Things Which Sparked Joy This Week

Having a half day off work and being able to dine out for a birthday midweek (which never happens when I’m in work).

Going for my fitness assessment update in the gym and finding out I’ve lost five and a quarter inches. New gym shoes here I come.

The anticipation of a busy weekend of meeting old friends and new ones. I’m never out on a Friday and Saturday night. I think I’ll be having an early night on Sunday.

An empty laundry basket thanks to the sunshine and juggling of clothes inside and out.

Trying something new and a little scary and finding out its actually fun and exciting.

Things Which Sparked Joy This Week

The Ordinary

I have been using The Ordinary skincare for a few months now and it definitely sparks joy. I like the simple packaging and the low prices. One of my resolutions this year was to review my skincare regime and follow some sort of plan. I’ve been using up what I have before buying anything new so the products I have on my shelf are all replacements for other products. I should probably do a little more research into how zero waste-y the products are but I have placed a second order for some new things.

The Ordinary

Planning A Zero Waste Holiday

After some weeks of mainly pointless research and reading of reviews, we’ve decided to return to the same place we holidayed in last year. This will be our third year of the same sort of holiday and I feel like this year is the one we’ll nail it. We’ll be travelling on a ferry and staying at a campsite in Brittany.

Last year, having started on a zero waste approach, I noticed some of the supermarkets in France had dispenser like things for putting nuts, pulses and pasta into your own containers. I plan on bringing some of our own containers this year to take full advantage. There’s also an excellent deli about five minutes’ walk from where we’re staying, so the containers will come in handy there too.

We eschewed suitcases last year for reasons of space in the car and in the mobile home. Packing everything into vacuum bags, even if they’re not actually vacuumed out and fill with air before you even drive onto the ferry, was a revelation. We also brought about half of what we did the year before. I plan on bringing a capsule wardrobe of whatever worked last year, including two pairs of my trusty Saltwater sandals, and washing everything half way through the holiday. Fingers crossed the sunshine will do the drying.

I never liked waste even before trying to go zero waste. Therefore, it came naturally to me to pack a box of things we know we’ll use while away. We tended to eat in most days, a BBQ and a glass of Crement de Loire being as relaxing as any dinner out after a long day of sitting on the beach reading. So packing a box with staples from home, including our salt and pepper grinders, condiments we like and our own linen napkins and tea towels is a must. We shop while away, but knowing we have the basics to tide us over saves time, hassle and money.

This year I’m going to do a little more research into local caves and see what’s on offer. We always leave room for plenty of wine and sourcing amazing finds locally, as we did on our first holiday like this, is even better than a large supermarket run.

Sometimes I think planning is the best part.


Planning A Zero Waste Holiday

They’re Too Worried About What People Think

This is what I heard a grandmother say about young people today, and why they wouldn’t get up to dance at a social function. She said they’re too worried about what people think, which restricts what they can do.

This phrase has been ringing in my ears. They’re too worried about what people think.

They’re too worried about what people think. So they send their ‘fallen women’ into prisons.

They’re too worried about what people think. So they don’t need to treat the children of these people with dignity and respect.

They’re too worried about what people think. So they let a church run the schools, hospitals and social services rather than shout stop.

They’re too worried about what people think. So they don’t ask where the babies they’ve bought have come from.

They’re too worried about what people think. So they let their children be indoctrinated regardless of their own faith or right to privacy.

They’re too worried about what people think. So they let lies be told in public in the name of balance.

They’re too worried about what people think. So they’d don’t ask whether wanting to draw a line under another exposed atrocity is a bad thing.

They’re too worried about what people think. So they don’t look too deeply into why children are playing with babies’ skulls.

They’re too worried about what people think. So they don’t speak out about obstetric violence.

They’re too worried about what people think. So they don’t think, they just do.

I am also too worried about what people think. I am too worried about why parents will continue to indoctrinate their children. Why my peers have church weddings and baptise their children. Why we are allowing lies to take equal status alongside the truth. I am too worried that the 800 babies and children who died in Tuam died and were forgotten on purpose because They’re Still Too Worried About What People Think.


