Thursday, 31 July 2014

Things I Loved This Month, July 2014.

This month I've loved, 

* crisps and lemonade in the pub * new books * bacon crisps * doing lots and lots of overtime at work, loads of extra pennies! * watching Serenity, Dr Horrible's Sing a Long Blog, Robin Hood, Whip it, The 100 * sleep * eating at the new ethnic buffet restaurant in town, yum! * hogwarts t shirt * my colleague buying me a nice new yellow glass to use for my drinks at work * mega lie ins * ice lollies * fans * curry at mums * buying a staple gun * chocolate penguins * fresh bed sheets * fresh pretzels * crochet * pompom makers * my niece, who is one next month, she walks now and says helpful works like 'up' 'down' and 'drink' (and 'turtle'!), she is a clever, scampish, lovely child! * payday (I'm aiming to save £5000 by the end of the year, and this month I passed the £4000 mark, very pleased with myself!) * skyping * charity shopping * my boyfriend makes yummy vegan cheese for pizzas! * a customer at work saying 'I like your dress, you wear a different beautiful dress every day, you look lovely.' (blush!) how nice! * reading on the sofa * booking cinema tickets to see The Wind Rises and Guardians of the Galaxy * listening to the Wicked soundtrack, in preparation for seeing the musical next month! * 

Hope you've had a lovely month too? 

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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Home Grown Harvest, July 2014.

I've been harvesting little home grown handfuls from my garden plot and balcony garden all month.  I love that I can still grow something even though I only have small spaces to grow in.


This month I've had home grown spinach, rainbow chard, strawberries, baby courgettes, potatoes and broad beans.

You can see my past harvests here.

What have you been growing?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Balcony Garden, July 2014.

My sunflowers have flowered this month.  They don't grow very tall, because they're grown in pots, but they're taller than anything else on my balcony and are lovely and bright!

My sweet peas and fuchsia are flowering too, and some little pink verbenas and livingstone daisies.  

I have a couple of tomatoes coming on my hanging basket tumbling tomato.  I've been eating little handfuls of strawberries all month too. 

I have been joined on my balcony by a colony of these tiny snails.  I've never seen ones like this before, they look more like pond snails to me.  (I think they might be amber snails, although I don't think my balcony is the very damp habitat they prefer).  I also had the delight of sending a 4 inch long slug for a flight over the railings.  Proof that even if you have a balcony 2 floors up you cannot escape slugs!

How are your gardens doing this year?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Library Love. Flowers in the Attic, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, Campari for Breakfast, The Silver Star.

This month I've been reading, 

Flowers in the Attic - Virginia Andrews
I liked this book, but it was quite dark and violent!  There are lots more in the series, but I have read the synopses online instead of reading them, I wanted to know what happened to the characters, but this book was a bit too much 'misery-porn' for me to read any more of them!

The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly - Sun-Mi Hwang
This story is so beautiful.  The hen has real character.  If I wasn't already vegan I think this book might have made me stop eating eggs.

Campari for Breakfast - Sara Crowe
It took a while for me to get into this book, then when I was half way through I didn't want it to end.  I loved this story of Sue, her eccentric relatives, writing group and life in the eighties.  This book was gentle and interesting and lovely.

The Silver Star - Jeanette Walls
Bean and Liz are teenage sisters who go to stay with their Uncle in a tiny American town in the 1970s.  The story is told from Bean's point of view and she is funny and interesting and brave.  Her sister Liz is creative and their mother is terrible and unreliable.  This book also has emus in.  It is excellent.

I just joined Goodreads, find me there if you want to be friends!

What have you been reading?

Saturday, 19 July 2014

My Duvet is Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles.

I was in the market for a new duvet, as I was getting too hot under my 10 tog winter duvet.  I did a little research and discovered I could buy a duvet from Marks and Spencers made completely from recycled plastic bottles.

It's so important to buy products made from recycled materials.  There's little point putting all your rubbish in the recycling bin if there isn't a strong demand for products made from the results of all that recycling.  Buying recycled products makes recycling a viable business, saves new resources being used and creates less waste.  

So, I was more than happy to part with £25 for my new duvet.  I think this is a pretty standard price for a decent (king size) duvet anyway, the fact that it's recycled is a lovely bonus.

It's soft and squishy and nice and light for this hot weather we're having at the moment.  

Have you ever bought any unusual or surprising recycled products?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Vegan Junk Food, Sour Cream and Chives Quinoa Chips.

I've hit the motherload! Vegan sour cream and chive crisps.  They're made from quinoa, so they even count as a superfood (sort of!).  These crisps and light in texture (they remind me of quavers!) and taste really good (the taste also reminds me of quavers!).  I have been adding a little bit of salt to the bag and shaking it up before eating them, I found them a little lacking in salt and this solves the problem perfectly.  I got these from a new ethnic supermarket that's opened near me, they cost £1 for a large bag containing 80g of crisps.  

Here are the ingredients,

Have you discovered any yummy vegan foods recently?

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Rio de Janeiro 2014, Street Art and Graffiti.

There's lots of pretty and colourful graffiti in Rio, these photos are of street art in the Santa Teresa area.

There was lots of amazing street art in the city centre, but I didn't take photos.  As I was in Rio during a time of strikes and protests and I obviously look like a foreigner, I took the advice of my friend's Brazilian husband and didn't take my camera out on the street.  I'm not normally nervous about that kind of thing (I always think I'm just as likely to get mugged in my home town as in a foreign city), I don't feel like anything bad would have happened to me if I had been overly touristy, but I didn't want to take the risk.  

This isn't street art, but a little painting my friend did for me the morning before I left.  

Isn't she so clever.  It only took her about an hour!

Posts you might have missed - vegan food in Brazil, visiting Illuminate Festival in Birmingham and street art in Valencia.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Zero Waste Week 2014.

Have you heard of Zero Waste Week?

This is Rachelle, the zero-waste-warrior behind and she has organised Zero Waste Week for the past 7 years.  

Zero Waste Week 2014 runs from the 1st September to the 7th of September.  The theme this year is 'One More Thing', asking you what one extra thing could you do to reduce your household waste.  Although the challenge lasts a week, the idea is to create good habits that will help you reduce waste permanently.

There are loads of ideas for 'one more thing' to reduce your waste on the Zero Waste Week website.  There's a great pinterest board too, where you can see other people's pledges for inspiration.  Some ideas I really liked are sorting through the freezer and eating up left overs, taking a stand against disposable fashion by not buying any clothes or shoes for a month, recycling more in the workplace or office and to use mesh fabric bags to buy loose fruit and veg.

I've already signed up and have pledged to remember to take plastic bag type packaging to the supermarket to recycle in their plastic bag containers.  I always forget I can do this and it's so easy to do!

Will you take part in Zero Waste Week this year?

Check out their website, facebook, twitter and pinterest for more information.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Easy Green Actions, July 2014.

Here's this months round up of easy, green actions,

Use Friends of the Earths online form to email Lancashire Council to ask them to oppose proposed fracking in the area.  

Sign Greenpeace's online petition against changing UK trespassing laws to enable fracking companies to frack under your home without permission.  

Join in with the RSPBs Give Nature a Home campaign, see their website for lots of tips.

Use Climate Coalition's online actions to ask David Cameron to push for ambitious climate targets in the EU and to stop fracking.

If you have any causes or actions to add then let me know in the comments and if I like it I'll add it in.  And feel free to share any of this info (or the whole post) wherever and with whoever you like - if you sign any of the petitions and use social media then please consider using the share on facebook or twitter options that pop up, it increases the reach of these actions and awareness of these issues even further.