Billow

I havenโ€™t written here in a long time.

But this does not mean that I havenโ€™t had anything to write about; on the contrary, I have discovered and thought of more and more posts that I would like to write and share. They have been swimming in my head for a long time.

 

It has been a combination of being busy, getting busier, writerโ€™s mental block and wanting to change the blog before starting to write again that has prevented me to so.

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Mimi Joung: Maker of Vessels of Wonder

Do you ever think about how things are made?

There are so many things that we use every single day, we probably don’t even give them any thought, they’re just there waiting to be used, yet again. But how are they made? Where do they come from? What’s their journey from being raw material to being a staple of our everyday life?

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Vegucation, Indieness and Filth

It’s half past January.

Happy new year!

 

2014's last sunset I captured

2014’s last sunset I captured

 

How are you finding 2015 so far?

I’m not sure I have any particular new year’s resolutions, but I do hope this year is even better than last year with more trips, new discoveries and inspiring people.

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I Wish Every Day was VegFest Day!

Yesterday, 27th September, I went to Kensington Olympia for the London VegFest event. I was very excited to be going for the first time and rightly so: it was great!!!

VegFest is a 2/3-day vegetarian & vegan lifestyle show that takes place in London in September, in Brighton in March and in Bristol in May.

There were more than 200 stalls with great food, beauty products, clothing, cooking tools, tons of delicious samples offered by the food stalls, talks about vegan food, lifestyle, vegan raw diets and campaigns, book signings, performances,

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Swap Before You Shop

It’s not a secret that in what is considered to be the First World we are actively and constantly encouraged to buy and consume as much as possible.

This “use-and-throw” disposable culture is very damaging for the planet and its resources – just think of the water cost everything has – and instills a frame of mind where as soon as there is something wrong, or a slight malfunction with any object “It’s broken” and therefore “You might as well get rid of it, it’ll be more expensive to try to fix it anyway!”.

In some cases this unfortunately is true, however with a little effort we can first of all prevent damage, then we can also try to fix things such as clothes etc.

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100 Ways to be More Sustainable – 100th Post

Hello everyone, this is my 100th post! ๐Ÿ™‚

I started this blog on 5th February 2012, over 2 years ago, and have finally got to the 100 mark.

As I started off with the idea of writing a blog that would show that acting more sustainably can be easy and have benefits such as saving energy, money and pollute less, I thought it would be a good idea to write about 100 ways to be more sustainable for the 100th post ๐Ÿ™‚

 

First, though, I would like to thank you.

Thank you if you are reading this, thank you if you have been following me since the start, since last year or if you are a new follower.

Thank you for every “like”, comment and share. Thank you for supporting me in my little mission.

 

Now, to the more practical side of things.

Everything we do has an impact on the environment, this impact can be more or less sustainable, if we think of it as “capable of being maintained as a steady level without exhausting natural resources or causing severe ecological damage”.

So, here we go, just over 100 tips on how to be more sustainable! Click on the links to discover more about these eco-tactics ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Less energy-hungry food (16)

  • Eat less energy-demanding meat. It only takes a few seconds to look at this World Food Clock and realise how we produce, consume and waste every single second. (Thank you for sharing, Janina). Here are some ideas to get your newly recommended 7 (or even more) a day! 10 Ways to 10 a Day from KHGS.
  • Eat more lentils! They are an excellent sustainable source of protein and easy to grow too.

 

Lenticchie di Norcia - Italian Lentils

Lenticchie di Norcia – Italian Lentils

 

  • Store food properly. By doing so, it will last longer and you will waste less. Did you know spring onions last longer in a glass of water in the fridge? ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Plan meals ahead and let frozen meals thaw in the fridge. This will save you energy because the fridge will need less electricity to keep the temperature low, plus you won’t need to defrost the meal in the microwave either. Guide:ย How to defrost safely.
  • Buy locally, go to farmers’ markets or local farms – you will be supporting smaller producers and you can save money too.
  • Have a look at supermarkets’ reduced to clear sections.
    You can find amazing bargains, especially towards the end of the day (loaves of bread for 20p), and purchase food that would otherwise go to waste. You can then consume it as soon as possible or freeze it for future use and save a lot of money.