They’re Too Worried About What People Think

Mr. Fox and Jacques Brel

We tried two new things on Saturday, which was our proper Valentine’s Day because I had The Longest Working Week ever. The combination of a lot of hours in the office and the tail end of a bad cold wasn’t the best. Thankfully we had the anticipation of a nice date night to keep me going.

We had been to the former eatery that was the Hot Stove several times. Our last meal there had been pleasant but not especially memorable. I read a review of the new iteration some weeks ago and it prompted me to book a table before we went to the theatre. Mr. Fox was really enjoyable and the food was  far better than we’d expected. The wine is decanted from casks into nice chunky bottles which suits my zero waste leanings. The food was delicious and we treated ourselves to oysters before our starters. I’ll be trying the deer tartare if I get the chance again.

After this lovely meal, we went to see Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris in the Gate. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting but I wouldn’t rush back. The singing was good but it wasn’t something we’d rave about. However, a night at the theatre is always a good time and we’re already planning our return to see a Noel Coward play.

Mr. Fox and Jacques Brel

Here We Are Now. Entertain Us.

This is not a story about how much of a Nirvana fan I was. I came to their music late, long after they were at the peak of their success and long after they had stopped making music. When Nirvana were popular, however, I was a ten year old girl living a sheltered life. While my father was into music, our pop culture references were few and far between. His record player didn’t work, but his tape player in the car did and I had a steady diet of very old Hank Williams and the Elvis Sun Sessions. I still love hearing that music today. We had a very old TV that had a about six stations on a good day and I’d turn off BBC1 at 7pm on a Thursday because I didn’t want to hear the music. We had no VCR so if we didn’t see something that was that.

Now I have Netflix and Virgin Media TV channels galore. I have Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. I have news and entertainment on tap. I can see almost any news report or music video within seconds. Today I watched footage of the Berlin Wall coming down, with a chaser of Melissa McCarthy’s Spicy Act. I was inspired to write this post after watching a BBC4 documentary on 20 years of rock anthems. I can write this while streaming something else to entertain me. I have woken up at night in a panic and been able to grab my phone and see on Twitter that the UK had voted to leave the EU and that a reality TV star was on the brink of election.

Do I check these things obsessively because I’m telling myself I want to be informed about the state of the world? Or am I consuming these stories because they’re now as much part of being entertained as which movie star is having an affair and with whom? Am I now expecting life to have a series of entertainments, of which politics and current affairs form a part? Is the latest compelling press conference just something that’s offered to us because we’re here, and we expect to be entertained? Or are these just lyrics from a song that became a hit and meant that the hair bands had to rethink their sales pitch?

Here We Are Now. Entertain Us.

More Adventures In Zero Waste

I caved and have washed my hair a few times with shampoo, about once a week on average. I’m going to use up every half-finished bottle and then reassess the no shampoo thing. Shampoo bars look interesting.

Our local supermarket has greatly increased the loose fruit and vegetable selection. I can get pretty much all the fruit I want (apart from grapes) without packaging, expect for the annoying stickers on the apples and oranges. I have found the vegetable selection more limited, but I can get enough of what I need and get creative with my cooking. I’ve managed to get some salad vegetables, tomatoes and broccoli loose elsewhere.

I have discovered an amazing bakery very close to our house and as it makes the bread onsite and I can walk to it and use my old muslin cloths to wrap everything its working out great. You need to get there early though, as we discovered when we popped in on a Saturday afternoon to be greeted by empty shelves.

I’m continuing the decluttering and using what I have mindset. Instead of buying a second mattress protector for our bed for the time when the one we have is in the wash, I figured a two fitted sheets would work just as week. I made it through Ikea without buying anything unnecessary and realising all the various boxes I had at home would work just fine.

There’s spare drawers in some chests of drawers, spare cubby holes in our old Expedit unit and spare space in my wardrobe as I have no desire to buy anything, especially since getting a well loved coat and cape properly cleaned.

More Adventures In Zero Waste