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100 Days Out In And Around Selby, North Yorkshire

The summer holidays are almost here, and the need to fill the days and tire out the kids is almost upon us! This is a list of some of our favourite days out, along with a few places that have been recommended and are high on our to-visit list. The ones in bold are free or low cost, because everyone knows the summer holidays get expensive really quickly! It’s worth planning ahead and checking local radio stations websites such as Viking FM, Minster FM and Yorkshire Coast Radio for offers on entry to attractions. It’s also worth checking HotUKDeals and MyVoucherCodes for offers or voucher for bigger attractions.

Explore the woods

100 Family Days Out In And Around Selby, Yorkshire - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

1 – Climb some trees at Brayton Barff
2 – Collect twigs & leaves to make wild art at Hambleton Hough
3 – Hunt for bugs at Bishop wood

100 Family Days Out In And Around Selby, Yorkshire - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }
Go on an adventure walk

4 – Become a Selby Trails Young Explorer  
5 – Look out for rabbits at Barlow Common
6 – Watch out for the cows at Skipwith common
7 – Admire the sculptures at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
8 – Complete the “Room on the Broom” Adventure Trail at Anglers Country Park, Wakefield
9 – Don your wellies and join the Welly Walk along the banks of the river Wharfe at Bolton Abbey, Skipton
10 – Explore Roundhay Park, Leeds (and don’t forget to visit Tropical World too, see below)
11 – Explore the gardens at parkland at Golden Acre Park, Leeds

Visit the Library

100 Family Days Out In And Around Selby, Yorkshire - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

12 – Take on the ‘Mischief Makers” Reading Challenge

Theme Parks & Themed Days Out

100 Family Days Out In And Around Selby, Yorkshire - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

13 – Ride the Hero and enjoy the zoo at Flamingo Land
14 – Explore the rides at Sundown Adventureland
15 – Ride in a digger at Diggerland Castleford
16 – Brave the unknown at Forbidden Corner, Leyburn
17 – Have an a-mazing-ing day at York Maze
18 – Visit The York Dungeons, and try not to scream!
19 – Discover archaeology at the Jorvik DIG, York

Go for a swim

20 – Take on the total-wipeout inflatable obstacle course at Goole Leisure Centre
21 – Take on the gauntlet inflatable Selby Leisure Centre
22 – Make a splash in the lagoons at Doncaster Dome
23 – Ride the Calypso Cove flumes at Barnsley Metrodome

Visit a Museum

100 Family Days Out In And Around Selby, Yorkshire - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

24 – Join in the BIG summer festival at Eureka, Halifax
25 – Check out the treasure hunters app at National Railway Museum, York
26 – Create some Viking art at Yorkshire Museum Of Farming, Murton Park, York
27 – Explore 400 years of fashion in the “Shaping the body” exhibition at Castle Museum, York
28 – Enjoy the outstanding views from Clifford’s Tower, York
29 – Transport yourself back to wartime at Eden Camp, Malton
30 – Rediscover our prehistoric predecessors in Jurassic World at Yorkshire Museum, York
31 – Witness the return of the Vikings at Jorvik Viking Center, York
32 – Explore arms and armour from across the world at The Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds
33 – Find the ‘Leeds Tiger’ in the ‘Life On Earth’ gallery at the Leeds City Museum
34 – Take a step back in time and explore the heritage of medicine and healthcare at Thackray Museum, Leeds
35 – Have a science adventure at Magna Science Museum, Rotherham

Visit an Aquarium

100 Family Days Out In And Around Selby, Yorkshire - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

36 – Hold a starfish at The Deep, Hull
37 – Walk with penguins at Scarbrough Sealife Sanctuary, Scarbrough

Get closer to Nature

100 Family Days Out In And Around Selby, Yorkshire - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

38 – Learn about nature and conservation at Skylark Center and Nature Reserve, Barlow They are running events through the summer holidays, you can see the events on their facebook page here (some do need pre-booking)
39 – Enjoy the farm life at Cannon Hall Farm, Barnsley
40 – Have a wild day at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Doncaster
41 – Meet the animals at Piglets Adventure Farm, York
42 – Get up close to the piglets and chickens at Home Farm – Temple Newsam 
43 – Enjoy the Bird Garden at Lotherton Hall, Leeds, and spot the tapirs and capybaras in the new woodland zone.
44 – Go pond dipping at RSPB Fairburn Ings Nature Reserve, Castleford
45 – Go bird spotting at RSPB Bempton Cliffs
46 – Dance amongst the butterflies at Tropical World, Leeds
47 – Meet the donkeys at the Wonkey Donkey – Donkey Sanctuary, Knottingley
48 – Dig out the binoculars and head to RSBP St Aidens, Allerton Bywater
49 – Be a zookeeper for the day at Askham Bryan Wildlife and Conservation Park
50 – Feed the animals carrots and apples at Swithens Farm, Wakefield
51 – Seek out the flower meadows at Brockerdale Nature Reserve

A trip to the cinema

100 Family Days Out In And Around Selby, Yorkshire - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

52 – Enjoy a cinema experience on your doorstep with Selby Globe
53 – Enjoy movies in IMAX or 4DX at Cineworld, Xscape
54 – Emmerse yourself in a big screen experience at Vue Cinema, York
55 – City Screen Picture House, York is a riverside arthouse cinema, surrounded by cafes, bars and restaurants.

Amazing Outdoor Adventure Playgrounds

100 Family Days Out In And Around Selby, Yorkshire - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

56 – Have a magical adventure at Stockeld Park, Wetherby
57 – Have fun on the zip wire at Williams Den, South Cave
58 – Speed down the tower slide or ride a pedalo on the lake at Hemsworth Water Park and Playworld
59 – Explore the magical musical stepping stones, skate in the skate park or swing on the tyre swings at Clifton Park, Rotherham
60 – Or if you want to stay closer to home, tour the local parks. Both Riccall and Thorpe Willoughby have lovely parks

Soft Play for a rainy day?

61 – Explore the three-story adventure soft play at Summit, Selby
62 – Go wild on the slides at Jurassica, Goole
63 – Adventure in all of the different soft play zones at Creepie Crawlies – Web Adventure Park, York
64 – Find & fly the helicopter at The Wishing Well, Selby
65 – Xplore at Xscape, Castleford

National Trust Members?

100 Family Days Out In And Around Selby, Yorkshire - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

66 – Discover the parkland at Nostel Priory
67 – Seek out the new 7-meter pyramid adventure play area at Beningbrough Hall and Gardens
68 – Try ‘Family Funteering’ at Brimham Rocks
69 – Play amongst the ruins and find the ‘Folly!’ artwork at Fountains Abbey
70 – Join Clumber Park for a summer of sport

Beautiful Houses, Castles & Gardens

71 – Wander around Selby Abbey, soaking up the history and architecture
72 – Explore the beautiful Georgian property, spot the flamingos and penguins or tackle the huge adventure playground at Harewood House
73 – Enjoy the picturesque ruins and dramatic architecture of Kirkstall Abbey
74 – Become a ‘Castle Howard Explorer’ and ‘Sea the sheep’ at Castle Howard
75 – Join the ‘Great Wizard Gathering’ at Burnby Hall Gardens (1st August only, see here for other events)
76 – Find your way around the lavender maze at Yorkshire Lavender

Visit York?

