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Archive for the ‘around the home’ Category

Burt's Bees

Photo from Re-Nest

Much of the brands mentioned in this article are American brands, though we’re familiar with a few, like Burt’s Bees. But the same question is posed – would you continue to buy your favourite eco product if it was owned by a multinational known to flout environmental issues?

I guess multinational or not, most businesses diversify to survive. There is a growing market for eco products. And big companies want a share of that market. yes, I’d still buy to tell them that this is what I want as a consumer. In a sense, that is what Guui is about – Responsible consumerism. You vote with your money. You buy what is good for you and the environment.

But, be vigilant. Continue to be informed. There isn’t a lot of regulations as to what constitutes a green product. Be careful of greenwashing.

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Just thought I share this great site with you1001 uses for vinegar

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Autumn

I think I’m going to start wearing gloves tomorrow. My hands were frozen this morning as I trekked to work.

Last week had seen the weather turned quite warm for this time of the year. But winter is fast approaching, and at home we have been resisting turning on the heat in spite of some cold spells.

We’ve come across some great blogs sharing tips on how to keep warm without turning the heat up. 

Get clicking, we’ve got the tips from the Apartment Therapy Re-Nest site  which ran 2 helpful articles – 30 Ways to Live and Stay Green in a Cold and Frozen Climate and 14 Ways To Keep Warm Without Turning the Heat On or Up. We’ve thrown in also a few of our own ideas. So here some things we’re keeping in mind,

  • warm colours inside the home can make a difference
  • get cosy on the feet with rugs
  • get started on those winter warmer food and drinks – stews and baked goodies warms up the kitchen and the home, and of course a cup of good old tea, coffee or hot cocoa, and wrap your fingers around the mug.
  • when the sun is out outside, let the sunshine in.
  • use layers in your beddings. and layers on you as well – wear a hat. wear socks. put a hot water bottle under the sheets with you. or just snuggle up with someone.
  • cleaning is good exercise, keeps you warm too. keep moving around.
  • block drafts from doors or windows. we’re putting cling film on our drafty windows and drawing the curtains closed at night. if you can, put curtains over your doors.
  • close the doors on each rooms, and heat only rooms you’re using. Better yet, make the kids do their homework and your partner to drag the laptop on the dining table whilst you cook. Warm up the family together.
  • warm up some beanbags to keep hands warm. Use around the house or when you’re out and about.

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Buy-one-get-one-free offers by supermarkets are recently highlighted by the government as one of the main causes of the billions worth of food thrown away each year in the UK.

And there have been talks of banning this kind of offers.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that BOGOFs are meant to get rid of the supermarket’s/manufacturers’ extra stock as opposed to help consumers save. But they can be a godsend for those who count the pennies.

I don’t think the government should have the right to dictate to companies what marketing strategies they take to entice customers.

But it does take a little more discipline from us the consumers. Because it really isn’t a great deal if we end up not using what we buy. BOGOFs are great for food staples – oil, pasta, toilet rolls, toiletries. But in buying perishable food, you have to put a little more thought into it – can you freeze it? can you work it into your menu for the week?   

But we all have been guilty of buying too much. And I am still trying to find ways to make sure that we use up the food in the fridge before they go off.

The problem in our household is that we don’t plan our meals. We usually get inspiration on what to cook based from what is in the fridge. And lazy days that we eat out unplanned can mean that the chicken left defrosting in the fridge can go off. And stressful days at work can mean the cheese sandwich goes uneaten and inedible by the time we get home.

I’ve eaten my share of less than fresh food just because I couldn’t get myself to throw it away. Or left my hands yellowed trying to juice all the oranges still sitting in the counter after more than a week.

Here are some tips I will try to do myself:

  • citrus fruits. juice them.
  • other soft fruits. make a smoothie out of them.
  • apples. make apple sauce. lovely with pork chops, sausages. or topping for your cereals.
  • stale bread. no don’t feed the wildlife with them. make bread crumbs. if it’s not furry yet, toast them.
  • leftover vegetables. add chicken to make chicken and vegetable soup.
  • potatoes. use in soups. make mashed potatoes. make potato omelettes. potato cakes.
  • and of course if you have compost, throw inedible food in.

