Friday, 30 December 2011

Cooking my first ever christmas dinner

On the 27th December my dad came to visit us for christmas.  We decided that I would cook christmas dinner, my very first.  In preparation I decided to go to Mill Road to collect all my ingredients.  Unfortunately these days I end up buying food in supermarkets like Budgens and Sainsburys, due to availability of time, so to peruse the local shops of Mill Road was to be a real treat.

I had planned to go to Northrop's butchers for the chicken, because they can tell you exactly how it was reared and where it came from. But the queue trailed out the door and down the side of the building (it was Friday 23rd). Then I remembered Al-Amin had a butchers and thought at least I would be supporting a local business and the chicken will have had a prayer said for it (Al-Amin is run by a muslim family so the butchers is Halal).  Then I popped to my old work place Arjuna for the veggies; potatoes, brussel sprouts, onion, parsnips and orange (I'll come back to this later) AND what a delight RAINBOW CARROTS, I picked an orange, a white and a PURPLE one. GREAT! All organic.

I popped into Urban Larder, for some home made mince pies, that I had tried at my friends house, who works there.  And then I trundled down to Co-op for the bits I hadn't found in the previous two shops.  Organic chicken stock cubes, Paxo sage and onion stuffing and Aunt Bessie's yorkshire puds, before going home to freeze the chicken.

On the 27th I roasted the chicken whole in the oven. Added roast potatoes into the tin an hour later, with some parsnips.  Then when I took the chicken out to rest I put the brussels on, got the stuffing cooking and them chopped up the carrots, added them to a pan with a big knob of organic butter and then squeezed the whole orange over the top.  I then covered the carrots with water, just so the water covers the carrots, then boiled them for 5 minutes with a lid on and 10 minutes with a lid off, before draining and mixing in freshly chopped tarragon. Mmmmm. It was delicious. And finally my Dad worked his magic on the gravy, making it lovely and thick with cornflour.

What I was most happy about however was the portions I served. Even with all the different veggies, not a thing was left in the pans, note on the plates.  So my Zero Waste christmas pledge to serve perfect portions, was accomplished.

Next year, I would like to make my own yorkshires and have organic, free-range meat.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Live and love the seconds that you breathe.

We are obsessed with striving for happiness.  What makes us happy? What fulfills us? Power? Money? Success? Love?

We spend so much time trying to be better, trying to be happier, constantly reinventing ourselves to be more harmonious and successful and constantly talking about what we should be, what we should be doing, how we should behave. Trying to make ourselves happier, instead of just being.

We are, after all, human beings, shouldn't we just be.

Instead of trying to be the best you can, just be.
Instead of planning and telling people what you are going to do, just do.

Just ride the wave of life and watch it wave by.  We are a mere blip on the scale of existence.  Savour every moment of now.  Look back at all the wonders that have been, look forward to all the wonders that could be,

but live and love the seconds that you breathe.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

All Quiet on the Sustainability Front

Hello Old Friend, it has been so long.

I do apologise for my silence over the last months, I have been busy at my job at the Garden Museum where I am a trainee in the sustainability of heritage.  I am already over half way through the traineeship and starting to consider my next career move, but am also starting to refocus on my own sustainable lifestyle (or current lack of it).  It is common knowledge that full time work, particularly with a commute, makes it dreadfully difficult to be sustainable.  In fact it is highly ironic that the trainee in the sustainability of heritage at the Garden Museum lives 60 miles away!!  And with my current long distance work arrangements our household efforts to reduce our energy consumption and our efforts to not have plastic packaging have quite understandably drifted off. 

There is a part of me determined to find some kind of formula, solution, framework or maybe just answers to how to be a sustainable city commuter and I know there are many things that I can change if I just try.  Then there is an even bigger part of me that is becoming resigned to the fact that actually our 40+ hour weeks, where we commute into and out of the city and stays in hotels here and there, just isnt sustainable, thats just the truth of it.  Another truth is that the majority of the commuting population, if not all, do not want to spend 3-4 hours of their day travelling and would like to have more time at home, to nest build, spend with the family, indulge in their hobbies and so on. But unfortunately we feel trapped into an economic system that requires us to conform to this work schedule in order to pay the bills and maintain some sort of lifestyle.  But why am I banging on telling you all this, you already know, we ALL know this to be the case.  The real problem is that we are just not ready to change, some of us dont believe that its financially possible, some of us are too scared and comfortable, some of us feel pressurised by the eyes of society, judging whether we are working hard enough (or in the case of today, working ourselves to the grave). 