York has so much to offer. Parking in the centre of town can be tricky & expensive. But you can get the train from Selby or park and ride from the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet. I’ve already mentioned lots of museums that can be found in york above, like the National Railway Museum & Jorvik Viking Centre as well as other attractions such as The York Maze and The York Dungeons.

77 – Soak up a bit of history as a tourist on the bus sightseeing tour
78 – Visit Yorks most famous street and visit “The Shop That Must Not Be Named” on The Shambles
79 – Picnic in the York Museum Gardens
80 – Explore the castle walls – A guide and map can be found on the Friends of the Wall website
81 – Explore a different side of York, with York Chocolate Trail.  A self-guided, chocolate and sweet themed treasure trail!

Explore the beautiful east coast.

100 Family Days Out In And Around Selby, Yorkshire - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

82 – Climb the steps to Whitby Abbey
83 – Enjoy the beautiful blue flag beach and quaint promenade at Hornsea
84 – Spot the lighthouse and visit the museum inside at  Withernsea
85 – Roll up your trousers and head for the deep rock pools at Filey
86 – Take a walk from Filey into nearby Hunmanby
87 – Walk along the promenade or enjoy a donkey ride at Bridlington
88 – Visit the open-air theatre or hire a boat at Peasholm Park, Scarbrough
89 – Hunt for fossils at Robin Hoods Bay
90 – Spot the lighthouse as you explore the dramatic coastline at Flamborough Head
91 – Follow the woodland trails or visit the seashore at Danes Dyke Nature Reserve
92 – Ride on the land train from Bridlington to Sewerby Hall, to explore and visit the animals & play park

Pick your own fruit and veg

*please note these are seasonal only, and its best to ring ahead to check if you are looking for something particular

93 – Pick your own soft fruit, have a meal in the restaurant or visit the farm shop at Spuds and Berries, Selby
94 – Pick your own soft fruit, visit the Moo Cafe or visit the farm shop at Farmer Copleys, Pontefract
95 – The Balloon Tree, York have a selection of seasonal pick your own soft fruit and vegetables, as well as a farm shop and tearoom.
96 – Forage for blackberries in the hedgerows at Barlow Common, or along the Selby Canal

Action & Adventure

100 Family Days Out In And Around Selby, Yorkshire - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

97 –  Selby Superbowl is home to a laser zone and kub karting track, as well as bowling.
98 – Learn to drive in the ‘Firefly’ cars for five to ten year olds at Young Driver, Church Fenton
99-  You can find a bowling alley, ski slopes, and a laser zone, as well as soft play and adventure golf at Xscape, Castleford 
100 – Summit Indoor Adventure, is home to a bowling alley, skate park, high ropes and a climbing wall, as well as big adventure soft play area.
101 – The Web Adventure Park, York has wired high ropes for older children, as well as indoor and outdoor adventure play areas, complete with water zone & sandpit and an animal zone.
102 – Ice skate at on the only split level ice rink in the UK at Doncaster Dome
103 – Challenge yourself to complete the inflatable floating obstacle course at Allerthorpe Lakeland Park
104 – Go Ape on a tree top adventure at Dalby Forest, Temple Newsam and Sherwood Forest
105 – Let loose on the climbing wall or high ropes at Let Loose, Beverley

Whats your favourite summer destination?

Let me know in the comments below. Or you can also find me on facebook, twitter and instagram pop over and say hello!

100 Family Days Out In And Around Selby, Yorkshire - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

6 Months Without Coffee

My coffee addiction started at about 17 years old. The vending machines at the university helped me keep my eyes propped open during the gruelling 9am-9pm intense days. Socially it was important too, we drank lattes and mochas at friends houses, or sat in coffee shops enjoying the socialising during the day.

I was an office manager by 18, and an operations manager at 22.  A skinny cappuccino from Pret marked the start of my day, and while I tried to keep it as a treat, I could easily have three a day without too much thought towards the caffeine or the cost. It was the culture, and people used to chat about how much they needed a coffee to rejuvenate, wake them up and enable them to refocus.

Strangely enough through my pregnancies, I couldn’t bare the taste. Luckily we always told family quite early, but if not they would have guessed from my sudden aversion to coffee! After each pregnancy, I was back to 7 cups a day and was convinced that it kept me sane during the sleepless, exhaustion that comes with young children.

I tried giving up coffee a few times for the health benefits, but I never lasted more than a few days.

The suddenly I had an awful 24-hour tummy bug and ever since I haven’t been able to stand the taste of coffee. I tried to carry on regardless for a few days, hoping my taste buds would re-adjust but a week later I decided to cut it out completely.

The Withdrawal

The first few days without coffee were the worst. I was drinking lots of water to rehydrate, but no matter how much I drank I couldn’t shake an intense headache that lasted almost 36 hours. By day 3 the headache was starting to ease but the exhaustion, muscle aches and fogginess set in and lasted the best part of a week.

The best way to describe it was it felt like I was suffering from a mild flu virus. I just couldn’t function and the exhaustion left me needing to rest. I would say by 10 days I was feeling much better, my energy levels had levelled out, and I could finally think clearly again. I was really shocked by how much the withdrawal had affected my body, I knew coffee was addictive but I didn’t expect the withdrawal symptoms to be as bad as they were. It was only after experiencing the withdrawal symptoms that I decided to give it up for good.

A Coffee Culture

One of the hardest parts of giving up caffeine has been breaking from our coffee culture giving up my ‘coffee break’. Not so much the actual coffee, as the break itself. The social culture of sitting down and relaxing while enjoying a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

For me as a stay at home parent, the coffee break is an anticipation of a rest (One that might not happen with young children!) I would put the kettle on to boil while unloading the dishwashing, then wipe all the surfaces and load the washing machine while it was cooling to a drinkable temperature. Then you have a three-minute window to drink before its ‘clap cold’ as my Yorkshire grandma would have said.

The realism is that it would end up in the microwave, where I would need to take out the previous coffee before reheating the new one! It never really tastes the same when its reheated does it? There is just something special about savouring a drink that’s cooled to the perfect temperature if you can catch it in time…

It affected me more in winter, I mean whats better than warming your hands by cradling a hot cup of coffee after a walk in the winter chill? Thankfully its an easy switch to hot chocolate, but I could never drink the same volume of hot chocolate a day that I could in coffee!

I don’t know the psychology behind it, but I think its why I occasionally drink decaff-tea now but without the same dependence or enjoyment (Decaff tea tastes exactly like normal tea, unlife decaff coffee which tastes dreadful!)

Long-term benefits of being almost* caffeine free

* I still have diet coke, chocolate and regular tea occasionally if decaf tea isn’t an option. It’s surprising how many places don’t offer decaf as an option.

