Thursday, 23 March 2017

This blog is now powered by Octopus Energy!

Picture credit: Octopus Energy

My eco-friendly journey has been a gradual one, with lots of small changes being made over a long period of time. One of the things I have wanted to do for a while is switch to an eco-friendly energy supplier. We do have solar panels and have had for a few years, but they can't provide us with all our energy needs. We have hesitated over switching to an eco energy supplier though because we (i.e. my husband) have always searched for the best deal and then fixed ourselves into it for 12 months and we thought going green with our energy provider would be too expensive.

I hadn't heard about Octopus Energy until recently when another blogger pointed me in their direction and when I checked out their prices, we found they were very competitive. Our current energy fixed contract comes to an end shortly and prices have gone up across the board, so we will be paying more for our energy and would do whoever we switched to, but when we did our comparison they came out cheaper than the big 6 suppliers and were one of the most competitive renewable suppliers. 

The renewable energy they supply mainly comes from solar farms (electricity) and anaerobic digestion of plant waste (gas) as well as wind (electricity). They have a variety of tariffs to choose from with differing percentages of renewable energy and some are fixed and some are not. The most competitive tariff has 50% renewable energy and for a bit more their super green tariff includes fully renewable electricity and carbon offsets for gas. We decided to go for the super green tariff, which as I said earlier when we price checked for our home was still cheaper than the big six energy providers non green tariffs. 

I'm not a big fan of filling out forms, but making the switch was actually really easy - it only took me a couple of minutes to do. You don't even have to tell your old supplier you are leaving them, you just sign up to the new one to start when your old contract finishes/ the date you want to leave your previous supplier. After you have signed up the new supplier will want a meter reading to pass on to your old supplier on the date the switch occurs, but that isn't too tricky.

It feels good to finally be able to say from an energy use perspective our home and this blog is carbon neutral! You can switch to Octopus Energy here and it is well worth taking a look at them as going green with your energy isn't as expensive as you might think it is! 

Disclaimer - this is a sponsored post and contains an affiliate link, opinions are all my own though. Using an affiliate link will not affect you in any way, but will help to support the blog as I will earn a small commission if you choose to switch suppliers through it - thanks!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Week 3 of the #stillgood decluttering challenge

We are heading into the 3rd week of the #stillgood decluttering challenge and this week the focus is on the freezer! It's time to dig out those icy relics and use them up! If you know you will never use them give them away or consign them to the compost and try to get a system in place so you don't forget about your freezer foods again!

Last week was all about decluttering our long life store cupboard foods, like baking ingredients, herbs and spices, tins and cans. Did you join in? What did you find and what did you use up?

I am pretty on top of the store cupboard situation. I do need to make better use of my spices though as there are some that I don't use. I found some oatcakes that had been crushed at the bottom of a bag and I had put in the cupboard to use at some point but hadn't worked out what to do with them. I asked the members of the Reduce your food waste Facebook group for suggestions of what to do with them and they had some great ideas:

  1. Cheese cake base - sweet or savoury!
  2. Crumble topping on an apple or vegetable crumble.
  3. In a nut roast
  4. Use instead of breadcrumbs in meatballs or burgers
  5. Add to falafels

I really liked the idea of making a savoury cheesecake or savoury crumble, but I already had some mince in the fridge and so it made sense to make meatballs with them (see my meatball recipe here - I substituted the breadcrumbs for the crushed oatcakes and used dried herbs instead of fresh ones). They actually tasted really good, so if I ever have a crushed oat cake problem again I know what to do with them.

Come and join in with our #stillgood decluttering challenge over in the Reduce your food waste Facebook group or comment below on how it is going for you! Hope you all have a great week!

Coming soon - look out for my blog post on Thursday about why we have decided to make the switch to Octopus Energy (affiliate link - this won't cost you any extra to use, but if you click through and sign up I will make a small commission and you will help to support the blog - thanks!).

Monday, 13 March 2017

Week 2 of the #stillgood decluttering challenge!

Last week was the start of the #stillgood decluttering challenge and the plan was to declutter our drinks cupboards, work out what was #stillgood, what had to go and what needed using up! Did you take part? How did it go for you? I found three very out of date drinks including a carton of orange juice, a can of beer and a bottle of sparkling wine. I  had been saving the sparkling wine for a special occasion and although sparkling wine doesn't go off, it didn't taste nice. The beer didn't taste good either and I didn't want to risk trying the orange juice. The juice and beer went down the sink and I'm going to have a go at making vinegar with the sparkling wine. I did try combining it with some (in date) juice, but it didn't help sadly. I learned that champagne/ sparkling wine should be stored lying down (to keep the cork from drying out) and at a continuous cool temperature to prolong it's life. I hadn't done either of those things :(. On the upside I had, had a really good clear out of our tea and coffee cupboard a while ago and didn't find anything to declutter in there!

We have had some bottles of spirits, some full and some with a tiny bit left in the bottom of the bottle, which have been untouched for years and years and I wanted them out the cupboard so that we can use it for other things. They were all fine, but they were either brought back from holidays as souvenirs and never opened or left at our house by visitors from long ago parties (in those far away days before we had kids). I used up some vodka and bacardi by pouring them into an old cleaned out olive oil bottle and added some vanilla pods. I'm hoping that we will have vanilla extract in a couple of months! Some of the spirits I am going to give away and some we will keep because we know they will get drunk eventually. 

This week the focus of the decluttering is going to be on checking the dried, tinned and canned goods (including herbs, spices and baking ingredients) in our cupboards and using up the things that need using up! It would be great if you joined in and if you want to chat about it with others online, join in with the event in the Reduce your food waste Facebook group - hope to see you there!

Monday, 6 March 2017

Giveaway of a copy of 'My Zero Waste Kitchen'

I recently started up a Facebook group as a support group for people wanting to reduce their food waste and I promised that when the group reached 500 members I would do a giveaway of My Zero-Waste Kitchen: Easy Ways to Eat Waste Free - a DK book. Excitingly the group has now grown to over 500 members and it is time to run that giveaway!

Coming soon: I will be running online courses to people wanting to reduce their kitchen waste. Please register your interest in the course by emailing me on and fill out this short survey to help me plan the course - thanks! 

I will also be offering a free place on the above mentioned course once the Reduce Your Food waste Facebook group reaches 5000 members! So please join the group and share it with your friends! Join the group here: Reduce your food waste Facebook group.

Good luck in the giveaway everyone (please be aware it is open to UK entrants only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer - an affiliate link was used in this article. It doesn't cost you any extra to use it and anything you purchase through it will help towards the running of this blog - thanks!