Category Archives: Time for change

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Back in January I talked about my goals to reduce our household waste. So I thought I would do a little recap and see where we are at.

We have been doing okay with this in general, though there are some areas we could improve in:

  • We have not been as good on plastic bags as I would like, but we are recycling them instead of throwing them out as we used to do. It’s mostly an issue because I ensure I go for a walk at lunchtimes and often do some household shopping then and I don’t always remember to go to my car to get the eco bag first. Definitely something I need to work on habit wise.
    Eco Bags
  • Meal planning has also gone out the window for us for the most part just due to different crazy life things going on. I try to do it in my head a bit, obviously this is nowhere near as good as if I were doing it properly though so I really need to make an effort with this. Not only is it better for reducing waste, but it is also kinder on our wallets and better for our health because when I plan we end up with healthy well rounded meals.

Things we have done include:

  • I have done research into some of the things we buy and try to only buy items that have recyclable packaging (harder than you might think – though the redcycle program at Coles has helped a lot).
  • When it comes to items like egg cartons which are recyclable I will also look for opportunities for reuse. For instance our library storytime sometimes uses egg cartons for craft. In fact I found a flower craft recently for Mother’s Day that I sent through as a suggestion that uses egg cartons. This will mean that all staff’s egg cartons will be donated for the next few weeks to be used to create Mother’s Day gifts rather than being thrown out or recycled.
    Image result for egg carton flowers
    There are so many fun crafts you can do with egg cartons that I am actually going to save that for another post I think 🙂
  • Though we do not want junk mail it seems to keep magically appearing so I use the elastic bands from them on my frozen veggie bags once open to reduce the chance of freezer burn and recycle the junk mail. It’s only a little thing I know, but I also feel that that thought and little effort if magnified by many certainly counts.
    I also found out that my girlfriend who lives 30 minutes further bush than me doesn’t get junk mail at all so I now keep them for her and she recycles them after use.
  • When we next needed rice I bought a 5kg bag. Every one that sees it thinks I am crazy and it does take up a lot of room, but I used to buy the 500gram packet so I am literally saving 10 plastic packages and it saved me a BUNCH of money!
    We may not have sugar in our house, but if you need a cup of rice I am definitely your girl
    Image result for cup of rice cartoon
  • At work I have noticed that I have naturally become a lot more conscious of recycling and providing opportunities for people to learn more sustainable habits. No matter how small the scraps are now (from cutting out or whatever) I will put them in the paper recycling bin. I have also gotten into the habit of checking the staff paper recycling next to the internal printer for scrap paper as this is always in high demand at the library.
    Our Council has business card sized laminated signs with a cute cartoon of a light bulb reminding people to turn off switches. I have ordered some of these to place above the switches in our study areas as people often leave these on. I have also convinced Council to add recycling bins into all the libraries and centres (gyms and pools) which is amazing!!!
    I also had a chat with the guy from Council who runs eco programs like creating sustainable gardens, building terrariums and composting at home. It started with me offering to promote his programs in the library particularly on our social media sites. He was super excited about this and we are now talking about him possibly running some programs at the libraries which is amazing because we get a whole new slew of programs whilst our resource output would be minimal and we would be collaborating and networking with a whole new area of Council so I am pretty excited about this possibility 🙂

It was great for me to discover that I was able to make a difference at work as well as at home.

What changes have you made or do you suggest I make?


Reducing waste

For the last few months I have been thinking on possible ways that I could reduce waste in general personally, at work and for our household. I have done quite a bit of research on this, because you know… librarian. Whilst I am dedicated to reducing our waste in a number of ways I wanted it to be something (at least to start) that does not require massive sacrifices every day.