Better Sleep

One of the best side effects of going caffeine free has been the better quality sleep. I used to be an extremely light sleeper and struggled to get to sleep, often spending hours laying awake. Since I stopped drinking caffeine my quality of sleep has improved drastically, I get to sleep more easily, have a better quality of sleep and feel much more rested come morning time. I haven’t completely cut caffeine out of my diet, but I can tell a noticeable difference in my sleep on the days I have had too much, and as a parent of four young children, I definitely need my sleep! I have also learnt from painful experience that if I drink 2 bottles of diet coke in less than 2 hours a migraine is inevitable!

Less Anxiety

I’ve suffered from anxiety from being a teen, it tends to come and go, and while quitting caffeine has not been a miracle cure, but it has definitely eased A LOT in the last 6 caffeine-free months. Its hard to say exactly how much going caffeine free has helped because my diet is healthier and I’ve also started running in the last 3 months. But my anxiety has definitely eased in the 3 months before I made those changes.  Science has found that caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands which can increase anxiety levels.

Better Balance

Every morning would start with a coffee to wake me up, and at around 2 pm I would feel lethargic and need my mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Since quitting coffee I no longer experience caffeine related ups-and-downs. I am more focused and energised on a morning and don’t have energy spikes during the day. It’s not a cure for the mid-afternoon lethargy, that still happens, but I can quickly shake it with a splash of water on my face or a walk outside.

No turning back

Since I have stopped drinking coffee I am definitely more aware of the effects of caffeine on my body. If I have lots of caffeine in a short space of time. If i drink two bottles of diet coke, I get a headache as soon as it hits my bloodstream. That headache quickly turns into a migraine if I don’t respond quickly with lots of fluids and pain relief. I get the same effect if drink too much regular tea.  I did try having a cappuccino a few months ago, but even after a few sips I could feel my heart start to race and I couldn’t drink anymore.

In short, giving up coffee (though not through choice initially) has definitely been worth it for me; Whilst I won’t cut caffeine completely out of my diet, but I won’t be going back to my six cups a day (at least!) coffee addiction.

Firsts and Lasts

We talk a lot about our children’s firsts. First smile, first steps, first words. I remember James’s firsts really vividly, we were almost hanging on and waiting for him to hit each milestone and we celebrated excitedly. Just 16 months later our little Lily arrived. This time we knew what to expect, and in our sleep deprived state we weren’t in the same rush we were for James and we celebrated them as they arrived.

Two more children later we celebrate those milestones with the same amount of enthusiasm and love, but It does feel like somehow they get a little lost in the chaos that is having four young children.

Then came something I didn’t expect from motherhood, the ‘lasts’.

I cant remember the last time Ava fell asleep on me, or the last time carried a sleeping Lily in from the car. I can’t remember the last time James wanted to listen to a bedtime story. The tiny moments that pass you by, because you don’t realise at the time they are the ‘lasts’.

Last week my youngest and last baby turned three years old. Not such a baby anymore, more of a pre-schooler that’s ready to start nursery in September. It’s such a bittersweet feeling, knowing my last baby is almost ready to begin her school journey without her mummy by her side. I think shes definitely closer to being ready than me!

Yorkshire Wildlife Park

These photos were taken on Ava’s birthday as we explored Yorkshire Wildlife Park on one of the hottest days of the year!

Ava (3)
Amy (5)
Lily (7)
James (8)

A Year Apart

We visited for Avas second birthday too, so these photos are taken exactly a year apart!

May 2017
May 2018

Seeing the difference a year makes is scary! This year we visited on a bank holiday, and it was so busy we only had a few seconds to take this photo with my favourite giraffe, but I am so glad we did. They are all arms and legs this year. I have a feeling they are going to be tall like their Dad; Ava at just three is taller than some four-year-olds. I am only 5ft 3in myself, so I have a feeling it won’t be long before I am looking up at them, instead of down.

 

Living Arrows

Simple Living

I guess having one of the main focuses on our blog ‘simple living’, sounds kind of ironic given a life with four young children in absolutely no way simple. We had four children in five years, James was just 5 years old when our smallest arrived. It sounds crazy even to me when I say I had a five, four and a two-year-old as well as a newborn baby.

I am always entirely honest when I say I found the transition from three to four children the hardest, possibly because I was struggling with post-natal depression. I had a traumatic labour and birth with Ava. My waters had broken early in the morning, and we were desperately trying to move her from back to back on the hospitals birthing ball whilst in slow labour. Things escalated quickly when I started shaking uncontrollably with a high temperature. The doctors discovered I had sepsis and my body had started to shut down. I was rushed to labour ward and It felt like a twenty people were in the room within minutes. Luckily I had no idea how serious it could have been at the time, but the fast actions of the hospital team saved my life. It was an eye-opening reminder of just how precious life is.

Gotta catch em all – Catching pokemon.
Cuddles with Daddy

Simple Living

Focusing on the simple things is really important to me. Its a reminder to slow down and breath in the ordinary moments. The ones that happen everyday, but sometimes get lost in the chaos. Hugs, cuddles (“cuggles” in our house) and kisses. The endless stories children suddenly remember to tell you at bedtime, just because they want to see you for a little bit longer. The jokes and real belly laughs at mealtimes. Trips to the park and walks in the woods. Hot chocolates with hot chocolatey smiles.

Sometimes its also remembering how those moments happen, and trying to find a happy balance.  Between saying “yes” to the park, or “no” so you can tackle the washing pile. Or choosing to stay up past bedtime chatting, or saying “no” because you are completely parented out, and need five minutes alone.

Smiles while waiting for the Parade

Intentionality.

For me ‘simple living’ is a reminder to slow down. And that’s not all about speed, it’s about intentionality and creating time for the things that are really important. It’s a reminder to live with less, so we can enjoy life more. It’s a reminder to be grateful for the things we do have, instead of focusing on the things we don’t. It’s about thinking of others & the earth and its a reminder to be kind. To myself as much as anyone else.

Today we chose to cancel plans, and say “no”, just so we could take our whole family to watch James and Lily march through our town in the St Georges Day Parade.

We chose to relax with drinks we waited for James and Lily to finish. We chose to walk instead of driving, so we could walk past the canal and see all the trees springing new buds. There is a list a mile long that we didn’t get done – but moments like these don’t happen often, and the years pass too quickly.

“Look Mummy, this is how grown-ups drink hot chocolates, with one hand!”
Hot chocolate smiles

 

Because things aren’t always slow…

I completely forgot we were meeting 30 minutes earlier and I had to leave Simon, Ava and Amy walking, so James, Lily and myself could run half a mile to the meeting point!

When things are slow & simple, I know I am a better parent. I’m much more patient, kind and forgiving. And I’m kinder to myself as well as my children.

And so ‘simple living’ to me, is more a reminder to myself, to slow down, take stock and stay in the moment and be grateful for the little things in life.

I love this photograph because it shows Lily’s cheeky side and the playful rivalry that goes on between these two.
Almost twins. Born 16 months apart, and the different uniforms give them away today, but people still ask if they are twins!

