Tag Archives: zero waste

Share Your World Week 17

28 Apr 16
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The No Buy Challenge is over, but Share Your World continues each week.

This week I have made one big purchase (new undies from Lunapads) but other than that I’ve stuck to my No Buy guidelines even though the challenge is ended. I knew before the end of the challenge that I needed to get new undies so it was a planned purchase. I think I’m going to keep trying to think through purchases for at least a day before making them if they’re over $50, if it’s less than $50 I’ll consider for at least 1 minute before deciding to make a purchase if it’s not an essential based on my No Buy guidelines. This should hopefully avoid any impulse purchases.

Share Your World – Week 17

When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen? 

I tend to use a pen, just because I don’t need to worry about sharpening. However, just because I usually use a pen, I’d actually prefer pencil because being left handed I always end up with ink all over my hand whenever I write.

What’s your choice: jigsaw, word, maze or numeric puzzles?

I’m not really a big jigsaw person but I do a combination of word, maze and numeric puzzles on a regular basis.

Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself? 

I don’t really have a preference, or at least it constantly changes over time… I prefer either LONG long hair or pixie-style hair. At the moment, I’m trying to grow my hair out from a pixie cut over a year ago. It’s currently to my shoulders.

List five some of your favorite blogs.

I read quite a few blogs. At the moment I’d say my favourites, in no particular order, are:

  • Treading My Own Path.  Lindsay writes about living and eating sustainably, minimalism, plastic free and zero waste.
  • Baby Steps Going Green. Candice has been blogging for almost a year now. She shares the simple steps she’s taking towards a more sustainable life. Like many sustainability bloggers at the moment, there’s a strong focus on zero waste and minimalism.
  • A Southern Celiac.  Brittany lives with Celiac disease and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. She’s currently pregnant and has also suffered from Myasthenia Gravis throughout her pregnancy. I love hearing about her life with her husband Justin and the many animals they live with.
  • My Journey Thru ME. Jess writes about her life with ME/CFS. She shares what helps her and how she manages to pace.
  • Counting My Spoons. Julie provides information and inspiration for those of us living with Fibromyalgia.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

In the last week, I’m grateful for having the energy to help my friends and family with their moves, for a long weekend and more time with E.

In the next week, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens. I don’t have much scheduled so I can take each day as it comes.

Fermentation, Sourdough, and childhood favourites

12 Apr 16
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Last week as part of Cee’s Share Your World post, I shared a list of my favourite childhood foods including Golden Dumplings. I was asked if I could share the recipe for this particular dish…

The recipe comes from an old cookbook my mum had at home, it was so well used that when a new addition came out a few years ago my sister and I both got ourselves a copy (and a new copy for mum). The book is the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s “NMAA Cooks Recipes for Busy Mothers“.

My copy of NMAA Cooks Recipes for busy mothers

My copy of NMAA Cooks Recipes for busy mothers

And the recipe is:

Golden Dumplings Recipe, page 192 of the cook book

Golden Dumplings Recipe, page 192 of the cook book

Since finding out I’m gluten and dairy intolerant I’ve had to experiment a lot with my favourites to see if I can adjust them to work without them. The dumplings do work reasonably well just replacing the flour with gluten free flour.

One food item I have yet to find a reasonable replacement for is bread… all the gluten free options I’ve found or attempted to make have not been anywhere near as good as their glutenous counterparts. In fact, the only way I like the gluten free bread is either fresh out of the oven or toasted.

E has been doing some reading and has found several research papers which show that people who are intolerant to gluten are sometimes able to cope with sourdough bread (not gluten free). The proposed reason for this is that the process of making the sourdough (if made the traditional way) breaks down most of the gluten proteins in the bread before baking making them easier to digest.

I’ve decided it’s worth a try if I can add something back into my diet but many of the commercially made sourdoughs are not made using the tradition long fermentation time so I’m going the home made route and making it from scratch.

I began my ‘Sourdough starter’ last Thursday and today I made pancakes with the discards from feeding it so we’ll see how I feel after them to see if I may be able to add sourdough bread into my diet…

The starter is really simple to make, you can check out a quick guide here at the Zero Waste Chef. It’s basically just flour and water and time… You start with equal parts flour and water and you “feed” it daily by adding more flour and water each day. I didn’t discard for the first few days, but starting this morning I’ll be ‘discarding’ (using to make pancakes) at least half of what’s there and feed the rest.

Making sourdough pancakes with my discarded starter.

Making sourdough pancakes with my discarded starter.

Once I feel that it’s ready (see the Zero Waste Chef link above for what to look/smell for) I’ll store it in the fridge and take it out to feed it weekly when I make my loaf of bread.

