Saturday, 31 December 2011

Xmas recycling

So, what did you recycle at Xmas? I hope it was a lot. We had the usual plus wrapping paper (without the sellotape on), tetrapaks, plastic inserts from cake boxes, crisp packets and more. By the time the bin men came to collect it a day late, the bin was almost full. Hurrah.

I also sent off a lot of stamps to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. The next charity to benefit from us will be the Woodland Trust. I took down all our cards today, and will take them to Sainsbury's and put them in the box for cards to go to the Trust. What will you do with all your cards?

We still have a lot of festive goodies to eat, so still lots of recycling to do. Hurrah.

I wish you all a happy new year. One of being green, natural and eating healthily (after all the goodies have gone that is).

Friday, 23 December 2011

Xmas eating with intolerances

So it is Xmas time now, and what do we eat when we have intolerances to milk, soya and gluten. Here is my list:

Turkey - we have bought a breast joint from Iceland, which is usually v nice and don't get any waste. We have managed to find gluten-free stuffing by Hale and Hearty from Sainsbury's. Spuds and veg are fine. We will have our usual veg stock we have with roast dinners.

Puddings - we have bought Freefrom toffee puddings, but the only custard we find is one made with soya. It's only once a year. I have also got Sheep's milk yogurt with live bacteria in (good for the digestive system). We already have ice dessert. We did buy Ballybleat ice dessert the other day. It is v nice but too creamy in taste to have much of. We have bought gluten-free mince pies and bakewell tarts. Though I did cheat earlier in the week and had mince pies from a bakers, and paid the price. I ended up with IBS for a couple of days and now am trying not to have any naughties today.

Biccies etc - We bought pink wafers and shortbread fingers, both are freefrom. We tried Raspberry Golden Crunch biccies the other day and they are v nice - bought from Holland and Barretts.

Crisps - Mum will have Walkers baked crisps and I have Sunbites. We have also bought a mixed pack of Walkers and Pringles for our family visitors on Boxing Day. I also have pale peaunts and Mum has salted peanuts.

Sweets - we have Turkish Delight and mallows. Dark chocolate. I expect to get some more sweets from my brother on Boxing Day. We have a tin of Quality Street for visitors, and Mum has already had one.

Lunch - probably left over turkey with salad stuff, goat's cheese and hard boiled egg. We also have bought mini breadsticks for the family. Any left over will be eaten by me as Mum can't eat wheat for sure now.

I think that's it. Next year I will be v good and not have any dairy stuff again. Definitely no baker's mince pies. Learnt my lesson already.

Friday, 9 December 2011


Do you use a mouthwash with alcohol in? If you do, like I did, did you know that the alcohol can dry your mouth out? I read this somewhere a while ago, so bought a bottle without alchohol in. I had trouble finding one as they either had no alcohol and nasty chemicals in, or alcohol. I managed to find one, DentyActive, that is alcohol-free and no chemicals in except fluoride. I went to the dental hygienist the other day, and she told me that if you use alchohol mouthwash and non-fluoride toothpaste, then it can cause tooth decay. Prob cos as the alcohol dries the mouth out, there is no saliva to wash out the germs in your mouth, and the fluoride helps protect the mouth. So I have compromised. I use my organic toothpaste in the morning. In the afternoon I use mouthwash with fluoride. In the evening I use fluoride toothpaste. So it can build up and protect over night.
So, I would advice to find a mouthwash with no alcohol in. I did find that it was strong in the mouth and I had to dilute it, even though it said not to on the bottle. This new one, is strong in flavour but you don't need to dilute it. It is fine.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

I'm a happy recycling bunny

Why am I happy? Yesterday I got through the letterbox a local free magazine called Lewisham Life. In this wonderful magazine are three pages all about a 'big change in recycling' that is coming to our borough next week. I am so happy and excited about it. As from next Monday we will be able to recycle mixed plastics (which I've been taking to Sainsbury's), Tetrapaks (which my mum has been taking to a local recycling bank), crisp packets (which I've been sending in the post to an organisation) and so much more inc shredded paper. I can now see our green bin getting really full up, more so than our black bin, now and this is what is making me v happy. I was wondering if this would happen as earlier this year when I emailed the recycling people at our council they hinted to me that they were sorting something out, which they hoped to be started by the end of this year.
The only things that I feel I will be taking to Sainsbury's now are plastic containers that don't have numbers on but say they are recycleable with either the symbol on or the words and the symbol. Most of the plastics will now be going into our green bin. Hurrah. Mum and I will be going through it later to make sure what we can and can't recycle in to our green bin from Monday.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Free boxes

I've not been here recently as I've been promoting my first ebook, which you can read all about on my other blog. Anyway, my mum and I went to Homebase on Saturday. Mum wanted some more paint for the fence, some compost for the garden. As we were coming out after buying the products, I noticed by the wall a big cage with lots of empty boxes in. On the wall was a sign saying 'Please feel free to take any of our free boxes'. Wow, I thought this is a good idea. Wouldn't it be good if other stores did this, esp coming up to Xmas.
So do you know of any stores that have been giving out free boxes or any other goods customers could use? Let me know.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Sugars v sweeteners

I am finally here, talking about sugar and sweeteners and which are best for you. I did a post on my other blog sometime ago about this but can't remember what I wrote. Anyway, I am talking about sugars v sweeteners in cough sweets. I have an annoying cough at the moment (about 3 weeks now I think it is) and now and then have Lockets to soothe my throat. Lockets, and other cough sweets, all have sugar in. I also have herbal drops in my bedroom to suck during the night in case I get hungry or have a cough. Now these don't have sugar in but do have two sweeteners in: aspartame and acesculfame-K. I know that these two can have side effects to them. According to one of my health books aspartame may cause dizziness, blurred vision and migraine. A-K has cancer links. Just one of these may have effects but two? So what is better for you? One with lots of sugar in (it also has honey which is what soothes the throat), and one that can cause health problems. I am trying not to have too many Lockets because of the sugar in them, as there is another health reason why I am trying not to have too much sugar. More on that in another blog. Maybe next time I write about healthy eating. Let me know what you think. Sugar or sweeteners better for you?