 

Living Arrows

Deciding To Have Four

Deciding to have a fourth child was an easy decision for us, we had already made the decision over 2 years earlier when we started trying for Amy (our third). We knew then that Amy wouldn’t be our last baby.  Simon really wanted to have an even number of children, If you ask him he will joking say he only wanted two. Then again when I was a teenager I was adamant I would never have children and I guess we both changed our minds! We both knew we had the capacity to love four children, so our choice was made when we decided to have our third child Amy, nearly six years ago.

The story of why I wanted four goes back to my childhood. I was brought up with my Grandmother and Grandfather and only saw my parents a few times a year. When my mother met my father, she left her husband and two teenaged children to be with him. She was disabled, unhappy and I think she found solace and comfort in my father. She suffered from multiple sclerosis, which deteriorated after her pregnancy with me. She needed 24-hour care and my Father, and couldn’t look after her, me and work as an electrician.

A miracle baby

I was a miracle baby, the doctors where adamant I would never survive, and If I did, I would never walk. My parents were refused care from their doctor and had to move surgery for my mum to receive prenatal care. I was born prematurely and defied all odds by surviving, walking and leading a normal life. It’s only since I became a parent really that I do feel a tiny bit of anger towards my parents for bringing a child into such an impossible situation. I am extremely lucky and grateful to be here, but there was no way that either could have cared for me, whether healthy or disabled.

I was pretty much raised as an only child. My grandmother herself had four children, my dad being the eldest, and her youngest was 12 when I arrived and moved out when I was still small.

My grandparents were in their 50’s when I was a toddler and understandably were at an age they wanted to wind down. I spent most of my childhood with my head in a book, on a computer game or at Sunday school. I remember looking at other families on days out with their parents and feeling pangs of jealousy – those feelings, in turn, made me feel guilty and ungrateful.

Vivid memories

The most vibrant memories from my childhood, come from being with my four cousins, and my aunt and uncle. I remember feeding the ducks, walks in the woods, trips to the seaside, and just being together. They included me in everything and I remember feeling like their fifth child. I loved my grandparents with all my heart, and I had a good childhood! But I could not help but wish for the togetherness, love, happiness that I felt with my cousins when I was at home alone.

And those are exactly the things I want to give to my children, togetherness, happiness and love. I wanted them to have siblings to share things with, the good and the bad, the happy and the sad.

Our little team

We are ‘Team Tasker’ even our school use the phrase now. I remember James telling his nursery teacher, and her commenting on how much she loved it over 5 years ago. We are a team in everything we do, we work together, eat together and play together. I know these guys won’t embrace it forever but while they do I am definitely making the most of it.

They have their moments where they argue and bicker, like any siblings! Amongst the rivalry, there are genuine moments of concern, care,  love and thought for each other with melts my heart completely. To see the people I love most in the world, sharing the love is really special. I wouldn’t change our crazy, busy life with four children for the world.

Smile! Anything to stop your mum ‘flossing’ in front of strangers!
Flossing – A new playground dance craze
Jubilee – another dance!

 

Living Arrows

Being Shy

One of my favourite things about being a mum is watching my children’s personalities develop. I find it so interesting to see how different they are, especially as they have been brought up exactly the same.

One character trait that my girls definitely share is shyness. James, on the other hand, is far from shy. He will happily chat with others, older or younger. (Although now he is eight, he prefers boys, girls seem to be another species at the moment)  He will instigate games and is a natural leader, he loves being included and wants to have his voice and opinions heard.

Lily, Amy, and Ava are a lot like me. They have their own close friendship groups and are very confident & happy in familiar places, but otherwise can be very shy.

 A Birthday Party

We took Amy to a school friends birthday party recently. We arrived a little late and we were expecting soft play, and it was a disco party instead. Simon decided to take the others to soft play while I stayed with Amy. Amy stuck to me like glue. I said all the usual reassuring things, chatted to a few of her friends, and she stood by my side, holding onto me and pressing little her body against mine, watching the party games. Each time I suggested she join in, she shook her head and pulled me closer.

Twenty uncomfortable minutes later I asked if she wanted to go check on her Dad. I could almost feel the relief and the tension in the body fade as we left the party and headed towards soft play. She gave her dad a cuddle, and the happy, care-free Amy we know and love ran off to play.

Motherhood: An Emotional Rollercoaster

Motherhood really does make you feel such a crazy mix of emotions. I felt so sad that Amy had felt so shy she hadn’t wanted to join in with her friends because I know she absolutely loves music and dancing. I felt guilty that we left the party early, and without saying goodbye; I had planned have a chat to Amy away from the crowds and loud music, and then return. As soon as we left and she instantly settled, and I knew leaving was the right thing to do.

I think as a parent we naturally adopt a ‘fix-it’ mentality, and it although confidence is absolutely something I want to encourage, It has to come in her own time. And she is confident in her own way; when she feels safe with her family and friends.

Shes very much like me, I have a small circle of friends, and I am very much an home-bird. I am much happier away from crowds; and that’s okay – its part of who we are.

Amy – proudly completing the monkey bars for the first time.
Ava – “Look at me, Mummy! I am doing a really good job of climbing”
Amy: Messy hair, and not a care in the world
Lily: Who looks very grown up all of a sudden with her new toothless smile.
James – Who is looking more grown-up each day.

 

Linking Up With Donna for Living Arrows

Small Steps To Sustainability in March 2018

I am not really quite sure how we are at the beginning of April already, and that March has vanished. This year really seems to be flying by, and I’m almost scared to blink! I think with the weather being so cold, it doesn’t really feel like spring yet and maybe that’s why I can’t believe we are in April already when the weather feels more like January! My post this week mostly revolves around one of my favourite things, food…

Our Progress In March

Barmy Baking & Crazy Cooking

I completed a waste audit recently, and a lot comes from convenience food – mainly snacks because we cook most of our dinners from scratch. So I thought I would try and reduce our packaging waste by cooking and baking in batches and shopping in a more mindful and sustainable way.

I have to admit that I really do love cooking and baking. Out of the two, I think I prefer cooking. Purely because it’s acceptable to sit and eat all that you cook, whereas not so acceptable to sit and eat an entire batch of cookies – although that has happened! Lots.

Cooking and Baking To Reduce Packaging

We have been busy this month with baking to reduce packaging. We have made our own bread, bagels & pizza dough.

Homemade Bagels

 

Millies Cookies

We wanted to find some alternatives to shop-bought biscuits (and their wrappers) and we decided to make some of our very favourite cookies. They are delicious; slightly crisp and chewy on the outside and gooey on the inside. They are delicious when warm but if they last long enough to cool down they store really well and still taste delicious.

Prawn Raisukaree

I travelled to London recently for my cousins baby shower and experienced my first Wagamamas meal.  I was impressed by the flavour and presentation, but I was more impressed at the companies commitment to sustainability. From turning oil into bio-fuel, to happy hens and recycling food waste, they really are breath of fresh air in a world full of excess and single-use plastic.