 

Reduced Food

Amazingly cheap but still perfectly fine reduced food

 

  • Understand the difference between “best before” dates and “use by” dates. Look at the Ultimate Shelf Life Guide to avoid wasting food unnecessarily.
  • When you go out, try local produce and products. From craft beers to wine, from pies to vegetables and fruit: give your local producers a try!

 

Less Pollution (22)

  • Try natural alternative to laundry detergents, such as affordableย soap nuts.

Green People Mascara

  • Give car sharing a try. Try sharing rides with colleagues, share a taxi or simply use public transport or start cycling.
  • Learn to drive consuming less fuel: Cut your speed and petrol bill.
    As a pedestrian, if you see a single car coming along, and you’re not in too much of a rush of course, let it drive past so they don’t need to break and re-depart after, which would use more fuel.
  • Walk more. Ramblers is a website that shows many walking routes, or you could simply walk more and use your car less.
  • If you need to pack a parcel, reuse bubble wrap or – even better – use strips of waste paper and ask the receiver to reuse or recycle them after.
  • Try purchasing less plastic and buying reusable items made of less toxic materials. You can start by taking a reusable bag when you go shopping. Life Without Plastic.
  • When you are eating out, ask for tap water rather than bottled water (in areas where it is safe, of course). Why Tap Water is Better.
  • To freshen your home, use essential oils rather than chemical-filled air fresheners. You only need a few drops in a burner or in a spray bottle.
  • Instead of sponges which are not recyclable and harbour bacteria, use cloths which can be washed and reused.

 

Reusable Material Cloth and Ecover

Reusable Material Cloth and Ecover

 

  • Switch to online billing rather than paper billing, some companies offer discounts for the switch too.
  • To get rid of oil stains, rub chalk on the affected area before washing rather than using harsh chemicals.
  • Take your own lunch to work, you will cut down on a lot of packaging and also save around ยฃ1,000 per year!

 

Take a packed lunch to work :)

Take a packed lunch to work ๐Ÿ™‚

 

  • When changing the oil for your car, make sure you dispose of it properly as it can pollute waterways and kill wildlife. Find your nearest UK oil bank.
  • Try to purchase products that don’t rely on batteries, and if they must, use rechargeable ones. Look for solar power chargers for an extra sustainable option.

 

Make, repair&fix (12)

 

Make Do and Mend

 

 

  • Turn used trousers into shorts or skirts.
  • Get to know your neighbours, they may need something you can offer and they may be able to offer something you need.
    My flatmate designed the website for the restaurant next door to us.
  • Make your own body scrub, for example by mixing olive oil with a bit of ground salt and sugar. Simple!
  • Make your mirrors, windows and glass objects sparkle by using white vinegar. Add some in a spray bottle (you can dilute it with 1:10 vinegar to water up to 50/50) and apply with scrunched newspaper to leave no traces or marks.
  • Make a wood cleaner by mixing two parts of vegetable oil with one part lemon juice, use with a cloth.
  • If you prefer purchasing cleaning products, choose eco-friendly ones such as Ecover.
  • To freshen up smelly shoes, try filling them up with scrunched newspaper overnight or sprinkle the insides with bicarbonate of soda or talcum powder and shake them out the day after.

 

Buy less, use less and buy better quality (9)

 

  • Do a little research about brands you may want to purchase: do they pay sustainable wages to their workers? Labour Behind the Label.
  • Use less plastic and more natural or oil-free materials, have a look at alternatives from Life Without Plastic.
  • Reuse things: for example, jars can be used as containers for more food or other objects.
    Here are 40 ways to reuse newspaper. Take a reusable coffee cup, like a Keep Cup, to the coffee shop instead of using disposable ones. Some places give you a discount if you bring your own cup too!
  • Buy second-hand books, they can be so much cheaper! Or borrow reading material from your local library.
  • Have your shoes resoled once they need to and keep on using them. I have had my boots for 7 years and they’re great!
  • Dye clothes that have faded and give them a new life.