For me, I decided to take on the Cambridge to London commute to grapple an amazing career opportunity, to get onto the Sustainability ladder.  'Just a year in London to do this traineeship,' I said, 'I know the commute will be hard, but its totally worth it and its just a year.'  But now as I start looking for my next rung on the ladder, I start to realise that most of the next rungs are in London, that I am going to be hard pushed to continue to do what I want to do in Cambridge.  My life, my passion, is sustainability.  I believe that sustainable development is the most important and fundamental thing in the world today.  Yet to pursue a career in sustainability, seems to mean to give up a sustainable lifestyle.  What a weird world we live in.

I like to endeavour to have a solution at the end of each of my blog posts, something people can take away with them, as I have spent too much time in conferences and discussion groups discussing the same problems with the same arguments and never concluding with an answer.  But this issue isnt as clear cut as me suggesting an answer, because it is so situational, it depends on each family, each household doing a careful cost benefit analysis of their needs, their wants, their money and their time.

For me, the number one thing is getting a job in sustainability, I need to feel that I am working towards something that will make positive sustainable change in the world.  To live sustainabley comes very closely behind, how can you be a sustainability professional if you dont practice what you preach?

So I think my solution is go and grab another sustainability job; if its in London carefully work out how you can make that commuting lifestyle more sustainable.  When you get a job in Cambridge you can enjoy that extra time in making your home and your lifestyle the most sustainable it can be.  Thats the best that I can do for now.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Yorkshire Tea

I received a lovely hand written card from the lovely Chloe Darcy, from Customer Services at Taylors of Harrogate last week.  She kindly responded to my letter requesting that they start to phase out the plastic wrapping from their boxes of tea, explaining that they 'are required to pack [their] boxes with cellophane because they act as a protection against foreign bodies, [reducing] the risk of other products on a shop shelf tainting the flavour of the tea and damaging the tea bags themselves.'  There were some other very kind and friendly pleasantries in the letter and a sample box of 10 Yorkshire Tea bags, wrapped in plastic!!!  All the same I was very pleased to receive such a lovely and gentle hand written reply. 

My quest for plastic free tea bags does not stop there, I shall not be defeated at the last hurdle, I shall get my Yorkshire Tea without the plastic, even if I have to go up there and buy it from them at the factory door myself.  On a more sensible note it would be worth confirming whether the cellophane they use is actually made from cellulose or from petrochemicals.  If made from cellulose then I dont believe that there is a problem as it should biodegrade.  If however it is made from petrochemicals, I SHALL find an alternative.  I have been informed by a colleague at work that Celestial Seasonings tea bags are individually wrapped in a wax coated pocket.  Can anybody confirm this?  I am going to purchase a pack, have a little goosey gander and if it is true, will contact them to see what their wax coating is made of, as there is a chance that it could be petrochemical based.  Should the wax be made out of a biodegradable substance I think that Taylors of Harrogate may be finding a solution to their plastic packaging in the post.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Lushious (plastic free) Looks

I treated myself last week to some utterly delicious lush shampoo and conditioner bars and oooooh la la are they scrumptious.  Not only do they smell divine, they soap up really well and my hair is so much fluffier and voluminous.  The soap is a lot lighter than that you get in a bottle, so it doesnt cling onto you locks weighing you hair down.  The number of bottled brands that I have tried to use to lift my roots and finally I have a ethical product that does the job.

I  also invested in some more toothy tabs which are AMAZING.  Its toothpaste in a tablet and I like it so much more than regular toothpaste.  It isnt minty like a tube of toothpaste, it taste a little bit soapy (which takes a little bit of getting used to) but it has more of a chalky texture, which means your teeth feel like they get a much more thorough clean, almost an exfoliation.