Friday, 14 October 2011

Natural products

Sorry I have been away from this blog for a while. Have been thinking what to put and have been ill with a cold and cough. Cough still with me, and v annoying it is too.

Well, this week it is D for Dead Sea Spa Magik products. Most of the following products I actually won as a prize for a letter in Healthy magazine, and one I got for a present. But I researched the prices today and here they are.

Sea Salts (in box) These are v soothing in a bath and last a long time. I usually use this as a treat once a month.
Price: £3.69
Where to buy: Holland and Barratt's
Green rating: 4/5. The box is recycleable but the bag the salts are in aren't.
This was the present.

Moisturiser: Very nice on the face. I like the smell too.
Price: £7.29 (as of H&B but the one I have is a small tube so might be incorrect.
Buy: H&B
Green: 4/5: I think it is recycleable at my local Sainsbury's mixed plastic bank. The tube I had was split when I got it and had to throw it away, after I put the cream in a tub.

Face mask: As the moisturiser. Same smell.
Price: £3.45 (a small tube)
Green: 4/5, same type of tube as the moisturiser.

Body lotion: I haven't used this yet but would imagine it has the same smell as the moisturiser, so look forward to using it on my body after a bath.
Price: £7.29
Green: 5/5 - it is a plastic bottle

Sea salts in a bag: imagine same sensation as one in a box.
Price: only saw big bag in H&B, so don't know. A bit less than the boxed one I'd say.
Green: 4/5. It has a recycling symbol on it, so I can take it to Sainsbury's.

All of the above, apart from salts, were part of a reward for writing a letter to Healthy magazine. So I didn't have to pay for them.

Next week is back to healthy eating and will be about something I've already blogged about: sugar and sweeteners. Cropped up again due to my cough.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Recycling inkjet cartridges

What do you do with your inkjet cartridges? Throw them away or recycle them? If you recycle them, where do you take them? I started to take them to WHS in Bromley, but then couldn't find their box for them and I don't shop there that often. Then I reread a little book about recycling, reusing and reducing and saw Recycling Appeal. If you Google them you will get their website. You have to register your details and what cartridges you want to recycle, then they will send you a couple of envelopes for you to send the cartridges in. You can either recycle a mobile phone or 2 cartridges. It is free because it is Freepost. I have been doing this for a while now.

But I now have discovered a local WHS recycles them. I don't know if all cartridges in there have them but when I last bought my HP cartridges they came with a little bag attached, which you put the cartridge in and take to the store and put in their box. The recycled cartridges support Tommy's charity so it goes to a good cause. Well worth doing. Esp as again it is Freepost.

Have you found any other charities that take cartridges?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Finishing the B's

Back to using natural products/materials this week and finishing the B's.

The first one is B for Bamboo. I have found some socks that are made from Bamboo. It says on the label that it is more breathable for feet, which is good. These are navy socks from TKMaxx. I had been looking all over the place for navy ones and TKMaxx was the only shop I found them in. They are £4.99 for a pack of 3 pairs, which is good value, so last time I bought two packs.

B is also for Bently Organics, and I have used two products from them.
The first one is their handwash. I really like this as it is a handy size that can fit in your handbag so take it out shopping and all over the place with them when I need to go to the toilet.
Cost: £5.99 (I think).
Where to buy it: I used to get it from So Organic in Greenwich but last time I went there they didn't have any as they said that they had problems with the supplies again. I think you should be able to get it from their own website.
Green rating: 4/5: the bottle is recycelable but not the cap and the pump

The other Bentley product I tried was a shower cream, and I didn't like it because I wasn't keen on the smell. It smelt a bit too earthy for me so it has been delegated to a handwash downstairs in the kitchen.
Cost: don't know as I got this free in a prize
Where to buy it: Bentley website
Green rating: maybe 5/5 as the bottle is recycleable but don't know about the cap.

Next week back to green issues.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Organic Food Month

September is organic food month set up by the Soil Association. So what organic foods do I eat? Not a lot, really. Here is my list:

Quinoa and Millet Flakes
Sunflower seed butter
Dark Tahini
Peanut Putter
Wholemeal bread

I also have recently bought organic celery because I read that this is one of the foods that can easily absorb chemicals due to its soft skin. I have been eating organic tomatoes, radishes, spring onions and carrots, only because they are home grown on our veggie patch. That is one of the easiest ways to go organic to grow your own. The supermarkets don't do much in the way of organic fruit and veg apart from celery and tomatoes that I have seen.

So what do you eat organic? And do you grow your own? How did your own go this year? Next time I will tell you how our patch went this year, and it wasn't that good.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Recycling away from home

Today is the last day of Zero Waste Week - Away from home. So what do you do if you go on holiday where there is no recycling facilities? Here is what my friend, Heather, does.

She often goes away by car to a caravan park, where there is no recycling facilities. Now Heather is as keen a recycler as me, maybe more. So what does she do? If there is room in the car back, she will put all recycleables in a bag, put that in the car and take it back home and put it in her recycling bin there. If there isn't room in the car and she know that someone she knows or she will be back there soon after that, then she will put the bag of recycleables in a cupboard to take home later on. I know she does this because she has told me this. She told me one time that her uncle went to stay at the caravan after she had left and was surprised to find a bag of recycleables stuck in the cupboard. Just imagine his face when he saw it. Ha ha.

I haven't been on a proper holiday for years, and the last time I did recycling wasn't all the rage then. I think if I did go on holiday like Heather to a place without recycling facilities, I might do the same and collect them up myself or ask the staff if they had recycling places to go to.

Next week is about healthy eating and organic food as September is Organic Food Month.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Zero waste - out and about

This week is zero waste week - out and about. What recycling do you do when you are away from home? Here are a couple of things that I do.

