Mending

Bit of a confession before I start. I have chubby thighs. I know we barely know each other but it is relevant to the post I promise.

Chubby thighs run in my family and us ladies suffer from what I term “chub rub”. It’s a nightmare in summer when everyone else is wearing skirts and dresses and I’m still in 3/4 length trousers to avoid walking like John Wayne. But it also affects my clothes. I practically live in jeans and after a while I find that the denim, no matter how thick, starts to wear in between my legs.


These are my favourite summer trousers. They were originally upcycled from a pair of jeans with a hole in the knee and have since been patched and repaired between the thighs. The last time they were repaired it was a rush job as I found the hole as I was getting ready to go out, so I grabbed the first bit of fabric I could and patched them quickly so that I could still wear them.


To be honest I actually like the fact that the patch is much brighter than the denim although the downside is it draws attention to a body part I don’t really want people looking at! So I decided to make it a design feature. I put patches on other parts of the trousers for no reason other than to make the inner thigh patches look like they belong and are not there to hide chub rub holes!!


These trousers still have a lot of wear in them and by patching the holes I have prolonged their life. Do you have any clothes that could be mended instead of being thrown away?

Zero Waste Top Tips

I have been taking part in Zero Waste Week for 4 years now and have been slowly working towards reducing my waste. I am no where near Zero Waste but I am definitely better than I was.

So what tips can I offer for anyone thinking of trying to reduce their waste?

  • Don’t try to do it all at once – it can be very overwhelming at first so break it down into more manageable chunks
  • Do a waste audit. How much waste do you throw out on a daily basis and where does it come from. This will help you identify the areas you can work on. Which brings me to….
  • Pick an area to start – maybe you want to tackle food waste first, or your kids’ lunchboxes?
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself – No one is perfect, we all slip up.

Are there any other tips you think I should include? Please let me know in the comments below.

Good luck with your Zero Waste journey.

Trashless Tuesday

On Day 2 of this year’s Zero Waste Week I was challenged to see how much (or how little) waste I created in just one day. So here goes:


For full disclosure this picture is me and the two kids only. Hubby took his lunch to work in a reusable container and has cutlery in his locker but once he’s there I don’t know if he created any other waste.

There were also 2 dunker pots but Little Lady didn’t bring her empty one home. Now I do see the irony of the string cheese wrapper after I posted about using block cheese but it was requested and bought the night before they were due to go back to school from the corner shop that didn’t have block cheese. Once the packet is finished we won’t be buying them again.

The main two slip ups by me were due to lack of organisation. We usually use loose leaf tea in a tea pot but struggle to get it sometimes so we had bought tea bags the last time we went shopping. The pot noodle was also due to poor planning. It was quick and easy to prepare after a lunch meeting.

The crisps? Well I love crisps and haven’t really found an alternative that can be stored just yet. I’d be happy to hear your suggestions if you have any?

Tea was made with veg that came in our vegbox and pasta that had been decanted into a large glass jar last time we went shopping.

Overall I don’t think we did too badly. Yes there is room for improvement and yes on other days we will create waste that was not shown here (the empty pasta bag for instance). How did you get on? Do you produce more/less waste than me on an average day?

Waste

Today is day 2 of this year’s Zero Waste Week. The theme today is all about reducing waste. I wrote this post 4 years ago showing how I cut down on lunch box waste. Looking back now I can’t believe I wrapped her sandwiches in foil and bought pre packaged cheese! But just goes to show how little changes now can become lifetime habits. Hope you enjoy

Waste

Lately the issue of waste and the environment has been at the forefront of my mind. I have slowly been taking stock of our lives and living habits to see where we can cut back on waste.

One morning while doing the mundane (and mostly thankless) task of making packed lunches I realised that I could cut a lot of waste here and I was quite shocked.

This is what little lady’s lunches normally look like (with some variations).

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Little lady also takes fruit separately, which she eats at break time.

Where can I make changes? Straight away I can lose the foil. I mean her sandwiches are in a lunch box, in a bag! Seems a bit ridiculous to wrap them in foil too!

So foil gone. What’s next? Little lady’s treat. Her treat varies depending what niceties are on offer when we go shopping. These particular treats are individually wrapped but come in a box, in a plastic wrapper. Lots of packaging, and therefore waste there. With a bit of forethought and 20 minutes spent in the kitchen while baby D was having his nap and she now has home made (freezable) treats. I cut the welshcakes into little stars rather than the traditional circles so that they fit in her lunch box. We also stumbled across these fine(!) gadgets 2 for £1 in the pound shop, which makes her sandwiches a little bit nicer now they are naked (well we think so)

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I do like her lunch to be relatively good for her so I always try to add a cheese stick. There are again individually wrapped (easy for lunches) but in a packet. The individual wrapper goes in the bin at school so technically it doesn’t affect my waste but that’s not really the point here. We are still producing waste no matter where it is disposed of. This was the item that made me feel a little bit silly. I thought about how to reduce the packaging for a while before realising IT IS CHEESE!!!! I honestly can’t believe I have been buying these as well as the block of cheese that is a staple in our shopping. Just goes to show that marketing works. The individually wrapped cheeses “perfect for lunch boxes” fooled me for quite a while. Well no more. Today I cut my own cheese sticks from the block in the fridge. Less packaging and a slightly sheepish mammy!

