Monday, 1 February 2016

Shani's Hazelnut Biscuits (zero waste and paleo)

My friend Shani has skills in the kitchen - she is a great cook and baker and I love going to eat at her house :). She came over for a girls night in over the weekend and I was so impressed by what she turned up with that I felt the need to blog about it! 

Shani made up a recipe for homemade biscuits, which tasted good, contained zero sugar, dairy or grains and gave them to me in a reused glass jar which can be reused again. She isn't normally into zero waste so it was really nice that she made the effort for me! She very kindly said I could share her recipe on here, so here it is:

Shani's Hazelnut Biscuits


200g hazelnut butter (you can make your own in a similar way to my peanut butter recipe here)
100g apple puree 
1 egg white
Coconut flour (enough to firm mixture  - go easy on this as it is very absorbent!)
1 tbsp cocoa powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C
  2. Whisk egg whites until stiff
  3. Combine hazelnut butter with apple puree and mix well
  4. Fold in coconut flour and cocoa powder to the apple/ hazelnut mix
  5. Fold in whisked egg white
  6. Spoon onto a baking tray and flatten with a fork
  7. Sprinkle tops with salt and bake until firm and slightly browned (about 30 mins)

Thanks to Shani for letting me share this recipe and for the lovely biscuits!  If you have a try at making this let me know how you get on.

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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

I'm in the rubbish hot 100!

Resource Media's Hot 100 - their list of the 'brightest sparks of the waste industry' was recently announced and I managed to sneak in there at number 76, which was pretty exciting.  Thanks to Karen Cannard for sharing this picture on Twitter!

There were some familiar faces in the list who I want to say a massive congratulations to:

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who came first (after his recent War on Waste TV shows), Rachelle Strauss of My Zero Waste and Zero Waste Week who came fourth. Karen Cannard of the Rubbish Diet who came 15th, Cat Fletcher (Freegle founder) came 17th and Caroline Lucas - Green MP for Brighton Pavillion came 25th  - well done to all you guys for all your fantastic rubbish reduction activities!  

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Monday, 18 January 2016

How I saved over £500 by avoiding waste on an overseas trip!

I was recently taken away on holiday with my family by my lovely parents. I felt slightly guilty about the whole thing as this is the first time I have flown anywhere since I started my blog. I love travelling though and although I've been happy to have a few years break from flying, the offer of some winter sunshine and a change of scenery was just too good to turn down. Plus there was lots I could still do to save money and be eco-friendly.
  1. Secondhand clothes shopping - during the summer I looked out for useful clothes for the holiday for the kids and myself in charity shops. The charity shops tend to put out clothes that are seasonal, so if I waited until before the holiday I might not have found what I was looking for! There is a Scope charity shop near me that sells everything for £1 and I bought a few t-shirts there (£5) for me. I bought a couple of pairs of swimming trunks for the kids in a different shop (another £2). It wasn't all eco - I bought some croc-a-likes for me and the kids (£9) and a swimming costume (£3) for me in the end of season sales. I spent £19 in total.
  2. Clothes not shopping! My mum gave me a couple of dresses and a handbag of hers that she didn't want any more. The dresses were too long for me so I shortened them. I also chopped the bottom halves off some of the kids trousers that had holes in the knees to make shorts. I mended a pair of flip flops with superglue (it wasn't a brilliant mend, but did the job for a bit) and replaced a missing button on a skirt. 1 handbag perfect to take on holiday, 2 dresses, 2 pairs of shorts, one mended skirt and a pair of flip flops not purchased meant money saved! I also had some shorts to take on holiday that had been given to me by a friend a couple of years ago.
  3. No food waste! I made sure I used up the food in my fridge and on my fruit bowl. I had cream, milk, yogurt, cheese, a very ripe avocado, a couple of ripe kiwis, butternut squash, beetroot and various odds and ends of vegetables to use up. I made:
    1. Soup (using up vegetables and cream - I made 6 servings) and then froze it.
    2. Beetroot and butternut casserole (it was inspired by this recipe here, but I used cooked cubes of beetroot instead of chickpeas and thyme from my garden instead of tarragon. I also just used the cream I had and replaced the leeks with onions). I froze 3 servings of it in containers, had one and it was delicious! It was also lovely to have some ready made meals to come back to!
    3. Kiwi avocado sorbet - you have to try this! It tastes so good - mash and mix overripe kiwi and over ripe avocado together and freeze. It does turn into a solid lump and it is easier to use an ice cube tray so you can just take some of it out to partially defrost at a time. I made 3 servings of this.
    4. I froze the milk in an ice cube tray, so that we could have milk available for a cup of tea when we got home and so the milk didn't go to waste.
    5. I also froze the yogurt with the idea that I could use it as a starter for my next batch when I got home.
    6. We ate or froze all the other food.
  4. Luggage - we got given luggage as a wedding gift a long time ago and it is still going strong. We have 4 suitcase - 2 large ones, a smaller one and an even smaller one. We had enough luggage allowance to take 4 big ones with us, but we decided to use the luggage we had and go way under our allowance. The kids already had bags that were perfect for hand luggage that had come from charity shops.
  5. Books - I got several books out the library for myself and the kids before we went. I was even organised enough to suggest the library bought a book and reserve it for when it did. I was really pleased that it came in before I went on holiday! The book was Beth Terry's Plastic Free - a book I have been meaning to read for a while! 
  6. The hotel we were going to had wifi and we had mobile phones so I decided if we wanted to listen to music we could find it on YouTube.
  7. Zero waste on the plane - we flew on a budget airline and food wasn't included in the plane fare, so it was easy to take packed lunch with us. I took empty reusable water bottles through security and bought the largest bottles of water I could find on the other side to fill them up with and to save us buying small bottles on the plane. I could have asked a cafe to fill them up or looked for a water fountain, but I have a chlorine intolerance, so decided to buy bottled water. We saved money on our lunch and although we did buy some crackers and crisps, there was less waste than there could have been. 
  8. We didn't buy any souvenirs while we were there, but we did save small empty jam jars from breakfast, washed them out and brought them home! I find little jam jars so useful for putting things like half a clove of garlic in or some camomile flowers (means I can carry my home grown camomile tea around with me - read more here.)
  9. While we were there we made packed lunches instead of eating lunches out, which saved us a lot of money.
  10. We bought massive 5 litre bottles of water while we were there (even the locals don't drink the tap water) and kept decanting it into our reusable bottles. It was much cheaper than buying smaller bottles from the hotel and saved lots of little plastic bottles of water being chucked away.
Feeling inspired after reading Beth Terry's book, I asked questions about what the hotel does to reduce waste and ended up having a meeting with the hotels head chef. I don't know how he felt about my suggestions to get a composter and my ideas for how they could waste less food, but he did take them time to meet with me and he said he would raise the idea of composting food waste, so hopefully something positive will come of it!

