Eco Mum

Being Eco – one step at a time

We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly. – Anne Marie Bonneau aka The Zero Waste Chef

This is one of my favourite quotes when it comes to trying to be eco-friendly. Its small steps, done one at a time; eco-friendly living can be intimidating, and think a lot of people can be put off by that, so don’t make the effort. I think it’s really important just to realise that every step you do make, is a step forward.

I’m writing this blog to help others understand simple and cost effective ways to help you ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’. I think people think plastic is ‘the enemy, and long term it’s one of the enemies, but a plastic item you will reuse time after time is a keeper- so many people seem to be ‘disposing’ of plastic, to buy a ‘plastic free alternative’ without realising that’s the problem – stop wasting, and stop buying stuff you don’t need.

I’m not perfect, I’m far from it- this blog isn’t coming from a righteous position! I can’t afford to, have time to, or truly want to do all things that being an true ‘eco-warrior’ involves. I drive a diesel- although I’d love a hybrid or electric car, we still use disposable nappies (although I hate the waste we produce) as I cannot find any time in my life to do more washing, and I’m a pescatarian not vegan, nor do I want to be. Oh and I best say; otherwise they’ll be a comment from my husband, my worst habit is leaving the lights on!

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” —Jane Goodall

Here’s some simple, cost saving or cost effective ways of reducing your impact on the earth.

Reduce:

• Do you really need this??? Don’t need it don’t buy it.

  • Reduce waste by using reusables instead! My faves are below
  • Make your own cleaning products, or buy refillable/eco options

• Buy in bulk. Even if you buy items in plastic buy the bigger bottle/bags etc. it’ll be less plastic in the long run. I buy the giant packs of dishwasher tabs, washing capsules etc.

• Avoid tiny, travel sized bottles- more plastic, more waste. If you travel, then get reusable travel size kits and fill up with you at home products.

• Don’t waste food; buy less (don’t buy multipack plastic wrapped veg, buy loose instead), freeze left overs or use the Olio app to giveaway unwanted food insert link

Reuse:

• Reuse your plastic bottles and get refills where possible, lots of products have refills which you can get in supermarkets- hand wash and washing up liquid are common; and means less plastic waste overall.

• Hand down, sell on or do swaps. Clothes, kids toys and household appliances generally get disposed of before their life is over; donate to charity shops, friends, use random acts of kindness groups on facebook, use *Thrift to sell on your clothes, sell your kids stuff at preloved sales or have swap parties with your friends.

• Fix fix fix; fix it don’t chuck it. Not skilled to fix it yourself, do a quick search and you’ll probably find local fixer cafes.

• Hoard what you’d normally waste if it can be reused; I wash and keep any glass or plastic jars and zippy bags. And use it to organise my food cupboards, craft cupboards and take to refill revolution at *Harborough Eco Village

• Hoard what you’d normally waste if it can be used for craft activities; (great if you have kids or can be donated to childminders/nurseries)loo roll inserts, packaging from parcels (shredded paper/bubble wrap/ polystyrene.

*links below

Recycle:

Do your research and find out what you can recycle locally. Think beyond your refuse collection or local tip (but obviously use these too)

• Some opticians can recycle you contact lens packaging

• Some shops offer recycling for crisp packets, squeezy pouch packaging, plastic bags.

• Use your local free-cycle page- you’ll find allsorts

‘Be part of the solution, not part of the pollution.’ – Unknown
When to buy???
When there are good plastic free or reusable items you will actually use.
    Everyone needs a nice water bottle I like klean canteen, chillys and life factory again Harborough eco village have a great range .
    If you buy a lot of coffee/tea then grab a reusable hot drinks cup – I find starbucks have the best leak proof ones.
    Stop buying kitchen roll and get reusable washable ones instead from Avocado handmade
    I do use disposable baby wipes, but only when out the house- in home we have two sets of cheeky wipes one for bums and one for hands/faces
    Make packed lunches or like picnics; grab some reusable sandwich wraps, snack bags etc. my faves are planet picnic and keep leaf available from Harborough eco village
    Period products- yes I’m going there! I love my organicup, I’ve also used a moon cup before (but lost it- somewhere in the house), honestly give them a couple of months and you won’t look back. Don’t fancy it? Why not try reusable/washable period pant or pads.
  • If it’s preloved or ethically/eco-friendly made:

    • I feel at my most smug when I’ve picked up some great clothes from a charity shop, Facebook marketplace or preloved shop. If you’re local to Market Harborough you’ve gotta try The attic, little raine or a good mooch of the charity shops
      I love Thrift + to sell and buy- when selling on thrift you can either use your credit to buy preloved clothes and accessories OR for John Lewis vouchers. You also get to choose a charity to donate some of the taking too.
      Buy eco friendly toys: my favourite are tender leaf or le toy van from The growing tree shop (use ‘ivfninja’ for discount) , Lanka kade from westlodge farm shop, plan toys or petit collage from Kidly.
      Buy well, buy once- don’t go for cheap trends. I try to buy investment buys; I’d rather buy one item that will last for years at £100 than 6 items for the same price that won’t last.
      Mooch a car boot; I hate buying plastic toys for Dorothea, but shes a toddler and loves them- I’ve bought pretty much all our Duplo from the car boot and love a mooch when the weather is good

    We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. – Howard Zinn

    Last but not least; shop local, shop small, support local businesses/individuals and organisations that are making eco efforts. Join in on that local litter pic, buy from your local farm or green grocer, support your local eco-village or refill shop- mine is Harborough eco village and its wonderful.

