Category Archives: Life

The end of Eco Friendly March


So my eco friendly March challenge is now over, but hopefully I will carry on with most of my challenges and it has certainly made me think a lot more about things every day.
I don’t feel like last week was so successful though, I did end up using the dryer twice and with our current shower, it was impossible to shut off the water in-between shampooing, as it would talk forever to get hot again, wasting the same amount of water. But it has definitely made me more conscious about things, like being conscious about what water appliances we will be installing in the new bathroom, the fact that we probably should have more than one set of beddings, so when washing, it doesn’t have to be dry before having to be put back on in the evening.
I have also started looking on all of the food packaging of what is recyclable, making sure I have recycled everything I could this week. But currently we have to bring our recyclables to our supermarket, that has a recycling area, so I went online to order new recycling bins from our council, where I found out that there is a lot of help with recycling in our area, so I have put it on the agenda for our next neighbour meeting and hopefully they will all be on board with a few recycling changes. 
And for energy I actually found, that we were already doing what we can in that area. Most of our light bulbs are energy saving ones and we are quite good at shutting of unnecessary lights and appliances. 


All of March as a whole I think has been quite enlighten for me, there were definitely areas I feel like I have improved on and I have become a lot more conscious about being eco friendly in every day life. But some of the things I will defiantly keep doing, is using my bike more and the car less. Within a very short time, I can already feel a big change in my energy and I have gotten back to actually like taking the bike.
I have also found it extremely easy to bring my own bags to the supermarket and on the days where I have forgotten to bring, I actually get annoyed with the plastic bags after putting the groceries away.
But the biggest change I think is going organic, even my husband has really gotten on board with it and we pretty much only buy organic now. Our favourite being organic strawberries, that just have so much more flavour despite not being in season and we have been having them raw every evening as an evening snack.
The only thing that I find quite strange (and a bit difficult with my height) is that most supermarkets put their organic on the top shelf. I mean wouldn’t it make more sense to have it on the middle shelf, as they are the products that go of the fastest, so from a business side, those would be the once you would want people to grab for, not put them up where people can’t reach them!


I have actually really enjoyed this month and I really hope I will be able to continue with most of my changes, as this has definitely been an educational month for me, where I feel like I have learned a lot. 


Mia
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Eco Friendly March, week four


Week three went really well, I have definitely used my bicycle a lot more and the only times we have used the car was for my husband to go to work and a trip to the home improvement store for supplies for house renovations. There are just things you can’t bring on a bicycle, and big planks of wood would be one of them, but instead of going to the store when ever we needed some supplies, we made a list of what we would need for the whole week and bought it all in one go. This not only made us be more organised and use the car less, but it also meant that we didn’t waste time going to the store, that we could use working on the house. But doing all my errands on the bike or on foot, has also meant that I have been getting more exercise in during the day just by doing errands, a win win in my book. 

Not getting plastic bags while doing my shopping has also been going really well and we only forgot to bring our own bag once during the week. We even made a “romantic” walk, out of going grocery shopping, by putting on bag packs and walking together to the supermarket a bit further away. When you walk there isn’t really that many things to distract you, so it just seems easier to have a long talk about things you sort of forget to talk about during the day. So not only did we get some exercise, did our shopping, saved money on fuel, but we also got some quality time together, just by leaving the car at home. 

I have also found this genius eco friendly shopping bag from www.trolley-dolly.co.uk that I will be getting in the near future, just waiting for new designs to come out. As I think this will work really well to bring on the bike or when I am out for a walk.


Week four:This week I will be trying to change some of the little things at home , like becoming better at recycling, not using the tumble dryer, saving water and energy.

Mia
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Shippable Mother’s Day gift ideas


In Denmark, where my mum lives, we normally just give flowers on mothers day and no gifts. But since popping by with a bouquet of flowers isn’t that easy for me, with a ocean and a few countries between us, I normally send her a little something in the mail, just to let her know I am thinking of her.
But when it comes to sending a present, you need to consider shipping cost as well, when you are looking for something special to send. I have done the mistake a few times, once ended up paying twice as much in shipping, than I had payed for the nice tin of biscuits I was sending, which meant I could have bought her a silk scarf and it would have ended up being the same price all together.

