Almost 4 years ago I wrote this blog post about teabags containing plastic. I was absolutely horrified to realise that I had been ingesting plastic (albeit tiny amounts) but it did explain why I kept finding the bags in the compost bin.
We made the switch to loose leaf tea and we’ve used that ever since. However, that’s not really the end of the story, as the most convenient form of loose leaf tea (supermarket rather than trekking into Cardiff) still comes wrapped in plastic *sigh*.
So it was great to read that PG Tips are switching to plastic free, fully biodegradable tea bags (article here). The Co-op are reportedly following suit with their Fairtrade tea going plastic free by the end of the year.
Hopefully in their rush to remove the plastic from their teabags, they won’t overlook their packaging.
Still, it’s all a step in the right direction.
Pen-y-Fan is the highest peak in South Wales and a popular attraction for both casual and accomplished climbers. It is 886 meters above sea-level and is owned by the National Trust.
There is a very well cared for path to the top and although steep, the terrain itself is pretty smooth. Hubby had a few days off and he and I decided to take the kids. We packed some sweets and some sandwiches, wrapped up warm (the weather was showing -5* at the summit) and set off.
Despite the cold there were already a lot of people on the mountain and the kids were keen to set off.
Here’s D with his “ready to climb a mountain”pose 🙂
As we climbed we came across the odd bit of snow at the sides of the path and the kids were very excited.
The views as you climb Pen-y-Fan are breathtaking.
As is the view from the top
D especially found the climb hard going, but in fairness to both of them, they were both determined to reach the top.
The classic “top of Pen-y-Fan” picture.
I was (and still am) so proud of the two of them. It is not an easy climb and with D’s little legs it took us an hour and a half to climb the 2 miles to the top. With the endorphins pumping from the accomplishment both stated that they can’t wait to do it again. You never know maybe we’ll make it a regular thing.
Continuing with our quest to have a plastic free bathroom, the kids and I have changed over to bamboo toothbrushes.
I was slightly apprehensive as I’ve read some negative reviews where the bristles fall out after a few uses.
I had my mind changed by the lovely Claire who owns Plant2Plate in Caerphilly town centre. A caterer by trade she has recently branched out into environmentally friendly and plastic free products.
I first became aware of Claire and her lovely shop through Facebook and decided to go and check it out. She had some lovely products and says that she doesn’t stock anything that she doesn’t use herself. We talked about the toothbrushes and she showed me what she had.
I decided to pay a bit extra and skip the economy version as I was still unsure over the quality of the bristles. This brush cost me £2.50 which is more than I usually pay as I normally pick the cheapest one available. The kids also wanted one each (the children’s version was slightly cheaper) so I bought one each for the three of us.
Unfortunately I seemed to forget about hubby so I’ll have to go back and get him one next time I’m in town.
We’ve used them now for over a week and the bristles are holding fine. They are softer than the normal toothbrushes I buy and the handles are thinner so it took D a bit of getting used to.
Both Little Lady and D seem to like them. There’s a lot less fuss when I ask them to go brush their teeth now and their teeth do seem to be getting a better brush than usual too. Let’s hope that keeps up.
As an added bonus the packaging is recyclable too.
Have you tried a bamboo toothbrush? What was your experience?
The South Wales valleys are full of history and we are so lucky to have a lot of places near us that can tell us our history.
One of my favourites is the National Museum of Welsh Life in St Fagans near Cardiff.
It is just so beautiful. Seeing the old buildings as you walk around.
Like this old pig sty.
Or this water mill
There’s even a school room where school groups can dress up as Victorian schoolchildren and experience school life with quills and ink pots. They even have Victorian era toys to play with on the yard outside.
If you’ve got time it’s also well worth visiting the olde worlde shops.
The visitor centre itself has recently had a facelift and it looks incredible. It’s a must on our half term to-do list.
I recently wrote about our attempt to make bath bombs and how the first attempt had gone awry due to an issue with the recipe. We had to have another as the kids were desperate to have homemade bath bombs in their bath.
A quick search of the internet and I found a recipe that worked on The Soap Kitchen. They suggest
300g Bicarbonate of Soda
100g Citric Acid
10ml of fragrance (we used less than this)
We also added a 6yr old’s handful and a half of dried rose petals.
When mixed they gave a much better texture and held together better. I had bought small round moulds and this mixture gave us 6 balls.
They’ve been used in the bath and the verdict is mostly positive. The main negative came from me and that was that there were waaaaay too many rose petals left in the bath once they got out lol! If you have a 6yr old to use as a measuring tool, maybe suggest only 1 handful 😉
If you use this recipe please let me know how you find it. I’d love to have your views too.
