Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Microbeads are being banned in the UK!

It was announced on the 5th September that the government is going to ban Microbeads in 2017, which is just great! I wrote about the petition to get microbeads banned back in December 2015 and the government has listened after the combined weight of the petition and a report from the Environmental Audit Committee! Well done to all you guys for adding your voices in the campaign against plastic filled oceans!

I got an email this morning regarding the petition (they always send you an email to let you know what has happened when you sign a government petition) you can take a look here at the message sent out. One bit that stands out for me is this, quoted from the Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Mary Creagh MP

"Getting a change in Government policy is not easy. Public campaigning, including petitions, helps to highlight an issue amongst the wider public and within Parliament. I'd like to thank everyone who signed the petition. Your action helped pile the pressure on Government to ban microbeads."

Signing a petition might seem like a small act, but it can help make a difference! Feeling good about this? Why not make a few more small changes like these suggestions for helping to halt climate change!

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Shomazing Shomos!

Picture provided courtesy of UK Money Bloggers (mine were rubbish!)

I have never been to a money bloggers conference before, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect at the Show Me the Money Conference and Sho-Mo awards yesterday. I have to say I thought it was incredibly well run and thought out! The conference was organised by Andy Webb from Be Clever With Your Cash who runs a brilliant online UK Money blogging community. If you are a money blogger who doesn't know about this yet, you can join the UK Money Bloggers Facebook Group and enter the awards next year. It is also worth taking a look at the website UKMoneyBloggers.com.

The program was packed with useful info for bloggers with some fantastic speakers including Faith Archer from Much More With Less, Naomi Willis from Skint DadMiss Thrifty and Deepak Tailor from Latest Free Stuff talking about his experiences on Dragons Den!

The day and awards were set in the lovely St. Katherines Docks - as you can see it was a bit of a grey and rainy day, but we didn't care - we were too busy learning about Pinterest and how to pitch articles to newspapers and that kind of thing :)

There were lots of breaks for teas, coffees and food and I was really pleased to find some real mugs that I could use for hot drinks (although there were some disposable ones on offer too). I felt like a bit of a zero waste geek when I kept getting out my camomile flowers that I had brought from home in a mini jam jar to pour hot water onto, but no-one cared.

I got to meet so many lovely bloggers and chatted to various sponsors of the awards. I kept asking the question of the sponsors - is your product / service/ reward eco and ethical and hopefully I gave them some food for thought!

The award ceremony was saved until the end of the day and I came runner up in the Specialist Lifestyle blog category - woohoo thanks judges! 

I think it is great that bloggers blogging about subjects as diverse as coupon clipping, getting freebies and discounts, saving for early retirement, investing, living a frugal life and more could all come together and recognise each others achievements. We might think about things differently, but that doesn't mean we can't work together and take on board each others points of view. Thanks so much to Andy for organising it and everyone that got helped and got involved and congratulations to all the other award winners and runners up! It was really fantastic to be a part of it and I'm looking forward to next year's event! 

Friday, 9 September 2016

Zero Waste Week Day 5!

It's the final day of Zero Waste Week today and so far so good! 

There was a very wobbly moment this morning when it looked like my younger son wasn't going to finish his breakfast, but then he asked for an apple and the rule in our house is that you have to finish what you are eating before eating something else. So he decided to finish his breakfast and eat an apple.

At lunch time I didn't have time for a salad because I had a really busy day and I was getting ready for the Show Me the Money conference and awards tomorrow - buying train tickets and deciding what to wear. I'm still not sure yet - I was having one of those days looking in a wardrobe full of clothes and thinking I have nothing to wear! So instead of salad I had some marmite and cheese cracker sandwiches using up some of the free crackers I got via Olio with a little bit of veg on the side and nothing got left behind!

When I picked up the kids from school, one of the school mums was handing out beautiful baked breads, french sticks and rolls that were left over from a cafe or bakery (her husband has a cafe I think and it is either their bread or from a bakery or something nearby). We took a couple gladly and the kids munched on half each of one of them on their way home from school and this one below made it home!