Toothpaste is just a habit - give it up and stick to toothy tabs.

What makes these three products all so much more scrumptious is they are all completely plastic package free - WOOPEE, which means the only plastic packaging in our bathroom now is my face cleanser and the bathroom cleaners, oh and the next item.

There is one other thing that I have been pondering a lot at the moment and that is razors.  Now I am not a big fan of shaving, its a pain in the derriere as far as I am concerned and my skin isnt too keen on it either, it always gets sore, but what really annoys me is the number of plastic disposable razors that I have sent to the landfill in my years.  But lets face it unshaven legs just arnt acceptable in this society and I like to bare my legs so whats got to be done has got to be done.

So I have invested in a VENUS (oooooo), and yes it is still plastic and it is a little expensive, BUT its just the head of the razor that you change, so that means a lot less plastic going to landfill AND the razor is a lot better quality so my legs should be happier.  But if anyone has any more eco ideas to keep my legs smooth and sexy please do let me know.  I had thought about going old school with a barbers razor, buuut, I am rather clumsy and I would like to keep all parts of my legs.

Thanks for reading,

Best wishes,

from a lushily smelling, voluminous hair wearing, plastic free Jade

Monday, 2 May 2011

Belated Lent Update

MASS MASS MASS apologies for having neglected this blog for a month!!!!  I have recently taken a new job which requires me to commute to London and have just been settling in.  So to all of you who have been following my plastic free progress, I hope you can accept my apologies and that you will enjoy my Lent synopsis.

Yorkshire Tea:
I would like to start this update where I started this blog, with the issue of Yorkshire Tea.  I went for three weeks without a cup of Yorkshire tea because the card boxes are wrapped in cellophane!!  It was torture.  A cup of Yorkshire tea on a morning and after work are two of my daily pleasures and other teas just don't rate.  I have been sipping Biodynamic Peppermint and Chamomile tea instead, both utterly delicious, but they just don't hit that caffinated, sweet and milky tea spot. 
Action:  Write to Taylors of Harrogate asking them why they use plastic wrapping, whether they could stop using it and whether they could send me a big plastic free supply, to keep me going until they find a solution.

Meat and Dairy:
I/We didn't manage to consume plastic free meat and dairy products, as I found that I didn't make the time to go and buy cheese from the market and didn't have the motivation to go to the butchers for Liam, although we rarely have meat in the house anyway.
Action:  Build a weekly trip to the market for plastic free bread and cheese, into my weekly routine.

Abel & Cole:
I have been disappointed on a number of occasions when in our veg box from Abel & Cole salads and greens have come wrapped in plastic.
Action:  Do not buy those products from Abel & Cole which do come in plastic packaging and write to them to inform them of your decision, whilst suggesting alternatives that they might implement.  Could salads come in the fridge boxes, in card boxes so that they don't get bashed yet stay cool? 

We continued to buy margarine and butter in plastic tubs but have washed and saved each container for use at a later date.  Any plastic bottles that we have ended up with, such as the containers for cleaning and washing products we have also washed and saved.  This has lead to a rather amusing storage problem; we are collecting far more plastic containers than we can find uses for and so we now have a mountain of plastic hiding (and now spilling out from) behind the sofa!!!
Action 1:  Identify which plastic packages you acquire most often and re-source the product.  Once resourced find the next offender. 
Action 2:  Brainstorm objects/ items that you would like for the home or garden that could be constructed from the plastic collection.  Eg. Gutter for shed and plastic bottle green house.

Emergencies:  I have also experienced a couple of sugar dip emergencies.  One when I accompanied Liam to hospital for his finger x-ray after he got it stuck in his car door (the car actually has a dent in it, OUCH!).  Just as the nurse was finished strapping Liam's finger up, I almost fainted so we had to quickly get me something to eat.  My options were;  a) chocolate (in plastic), b) crisps (in plastic) or c) soft drinks (in plastic)!!!  I went for chocolate and crisps. : (  I find it very strange that the refreshment services in hospital waiting rooms are always chocolate and crisp vending machines, but that's another matter.  Similarly I have found myself on the London underground getting over heated and hypoglycemic and having to rush to the nearest bit of sugar, unavoidably wrapped in plastic. 
Action:  Eat more regularly and always have some homemade biscuits, or similar, in my bag, for such moments.

