic packaging, but only got replies from a few (Abel and Cole, Oral B, Aldi, B&Q, Wilko), I suppose as long as we keep giving our money to companies that use plastic packaging they won't change their business practices - it's hard though because who doesn't use some pre-packaged foods, household and personal care stuffs!

So, as you can see, Plastic free Friday is not easy and I have to go away and think about how I can cut more plastic out of my life.  Have you ever tried Plastic free Friday?




Friday, 20 April 2018

15 ways I use coconut oil instead of conventional beauty products.

I used to spend loads of pennies on beauty products, but over the years I've replaced them all with coconut oil.

Conventional beauty products contain loads of chemicals and some of them are harmful, and they're generally packaged in plastic which I try to avoid. 

This huge jar of coconut oil cost £15 and has lasted me well over a year so far.  If I used conventional beauty products I'd be spending over £50 (calculated using prices for basic vegan friendly products on Superdrug's website).  Here's how I use it...

15 ways I use coconut oil instead of conventional beauty products. From UK #eco-friendly blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #coconutoil #plasticfree #ecofriendlyblog

Face
Lip balm
Under eye cream
Serum - if it's a really cold day, or my skin is a bit dry, I pop some coconut oil on my cheeks before I put my moisturiser on.
Day cream - if I'm not going out I'll use coconut oil as a face moisturiser, but if I'm going outside I use a cream with SPF instead.
Night cream
Face exfoliator - make a really nice exfoliating and moisturising face mask by mixing coconut oil, oats and sugar - rub in into your face and leave it on for a few minutes before washing it off.

Body
Body lotion
Hand lotion
Cuticle balm
Foot lotion
After sun
Body scrub - mix a little bit of coconut oil with granulated sugar for a nice gentle exfoliator. 

Hair
Leave in conditioner - I melt a teeny bit in between my palms and then run it through wet or dry hair.
Frizz ease - I used to use sooo much Frizz Ease, coconut oil doesn't give quite the same effect but it does help keep frizzy hair at bay. 
Hair protector for swimming

Is there anything else I can use coconut oil for?!?







Friday, 13 April 2018

Easy green actions and articles.

Easy green actions and articles.  From UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ecoblogger #petitions #savetheworld

Here are a few easy online actions and interesting articles to make the world a better, greener, happier, place, 

IKEA are launching a vegan hotdog, and I'm excited for it! 

Easy green actions and articles.  From UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ecoblogger #petitions #savetheworld #plasticfreefriday #friendsoftheearth

Friends of the Earth's newest campaign is a challenge to go plastic free on Fridays.  Which I think would be interesting, but also totally hard! 


The government has promised to phase out coal mines by 2025, so it would be stupid to give planning permission for a new one now, in Durham, wouldn't it??  Sign this petition to make sure it doesn't happen.  



Los Angeles-based ‘gangsta gardener’ and community leader Ron Finley is determined to redefine ‘gangsta’ as being about building thriving communities, not machismo.  "Gardening is gangsta: Mother Nature is gangsta. Being educated, creative and self-sustaining is gangsta. That whole concept was about turning a negative into a positive. If you want to be gangsta about anything, make it about building your community, sharing knowledge."
via positivenews.com
I love this piece about 'Gangsta Gardener' Ron Finley from Positive News.  
Scarily, the world has lost a third of it's quality arable land in the last 30 years - but there's still time to reverse the decline and scientists have some good ideas how to do it - but I think eating more organic food and planting more trees would definitely help too!

Sign 1010's petition asking the government to make sure all new buildings have solar installed as standard

Easy green actions and articles.  From UK eco blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ecoblogger #petitions #savetheworld #gardentower #gardentowerproject
I REALLY want one of these all in one vertical planters and worm composters, but sadly don't currently have a spare £300 lying about!  There are a few DIY versions about on the internet, and I'm trying to work out a way to make my own plastic-free version.

If you have a few spare pennies and are feeling kind would you please think about donating to this Crowdfunder appeal to create a vegan hub in my little hometown - it would be lovely if you did. 






Friday, 23 March 2018

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.

You can have enough of snow, right?!

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture

I definitely have, and there's more forecast for next week (which is typical as I've taken a week off work to sort the garden!).  

Sometimes the only thing to do is to sit inside and organise your seed tin.  I think it's rather beautiful now with these new card dividers I made. 

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture

We've had a couple of sunny days in-between the rain and snow.  Last week I even slapped some suncream on my neck, it was that toasty!  I'm trying to get on top the of weeding early this year, before they take over!  They're coming out of the woodchipped area really easily right now, which is a big help. 

My raised beds still have some growth despite the sub-zero, freeze-y temperatures.  I'm really pleased with my perennial Siberian onions, they've grown loads since last month and look really healthy. 

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture

I picked a couple of carrots that had overwintered in the raised beds, and a brilliant comedy leggy one which sadly went in the compost because slugs had eaten it!

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture

I ordered some bare root trees and they came really quickly and were a lot bigger than I expected!  I got a cherry tree for the front garden (the variety is 'Sweetheart') and some Cherry Plums (Prunus cerasifera 'Myrobalan'). The cherry plums only cost £1.95 each and they're huge.  They're supposed to grow fast, which is what I want to cover some of the fence and block the neighbours a bit, as nice as they are I like my privacy while I'm gardening in my PJs and the one side feels really open since the new neighbour cut down all the trees.  

I don't know if you can tell from this photo, but I moved a few plants around, a Physocarpus 'Midnight' that didn't seem very happy over the other side of the garden, a Rowan tree and one of the Poundland roses my mum bought for me. 

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture

I planted one of my cherry plums down the side garden too, there are privacy issues there too, again nice neighbours, but their garden is at least a foot taller than ours (we live on a slope!) so we can see their heads bobbing along over the fence, and it perturbs me!   I've also been weeding down here and pruned all my autumn raspberries down.  You can see I've cut the raspberry canes into smaller pieces and left them on the ground there, to kind of mulch the ground to stop weeds and so they'll rot down in situ and return their nutrients to the soil.   

I still have 2 more cherry plums to plant (they only sold them in multiples of 5!  I hope I like them!) and the cherry tree too, but currently the front garden looks like this so they'll have to wait!

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture

I transplanted a patch of wild strawberries to the back of the garden between these two cobnuts, and planted a tiny wild garlic plant I bought (at the same time as my fruit trees) right at the back of the garden for future years harvests.

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture

The heated propagators I bought have been working quite well, one seems better than the other, I don't know if that's down to the seeds or the propagators themselves.  I've popped my red onion seedlings in the greenhouse outside (scuse the messy greenhouse, it needs cleaning!). They were getting floppy in the conservatory so maybe it was too warm for them in there.

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture
  
I bought some new blueberry plants too - these ones have pink berries, the variety is 'Pink Lemonade'.  I've got about 8 blueberry plants now, so I should probably stop buying them!

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture

And here's the whole garden.

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture

And here's a really big worm too! 

Diary of a Permaculture (ish) garden, March 2018.  From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblogger #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #urbanpermaculture #organicgarden #ukpermaculture


How's your garden this month?  I sincerely hope you have less snow than me, and I wish you lots of warm spring days. 






Friday, 16 March 2018

Library books I've been reading.

Here's what I've been reading lately, 

Library books I've been reading.  From UK book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #bookblogger #ukbookblogger #librarybooks

Moxie - Jennifer Mathieu
Viv is fed up of boys will be boys, uniform checks and at school, so starts an anonymous feminist zine calling her classmates to action, inspired by her new feminist friend and her mum's box of 90's riot grrl paraphernalia.   I really loved this book, I would have loved it when I was younger too, but now I'm old I also identify with Viv's Mum and loved that she was given a proper personality, former riot grrl now making some compromises to get along in the world.

Library books I've been reading.  From UK book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #bookblogger #ukbookblogger #librarybooks

Someday, Someday Maybe - Lauren Graham
I loved this, but I think maybe because it's written by Lauren Graham so in my head I populated the book with Gilmore Girls characters!   Franny moved to New York and gave herself a deadline to make it big in showbiz or go home, as her deadline approaches will she stay or go.  There's a nice romance in there too :)

Library books I've been reading.  From UK book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #bookblogger #ukbookblogger #librarybooks

Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng
I loved this.  realistic and quirky characters, a moral dilemma or two to grapple with and just lovely scene setting and character building (which must have been done well because I usually hate overly descriptive books!).

Library books I've been reading.  From UK book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #bookblogger #ukbookblogger #librarybooks

Drawdown - Paul Hawken
I've renewed this library book waaaaaaaaaaay more times than I'm officially allowed!  There are 100 ideas for ways to reverse climate change in this book.  Most of them aren't things you can do yourself at home, they're more big ideas like using alternative cement, educating girls, using regenerative agriculture or repopulating the Mammoth Steppe.  Despite what could seem like dry subject matter, I've really enjoyed dipping in and out of this book, lots of scientific and social and economic matters are explained simply and it has pretty pictures too.   This book makes me both want to cling to it in hope, and buy a copy for every World leader and beat them round the head with it shouting 'do something about climate change before it's too late!'.   

Into White - Randi Pink
The premise of this book was really interesting, a teenage girl prays to be anything other than black, and wakes up white.  I'm not sure about the writing style though, I liked the basic plot, characters and some of the observations about race, but to me this read like a first draft that needed more editing.

The More you Ignore Me - Jo Brand
Alice loves The Smiths, her mum has serious mental health issues, and she has a guinea pig called Smelly.  I thought this book was just alright, with some bits I loved and a last sentence that made me say 'ahh'.

Lumberjanes - Noelle Stevenson
Friendship to the max!  All hail the kitten holy!  This is a super cute graphic novel, with relatable female characters getting into all sorts of supernatural adventures at summer camp.  I think I'm a Riley.

My absolute darling - Gabriel Tallent
I really didn't like this book.  Turtle, our teenage girl main character, is raped and tortured by her father, which a. I don't really want to read about, and b. the sexual abuse was written about in such a way that it seemed pornographic and titillating, I'm guessing it's representing the views of the abuser and manipulated abused, rather than those of the author (I hope) but it was horrific and waaaay too much for me.  I've seen so many good reviews for this but I hated it and skipped through it to the end to see how things turned out for Turtle.  I'm trying to read more books written by men but I don't think this was a good first choice!

What have you been reading? 





Friday, 9 March 2018

I made a thing, crochet sleepy head mice.

I made a cute crochet jellyfish for my new niece, but her big sisters needed presents too!

I made a thing, sleepy head mice. By UK crochet blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #crochet #crochetblog #crochetmice #mousesleepyhead #ravelry

I wanted to make a baby somethings, because they have a new baby in their lives, and I fell in love with these little baby mice in their own leafy beds.

I made a thing, sleepy head mice. By UK crochet blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #crochet #crochetblog #crochetmice #mousesleepyhead #ravelry

I used this lovely free pattern for a mouse sleepy head from Ravelry.  I pretty much followed the pattern for the mice, but I just did htr stitches for the whole bed, which made it easier, using this method meant the bed only needed 5 rounds, and I missed off the little leaf from the bed too.

I used DK yarn, and a 2.5mm hook for the mice and a 3.5mm hook for the beds and blankets, the eyes are teeny tiny safety eyes. 

I made a thing, sleepy head mice. By UK crochet blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #crochet #crochetblog #crochetmice #mousesleepyhead #ravelry

I've actually started up a Facebook page for my crochet-ty makes, just to take orders from friends and family on a kind of casual basis to make a few extra pennies, and I've already been commissioned to make a pair of guinea pigs!  Check it out if you'd like to.