A glass bottle turnaround…..

Last week I received this email from my doorstep delivery service:

(Actually it was sent to me in error as I don’t get plastic bottles but I’m so glad I received it!)

This note marks an amazing turnaround for the UK milk delivery industry as, only a few years ago, they were planning to cease glass bottle production altogether (see my blog post here).

I recently bumped into a representative from Milk and More (formerly Dairy Crest) as he was knocking on doors trying to encourage my neighbours to get a doorstep delivery. He explained that the public are so much more aware of the problems of plastic and since the ‘Blue Planet’ series, interest in reusable glass bottles has dramatically increased. In fact Muller (who own Milk and More) were investing in their own glass bottle factory.

It’s amazing what a change in public attitude can do! So when you wonder if ‘doing your bit’ for the environment really makes a difference, the answer is YES!!!

Thrifty Finds: first week in October 2018

thrifty finds2I can’t believe it’s October already! I’m starting to hear the Christmas word but I am really not ready for it ….!

Last week’s Thrifty Finds included:

1. I went shopping at the local greengrocers and used my reusable Onya bags. I’d forgotten that this grocers has a loyalty card scheme so was able to earn a few stamps 🙂

2. Talking of loyalty cards, I did download the Caffè Nero loyalty app for my weekly latte treat .But it only gives one ‘stamp’ per coffee – whereas I always get two stamps on my paper card for bringing in a reusable cup. I know I should use the paper free version but I like getting my two stamps!

image4. My collapsible Stojo coffee cup (as above) has proved so handy that I’ve ordered two for friends’ birthdays these month.

5. Finally I was given a huge haul of tomatoes from a friend who had a glut of them at her allotment. I plan to turn them into roast tomato soup to take to work (working in the centre of Bath means there are 101 lunch places so bringing in my own lunch helps with the purse.)

Do you take lunch to work, and if so, is it sandwiches or leftovers?

This Week’s Thrifty Finds: Week Four, June 2018

thrifty finds2

How was your week? The weather here has just got hotter and hotter 🙂

This past week my Thrifty Finds have included:

  1. I used a money-off voucher to buy my favourite brand of eco spray cleaner.
  2. I quickly devoured the book, ‘Les Parisiennes’ which I had bought from a charity shop last weekend. It’s so great when you lose yourself in a book and all you want to do is find some time to read it. In fact I was enjoying it so much that I spent half an hour in a coffee shop last Wednesday morning before starting work!
  3. Last Saturday my husband and I spent a lovely morning by ourselves browsing the shops in our nearby town. He had walked the five miles there (!) and I drove the car to meet him. We had a coffee and explored some charity shops (he bought a book – I was tempted by six Babycham glasses but they were £20 so resisted).
  4. I also managed to do some plastic free food shopping. For the first time I bought some meat and used my Tupperware boxes to put them in. The butcher didn’t blink an eye when I asked for the burgers and sausages to be put in the boxes. Apart from the wax paper for the burgers, there was no waste 🙂

5. Tonight is my daughter’s prom. A while back we bought a simple evening dress from Debenhams and asked a local seamstress to alter it for a very reasonable rate (she hopes to get it shortened again after prom to wear as a party dress). She has a very low key prom in that she is just going with one friend and I am driving them there in our Vauxhall Zafira (!). She’s not going to an after party and, instead, is having a sleepover with her friend. I quite like the simple approach has taken to Prom as these events can become very expensive and hyped up.

Hope you have a good – and Thrifty – week and take care in this heat 🙂

This Week’s Thrifty Finds: Week Three, June 2018

 

 

 

 

Last week we celebrated the end of my daughter’s GCSE exams with a camping trip 🙂 We meet up once a year with my school friends and, what has grown from five of us plus partners, is now a total of 20! It’s a wonderful opportunity to catch up, eat lots of food and enjoy the outdoors. The children all get along really well and it’s lovely to see them away from screens and climbing trees and having adventures.

  1. For camping food I took a lot of what we already at home: in the store cupboard and the freezer. I made some hummus from scratch using some chickpeas I’d had for a while. I also managed to buy some unwrapped fruit and veg (for the carrot saga take a look at my Instagram posts!)