I completely fell in love with their Chicken Raisukaree. Raisukaree is an Asian style curry, made with coconut, lime and coriander. I loved it so much I’ve been trying to recreate it back at home with prawns instead of chicken. I’ve had a few attempts tried a few different versions and while both have been nice, none have been quite the same but I am slowly getting closer.

My challenge is to find more tasty recipes all our family can enjoy. They also need to be healthy, quick to prepare, easy to make and the more fresh/unpackaged ingredients the better! This recipe takes about 30 minutes to make so its perfect for busy weeknights, and its made mostly from fresh foods with minimal packaging, which ticks lots of boxes!

Raisukaree attempt 1 – Made with homemade coconut milk instead of tinned, and it condensed down to leave hardly any sauce.
Raisukaree attempts 2 – Too much sauce (but it was delicious!)
We made the domes of rice by shaping the rice in an egg poacher like this one*, Ava was impressed.

Extra Recycling

We have been saving all stretchy plastic from bread bags, fruit bags, toilet roll wrappers, cucumber film ect,  and we took these to our local carrier bag recycling scheme. All stretch plastic can be recycled, and it turns out a lot of plastic I have been sending to landfill can be recycled. If you have a shopping delivery, they can also be sent back with your delivery driver (except Asda, I don’t think Asda offer plastic recycling) You can find out more about stretchy plastic recycling here.

We have also collected all our Tetrapak containers (from apple juice, coconut milk etc) and are saving them to take to our Tetrapak recycling point.

We have yet to collect any TerraCycle recycling, and I think that’s because we already live quite simply, but we definitely have possessions like pens that will be able to be recycled through the TerraCycle scheme.

Avoiding Kitchen Foil & Baking Parchment.

We have finally used up the rest of our baking parchment and kitchen foil and I am finding living without them a bit of a learning curve. The bagels you see above stuck to the tray despite trying both flour and oil to prevent them sticking. Some other things have been a huge success. This cake, for example, was baked without any parchment. I’ve never done this before as most recipes asked for a lined tin and It just never crossed my mind to bake without the parchment. I just run a palette knife around the edges before removing from the tin.

We usually cook things like salmon and chicken in the oven wrapped in foil. We have been looking for alternative ways of cooking our favourite dishes. Last week we steamed fish in our steamer instead and it was delicious… but our oven cooked chicken in a glass dish came out quite dry. I already have some ideas of how we can improve, such as switching to steaming or wrapping in bacon, I am sure we will find a tasty alternative. But I am not sure how we will manage jacket potatoes without foil yet!

I am really tempted to try a reusable baking sheet like this one*, as an alternative to baking parchment for things like cookies and bagels, especially as we have been doing more baking recently.

Our Plans for April

Zero Waste Lunch and Snack Ideas

Up until recently, our school didn’t give us the option to take a packed lunch. I prefer them to have a hot school meal too but it’s quite expensive. Taking a packed lunch is only open to the older children in our school, and James has decided he would like to, We are on the lookout for tasty, cost-effective and sustainable options for him to enjoy.

Meal Planning

Around five years ago I was a regular meal planner, but now I am lucky if I manage a few scribbled meals on a sheet of paper. I blame the two extra children, and the addition of after-school clubs and hobbies. Now, most weeknight meals have to be weaved around clubs and it’s really hard to plan ahead of time. But it does mean we tend to eat the same things, we spend more money & time nipping to the shops, and have wasted food. With a meal plan ( even a very loose one) I would know that there would be no chance to eat that remaining food and I could freeze it, instead of leaving it in the drawer hoping an opportunity to eat arises. Meal planning will hopefully encourage us to try new recipes while saving money and being more mindful of the environment.

Zero Waste Bathroom Essentials

It had to happen one day, its taken us over 6 months to use up all our bathroom disposables. I have run out of disposable razors and with summer on the way I need to find an eco-friendly alternative. The other thing we are missing is a zero waste bubble bath solution for our family. Ideas welcomed!

 

A Green and Rosie Life

 

 

Are you planning any eco-friendly changes in April?

What are your March eco-friendly wins? I would love to hear! You can join in on social media using the hashtags #100smallactsofdefiance or #smallstepstosustainability or leave a comment below.

*Links marked with a * are affiliate links. For full details please visit my Disclaimer page.

 

Small Steps To Sustainability in February 2018

It’s funny how the more you learn about sustainability, the more there is to learn. Sustainability isn’t just about buying locally, recycling, avoiding plastic packaging, and planting a new tree here and there. It needs a mindful, almost holistic, approach and lots of things need to be taken into consideration the ethics, materials, production and journey of products. Consumerism has a lot to answer for too. There isn’t a lot of money to be made by persuading people to buy less, or adopt a more natural approach. There is much more money to be made convincing people that they ‘need’ things to be happy, efficient, or beautiful. Then there is “greenwashing” to consider, companies that focus more on communicating their green efforts than on the efforts themselves.

When you start making changes, the place you look first is the changes that are either the easiest or that would have the biggest impact. Take milk for example. The largest contributor of plastic in our recycle bin.  I recently guestimated that we must drink 12 pints a week for our family of six. I was wrong, we consume at least double that, around 24 pints. We use it in cereals hot drinks, smoothies (although I’ve recently switched to coconut milk for smoothies) custard, homemade Yorkshire puddings & white sauces. We would love to both reduce the amount of milk that we drink and to have our milk delivered by a milkman in glass bottles. I cant however justify a cost of £24 a week, (~£96 a month) on milk through more sustainable glass-bottle deliveries when the comparative plastic-covered supermarket cost is £6 per week  (~£24 a month).

The changes that need to be made must come from either the consumer or the government, but any changes made will take time. Consumer power is huge, but its hard to make & stand behind those kinds of ethical & moral decisions when time, resources & finances are tight. Where I live there aren’t a lot of zero-waste options, and travelling further afield to buy packaging free options, would be much more expensive and defeat some of the objects. We are a one income family and our decisions have to be economical as well as sustainable.

My star recycler in February, who is always on the lookout for things to recycle, upcycle or compost!

I feel like we have come so far already, we are much more thorough with recycling and composting and we have halved the amount of waste we send to landfill, which is amazing. At the same time, it’s almost disheartening at points. Try walking around a regular supermarket looking for things not packaged in plastic, and you will probably only return home with just bananas, apples, sugar and flour: Not enough to feed a family of six an healthy diet. The battle to be sustainable fighting against the need for convenience and the need provide a healthy balanced diet for your family.

In an ideal world, I would bake our own bread from scratch, keep rescue chickens in our garden, shop at independent local butchers, cook every meal from scratch and bake a whole selection of snacks to feed the family through the week:- My neighbours wouldn’t appreciate chickens, my children are fussy eaters anyway and I just don’t have time.

But does that mean that every small change isn’t important? No – because every mindful step is an important step in the right direction. Instead of focusing on the things we don’t have the finances & time to change, lets celebrate the changes we are making instead. With that in mind, these are our changes in February & our plans for March.

