Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Monday, 29 September 2008
If you get the chance, have a listen to the podcast on the WSJ site - it's actually pretty interesting. I'm sure it must depend on the material used - if you're using recycled fabric to make your own bag, that has to be preferable to using a plastic bag.
I'm really wishing I had bought the yellow trolley bag in Paris.
I wish London had a scheme like the the Velib scheme in Paris. There are various bicycle stops around the city where you can pick up and drop off the bicycles - for a minimal fee. The bikes are great too - they have everything you need; a basket, lights, and locks. I saw lots of people using them, although it seems that French cyclists don't use helmets. People of France, that is a mistake! Although there are some allocated bicycle lanes, there still seemed to be some pretty risky manouvres going on - not least because cycling in high heels (as lots of the French women were doing) seems like a recipe for disaster.
Sunday, 28 September 2008
This is my list of eco to-dos before the end of October. Warning: if you believe that I am some kind of eco guru (in which case I'd have to assume you are a new reader) - and are averse to having that image shattered, then look away now - there are some shocking revelations on this list...
- Check if my loft is insulated (shameful, I know, but it's really inconvenient to get into my loft - through a very high hatch - I've never been up there.)
- Use up all the contents of my organic vegetable box before the next one comes, at least once - so I don't have to always resort to Friday morning soup.
- Make one of Orangette's delicious banana bread recipes (with the collection of mushy frozen bananas in my fridge which I didn't eat in time - see point 2. Note: top tip - freeze them without the skins - or perhaps you all knew that already? Never occurred to me.)
- Do an inventory of all of the reusable bags I already own, so I don't feel tempted to buy another one...
- Become more serious about my food shopping habits, take my shopping trolley and try out the well-reknowned organic butcher, Chadwicks in Balham, near to where I live.
- Turn my thermostat down by one degree.
- Remember to water my rocket plants so that they don't die.
- Look on Ebay for some second-hand bargain furniture, the likes of which elude me but seem to feature regularly in the homes of celebrity stylists/designers/never your ordinary 5'8" in Living Etc.
- Put up the curtains I've lived without for 17 months (I know, how did it get to be so long?) - a major energy waster.
- Buy one of those energy monitoring electricity devices.
I could go on, and on - perhaps I'll update this list when I've achieved everything above - I want to keep it manageable...Please post your list below and I will feature any good resolutions (as long as the intention is sincere!)
These are my happy Paris feet - and as much as can be revealed for public consumption. I took one small rucksack, with only a few cardigans and clean vests, and I suspect I looked quite rough for a few days. As a last minute gesture towards Parisien chic, I threw in a lip gloss at the last minute, but I am not sure that was enough to pull me back from the depths of scruffydom. Lip gloss + towel-dried hair does not equal a chic Parisien look.
I managed to exercise great spending restraint and I only spent 28 euros on things for myself. It was so sunny in Paris that I felt myself drawn to this yellow Perigot trolley bag, but then I remembered I already own a shopping trolley so in my non-wasteful attitude I decided I couldn't justify getting another one.
I think this may have been a mistake. This one was really sturdy, whereas mine is a) very flimsy, so it's a real pain to pull along and b) not yellow! I think if you're going down the old lady trolley route, you might as well have a statement piece? Oui?
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Monday, 22 September 2008
Apologies for the digression, but I was so thrilled when this link appeared in my inbox, that I feel I need to spread the word. I do so love the music ofIain Archer. This is a recreation of a rather touching moment at Greenbelt this year where he had his parents and parents-in-law get up on stage and sing with him.
One of my favourite songs of the last few years is Take That's Rule the World. I even heard it the other day when I was in a taxi with a Turkish taxi driver - and he was singing along with it as well. Anyway, the thing is that I was never into Take That the first time round - but now I absolutely love them.
Don't let that admission colour your opinion of me - but I just wanted to point out that I WAS into Iain Archer the first time round, and every time since - I've been listening to his music for more than half of my life.