So what does little lady’s lunch box look like now?

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Some naked homemade jam sandwiches, a home made treat, cheese cut from the block and a yoghurt.

Any ideas on what to do about the yoghurt? I am still quite stuck on that one so for now the long yoghurts will stay.

Bagging it up

No one can go completely zero waste in one go. It takes time and it takes effort. The good news though, is that small things can make a big impact. Small things like bringing your own bag to the shop.

Since the introduction of the 5p carrier bag charge here in the UK, there has been an emphasis on reusing plastic bags or even bringing your own cloth bag. Most of us now have a wide collection of “bag for life”‘s under the sink. But how often do we remember to take them with us?

How many of us have left a shop juggling our purhases because we don’t want to have to buy yet another bag?

Hmm, yes I thought as much 🙂

So……for the first day of this year’s ZWW I’m going to help you make a shopping bag that you can keep in your handbag. As long as you remember to put it back in your handbag once you’ve used it, you can tick off “refuse plastic bags at the checkout” from your Zero Waste checklist. Result!

You will need:

  • a piece of fabric (I used an old quilt cover)
  • Needle and thread
  • sewing machine (or you can handsew if you prefer)
  • an iron
  • A button
  • A piece of elastic/ribbon 8cm long

Instructions

  • Prewash your fabric if necessary
  • Measure and cut 2 pieces of fabric, 2 handles and 2 pieces of lining (not shown in picture) My fabric measured 45cms x 35cms and my handles measured 60cms x 6cms


Handles

  • Fold the straps in half lengthwise marking the centre fold line. Open up and fold the edges in to touch the fold line.

  • Fold in half again and press to conceal all raw edges

  • Sew all the way down the open edge

Main Bag

  • Measure 8cms in from both top edges of your main bag fabric and pin the short strap edge, taking care not to twist the strap
  • Pin the elastic/ribbon to the centre of the top edge on one piece.

  • Lay one bag piece right side (RS) to right side with one lining piece. I’ve used an old piece of fabric for the lining as it was what I had to hand. An old bedsheet is perfect for lining bags like this.

  • Sew (I used a 1.5cm seam allowance (SA) along the top edge catching the handles and the elastic. For added strength you can sew the very edges to the SA on the lining

  • Lay the “half bag” you have made down flat RS up and place the second piece RS down on top.
  • Match up seams and sew all the way around leaving a gap the width of your hand at the bottom of the lining (between the two black lines on the picture)

  • Clip the corners to get a sharper corner then turn right side out through the gap.

  • Sew the gap closed and tuck the lining into the bag.


  • Place the bag on the table with the elastic side up
  • Mark a dot 10cms up from the bottom of the bag in the centre

  • Sew a button at this spot. Make sure you sew it well as it will take quite a bashing if you use the bag a lot.

Folding your bag:

  1. Fold on long side into the centre by a third
  2. Fold the other side in over the top
  3. Fold the bottom up a third to reveal the button
  4. Fold the top down and tie the button.

(Or you can follow the picture below)

  • Pop in your handbag and voila!

I’d love to see pictures of your bag if you make one.

Zero Waste Week

What better way to start this blog than with Zero Waste Week? A whole week dedicated to reducing waste. It’s been going for 10 years and technically I have taken part for the past three years but I’m not entirely sure last year’s failure counts!

Zero Waste Week always makes me look at the way that I live and the things that we do as a family, to see if there’s anything we can change to reduce our impact on the planet.

Three years ago we worked at getting D out of disposable nappies by potty training. The week itself was a disaster but we had cracked it by the end of the month. Two years ago I pledged to have a handmade christmas, and looked at various gift and gift wrapping ideas.

This year I am looking at reducing waste through making, mending and upcycling. I will be posting every day during the week and also posting content on twitter with the other ambassadors, so please join us.

Before I go if you would like to support the work done by Rachelle then please do donate to the cause. You can do so by clicking the following link zerowasteweek.co.uk/donations

Hello

Well hello! The first post on my new site. It feels like the first page of a new diary or notebook. The pressure not to spoil it is huge! I think I’ll start simply and introduce you to me and my family.

I’m Nicola, I live with Hubby and our two children – Little Lady who is almost 10 and D who is almost 6. I have been blogging over at a lifetime of diy for a number of years but recently I have been wondering where the blog is going. It seems to have lost it’s way and I like to have a focus. That’s where this shiny new blog comes in. I will focus here on the little steps my family and I are taking to reduce our carbon footprint and to live more sustainably. I do like to run and I may veer off topic every now and again but I will try to keep mostly on topic.

I would be very happy if you wanted to join us on our journey.

You can find me on twitter as @mehubbyandkids and a Facebook page dedicated to this blog is in the works.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to documenting my journey.