Usually when I meet my critique group I have a packet of crisps there. I put the empty packet in my bag to take back home with, as I send these off to Eco-Centricity for recycling. Next time I go, next week, if any of the others have crisps too I will ask them to give them to me too.

Back in May I went to a writing retreat. To save taking numerous bottles of water, I took my own plastic bottle and every morning and lunch time I would ask the staff in the kitchen if they could top up my bottle with tap water. They did. I know this isn't recycling but it is in a way when I take my own bottle.

And here is something my mum has done once. One day she was out and about and had taken empty tetrapaks to be recycled. She saw a man drinking from a small carton and said to him to give her the empty carton as she was about to recycle her own. He gave it to her. I don't know if I have the nerve to do that.

Next time Iwill tell you about what my friend does about recycling when she is on holiday.

Friday, 2 September 2011

B for Barefoot Botanicals

Continuing with B as B is for Barefoot Botanicals.

I like the following products from BB:

Face Wash: it usually smells like orange blossom and goes smoothly on your skin.
Price: £16.95
Where to get it: I used to get it at So Organics at Greenwich, but last time I went there we were told they had a problem with BB supplying them. I think you are able to get it from the website
Green rating: 0 I emailed them about a month ago asking them what the tubes were made of but I have not got a reply yet, so have had to throw them in the bin for landfill.

Face and body cream: I like this for the face as it as smooth as the face wash, and I really like it for the body as it is good for my eczema. Again this smells of orange blossom, although when I first used it it smelt medicinal to me of antiseptic.
Price: For 100g = £17.97
Where to get it: as for face wash.
Same green rating as face wash too.

Foot balm: I liked this when I first used this as you could really smell the grapefruit in it but whether my smell is changing as I get used to this I don't know, but I can't smell it so much now. Goes nice on the feet and is meant to be good for keeping fungus away.
Price: I think it is the same as the face wash.
Where to get it: as the other two products
Same green rating as the others.

If anyone knows what is happening with Barefoot Botanicals I would like to know as I did like their products as they are meant for eczema suffereres like me.

Next week is Zero Waste Week, so I am back to talking about recycling away from home.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Gut Week events

Well, Tuesday's event was a failure. Only my friend Heather and her son Jayden turned up, and they had driven me there. I was so disappointed. I thought the rain had kept people in but maybe it was the time of year and everyone is away for the summer. Yesterday's event went slightly better. I waited until 11.30am and no one had turned up by then, so thought that maybe no one else would by then. I was wrong. I had packed up all the things, except for the sheets of paper I'd sellotaped together, and was sorting out my receipt for the stationery I'd bought with the manager, when a woman and a little girl came in, saw the poster on the table and asked about doing the healthy living thing. I said that I was about to leave as no one had come and didn't think anyone would. So I directed them to the table with the paper on, got out the pictures of fruit and veg, gave them a glue stick and they got to work. A few minutes later a black woman with two little ones came in and I approached them and asked, would you want to do the arts and crafts and told them what it was. The oldest of the two, mabye who was four, joined the other girl, I gave her some paper and a glue stick, and the other girl shared the pictures, and they both were busy. I enjoyed watching them working. Two was better than none, which was what I thought I would have. I think next time I will do something during school term as I might get more takers. Next month is Organic Food month, so I might ask if I can do something again then. Watch this space.

Next week will be back to naturals.

Friday, 26 August 2011

IBS and Coeliac

Foods and food intolerances are not the only things that can set off IBS, esp with me. Anxiety can be another thing to set it off, and esp if you have generalised anxiety disorder like I have. When I am stressed, my internal body slows down so I end up with one certain symptom, and if I get nervous/excited, it goes the other way. So I try to keep my gut happy and not get too anxious, eg worrying about workshops, or get too nervous again about doing workshops. Sometimes it can be very hard for me to do this but I try.

Coeliac Disease. I mentioned this in my first post here because it was Awareness Week then. I am mentioning it again now because something has cropped up with my mum about it to do with the gut. My mum had a gastroscropgy a few weeks ago to find out how bad her Coeliac is, even though she had a low blood score for it. Despite that the results weren't what Mum expected, as it came out that she also has gastritis and a gastric ulcer, which she was told by her GP the othe day that the Coeliac could well have caused this. On the results sheet that Mum was given, it said to carry on eating gluten until her appointment with the consultant. So Mum did, and regretted it. Soon after starting gluten again, she began to get her gut ache and feel nauseous. The GP was perplexed as to why Mum was given this advice, and Mum has now stopped eating gluten. So if you do have a gastroscopy and you get the same result, stop eating gluten even if it says to do so. If you suspect that you have Coeliac, then do get it sorted out with your GP and hospital. One symptom is feeling tired, due to the gluten stripping the body of the essential vitamins and minerals, esp iron which you need to keep going.

Next post will be about how my two workshops went this week. I will just say that I hope the rain leaves off for tomorrow morning.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Love Your Gut

This week is 'Love Your Gut' week, and you can find more about it at the official website It is all about eating healthily to keep your gut good and working properly. And for me this is so appropriate and ironic as I suffer IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) which is all to do with the gut, and ironic because I have just had a bad flair up of it.

I think that one way to help your gut is to know what you can and can't eat. For instance, I know that I can't eat either raw or partially cooked (stewed) apples, as they give me one symptom of IBS (I have just found out). So I will now avoid this and if I eat apples, they have to be fully baked or cooked.

I also can't eat too much fruit, veg and other bits and pieces, as I did yesterday. With the apple, all of that caused the IBS flair up with me.

The other thing that I definitely avoid eating/drinking is cow's milk. I found in 2001 that I am intolerant to that and that also causes my IBS to flair up.

