Coming into 2019 with positivity

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a great Christmas and New year.

How is it 2019 already??

I took a bit of a hiatus from blogging as my mental health has not been up to scatch- one of the reasons I started to blog again in the first place.

It’s a constant battle of being in that black hole, whether I am deep in it, teetering on the edge or whether I am way over that hole. I’m lucky to of at least had the latter.

2018 combined many stresses and changes- one of which had been getting my First mortgage on a house! It took a long time, and ultimately one of the most mind numbing and at times soul destroying processes I have gone through. I have moved 25 times in my life. (yep that many!) but this one particular process was a corker.

Another change, or at least change in perception was the fact I wanted to progress in my role in a school and go on to do teacher training or at least get on my way there. This unfortunately was not taken seriously and did get me questioning why am I even doing this? However opportunities opened up through my union and (fingers crossed!) something positive will happen this year.

2018 was also the year to think of how I can be more eco aware, reducing the amount of plastic I use and looking out for better or natural alternatives. and because of this I have made many small Changes, which has accounted to be one big change in my lifestyle but I know this will be for the better! There has been a lot of guilt come with it though, and I feel like I am swimming in plastic. But I know it is a working progress!

I celebrated my 29th birthday in November.

Oh my days!

Getting so close to 30 has made me hyperventilate a bit (where on earth did those 20s go?) and make me look back on what I have done. To be honest I should be proud of myself and how I have handled myself but it hasn’t been easy. Many life experiences had, but many that have made me the person I am today and I am glad of that.

2019 I am going to continue challenging myself, one of the key things I do in my life to lead to more Confidence and better outcomes for Myself. Before the whole being 30 thing (ermagurddd) I have written down 30 things to do before I am 30, inspired by one of my friends that did this. Hopefully I can manage most, If not all of these challenges.

I will also continue to lead a better, eco friendly way of living and take each day as it comes. I have made small but very important changes to tackling the plastic problem we have on this wonderful earth.

Lastly I will ensure I look after myself and be kind to myself. I am currently suffering with psoriasis that has taken over most of my body now due to stress and allergies but I won’t let it stop me!

Here’s to a 2019 for all that will make us into stronger, more confident people.

Happy blogging 😊

Hot chocolate cravings

Last week I had gone to the train station in my home town and really fancied a hot chocolate. Unfortunately I forgot my reusable cup! I was mortified.

However I came across the cafe AMT coffee and they do biocompostable cups! Which means it will decompose in a year’s time as it is made out of the waste from a sugar crop.

I will still be using my bamboo reusable cup however if i or others see AMT then definately head over to there 🙂 I luckily was able to get my hot chocolate fix!

The greatest threat

One of the things that has resonated with me this week has been this quote.

I have had some comments about how I am trying to lead a more eco Friendly life. Its been a mixture of good and bad. People have not really understood the reason why I am doing it and the seriousness of it. Currently I am reducing the amount of plastic I am using.

One of the things someone said to me this weekend was ‘ah well at least your doing it.’ Other people are doing it.’ basically insinuating that they didn’t have to. 😐

It can be hard when your hit with that lil tidbit. Because if they are thinking like that, others will certainly be thinking that.

Eco brick making with children

Last week, I thought it would be a good experiment to see how many eco bricks we would make in my class of 19 at school.

Eco bricks are bottles, full of unrecyclable plastic that can be used as a reusable brick. This is to ensure that the plastic we do have goes to a place we know, and not to landfill, rivers and the oceans. They can be used to build furniture, garden spaces and other projects around the world. There’s quite the hype now starting.

The main aim is to show you how much plastic you are using each week, and boy I was mortified by how much plastic was used and what could not be recycled.

Its definately made me think more about what I get in my shop, and also educate others on this too to hopefully encourage others to think about what they are buying.

On a weekly basis, I have filled a bottle. Which, when you compact all the plastic in there is a lot! At school, just amongst the 19 children in my group we used up nearly 2!! 😫😫 This was just during snack times in 5 days. This was the plastic straws from. The milk and the plastic covering the milk and fruit!

This was not even including the 2 other classes. So it definately opened our eyes up.

The thing I loved about this was how involved and interested the children were. They are 4 and 5, but very willing to learn about the world around them. I talked about how most plastic can’t be used and that they go out to our oceans. Here animals think the plastic is their food and unfortunately eat it.

I didn’t show them pictures of animals with it as its probably too distressing for their age but showed them pictures of plastic in the water. Children really are our future! They wanted to help and helped put the plastic in our bottles and saw how much went in.

We’ve now got into a routine of putting our plastic in the bottles whilst eating snack, and them saying they are not happy about it. But that they saved the plastic from going into the water and hurting animals! So we are thinking of our own project to do with the eco bricks!

We will definately be bringing in the other children from the other two groups and see how we go!

Happy blogging 😊

There’s always time for tea

I bought a stainless steel tea strainer yesterday as I am now just having loose leaf tea.

I got really excited when I found it in the ecotopia zero waste shop in Leeds.

I am one happy lady! I can have my Yorkshire tea and not feel bad about it.

Of course it has to be in a Harry Potter mug.

Definately don’t let the muggles get you down.

Growing your own veg

Until this year, I had never heard of or even eaten a squash. I’d see pumpkins every year at Halloween and my mum would let me and my brother carve a pumpkin (but then the inside would just be chucked in the bin!! Eeekk) but we never really ate pumpkins or Butternut squash.