Full time work and THE COMMUTE:
Three weeks ago I started the first ever traineeship in the Sustainability of Heritage, based at the Garden Museum, Lambeth, London.  Please watch out for my blog 'Sustaining Heritage' to find out all about it and follow my sustainability journey.  My life has changed from part time work, just a 15 minute cycle from my home, to full time work a 2 hour journey from my home.  Before you can say anything, I am perfectly aware that my new job is less sustainable in terms of travel and time, but it is much more personally sustainable in keeping me challenged, mentally stimulated and its a step onto my career ladder.  It was just a week ago, when I realised why it was that I had found the plastic packaging abstinence relatively easy.  I had plenty of time on my hands and would cycle past several independent retailers, giving me plenty of choice in which products I choose to purchase.  Now I have, on average, an 11 hour day, during which I travel on train and the London underground (although I have just signed up for my Boris Bike), leaving me very little opportunity and energy to purchase consciously and prepare meals from scratch.

However I am not defeated, in fact I am even more motivated to eradicate plastic from my life.  My personal challenge is now more relative to the rest of society who work full time, commute and has a family to look after.  I am in a position where I can produce a realistic, tried and tested, frame work for people who have similar concerns, to adopt.

But the removal of plastic from a society and a world, that 100% relies on the production of fossil fuels, is no easy feat.  It requires a gentle and steady lifestyle change but as dramatic as a caterpillar breaking free from its cocoon and spreading out its brilliant dusted wings to partake a new role in the world.  A role where people stop to watch with amazement and follow the trail of those glorious beating wings. 

Step by step, beat by beat, we can make that transition.

I will now take a step by step approach to removing plastic from my life, with small challenges and targets to reach on a fortnightly or monthly basis.  Join in if you wish, and let me know what challenges you face on the way and to what degree you achieved each step.

I have been very grateful for all your comments and suggestions and hope that you continue to contribute to this undeniably difficult challenge.

I shall start by writing to both Taylors of Harrogate and Abel & Cole about their use of plastic packaging.  I will let you know when I receive a response.

Love and hugs,


Sunday, 27 March 2011

The third sunday in Lent - half way to a plastic free lifestyle.

Well hasn't it gone mighty quick, just three weeks ago I came up with the ridiculous idea of giving up plastic and now I am halfway through the abstinence, with just one slip up..... CROUTONS!!!  I wasn't well yesterday, I had been throwing up in the night, so under strict instructions to "just eat soup" I thought 'in my condition, it would be fair to have a plastic packet of crutons'.  I have since changed my mind, they were very delicious but I had them and my tomatoe soup with toast.  I could have made the croutons out of the toast and by doing so saved my pocket a few pennies and the landfill another indigestion episode.

Anyway, 12 days ago Liam emptied our little landfill bin.  All we put in our landfill is plastic packaging that we don't think can be recycled.  All our card, paper, tin and glass goes into our recycling bin and since my plastic vow, any plastic containers that we do buy go into our 'bit and bobs' box for later up-cycling.  And this weekend up-cycle we did.  Liam and I were finishing off our raised bed and needed to cover it with some netting as protection from its use as a litter tray!! and the pigeons eating our produce.  We used Rolo yoghurt pots, with a hole in, upside down, as net fixers so that the netting doesn't come off the bamboo canes AND today I made my own watering can sprinkler by putting holes in the bottom of a Yeo Valley Yoghurt pot. And it works a TREAT.  I got quite excited actually because it produces quite a wide spray. Watch out BLUE PETER you have competition!!!

But what about those items that we do put into the landfill bin, that we cant think of anyway to reuse??  Are they things that we can stop buying altogether, are there alternatives to these items or are there methods of recycling them that we havn't yet though about?