I would like to spread the word about loving your gut, so tomorrow I will be at Grove Park community library doing workshops about healthy eating and magic with children (will let you know how that goes) and on Saturday will be doing the same at Sydenham community library.
During the week I will be talking more about coping with food intolerances and more on Coeliac Disease. See you then.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Recycling out and about

This week was meant to be about healthy eating but I have swapped it with next week because then it is 'Love Your Gut' week and I want to celebrate by blogging about it and what I am doing where for it.

What recycling bins have you seen on your travels? I have seen lots and most of them have been in hospitals I have had appointments at, which is very good. Here are the ones I have seen.

Forest Hill train station - I noticed there are two bins there: one for paper/card and the other for tins and bottles. They are on both platforms.
Royal Festival Hall - I saw one there and think it's for all recycleables.
Maudsley Hospital - there were bins for all recycleables in the main outpatient building where I went to be assessed for Asperger's
Guy's Hospital - there are two big bins at the entrance to the Tower block for all recycleables. Also on the side of the hospital it says they are reducing their carbon footprint. But inside the dept where I had an appointment, there were ordinary bins.
St Thomas' - Again they had bins for all recycleables at the entrace to the main building, and they had ones for paper/card and tins/bottles in the corridor through the hospital. I know they have one for recycleables in the dental dept I go to, but due to being told my appointment had been cancelled (after getting there in the pouring rain), I didn't see it properly.

Also on the way to New Cross one day, I noticed some cow bins (recycling bins that are painted like cows).

All in all, my view at the moment is that hospitals are leading the way for recycling, which I think is very good.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Natural products with B

B is for Badger. There are two items by Badger that I buy and use and they are lipsalves and cuticle care ointment.

Lip balm sticks come in various scents and I have tried ginger, orange and lavender. Out of the three I prefer orange as I like citrus smells best. The lavender isn't so nice though.
Where to get them: You can buy them either from Sheel's at Lewisham, or So Organic at Greenwich.
Price: £2.49 each.
They also do lipbalms in a tin which costs a bit more at £3.99.
Green: The cover of the lipbalm sticks are made of plastic no 5, which I can recycle at my local Sainsbury's mixed plastic banks. So rating is 4/5.

Cuticle care ointment comes in tin pots. They last a long time and is easy to use.
Where to get them: the same as lipbalm sticks.
Price: £3.99
Green: 5/5, as they are made of tin, the same as tin fruits etc, so you can recycle them at home. Yay.

I like both of these, esp the lipbalm sticks, so will keep using those as they last a long time and come in different scents. Might buy the vanilla one next.

Next week will be out recycling again and not healthy eating as the rota goes but I will explain why then.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Chemical allergies

In my third children's book Georgina Queen of Clean, I am writing about using natural-made products with magical elements and have made out that the pupils can get allergies from using synthetic chemicals. Little did I know that this is true and I read a case in the paper last week, and it is called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. The headline was 'Housework kills me'. A woman had to give up housework because the chemicals in the cleaning products she used made her ill. Just a slight smell of the products brought on a severe allergic reaction inc inflamed skin, blood pressure soaring and blurred vision. She couldn't even set foot in a supermarket. The woman had to have homeopathy and acupuncture to help her problems it was so bad and it is only now when she uses natural and organic products that she can clean her house again.

So all those out there who don't think much about using these products, they can harm you. I know that two of my aunts didn't think much of them saying that there were only small amounts of them in the products. Well, what if there are up to five of these chemicals in one product and you use it twice a day every day. I think this all adds up, esp if you have sensitive skin like me. So I would like everyone to think about what they put on their skin, because health bodies have said that 60% of what you put on your skin does absorb into your blood, and if you use 4-5 products with 4-5 chemicals in, what does that mean? I let you think about it.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Textile recycling

What do you do with your old or unwanted clothes/handbags/shoes etc? Do you give them to the charity shop? Put them in a textile recycling bank? Or sell them on ebay? Well I do the first two, and haven't tried the last one yet, but dont' you wish that sometimes you could get money back on the clothes you don't want? Well, there is an answer to this if you live in the Beckenham area. A leaflet came through my letterbox the other day from a company called Clothes4Cash based in Beckenham at the Big Yellow Self Storage Co Ltd there. They buy unwanted clothes, soft toys and perfumes and will give you cash for them for various weights. 1kg = 50p, 10kg = £5 and 1000kg = £500. I would very much like to get cash back on any clothes etc that I don't want anymore but I don't know how to get there, and it is easier and more convenient for me to either give to the local charity shop or take the to nearest textile bank. I shall keep the leaflet though and have a good think about this as it is a v good idea.

If you find anything like this in your area, please let me know and I can blog about it to let others know.

Next time I will let you know what recycling bins I have seen in my travels, mainly to hospitals.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Help needed

The week of 22 August is 'Love Your Gut' week, so all about healthy eating. To celebrate this I am doing workshops with children at Grove Park community library on 23rd August, and the workshop I have in mind for the little children involves collecting pictures of fruit and veg so they can make a collage with them on card. I have been collecting pictures from mags and papers but will need lots more in the hope of having lots of participants for it. So here is where I need help from you, my readers out there.

1. If you live near Grove Park community library, please could you hand in any pictures of fruit and veg to them, either to Mhari or Kaiya, and say that it is for Julie Day's event on 23 August.


2. If you don't live near the library, but know me and live locally, please could you email me and I can give you my address to send any pictures to.

The more I have the better, esp if I end up doing a similar workshop at another local community library. Here's to healthy eating.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Natural hair cut

A day late but here I am about to tell you how to have a natural hair cut. I know there are lots of hairdressers who specialise in doing hair with natural products but I believe that most of them are in the city/west end of London and would probably be quite expensive to start with, let alone having to travel there. So here is my way of getting a natural hair cut/wash. Ask your local hairdresser if they would mind if you brought in your own products to use. Mine is okay with this and I take my own shampoo and conditioner, which they use and give back to me at the end of the appointment. I don't have a 100% natural hair cut though as they still use their own mousse and spray, but I am thinking about buying me own to take there too. I know that So Organic in Greenwich sell these, so maybe when I go there again I will buy them. This is a much cheaper way to getting a natural hair cut and wash. You don''t have to travel far and by using your own products you know that you won't be getting chemicals on your skin and the product is okay with your skin as you have used them before.

