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.