How was your week? The kids broke up for the summer on Friday and, beforehand, I was really busy finishing off my end of school year jobs list. However I did manage to find some time to myself and go on a very successful Thrifty Finds shopping trip:
- I bought a few more items on my summer holidays clothes list: a pair of navy shorts and khaki vest top for just £1.99 each from the British Heart Foundation shop; this brand new blue dress for £8.49 from the same shop:
I think I will wear this to work with leggings, as well as taking on holiday.
I also fell in love with this Henry Holland/Debenhams print dress, which was £8.50 from the Julian House shop:
You know when you see something on a rail and you have to have it? This was how I felt about this dress. Every so often on my secondhand shopping trips I get a real emotional response to an item of clothing and am reminded why I love charity shopping: amidst all the ill fitting Primark and Tesco cast offs there will be a unique outfit that I know no one else will be wearing. What I love about this dress is the style (Tea Dress, just above the knee so perfect for holidays), and the 80s style pattern: geometric blocks and – for some reason – horses and carriages!
2. As well as my successful clothing haul I also found some activity books for the kids to take on holiday. I’m not a big fan of comic books (especially when they have plastic tat stuck to the covers). I often find unused activity books in charity shops which are a cheaper alternative.
3.The children broke up from school on Friday and I completely failed at bringing in any Thank You presents. Instead, the Teachers and Teaching Assistants received personalised thank you cards from the girls.
4. My husband and I went on a weekend trip to London to catch up with old university friends. It wasn’t particularly cheap but I did reduce our train fare costs by buying single, instead of return tickets.
5. I also took my trusty zero waste essentials with me – reusable coffee cup and water bottle. However, once more I failed on the plastic straw front. I didn’t even think to ask for ‘no straw’ when ordering a glass of lemonade at a restaurant. However I did refuse their disposable handwipes.
We are definitely on countdown to the end of term and I have a lot of Thrifty Finds purchases to make this coming week.
Meanwhile, last week’s Thrifty Finds included:
- I found a couple of items on my holiday clothes list:
The white shirt cost £10 from the Save the Children store in Bath. Although it is slightly pricey it was in excellent condition and just what I had been looking for. Over the years I have picked up a couple of cheesecloth shirts from charity shops. The fabric is just so lovely for wearing over tops in the summer. Despite breaking my Golden Rule of never taking anything WHITE on holiday (it’s a pain to keep clean and also to wash) it will be going in my holiday suitcase.
I also picked up the blue playsuit from the same store for £7. I do like it, and it will be great to wear with swimwear on holiday. However I’m beginning to wonder if it is a little too small…
Anyway, two things ticked off the list!
2. This past week – and this coming one – are really busy. I am home alone with the kids, and it’s drawing toward the end of term with all the concerts, shows, presents etc to arrange. So I have spent some time writing out a schedule so that I can be organised, and know where I need to be and when. I also cancelled a couple of appointments at the weekend just so I could take a breath……
3. Which brings me to the thorny subject of Teacher’s Thank Yous. I have written here and here, both on my attempt to produce affordable gifts – and to also step off the conveyor belt of the End of School Year. This year I, once again, purchased some personalised thank you cards for the girls to write their own messages in.
4. My daughter spent the week taking part in an amazing work experience opportunity at The Egg Theatre in Bath; a purpose built children’s theatre adjacent to the Theatre Royal. She had a wonderful week: working with other students to produce their own show, and learning all about budgets, behind the scenes work, costume buying, marketing etc. She applied for this work experience on her own and I am very proud of the initiative she used. We also got to watch the show at the end of the week for just £4 each. The entire week was fully funded as well and has really inspire her to pursue a career in the arts.
5. On Saturday we had one of the best events of the year in our village! For the second year running The Festival on the Hill was held in three venues and featured some brilliant local bands. Tickets were only £10 each. I also got to use my reusable plastic pint glass for all my drinks 🙂
How was your week? Did you make any thrifty purchases, donate anything or choose not to buy?