So if you are like me and prefer to use natural shampoos etc on your hair, give it a go and ask your hairdresser if they'd mind you taking your own things in to use. There's no harm in asking I say.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Natural Hair Care - Part 1

Welcome back to the natural part of this blog. Today I am going alphabetical with natural products, so it starts with A.

A'Kin is the name. I have been using A'Kin Mandarin Shampoo for a while now and it's quite nice. It has a nice smell, as I like citrus smells. They do say citrus smells wake you up.

So where do you get it from? I got mine free as a prize from So Organic ( but you can get it from their retail shop in Greenwich, SE London. It costs £10.50.

Green rating - 5/5 as it is a plastic bottle which I can recycle at home.

So what's the difference between this shampoo and say one like Head and Shoulders. Why buy a natural shampoo when there are others on the market? Well, the answer to both questions is what makes the shampoo foam.

In the A'Kin shampoo the foam is made by gentle products like coco sulphate, which is derived from substances such as corn, sugar or coconut. Therefore, are gentler on the skin and won't cause harm

Whereas in normal shampoos the foam is usually made by something called Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). It's harsh on the skin, can cause irritation esp with people with sensitive skin. And why is this? Because SLS is also used as an engine degreaser. So if it's used to degrease the oil in engines imagine what it can do to your skin! This is why I don't use these types of shampoos anymore as I have sensitive skin.

I hope that this post has got you thinking about what you use on your skin. Next post will be about to how have a natural haircut.

Friday, 15 July 2011

STOP PRESS - Shiny Wrappers

I, and others I know, have been wondering what to do with our crisp packets and shiny wrappers as the Philippine Community Fund no longer collects them. I contacted the Foundation in the Philippines to ask if I could send them directly to them. Yesterday I got a reply to say that they no longer collect them either as they have storage problems and vermin trouble over here in the UK. Oh heck, I thought, now what do I do with the 2 biccie boxes full I have of them. I really didn't want to throw them away. That is the bad news. Although they still want toothpaste tubes and ring-pull tabs.

Here is the good news. I remembered an organisation that My Zero Waste mentioned in one of their last blogs called Eco-Centricity, who collect odd things such as sweet wrappers and ribbons. So I emailed them yesterday and got a reply. Yes, they would be happy to take the wrappers off me and I'd have to send them to them as they can't collect. So I now have a home for all my wrappers to go to and am very happy. I can still collect them now and will do so knowing they will be put to use somehow by organisastions. You can find out what they collect at their website As they are based in the UK, the postage won't be that much and there won't be so much carbon footprint than sending stuff to the Philippines. Good news all round on the Green front.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Recycling banks

The last recycling post was all about recycling at home, now I am taking you on a whistlestop tour of Lewisham's (that I know about) recycling banks outside. So here we go:

Forest Hill (Sainsbury's car park) - paper, card, glass, plastic bottles, tetrapaks and texiles

Bell Green (Sainsbury's car park) - paper, card, glass (clear and coloured), plastic bottles, mixed plastics (I put in all plastic that have the recycling symbol on), textiles, shoes, light bulbs.

Catford (behind town hall) - paper, plastic bottles, tetrapaks and small electricals (such as mobiles).

These are the few banks that my mum and I use mostly, with Bell Green coming top as we shop there every week and take a bag of mixed plastics every other week. If I find out anymore then I will let you know on here.

The next post will be about recycling out and about. Spot the recycling spots on your travels in and out of places.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Where to buy...

In 2005 I watched You are what you eat and decided to eat healthier than I did. Up until then I ate for breakfast things like Weetabix, rice crispies and white toast. I bought the book that went with the series and discovered different things I could eat, which I mentioned in my last post. I am now going to let you know where you can buy these things and how much they cost:

Millet flakes by Infinity Foods - local health store called Sheels. Price - £2.46
Quinoa flakes by Infinity Foods - as above. Price - £3.35
Cornflakes by Sainsbury's or Wholearth Organic - Sainsbury's. Can't remember the price but both are quite similar. Mum has been eating the Wholeearth ones because they haven't got the gluten in and I will be going onto them myself shortly.

There are different brands of these but they can be dearer and have found these are reasonably priced. You might think they are dear but if you rotate them with other breakfasts then they don't turn out to be that much so.

Oatly - Sainsbury's. Price - £1.39 (found in the Freefrom aisle)
St Dalfour fruit spreads - Sainsbury's. Price - £1.64. (with the jams)

Organic Wholemeal bread - Sainsbury's. Price - 95p.
Genius white/brown bread - Sainsbury's. Price - £2.89
Sunflower spread (either Pure or Freefrom) - Sainsbury's. Price - Pure = £1.75 Freefrom = £1.15
Peanut Butter - Sainsbury's. Price - £1.35 (I think)

Well, I think that is all that I have for breakfasts. As mentioned I do rotate these so I don't have one the same in days, as this has been said to be healthier so you don't become intolerant to any one of them.

Next healthy eating one will be about healthy breakfasts for intolerances. In the mean time next week were are recycling again.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Healthy breakfasts

I was shocked to read in the papers recently than 1 in 4 children are obese, and that 500,000 school-age children are at risk of fatty liver disease. I think that one problem is that a lot of people don't eat breakfast and they should. It is called breakfast because it breaks the fast you have had over night. It has been scientifically proved, most recently on Embarrassing Bodies, that if you skip breakfast your brain then starts thinking of foods that are bad for you, and you start craving them, eating them and so on. Breakfast, a proper one, sets up your digestion and metabolism for the day. There are a lot of unhealthy breakfasts out there, check the salt and sugar content on their boxes. But there are also a lot of healthy ones too. Weetabix is one of them (not with chocolate with it though) but I can't eat that as it's too much wheat for me. So here are the ones I do eat and what they are:

Millet porridge - porridge made with millet flakes and Oat milk.
Quinoa (pronounced keenwa) - as above with quinoa flakes.
You can get grains of the 2 above but it takes a lot longer to boil than flakes.