Another home fermented item I started last Thursday is a Ginger Bug. A ginger bug is a way of making soda by fermenting ginger and sugar in water to make the fizz. Once it’s ready, you mix a quarter cup of the bug with juice, tea or other drink to make the drink fizzy. You follow the same process as for the sourdough starter, ‘feeding’ the bug daily until it’s ready and then storing it in the fridge and feeding weekly. I believe my bug is ready to use today, but I’m going to give it another day or two to be sure.

My sourdough starter and ginger bug last Thursday immediately after they were made.

My sourdough starter and ginger bug last Thursday immediately after they were started.

Another simple to make at home item that I believe will get regular use in our house is vanilla essence. I started my bottle of vanilla essence just before Christmas and have been storing it in the back corner of the pantry. It’s basically just vodka with vanilla beans in it and all I need to remember to do is shake it occasionally. By the time we run out of the shop bought stuff this time it should definitely be ready to use.

The feature image at the beginning of this post shows the sourdough starter, ginger bug and vanilla essence as they look today.

Do you make any of your own products at home?

Zero Waste Purchases: No Buy Challenge Update Week 11

16 Feb 16
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I did some shopping this week…

There, I got that off my chest. I didn’t break my rules for the 20 week no buy challenge, but I did buy things I wouldn’t normally buy (they were on my to-buy list a long time.

If you’re a regular reader you’d be aware that I’ve yet again been trialling new drugs and suffering from very frustrating side effects that are impacting on my quality of life.

In particular, the brain fog (which I had got to manageable levels) has been so bad I’ve pretty much been unable to do any work for the last few weeks apart from attending meetings (listening but not contributing as much as I usually would) and writing here on the blog.

Yesterday, when I came onto the computer to do some work (I didn’t manage to actually do any work in the end)* I got completely distracted. Don’t ask me what distracted me because I honestly don’t know but somehow I ended up looking at sustainable living/baby related sites.

Our kitchen has several plastic and glass (pyrex) storage containers but as part of my journey towards zero waste I’ve been wanting to get my hands on some leak proof stainless steel containers for getting meat from the butcher. I also wanted to get my own spork to go into my zero waste eating out kit instead of transporting a cutlery set (i.e. cut my kit back to a spork, straw and napkin, along with my sandwich wrap, jar of snacks and stainless steel drink bottle for longer trips out and about.

My original zero waste eat out kit... spoon, chopsticks, straw and napkin. I want to replace the normal sized spoon and chopsticks with a reasonable sized spork (a more flexible tool with less to carry around)

My original zero waste eat out kit… spoon, chopsticks, straw and napkin. I want to replace the normal sized spoon and chopsticks with a reasonable sized spork (a more flexible tool with less to carry around)

On one of the sites I ended up on I found a good special on both of these items so jumped in and bought myself 2 stainless steel containers (with BPA free lids that seal and a removable divider inside) and a bamboo spork.

My zero waste purchases

My zero waste purchases

I also bought my supplements online for the first time (calcium and folate), so now I’m waiting excitedly for my packages to arrive!

I’ve also started a list of things that I will need to consider buying in the near future. Because my wardrobe is now so minimal and I wear my favourite things most days, I’ve reached the point where things are starting to wear out.

Some of these things won’t be replaced, like the 2 dresses that reached the “I can see my undies through them” point in the last few weeks, because I have already decided I had more than I actually needed of these items.

I’m now down to 7 dresses. I wear dresses almost every day, all year round. Seven is probably still more than I need but as things wear out I consider whether I need to replace it or if something else I already own fills the same niche. I’m getting closer to the magical 33 Items recommended by Courtney Carver from Be More with Less in her Project 333 (I’m down to 36 items, excluding underwear, shoes, and accessories – scarves, jewellery, hats, etc).

Other things will need to be replaced, like undies. I bought 4 new pairs of undies from the local shops in July last year (bonds brand). These are already reaching the point where they’re starting to go see-through or holey. They’re also not very comfortable to wear anymore, riding up or falling down regularly.

My other 3 pairs of undies I bought online in March (2 months earlier) and they’re still going strong with no sign of being even close to worn out. They’re extremely comfy and actually function as pads (just add inserts) by themselves if you want them to. Last time I bought 3 pairs of the charcoal grey colour.

I want to keep some colour in my collection so I’m considering replacing the most uncomfortable ones I’ve got with more of the Maia Hipster Lunapanties but in other colours (one pair each of aquamarine, festival pink, and royal stripe).

