Friday, 30 April 2010

What I bought this month...

Some nail files for mum
2 packets of face mask
a TV guide magazine
3 books

Not bad this month I don't think - except Argh! More books! I can't be stopped, they put a table outside the charity shop, 4 books for £1, I have to walk past it and I can't help having a look! I know it's not too bad, because they're second hand and the money goes to charity, but I do want to start using the library and I am really really really going to try going once I've read these - because I agree with the borrowing -type-thinking behind libraries and I want to stop owning so many things!
Face mask - I have tried to go without this because it comes in funny metallicy sachets or squidgy plastic tubes which I can't recycle here. I did about 3 months without them and my skin was a state and was making me really sad so I'm going to use them again - does anyone know of a face mask that comes in recyclable packaging (except the Lush one which I can't afford) or a good recipe for a home made/natural face pack that maybe has some sort of mud or other something that will draw impurities out? I can only find moisturising ones online (honey, yogurt, avocado type ones) which is not what I need.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

How to Make a Retro Snake Draught Excluder...

Today I have the house all to myself, so I thought I'd take advantage of the chance to throw things about all over the place and make a big mess while no one's here to complain, or in other words to get my sewing machine out!

Although my moving out plans are on hold again (sigh) I will be moving out in the next month or two, so I'm carrying on getting things ready now. Hopefully I'll have made or found or second-handed most of the things I need before I move, so I don't get caught out and have to buy something new/plasticy/horribly unethical in a moment of panic when I have moved and realised I don't have some vital item. Not that this draught excluder I made today is an essential item, but it'll stop draughts and keep my house warmer and save on heating energy and bills!

He's made from a vintage table cloth I bought when I was about 16 and which has been lurking about ever cost £1.49 (I know cos the label is still on it!) and his stuffing makes him eco friendly - it's all the small scraps of fabric and thread left over from other projects and old underwear! It's very clean old underwear - honest! And I figure this is a safe use for it, as it'll be going on the floor (I thought about using the old undies for stuffing for toys or pillows, but wasn't quite comfortable with the thought of snuggling down on a layer of old pants...I know there's nothing wrong with them and they're clean but somehow I can't get past it!). So all my old pants and bras and socks and tights that are completely beyond hope have been eaten up by Syd the snake and saved from the landfill! Hurrah!

New favourite websites...

This month I've been mostly surfing...
which seems to have instructions to grow and care for any sort of veg you might like to grow. ever! Very useful for me at the moment!
from the people who brought you My Zero Waste, this is an excellent resource for finding out where you can buy products with minimal, or recyclable packaging. If you join then you can add your own zero waste finds too - it's only just started, it's really good and I recommend you check it out!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Saved from Landfill...

I've been collecting up my crisp bags ever since I read a post on My Zero Waste telling us how crisp packets can be reused by women in the Philippines to make handbags.

I finally have an (reused!) envelope full of crisp bags, and I threw in a toothpaste tube for good measure, as they also collect them!

My envelope weighs in at 300g! Saved from landfill, going to charity and I still get to eat crisps! Hurrah!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Ethical Clothing Pledge...

While I was randomly clicking about on the web I came across Isis' blog and saw that she has created an Ethical Clothing Pledge, which you can read more about here

I pledge to only wear clothing that is one or more of the following:

1. Pre-loved

2. Handmade (preferably by me)

3. Reconstructed

4. Made with ethical / environmentally friendly materials

5. Made by a company with strong ethical policy & workers' rights

* Companies with environmentally friendly practices (such as cutting down on waste/energy/water) get brownie points

* If I get one little inkling of sweatshop labour, I'm outta there!

* Above all though, I think the most important thing is reducing the amount of things we use in the first place. Not purchasing ANOTHER piece of clothing just for the sake of it is the biggest statement we can make.

That's the pledge, up there! I'm very glad to find it, because it echoes a lot of what I think about clothing and buying clothing. If you read this bog you'll know that I keep my eye on what I buy, and I buy mostly 2nd hand clothes anyway. But recently I've found myself tempted by shiny beautiful new clothes and thoughts that when I get a job I'll buy new clothes, I think a pledge like this will remind me to 'stay strong' and avoid all such unnecessary purchases!

What do you think? Is anyone else part of the Ethical Clothing Pledge?

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Vegan Chocolate Fridge Cake...Biscuit of the week...

I made these from some shop bought biscuits (of the mothers) that were lying about, uneaten for ages in the cupboard (so I was probably preventing food waste! Really!)

Vegan Chocolate Fridge Cake (my mums' recipe, veganised by mee)

8oz of digestive biscuits
4oz of margarine
2 tbsps cocoa powder
1 tbsp syrup
6oz chocolate

* crush the biscuits and mix in the cocoa powder
* melt the margarine and syrup together then mix into the biscuit and cocoa mixture
* spread mixture out into a tray lined with foil and press it down so it's firm
* melt the chocolate (I used less than 6oz in the end, about 4oz and it made a nice thick layer) and smooth it over the top of the mixture
* put in the fridge to set and then eat it! Keep it in the fridge between eatings, other wise it falls apart!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

How does your garden grow...

Mine grows very well, actually!

I'm very excited, everything is sprouting and being beautiful!

I re potted my tomatoes this morning (I bought these from a garden centre rather than growing them from seed, I have a 'plum' and a 'totem' which is a bush tomato) and my courgette, which has grown some really lovely big leaves! My peppers are just about to break through the soil, I can see little bits of green just under the surface (my camera can't though, so there are no pictures of them!)
My spring onions are springing! Mums planted a trough with rows of salad leaves and spring onions, and hers are springing too! We have a garlic factory! And the mint plants have lovely new leaves all about!

Sadly the garlic I've had in pots since last year have been a bit rubbish - I decided to harvest them, mainly because I was fed up of looking at them, and they hadn't really grown properly - they made what looks like a spring onion, it's made up of rings when you cut it, like a leek or a spring onion, they still tasted really garlicky though! Bit disappointed that they were so small, maybe the pots weren't big enough or they didn't work cos they were supermarket garlic not seed garlic?

I finished off my gardening spree with a big dig of compost from the compost bin (which was lovely and full of worms!) to plant some potatoes into (we've put them in pots so we can take them with us if/when we move)

And as a reward for all my hard gardeny work I have been allowed a corner of the greenhouse shelves to keep my tools on (the Easter bunny bought me a trowel, fork and snippers this year!) Yey!

Hope you're all enjoying some sunshine this weekend!

Zero waste-ish trip...success??

Well, I'm back from my wee family trip to Essex, and we didn't do too badly on the waste front...I collected a lot of recyclable rubbish while we were in the car (although everyone looked at me like I was a complete nutter..specially when I kept 'rescuing' bits from the general rubbish bag!) and in our hotel room (I shared with mum) but I think a LOT went in the bin in my bro and his girlfriend's room when I wasn't there to save it!

Here's some of the stuff I rescued - there was a lot more but I think the recycling fairy must have wisked it away!
If it had just been me on my own I think it would have been a lot easier, my brother is pretty impossible to convince on recycling, he never does it even at home so I knew he'd be a challenge to get to recycle anything! But even my mum, who is generally quite cooperative with my eco schemes, made sandwiches packed in a plastic box but then put each sandwich in a plastic bag (which then went into the bin) and produced a Variety pack of cereal, all wrapped up in separate plastic bags..argh! How can you make other people understand why it's important not to put their sandwiches in plastic bags!?? Any ideas!
Also, I have a new little cousin (2nd cousin?? she's my cousin's child so...!?) I think she is delicious!