Oats - porridge oats with Oat milk.
Toast - either with wholemeal bread or gluten free bread (Genuis white)
Cornflakes with a few bran flakes (check the salt and sugar content on box).

With my porridges I have fruit spread by St Dalfour. I did used to have Meridian but that got dearer and St Dalfour is cheaper. I find that the porridges can taste bland without the fruit spread
Toast - I have sunflower spread on as I am intolerant to dairy. Now and then, like this morning, I might have peanut butter on it too. Quite nice.

I find I now really like all these and wouldn't go back to cereals. A few years ago I did try a bowl or rice crispies and found it really sweet, and that was without any sugar/sweetener on it.

Next post I will let you know where you can buy all these from, although it does mention it at the back of my book Rosie.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Neal's Yard Remedies

Neal's Yard Remedies is one of my favourite natural product shops. Although their products are quite pricey, their blue glass containers are recycleable. Not only that but if you take an empty blue container back you can get 10p refund off your next purchase, which I think is a good idea. Now most of their products are in these blue glass containers but there are plastic tubes, which don't have any indication of what plastic they are made from. At the beginning of the year, in the New Year sales, I bought one of these to try. When it ran out I wasn't sure of what to do with it and wondered, could I take it back to where I got it from and ask them to get rid of it for me. Well, it wasn't until today that I finally went back there to buy an organic cotton flannel and asked. I bought my flannel then said to the lady handing it over, I had brought it back because I wanted to recycle it but didn't know what plastic it was made from so didn't know if it was recycleable or not. She replied, as it's from NYR then it usually is made from biodradeable plastic, did I want her to get rid of it for me? I said yes please, it she took it off me. I am not sure what she will do with it, but at least she did take it and I hope they are made from biodegradeble materials. So there you go. If you end up buying a plastic tube from NYR then you could either take it back to the shop or you could look up their website to see if it says on there was they are made of. I ended up doing what I set out to do - pass the tube back to the shop for recycling.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Paper result

So how did you go with paper this week? Here is my result. Over the week I had 7 newspapers, a few with leaflets in advertising broadband, a couple of TV magazines, old magazines from a few years ago which I had in my wardrobe (now have an empty box file), and lots of photocopy paper that I had used both sides off. Through the door we had 12 leaflets (boiler, pizza, Indian, garden and cleaning services, broadband and property people), we also had a jiffy bag with info on a Satellite TV package and I managed to strip the paper from the popping stuff and envelopes with post in. All in all it was a lot of paper and lots of trees cut down for. I am still going through what I have in my wardrobe, and next on my agenda is to go through a file of course materials and work I did some years ago to see if I really need it. Probably no, so that will go in the recycling basket. If I calculated all the leaflets that came in the letter box, it works out as one a day, and that is amazing. Might have to get a leaflet from the library to stop this happening, but whether that will work I don't know.

Next week is all about natural made products and will start on A.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Decluttering paper

As well as seeing how much paper comes into the house (will give results on Sunday), I am also seeing how much I have already in the house and don't need. As I am a writer it is a hell of a lot and have found that I have some I didn't know I had. I have been clearing out one of my wardrobes in readiness to move it when I have my bedroom ceiling and wall repaired (they have large cracks over them). So far I have cleared out a folder of course manuals I did 5 years ago on English and Proof Reading. I kept a couple of bits that looked interesting to read and the rest I have put for recycling. I am currently going through a box file of writing magazines and taking out anything I feel I want and interests me and recycling the rest. I have still 3 more of those to go. And I have a folder of another writing course I did a few years ago and will go through that to see if I need it or not. Getting rid of thosre will make it easier to move the wardrobe as it should make them lighter.

One other way I am getting rid of paper is when I am typing up revisions to my book and the revision sheets, which have had both sides used, are put for recycling when I have finished with them.

So that is a lot of paper put for recycling and I dread to think how many trees it made, but at least I am recycling them. I know I have still a lot of paper in the house as I have folders of info for various books I have in mind to write.

So have a look around the house and see how much paper you have and if any of it can be recycled as you don't need it. You might be surprised.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Recycle week

It's recycle week this week and I know that Lewisham council have decided to do a trial run of recycling textiles from home. I don't know how but I think they will be delivering bags to put textiles in at home and you have to phone up for collection. I don't know how successful this will be as I normally take my textiles to Sainsbury's.

Anyway, I am setting a challenge for all of you out there. I want you to find out how much paper you recycle in a week. What I want you to do is to add up all the paper that comes through the letterbox and what you buy and let me know at the end of the week. What you can do is with menus that come in (I usually have at least 8 of those) you can create a chart with say columns marked Indian, Chinese, Charity etc, then one for newspapers and mags, and envelopes and other paper that you get in the post. Don't forget to shred any confidential papers with your name and address on. I will be doing this myself and let you know at the end of the week. So we can do it together.

Let me know at the end of the week, and you might be surprised to find out how much you get in a week. Good luck.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Inspiring man

I was going to talk about healthy breakfasts but changed my mind and decided to talk about one man whom I think is v inspiring to me. He is Jamie Oliver. I don't know if anyone of you has been watching his recent TV programme about his food revolution in the US but I have and have to admire him. Following his success last year he has gone back but to LA this time, a much bigger place and one of the places that is obese. From the start he has come up with barriers to his revolution in that one man on the school board has forbidden him to be programmed in any school because he fears that Jamie will make the schools look bad. Jamie managed to get into one school where he's had a massive affect on the pupils there, mainly teens. He got a group of teens cooking and be interested in cooking healthy foods for themselves, family and other pupils but then he hit a problem and couldn't film in the school and had to be pushed to the back of the school and only cook for a handful of children. But now he has a way to teach all the school in what was called the advisory slot where the school are shown something as a whole and have samples eg lunch. But that came to an end when Jamie's programme had to stop filming there. He also tried to persuade a drive-thru manager to change his cooking habits and where he got the meat from, but that was hard and it was only a local nurse who changed the man's mind after thanking him in wanting to change the way people eat. Jamie has also got a family's eating habits to change by showing the father how much junk food they ate in a year, and now they cook from scratch and are growing their own herbs and veg etc.

