livelightlyuk


Leave a comment

Hello Again

Well, after a long break from blogging – 6 months – I’ve finally got enough time to myself to contribute some more thoughts…
In the time I’ve been away lots has happened: I have tried very hard not to aquire more stuff, ethically reduce the amount of stuff I have already, and to live as lightly as possible. But I have fallen off the wagon a bit and need to refocus.
I will be blogging over the next few days about each of my goals/interests and also introducing a couple of new things into the mix.
I’m using my work laptop just now so don’t have many photos available to make this post a bit prettier but I’ll have a browse now for something.

The Beach at Holkham, Norfolk - one of my favourite places.

The Beach at Holkham, Norfolk – one of my favourite places.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Living Lightly 2 – Bye Bye Plastic Bags

I have been trying to cut out using plastic bags – especially single use plastic bags for some time. Like many people, my intentions have been good but, from time to time, I still find myself accepting a bag when offered in a shop. Even when I am determined to say ‘no thanks’ I find myself saying ‘yes please’!

So, inspired by ‘Polythene Pam’ and her Plastic is Rubbish blog  I have decided that from now on I will NEVER use a free plastic, single use carrier bag or produce bag again. I will also avoid, as much as I possibly can, plastic packaging and other disposable plastic stuff.

I have bought some re-useable produce bags from Onya. They are made of a nylon mesh and are very light so loose fruit and veg can be put in them and weighed. They can be washed and reused 100s of times saving 100s of plastic bags from ending up in landfill.

I’ve also bought some PLA tubs and lids. These look like clear plastic deli pots but are made from corn starch and are compostable. I will use these for buying olives, houmous etc. as well as storing food in the fridge and in our packed lunches. They can be used a few times before they start to break down. I will use new ones for shopping so as to not freak out the deli counter people too much.

I’ve also bought some compostable kitchen caddy liners and bin liners. I will use these in place of a plastic bag for instance when buying fresh meat and fish as well as lining the bin. This will probably freak out the butcher/fish merchant but I’m sure they’ll get used to it.

The other investment I’ve made is in some sandwich wrap mats – wipeable, washable, reusable wrappers for sandwiches so I can stop using cling film.

Being technically backward, i haven’t managed to insert links to the products mentioned above so I’ve listed them below:

plasticisrubbish.com (very inspirational site – if i can be half as dedicated to ridding the world of plastic rubbish I’ll be chuffed!)

onyabags.co.uk (reuseable produce bags, sandwich wrapnmats etc.)

all-green.co.uk (compostable bags, bin liners, caddy liners)

vegware.com (compostable PET containers and other eco friendly catering/household supplies)

Plastics-bags

Look like jellyfish don’t they?


1 Comment

Living Lightly – Mobile Phone

Hello everybody.

This is the first of my living lightly posts. I am trying to find more sustainable, Eco-friendly ways of living.

The first thing I have been looking into involves reducing the impact of my mobile phone.

Phones on the Scrap Heap

Phones on the Scrap Heap

Firstly the mobile phone itself. I really hate the fact that it is so tempting to upgrade things like mobile phones whenever a new model comes out. Even if the old one is sent off for reuse/recycling, if it still works fine why get rid of it at all?  And I’m not convinced that the    phones don’t end up being sent to third world countries for breaking up where the dangerous elements are released without proper safeguards for the health of the workers or the environment. Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I will keep my current mobile phone for as long as it works and then research the best way to dispose of it and look into ‘green’ mobiles for the replacement.

 In the past it has always been that the battery stops holding a charge and, when I enquire about a replacement battery, that model is no longer made. Therefore a whole phone has to be discarded rather than just the battery. I find this extremely irresponsible on behalf of the   phone manufacturers and would be interested to hear if anyone knows of any companies who have a better environmental ethos.

 The other things I am now doing are trying to reduce the electrical power needed to keep my phone charged and extending the life of the battery and the phone itself.

I have changed the following settings on my phone to conserve power:

1. Turned down the brightness to its lowest level.

2. De-activated the scrolling photos wallpaper to a plain one.

3. Changed the ringtones to the factory installed ones rather than having downloaded music ones.

4. Switched off the vibrate and led light notifications.

5. Switched off the keystroke sound.

6. Set the screen timeout to the minimum.

7. When I’m somewhere I’m not allowed to use my phone I switch it off rather than just to silent.

8. I intend to clean my phone carefully inside and out from time to time. Apparently dust build-up can reduce battery life.

I will no longer leave it charging overnight, even if it still has quite a lot of power left in it. I will only charge it when it goes down to 10% unless I know I’m going to be unable to charge it when I might need it. (Hardly ever). Apparently this is better for the life off the battery than continually topping it up.

I will stop leaving the charger plugged in and switched on even when nothing is charging. 95% of the energy is still drawn from the supply even when nothing is plugged in!

I have also been looking into alternative technologies for charging up electronic devices. There are now solar powered, wind powered and wind up chargers. The best one I’ve seen is a Kinetic energy charger which gets it’s power from the movement of your body when walking, cycling or running! It’s a bit expensive though, so I might need to save up for it. My husband is a keen cyclist so it is tempting to attach something to him or his bike to store up his energy.