And this site will prove really useful for ideas on what to do with your leftovers. They’ve got an index there of ingredients that need using up, and it shows you a range of recipes using that.

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[image swiped from Michael’s Luffas]

loofah, luffa, lufah. It goes by a lot of spellings, which I think are all correct. If you haven’t seen one look here.

Normally you use it to scrub yourself in the shower. I’ve ran across one in a health shop named Michael’s Original Luffa Washing-Up Scouring pad. And I thought, what a brilliant idea!

Not much packaging, just a cardboard label around it. With a string so you can hang it to dry.

Let me share with you what the label contains…

In the Philippines, people wash their dishes using a luffa instead of a plastic scourer. Luffas are durable, effective, and far better for the environment as they biodegrade when worn out.
Michael’s Original Luffa Scouring Pad’s[sic] are ethically and sustainably grown on his family farm in the Philippines (NB luffas are plants grown on land).
Bought directly from the farm at a fair price, your purchase supports less privileged families and prevents environmental degradation.
Michael’s Luffas are durable and tough enough for all your washing up and surfaces (soak baked on food first). They are gentle enough for cleaning non-stick surfaces, fruit and vegetables (and also your body).
Michael’s Luffas are clean and hygienic. Rinse and air dry by hanging them up or wash them in the dish/clothes washer. Luffas are biodegradable, so after their natural life, feed your compost or wormery with them, not the land fill.

If everyone used Michael’s Original scouring Luffas instead of plastic scourers, it is estimated we would avoid the equivalent of 150 double-decker buses of non-biodegradable landfill a year.
Luffas are a natural product hence size and shape may vary.

My verdict?

I’ve used them right away as I was looking to replace my used up scourer. A bit hard to use as they tend to be quite unflexible when used for the first time. I would recommend soaking it up in water first. It did scratch my nails. And scratched up the non-stick pans as I probably scrubbed up too hard. Didn’t work as well as my stainless steel scourers on tough baked on dirt (yes, I soaked them first, sometimes overnight). And found it quite unwieldy – couldn’t scrub at the bottom of plates and mug handles and in between the fork tines.

Maybe it takes getting used to. I still have it hanging there by the sink and alternate between using that and the normal scourer which I still need if I don’t want to scratch my pans (or maybe i shouldn’t be using non-sticks anyway). But I still think it is worth trying it out though it might not be for everyone.

So let me know if you love it or hate it? I think I’m somewhere in between. I so much want to love it, but I just can’t.

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We’ve been doing this for years, yet only though about blogging about it just now.

We’ve never really liked paper. But we like keeping records. of everything. bills. mortgage statements. bank statements. insurance certificates. Face it, there is a lot of records you need to keep these days with the thousand-and-one insurances we have to cover just about everything. So we scan, and print to PDF.

It’s so much easier to organise. You have folders in your computer instead of the shelves and shelves of storage. not to mention the filing folders and boxes you have to buy as well.

When you need to keep a record of something you received online, print to PDF, instead of printing on paper. These days, I’ve been PDFing my travel itineraries and maps whenever we’re on holiday and bring a PDF reader with me.

So google it up, there’s lots of free print to PDF software out there you can use for your Macs or PCs.

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Call me lazy. I used to wash my glasses and mugs after each use. And I find myself in front of the sink for a good part of the day. I soon got tired of that.
Call me icky. I now use the same mug for my coffee and tea and water and juice. Just a little swish of hot or tap water and it’s ready for the next beverage.
Now I think people who can’t stand using the same glass for different beverages are such *snobs*. Maybe they need to stand in front of a sinkful of dirty dishes for them to realise it is a lot of work to do the washing up. Not to mention a lot of wasted water and polluting soap.
So be lazy and save the environment at the same time.

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