Our Progress In February

Shampoo Bars from Lush

 

Solid Shampoo Bars

Last month we used up the last of our liquid shampoo and decided to try solid shampoo bars. So far it has been an easy swap, all six of us using the solid shampoo bars happily now. The one issue we have found is that they need to dry out really well in between uses because they start to fall apart if they stay wet. I did a lot of research first to see where to buy solid shampoo, and which brands people recommended, and I wrote about our findings here. These ones are from Lush and were recommended by a friend, especially ‘seanik’ (the blue one).

Recycling

I sometimes adopt a ‘send it anyway’ approach to recycling, hoping that anything incorrect will be taken out. I’ve read recently that this can cause a whole batch of recycling to be rejected due to contamination. Which really defeats the whole object of recycling, so I won’t be doing that in future!

We have plastic recycling boxes currently, into which we separate plastic, cardboard, glass and metal. This sounds like a good idea in theory, but in practice, it doesn’t work very well. Recycling gets blown down our streets in windy weather, and even I, an able-bodied adult find full boxes heavy and awkward to carry. I would say around one-quarter of my street doesn’t put out any recycling boxes at all. It would be brilliant if my local council introduced a recycling wheelie bin, which other local councils have successfully done. I think it would encourage more people to recycle, and an increase in recycling volume from those who already do.

I also would love our local council to provide more information on what can be recycled locally: such as Tetra Pak (usually fruit juice, or plant-based milk cartons) and TerraCycle schemes (pens, baby food pouches, biscuit and cracker wrappers and other usual non-recyclables)

Another thing I learnt this month, is that some supermarkets also operate a carrier bag recycling scheme, and other forms of stretchy plastic can also be recycled there. Such as the plastic bread bags, cereal bags, and wrappers from toilet rolls. One of my plans for March is to store this kind of plastic waste to drop off at a recycling point, instead of sending to landfill.

Cleaning with baking soda & Castile soap.

This was one of our aims for last month, but we still have such a large stock of cleaning products to use up, we haven’t needed to look into this just yet. When my dad passed away in November we brought back all the cleaning materials from his house and shop and we still have a cupboard full now. I have already purchased some castile soap, ready for when it’s needed and I am looking for an eco-friendly soap dispenser to keep near our kitchen sink.

Our Plans For March

Eco-friendly party decorations.

A few years ago, we started a little tradition of celebrating birthdays with a big foil number balloons. This photo is from Amys 4th birthday last April. She is 5 years old this April, and I want to find an eco-friendly way of celebrating. I wanted to make some colourful reusable garlands for the walls, then a big decorated number to celebrate her age. All made out of paper, card, or spare material rather than plastic.

Extra Recycling

A lot of our household waste for landfill comes in the form of stretch plastic that I didn’t know could be recycled. This month I hope to find storage for these types of recycling and take to my nearest drop off point. TerraCycle has a drop-off point about 20 miles away, but I am hoping I might be able to approach some local organisations who would be happy to support a TerraCycle scheme in our local town. They recycle things such as pens, baby food pouches biscuit wrappers, and make a small donation can be made towards a school or charity in return (currently 1p per item for most things). It will be really interesting to see what difference this makes to the amount of waste we send to landfill!

Eco-friendly soap dispenser

I want to research a well-made, good quality foaming soap dispenser to keep near our kitchen sink. I want to replace our store bought handwash with a mixture of diluted castile soap. Castile soap is really versatile and much more environmentally friendly. I am hoping to use the same soap mixture for both washing-up liquid and handwash. Swapping should save us money, be safer and more environmentally friendly as well as reducing our recycling.

A Green and Rosie Life

 

 

Are you planning any eco-friendly changes in March?

What are your February eco-friendly wins? I would love to hear! You can join in on social media using the hashtags #100smallactsofdefiance or #smallstepstosustainability or leave a comment below.

 

Solid Shampoo Bars: The Plastic-Free Way To Wash Your Hair

Solid shampoo bars have been around for the last few decades, but have been growing in popularity in the last few years. I think has been mainly due to people looking for an alternative, to reduce both plastic usage & to avoid some of the chemicals that are found in liquid shampoo. (Although chemicals can also be found in shampoo bars too)

Shampoo itself is still a relatively new concept, and its usage has increased dramatically. An article printed in 1908 suggested it was okay to wash your hair every two weeks, but suggests that four to six weeks is a better interval. I remember in my early twenties ( before children when I had a lot more time!), I would not leave the house without washing, drying and straightening my hair – I washed my hair almost every day.

Four children and a pixie cut later, my hair is lucky to get a 60-second shower, and I usually wash it 2 to 3 times a week. With the increase of the frequency of shampooing, the amount of plastic we use for shampoo has dramatically increased.

Solid Shampoo Bars - The Plastic Free Way To Wash Your Hair - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

A Zero Waste Bathroom

As part of switching to a more eco-friendly lifestyle, we wanted to try switching to solid shampoo. The great thing about shampoo bars is they are plastic free, and often packaged in more environmentally friendly packaging than their liquid counterparts. They naturally contain fewer chemicals because they don’t need preservatives or emulsifiers. Some shampoo bars claim to last up to four times longer than liquid shampoo, and I really hope that’s correct to offset the cost; they are more expensive!

There are many recipes for homemade solid shampoo bars online, and I would love to make some when I have more time on my hands. I love the look of these recipes from Going Zero Waste and Wellness Mama

I don’t know about you but I always find bathroom recycling seemed to find its way into the bathroom waste bin much easier than in any other area of our home. Having a plastic-free bathroom will definitely help.

Solid Shampoo Bars - The Plastic Free Way To Wash Your Hair - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

The SLS debate.

One thing you might like to consider before you make the leap is where you stand on the SLS debate. Sodium Laureth Sulfate (or SLS) is a chemical compound used in many cleaning products. It can irritate the skin, and as well as removing the dirt and grease, SLS also strips all the good oils from your hair. As our bodies have adapted to SLS use, we produce more oil to compensate, which in turn means hair needs washing more frequently, creating a vicious cycle.

Shampoo bars with SLS are similar to liquid shampoo. With SLS-free shampoo bars, you might find your hair takes a while to transition, similar to the ‘no poo’ method of hair washing. I have tried the no-poo method (short for no shampoo) a few years ago, but couldn’t get past the transition period, so we opted on an SLS shampoo bar to try initially, but you can read more about the “no poo” method and SLS here.

Solid Shampoo Bars - The Plastic Free Way To Wash Your Hair - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

 

How Do I Use Solid Shampoo?

You work the shampoo bar in your hands to release the product, before applying and massaging into your hair like traditional shampoo. After shampooing, simply rinse the bar and leave out to air dry. It’s really important to let the bar dry out between uses, or it may disintegrate.

Solid Shampoo Bars - The Plastic Free Way To Wash Your Hair - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

Where Can I Buy Solid Shampoo?

SLS Shampoo Bars

We bought our solid shampoo bars from Lush – and they smell & look gorgeous and have so far have been an easy swap for our household of two adults and four children. Seanik (blue) was recommended to me by a friend. These are some of the other shampoo bars that came highly recommended and I would love to try.

