Thursday, September 29, 2011

Op-shopping

Call them what you like; op shops, charity shops, hospice shops, second hand shops. I love them! I wasn't always like this, I used to want everything new and shiny. That was until I found the hidden treasures that lurked within charity shops. I blame London of course. London has an amazing array of charity shops where you can find the most incredible vintage and antique goods, and many of the other goods such as clothes and books were such great quality you hardly knew you were buying second hand. Now that I'm back in NZ I'm continuing the tradition and love to pop into any charity shop I find.

What did I find this weekend?

A great bowl for salads and pastas.

Love picking up books second hand. Grabbed this one by Maria Keyes.

I haven't done a jigsaw in years but I love them. Almost finished this one!!

What have you recently found at your local charity shop?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Recommended reading

This week I read a book that has really stayed with me and I thought it was important to share it with you all. I believe that minimalism and simple living go a long way towards living a more sustainable life and allows us to slow down our lives and surround ourselves with things that truly matter. It's about not accepting things because they're the way that everyone does it but rather doing things that give meaning and value to your own life. And this week I read a book that is really in line with that way of thinking and had some amazing quotes that really stuck with me so I wanted to share them.
"Well, for one thing, the culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We're teaching the wrong things. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn't work, don't buy it."
The book is called tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and was a bestseller in the US so it's likely many of you have heard of it or even read it before. It tells the true story of Albom as he reconnects with his college professor and mentor Morrie Schwartz nearly twenty years after they last spoke, as Albom learns that Schwartz is dying from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). They come back together for one final class, the subject? Life. Schwartz and Albom discuss a number of our most important questions in life including such subjects as our culture, regrets, death, family, emotions, fear of aging, money, love, marriage and forgiveness.It's the type of book that helps you to re-evaluate what is really important in your own life and to make active changes if there are things you aren't happy with.

But one of the things that struck me the most is how Schwartz echoed a number of my own beliefs in terms of our current culture and the missing values caused by that culture.
"Most of us all walk around as if we're sleepwalking. We really don't experience the world fully, because we're half-asleep, doing things we automatically think we have to do." 
It is human nature to follow the pack and to do things because we think that's the way we have to do it because everyone else does. If you decide not to have children (or to only have one), to not have a credit card or own a car, to live a rubbish free lifestyle, or even to throw out your microwave there will always be someone out there who wants to try and project their own ideals onto you and tell you it's not the right way to do things, but the reality is that you simply need to do what is right for your own values and purposes whether that fits into the 'agreed culture' or not.
"But the big things - how we think, what we value - those you must choose yourself. You can't let any-one - or any society - determine those for you."
 I think most of all the book taught me to be more present in every moment and to focus on the things that truly matter.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Sadness

Last night my beautiful cat Possum was hit by a car and passed away. My boyfriend and I are absolutely devastated as she was a special part of our family. I will miss you my little possum-boots.
 
RIP Possum

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Top Ten Tips for Reducing your Rubbish

Photo Credit

1. Compost / Worm Farm

A large majority of your rubbish is made up from food scraps. The best way to reduce your rubbish quickly is to compost your food scraps or start a worm farm.

2. Say no to excess packaging

Refuse to buy fruit and veggies wrapped in plastic, your local farmers market makes this a lot easier. Only buy items that have little or no packaging and take your own bags to the shops! This is the simplest way to reduce the number of plastic bags that end up in the landfill.

3. Reduce your paper usage

Put a No Junk Mail sign up on your letterbox. Don't print things unless you really have to and if you do print double sided. Elect to get your bills through your email rather than as paper statements. Read your newspaper online.

4. Grow your own

This is sometimes easier said then done (trust me, I know) but every little bit counts. Why not start with a small herb garden in your kitchen. A couple of pots with a selection of parsley, coriander, thyme, and/or chives is a great start. Rosemary and Mint are also great growers but they like a bit more room so are better outside (although keep your mint in a separate pot or it'll take over your garden). Once you've got that working you can move onto things like Asian greens (pak choy) and cherry tomatoes which can grow in the garden or containers. Start small and work your way up.

5. Buy in bulk.

Many bulk stores allow you to take your own containers, greatly reducing the amount of throwaway packaging you may have. But even if you don't have a bulk store nearby you can still buy many items like rice from your local supermarket in bulk to reduce your packaging. Also keep an eye out for smaller whole food stores which sometimes have refill options.

6. Get back to basics with cooking

It is pretty easy to fill up your rubbish bin with packaging from pre-processed, convenience foods. The easiest thing is to get prepared and start planning out your week to stop the temptation of buying takeaways or 'easy' meals which often have very little nutritional value. It can be difficult if you are a full time worker but it just takes a little preparation. Secondly get back to baking and start making muesli bars, biscuits and other lunch pack items and take them in reusable wraps.

7. Buy second hand

Buying second hand allows you to restrict the amount of packaging that you purchase. Have you ever tried to open a kids toy recently wrapped in that indestructible plastic?! Buying second hand means you can buy without the packaging.

8. Make your own cleaning products and beauty products

I haven't done this myself yet but it will be the next step for me so why not join me in trying this option out?

9. Push back at your local council

Don't have a recycling initiative in your neighbourhood or think that yours could be improved? Write to your council and help to make the change.

10. Reuse

When you do have to buy something packaged, find inventive ways to reuse it; turn old tin cans into pot plants, use egg containers to grow seedlings, or turn old t-shirts into bags.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Moments


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. Inspired by Soule Mama.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Product Review: Earthwise Dishwash Liquid

Earthwise dish wash liquid is a plant based product which is biodegradable and grey water / septic tank safe. It is not tested on animals and comes in a recyclable bottle.

It is a concentrated liquid and I find it has lasted me a considerably long time. It has a lovely lemon smell but is not overpowering. I haven't had any issues whatsoever using it to get off tough food stuck on plates and cookware nor have I had any problems with sensitivity on my skin when washing the dishes without gloves. And on another note I find the bottle really easy to use and a perfect simple design. In fact even if I can't find a place to refill it I plan to reuse the bottle. It will be perfect for storing my worm tea concentrate for the garden.