For dinner I decided to make the kids food early - they had mashed potato / sweet potato with cheese and fruit for dessert. We are having dinner later - spring rolls, crispy duck and pancakes which we buy from a local specialist Chinese supermarket to have as an occasional treat. The potatoes needed using up as they are starting to go a bit soft and wrinkly and the duck has been in the freezer a while. So we are making do with what we have. I'm sorry but I'm not going to report back after our dinner as as I need an early night!

I want to say a massive thank you to Rachelle Strauss for all her hard work organising Zero Waste Week, her dedication and enthusiasm have been so inspirational to me and so many. I want to also thank her for starting up a great podcast series called 'Be the change'. She is interviewing people who are making positive changes for the environment and you can listen in on her interview with me published today here Be The Change Radio - Zoe Morrison!

Zero Waste Week is going from strength to strength and it is a lot of fun to be a part of. If you missed out this year, don't worry you can sign up to the newsletter and be on top of the game for next year! Also in the mean time you don't have to wait for Zero Waste Week to start reducing your rubbish - take a look at the stuff you are throwing away and see if there are any easy changes you can make. You never know by next Zero Waste Week you might be volunteering to have a week without throwing anything away! 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Zero Waste Week 2016 Day 4!

It's day four of Zero Waste Week and I have to report some food went to waste today dun dun duh!

Breakfast was ok - we had the usual porridge and banana with the banana peels going in the compost.

A friend dropped off some eggs mid morning - I run a group where we take it in turns to go and buy organic free range eggs from a local farm in bulk. They are so much cheaper than the supermarket and it is great to support a local farm. However one had a crack in it and I wasn't there when she brought them round - they had been left outside for a bit and I didn't want to risk using it, so I chucked it on the compost heap. I didn't remember to take a photo - so here is one of the missing egg.

At lunch time I had the most amazing salad. It was my first ever entirely home grown/ foraged salad substantial enough to eat without supplementing with other bits - thanks to Mr ETL for growing a lot of it! It was bitter and sweet with loads of incredibly tasty ingredients including, rocket, sweet woodruff, lemon balm, a extremely over ripe tomato which was very sweet, cucumber, onion, courgette, plum, blackberries and grated frozen horseradish. I also added some of the blackberries which we foraged for yesterday. If you have never grown tomatoes or courgettes and you like them, you have to try it - they are the tastiest ones you will ever eat! Unfortunately I got a bit distracted towards the end of my salad and some bits ended up not getting eaten and put on the compost heap...

Rocket with the plums, blackberries and tomatoes

The rest of the salad ingredients added

What was left at the end - including a tomato stalk.

That was only a tiny bit of salad though, my worst offence today was related to plums. When I was picking a couple for my lunch I noticed some rotting on the tree and some not looking so good on the ground as well - quite a lot of them! I've been leaving them on the tree to pick as and when, but I think now might be the time to pick the rest of them and put them in the fridge.

For dinner we had tuna pasta/ cauliflower rice. I used up the ends of various different packets of pasta and added some ground up mustard seeds to the tuna, which I noticed in my spice cupboard when I was having a clear out of it. I used half a cauliflower which I steamed over the pasta to save energy. I put the whole thing in the steamer including the leaves and the stem and when it was cooked I added some saffron, which smelled nice and tasted nice too (although it was a very mild flavour).  The kids had some yoghurt with chopped up kiwi and plum for dessert and my older son had a satsuma - more peel in the compost.....

 About to steam the cauliflower over the pasta!

Cauliflower saffron rice with cauliflower leaves and stalk!

My older sons 'leftovers' from dinner - some kiwi peel and a bit of satsuma

I'm noticing a trend of not using up my fruit / veg peelings, but I don't want to make stock as it takes hours and then you have to use it or freeze it and that could take up a lot of space in the fridge or freezer! I know that you can polish shoes with banana peel, but there is only so much shoe polishing I want to spend time doing (i.e. none), so I'm all out of ideas for how to use up peel...Anyone have any great ideas out there that don't take up much time, space or energy?

Hope you all had a great 4th day of zero waste week and that tomorrow there will be less food waste in my house for the grand finale of ZWW 2016!