This has been an ongoing project for me. We started with our home. Whilst we still have all the creature comforts we could ever need we did consider a lot when building. For starters the house was supposed to have a fancy architectural void from upstairs to down which not only wasted power as far as aircon went, it also wasted usable space and the extra windows meant extra cleaning as well. So it had to go. Our toilets and two of our outdoor taps run off recycled water which I am so pleased about (even though it costs more and often doesn’t work for hours at a time) and our mailbox out the front is built from leftover bricks we have from our home. As far as air conditioning goes we have ducted air con in our house that is separated into zones, so on hot (or cold) days we can set the air con to only be on in the areas we are using which is awesome!

Image result for literary eco bags

I have been using eco bags for shopping for awhile, but I have been getting pretty slack with them to be honest. I have been recycling the plastic bags at the Coles supermarket REDcycling point though when we do our grocery shopping so that is something. For my Australian readers that are not aware Coles have a REDcycle program. You can drop off empty bread, cereal and frozen food bags, plastic shopping bags and other flexible plastic packaging and it is sent off and used to build outdoor furniture for Aussie primary schools and pre-schools. I have been making a much better effort with the eco bags though. They now always go straight back into the boot when we unpack the shopping. My aim is to stop using plastic shopping bags altogether.

One of the other big changes we have made is to stop buying store bought toilet paper. We now have a subscription to “Who gives a crap”. They send a massive box of forest friendly world helping toilet paper every 16 weeks to our door. The toilet paper is great and we feel good about the fact that 50% of the profits go towards building toilets for people who have access to none. Find out more about them here. Just now looking at their site I have realised that they now do tissues and paper towels too!

who-gives-a

Food wise to minimise waste I have for the past 2 weeks written a food plan for the week and stuck to it. This means I do not buy more than I will need which minimises the amount of food wastage in the house. The last two weeks the food wastage in our household has been almost nothing. Such an awesome outcome. Is it a bit of effort? Definitely, but I think it is worth it too. The flow on effect is monetary savings and rubbish savings because we are not buying all the extra junk we do not need.

Hubby and I have switched to paperless billing and statements wherever we have been able to. We have been using prescription services like STAN and NETFLIX and borrowing movies from the library instead of purchasing DVDs which has saved a LOT of money and as cheap as this sounds it means we can have a wine and popcorn night at home instead of going to the cinema which costs like $80 at Event these days! We are also planning to swap to rechargeable batteries for all of our remotes etc. We don’t have many items that require AA and AAA batteries anymore, but it would be nice to be able to reduce the waste these create.

 

Future plans:

I would like to have a veggie and herb garden up the side of our house as well as a passionfruit vine and a lemon and lime tree, but those will have to wait for a little bit. I am also considering a compost bin as this would help reduce the grass cuttings from our massive lawn. Currently we are not able to mow our front and back lawn in the same fortnight as the cuttings will not all fit in our council bin 😦

I plan to buy items like basmati rice and vegetable oil and cleaning products in bigger packaging so there is not as much waste.

Image result for carrying bulk rice bag

Well maybe not this big, but you get the idea. Buying in bulk reduces the packaging waste.

I have purchased a reusable BPA free water bottle. This encourages me to up my intake of water as well as not waste plastic bottles or drink as much soft drink or juice because I always have water on hand.

Cleaning wise I plan to do some research (AKA hit the library books) to look at some more cost and environmentally friendly options. Already I have swapped to microfiber cloth which often means that many marks on the walls etc. come off with just some hot water and elbow grease which is grand!

I would love to hear any suggestions that you have. I am pleased that so far my efforts have in general saved us money because we have some very good uses for that 🙂

 


The new Ghostbusters

NOTE: Will do my best to avoid any spoilers 🙂

So I saw the new Ghostbusters film. Actually I asked my Dad if he wanted to go see it on my birthday as I had taken the day off (Dad and I often go on movie dates), Mum decided to come along too which was great.

I had heard a lot of hate about the movie and therefore was not going in with really high hopes. And well… wow you guys.

I totally loved it. I laughed so much.