This past week I have been raiding the library, meal planning and making my own cat deterrent spray for the garden!
- Following our huge monthly supermarket delivery I have tried to stick to a meal plan, and reduce waste. This has had mixed results – due to last minute family plans we had to swap meals around. I also threw away a few items (I’m going to start to keep track of what I actually put in the bin as I underestimate our food waste)
- I popped into the library on my lunch break and picked up a few parenting books. The ‘Simplicity Parenting’ book has been on my wish list for ages.
3. I also made my own cat deterrent spray for the garden! My husband has been doing some serious landscaping in the garden and the freshly dug soil has created a lot of interest from the local felines. I googled ways to get rid of cats from your garden and, apparently, a citronella and water spray is good. So I have covered the soil with loads of this mixture, in the hope to deter them from using our flower beds!
4. We go on holiday in six weeks’ time and I am trying to get organised about budgets and packing. I have started to create a clothing list for myself: most of which I plan to get from second hand shops. You may remember that last week I also started my hunt for second-hand books to take on hols.
5. I’ve also started to investigate the best way to spend money overseas. We are going to France and, as it’s our first time since the Brexit vote and drop in exchange rate, I am bracing myself for a more expensive trip. I’ve found the Money Saving Expert website really useful for tips like whether to buy currency in advance or use credit cards/pre-loaded money cards. I’ve also been researching where we are staying, and our journeys so that we can budget for excursions, petrol and tolls (for the first time in four years we are driving, rather than taking the train).
And finally it’s the start of Plastic Free July. Although I’m not taking part in it this year (see my post here from 2014) I’m hoping to keep to many of the plastic free habits I have got into over the past few years. (Although I failed at my first hurdle on Saturday night when I went to a party and used a disposable pint glass!) Take a look at their website and see if there’s anything you can do – or are already doing – to reduce plastic waste.
I realise it’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted my Thrifty Finds 😦
Things have been busy here with kids off school and my other half is standing as a candidate in Thursday’s election (post to follow).
So, apologies for the lack of posting. I hope you’ve still been able to secure some Thrifty Finds, or looked at different ways of stepping off the consumer treadmill for a while.
- Re Game of Thrones. We finished Series Five via the library. Then my husband got a free subscription to NowTV with his phone. So, we are now working our way through Series Six….
- I’ve been getting into a new habit of making more use of the health food/bulk store in Bath. I’ve been visiting Harvest on Walcot Street to get filled up with washing up liquid (my bus stop is outside so I can do it on my way home)
- I also try to make use of the health food store in Corsham, Green Ginger. I got very excited when I spotted these washing up brush and scourers – both made from recycled materials. You can buy replacement heads for the brush as well.
4. The big news is that I got a new (to me) mobile phone! My first ever smartphone (yes I know I’m rather slow!). My husband had traded in his old mobile and, with that money, I was able to buy a second-hand iphone 5 from the Games Exchange shop in Bath. I also signed up to a deal on ee which has given me some money back to my Qudico account.
5. Finally, we went camping over the Bank Holiday. Every year we camp with my school friends, and their children, in the New Forest. The weekend is a great opportunity to catch up with good friends, let the children run wild and enjoy some good food (and drink). Apart from camping fees it’s low cost as we all bring food to share. We barely leave the campsite as well – instead we just talk and go for walks.
What did you do over the Bank Holiday weekend? Hope the weather stayed dry for you!
This past week we continued to eat our way through the once a month delivery of food. To top up supplies I did:
- Change my regular veg box order from medium boxes of veg and fruit to just one small veg box (no potatoes). Some weeks I do really well with my veg box but other weeks some of the stuff can end up in the compost, which I know is a complete waste of food and money. I’m trying to be better and only order when I really need it, and change the order depending on what we need.