I don't know exactly how much money I avoided spending but I would estimate it over £500! £100 or more saved on clothes / bag / shoes bought secondhand/ in the sales/ handed down/ mended, £30 on food not wasted, £50 worth of books taken out the library, if we bought 2 new suitcases for the kids - £80, lunches out every day £200, no music bought or downloaded - £10,  Large bottles of water from supermarket instead of extortionately priced small bottles at the hotel - £50! Plus If I wanted to buy similar mini jam jars they can be bought in packs of 12 for £4 online!

How do you save money and avoid waste on holiday?

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Friday, 1 January 2016

Reflections on 2015 and thanks!

I have lots of ideas about what I want to do in 2016, but before I get started on them I want to look back and reflect on 2015 a bit. 

First of all I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped me on the blog this year. 

  1. My husband - he has reviewed blog posts, written a few of his own, helped to make technical changes to the site and is currently working on redesigning the site for me (all will be revealed when I can decide on a colour scheme :)).  He has also supported my family throughout the year financially as this is my 3rd year since I left my job and I have not really brought very much money in at all. He is a total superstar!
  2. My parents - always at the end of the phone to provide advice and guidance especially if it has anything to do with food e.g. cooking, freezing, rescuing etc (my mum) or money (my dad)
  3. Molly from Molly Seybold Photography (find her site here here) - a good friend, who took some really lovely pictures of me to use on my social media accounts and blog. She is such a talented and fun photographer - I highly recommend her services!
  4. Gordon from Tell Your Story Better (find his site here) - another good friend. He is very approachable and easy to talk to and it has been so helpful to meet up with him from time to time to talk about the blog. He has helped me look at it from different angles and given me new ideas about how to spread the blog's message.
  5. All you guys - I want to say a massive thank you to my readers for reading, commenting, sharing and interacting with it in some way. I really appreciate you taking the time to read this blog - thanks so much!

Blogging would not be the same without other blogs to read and bloggers to chat to.  There are loads of great blogs out there, but I just want to give a shout out to these bloggers, whose blogs I have enjoyed during 2015!

Pip who is on a mission to reduce waste at home and at work writes A Refuge for Daffodils
Dawn writes murder mystery books as well as her blog Bean on an Adventure where she writes about living sustainably
Jenni is currently living with her parents and working hard to save up a deposit for her first home. Her blog Can't Swing a Cat is full of thrifty tips!
Meg writes Mrs M's Curiosity Cabinet and I love the fact that she has lived by wartime clothing rations for nearly 3 years!  
Jen writes My Make Do and Mend Life, such a great blog! Jen shares her journey of trying to avoid buying new things in an informative and genuine way.
Rachelle writes My Zero Waste and also runs Zero Waste Week which has inspired me loads (and a large amount of other people) year on year! 
Kate from Plastic is Rubbish shares loads of useful info on how and why to avoid plastic. There aren't many people in the UK talking about going plastic free, and it's so great that Kate keeps this really important issue on the agenda!
Kathryn of Secondhand Tales lives and loves the secondhand life and shares how great it is with her readers!
Ricky a.k.a. Skint Dad is on a journey to get out of debt.
The Firestarter wants to achieve financial independence so that he can retire early and leave the rat race.
Lindsay writes the blog Treading My Own Path and also published That's a Wrap - an e-book about going plastic free (another book on my reading list!)
Westy of Westy Writes has some great tips on going plastic free, zero waste and supermarket free.
Amandine just started up Zero Waste London and I have been enjoying it loads so far! 

What did I get up to in 2015?

I had some bright ideas for my blog this year some that went well and others not so much! I started out by setting myself the challenge to make £10,000 in a year through the sharing economy but step by step I went off the whole idea of the sharing economy and gave up the challenge.  Later on in the year though I decided to start up the Sustainable Book club (all the details can be found here), I love reading and it has been great to have people to chat to about the books. 

After quitting my challenge for the year, I have just been focusing on living the eco-thrifty life and decided not to put myself under any pressure to do any more challenges. I'm still thinking about what I want to do next year as it might be time for another challenge or it might not :) but I like the idea of having some kind of theme/ something to work towards. I think it needs to be money focussed again as we either need to spend less or make some more money!

I hope you all had a great 2015 and I wish you all a wonderful 2016, filled with peace, love, health and happiness - happy new year!

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