They basically completely ignored the existence of the other films, but still paid homage to them which I thought was great and there were all these little references to look out for.

I adored the female characters. They were so vibrant and funny and intelligent and awkward and I loved it. I have spent time thinking about why I enjoyed them so much since and I feel like this movie could be quite ground breaking.

The thing is that this movie does not walk around boasting about girl power or anything of the sort. What it does do is present 4 complex female characters who are intelligent in different ways, incredibly unique and I must say incredibly geeky. Not once do any of these characters waste time thinking they are losers or not good enough. They are completely unapologetic about who they are and they kick ass and invent incredible things and hire a dumb male secretary because they feel bad for him and he looks good. There is also ZERO relationship drama and not one of them is wearing skin tight body suits or short skirts or plunging tops.

ghostbusters-2016-trailers-tv-spots-posters1

Some seriously kick ass women in this film.

I NEEDED this movie as a teenager. Hell I NEEDED this movie now. If I ever have a daughter this will be mandatory viewing.

Each one of the actresses was amazing in their roles. They work so well together and obviously feed off of each other. I would love to know how much of this was off script 🙂 Chris Hemsworth was so good in this role. I think working with these ladies brought the best out of him as far as comedic timing goes. He was just so good in this role!

Can’t wait to purchase this when it comes out on DVD so I can watch it again. Mum and I have already declared a movie night for when it does 🙂

1000x600_ghostbusters_pops

Seriously awesome!!!


Losing my habit

Many moons ago I was studying for my higher school certificate (HSC for the Aussies, final school exams that give you your marks to get into University for everyone else 🙂 ), I had always had issues with exam anxiety. It wasn’t that I didn’t study or didn’t try, I just got in there and somehow convinced myself things were trick questions or they wanted more than what was on there or had blanks. It was a bad time. My grandmother was also very ill and going through cancer treatments.

One day I went to visit my grandmother with my Mum and the doctor chose that day to tell us that she would not be getting better. I blocked up all my reactions and when we left the hospital I kept striding towards the car until my Mum yelled for me to stop. I sat down on a short wall and started crying. My Mum had her cigarettes sitting next to her and I just took one and lit it. That was the day I first started smoking.

I was a pretty considerate smoker I believe. I stood away from people and crowds when smoking. I held the cigarette away from myself and blew the smoke away from myself to reduce the amount the smell stuck to me. I would also eat a mint, wash my hands and give a spritz of perfume after a smoke and like any decent person I binned my butts.

Because my hubby, siblings and mother smoke I have always found it very difficult to quit or cut down. I would also use smoking as an appetite suppressant and didn’t feel I could quit and lose weight at the same time and because I was always trying to lose weight I never really quit.

I always thought I would quit when I got pregnant. For many years of trying I didn’t think of quitting. Then when we found out how much IVF was going to cost us I decided I didn’t want anything risking it not working and I just completely quit on February 15 this year. One day I smoked the next day I just stopped, that evening I was sitting at a table whilst my Mum and Hubby enjoyed a smoke and a cuppa together and it was hard, but I didn’t smoke.

I have now not smoked for 155 days.

I am so very proud of myself. It was not easy. It was in fact very hard to break a habit I had for over a decade. I feel I am healthier for it. I used to always get bronchitis in winter, I have not (touch wood) had anything awful so far this winter (although I also had the flu vaccine for the first time this year). Whilst all my colleagues have been falling around me I have marched on with sometimes mild flu symptoms. I have been an asthma sufferer for years and since quitting I have not had one attack. Not one use of my inhaler. That is incredible to me.

Between quitting smoking and the IVF meds I did put on about 8kgs (my IVF doctor was not pleased) and my eating was just out of control because I was using food to fill the smoking hole. Last week I signed up with weight watchers to help get my eating back on track. In the first week I lost 2.4kgs so I feel like this was definitely a good move.