Next week is the last in the series and I can't wait. It looks as though things are starting to look up for Jamie as a new school's superintendent has been voted in (to replace the old one who forbade Jamie to go in schools), Jamie organises a wide cookery contest for schools and there is other good news that I can't wait to hear about.

One thing I have heard is that the LAUSD (the board who was against Jamie) have voted to kick out flavoured milks in schools. Three cheers for Jamie. Well done, and keep it going. You are one inspiring man.

It was Jamie's original school dinners programme in 2005 over here that inspired me to write my first children's book Rosie and the Sick School (available from me), and continues to inspire me in trying to get children to eat healthily still by promoting my book, even though it's now out of print. Watch my other blog for news on this.

Next week is recycle week, so will be posting all about that with challenges for you out there.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Dried fruit

If I see a report about eating healthily in a paper or magazine then I will mention it here and this is what I am doing now. In a report in last Friday's Mirror the headline was 'Dried fruit is as good as fresh in fighting cancer'. It says that fruits such as dates and raisins have been found to combat obesity and heart disease. I know that most dried fruits have more sugar content than either tinned or fresh but it says that people eat smaller portions of dried fruit than fresh so they still get the same benefit. So there you go. Eating dried fruit counts as your one a day, which I have been doing for a while now as I eat dried dates every day and raisins now and then. In fact I will be having some today with my dinner of chicken curry. I am pleased that it says this and that the NHS recommends eating dried fruit because I will continue to do so.

So fresh, tinned and dried all count towards your five a day. Hurrah.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Going natural - my story

It all started in 2007. In the summer of that year my mum and I went to the Simple Spa for a facial and massage and there my therapist told me that she advises her customers not to use another well-known cream because it is too harsh for the skin but to use Simple. I was pleased because I had changed from that cream to theirs. But then a few months later my mind took a different view of this as I read an article in the Daily Mirror about the different man-made chemicals in everyday toiletries and what they can do to you. Eg toothpaste and handwash. Then came the TV programme 'How toxic are you, beauty addicts?' which got 2 young women who loved their make-up showing what their toiletires can do to them and what is in them. They were shocked and were asked to use natural made products instead and I think that most of the products they would continue to use. It was this programme that really showed to me what these chemicals can do to you over the years if you use them day in day out, and esp if there are 4-5 of these in the products, which most of them do.

I then found a retail shop in Greenwich which had just opened earlier that year that sold natural made products, and went there and bought some new products to use the start of the new year. Mum decided to start her new natural regime straight away, whereas I hated to waste things so continued with my normal man-made stuff. What I had left near the end of the year I either gave away or poured down the sink and recycled the containers. I still buy things from the shop called So Organic (which I will mention properly in a later post) because the manager and her staff are very helpful and friendly.

There is one main reason I continue to use natural products and that is I have sensitive skin, esp my face with has red patched. I keep reading in health magazines that using natural products is better for sensitive skin, so feel that I am doing right.

That is my story why I started using natural made products, and would like others to do so too, esp if they have sensitive skin like me. And is one of the reasons why my third children's book is about this issue, with magic added to it of course.

If you have any questions or would like advice or a talk about this from me contact me at

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The natural part

Welcome to the natural part of this blog. This part will be all about using naturally made products, what is out there, what I have tried and liked, where to buy them and how much they cost. Also it will have about natural spas and shops.

At some point I will also combine my passion about recycling with this part, telling you what products are recycleable and where you can recycle them.

For a start I can tell you that the Beaming Baby wipes packaging is made of half chalk and half plastic PE. So I can recycle it at a mixed plastic recycling bank.

I am waiting for a reply about Earth Friendly eco wipes packaging, and will let you know when I get a reply about them.

My next post this week will be why I started to use products with natural ingredients in. So watch this space...

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Not easy being green when...

It's not easy being green when you have numerous medical problems like I have which means you have to take lots of tablets. Most of my tablets come in boxes, which is fine because I can recycle card, but when it comes to the blister packs well...I have been peeling off as much foil as I can from them but what about the plastic bits remaining? You can't recycle them unless you send them back to the company or the chemist but that costs money. So I am not sure what to do about them apart from putting them in the bin, so they go to landfill. Then there are the tablets that come in little plastic pots, which I end up also putting in the bin. I think next time I might write down the name of the company they come from, find a website and see if I can email them about what plastic it is, as it doesn't say on the pots. Grr... But I am being quite good as I put the tablets in little brown plastic bottles that I have had for a while and use time and time again, sticking new labels on the front so I know when I last ordered the tablets. That is one way to reuse/recycle them.

Then there is my allergic rhinitis. I use lots of tissues and I can't put all of those in the compost, only one or two now and then. I did mention this once on my other blog and people commented that they use handkerchiefs. You have to wash those each time, and from what I have seen in the shops most hankies come in boxes with plastic on, so the plastic goes into landfill, defeating the object. So I am in a dilemma. I want to be as green as possible but with all these medical problems I find it hard to at times.