I have a food phobia which has got better with age and patience but anything with a slightly different texture when I was younger (basically, vegetables) I would of refused to eat or even cry about it.

I work with children and children need encouragement, so when I worked in a nursery 6 years ago we would eat the cooked meals with the children to encourage them to eat their veggies. I remember eating cabbage and absolutely hating it, but wanting to continue so that the children would eat too. Mostly it worked! I also started to get past the oh my god this texture is alien to me stage, to thinking about the taste and how good it is for you.

I’m proud to say I eat most vegetables now (yay!) and will at least try something once or twice. Mushrooms and cabbage though, I can not get along with but you can’t like everything. I still have my moments and will refuse to eat something, particularly when I’m feeling anxious but I’m happy to say squash is something I particularly like!

I never knew you could get so many varieties of squash! And even better, my husband started growing it on our allotment this year. The best thing about them is if not pierced or broken they last for MONTHS in the cupboard! They also can get very large so will give you more.

They are quite thick skinned so you have to be patient with cutting them up and scooping the seeds out, but they are worth it once cooked 😍. We’ve made a variety of things; from a squash lasagne, squash mac and cheese and even a stew. Even roasted with just a little bit of oil they are quite yummy. The best thing about squash is that the squash plant yield LOADS on one plant alone, so you gather many a squash which you can use throughout the year.

The squash has a kind of meaty texture to it so we have reduced our intake of meat a lot, from having meat practically every day to twice or three times a week. Squash is a better alternative for us, plus its better for the ol acid reflux too! I look forward to growing many a squash next year and intend to help as much as I can!

From left to right:

Courgette, honey boat squash (NOM), kabocha squash, Red kuri and turks turban squash.

On our journey to becoming more. Eco friendly and zero waste, this is a step in the right direction. If you have the space to do so, I would definately suggest squash as a great thing to grow.

If you have any suggestions of Other great things to grow then please let me know 😊.

Happy blogging

Gemz

Plastic free-How do we get there?

Yesterday i went to a talk about plastic and how we can get there in the city of Leeds. It was very informative and it was a bit of an ultimatum. I have been on my eco journey now for just over 7 months and at this point i was feeling confused about how to go about reducing my waste and seeing what alternatives are out there, without spending an insane amount of money.

There are many conflicting facts and advice so i wanted to hear from the people that are making the difference and meet like minded people. We had great talks from Plastic free roundhay, REAP, Waste not, refill, my plastic free year, plastic is rubbish, the Jar tree and ecobricks.

There were many facts and statistics that showed the amount of plastic that is being used and what had been ultimately dumped everywhere and anywhere. That was pretty disappointing! In the 110 years or so of having plastic in our lives its made a huge impact on us and our planet. I didn’t really know much about microplastics but even that shocked me to my core. The fact that i probably have those lil things in my body already fills me with dread.

It is great to see however that people are starting to open their eyes to the problem. I love that plastic free Roundhay are spreading the word about it and love that they are educating the younger generation to think very carefully about how we should be looking after our planet. Education about plastic and zero waste should be made a compulsory thing to learn and talk about and take action.

plasticfreeround

From the plastic is rubbish blog, We had the lovely Kate who has been on her zero waste journey since 2006. What an amazing lady! She stressed that you need to do it by steps and not all at once (that would be ridiculously expensive and also wasteful with the stuff you have currently that is plastic) She also stressed that plastic in some circumstances are beneficial, especially those that do not just have a single use. Plastic is everywhere so we might as well use them as much as we can. These include our mobiles, laptop, kitchen appliances etc. Some things i did not even consider had plastic in!

http://www.plasticisrubbish.com

plasticisrubbish

From The Jar tree, a zero waste shop that has opened in kirkgate market in Leeds only a few months ago, talked about the impact of plastic and how we can combat it. He also talked about peoples preconceptions when he started to change to better alternatives. (This i have already had to deal with, as i am sure a lot of you have!)

http://www.thejartree.co.uk

jartreequotes

This woman from REFILL came and talked about the inspiring work that is going on across the whole country, encouraging shops, cafes, stations etc to be refill stations for tap water. Which is a massive achievement already! They have an app to show you where these refill stations are.

http://www.refill.org.uk

Refill

Lastly from Ecobricks, a recent thing that i have heard about that involves putting your plastics that cant be recycled; sweet wrappers, films on packaging for meet and ready meals , into plastic bottles and used to build numerous things such as benches, tables and other projects. This is something i feel is a wonderful idea! At least this way you know where your plastic is going.

It was stressed that this isn’t a long term solution and the idea behind it was to get people thinking about how much plastic you use each week and how many bottles you go through. In the past 2 weeks i have filled nearly three bottles, which sent dread into me! You can fit quite a lot of the plastic into the bottles and once filled they do feel nearly as heavy as a brick!

howtoecobrick

I could carry on talking about the wonderful speakers at the talk and the amount of things i found out (TEABAGS have plastic in them??) but i will save that for another time. The different organisations and people deserve their own blog piece. For now, here are the links to each one.

http://www.plasticisrubbish.com

http://www.ecobricks.org

http://www.refill.org.uk

http://www.thejartree.co.uk   -The jar tree is located in leeds

Find Roundhay environmental action plan (REAP) on facebook 🙂 (Leeds based)

The same goes for plastic free Roundhay (Leeds based)

 

Happy blogging everyone 🙂

Gemma