I knew going in that quitting smoking would be a long road. I was prepared to put on weight and wait for my body to get used to being without cigarettes before attempting to lose it and now I am ready to build a new lifestyle that does not include smoking.

It was a massive part of my life. My husband who generally succeeds at everything he does lasted half a day. I am not mad at him for this because I know how difficult it is. I believe in him and know he will get there.

I have had difficulty because I used to use a smoke as a time of stress relief. Suddenly removing that from my life I believe had a bigger impact than the cravings. To deal I replaced it with watching Netflix and eating chocolate basically everyday. As a chocoholic I must admit I loved this, but my fat jeans did not. They no longer fit 😦 It also did not solve the problem because I was avoiding de-stressing by submerging myself in another world. It was all still there when I turned the TV off at night.

After our fresh transfer for IVF failed I went into a dark hole. I knew I needed to make changes to help my mental health and help me heal from this devastating result. So we took a break from IVF to allow my body to balance out all the hormones and we vowed to stop having timed intercourse for a couple of months (anyone who has had to do this knows what it does to your relationship and we have been trying to conceive for 4.5 years now) and I decided to make some changes.

So what has this loss of habit brought me?:

I no longer have asthma symptoms, I can breathe easier, I don’t get sick as often and if I do I get over it pretty quickly.

My decision to change my lifestyle began 155 days ago when I quit smoking. I knew I was in for a long journey, but so far it has totally been worth it. I have been going to Pilates for 3 weeks and love it. Yesterday I added in some treadmill work before Pilates which my body was not used to, but was very good to me. Pilates has also helped my headspace. I plan to increase the number of times I do it a week because I feel that this could provide me with the de-stress I have been craving. Long soaks in the bath have also helped with this and finding ways to spoil myself a little that has nothing to do with food or smoking has helped with the de-stress too.

The combination of quitting smoking and having a break from IVF has hubby and I connecting like newlyweds, we are coming up on 9 years together and 5 years married and I can with confidence say that our relationship is everything  have always hoped for in a marriage.

Whilst I put on weight initially I am now losing it slowly in a healthy way and filling my body with awesome nutrition to support the beautiful embryo we have frozen just waiting for transfer.

Making the decision to lose this habit has had many positive impacts in my life. It was one of the bigger challenges I have faced in life and I am proud of myself for overcoming it.

 

Response to the discover topic The Things We Leave Behind

 

 


Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Harry Potter

2016

I have been a very, very naughty blogger. I have neglected you and I am sorry. Why have I abandoned you? Quite simply the crazy season was crazy and every minute I wasn’t committed to cooking, cleaning, celebrating, catching up or other such activities I was reading the Harry Potter series. I managed to finish the last book before the New Year.

I also realise I seriously owe you some 52 Books in 52 Weeks posts. I will get them done. Basically I am behind because I was reading too much and seriously surpassed my goal.

Let’s talk about resolutions… did you make any? I have done some over the past few years which were more like goals rather than resolutions and I will be keeping some of the ones from last year. So here are my goals for 2016…

  • 52 Books in 52 Weeks – yup, here we go again. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this, but I need to get better with my planning and posting. I was doing well last year until about half way through and then it all fell to pieces LOL.
  • Try new things – I have really enjoyed this and haven’t done as much of it in 2015 as I should have so I am bringing this back with a vengeance. I do often tie this in to trying new foods (particularly healthy foods) which is a great thing, but I want to get some more activity things in there too in 2016.
  • Healthy lifestyle – This is something that one constantly works towards I think. It is a choice you make each day. Hubby was good enough to gift me the Garmin tracker I asked for so my first goal for 2016 health wise is to keep my steps up each day. I have also been chatting to a friend at work and may have talked her into joining the work gym and being my gym buddy… we’ll see what happens there. Sadly I gym better when my commitment has been made to someone else rather than myself. I am also going to explore more foods, ways of cooking and preparing and organising my meals better.
  • Get knocked up – This is probably my biggest goal for 2016. Someway, somehow I want to be knocked up by years end. I don’t think this is too much to ask really is it? This means more to me than pretty much everything apart from my family. Please let this be my year. Fingers crossed.