So here's my pile of suffocating, earth upsetting plastic.
It contained:
  • Cereal Packet
  • Tissue Packet
  • Crouton Packet
  • Spaghetti Packet
  • Plastic lid from a pot of cream
  • Complimentary chocolate wrapper
  • Cheese Packet
  • Plaster (i cut myself again!!)
  • Greggs chicken sandwich packaging (in the disguise of recyclable materials)
  • Bread Packet
  • Toilet roll packet
  • Coca Cola packaging
  • Sausage tray
  • Broken carrier bag
  • Medication blister pack and a
  • Scratch card (we have just given up, I promise)

For alternatives I have already recognised the following.  Bread and cheese packaging I had been buying in paper bags from Cambridge market, but Liam and I have started having our food delivered by Abel & Cole and I didn't think that 'of course they wont deliver a sliced loaf or a block of cheese naked'.  However they do have these wonderful refrigeration boxes, with recyclable ice blocks and lined with wool, so there is no Polystyrene (Big thumbs up for that one).  As for cereal, I am now getting organic porridge oats in a paper bag and for Liam's meat I am going to ask the local butcher if they would be happy to put meat straight into my own Tupperware containers.

With regard to things that we could just give up because we don't need them. We have given up the scratch cards, we can decline the complimentary chocolates, I will make my own croutons from my paper packaged bread and I can make myself a couple of handkerchiefs out of old t-shirts, instead of buying packs of tissues.  The cream is still a bit of an issue as we still havn't found a non-plastic way of getting our mits on it.  Fox and Sonja have suggested soya, but I really am not a fan of the old soy bean myself, and Stephanie has sent me some recipes on how to make my own cream, which I am plucking up the courage to have a go at.  Watch this space for that comedy show.  As for coca cola packaging, I shall have to request that my dearest buys his life juice in separately wrapped cans and then at least we can recycle the can, even though it is aluminium.  And the broken carrier bag, I dont know how we ended up with the carrier in the first place, so for that its a matter of making sure we have a reusable bag when shopping.

But my problems lie with the two other items.

Firstly, toilet roll.  All toilet roll that I know of, even those brands that have high environmental credentials are wrapped in plastic.  Andrex used to come in paper but I am not sure that it does anymore.  Does anyone have any solutions???  I am not quite prepared to start collecting spaghnum moss for the bathroom and I am not so sure that Cambridge Sewer Treatments would be too keen on the idea either.

Secondly, are blister packs for medication.  I think that the pharmaceutical industry is really going to need some innovative technology if it is going to manage the onslaught of peak oil.  As a transitioner I am happy to experiment with herbal plant remedies to heal my illnesses, and with what I believe to be the healthier tranistion way of living, illness will hopefully not strike so often.  But the medication that many people rely on to SURVIVE is completely dependable on the use of fossil fuels and plastic packaging.  For me the contraceptive pill is a landfill bug bare, its my preferred method of reproductive control but I cant have it without have plastic waste.  Luckily there are other methods that I could choose which would result in a lot less plastic waste, but all those individuals that dont have any other choice, what can they do?  This brings up the whole issue of the pharmaceutical reliance on fossil fuels, which also delves into an issue about our lifestyles and would prevention lead to a reduction in the consumption of medication?  For all of us who like to pop an aspirin as soon as a headache appears, or take a pro plus when the exam stress is on, maybe we can rethink about our use of such resources, but for those of us who need medication to manage heart problems, diabetes amongst many many other things, your health is definately more important than that little blister packet that went in the landfill.  And if you cut back on the other things, your impact will be negligible.  

Whilst we make our own personal developments in the face of  peak oil, maybe the Pharmaceutical industry are investing in alternatives too, not just with regard to packaging but also with the production of such medication. 
Let us hope.

Love and hugs, 


Saturday, 19 March 2011

Whats in your Tetra Pak???