 

Bank Better

 

  • Triodos Bank is “a global pioneer of sustainable banking.” Their mission is “to make money work for positive social, environmental and cultural change.”

 

Lend

 

  • Give someone the opportunity to create a sustainable business and alleviate poverty with the Kiva project, you can lend as little as $25 to someone who needs it and who will give it back to you when possible.

 

Save Energy (15)

 

  • Invest in an energy-saving product such as Energenie in order to save energy and money.
  • When charging devices, unplug them once they are fully charged, avoid leaving them plugged in unnecessarily or overnight.
  • Look for energy-efficient domestic appliances.
  • Buy rechargeable batteries and replace your batteries rather than replacing your whole phone.
  • Turn off the oven a few minutes before the time is up, the heat remains in the oven for a long time after you switch it off.
  • Try to use the oven as its full capacity when you use it, you can add meals to eat later in the week or use it to make croutons out of stale bread, for example.
  • Switch to a green energy supplier.
  • Wear warmer clothing and adjust your central heating to avoid wasting energy and money.
  • When you dry your clothes indoors, avoid putting them on radiators as this will stop the heat from reaching the room, create damp and good conditions for mold to grow.
  • Cook in bulk and therefore save energy. You can freeze additional portions.
  • Cook food in a steamer, you can cook different things on each level at the same time.

 

Recycle and Reuse (11)

 

  • Save paint from going to waste, Community Repaint collect reusable paint and distribute it to those who need it, helping them and avoiding waste.
  • Recycle your shoes at a collection bank.
  • Clear your cupboards of old electronic equipment, sell it or recycle in appropriate centres.
  • Consider going to charity shops first to find what you need. It could be a frame, and even if you don’t like a picture you may love the frame. Give things a new life.
  • You can recycle all sorts of things, even ink cartridges. Check before you throw.
  • Donate, don’t throw. If you have unwanted furniture, give it to a friend or donate it to a charity.
  • Borrow instead of buying, Freecycle.org can help you find what you need with no need to buy it.
  • Share more. You will save money, use fewer resources, meet new people… 10 reasons to share.
  • Use carpets in many ways to avoid them ending up in landfill. Use them to line cupboards, cars as mats, pet beds,ย  as doormats and even under plant pots.

 

Waste Less (9)

 

  • Compost food and tea bags to fertilise the soil which you will be able to use to grow your own herbs, vegetables, food or plants.
  • Reuse timber material from skips.
  • Take your own suit bags to the dry cleaner’s rather than having them give you flimsy plastic ones and take back the hangers for them to reuse.
  • Reuse tea bags – when you make tea in a cup, you can often reuse it for another cup as their strength is usually enough for a few cups. Or use loose tea leaves and then compost them if possible.

CHai Tea

  • Buy in bulk or buy refills.
  • When you go to a restaurant, if you cannot finish your meal, ask to take it away in a doggy box. It’s a compliment to those who took care to source and prepare the food, and you have paid for the whole portion, don’t be shy! Too Good To Waste Campaign.

 

Save Water (5)

 

  • Choose a dual flush system or put a water-saving device in your loo tank to use less water with every flush.
  • When you are waiting for cold water to turn hot, collect it rather than letting it go down the drain and use it to water flower and plants, wash fruit and vegetables, fill the kettle…don’t waste it!
  • Use a tank to collect rain water. It’s ideal to water plants or wash the car.
  • Wash your vegetables in a bowl rather than under running water and use that water for plants and flowers.

 

What do you like to do to be more sustainable?

Do you have any additional tips?

 

*Special thanks to my amazing flatmate G for continuously contributing to ideas for this post*

Vegan Food on a Trip to Gothenburg

This time last week my Canadian friends N and C and I were in Gothenburg, Sweden!

It was a spontaneous trip, booked after N found some really affordable flights to the city and we were there from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. So I thought it would be nice to add a few lines of my experience being vegan in a new place, in addition to my previous trips to Normandy and Florida.