So if you are having to ship your mothers day present like me this year, here is my list of thing I have sent in the past or are considering sending this year.


A Silk or light weight scarf is one of the best things to send, as they don’t weigh a lot and can often be folded very compactly, making it easy to send. They don’t have to cost a fortune if they are silk, I got a really beautiful one from Uniqlo last Christmas for only £9.95 and Accessorize has some really cute ones at the moment for only £12.00. 
But for this mothers day present as we are going into spring, this light weight one from M&S is super cute and very fitting as a mothers day gift with the mum and baby elephant print. 
Price £12.50. Click Here for more information.


Tea and chocolate, this was actually something I sent my mum last year, with a note saying “for you to sit back and relax for a few minutes”. Individual packed tea bags, like Fortnum and Mason or Pukka teas, are great for this, as you can take them out of the outer packaging and re pack them. Together with the BeyondDark chocolates buttons, that comes in small individual bags and are high in antioxidants, works really well together next to the tea bags and makes it easy to fit into any size box.
Click Here for more information on the BeyondDark chocolates.


A beautiful print is an easy thing to send in a hard back envelope, as long as you don’t exceed the A4 size. Small shops or museums shops like V&A often have some great ones, also Paperchase has some really nice ones currently. But for online finds, some good places are notonthehighstreet.com and Etsy.com. The one I am considering, I am even considering getting my self, as both me and my mum have a weakness for quirky cat art, is from Etsy.
£4.32 (plus exchange rate can change if you are buying from a seller outside the UK on Etsy). Click Here, for more information.


My mum has a small stamp size garden and love flowers, so think these flower seeds from The Kew Collection would be a great present to send. Not only is this a fun little present to send if you live in London, but she will get some flowers in her garden she might not have been able to get anywhere else and will think of you when they flower.
£2.29-2.99. Click Here for more information.


The last one is more of a thoughtful present and it would require using a bit of time on it. But if you are living in a different city or country than your mum, she would probably love a little insight into you daily life, so making a little Vlog of “a day in the life of you” would probably make her really happy.
I did a similar ting for my mum 12 years ago but with pictures, when I was studying in Nottingham, showing her where I lived, the collage where I was studying, city centre, etc. 
But now a days most people are able to record video on their phone and most computers have some sort of video editing program. Then just burn on a dvd or upload to youtube with a private setting and send her a link to it.

I do however have a little bit more time to get my mothers day parcel sorted, as in Denmark, it isn’t mothers day before 11th of May.


Mia

Eco Friendly March, week three


Week 2 was all about trying to get better indoor climate, click Here to read why and how week one went. But since you can’t really tell that much of a difference after just one week, I will just explain what changes I have made.
First thing I wanted to figure out was the candles, the reason why I wanted to look into getting a better indoor climate in the first place, as I had bought a bag of tea lights that made my house smell like gasoline.
From what I have gathered after reading up on the subject, it is mainly paraffin based candles and lead core wicks, that are not that good for you. So I found some Organic plant oil based tealights online to try out, though I am not sure I will buy these again, as I didn’t realise they were made from palm oil when buying them. The only difference with these from the normal tea lights I buy, is that they don’t have as big a flame, but I think that is down to wick being a pure fiber wick. They do however last a lot longer than my regular tea lights, about 2 hours longer, so I suppose what they lack in brightness they make up for in burning time. I have noticed a small difference in that I am not as tired late in the evening, but since the weather has been so much nicer this week, it can also be down to the house being more aired out from the open windows on sunny days.