2. With this in mind, I made sure I used up most items within a few days, even if we didn’t eat them. I roasted some of the tomatoes and courgettes, to make a pasta sauce later in the week. I also tried my hand at wild garlic pesto (stored in an old Nutella jar):
Wow! Normally I add the wild garlic to a little salad or soup a little half heartedly – and then end up composting the rest.But this recipe really worked to help extend its shelf life. Although I added a couple of spoonfuls to some pasta, the taste was a bit TOO strong (although it would have kept vampires at bay!). But, I have kept it stored in the fridge and am now using it as a replacement for garlic cloves in recipes, adding a teaspoon at a time to dishes.
3. On the food front I also topped up the olive oil in my cupboard as I ran out earlier in the week and hadn’t ordered a replacement. My local Holland and Barret store has a large oil refill station. You buy the glass bottles, fill them with oil and then pay. Next time you return to the shop, you just refill the glass bottle and pay only for the oil. I love that mainstream stores are now offering zero waste products and services. When I saw the oil and sesame oil reduced I had to buy it. Once I’ve used these bottles I can keep returning to the store to fill up, thus encouraging repeat custom.
4. My daughter helped to collect the eggs from the school hens and came home with some beautiful eggs on the last day of term – perfect timing for Easter!
5. On Saturday night we went to a fundraiser for Alzheimers Society. We took part in a quiz, enjoyed a ploughmans meal and bought a few raffle tickets. We ended up winning a Ghostbusters 1 & 2 dvd plus big bag of popcorn – perfect evening entertainment for the school holidays!
Oh the world of Zero Waste/Plastic Free can be a beautiful one: full of gorgeous waste -free interiors and kitchen shelves stocked with glass jars holding package-free food. But, even the most photogenic blogs reveal a serious side to them. Those Zero Waste bloggers that I follow are working very hard to reduce their impact on the environment. Whether it’s avoiding all packaging and taking only glass jars and canvas bags to the store; reducing cosmetics to a bare minimum, or refusing all things plastic, their blogs carry a serious message and call to action. Here is a selection of my favourites:
Bea Johnson is author of ‘Zero Waste Home’. Her book (and blog) is full of practical tips on how to eliminate waste in your house. For example she goes shopping with bags and glass jars and doesn’t accept any packaging. Being French (although living in California), she also has an amazing minimalist wardrobe, and wears only home-made and packaging free cosmetics. An online tour of her home also shows that she practices what she preaches:
Blogger Polythene Pam is passionate about plastic – and avoiding it. The British blogger behind Plastic is Rubbish went plastic free in 2006 and hasn’t looked back. Her blog is packed with useful information and campaigns. She also has a very comprehensive directory of where to purchase non-plastic items and how to avoid packaging.
On the other side of the world Lindsay Miles writes the blog Treading my Own Path and is author of e-book ‘That’s A Wrap – the eGuide for Plastic-Free Living’. Lindsay takes some beautiful photographs and it’s worth following her Instagram account here too For a snapshot of ‘a day in the life’ try this blog post here.
I really like the Zero Waste Chef, Anne Marie Bonneau. She subscribes to a packaging-free life and cooks without waste, yet she does it in a very human way. She has a tiny kitchen (see the post here) and admits when she’s made mistakes. She also writes a lot about fermentation and runs webinars.
Lauren Singer has been living trash free for four years and is one of the best known zero waste campaigners (along with Bea Johnson and Beth Terry from myplasticfreelife). She lives in New York and, okay, is one of those bloggers who has a photogenic life. But she is also very serious about her lifestyle choices, runs a small company selling organic, vegan cleaning products and has a host of zero waste tutorials on her youtube channel.
I also want to make a special mention for two blogging friends, Jen at mymakedoandmendlife and Zoe at ecothriftyliving. While they blog on general environmental matters their approach to living waste free and lightly are inspirational. And I must also mention Rae Strauss, who runs Zero Waste Week (first week of September) and is always full of tips on how to reduce the waste in your home.
And if you fancy sharing your own plastic-free tips and images join in with #plasticfreetuesday every week on twitter and instagram