Hello Ladies and Gents,

Sorry for the long wait, I have had a manic week with Transition related goodness.  But here it is..... finally..... as promised.  Now, I have spent the last two days putting together a whole ream of information about the Tetra Pak products and the company, trying to create an unbiased description of environmental credentials of the packages, and then I thought, 'This is a blog, not a bloody book,' so I have condensed the information down to the most plastic related parts and saved my big long blurb in a folder, just in case I decide to right a book. 

So whats in your Tetra Pak??

Now my personal favourite is the good old Innocent smoothie.  Not being fruit lovers its one of the best ways me and my fella get our five a day.  Then there is Soya Milk,  Apple Juice and many other deliciously freshing liquids.  But I am afraid to say that there is also some plastic in the form of layers of polyethylene.  In the famous words of Homer Simpson..... DOH!!!!

So a week ago!!!!  I really needed some milk, but we had polished off the milk from good old Maurice, so I thought I would dance with the devil a little bit and bought a delightful looking TetraPak of delamere Channel Island Milk.  I tell you what is some damn delicious milk as well, it seems thicker than your average semi-skimmed, it was a delight.  But I had a little inckling that this TetraPak had a certain banned material in it and sure enough it does.

Pie Chart from
Tetra Pak contains three raw materials; Paperboard 73%, Polyethylene (Plastic) 22% and Aluminium 5%. 

The polyethylene provides a moisture barrier internally and externally as well as playing the role as an adhesive to stick all the layers together.

The most energy expensive parts of the life cycle of the Tetra Pak are the acquisition of the raw materials and the transportation of the packages to the consumers home!!!

On the Tetra Pak website you can find your specific package model and find out its Carbon Footprint.

So my Channel Island Milk came out of a Tetra Rex Base, and the website Carbon Calculator says that for raw material acquisition and transport 37g of CO2 were emitted.  When you add on the emissions for the conversion of the raw materials into the carton package, there is an extra 10g, bringing the carton to a total of 47g of CO2.  You can then choose to see what this equates to in your day to day life and my Channel Island Milk carton (before filling and transporting to the shop and then me taking it home and before recycling) has a carbon footprint equivalent to half and hour or T.V viewing!!! 

There is a fab little website about Tetra Pak lifecycles at, do have a gander. 

Now with my lent challenge the issue is the plastic, but this all starts to make me think that actually, how does this compare to a regular plastic bottle of milk and then to a glass bottle?  Which of these three would be the lesser evil when it comes to carbon footprint and resources wasting?

Now Pablo Paster of, gave some indication of the impacts to answer the question 'Which Milk container has the lowest carbon emmisions?'

He determined through some clever maths calculations that when comparing a glass milk bottle, with a plastic one and a tetra pak, that actually the milk bottle had the highest emmissions due to its weight and the energy required to make and recycle the glass.  Tetra Pak had the lowest emissions due to its weight, energy efficient processing and the maximised used of renewable materials.  The issue with the cartons, which Tetra Pak are all too aware of, is the low recyclability of the plastic and aluminium in the cartons.

And now there is a NEW KID on the milk aisle, the PAPIER-MACHE bottle invented by Suffolk fella Martin Mysercough.  There is still a plastic bag to hold the milk on the inside of the bottle, but the carbon footprint is half of that produced by a regular milk bottle.  Lets see how he fairs in the Asda pilot scheme.

So currently the individual has a two choices, the lowest carbon footprint or 100% recycling opportunity.  Currently we cant have both, but corporate companies are increasingly investing money into finding even better alternatives for carbon happy, wasteless life cycles.  At the end of the day, finding these solutions is beneficial for us all.

I am not sure which I believe is better, I need to think it over for a little while longer.  For me it requires careful consideration of localisation, as the figures I have read are all averages and estimates.  The ability of my Cambridge County Council to recycle all the contents of a Tetra Pak as well as the where the Tetra Pak is travelling from to get to my supermarket, need to be considered.  Equally I need to find out if the glass bottles I am currently recieving are being sterilised and reused, as opposed to melted down, and where exactely is my milk coming from?  One thing I am sure about however, is that I really dont need to go back to the plastic milk bottle.  YEY!!!