As we were there for a short time we didn’t have a plan on where to go when, we just visited the town and decided what to do randomly and ate anywhere. If you are vegetarian, vegan or craving a sustainable option you can find the best places to go to on the Happy Cow website. ๐Ÿ™‚

Approaching Sweden!

Approaching Sweden!

We had to get up really early (3AM!) and got breakfast at the airport, and by the time we got to Gothenburg’s city centre we were hungry again.

Breakfast and lunch salads

Breakfast and lunch salads

Before leaving I had the superfood salad from Pret A Manger (it seems to be my pre-trip staple!) with tropical green tea, and in Gothenburg N&C fancied Starbucks so I had their Falafel and cous cous salad with some sort of coffee (I never go to Starbucks and it always takes me 4 minutes to choose something to drink) with soy milk, topped with an island of cinnamon. ๐Ÿ˜›

We walked around the indoor market hall of Saluhallen where there were lovely stalls with beautiful food displayed…

Lovely food at the Market Hall

Lovely food at the Market Hall

…and I got a very crispy flatbread sort of cracker full of seeds, including aromatic fennel seeds, which was vegan.

Crispy bread from the market

Crispy bread from the market

In the afternoon we met up with C’s relative, a lovely and interesting Swedish lady who took us out to an Italian restaurant (we couldn’t find many Swedish restaurants that weren’t fully booked or during serving hours) and I had a lovely pizza made vegan by not adding cheese.

Vegan vegetable pizza

Vegan vegetable pizza

She also took us to a park that had a greenhouse which was like a mini-Kew Gardens building.

Inside the greenhouse

Inside the greenhouse

In the morning, the hostel we were staying at provided breakfast options such as bread and cold meats, yogurt, cereals, and I prepared an unusual one for myself…

Vegan breakfast

Vegan breakfast

…seems like I am developing a habit of having salad and raw vegetables for breakfast ๐Ÿ˜€

In the afternoon we strolled around the Old Town part of Gothenburg where the street was busy with people selling and buying second-hand objects, it was like a car boot sale but simply in the street.

The Old Town

The Old Town

Later on we hired bikes and cycled along the river docks and around the town, it was great, I hadn’t cycled in years!

It seems like cycling is really popular there and even though it is in London too, and people are encouraged to ride bikes everywhere, I felt like it was better in Gothenburg as there were bicycle routes almost all the way and many other cyclists were riding safely with us.

Have a look at the super-cool infographic on bike sharing I have added below for more info on renting bikes in several European cities.

Cycling!!

Cycling along the Gรถta รคlv

After our ride we were hungry so we went to our hotel’s restaurant, which unsurprisingly didn’t have a vegetarian option, never mind a vegan one, however the lady who served us spoke perfect English (everyone does in Sweden!) and knew which vegan options I could have.

Chips and salad - the ultimate vegan emergency meal ;)

Chips and salad – the ultimate vegan emergency meal ๐Ÿ˜‰

Chips and salad of course! ๐Ÿ˜› Simple but actually really nice.

We didn’t spend a lot of time in Sweden and didn’t manage to go to Stockholm as originally planned but I really enjoyed our trip and hope to visit more of Europe in general. Travelling is so inspiring!

In Sweden, sustainability is an important topic and people are aware of the benefits that buying organic products have on the environment, from food to clothing, such as global retailer H&M’s conscious collections and recycling initiatives. I also saw many wind power plants from the plane, which shows they are committed to produce clean, renewable energy.

I would also love to learn more about the Swedish-style modular super energy-efficient homes.

If you are also interested in learning more about sustainability-related facts happening in Sweden I cannot recommend Janina’s Food (policy) for thought blog enough! ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you ever travelled somewhere and hired a bike? I enjoyed it a lot and definitely recommend it! You get to see more, you exercise, you have fun and you do not pollute ๐Ÿ™‚

So here is the really useful infographic on bike sharing for London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Nice kindly sent to me from C at Momondo full of interesting info:

 

Bike-sharing-infographic

Bike Sharing Infographic

 

Time to explore! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Do you get inspired when you travel?

Are there any cities or countries you would like to visit for their commitment to sustainability?