Thursday, 18 September 2008
- learn how to make newspaper animals
- cover my boring clothes rail in ribbon
- become an expert in vintage costume jewellery
- find a pretty cake stand to display my jewellery
- wash those clothes which are at the bottom of my washing basket, and intend to sell on my stall
- get into my back garden (my back door is broken) to cut some greenery to display in a nice vase on my stall
- and there's more. Believe me, there's LOTS more
Still, I am very excited about the fair - there are lots of good things going on. Firstly, I am thrilled that Ellie Bethel is coming to give a reading. I love her book, Michael Recycle, and I think we're going to sell out of all the copies we have. My Eco Self is not jealous that Ellie had the idea for an eco-friendly children's book before Eco Bear and the Recycled Bicycle managed to find a publisher... Watch out for Ellie's sequel coming soon, Litterbug Doug!
Secondly, the manicure table is being sponsored by Green Hands. So much of what goes into nail products is really nasty stuff - so I'm delighted that Green Hands offer some greener options.
There's free breakfast too, from 10am - organic muesli provided by Rude Health.
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
I just saw this beautiful hummingbird flea market find at the eco-conscious Daily Danny. Inspired by him, I went on a trawl of my local charity shops, ever hopeful, but no joy. The US is definitely the land of opportunity in many respects - including flea markets. I've never had any luck in the charity shops here.
Photo by Danny Seo, via Daily Danny.
So, as a penance, I decided I needed to live off a very strict budget for at least a month, before I go to New York as an election tourist. But somehow I haven't started yet. I just went to IKEA today on a different mission, and somehow I have come home with a brand new lamp, duvet set and pillows, baskets...ever since I read about IKEA's environmental policy, I haven't felt so bad about shopping there - if it wasn't for buying things I don't really need.
I am a person who can't live off a budget. But I am determined to try - starting after my brother comes to visit this weekend.
Sunday, 14 September 2008
Saturday, 13 September 2008
Monday, 8 September 2008
On the way home, I was thinking about what really great meals I have had recently. And I realised that they have all been things which I or a friend have made myself, simple but delicious.
These are the top three contenders, which I know are going to stay in my repertoire for a very long time. They are all simple meals, but those which actually make you skip home a little faster in anticipation of what's to come, and arouse major feelings of food lust, an overwhelming feeling which makes you go a little crazy and ignore everything else until you've eaten.
- Homemade granola (not the chocolate kind, I will post this recipe at some point - it is amazing) - Food Neurotic Friend and I shared a batch.
- Carrot and lentil soup.
- Lying low tomato sauce.
The other day, FNF texted me to say 'Silent Light - great film' - about a film we watched at Greenbelt two weeks ago and really enjoyed. Did you watch it again, I asked, when I remembered to mention it, but he said no, he just was making the point again that it was a great film.
These feasts are Silent Light moments - I'm inspired to text him now to remind him about the carrot soup. And I can guarantee that one of these days I'll get another text saying 'great granola.'
Saturday, 6 September 2008
I've been recently inspired by this post, where the owner of the beautiful house above says that in their renovation of their home, establishing a front garden was a real priority, as it improves the quality of life of everyone on the street. I never thought of it like that - my front garden is the very last thing on my list; in fact I haven't even weeded once, in over a year. Perhaps I need to change my attitude.
I have, however, signed up for Food Up Front, which encourages people to grow vegetables in their unused front spaces, partly because it encourages interaction with your neighbours. Unfortunately my front garden belongs mostly to my neighbour, who is not particularly interactive, so I'll be toting my compost and container to my back garden, and eating all the lovely vegetables I grow all by my very self. Or perhaps not - not because of my philanthropic vegetable outlook, but because I'll be amazed if anything actually manages to grows in my garden. The benefit of growing vegetables in your front garden is that you don't forget they're there..
This is a dog house with a 'green' roof from Sustainable Pet - but perhaps it's just because I don't like pets - it actually looks quite nice. But, not claiming to know anything about animal behaviour, wouldn't a dog jump up on its roof garden?
I protest too much. I am back, embracing the green movement in spirit and in action - tomorrow I am going apple picking in some local back gardens. What a great idea! I can't wait.
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
The above are an example of the difficulties of frugal living - I already have a whole stash of cards for every occasion, but I really feel I have to have these. I can see them now, propped on the mantlepiece in my spare bedroom, currently styled as vintage chic. There you go, a season of successful frugality ruined by a whim and a cute retro owl. Even the prevalence of holiday cards on their website isn't enough to put me off (one of my pet hates about the US is holiday cards; everybody - it's Christmas.)