What goals have you set yourself this year?


The Final Truth

* Trigger Warning: I am going to talk very seriously about eating disorders. These are my experiences and some might find the descriptions of emotions hard to deal with. Oh and also I swear 🙂 *

This is a hard subject for me to write about, but I have been inspired by another blogger’s honesty and felt it was time for some of my own.

In High School (and some of Primary School) bullies had me convinced I was fat and ugly, I was very good at hiding how much that affected me mentally. No one knew exactly how much I struggled because as it turns out I am an ace at bottling my emotions. Eventually I attempted to stop eating to lose weight convinced if I just lost weight I would be beautiful and the bullying would stop and when I found that too difficult I became bulimic. No one knew I had this problem, I was scarily good at hiding it and in fact managed to hide it in a family of 5 for many months.

Sometime later my best friend who I didn’t get to see often because she moved 40 minutes away was hospitalised because her organs were shutting down due to anorexia, seeing her that ill made me do some serious thinking. I knew about bulimics and had stupidly talked myself into believing that I wasn’t one because bulimics threw up everything and I only made myself sick if I ate something naughty. Seeing my friend hospitalised and being told she might not come out scared me good and I decided to make myself stop.

And I did stop. My girlfriend got better and we have since talked about our experiences, until recently she was one of two people that knew I ever had a problem.

The thing about this kind of illness is that the mental battle doesn’t ever completely disappear. To this day I know she struggles with it sometimes. So do I.

I have been on the infertility journey for four years come this New Year’s Eve, for most of that time I have managed to keep my shit together, but every time I go and see a doctor or a specialist and get told I need to lose weight and that I am not doing enough or working hard enough it sparks a battle I have to work very hard not to succumb to.

Do I over indulge in my everyday life, hell yes, and if I am truly honest it happens too often. To be even more honest *deep breath* I have recently come to believe that I think (particularly in the past) that some of my overindulgence is to prove I am okay. I know this sounds so stupid but it is sometimes almost a test, like “I can totally eat this cheesecake without having a war in my head”. Not all of it is this way and I think it is subconscious, I am not even positive as to whether this is true (mix this with being an emotional eater and I think you really have something); it is just a thought that has been circling for a while now. It is possible it started off this way (pretty sure that part is true), but has now just become my lifestyle, habits that I now need to go back and break.

For me it was also about control. As a teenager I felt so out of control of every aspect of my life, I couldn’t even succeed in controlling my eating, but I could control whether it stayed in my body.

This brings me to why I am bringing this up now. I had not made myself sick for many, many years, over a decade in fact without a relapse. Then the constant and intense pressure from the specialist started, if I do not lose 10kgs I will not be put forward for IVF.

Just to be clear, if I cannot lose 10kgs you guys, I might never have a biological child. Which means my parents and T’s wouldn’t get grandbabies from us and T will never be a father. That is a fuck ton of pressure to carry around with you constantly, every day and with every food and activity choice you make. Slowly but surely the little wars started going on in my head again, the wars got longer and the devil on my shoulder started to gain ground. Still I thought I had everything under control. Then I started to feel as though T wasn’t as serious and dedicated to having a child as I was. I felt like I had to have surgery to get my ovaries drilled and he couldn’t even commit to the nights we were supposed to have sex because his work kept calling him up. The prospect of the needles and complete invasiveness that is IVF had me terrified and I just felt that I had absolutely no control over anything.

Then one day… the devil one a battle.

A couple of weeks later he won another one.

The worst part about it was the complete relief I felt afterwards, then I felt ashamed for feeling so relieved. I was at a crossroads, I could see the two roads in front of me and I needed to make a decision.

One night cinched the deal.