The more uncomfortable ones are still ok at the moment, and the ones I want are reasonably expensive for underwear, so I’m going to hold off as long as I can (hopefully until the end of the challenge in 9 weeks).

I’m also going to need to replace my sandals at the end of summer. The inner lining tore the other week and although we have attempted to fix it the patch is already tearing as well so they’ll need to be replaced. I have worn them pretty much every hot day since October 2014 so I guess they’ve done their stint (probably equivalent to almost a year of daily wear).

I’m considering Birkenstock sandals like this or this because they’re meant to be long lasting, and sustainably and ethically made.

How do you decide when it’s time to let go of your favourite items?

*I have managed to do some work today which is great! I’ve been really stressed about how bad my ability to get things done has been, especially given I have commitments to meet.

Week 1 No Buy Review… Hot and Foggy

08 Dec 15
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It’s been a week since Rach and I started our 20 Week no buy challenge and I may have already gone against my lists….

Let’s have a quick overview of the last week.

The weather here has been very hot and variable. Because of these weather changes my health has also been all over the place with the brain fog, fatigue and pain all higher than my normal levels. I’ve also been feeling mentally vulnerable at the moment due to a whole range of things happening around us so I’ve been very emotional.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t had some good times over the last week. On Friday night our local Council hosted one of their Moonlight Markets in the local park. My husband and I went along. We had dinner together and I bought a pair of earrings…

Now I’m still tossing up whether these earrings will be for me or a gift for someone else, but I feel that I’ve broken one of my ‘will not buy’ items…

They came packed nicely (see below) so at the moment they’re sitting under our christmas tree. They’ll either be a present for someone else or I’ll open them for christmas.

2015-12-08 12.38.23

There were several times when, thanks to my emotional vulnerability, I was tempted to buy junk food or have lunch out by myself during the week but I didn’t!

Most of the week was spent resting, although I did manage a bit of work and also had a few appointments and social activities.

On the weekend (when the weather was at it’s worst) my husband and I went to the local shops to buy a lego set that we’d been looking at for a while that was cheaper than we’d seen it before. While in the shops we found the last book in the Obernewtyn series, a series that I have been reading for many years. Because I already owned all the other books we bought this one as well and I’ve spent a lot of time since then reading (started the series from the beginning again because it’s been 4 years since the last book came out).

Other than those two purchases (the book and the earrings) I believe I’ve stuck to my guidelines pretty well…

  • We went and watched a friend playing ice hockey on Sunday morning. A nice way to spend such a hot morning!
  • We had takeaway for dinner last night after a workshop I was running. This fits with my guidelines as it was a shared meal with my husband.
  • We’ve done grocery shopping and purchased fresh local cherries, apricots and handpicked beans.
  • I’ve purchased a set of stainless steel straws that I’ve been looking at for a long time. I often need to use straws but feel guilty about the waste they cause. Having a stainless steel straw in my bag at all times will mean I can say no to the plastic ones.
My zero waste eating out kit that lives in my handbag consists of a spoon, chopsticks, straw and napkin.

My zero waste eating out kit that lives in my handbag consists of a spoon, chopsticks, straw and napkin.

So there have been both positives and negatives this week. Let’s see how I fair in the next few weeks leading up to Christmas!

Check out how Rach did in the first week in her post here.

Have you been joining us on this challenge? If so, how have you been going?

Z is for Zero

30 Nov 15
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Join me on a journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Throughout November we have been exploring each category of the A-Z guide to a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Thank you for joining us on this journey towards more simple, sustainable and meaningful lives. Over the last month we’ve talked about a lot that we need to continue to work on over time if we’re to succeed. Today we finish up by looking at Z… Zero.

This guide has been written from the point of view of someone living with chronic illness but the topics and concepts discussed are relevant to everyone and anyone.

Z is for Zero

A simple life is one in which we’re aiming for ZERO (or as close to zero as we can get).

We’re aiming for zero stress, disappointment and waste (time, money, things).

If we’re realistic we know that this isn’t doable but it’s good to set our goals high. Each and everything we’ve talked about over the last month are small steps towards achieving this goal.

My ZERO includes reducing the negative impact I have on both those around me and the environment. That’s because this fits with my values, it may not fit with yours.

My ZERO means trying to live by Bea’s 5 R’s – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot.

My ZERO also means learning to compromise. My husband’s values may not be exactly the same as mine. At times I compromise on waste coming into our home to meet his values as well.

My ZERO means spending as much time as possible with my family and friends, helping others as much as I can through my work and what I do in my spare time, and spending time by myself to focus on healing my body.

My ZERO is a life in which I feel needed, loved, supported and cared for.

What is your ZERO?