Being Prepared

Today was my first day back at work after almost a month. I’m also setting myself a little challenge of bringing my lunch to work every day and only drinking my own coffee there too for this month. I was really looking forward to that coffee during my commute, only to find I had finished the last bag before I left in July and I didn’t have a back up. Thankfully, work today wasn’t too taxing and I made it through the day sans caffeine. I’ve already stashed a packet of coffee in my work bag for tomorrow. Coffee is an essential for me, and being a bit more prepared changes a day from being merely tolerable to good or even excellent.

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Being Prepared

Planning a Zero Waste Holiday

We’re off to France soon. I was at home today so able to get a lot of preparations done. First on my list was going through our perishable food and using as much of it as possible, so we have dinners and lunches for the next week all sorted. We’ll bring whatever’s left with us, either to eat on the ferry (given that the food on board hasn’t really been worth the money we’ve paid for it) or during our holiday.

Last year, I realised for the money we spent on hot drinks on the ferry we could have bought a kettle and made our own, much nicer, tea and coffee in our cabin. Today I bought the smallest ‘proper’ kettle I could find, having researched travel kettles and rejected them on the grounds of cost and being far too small. We’ll bring cups with us and bypass the disposable cups I still feel guilty about using last year.

I’m bringing cloth wipes and tea towels with us, as I ended up using far too many paper towels last year. You live, you learn. Ditto bringing our own containers for the supermarket, and we hope to hit the local markets for plastic wrapping free produce.

I need this holiday very badly. Planning is all part of the fun.

Planning a Zero Waste Holiday

Wardrobe Refresh

My actual wardrobe, that is, not the clothes and accessories therein. I don’t love our fitted wardrobes. They came with the house and they aren’t a layout I would choose. They take up an entire wall of our bedroom, yet we don’t seem to have enough storage. There are no drawers, only shelves and oddly positioned hangers. We cannot justify the expense and bother of changing them because they are perfectly fine and don’t cause a huge amount of stress or thought.

I’ve been rearranging the wardrobes since we moved in last year, never to my complete satisfaction. Today I had some time to spare and tackled them again. I removed a couple of hanging rails and put an old Ikea Expedit 2×2 cube unit in their place inside the wardrobe, thereby giving myself some extra storage options and creating a nice spot for my handbags and jewellery box. This meant freeing up some shelves, and was a good opportunity to put some rarely used things (like the heated rollers that spark some joy but I last used on New Year’s Eve) in the less accessible spots.

I reorganised our shoes so they’re all in one spot and I sorted through my husbands suits and shirts, matching pants to jackets and putting some winter things elsewhere. We can now squeeze our linens for our holiday into the bottom of his wardrobe and free up space in our spare bedroom.

I still don’t love the wardrobe but in the spirit of Konmari, I thanked it for its service and I do appreciate that this is the kind of thing I can spend my time doing on a beautiful summer day.

Wardrobe Refresh

More Adventures In Zero Waste

I ordered a box of vegetables and a large fruit bag from a farm delivery service. I’ve ordered before and to be quite honest I have never been 100% happy with the price and quantity, but I have given it a chance because the food is organic, comes with minimal packaging that can be returned and often throws up unusual options I can’t get unwrapped in local shops.

This week, I felt a little ripped off with the fruit. It is nice fruit, but it is expensive. Like, really expensive – I could have bought twice the amount if I had decided non-organic and packaged food was perfectly fine. It’s hard to reconcile spending so much on so little, when there are other alternatives.

Today I went to Lidl and Aldi for the first time in a long time – I had time on my hands so this was a good use of it. I got organic milk and meat (in packaging which may or may not be recyclable, I need to check). I got a lot of (non-organic) fruit and some minimally wrapped vegetables. I bit the bullet and stocked up on some plastic packed pulses and nuts because, to be honest, the prices were very low compared to other options. And I stocked up on organic porridge oats in paper wrapping and passata in glass jars.

I unpacked everything and pondered on my purchases. It is really hard to actively choose to spend more money to buy anything loose when the quality is comparable. I like to support small businesses and organic farming and sustainability. However, the costs are something that’s certainly got to be factored in. I want to spend less, save more, and achieve financial security in the least amount of time possible. I want to be a good citizen and a responsible consumer.

It shouldn’t be one or the other. It’s really annoying when you’re left to choose between the organic fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic and the ‘normal’ stuff that’s not creating waste in my bin. I have to wonder why the organic bananas need to be wrapped in plastic but the ‘normal’ ones don’t.

It is really frustrating to be weighing up the relative merits of every choice. I know it is an absolute privilege to have the time and head space to do so, and I am thankful every day for being lucky enough to be able to make these choices.

More Adventures In Zero Waste

Tiny Sparks of Joy

Ever increasing numbers of loaves of Dutch oven bread. Each loaf has been delicious. I’m trying it with spelt flour for tomorrow’s bake.

Plans to meet with friends I haven’t seen for months. It’s always good to catch up and natter about the past, present and future.

Some growing seeds that may help us in the tomato and broccoli department, two things which are difficult to get sans packaging.

Less than a month to go until holidays. Last week’s decluttering means I now have everything required for packing in one place.

Seeing that our favourite theatre is putting on The Great Gatsby, meaning we can have something to look forward to after the post holiday blues strike.

Tiny Sparks of Joy

Dutch Oven Bread

I’ve read a few things about baking bread in a Dutch oven AKA a casserole dish. Yesterday, I decided to take the plunge because I had all the ingredients to hand. I followed the instructions (except for using warmer water than I used) and I’m pleasantly surprised by the results. I’m going to mix another batch tonight and vary the recipe slightly.

Bread and salted butter is one of my favourite things to eat. For zero waste purposes, I’ve been buying bread from a local bakery and a bakery I pass on my way to work. It’s an expensive but delicious option. However, for budget purposes I’m going to try bread this way for a couple of weeks and perfect my technique.

I used this recipe and we have this casserole dish in blue, bought about seven years ago. I’m going to reuse the parchment paper I used to line the casserole dish to stop the bread sticking. I’m also going to use warmer water and flatten the dough a little more before baking next time.

Dutch Oven Bread

Fringe Benefits

I have had highlighted hair for about ten years. About a year ago, I decided to let my hair grow out uncoloured, as part of my adventures in not washing my hair with shampoo. I now use a Lush bar shampoo to wash once or twice a week, and I like it thus far.

Today, I had a hair appointment after the gym and I’d toyed with the idea of a fringe beforehand. I’m not very adventurous with my hair, but I needed a change so I went for it. I went for it, got the chop and I love it.

Fringe Benefits