2. We also borrowed a camping table from a friend, rather than buy a new one for the trip.

3. While camping we browsed the local charity shops (charity shops in Marlborough, Wiltshire, are packed with some real goodies – post to come soon!). I picked up three books from the Oxfam shop – one of which had been on my wishlist for a while:

 

4. My youngest daughter also picked up a book for 10p from the Dog’s Trust shop.

5. I was also proud that we managed to use just our glass milk bottles on the camping trip. I had searched for a screw top lid for the milk bottle as the foil one doesn’t stop the milk from spilling once opened. But no luck. Then I remembered I had a glass bottle left over from a free sample of orange juice, that did have a screw top lid. So I was able to take two pints and just decant an opened pint into the glass bottle with the lid. Problem solved and no need to buy any new gadget!

Do you have any thrifty camping tips to share? Or any ideas for camping with less plastic? I’d love to hear them!

This Week’s Thrifty Finds: Week Two, June 2018

thrifty finds2

In last week’s post I mentioned that Tuesday 5 June was World Environment Day. This year’s theme was  #BeatPlasticPollution  and I thought I’d post how I got on my trip to London:

  1. I took my new Stojo cup which had mixed results. It folds away beautifully and, as long as you have the sleeve securely attached, is fine to handle. Each time I handed it to a Barista I emphasised about holding it by the sleeve, as the rest of the cup is quite flimsy. However I couldn’t secure the lid without some of the hot liquid spilling out 😦 Thankfully I didn’t get burnt but my trousers did smell of coffee for the whole day! I was glad I’d packed my cotton hanky which meant I could mop up spillages. I’m going to work on tightening that lid and practising drinking out of the Stojo cup at home.                                        The trip to London was pretty waste free, though, and I avoided all single use plastic. I took my parents to an exhibition at the V&A and, while the Exhibition Road café only served out of disposable cups, the main café used proper plates and cutlery. Oh, and the exhibition was good too!
Ocean Liners: Speed & Style ay V&A Museum June 2018

Ocean Liners: Speed and Style Exhibition, V&A Museum, London

2. I was able to get half price entry to the exhibition as I had previously purchased an Art Fund Pass. By buying it through my work (we are members of the Art Fund) I was able to get it for nearly a quarter of the full price! I’m going to make good use of the pass by planned trips to the Ashmolean in Oxford and a return trip to the V&A to see the Frida Kahlo exhibition in August.

3. On more plastic free news I managed to refill my BioD washing up liquid at the health food store in Bath. I also asked the assistant if I could bring any bottle to refill there and she enthusiastically said ‘yes’! I don’t know why the store in Corsham won’t accept any plastic bottle: surely it’s better to reuse what you’ve got instead of buying more plastic just so it matches the brand?

refilling at Harvest Natural Health, Walcot St, Bath

4. On Saturday we went to see the Degree Show at University of West of England (where my husband works). I did have a coffee cup fail as I picked up a free tea in a disposable cup (my Stojo was in my bag in another location) 😦 On a positive note I was pleased to see this bin offering up unused items from the Fabrication Dept:

IMG_2503

5. On a final note, my middle daughter and I are still really suffering with hay fever (my daughter in particular). I’ve bought loads of medication and herbal drops for us and been following lots of advice. So, counter to my ‘green’ credentials, I’ve had to keep every window closed during this warm weather and am no longer hanging clothes out to dry on the line. It breaks my heart but the misery that this pollen is causing means I have to take these precautions 😦

Is anyone else suffering from hay fever? Any advice/cures would be greatly appreciated!

This week’s Thrifty Finds: Week One, June 2018

IMG_2463

 

 

How has your June been so far? It’s been very warm here but the pollen count has been really high, making it almost unbearable at times ☹️ But I’ve still got out and enjoyed the garden.

1. My parents bought us a new set of garden furniture and we were able to free cycle the old table and chairs. They were collected within two hours of posting!