I need to do a bit more research into these devices and I will report my findings. If anyone has any experience of using these I’d love to hear from you. Also any other ideas about green mobile phone use would be very welcome too.

Next time I think I will tackle the thorny issue of plastic bags…..

 

 

 

Time to Observe

Leave a comment

I have been taking time out over the last few days to observe what is going on in my garden. I posted some photos of some of the selection of flowers I have available for my fussy honey bees, one of which I identified from a post by Fodrambler entitled “Great Mullein and the Mullein Moth”. I didn’t have Mullein moths on my plant but, when I went back to look at it, a quite impressive Longhorn Beetle was sitting there on one of the leaves so I took a photo of it and here it is…

Male Red Longhorn Beetle - Leptura Rubra

Male Red Longhorn Beetle – Leptura Rubra

Quite uncommon in the UK apparently only recorded in Breckland, Norfolk until fairly recently.

Uncommon or not, he is very welcome in my garden:)

This gallery contains 1 photo.


Leave a comment

FUSSY BEES

I think my bees may be quite fussy eaters… Before they arrived I planted them a lovely patch of wildflowers.

WILD FLOWER MEADOW

WILD FLOWER MEADOW

VERBASCUM

VERBASCUM

They have campion (red and white), ox-eye daisies, self-heal, verbascum, foxgloves, thistles, knapweed, teasels, woundwort, ragwort, red and white dead nettles, speedwell, hemp agrimony, forget me nots, etc

IMG_20140712_200634

TEASELS

OX EYE DAISIES

OX EYE DAISIES

SELF HEAL

SELF HEAL

Add to this all my carefully chosen garden plants: Lavender, fennel, origano, thyme, hyssop, bergamot, spirea, sage, crocosmia, nicotiana, oriental poppies, coneflowers, californian poppies, lithospermum, chives, petrovskia, cistus, red hot pokers, scabious, blanket flower, delphiniums, geraniums, sedum, astrantia, mint, buddleia, senecio, lambs ears, roses, lamium etc…

BERGAMOT

BERGAMOT

 

ROSE William Shakespeare

ROSE William Shakespeare

CROCOSMIA Lucifer

CROCOSMIA Lucifer

BLANKET FLOWER

BLANKET FLOWER

CAN'T REMEMBER?

CAN’T REMEMBER?

ASTRANTIA

ASTRANTIA

BUDDLEIA WITH RED ADMIRAL

BUDDLEIA WITH RED ADMIRAL

Not to mention all the weeds (wildflowers) that I have allowed to make themselves at home amongst my flower beds: feverfew, musk mallow, herb robert, lemon balm, dandelions, bindweed

FEVERFEW

FEVERFEW

HERB ROBERT

HERB ROBERT

MUSK MALLOW

MUSK MALLOW

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the hedgerows full of blackberry flowers, wild roses, honeysuckle, crab apple blossom, hawthorn and blackthorn – these last three have finished flowering by now as have most of the tree blossoms – willow, oak, beech, birch, alder and ash.

DOG ROSE

DOG ROSE

HAWTHORN

HAWTHORN

CRAB APPLES

CRAB APPLES

BLACKBERRIES

BLACKBERRIES

ALDER

ALDER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the only flowers I have observed my honey bees on in my garden are….buddleia and lambs ears. – especially the lambs ears.

BEE ON LAMBS' EARS (Stachys lanata)

BEE ON LAMBS’ EARS (Stachys lanata)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If anyone thinks this post is just an excuse to put up photos of lovely flowers you are absolutely right!


2 Comments

Lovely Evening in Norfolk

I have spent a lovely evening at home here in Norfolk, UK. I didn’t do anything special or different but it was an evening where I felt so happy and at ease and blessed by what I have.
The weather was nice, kind of sultry with a storm in the air as the dusk fell. The air is beginning to smell ‘harvesty’. That lovely high summer, grass mowings, cereal crops ripening, flowery sweet atmosphere.
I spent a bit of time wandering in my garden trying to photograph some bees and butterflies and just soaking up the contented feeling.
I think we should all try and stop from time to time and just take a few minutes to reflect on the good things in our life, stop worrying about the future and regretting the past and concentrate on how good right now actually is.


4 Comments

More Stuff Gone!

Yesterday my Husband finally got round to sorting out his clothes.

He has had 2 1/2 wardrobes, 9 drawers and 4 baskets full of stuff, about 70% of which he never wears. After the big clear out there is 2 wardrobes and 5 drawers in total. Also 2 of the 10 or so coats have gone. (still too many coats for one person in my opinion but there we are). The thing I’m most pleased with is the shoes. He has been holding onto several pairs of running shoes from years ago for sentimental reasons and he has now let them go.

I’ve loaded 4 bin bags into the car and tomorrow they will go to the local charity shops. I will share the stuff out between them as I feel guilty taking too much stuff into one shop for them to sort out. Guilt is a hobby of mine….

Anyway I can’t tell you how much lighter it makes me feel to be able to go to bed without piles of clothes which won’t fit into the wardrobes like leaning towers of Pisa looming over the bed!

Suffolk Reed Beds

Suffolk Reed Beds