In my last post I told you about our bath bomb experience. The kids thought it was great fun and can’t wait to do it again.
The point of making our own was to cut down on the plastic wrapped versions you can buy in the shops.
It didn’t quite work out very plastic free though as the ingredients came wrapped in so much plastic it was unbelievable!
Each individual item was in a plastic bag, two of which was in another plastic bag.
One of the items, the honey powder, had a plastic tub option instead of a plastic bag so I chose that thinking that at least the tub could be reused. But the tub came wrapped in so much cling film it was unreal!
I was pretty disappointed to be honest and will be looking for another source for the ingredients.
Have you ever done anything trying to minimise plastic use that ended up a complete fail?
In my last post I told you about our trip to Berlin.
As a family we do try to be as environmentally friendly as we can. We have cut down on a lot of our plastic use over the past few years and are conscious of where we can improve.
Knowing we had a big train journey ahead of us we packed sandwiches, home made snacks and drinks. But I have to admit I did succumb to a cuppa on the last ICE train and when hubby went to buy it he treated us to a bar of chocolate each too.
Neither the drink nor the chocolate was really needed but I wanted a hot drink and the cafe on board was only too accessible.
The drink came in the usual one use takeaway cup with a plastic lid. I felt guilty that I hadn’t brought my own cup to put the tea in.
Since we’ve been home I have been researching collapsing reusable cups to carry in my handbag in case I fancy a cup of tea while out and about again. Something like this…
Or something like this maybe….
We did have one of these and I lost it oops! Please don’t tell Hubby!
But there is so much choice. Does the plastic in a reusable cup outweigh the plastic in a single use cup? Is it small enough to fit in my handbag so that it can go everywhere with me? I don’t want to end up buying something that doesn’t fit the purpose.
I’d love to know if you have any recommendations before I buy anything.
Do you use a portable reusable cup already?
We have just got back from a last minute family holiday to Berlin. And by family I mean pretty much all of us – me, hubby, the kids, my mum, my stepdad and my sister. Seven of us spending the week together. Recipe for trouble right?
Actually it wasn’t. We had a fantastic time. Although I do think my sister has seen enough of her niece and nephew for a while now 😉
My stepdad isn’t allowed to fly due to medical issues so we looked into other options and found we could go by train. The Eurostar took us from London to Brussels, an ICE train from Brussels to Köln and a second ICE train from Köln to Berlin. 9 hours altogether which sounded like a nightmare.
I was genuinely surprised by how easy it all was. Each train was on time, clean, comfortable and the journey was just so easy. I would definitely consider doing it this way again.
We did a lot of sightseeing and even went on a Hop on Hop off tour bus around the city. This was probably the warmest way to do it as temperatures were in minus figures the whole time we were there. We even had snow!
Both myself and my step dad have been to Berlin before. Him, as part of his time in the army 40 years ago, and me, as part of a school history trip 20 years ago (that makes me sound so old!) The city has changed so much and we barely recognised it. On the plus side, it was clean, easy to navigate and the people were really friendly and tolerant of my basic German skills.
The only negative thing for me was the amount of beggars there were. I found it hard that (1) there were so many of them and (2) they were quite pushy asking for money. I know that it’s not their fault, that homelessness is a major problem and all countries (and individuals) could probably do more to help the situation. It just made me very sad to see it.
Since coming back we are all still talking about it and I think we would definitely go back again should the opportunity arise.
Have you ever been to Berlin? Or the Germany?
2018? Another year gone. Time certainly does fly as you get older!
I’ve seen so many “New Year, New Me” posts across the whole of social media over the past week and while it is nice to see people setting goals for the year ahead, how many of them are realistic?
I know I’m guilty of it. It’s easy to get swept away with the glamour of new diaries and blank calendars and think “this is the year I….. <whatever>” But then the real world kicks back in, the mundane day to day stuff and it’s easy to get sidetracked. To put things off til tomorrow, til Monday, til… well any day that isn’t today.
I’ve tried to keep that in mind while setting myself goals for 2018. I like having targets to aim for but I can get downhearted if they turn out to be unachievable. So I’ve dialled it back this year. No big sweeping status, no grandiose plans. Just a list of things I’d like to do in the house, things I’d like to do with the kids and things I’d like to work on personally.
I hope to write here a lot more often and I’d like to share with you both the work we are doing in the house and the steps we are taking to live a more sustainable life. And I’d love it if you would join us as we negotiate the unknown that is 2018.
I wish you all a healthy and happy new year.