2. I also donated a bag of children’s things to a local charity shop.

3. A friend gave me the most beautiful bunch of roses from her garden. She had taken my daughter camping for the Bank Holiday so it should have been me giving her flowers! They smelt sooo amazing 😄

 

IMG_6554

 

4. After being caught out (again) last Saturday by not having space to pack a reusable coffee cup I treated myself to a collapsible Stojo cup. It’s amazing! It works as an ordinary cup but collapses to pocket size. There’s no excuse now for buying single use!

image

image

5. I also managed a (nearly) plastic free trip to the local town. Buying from the greengrocers is easy peasy using my produce bags or buying the items loose. I managed to buy a whole chicken wrapped just in a plastic bag (without a tray) from the butchers, but I failed to get an Ecover refill at the health food store as I had bought in the wrong bottle ☹️ Apparently they can only refill from Ecover bottles!!

Tomorrow (5 June) is World Environment Day and this year’s challenge is to avoid single use. Follow #BeatPlasticPollution to find out more. I’m going to London tomorrow so will try to avoid plastic packaging all day. I’ll let you know how I get on…

 

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (29 January – 4 February 2018)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

 

 

At the weekend I had a trip away with my university friends. This meant a little bit of planning and plastic-free packing – and a second-hand purchase to keep me warm on our city break.

  1. I was in need of a second winter coat. Although I have my gorgeous second-hand orange coat it is not waterproof or really, really warm. I do have a waterproof Seasalt coat (once again bought from a charity shop) but it is now too small for me 😦    So this past week I have been trawling Bath’s shops on the hunt for a second-hand winter coat. I found the perfect one in the Dorothy House charity shop for £15. It’s really, really warm, has a detachable hood and is a longer length than my other coats. Despite being one size too big for me, it fits well over bulky jumpers and layers. It proved the perfect coat for our trip to Birmingham.
  2. I also got my warm, fur lined boots re-soled. I have had these boots for years and they are so warm and cosy. However they were worn and starting to leak. I paid a fairly hefty sum to get them re-soled but feel pleased because a) I wouldn’t find a replacement for the cost of the repair and b) I’ve extended their life a little.
  3. While packing for my trip away I made sure to add my reusable straw, spork and reusable coffee cup. However I forgot my water bottle and had to buy a single use one. I also forgot to ask for a no straw when I ordered a drink (why do all drinks have to come with straws?) but did manage to ask for ‘no straw’ when I ordered a cocktail.

4. We are now without a kitchen for the next three weeks while we have building work done. So I have cancelled our veg box delivery as there is no room to store the veg. I’m afraid we will be living off pub meals, toasted sandwiches, microwave meals and some slow cooker meals  – however a friend has offered to feed us on Saturday night and another friend has offered the use of their house next week during the school hols if the building work gets too much!!

 

 

I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Advent Calendars: love ’em or hate ’em?

 
Every year my children receive chocolate advent calendars from their generous grandparents. However this year I was able to buy paper calendars for the girls from Oxfam – which received a mixed response 😦
I personally believe that traditional paper calendars are better than chocolate ones – but am I being mean, and a little old fashioned?
These are my thoughts on why they are better:
1. A paper advent calendar gets better day by day: each door reveals a new picture and by the end of advent you have a joyous Christmas scene.
2. However by 24 December chocolate calendars are a mess of torn cardboard, ripped foil and plastic packaging: hardly festive!
3. Why do multi national confectionary companies (such as Kraft) get to tell us how to celebrate advent? And don’t get me started on the £95 L’Oréal advent calendar, or the heavily criticised £50 one created by Zoella.
4. At the end of the day, traditional calendars can be recycled. However the mess that is left behind by the chocolate ones makes them difficult to recycle, only adding to the 736,571 tonnes of rubbish that is created each Christmas.
5. There is enough over consumption and debt generated at this time of year anyway. Why not buy a simple charity calendar and enjoy the mindful task of opening a door each day to reveal a picture, rather than wolfing down chocolate (which doesn’t even taste that great!)
What are your thoughts on advent calendars?
Paper or chocolate?
Or do you own a perpetual calendar: one that can be used again and again? Some families also take part in ‘reverse advent calendars’: donating an item a day to a local foodbank.
I really enjoy reading the ideas and projects from New Dream, a not for profit organisation which is working to challenge American perceptions of consumption and consumerism. They produce an online advent calendar here, filled with ways you can step off the consumption conveyor belt at this time of year.
I really recommend reading their website and looking at some of the ideas they have to ‘Simplify the Holidays’.