Any suggestions will be gratefully received.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Beng Green Away frrom Home

I went away to a writer's retreat at the weekend and found out that being green doesn't necessarily mean the 3 r's. It also means eating locally fresh produce, which I think I ate lots of as I ate foods that I don't have normally. They offered Fairtrade wine, not that I had any of that as I can't drink alchohol. Over the weekend I had a curry with cauliflower in with tomatoes and beetroot. The beetroot must've been fresh as it was cubed unlike the sliced sort you get in jars. I also had butternut squash, I think, and they served courgettes with it which I didn't have, and aubergine and peppers. I ate the peppers but not the aubergines as I don't like them. I also had new potatoes with carrots and peas, which were fresh as they taste different to the frozen ones I normally have here at home. Yesterday we had roast chicken for lunch and with it I had parnsips, which were really nice and tasted like sweet potatoes to me. I think I will have that again sometime. There were other foods I had that I've not had before like couscous. That was nice and wouldn't mind trying that again, coconut rice pudding which was yummy and yesterday I had baked apple with sultanas in the middle with cinnamon, that was gorgeous. I think there is a farmer's market and other places near the house I stayed in that grow these foods, and I am all for eating local foods to save the carbon footprint.

So as well as learning and writing lots (which I will tell you about in my other blog), I tasted lots of new foods and will have again. Because of this my weight has gone up even more and now need to do more exercise.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Recycling at home

This week will be all about recycling (the green part of this blog), and today I am going to talk about what you can recycle at home, esp in Lewisham my borough.

Of course, there are the basics: paper, card, tin, glass, and plastic bottles. I envy borough of Bromley because they can recycle more plastics at home than Lewisham can. As well as these basics, there are other things you can recycle. Labels off cans, preferably taken off as told to me by the council, empty stamp booklets and jar lids. So all these I add to our weekly recycling, although my mum still doesn't believe in recycling the shiny stuff. There are batteries, as our council has given the residents little bags to put them in once we have enought to fill it, but we still take ours to Sainsbury's. You cannot recycle shredded paper as this is too fine for recycling purposes, so here are couple of suggestions: if you have a compost bin put it in there, or if you have pet gerbils or hamsters or a pet in a cage, then it can be used for bedding, or you can keep it for packaging goods to other people.

Talking of compost, we have 2 bins in our garden. Whilst one is breaking down, we fill the other up with fruit and veg bits, paper, card, egg shells (when not putting it on garden to stop beasties nibbling plants). We have a compost caddy in our kitchen and Mum empties it when it either fills up or gets too smelly.

I think that is all I can think of for now. Next time will be all about what else you can have in your house that can be recycled outside the home eg in banks locally.

Here is a challenge for you. See how much you can recycle at home in a week's time and let me know.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

My wheat-free week

So how did I do? V well actually, with no wheat at all. So why wheat? Wheat is in lots of things and for me it was the easiest to go without. Oat milk is the only milk I can have with my breakfast as all other milks don't agree with me, and I am intolerant to wheat so I wanted to see how I went without it.

I even managed it on Tuesday when I went out for a meal. I had pan-fried chicken with roast new potatoes and green beans, which I really liked. For toast during the week I tried Genius brown bread which was quite nice, I had a Sainsbury's white seeded roll and that was nice too. Yesterday I had Genius white bread and I have to say I prefer that than the brown version. I have already tried, Warburtons which had seeds in but that upset me as I had it for breakfast and my stomach can't take seedy stuff that time of day. I also tried Sainsbury's Freefrom white rolls and they are the best. V floury on top but very soft and melt in the mouth. Next to try will be Genius rolls with seeds on, that get everyone on the surfaces and the floor. I have already tried Sainsbury's Freefrom spaghetti, which is made from potato flour I think. That was nice and didn't upset me, which normal spaghetti did. Will be having that again tomorrow with spal Bol. Oh yes, I tried gluten-free cornflakes by Kallo Whole Earth for breakfast this morning and really liked them, prefer them to normal cornflakes now, which upset me last time I ate them on their own. Mum likes them too, and bougth 4 boxes from Sainsbury's this morning.
So where do you buy these from? Both Sainsbury's and Tescos' do the Genius and Warburton bread and rolls, and Sainsbury's and Holland & Barrets (although dearer than S'bury's) for the cornflakes and S'bury's for the spaghetti.

Overall I really like the rolls and bread and pasta I have tried, and once I have eaten up all the wheat bread and pasta that we have in house, I will go on to the gluten-free ones and stay with them, although they are at least a pound dearer than normal wheat varieties. If I try anything else wheat-free I will post it here.

Next week's posts are all about living greenly and recycling.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Coelic Disease

This week is Coeliac Disease Awareness Week. So what is Coeliac Disease? It is a severe reaction to all grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt). Gluten is the protein and the glue in the grains that sticks the food together. Reactions can be severe weight loss or bad diarrhoea. 1 in 100 Brits have it, and of those inc my mum, one of her sisters and her brother, which is why I have decided to highlight here under healthy eating. Wheat is the main grain you can find gluten in, and as I have found out, is in a hell of a lot of foods from the obvious ones eg bread, to things like pastes. Fortunately there are a lot of gluten-free alternatives to these and I will explore these later on this week.

So what am I going to do about it? Personally I have decided to try to go wheat free this week. I can't do without rye and oats and I eat ryvitas and I love my oatcakes, but I can do without wheat as I've done it before. So that is what I am doing and will let you know the results later in the week when I will tell you about what alternatives there are, where to get them and how much they are and what they taste like.

So I shall see you then. I challenge you to go wheat free this week and see how you find it.

Saturday, 14 May 2011


Welcome to my new blog. As mentioned on my website, as well as writing for adult and children, I am also passionate about healthy eating (as shown in my children's book Rosie and the Sick School), natural health and green issues. This new blog will be exploring those passions further on a weekly rota. I will be talking about what healthy foods are out there and where you can buy them, locally and nationally, what natural health products are out there, what I've tried and liked and hated, where you can buy then and this can be merged with the green issues as I will be mentioning if their containers are recycleable or not and if I have found out if they are, and green issues will be all about reducing, reusing and recycling and where and what you can recycle things.

Next week will be my first entry to this new blog and I will be writing about Coeliac Disease as it is going to be Coeliac Disease Awareness week from 16 -22 May.

I hope you will join me on this new venture and journey and find what I have to say useful/