Love and hugs,


Friday, 11 March 2011

Day 3 - An Indian Take-away Dilema.

This is the story of how the packaging from my Indian Take-away turned into a funky Mobile of Memories.

Just a quick update of Day 2:  it was actually a pretty easy day as far as plastic refusal went.  The hardest bit was actually saying no to a bar of chocolate.  Thank goodness for foil wrapped Cadbury's Creme Eggs.  I am usually very strict about not having easter chocolate before easter, but I think I am entitled to the odd one here and there. Right?

Anyway the Indian Take-away dilema.....

So I get home with a bag full of non plasticised vegetables and the non plasticised cheese (which the cheese man on the market found rather amusing, but yey I found cheese) and my partner says, "I know that you have already bought food for tonight, but it is Friday, do you fancy a treat?  Indian perhaps?" " Yes please,"  I would never say no to a curry.  So we drive up to Curry Queen to pick it up and low and behold it is all in a plastic bag, "Oh blinking heck."  Liam says that he will take the responsibility of the plastic bag because he bought the Indian, I am grateful for the gesture, but not satisfied with the solution.  Then when we get home, what is supposed to be a bag of delicious indian delights; my vegetable biriyani, a vegetable samosa, peshwari naan and popadoms, is actually a hideous bag of plastic!!!!!

So what have we got in this plastic bag of 'delights'?
  • Plastic card type lids. Urgh!!!! 
  • A plastic bag, filled with sweaty salad. Yummy!!!
  • Two plastic pots for the mint yoghurt (we get extras for being loyal customers!!!)
Dont panic, dont panic!!! This is not a fail on day three.  Although there is nothing I can do with the little plastic salad bag, I am afraid I resigned to pop this into our little landfill bin.  But after some careful brain storming everything else has been upcycled.  Heres how....

The little plastic yoghurt pots are going to be used to either raise little seedlings or as portable sauce containers.  Even thinking about it now, I could use them to take a little bit of milk to work, so I can have a proper cuppa. 

The plastic bag I am going to save to knit a funky plastic carrier, as sold in Urban Larder, Mill Road, Cambridge.  Apparently you need 55 bags to knit one of those.  Thats going to be a challenge, but my Dad really wants one after seeing them in i so I am eager to make him one.

As for the plastic lids I thought 'I cant let these go in the bin, there has to be something I can do with them'.  Because of the lids waterproof qualities, I thought I might be able to make them into mini whiteboard style memo boards, but the red board marker just left a big dirty smudge.

What on earth can I do with these??.............  How about a photograph mobile?

Great! So I washed the lids, cut off the curry stained edges and dug out some of my favourite photographs (taken by my good friend John) of a trip to Arran, Scotland.  I used the additional brown paper bag that the indian came in as a mount, to add some shape and colour and then strung them together with some string.  And here it is... my Mobile of Memories.

Parental Advisory Notice: Anyone under the age of 22 years old must be supervised by a responsible adult to avoid injuries, which could lead to the requirement of plaster (ironically made of plastic).
Love and hugs,


Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Day 1 of the Plastic Free Challenge

Day 1 was actually a pretty good plastic free day.  I came across quite a few plastic packaging problems, but managed to find a solution to every one.

It started with planning the evening meal this morning:
'ooo, I know, how about mushroom tagliatelle' I suggested this morning......... oh wait....... my homemade tagliatelle requires cream...... and cream comes in plastic pots... well thats the end of that one then.  Instead I concluded to have med veg with cous cous (already in a packet in the cupboard, but thats allowed) with pitta bread .... no wait, that comes in plastic packaging too, soooooo....... fresh non-cellophaned ciabatta, brilliant.  I managed to buy my red onion, courgettes, peppers and three fat and floury ciabattas from the Cambridge Market, with absolutely no plastic packaging at all.  SCORE!!! : )  Not only that.... by refusing plastic I am buying fresh food from local indepedent traders; supporting my insides AND the local economy. 

I think there is going to be more to this plastic refusal malarky than I thought.