Another way I found while searching for ways to improve our indoor air, is house plants. NASA actually did studies on house plans improving air quality, to use on space stations, and are shown to remove toxins in the air from chemical cleaners, paint and more. Now reading this, as I am literally living in a house we are currently renovating, definitely made me think about our current indoor air. I then contacted a friend who owns a decorating company, as I know they often work with a lot of healthier paints, and she told me that normal paint will give out fumes for up to two years of painting the walls and 5-10 years if you are using stronger paints, like oil based. 
Now how many plants you should have per square foot seems to varies from article to article, but most are saying a 6-inch size plant pot per 100 square foot living area. Plus they should be placed in areas where you spend the most time in the house, in my case around the bed, desk and sofa.
I did however find it quite funny that looking at pictures of the best plants to improve indoor air, they where all plant that I associate with elderly people, as I remember all of my grandparents having these plant all over their house….just makes you think that they might have known a bit more than we do. I am not super keen on all of the plants for my personal style, but I did find a few that seems to work in our house and I will slowly be acquiring more and more, as I find the place for them around the house. Now lets just hope I can keep them alive!
Click Here to see a list of the 15 plants that improves indoor air.


The third thing I found I could change is cleaning products, as some cleaning products will give off fumes from ingredients that aren’t that good for you to breath in. 
Now we were already using some of these products, but have now changed out all of them with non toxic ones. I don’t really feel that there is a difference in efficiency, except for maybe the toilet cleaner, but I think it is just a case of using it more often than I am used to. My favourite is definitely the Method surface cleaner, that literally dissolves any mess in 30 seconds, but without any strong smell that can make you cough or be uncomfortable to breath in when using it. 



Week three:
This is going to be a difficult one I think, but for this week I am going to challenge my self to not use the car and use my bike for errand instead. My husband has just done a spring check on my bike, making sure the wheels are keeping air and that everything is oiled up, so no excuse not to use it now. 

Second thing is not to get plastic bags when doing my grocery shopping. Now I already do that when I remember, but I do forget to bring my reusable bags quite often, or I will just get a few things on my way back from a long walk, where I didn’t bring a bag. So to set myself the challenge to not use any plastic bags for a week, will hopefully get me into a habit of not forgetting to bring my own bags when doing the grocery shopping.

Mia
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Eco Friendly March, week two


The first week of Eco Friendly march has gone surprisingly well and buying organic and fair-trade has been easier than I thought. Read first eco friendly march post by clicking Here.
My first concerns with this was how much more I would use buying only organic and fair-trade when possible, but since we sort of have a weekly food budget, I found it quite easy to just cut back on a few other things making me not go over our budget.

The thing I found had the biggest price difference is Chicken, we actually used 7 pounds more on chicken this week. Where as with beef there wasn’t that big of a difference in price than what we normally buy and there was a deal on diced beef this week, so we actually ended up saving money on that one.
The area I was really surprised by after gathering up the difference, was vegetables, where we actually only ended up using around 5 more than buying non organic vegetables and that is including all the vegetables we use for making juice and smoothies. Some things, like bottled tomatoes actually ended up being cheaper if you got the organic brand and some things didn’t even have that big of a price difference, like spinach that was only £0.10 more and is on the list of the fruit and veg you should eat organic, click Here to read more about about that.
Things I had a hard time finding was organic frozen berries, only place I found them was Whole Foods, but it doesn’t actually say organic on the packaging, but googling organic frozen berries the same brand comes up, so still a bit confused about that one.
The way we make our food budget work, was to buy less expensive meat and some days have a vegetarian dinner or have things like eggs that are a cheaper than meat as our protein at meals. Plus using up all your groceries and not waisting has also helped with the budget.


For the not waisting part I also think it went really well and only thing that got waisted was a tiny bit of spinach and kale that had gone bad over night.
Some food preparation that I was already doing, just meant a bit of re-thinking, because normally I was buying things to make them specifically instead of waiting until I had over ripe bananas or apples, for frozen bananas and apple sauce. We eat a lot of bananas at our house but they do have a tendency to become overly ripe over night, so when ever they do, I peel, cut into pieces and freeze. Great for healthy banana milk shake or in smoothies.
With apples that are past the eating stage, I just peel, cut into smaller pieces and cook with a bit of apple juice. When cooked and starting go mushy, then just blend, pour into small containers and freeze. Great for baking, in deserts or in yoghurt for breakfast, just take out of freezer a few hours before use to thaw.
But the best way of using up vegetables, I actually came up with one evening, while only having a few things in the fridge and didn’t want to go to the shops, was pasta sauce with vegetables. I only had a few mushrooms that was starting to go soft and a courgette that was a bit bruised, but together with some tomato passata in a jar, a bit of garlic and chilli, this made a really yummy tomato sauce. I think pretty much any vegetable will do, so a great way to use up vegetables. You can also blend it if you are not a big chunky vegetable fan, have kids who are just not vegetable fans in general or just make and freeze for a lazy day when you don’t feel like cooking. 


