Thursday, 6 February 2020

Easy green and eco friendly actions and articles.

I don't feel like this year has got off to a good start in terms of the environment, politics, or feeling particularly hopeful, but there's always something we can do, so here are some of them and some positive things to read too,

This year I'm following along with Spiral Garden's #52climatesolutions.  Every week they're posting one simple, practical, do-able thing you can do to start to tackle climate change, check them out on Instagram if you want to take part. 

Sign Wendy from Moral Fibres petition, asking the UK government to ban microplastic glitter on greetings cards

#teamtrees is a fundraiser set up by a youtuber (I'm too old to know who, sorry!) with a goal to raise enough to plant 20 million trees by the end of 2019.  They've raised enough to plant 21+million trees so far and are still taking donations - you can donate trees here, they cost $1 each.

Positive News have loads of great articles up at the moment as part of their 'Hope 100' project, go and have a look if you need something positive and soothing to read. 

I love Lindsay's post on individual eco-friendly actions, where they're good, where they fall short and what to do next - just what I needed to read!

My local council is taking part in Plastic-free-February, and is asking residents to sign up for weekly emails with plastic-reduction tips - is your local council doing anything similar this month? 

I don't think anyone's missed the terrible and heartbreaking bushfires in Australia this year.  If you're looking to donate try these charities... 

  • Australia's Red Cross Disaster relief and recovery fund help support evacuation centres and recovery programmes for the affected communities.
  • Local fire services, like the NSW Rural Fire Service and Queensland Fire Service, are accepting donations directly.
  • The Salvation Army Australia also have a disaster appeal - they deliver crucial support to local communities as the fires rip through the country.
  • Find a Bed has been set up for families who have lost their homes. It connects people with Australians and landlords from abroad with property in affected areas.
  • WIRES Wildlife Rescue need funding, and more volunteers to help save the animals. The charity is already asking Aussies to help make pouches for small marsupials.
  •  Victorian Farmers Federation was set up to help farmers whose land has been destroyed in the fire.
  • The CVS Foundation of volunteer firefighters is a team of volunteers who have been working non-stop, putting their lives at risk to help save people, animals and homes.
  • (I've taken this list from online, and checked the links and organisations myself, but please double check before donating)

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Vegan review - Doisy & Dam chocolate drops and crunchy balls.

Allll over Instagram I keep seeing these Doisy and Dam vegan dark chocolate drops (aka vegan smarties!!!! vegan m&ms!!!!!) and crunchy dark chocolate balls (aka vegan maltesers) so I had to give them a try! 

Vegan review - Doisy & Dam chocolate drops and crunchy balls. Vegan m&ms and malteasers, reviewed by UK vegan blogger #vegan #veganchocolate #doisyanddam #veganmandms #vegansmarties #veganmaltesers

I found these in Holland and Barretts, for 99p for a little bag.  Doisy and Dam seems to be a nice, vegan company with good ethics, is corp B certified and is palm oil free.  The only thing I don't like is the plastic packaging, that has no recycling info on it, it's no different to many other brands packaging, but I wish it was better.

Vegan review - Doisy & Dam chocolate drops and crunchy balls. Vegan m&ms and malteasers, reviewed by UK vegan blogger #vegan #veganchocolate #doisyanddam #veganmandms #vegansmarties #veganmaltesers

I love the D&Ds, dark chocolate drops.  They're are soooo good!  The chocolate is dark and rich and the coating is crunchy and sweet.  They're a dark chocolate, vegan version of m&ms or smarties.  The drops in my packet were all chipped, which wasn't very aesthetically pleasing, but didn't make much of a difference otherwise.  I want to get more of these and decorate some cakes with them, when I was a kid cakes were always deocrated with simple white icing and smarties and I miss that! 

Vegan review - Doisy & Dam chocolate drops and crunchy balls. Vegan m&ms and malteasers, reviewed by UK vegan blogger #vegan #veganchocolate #doisyanddam #veganmandms #vegansmarties #veganmaltesers

Unfortuately the Ballers weren't to my taste.  Both myself, and non-vegan-husband put these in our mouths and said 'no!', which is never a good sign.  The chocolate is really bitter and the middle is  very hard and crunchy and tastes weird, not malty and melty like a malteaser, which is what I was expecting.  Ack.  Plus you only get 10 in a packet, which would be quite disappointing, if you actually liked them. 

Have you tried these?  What did you think?

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Charity shopping.

I love charity shopping, here's some lovely things I've been buying...

Charity shopping.  A charity shop haul blog post from second hand blogger #charityshopping #charityshophaul #secondhandfirst

I have many small niblings, and I'm only buying secondhand or eco friendly presents this year, so this lovely hedgehog on wheels, that looks brand new, will be going to one of them for their birthday this year.
Hedgehog on wheels, £3, local hospice charity shop.