On my way home, I was starting to get super hungry and when I get super hungry I get super crabby (friends and family can vouch for me here).  Usually and desirably I go and grab a packet of my favourite Walkers Max Paprika crisps, and/or an utterly scrumptious bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk Caramel chocolate, the crisps cost about 75p and the Cadbury's bar costs about 55p.  Obviously wrapped in 'super sexy, shiny' plastic, they are not permissable, so...starting to feel my ship sinking.... I popped into the Farmers Market Outlet at the bottom of Regent Street.  I purchased the most delicious, juicy, sweet and NUTRITIOUS Williams pear for a mere 25p!!!! 25p!!! That is incredible.  So now I am also getting more vitamins AND saving anything from 30p-£1.05, a day. 

Now the REAL issue came when I started to approach home and the smell and taste of a hot mug of Yorkshire tea started to make its absence known to my tongue.  Then I realised OH NO!!! We ran out of milk this morning AND milk comes in a PLASTIC bottle.  AAARRGH!!!  I was pretty sure I was out of luck on this one, but desperately tried the newsagents and the Budgens on the corner, JUST IN CASE they stocked milk in glass bottles.  I am afraid the ending is not a satisfactory one....... neither the newsagents nor Budgens stock milk in a glass bottle, plastic YES, glass NO.  So I had to resort to some old, just add water, hot chocolate powder, YUCK!! (without the tea, just the hot chocolate on its own).  'I canna be going without me Yorkshire Tea' I sighed.  So onto the net to contact my local milkman, to see if he can deliver fresh organic milk to my doorstep, tomorrow morning and thank goodness he can, otherwise I would be having some serious withdrawal symptons. 
So my local milkman, good old Maurice Reed of Milk&More, will have two organic pints on the doorstep in the morning.  Thanks Maurice.  

Other plastic abstenance successes today:
  • Opting out of laminating articles for the display board at work (additionally removes glare from lights, double win).
  • Choosing a paper packaged baguette over my usual cling filmed brie and cranberry sandwich from Annabelles (it was equally delicious).
  • Saying no to plastic bags.  'No Thankyou.'
Cream, it seems, is the one that may be troublesome to source for making mushroom tagliatelle.  However we only use cream for that recipe, so maybe I could find an alternative or I could scrap the recipe, problem is it is top of the list in our house.

Any ideas of how to get cream without the plastic and without the purchasing of a cow, please let me know.

Love and hugs,


Monday, 7 March 2011

A New Lent Challenge.

Having found I could no longer tease my vegan friend for her strong and admirable dedication to animal rights, as I could no longer think of any good reasons for eating meat, I decided that Lent 2010 would be a 40 day meat free challenge. On day 41 (the end of lent) I decided not to go back, I had no good reason to eat meat other than I USED to enjoy it. Now a year later and I have barely looked back, I cant even cook meat for my carnivorous partner!!!! A month ago I was pounding a very 'healthy' steak for my beloved, with the hope of giving him a delicous culinary treat only to find myself crying over and praying for the poor life of the cow!!!! What a phenomenal life change!!!

So Lent 2011 is on its way and I thought, 'This is a great opportunity for another life changing give up.' But WHAT?? What shall I give up this time?

Well after a lot of contemplation and some really rubbish ideas like chocolate (as if) and Yorkshire Tea (impossible), I decided on ...........plastic packaging!!!!!!!!!

Then I realised .......oh...... actually that it is going to be REALLY hard.

So here are the rules of my 40 days without plastic packing.

  • No plastic food packaging - (if desperate I can only get the packaging that I can upcycle, if that isnt possible I have to go without).
  • No plastic bags (obviously).
  • Essentials such as toothpaste - (research and source non-plastic packaged products, if they dont exist make current supplies strech further).
  • No luxury shopping items made from or with plastic on them - (no excuses).

This is going to be a toughy and I am sure that more things, I havnt even thought about, will crop up as I go along. I intend for this challenge to develop into an exploration of alternatives to plastic packaging and a permanent change in my own personal consumer behaviour.

I would be really pleased to for suggestion and feedback and hope you enjoy the challenge.
Watch this space......!!!

Love and hugs,