Meat Free January

I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions, and I suppose this isn’t really one anyway as I’m not proposing it for the whole year.

We were out for lunch yesterday, combined with a trip to see the new Star Wars film – I’d just eaten a burger, in a restaurant full of people eating loads of meat a few days after Christmas (perhaps like us they’d just run out sufficient Christmas leftovers to make a decent meal and couldn’t face the supermarket again) when I decided I had probably eaten enough meat over the past few days to last me for a month (I don’t generally eat meat every day).

So I decided that I am going to have a meat free January.  I mentioned my idea to my husband when we got home and said that the rest of the family didn’t have to join in and he came up with a whole range of meat free meals that we could both enjoy (most of which we have from time to time anyway) .  Hurrah!  I’m not sure this means he is officially joining in but that at least I can do meat free main meals for us. There are only a few meat free things I will get son to eat – quorn chilli (as he hasn’t yet realised it’s not meat) and pasta with pesto ( which he would probably eat every day if he could), so we’ll still do some meat dishes for him but that shouldn’t be a problem – we often cook separately for him anyway as he’s such a fussy eater, and we’re not often both home by the time he needs to eat.

I’m sharing this publicly at the start as it will help me achieve it.  The one exception I’m going to allow is to use the turkey stock I made on Christmas Day – as long as it is in an otherwise meat free dish, because I don’t want it to go to waste.

When I lived alone I didn’t eat meat that often, maybe once a week so I’m hoping it wont be too hard, and I have plenty of meat free recipes in my repetoire.  I’m off to soak some chick peas and kidney beans now ready for some chilli and curries.

Wish me luck.  I’ll be sharing how I get on over on Instagram

 

 

 

Christmas and New Year party clothes.

How do you decide what to wear for those Christmas and New Year parties?

Do you have to have the latest fashion? Do you buy something new, or do you start with a rummage through the wardrobe to see what you have already?  Perhaps you already have an outfit that could be refreshed with different accessories?

Last Christmas I was on a mission to not buy any new clothes, including any that were just new to me, from July until after Christmas – you can read more about that here:  No new clothes – learning to love the clothes I have and realising I actually don’t need more.  So when I decided to attend my work’s Christmas presentation evening for the first time, I had to come up with something suitable without buying anything. There was a black and silver dress code for the evening. I already had a gorgeous fitted black satin skirt from Coast, bought in a charity shop a few years earlier, which I had never yet worn as it really didn’t go with any of my shoes.  As I wasn’t buying anything I asked a friend with the same sized feet if she had a pair of smart shoes I could borrow.   She came up trumps with a perfect pair of black court shoes, which she had herself bought from a charity shop and only wore occasionally for parties.  My auntie lent me a black lacey blouse and a silver scarf and I was good to go.  I really liked this outfit although I sadly don’t seem to have taken any photos.

Over the year I have been keeping my eye on the local charity shops for a suitable new (to me) top to go with the same black skirt without any luck.  But, whilst in looking instead for items to go in the Christmas crackers I was making, I happened to spot a lovely Monsoon tunic dress. Sometimes the best finds are when you’re not actually looking.  So here was my outfit – an evening dress for £5.99.  And I was able to borrow the same pair of shoes from my friend.  I wore jewellery I had already (a previous Christmas gift from my husband) and accessorised with  a Planet handbag, also from a charity shop a few years earlier.  My coat and scarf are also charity shop sourced – though only the scarf is new to me this year.

 

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So, why buy preowned?

There are plenty of advantages to buying preowned.  I’ve always bought some of my clothes this way because:

  •  It’s cheap
  • It’s fun – you never know what you will find, and there is something different to look at every time
  • You don’t have to follow the crowd
  • You can often get much better quality items than you might afford  or want to spend on otherwise

But recently I have been trying to source most of my clothing this way with other reasons also in mind:

  • It saves the use of new resources, in terms of the material and the energy and shipping that goes into the production of new clothes
  • I’m not supporting “fast fashion” often made by workers in poor conditions to make it cheap and disposable
  • I like the fact that my money is supporting a charity rather than a multinational clothes shop
  • Because I live in a small town, I can also find the things I want locally and on foot more easily this way

Have you got any favourite ways of shopping or favourite finds?

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Our journey towards zero waste – a year on

We have been a relatively waste aware family for some time.  At least I thought so.  Back in September last year our wheelie bin was only ever half full on the fortnightly collection day and with 2 compost bins in the garden, our garden waste bin was only occasionally used. Our recycling bin was however usually filled to the top. Still, not too bad for a family of 3? Cloth nappies and some other reusables had already been a no brainer, and I thought I already avoided excessive packaging.

I was looking online for a clip about zero waste week from a few years back that I wanted to share with a friend who was struggling with overfull bins.  It turned out to be zero waste week again right then and through that, with the help of Rachelle Strauss, I found my way to the Zero Waste Heroes Facebook group. Thanks to the amazing and friendly support from the group (and other groups I’ve joined along the way) I soon realised we could reduce our waste by so much more! With this support we have considerably reduced the amount of waste we produce over the past year and a bit. This has involved a change in shopping habits,  a few changes to our diet, and a bit more of making things from scratch, but  I am really pleased that we have been able to make a noticeable reduction without any drastic lifestyle changes.

We started out by asking our local council to swap our landfill and garden waste bins for smaller ones. This could already accommodate our fortnightly waste.  By gradually making a few more swaps for reuseables and being more aware of waste when shopping we now only put our smaller landfill bin out for collection, usually less than half full, every 6 to 8 weeks. The garden waste bin is still used occasionally.  We don’t have a food waste collection but have pretty much eliminated food waste to landfill by composting more and getting more out of things that would normally be wasted such as making stock from vegetable peelings and vinegar from fruit peelings (my first batch is on the go now).

The recycling has been harder to make significant inroads into but finally, after more than a year of trying to avoid packaging and reducing the amount of junk mail through the door we are at the point where we can ask the council for a smaller recycling bin too.  We have  just about reached the point where it is regularly only half full each fortnight.

So, we are still on a journey of waste reduction, but we are making progress.  I really wanted to write this post to say thank you for the support of the fantastic online community of fellow waste reducers , on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and fellow bloggers. We would not have got anywhere near this point without you all, and I look forward to continuing the journey.

I am sharing this post on Waste Less Wednesday with Skip the Bag

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