SLS Free

Shampoo Bar – available directly from  Emmas Soap <Fairtrade, Vegan, Palm Oil Free, Paraben Free & SLS Free>

Coconutty Soapnut Shampoo Bar – available at Living Naturally <Vegan, Palm Oil Free, Paraben Free & SLS Free>

Friendly Soap Natural Shampoo Bar – Lavender & Tea Tree – available at Natural Collection  <Vegan, Palm Oil Free, Paraben Free & SLS Free>

Hair O – available at Superdrug <Vegan, but does contain SLES>

Shine Shampoo Bar – available directly from Shine Hair Group

Other non-plastic products that came highly recommend;

Rhassoul Clay – Natural Spa Supplies

The eco-friendly choice

Shampoo bars are a brilliant alternative to traditional liquid shampoo. They are smaller and lighter, which means less packaging and transport costs. Taking up less space means they are ideal for travelling ( just make sure you store in a waterproof container, (like this tin), and that they completely dry before popping them in). They contain fewer chemicals because they dont need the preservatives or emulsifiers like traditional shampoo, and they come packaged in eco-friendly cardboard instead of plastic, which is a fantastic choice for the environment too! Whats not to love?

What are your favourite eco- friendly swaps?

I would love to hear about your eco-friendly swap, please leave a comment below or you can also find me on Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Solid Shampoo Bars - The Plastic Free Way To Wash Your Hair - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

 

Solid Shampoo Bars - The Plastic Free Way To Wash Your Hair - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

 

A Green and Rosie Life

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How To Have An Eco Friendly Period – With A Menstrual Cup

Over the last few months, we have decided to make a few changes to the way we live, and one of those changes has been slowly replacing our disposable products with reusable versions. The amount of waste we produce is becoming a huge problem for our planet. While switching to reusable sanitary products doesn’t seem like a huge step, the average person uses over 9000 tampons in their lifetime. That is a LOT of tampons. Tampons are virtually indestructible too, they have to be to sit in your vagina for hours. They are made out of cotton type material and as such aren’t biodegradable and cannot be flushed down the toilet. In fact, lots are flushed as over 41% of women don’t know this (and I am sad to say until recently, I was one of them)

The other issue with tampons is that they are classed as a medical device, which means no labelling required for ingredients (and lots of chemicals are used in the bleaching process) and they carry a very real risk of TSS.

How to Have An Eco Friendly Period – With A Menstrual Cup

I remember seeing a photograph of mooncup a few years ago, and I vaguely remember tilting my head on one side while thinking “You want me to do WHAT with that? Absolutely not, nuh-uh, no way!” If you were thinking the same thing, keep reading! In the last few months, I decided that it was worth a shot, and I am really glad I did!

How To Have A Eco Friendly Period With A Menstural Cup - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

Yes, they look huge!

The first thing you will notice is the size, and I’ve photographed here beside a regular tampon for comparison. I feel I need to say that I have really small hands, but it is much bigger than a tampon.

Yes, the cup does sit inside your vagina.

But its actually much, much more comfortable than it looks. You fold it up to insert and it opens up back into shape to form a seal inside the vagina. I was really dubious as I could even feel the Mirena coil I had for contraception, so I definitely expected to be able to feel the cup when walking and moving around. I couldn’t feel it. I even tried various squats and burpees and still nothing, it’s definitely a winner for exercise during your period. I’ve read it can take a few periods to get the hang of inserting and removing, but I found it quite straightforward.

(Time for TMI, sorry!) I suffer from menorrhagia, or (or super heavy periods) and often have to double up with both tampons and pads, and STILL leak through both less than two hours later. I find tampons really uncomfortable when they are full. Tampons are also uncomfortable at the end of your period when the flow slows down, wearing a dry tampon is uncomfortable and pulling out a dry tampon is just AWFUL! The cup felt the same throughout my period, no discomfort at all.

Yes, it does get messy.

I found it really easy, but a little messy to empty. You pull the stem of the cup downwards to break the seal, and you can empty the cup into the toilet. This is the messy bit… at home, you can rinse and reinsert. In a public bathroom, it’s much more tricky! Some people just empty, fold and reinsert, and some clean down with a tissue, or carry bottled water. In a disposable world we don’t really get very close to our own bodies, tampons with inserts mean we hardly have to touch at all. Using the cup is a little more hands-on, but if you have used tampons without inserts, you will be fine.

Menstrual cups can hold up to 3x as much as a tampon.

Which means you don’t need to change quite as often, most people say they only need to change in the morning and evening. With heavy periods, I still found myself changing a few times throughout the day, but I definitely needed fewer changes on a night. With the less frequent changes, and being more comfortable, it definitely helped me get a better nights sleep.

No odour.

Because the fluid doesn’t get exposed to air like with tampons and pads, there is no embarrassing odour to worry about.

Better for your body.

Menstrual cups carry a much lower risk of TSS than tampons, in fact, only 2 deaths have been linked to menstrual cups so far. Tampons also soak up all other fluids and good bacteria, which might upset the delicate PH balance of your vagina.

A huge money saving compared to disposable products.

As well as being better for the environment, and your body, using a cup will save you money. The average cost of a cup is £20, and will last 10 years or longer. If you change a tampon every 4-8 hours, you will use on average 5 per day. If your period lasts 4 days that’s 20 tampons. A box of twenty tampons costs on average £2, so it works out at around £24 per year. Even if you decided to replace your menstrual cup every year, you would still make a saving.

More maintenance.

The disadvantage I have found the cup, is that they need sterilising after each period. Which is a bit of a faff, and means it sitting in a jar on my worktop, and leaving myself open to lots of questions from inquisitive children. I answered honestly, I think honesty is the best policy!

How To Have A Eco Friendly Period With A Menstural Cup - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

Would you consider using reusable menstrual products?

Small Steps To Sustainability In January 2018

In November we started a journey to a more sustainable lifestyle, but our journey was put on hold a little when my dad died at the very end of the month. January has been our first month with any kind of normality and thought it would be nice to document our progress as we go from an average UK household to a more sustainable one. One major factor in our decisions is the cost. We are a one-income family who are working towards becoming mortgage free in the next 6 years, so our decisions have to be economical as well as sustainable.

One Hundred Small Acts of Defiance

I should start by saying that I really dislike the term ‘zero waste’, which the popular term for this movement away from plastic. It makes it sound unachievable when really, every little step towards a more eco-friendly and sustainable life is an important one. It somehow makes the small changes seem trivial by focusing on the goal, or that’s how it made me feel a few years ago when I very first started looking at my impact on the planet.

There are many inspirational people out there, who can put their years waste in a glass jar (and that is pretty amazing!), but small changes made by the many can have a big impact too. I feel that sometimes we also need to look at the big picture. It would be brilliant to live in a plastic-free world, but plastic does have its advantages; for example, it’s safer for small children and lighter for the disabled. It would be incredible if science could provide us with a more eco-friendly answer, but it the meantime we will try and find some good swaps and alternatives instead.