    Family time

    National Trust

    Yes I admit it we are national trust geeks. I don’t know anything else you can pay £100 a year for and have so many fab days out.

    Here are some of our favourites- with pics of course.

    Trelissick is probably our number one. It has a little bit of everything. It’s always on our ‘must go to’ list when we head to Cornwall; which is at least twice a year- and even though we’ve been about 6 times now we still want to revisit.

    Trelissick Gardens- Cornwall

    Stunning gardens, gorgeous house (especially at Christmas), beautiful views, massive trees, fragrant flowers and bugs to search for!

    One side of the estate you have a glorious view out to Falmouth; if you’re really lucky you may have the little wooden folly all to yourself to admire the view. The wide open grassy areas mean there’s enough space to create your own picnic area and sun spot, but still be close enough to other families to make new friends.

    A very close second place- bonus points for us as it’s within an hour of home. This estate is huge with a massive variety of things to see and do.

    This one is perfect for families with little ones; as they have an awesome farm and play area. But grandparents won’t feel left out with the stunning country house and impeccably kept gardens.

    Plenty of picnic areas- and a shady garden with deck chairs to sip a cold wine while the kids make new friends and run around in the trees.

    There’s loads of areas suitable for cute photo opportunities; wagons, beautifully painted benches, expertly symmetrical topiary and shady woodlands full of places to explore.

    Another one down in Cornwall. A beautiful castle on an island. The novelty is that it’s a tidal island; get there at the right time and you can wander across (but hurry otherwise you may be paddling), it was also fun for Dorothea to experience the short boat ride home.

    This tea room is quaint with beamed ceilings and unbeatable views, the two shops are also a great browse.

    The trek up to the castle is not for the faint hearted (they provide hip carriers to help with the little ones)- and probably wouldn’t suit anyone with any degree of mobility issues. But if you can get up there the castle is certainly worth a look!

    If you can’t the gardens and small hamlet are pretty special to wander round. The little town of Marazion is also worth hanging around for; some pleasant independent shops and a nice play area and beach too.

    Do be aware; this is one where you have to pay extra for parking.

    Who can resist a national trust property with an epic maze!!!!

    This one is perfect for sunny photo opportunities; and would also keep the kids busy.

    This one made me feel like we’d been magically transported to a tropical country- the whole place was like a sun laden playground for the most awesome plants and flowers.

    Again this one is in Cornwall; but surely all these spectacular recommendations must make you want to visit the best southern county!

    Almost didn’t want to tell you about this one!

    We just want to keep it to ourselves; the most glorious, picturesque and isolated beach. We’ve been lucky enough to have it all to ourselves.

    Again this one is like being transported to a different country. Here we were making sand castles, splashing and stripping down to T-shirt’s in December!

    The waves and rocks are amazing for the little ones to see. Rock-pools are to be explored, sandcastles to be built and pebbles to be skimmed.

    Just above this beach hidden in the rocks is the infamous Minnack theatre- so Porthcurnoe is a cool place for a pre theatre picnic! (Or swim in the Summer)

    Also called ‘church cove’- this ones quite a drive out in the sticks but certainly worth it. Another gloriously isolated beach and church.

    This area seems to be bustling with wildlife; and there were plenty of birds for Dorothea to admire.

    A lovely little stream runs down to the water. We loved donning our wellies, having a good splash and practising our pebble skimming.

    There’s no facilities; so pack a picnic (or cream cake and flask of tea) and sit for a little while.

    Back near home now. We were lucky enough to find this one by accident at Halloween!

    The great thing about national trusts, is that the soon familiar leaf symbol pops up on all the road signs, and gives you a great few hours that you were not expecting!

    Calke Abbey tends to have quite a lot of food fairs, which adds a little bit to your day out. The drive through the estate to the house is impressive- and must be at least a mile long!

    The gardens here are awesome; we were so impressed by the Halloween pumpkin display- and again there’s lots of spacious picnic areas, and great big trees to play hide and seek.

    Stowe is one of the most impressive of the national trusts! The architecture is outstanding and the grounds are huge.

    The massive archways as you approach set the scene well, for what is about to follow.

    This is certainly one you could spend the whole day at. Wandering around eager to see the next impressive monument or statue would impress anyone. Again great for picnics, picking daisies and off course making wishes by throwing pennies in the water.

    We’ve only been here once- but it’s stayed in our memories. A beautiful but very long and wising walk down to a stunning country house and pretty gardens.

    Yes another in Cornwall! I know, we are slightly obsessed!

    Now there’s very little at Lizard point! But the trip is worth it for the epic views and the isolated chance of seeing seals in the wild!

    Just look at the colour of the water!- yes it’s in England!

    There’s a cool little shop that sells, earrings, socks and glassworks too!

    Well I hope these ten have given you something to think about. What else can you get for a tenner a month???

    We are long-standing national trust geeks and proud! So I will be showing you more- as there’s loads of our favourites to explore more and photograph.

    NT web

    There’s a fab app too!