All in all I think this week was a success and I found it very enlightening, especially with which supermarkets that are best when buying organic, which in my case was Tesco Ekstra and the worst actually being my local Waitrose, that doesn’t have that many organic vegetables as I would have thought they would.
But it has definitely made me want to continue buying as much organic (preferably UK grown) as I can and I am even currently looking into getting an organic vegetable box subscription. Not only because buying organic doesn’t cost as much as I thought, but I have also found that the products have a lot more flavours and smell, than regular fruit and vegetables, so all around a convert.


Week two:
So for the next challenge I am going to set myself, is going to be to get a better indoor climate. Recently I kept being able to smell a gass/petroleum smell in the evening and after three days, I figured out that it was coming from our tea lights. When googling it, it turns out regular candles aren’t that good for your indoor climate. But this google search also led me to a some other articles on indoor climate, so for this week, I will reed up on what I can do to improve my indoor climate and try some of them out.


So stay tuned for next week if you want to know how I got on.
Mia
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Eco Friendly March, week one


As I wrote about, in a post last month, click to read Here, I am going to try and be a bit more eco friendly in the month of March.
So for my first week of challenging myself to be a bit more eco friendly, I am going to:

  • Buying organic and fairtrade
  • No food wastage 

Buying organic is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I used to be quite good at buying organic, but for some reason I don’t do it as much any more. But organic is not only good for the environment and the people growing them, but they are also a lot better for me as you won’t be getting all the chemicals from spraying, but they are also suppose to have a lot more nutrients in them.
Fair trade because it is just better for the people of the world.
And no food wastage, because I am a bit tired of find fruit and veg that have gone past eating stage and end up throwing it out. Firstly because I have paid good money for it and second because there are just being waisted way to much food on the planet every year.


So for this week I am going to buy organic and fair-trade groceries when possible and to calculate how much more it has cost me that week to do it. 
And I will come up with solutions to cut food wasting.


Stay tuned for my update next Monday 
Mia
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The month of March


So in January I did post mostly with the tag Healthy January, click Here to see, and in February my post have mainly been focused on Valentine, click Here to see
So continuing in the theme of themes and because this is something I have been thinking about as a personal thing to do for a long time, I thought I would make March Eco friendliness, natural month or something….if you have a good name, please let me now.
Not waisting and mending instead of buying something new, has always been a part of my childhood and some of the things I was brought up with still sticks to this day. But I also think that now a days things are very disposable and it is very easy to fall in to that way of life, I know I do that all the time. So lately I have been thinking a lot about how I could make some small changes in my life to be more eco friendly and natural, so what better way than to blog about it to keep me motivated.


I have a few products I have been wanting to make a review about that is more eco friendly and natural, and I want to try out more in the month of March, to review and see how they stand up to other products.
But I also want to set myself some challenges during the month, like small or big things I can do in my every day life to be more environmentally aware. My plan is, that I will try out things for a week, then do a “review” on how I got on and if it was something I would easily be able to continue with.


Now this isn’t an idea to convert others or a way to force people to be more eco friendly, this is simply me thinking “I should really find out what else I should recycle other than glass and cannes” or “I wonder if this is good for me” way to many times without doing anything about it. So thought if I find this interesting, the people who are reading my blog might also?


So if you know of ways to help the environment with everyday things and you want me to try it out, please let me know and I will try my best to try them out for one of the weeks……if they are not to crazy! Also if you know of any products that fits into this category that you want me to try, then also, please let me know.


Write any suggestions in the comments down below or send me a tweet @mia_olander 


Mia
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