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (16-23 July)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.comHow was your week? The kids broke up for the summer on Friday and, beforehand, I was really busy finishing off my end of school year jobs list. However I did manage to find some time to myself and go on a very successful Thrifty Finds shopping trip:

  1. I bought a few more items on my summer holidays clothes list: a pair of navy shorts and khaki vest top for just £1.99 each from the British Heart Foundation shop; this brand new blue dress for £8.49 from the same shop:

 secondhand, charity shop, navy dress, British Heart Foundation

I think I will wear this to work with leggings, as well as taking on holiday.

I also fell in love with this Henry Holland/Debenhams print dress, which was £8.50 from the Julian House shop:

charity shop Thrifty Find secondhand dress

You know when you see something on a rail and you have to have it? This was how I felt about this dress. Every so often on my secondhand shopping trips I get a real emotional response to an item of clothing and am reminded why I love charity shopping: amidst all the ill fitting Primark and Tesco cast offs there will be a unique outfit that I know no one else will be wearing. What I love about this dress is the style (Tea Dress, just above the knee so perfect for holidays), and the 80s style pattern: geometric blocks and – for some reason – horses and carriages!

2. As well as my successful clothing haul I also found some activity books for the kids to take on holiday. I’m not a big fan of comic books (especially when they have plastic tat stuck to the covers). I often find unused activity books in charity shops which are a cheaper alternative.

3.The children broke up from school on Friday and I completely failed at bringing in any Thank You presents. Instead, the Teachers and Teaching Assistants received personalised thank you cards from the girls.

4. My husband and I went on a weekend trip to London to catch up with old university friends. It wasn’t particularly cheap but I did reduce our train fare costs by buying single, instead of return tickets.

5. I also took my trusty zero waste essentials with me – reusable coffee cup and water bottle. However, once more I failed on the plastic straw front. I didn’t even think to ask for ‘no straw’ when ordering a glass of lemonade at a restaurant. However I did refuse their disposable handwipes.

 

 

I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

 

We are definitely on countdown to the end of term and I have a lot of Thrifty Finds purchases to make this coming week.

Meanwhile, last week’s Thrifty Finds included:

  1. I found a couple of items on my holiday clothes list:

The white shirt cost £10 from the Save the Children store in Bath. Although it is slightly pricey it was in excellent condition and just what I had been looking for. Over the years I have picked up a couple of cheesecloth shirts from charity shops. The fabric is just so lovely for wearing over tops in the summer. Despite breaking my Golden Rule of never taking anything WHITE on holiday (it’s a pain to keep clean and also to wash) it will be going in my holiday suitcase.

I also picked up the blue playsuit from the same store for £7. I do like it, and it will be great to wear with swimwear on holiday. However I’m beginning to wonder if it is a little too small…

Anyway, two things ticked off the list!

2. This past week – and this coming one – are really busy. I am home alone with the kids, and it’s drawing toward the end of term with all the concerts, shows, presents etc to arrange. So I have spent some time writing out a schedule so that I can be organised, and know where I need to be and when. I also cancelled a couple of appointments at the weekend just so I could take a breath……

3. Which brings me to the thorny subject of Teacher’s Thank Yous. I have written here and here, both on my attempt to produce affordable gifts – and to also step off the conveyor belt of the End of School Year. This year I, once again, purchased some personalised thank you cards for the girls to write their own messages in.

4. My daughter spent the week taking part in an amazing work experience opportunity at The Egg Theatre in Bath; a purpose built children’s theatre adjacent to the Theatre Royal. She had a wonderful week: working with other students to produce their own show, and learning all about budgets, behind the scenes work, costume buying, marketing etc. She applied for this work experience on her own and I am very proud of the initiative she used. We also got to watch the show at the end of the week for just £4 each. The entire week was fully funded as well and has really inspire her to pursue a career in the arts.

5. On Saturday we had one of the best events of the year in our village! For the second year running The Festival on the Hill was held in three venues and featured some brilliant local bands. Tickets were only £10 each. I also got to use my reusable plastic pint glass for all my drinks 🙂

 

You can also share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram