Thursday, August 21, 2014

Interesting Listening


It's been a while and this one will be very quick. I've been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and this is one I would really like to share with you. It is from the Conversations series on ABC and this episode is with David Boarder Giles about food waste and dumpster diving.

I hope you enjoy.

Take care

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Upcoming Earth Carers

I can't believe it is the second half of the year already! Where is the time going? (I think I am starting to sound old)

That means it is time for Earth Carers courses again.

I just wanted to let you know about the two upcoming courses.

Mindarie Regional Council (MRC) will be starting their latest course on Wednesday August 6. To find out more about the content of the course, head over here.

Western Metropolitan Regional Council (WMRC) will be starting their course on Thursday 11 September and their course information can be found here. These lovely ladies are the wonderful people behind Plastic Free July.

Both courses are free and run for five sessions over three weeks. It is a great way to find out more about your waste as well as being able to meet amazing people. I thoroughly enjoyed my Earth Carer courses.

On another note it was great to get a mention on the PFJ latest newsletter. If you have come here via the email, please say hello and let me know how you are going with the challenge. Make sure to head over to Eight Acres for the PFJ Giveaways.

Take care

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Let There Be Light

There are so many people in this world that do amazing things. They create things that can change the lives of others. These can be big things. These can be small things. These can be things that look like small things but have huge, positive impacts.

Alfredo Moser is one such person.

When we were in Belgium earlier this year, we were fortunate enough to go to the Atomium. What a place. One of the exhibitions showed photos of lights made using plastic bottles. Moser had this amazing idea and is now providing light, without the need for electricity, to thousands of households across the world. What a guy!

This idea has been taken one step further, adding a small circuit, solar panel and LED light, so that the light can be used at night.

You might want to head over to Decorator's Notebook to see how Design Can Change the World.

I think this is a great way to use waste as a resource.

I'd love to know what you think.

Take care

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Plastic Free July Update

I am now three days into the PFJ challenge. 

On day one I had my first dilemma. After the virus I had last week I was left with a nagging dry cough that just wouldn't go away. As I had been keeping myself (and everyone else in the house) awake, I thought I should head to the chemist. I bought some liquid, opened the box to find a medicine cup (of which I already have many) and a plastic seal on the bottle. 

It is amazing where we find little pieces of plastic. Even when I bought a couple of sandwich wraps (before I knew how to make my own) the swing tags were attached to the wraps using plastic. Tiny little pieces making their way into so many of the everyday things we do.

In today's email from Green Lifestyle magazine there was a great write-up about PFJ.

Take care

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Taking it Easy

I've been spending a little time taking it easy recovering from a virus. If I wasn't asleep I was

  • listening to Lloyd Cole after a great show last week,

  • reading and listening to Gavin about his busy few days here and here. Inspiring.
  • preparing for Plastic Free July (only 2 more sleeps). A newsletter arrived in my Inbox today full of great info and tips. It's not too late to join in the challenge.
Take care

Saturday, June 21, 2014

DIY Beeswax Sandwich Wraps

I'm so excited. You know when a little kiddo is so excited that they do a little dance on the spot and have trouble getting the words out? That's how I am feeling at the moment.

I was on the lookout for something that I could do at an upcoming expo. I am so sick of the amount of plastic wrap that is used to wrap sandwiches and then thrown straight in the bin that I thought sandwich bags would be a good activity. My two concern here are the need for a sewing machine and the fact that a lot of the material used to make these waterproof as not so healthy.

After much searching I came across that fact that you could make your own beeswax infused fabric! Who knew? (I'm sure just about everyone is now saying, "Me, that's who".)

Well I had no idea.

I knew that I had everything necessary for this so I gathered ran around and grabbed all of the equipment.

I used the pinking shears to trim a piece of fabric I bought ages ago. By using the shears I didn't need to worry about overlocking the edges. I had washed and pressed it when I bought it but hadn't known what to make at the time.

I shaved some beeswax that I had bought to make lip balm a few Christmases ago. The peeler worked well but I will keep my eye out in the op shop for a grater that I can keep specifically for wax.

After scattering the wax over the fabric, and covering with some baking paper, it was time to get the iron out of the cupboard. It doesn't really see the light of day. The great thing about using the paper is that you can see where the wax has melted. It is also easy to reuse as long as you remember which side has had the wax on it. (Please watch the video above before you have a go as their instructions are great. I didn't see the point giving the specifics as they did a great job.)


The finished product is quite stiff but easy to fold. After a few uses I am sure that it will get a little softer.

These are also pretty versatile as they don't just need to be used for sandwiches but you could also use one to cover a bowl in the fridge. At the moment we are using plates on top of bowls but I could certainly see myself using one of these instead.

From all of the articles I read that main points to remember are to rinse off in cold water and a little detergent as warm/hot water will melt the wax, and don't throw it in the dryer if you use one.

That was so much fun and I can't wait to have a go at another one soon.

I also thought it was pretty timely with Plastic Free July just around the corner. Don't forget about the giveaway. Only one more day and only one entry so far.

I would love to know if you have a go at this project.

Take care.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday Sandwich

Do you even have those days when you know you are craving a particular taste but you don't know exactly what? I knew I was hungry for something fresh and crunchy but being quite cool outside I knew I wasn't in the mood for salad.

I had a picked up Isa Does It from the library on Friday and was flicking through the pages when the solution jumped out at me: Chicky 'Tuna' Salad Sandwich. Being vegetarian I'm not generally a fan of recipes that are trying to imitate meat but the look of this one had me checking through the fridge and pantry for the necessary ingredients.

The only real change I made to the recipe was to use egg mayo rather than the vegan kind. The suggestion in the book was to have it with lettuce and tomato but the avocados are looking too good at the moment. Next time (yes, there will be a next time) I will be organised and rehydrate dried chick peas to give the spread a crunchier texture.

Mr Mouse also had the winning idea that we try it on toast rather then a plain slice of bread. Delicious. (I'm really glad that he likes it as the recipe makes quite a bit and it will certainly make its way on to the lunch menu this week.)

What's your favourite sandwich filling?

Take care

PS Don't forget the giveaway that ends next weekend.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Green Drinks and a Giveaway

All over the world, generally hidden out of sight, there are groups of people gathering to listen to inspirational speakers sharing their knowledge and experience about sustainability. These events are Green Drinks.

In Perth, Green Drinks take place about four or five times a year. The most recent event sounded like it was going to be amazing, so amazing that this free event booked out before I managed to register.

I had wanted to listen to Rebecca from Plastic Free July talk about how the campaign originated and how they built it to the great success that it is in three years.

Imagine my excitement when I found that some incredibly wonderful person had recorded the talks and put these up for the world to see.

This years focus of PFJ is on reducing the use of takeaway coffee cups with the campaign 'Bring one, get one tree'. To help promote this, I thought I would run a little giveaway. If you would like to be in the running for a Keepcup leave a comment below and tell me one type of plastic (apart from coffee cups/lids) that you could live without in July.  The winner will be selected at random on Sunday 22 June at 8pm AWST so that you can get the cup in time for July. Edit: Thanks for entering, ladies.

If you are interested in having a look at the other talks from the evening, try here and here.

Take care

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Happy World Oceans Day

We thought we would celebrate World Oceans Day by heading down to the beach and having our own cleanup.

The beach we chose is one that we go to with my Dad, usually as the sun comes up to see if the fish are biting. We were a little later today and the carpark was choc-o-block.

The main difference I noticed from last week was the number of smaller pieces of plastic which really reminded me of a video I saw earlier in the week called A Bottle's Odyssey.

I was also amazed with the number of cigarette butts that we found. According to data collected across Australia, butts are the biggest form of littering by number. After this morning, I can see why. These were everywhere!

No undies were in our haul this week but there were a few strange bits and pieces.  We found a plastic soldier, four empty condom packets and a bong. Luckily we were prepared with gloves and long handle grabbers.

I was feeling a little disheartened as the area was so busy and still a lot of litter that we didn't manage to collect, but then a little boy rode past with his dad and I heard him say, "I want to do that too, Dad. It's good for the environment."  I wanted to go up and hug him but thought that there are laws against random ladies hugging other people's children. Instead I just gave the dad a smile.

We finished the morning with a coffee and hot chocolate that we had brought from home in thermoses and a snack that I had picked up from the bakery on our way down. At the end, we packed everything back in the cooler bag and headed off home. We were all in dire need of a hot shower.

We didn't weight this week's collection but I think it would have been at least over five kilograms. Not as much as the eight kilograms last week but the pieces were much smaller.

It is nice to feel that we are making a bit of a difference. A small one, but a difference.

What did you get up to this weekend? Did you spend any time at the beach?

Take care.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Green Cleaning Workshop

Over the last few years there have been so many new 'green' events popping up around the city. It is really promising.

There is a great green cleaning event taking place this Friday organised by ecohub. Unfortunately I can't make it but thought I would pass it on to any Perthite that might be around the city at lunchtime.

They have also compiled some information about non-toxic cleaners including recipe.

If anyone manages to go, I'd love to read about it.

Take care

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hand vs. Machine

When the kiddoes were much younger I remember feeling that most of my time was spend standing at the sink, while the rest of the time was either preparing food or washing clothes. Buying my first dishwasher was such a thrill: doing all of that research about water and power, and comparing powder and tablets. (I think I may have mentioned before that I am a bit of a 'Numbers Nerd' so researching gives me a bit of a buzz.) Since then, we have lived in a few different places, some with dishwashers and some without. It wasn't until our last trip away that I actually found great pleasure in washing dishes by hand.

Here's a few things I have noticed.
  • Washing as I go keeps the kitchen much tidier.
  • Kiddoes are definitely of a washing and putting away age.
  • Washing with the kiddoes is a great way to have a chat and find out how they are feeling. (I remember reading an article about working side-by-side with kids is a great way to get them chatting. Keep away from the eye contact.)
  • It is amazing how many songs can be sung and dances can be danced with a kitchen full of people doing the dishes after dinner. Thankyou, Pandora.
  • I am definitely a drainer not a drier.
We had a bit of hot water system failure over our long weekend so instead of boiling water each time there were dishes I thought I would spark up the dishwasher again. It hadn't been used in about 6 months so fingers were crossed when I pressed the start button. It worked. Dishes were washed in hot water. 

There were a few downsides for me. It took all day to get a full load and we actually used more dishes than normal because everyone kept getting out something new each time they needed a drink or a snack. When the machine was on after dinner, all of the dishes used after were stacking up in the sink. We have had a bit of an ant problem lately so I kept looking out for the ant army that could probably smell a crumb a mile away.

With the service of a fabulous local electrician, we now have hot water. (You don't know how much I have missed a hot shower). I think I will be going back to washing by hand.

Hand washing or dishwasher: what do you do?

Take care

Monday, June 2, 2014

Plastic Free July Countdown

How can it be that time of year again?

With a month to go, I am starting to get myself ready for Plastic Free July. I first took part in the challenge in 2011 and each year since have found the challenge a little trickier, mainly because we are cutting more single-use plastic from our household permanently. The less that we are consuming, the harder it is to cut it out.

Those clever people at PFJ have made a great video. Please take a few minutes to have a look at maybe even join the challenge.

Do you think you could join the challenge? 

Take care

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Beachcombing Update

We're back.

With just eight hands, one claws and 40 minutes we managed to collect 8 kilograms of litter.

We were all pretty amazed with the sort of litter we collected. There was no surprise with the plastic, takeaway containers and broken fishing gear, but 3 pairs of undies? And yes, that is half a fishing rod poking out of the bag.

With the grabber that I picked up from a hardware store (left), the kiddoes didn't even need prodding to help out. 

Make sure to check out the Two Hands Project, especially with World Oceans Day coming up next week.

Take care

Thursday, May 29, 2014


As I have mentioned before, we are really lucky to live by the coast. We appreciate our location not only on those 40+ degree days in the middle of a scorching summer, but also over the cooler months. After a storm is a great time to head down there, all rugged up and on the look out for what has washed ashore.

The kiddoes love to wander looking through the seaweed while dodging the waves. It is amazing what you can see.

Something that really hit me this time was the amount of litter.

It really made me think about the Two Hands Project: two hands, 30 minutes, clean up yOUR world.

The skies opened and we quickly headed back to the car, but this long weekend I am planning on heading back down there with gloves and bags and spending 30 minutes cleaning up my beach.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Take care

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Things Making Me Smile

I know that I have neglected this little space a lot lately but it is always at the back of my mind. I feel as though I have this internal monologue, drafting posts in my head as I collect an egg, knead some dough or plant seeds in the garden beds.

I like to think that I am a 'glass half full' kinda person so thought I would share some of those little moments that have brought a smile to my face over the last few weeks.

  • Swapping some homemade bread and yoghurt for some homemade ANZACs with Mum. 
  • Morning beach fishing with my Dad and the littlest mouse. Is there any better place to be than the beach at dawn, especially with a couple of ANZAC biscuits for breakfast.
  • Opening the latest copy of Green Lifestyle Magazine to see an article about the inspirational Gavin from The Greening of Gavin.  
  • Reading the fabulous book The Idle Parent by Tom Hodgkinson. I first came across Tom Hodgkinson at the Etsy conference in Berlin in 2011. I thoroughly enjoyed his talk and went straight out and bought a couple of his books. Mr Mouse read these immediately but it took me a little longer to get around to it. 

Watch live streaming video from etsy at

  • An early morning visit to the local farmers' market to get the fruit for the new school term. So many familiar faces and that great sense of community. It's always great to have an chat with The Big Issue vendor Sean.  I was also pretty excited to see that the kieffer pears are back in season. Yum.
  • Watching the kiddoes putting up the tent in the backyard. I just put the bag out where they could see but I said nothing. It was a bit of a The Idle Parent moment, watching them sort it out themselves and not wanting or needing adult assistance. This became a second home over the Easter long weekend.
  • I came across a fabulous video via Gavin's Facebook page. We all watched it over and over and over. The littlest mouse in our house even went out to see if it could be recreated here. No luck.

I hope you notice those moments that make you smile.

Take care

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Plastic Problem

I am very lucky to live where I live. I am about a 15 minute walk from a stunning coastline and beautiful white-sandy beaches. As a kid I grew up not far from where I am now and have memories of beach swimming lessons in the Christmas holidays. I'm not really a big ocean swimmer now but I do love being near the water. Afternoons on those hot Perth days are spent waiting for the sea-breeze to come in and cool everything down. I didn't realise how much I took the beach for granted until I moved away to my first job all those years ago where the nearest beach was over 300km away. 

It is always lovely to read about other people's beach experiences and how that expanse of blue just helps clear the mind.

Cityhippyfarmgirl reminded me of a video I saw recently about the effects of plastic on the creatures of the deep. (Just a warning: this video does contain images of dead animals). There are too many questions to ask about how and why this happens and I really wish I knew the answer to fix the situation. The simple solution is to dispose wisely but when some people still put recyclables in their household waste bin at their own house, it is not surprising that plastic ends up in waterways and other public spaces.

In the words of the Dalia Lama;
Peace and the survival of life on earth as we know it are threatened by human activities that lack a commitment to humanitarian values. Destruction of nature and natural resources results from ignorance, greed and lack of respect for the earth´s living things.

Do you live near the coast or a waterway? Do you notice a lot of plastic?

Take care

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It's time to think about the garden

With Summer officially over it is time to start fantasising thinking about the cooler weather ahead. It is hard to imagine when it's tipped to reach 37 today.

The garden beds have been cleaned out and are now ready with new layers of straw, manure and compost.

I have my beds in the front yard for a few reasons.

  • With the chickens out the back, the leafy greens wouldn't stand a chance.
  • The front yard gets much better sun most of the year, although it makes summer growing almost impossible.
  • I encourage the neighbours to help themselves to the excess as the rocket, spinach and silverbeet generally go crazy.
Last year I continued to have a great crop of rocket. I had let the plants go to seed and then harvested the seeds. I did the same at the end of last year ready for that time when the cooler days would come. The seeds have dried out and are just about ready to be planted straight into one of the beds. I'm sure there will be some scorching days in the next few weeks but hopefully these will only be here and there.

I will just scatter the seeds into the bed with some compost and cover with straw. It will pretty much sort itself with a bit of water.

Thanks to cityhippyfarmgirl for mentioning the recent bread post. A big hello to those who have come across via her post.

Once again cityhippyfarmgirl has inspired me to get baking and a foccacia dough is sitting, proving as I type. It's not sourdough but I have promised myself to get it up and running again. 

Take care

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Back to the Real World

Having been home a week and the kiddoes having finished their first week of school is leaving me with the feeling that we had never been away. Only for the fact the Mr Mouse is still to return I know that not everything is back to normal yet.

While we were away there was no need to bake bread as there were amazing artisan boulangeries on just about every corner. But the experience left me totally inspired by all of the talented bakers/artists and had me really excited to get back in the kitchen.

I spent some of my evenings away researching different types of bread and looking at ways to vary basic loaves. Knowing that school would be only days away once we returned, I wanted to have some morning and afternoon tea ideas planned out. (Nerd!)

Onion and Cheese Filled Loaf

I wish I could remember exactly where I first saw these loaves. I have always loved the idea of a plaited loaf, but to me, this is much better in that it is easier to fill. 

There are so many different ways out on amazing websites, so this is really just to get you thinking and heading across to those who really know what they are doing.

I made up half of the Jamie Oliver Basic Bread recipe letting the bread maker do all of the hard work for me. 

While the dough was doing its thing, I cut up some onion and cooked these for about half an hour. After these had cooled, I added them to some grated cheese and added some salt and pepper. That was the filling done.

After it had proved I divided it into 3 equal pieces as I wanted to make 3 little loaves. (In hindsight, 2 larger loaves probably would have been a little better.)

The first piece was rolled out very gently to about half a centimetre thick. At this stage I very carefully transferred the dough to a piece of baking paper. It is too tricky to move the dough once it is filled.

Spoon the mixture in the middle third of the dough leaving some space that the top and the bottom.

Cut the corners out, making sure to cut on an angle.

Make and equal number of angled cuts on both sides of the filling.

Pull the top over.

Start folding alternate sides over the filling.

Before you fold the last two pieces over, fold the bottom up then fold the last two pieces, tucking the last one under the loaf.

There are so many fillings, sweet or savoury, that you could use depending on tastes and what you have in the fridge. I was thinking that puff pastry (pâte feuilletée) filled with fruit would also look, and taste, really good done like this.

Take care

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Slowing Down

Whenever we are away from home, daily life seems to slow down. Although we may be checking out all of the local sights we don't have a timetable to follow or appointments to make. 

The job of organising and preparing an evening meal becomes a lot more thought-out rather than trying to work out who will be home when and how much time do we have. 

My days here start with a cuppa and a look through recipes knowing I will be heading to the local markets mid morning. Market shopping is a great way to practice my very basic French.

One of my first purchases (I did the same in Berlin) was a stick blender. Soups are such a great way to fill the kiddoes with vegetable and with all of the gorgeous breads, who wouldn't want to wipe up the last bits at the bottom of a bowl. 

The first soup was a delicious Potato and Leek number. The recipe says cream but there was no way I was letting the créme fraise go to waste. 

Another meal that didn't need just 5 minutes to prepare, but could take all day if I wanted, was a variation of Spanikopita. I had some puff pastry in the fridge so just used this recipes filling. I must say it was even better the next day.   

Better head off and get dinner sorted. It's only five hours away. 

Take care and slow down. 

PS I will add links to the recipes when I can get computer access. I am writing this using the app only phone. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Adventure in Angoulême

The end on 2013 was pretty quiet on the blogging front with family and work all getting pretty busy before our adventure in France. 

Mr Mouse left Perth a little earlier than the rest of us and will stay a little longer when we head back for the start of a new school year, but we are happy to spend 6 weeks together exploring this part of the world. 

Not many words to accompany today but letting you know that there are some photos over at Instagram.  There is a button in the right side bar. You might like to head over and have a look. 

Take care and more posts soon. 

Keeping warm with freshly cooked churros and Nutella. Yum. 
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