T and I were supposed to have happy time that night, but once again something kept him away so I was left waiting in bed trying to stay awake. Instead of being mad at his work or at him for not telling them to call someone else I turned on myself and after berating myself with stupid friggen stuff that in reality was for the most part untrue or greatly exaggerated I felt a very strong urge come over me. I knew this was the moment. So I made a decision.

I held my body in a tight foetal position with tears running down my face until T showed up. It took a long time for me to get out what was going on. I danced all around the subject. Started with telling him how I felt about his commitment to trying for a baby and his priorities in regards to work. Then my feelings of complete terror surrounding going through IVF (the fear is real guys, I don’t know why, perhaps it is fear of the unknown, but sometimes it is paralysing which is ridiculous. I think I feel like IVF is our Hail Mary pass and if that doesn’t work it’s all over). Then finally I took a deep breath breathe and I told him.

I told my partner of 8 years (husband for 4) that I had been bulimic on and off for a very long time as a teen and that I felt it coming back. I told him everything you guys, what brought on episodes, the fact that I had already succumbed twice in a few weeks and that I was pretty fearful of the road I was heading down.

Then I started sobbing and asked him if he thought less of me, he said of course he didn’t. Then I begged him not to tell my Mum because I was ashamed (ahh fuck it now I am crying). This is ridiculous because my parents would never judge me for this, but I didn’t want to let them down. I also didn’t want to feel like everyone was watching me looking for signs of it worsening. For anyone who has suffered with mental illness or eating disorders (and I am sure many other illnesses) you know exactly what I am talking about.

I made a deal to talk to T when I started having these feelings to try and cut them off before they become all-consuming to the point where I lose another battle.

Interestingly since I have told him the one big thing about me that I have never shared I have not had one instance of being even close to relapsing. I feel as though knowing that even in this we are facing the battle together has made me stronger.

Addition:
I actually wrote this post 2 days ago and once I finished writing it I realised I should speak to my Mum so held off posting it until I had. She was okay and we talked about strategies to help me and everything. I feel better for being able to talk to her, but I really hadn’t wanted to add to her worries.


Upcycle – Birdcage succulent planter

One day I came across a beautiful vintage look birdcage that was a bit worse for wear and so had been cast onto the corner for garbage pick up. I loved the style of it and thought it would be a terrible waste to send it to the dump so I grabbed it and took it home. I have always loved the idea of upcycling and I decided I was going to figure out a way to make this into a beautiful planter.

Here is what I was starting with. Meanwhile check out the little photobomber I just discovered haha.

Here is what I was starting with. Meanwhile check out the little photobomber I just discovered haha.

I have no idea what this horrid, tacky, stubborn, pink, sticky crap was, but it was everywhere and a pain in the butt to remove!!! I resorted to an old toothbrush, boiling water and detergent, followed up with some alcohol wipes.

Evil pink stuff

Evil pink stuff

So once it was all clean and pretty it was time to decide what I was going to do with it. I had a vision of creating a succulent planter. The idea being that in time the succulents will grow and poke out through/overhang the bars. So I went shopping…

My haul :)

My haul 🙂

Then it was time to find out if what was in my head would translate well to real life [I should note that I know others have done this successfully, but I was doing it without any instructions from any of those people 🙂 ]. I lined the base with Coconut fibre to stop the soil from falling straight through the bottom of the cage.

Make sure you compress it well. I tried to make mine a bit like a nest with the edges raised.

Make sure you compress it well. I tried to make mine a bit like a nest with the edges raised.

Then I added in the succulent planting mix and my succulents. Here are some photos of the finished product 🙂

 

I chose succulents that would spread, grow and hang out between the bars nicely as well as flower in different colours.

I chose succulents that would spread, grow and hang out between the bars nicely as well as flower in different colours.

 

 

I am very proud of my first upcycle attempt. Especially considering there were no instructions… I am happy to report that there were no pieces leftover post construction 🙂