Charity shopping.  A charity shop haul blog post from second hand blogger #charityshopping #charityshophaul #secondhandfirst

In the same vein, I picked up these lovely games for between £2 and £3 pounds each, they're in really nice condition (apart from the counting game is missing one yellow hoop!), so will be played with or given to the niblings.
Children's games and puzzles, £2-3 each, local PDSA charity shop. 

Charity shopping.  A charity shop haul blog post from second hand blogger #charityshopping #charityshophaul #secondhandfirst

I LOVE these shoes!  They were £15 including postage from eBay, they're soooo cute! 
Red or Dead Jade shoes, £15, eBay.

Charity shopping.  A charity shop haul blog post from second hand blogger #charityshopping #charityshophaul #secondhandfirst

My mum gave me this super lovely beaded food cover from the charity shop she volunteers in.  I'll use it on my jug of juice in the garden in the summer.
Beaded food cover, present, local Oxfam shop.

Charity shopping.  A charity shop haul blog post from second hand blogger #charityshopping #charityshophaul #secondhandfirst

My mum's husband volunteers in a different charity shop, and he kindly picked up this air dry clay for me - what can I make with it?! 
Air dry clay, present, local Salvation Army charity shop.

Charity shopping.  A charity shop haul blog post from second hand blogger #charityshopping #charityshophaul #secondhandfirst

I try to resist crafting materials, as I have so much, and I haven't actually had any motivation or inspiration to craft for a while, but I couldn't walk past this fabric for £1 a piece, or these scrabble-style letter tiles, I'm sure they'll come in handy, either for me, my Rainbow guides or for crafts at work!
Fabric, £1 each, local Sue Ryder charity shop.  Scrabble tiles, 75p, local hospice shop.

Have you bought anything good from the charity shops lately? 

Sunday, 8 December 2019

5 reasons why I'll be voting Labour on Thursday.

5 reasons why I'll be voting Labour on Thursday. #votelabour #labour #fuckthetories #generalelection2019 #jeremycorbyn #vote

Hello!  The UK general election is on Thursday 12th December and you can vote (for Labour, if you're planning on voting Conservative I hope you please conveniently forget to vote!) between 7am until 10pm, don't worry if you've lost your polling card, you can still vote without it so long as you're registered to vote. 

I'm honestly scared of what'll happen to our country, and to myself and my friends and family, if the Conservatives win.  I'll be voting Labour, and here's why,

1.  The NHS.  I REEEALLLY don't trust the Tories to not make a terrible deal with the USA where they allow healthcare to become very expensive.  I need a new asthma inhaler every 6 weeks, in the USA these cost $175 - $300 each. (Warning, skip this bit if you don't want to hear about my cervix!)  I'm currently having a smear test once a year, these cost between $20 - $200 each in the USA, I've also had two colposcopies in the last 12 months, these cost between $200 - $600 dollars each.  Imagine how gutting it would be to have to pay two thirds of your monthly income, and being unable to pay your monthly share of the household bills, so a doctor can use a telescope thingy to look at your cervix to check it hasn't turned cancerous.

2. My job800 libraries have closed since 2010, due to the Conservative government's unwillingness to give proper funding to local councils.  I would quite like to keep my job thank you.   And libraries have free books, PC access, advice, community spaces, community activities, and staff who will listen to the grumbles of many old and lonely people.

5 reasons why I'll be voting Labour on Thursday. #votelabour #labour #fuckthetories #generalelection2019 #jeremycorbyn #vote

3.  The environment. The Tories have been in charge since 2010, and what have they done for the environment?  Not much apart from allow fracking...  The Green Party seems to be the best choice for tackling climate change, but I honestly don't think they'll get in, Labour has a really strong Eco policy and are more likely to get in (if we all vote for them, please!)

4. I just care about other people - and I don't feel that the Tories do (unless you're rich).  And I think everyone should be taxed fairly.  I'm happy to pay extra tax to support people who need help and to put money into schools, hospitals and public infrastructure so everyone who lives here can have a nice life.  

5 reasons why I'll be voting Labour on Thursday. #votelabour #labour #fuckthetories #generalelection2019 #jeremycorbyn #vote

5.  I like what the Labour Party stands for.  I know loads of people won't vote Labour because they don't like Jeremy Corbyn.  I happen to like Jeremy Corbyn, but it's not just him you're voting for (no-one voted for Boris, remember!?) it's for the whole party and what it stands for, as well as all the labour MPs and prospective MPs.  There's a whole load more working and middle class, women and people from BAME backgrounds in the shadow cabinet than there are in the Tory party. 

5 reasons why I'll be voting Labour on Thursday. #votelabour #labour #fuckthetories #generalelection2019 #jeremycorbyn #vote

Here's some more reading for you,

5 reasons why I'll be voting Labour on Thursday. #votelabour #labour #fuckthetories #generalelection2019 #jeremycorbyn #vote

Vote well my friends.
Vote Labour.

5 reasons why I'll be voting Labour on Thursday. #votelabour #labour #fuckthetories #generalelection2019 #jeremycorbyn #vote

Sunday, 10 November 2019

How I made my DIY, eco-friendly ish, pompom duster

I don't want you to get the wrong impression from this blog post, I don't particularly like housework, but I did need a new long handled duster thingy, and I really didn't want to buy a new plastic one.  I'd had an eco friendly one on order for a while but it turned out to be out of stock, and my lightshades just keep getting dustier, so I had to do something.  

How I made my DIY, eco-friendly ish, pompom duster.  From UK eco blogger #eco-friendly #pompomduster #DIYduster #ecofriendlyduster #tutorial

A quick google found lots of DIY duster options, ones sewn out of microfibre cloths, fabric scraps or wool, crochet or knitted dusters and all sorts of other inventions.  I really didn't want to get my sewing machine out, and I happened upon a tutorial for a DIY pompom duster (the photos aren't great but you get the idea - it's a big pompom on a stick.).

Making a pompom duster is super easy, but I'll tell you how I did it anyway.

You'll need - wool or yarn (I wanted to use cotton yarn, to be more eco friendly, but I couldn't find mine, so I made do with synthetic yarn), a big stick, garden twine, glue with a nozzle.

1.  Make a huge pompom.  I wanted mine to be as big as my handspan, so I measured my cardboard pompom maker to that size, which for reference is about 6 inches.  I made my pompom using the instructions from The Craft Train, which is the easiest method I've found for big pompoms!  

TOP TIPS - I used two strands of wool held together to make my pompom quicker. Tying a big pompom is quite tricky, I used garden twine to tie the middle of my pompom, the wool just wouldn't hold it. I didn't trim the pompom into a neat ball, all the different lengths of yarn will hopefully make for more effective dusting.

How I made my DIY, eco-friendly ish, pompom duster.  From UK eco blogger #eco-friendly #pompomduster #DIYduster #ecofriendlyduster #tutorial

2. Find a big stick and push it through the middle of the pompom.  I used a bamboo garden cane that I plucked from the pot of a dead house plant.

3. Glue the stick into the pompom.   This was a bit tricky to do and I feel it will be tricky to explain, but I'll try.  I used a tube of contact adhesive with a long nozzle, and (with the stick in position through the pompom) slid the nozzle where I could feel the stick was, then squeezed glue out, and repeated several times all the way round.  I put the duster on some newspaper with a can of chickpeas on top to weigh it down and make sure the glue stuck.

4. For extra stability I tied the end of the garden twine (that I used to tie the middle of the pompom) round the stick. 

How I made my DIY, eco-friendly ish, pompom duster.  From UK eco blogger #eco-friendly #pompomduster #DIYduster #ecofriendlyduster #tutorial

4.  Wait for the glue to dry then get on with your dusting.

Next time I'd like to make a more eco friendly version, using natural fibres and no glue, so it'd be biodegradable, but for now I'm quite pleased with it.  It looks like a giant dandelion flower.  And I made it for free, with stuff I already had lying around the house, in about half an hour (not including glue drying time!).  

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Easy green actions and articles.

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

Firstly, if you couldn't get to the big Extinction Rebellion protests in London this week, and have some pennies to spare, you can donate to fund UK protests, legal fees for those who have been arrested during protests or to fund international actions. 

I love the Frack Free Nanas - they're awesome!  Watch them here and follow them on Twitter

Use Friends of the Earth's online tool to find out how eco friendly your local area is.  Just pop your postcode in to see what's good and what needs work where you live.

Ask your local council to make a 'climate action plan' - use Friend's of the Earth's tool to do so.

"We’re facing a climate emergency – the greatest ever threat to our existence and a disaster for the natural world.  A comprehensive climate action plan is long overdue. But instead our government keeps making climate-wrecking decisions – like supporting airport expansion and funding the fossil fuel industry overseas.  That's why we urgently need local authorities to lead the way where the government isn’t – and create their own ambitious local climate action plans."
Sign Greenpeace's petition asking advertisers to stop showing us ads from oil companies.
Yey!  Lots of trees are being planted worldwide!

1000 homes in London are set to be heated by recycling warm air from the Underground.
If you like eco-friendly blogs, check out Kezzie's where she's blogging weekly about eco things.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Charity shopping.

I'm trying to stop so much stuff coming into my house, but sometimes I can't resist!

Charity shop finds from UK charity shop blogger #charityshopping #secondhand #holliehobbie #kilncraftmidas #leparfaitjar

My mum gave me this, I assume it came from her charity shop, I LOVE it! 
Le Parfait jar, present, local Oxfam shop.

Charity shop finds from UK charity shop blogger #charityshopping #secondhand #holliehobbie #kilncraftmidas #leparfaitjar

I usually by the mustard colourway of this crockery, but I couldn't resist this because it was super duper cheap!
Kilncraft Midas bowl, 25p, local Samaritans charity shop. 

Charity shop finds from UK charity shop blogger #charityshopping #secondhand #holliehobbie #kilncraftmidas #leparfaitjar

I bought myself a jar of wooden beads.  I have a craft in mind for them where they'll become heads!
Jar of beads, £1.75, local Hope House charity shop.

Charity shop finds from UK charity shop blogger #charityshopping #secondhand #holliehobbie #kilncraftmidas #leparfaitjar

Excuse this awkward photo of this item being held aloft, it was the best lighting I could get!  I was walking down the high street and this was outside one of the charity shops.  It didn't have a price and I paid a bit more than I'd usually pay, but the money goes to a good cause so I can't really complain.
Bamboo plant stand, £5, local Air Ambulance charity shop. 

Charity shop finds from UK charity shop blogger #charityshopping #secondhand #holliehobbie #kilncraftmidas #leparfaitjar

Charity shop finds from UK charity shop blogger #charityshopping #secondhand #holliehobbie #kilncraftmidas #leparfaitjar

Charity shop finds from UK charity shop blogger #charityshopping #secondhand #holliehobbie #kilncraftmidas #leparfaitjar

I fell down a bit of a nostalgic Hollie Hobbie internet hole last month, then searched for Hollie Hobbie on eBay, then found this and bought it and I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but I really love it! 
Vintage Hollie Hobbie single duvet cover, £5, eBay.

Have you found any excellent bargains lately? 

Sunday, 1 September 2019

I (ahem, we) got an allotment.

Today I am the happiest girl in the world.  I have an allotment! 

I got an allotment!  By UK garden blogger #allotment #ukallotmentgarden #newallotment #gardenblogger #allotmentblogger

I've known for a little while that we were going to get it, but I didn't want to say anything to jinx it, and I didn't have a definite date, so I've been keeping hopefully quiet with my fingers firmly crossed for the last couple of months.

I got an allotment!  By UK garden blogger #allotment #ukallotmentgarden #newallotment #gardenblogger #allotmentblogger


Would you like to know the story of how we got our allotment?  (I'm going to assume you've said yes!)

When Joe and I were on holiday in May we decided to bite the bullet and put our name on the council waiting list for the allotments in our town, which are conveniently located right behind our house. I'd wanted one for years, but we've been busy with house stuff and life stuff and I wanted Joe to be on board to help with the heavy jobs!  When we got home I emailed the council to ask to be put on the list, only to be told it was closed.  There are currently 10 people waiting and no one's left the allotment site for years.  Cue big sighs and resigning ourselves to waiting for years and years to get an allotment. 

But then I remembered that there are a few public allotments at our local National Trust property, which is also conveniently located right behind our house.  I was a garden volunteer there, for about 5 years when I finished uni, and my Mum still volunteers in the house now, so I asked her to see if there happened to be a list for the allotments there. 

LUCKILY for me, there was an allotment coming free in the autumn, and the head gardener said we could have it!  It's very sad for the lady who used to have it, she's become to ill to keep it up.  There's still the last of her leeks and beans in, and all the soft fruit is hers, I'm not sure if she'll want to take any of it with her, but Joe's offered to help her dig up anything she wants to take with her.  The lady's paid for the allotment til the end of the year, but is kindly letting us put some stuff in the spaces this year.

I got an allotment!  By UK garden blogger #allotment #ukallotmentgarden #newallotment #gardenblogger #allotmentblogger

I know I am sooo lucky, I know not many people decide to put their name on an allotment list then actually get one 4 months later (albeit on a different site!).  It's more than big enough for us too, to grow potatoes and beans and onions and some pretty flowers.  A little shady, but that's ok.  And there are no weeds!  I quite like the challenge of it being at the National Trust, people pay to visit which is good motivation to keep it tidy and I'm going to research Edwardian allotments so I can make it look right.  

I got an allotment!  By UK garden blogger #allotment #ukallotmentgarden #newallotment #gardenblogger #allotmentblogger

I got an allotment!  By UK garden blogger #allotment #ukallotmentgarden #newallotment #gardenblogger #allotmentblogger

It's super peaceful and beautiful too.  I love these old apple trees (I can't harvest from them because they're used by the Trust, but I can appreciate their gnarled beauty).  I love these gardens where I've spent so many hours gardening.  It was lovely to catch up with the head gardener again.  And the allotment where I started to learn about gardening is still there, just across the path from my own new allotment. 

I got an allotment!  By UK garden blogger #allotment #ukallotmentgarden #newallotment #gardenblogger #allotmentblogger

I am so happy and so lucky and I can't wait to get started!