So we set ourselves a challenge for 2018;

100 Small Acts of Defiance - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

Our challenge is to find 100 small things that we can do to reduce our waste or reduce our footprint, and to write about them.

Our Progress In January;

Using White Vinegar as Fabric Conditioner

This was was an easy swap for us to make, it works really well and saves us money. I wrote about it here. We are still finding the balance with bigger loads like towels, because they need slightly more mixture to combat the static. If I am honest, I still do slightly miss the perfumy scent you get with commercial fabric conditioners but it’s only a tiny niggle really.

We tried using white vinegar as a cleaning solution too to wipe down surfaces, but I found the vinegary smell overpowering. We currently fill an empty spray bottle with water and add a small capful of zoflora disinfectant to clean all our surfaces. We love zoflora, it smells beautiful and small (plastic) bottle lasts us months.

Menstrual Cup & Reusable Sanitary Towels

I thought I would try looking into a more eco-friendly period, but I was a little sceptical about the menstrual cups. I have to say I was really surprised at how comfortable and easy I found it to use. I love it! It will save us lots of money on disposable products too, so it really is a winner! More on this later….

 

An Eco-friendlier children’s party

This little lady turned 7 years old, and she decided she wanted a climbing party at our local climbing wall. I absolutely love that she chose a climbing party and she had a brilliant time. We attempted a more eco-friendly day. She wanted party bags, so we bought colourful paper bags instead of plastic ones. Instead of plastic toys (that usually end up in the bin a few days later), we chose to buy a few multipacks of books, so we could add a book to each party bag. I struggled to find many plastic-free sweeties at a reasonable cost, but I did find some paper covered love hearts at the pick and mix section of wilko. We baked & iced cupcakes for the party too.

We did put an eco-unfriendly drink & sweets in the party bag too, just because it was hard to find alternatives! I am happy with the small changes we did make, and every small change step forward. Our mission for the next birthday in April (Amy will be 5 years old) is to make our own eco-friendly decorations.

Riverford Organic Fruit & Veg Delivery

We have been buying our vegetables from Riverford since November, it was one of the first changes we made. We love our Riverford delivery, and when my dad died, it really was a relief to know we had fresh fruit and vegetable delivered regularly. Riverford sell organic vegetables, that are mostly grown on their own farms. They are delivered to your door in minimal packaging, but (as you would expect), it is more expensive than buying non-organic vegetables from a supermarket. The reason I haven’t switched back to a cheaper (more plastic covered) alternative is that I love Riverford’s commitment to sustainability & ethics. I also love their customer service and newsletter from the owner Guy Watson, and for all those reasons I will continue to buy and support them.

We eat a LOT of fruit, we can easily eat 1-2 pieces each, so up to 12 portions per day! Having fresh fruit available is one of my non-negotiables and we usually supplement our delivery with supermarket fruit. Some fruit like bananas are really easy to buy loose, but other fruit I am struggling to find without packaging or spending time visiting several different shops.

Our fruit wall – I love our baskets it makes the fruit really easy to see (and therefore eat)

Bamboo Toothbrushes

My electric toothbrush broke, so I decided to switch to a bamboo toothbrush. It has been a while since I have used a manual toothbrush so we will see how it goes. James (who is eight) mentioned it to the dentist on our last visit and the dentist thinks its a bad swap. Only time will tell!

Something more eco-friendly like this sounds like a fab alternative, but its only at the prototype stage at the moment, due to launch in Dec 2018. At the moment the shipping is quite expensive, so I am hoping when they release the product that its available to buy in the UK.

Image from the kickstarter campaign for Be.

Our Plans for February

  • Research shampoo & conditioner bars.
  • Investigate cleaning with baking soda & castile soap.
  • Research exactly what plastics can be recycled curbside by our council, and if any others can be recycled locally. (This is mostly for bread bags, film covering and similar).

I would love you to join in too! Using the hashtag #100smallactsofdefiance or #smallstepstosustainability or leave a comment below;

Have made any eco-friendly changes this January?

A Green and Rosie Life

How To Use White Vinegar As Fabric Conditioner

There are lots of ways to use white vinegar in your home, but did you know it can be used as fabric conditioner? Fabric conditioner can be expensive and coats your clothes with chemicals. The chemicals help them feel softer, reduce static and add artificial fragrance.  White vinegar is a natural alternative that is kinder to the environment, cheaper and leaves behind no residue. White vinegar also acts as a softner, its deodorising properties help freshen the scent. Don’t worry, you won’t end up smelling like a chippy either, when dried the clothes just smell clean & fresh, no hint of vinegar left at all.

Buying white vinegar

We first started looking at alternative fabric conditioners to reduce our plastic waste. We were buying on average, 2 bottles of fabric conditioner a month, that’s 24 empty fabric conditioner bottles a year. Buying white vinegar in bulk worked out cheaper for us at a cost of 6p per 100mls. We plan to use white vinegar for cleaning too, as well as laundry so the bulk option was cost-effective. Our white vinegar arrived in 4 large 5-litre plastic containers, and we hope they will last 9-12 months, using much less plastic overall.

White vinegar is also widely available in supermarkets and can usually be found with normal vinegar. It sometimes called distilled vinegar, it’s the clear one you are looking for. Malt vinegar has a stronger smell and may stain your clothes. It can be usually be bought in glass bottles in the supermarkets, which is much more eco-friendly but has a higher cost per ml.

How To Use White Vinegar As Fabric Conditioner

You will need;

  • An empty container
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Your choice of fragrance (optional, see below)

Fill the empty container with 50% white vinegar & 50% water. We used our old fabric conditioner container because it still had lots of life left, its a familiar shape & it saves recycling. I add about half a capful of this mix into the fabric conditioner drawer with each wash.

Some people use neat white vinegar and add just 1-2 tablespoons per wash.

Adding fragrance with essential oils

You can add 20-30 drops of essential oils to add fragrance. My top choices are lemon, orange or lavender, for their fresh scent and antibacterial properties. Honestly, though, I found that although I can smell the essential oils when I add to the washing machine and on the wet clothes, by the time the clothes are dry, I can no longer smell the fragrance, the clothes just smell clean.

Adding fragrance with herbs

You can also infuse the white vinegar with herbs, like this example. Vinegar infused with citrus peel is on our list of things to try for cleaning surfaces around our home. You can either leave to infuse for 3/4 weeks and then drain, or just leave it with the mix and drain before you add to your washing machine.

Conclusion

Using white vinegar as a fabric conditioner works, it softens and reduces the static. It also works out much cheaper, as well as being better for the environment. White vinegar is amazing for towels. it leaves them much more absorbent than fabric conditioner. If you don’t decide to use white vinegar for all your laundry, it’s definitely worth using it for towels.

One thing we do miss is the scent that comes with commercial fabric conditioners. It isn’t a huge loss, given that you only really smell it when emptying the washing machine or dryer, or when you get dressed.

How to use white vinegar as fabric conditioner - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

 

What is your favourite use for white vinegar in your home?

A Green and Rosie Life