Ugh… Summer.

Well Summer has well and truely set in here in Melbourne. This is the weather forecast for the week
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Temperatures above 40℃ for four consecutive days, come on mother nature you’re not even giving us a chance here! As you may of picked up from the tone of this post we are definitely not summer people. I would much rather it be cold and rainy outside so I can curl up in bed , listen to the rain outside and open up a good book than this hot and humid weather we”re getting.
I’ll do my best to avoid making this a whiney ‘poor me…Its too hot’ post today, besides there’s a cool change coming through on Saturday.

Here’s our top tips for keeping cool and staying safe these next few days:

1) Make sure you have plenty of refreshing snacks and beverages at hand. I like to make up a bowl of salad at the beginning of the week we tend to keep it simple using just spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrot and a bit of fetta or avacado. I have a massive sweet tooth though and so also make up some home made iced tea to sip throughout the week and maybe a bowl of jelly.

2) Please make sure your pets are made as comfortable as possible on these crazy hot days. Keep them indoors as much as you can. Dogs and Cats do not have the ability to regulate heat by sweating like we do. The only way they can regulate their body temperature is by panting. Make sure they have plenty of access to fresh water, we even put a few iceblocks in the water to keep it nice and cool. Our dog really likes when we freeze some chicken stock with a few treats for him to suck on, a bit like a doggy ice cookie 🙂
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These are our pets Gypsy the Ragdoll cat and Archie our Spoodle.

3) Keep the house insulated! We have a northern facing house so in the afternoon the sun really belts down through the back window and there is potential for our little house to turn into a hot, hot sauna very quickly. We have block out blinds which are positioned nice and close to the window to avoid heat entering the house through that back area.

4) Please stay out of the sun wherever possible. It may seem really lovely weather outside to some but keep in mind how high the UV index is on these days. Your skin can begin burning in a matter if minutes (maybe less) outside. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer, so please be sun smart this Summer 🙂

5) Keep hydrated! You all know how important it is to stay hydrated year round, especially during summer. So drink plenty of water!

What do you do when it’s hot? Smosh has by far the most creative list I’ve seen on the net so far.

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Day two: gift ideas we love

Plant a tree.

Trees play such an important role in the environment, why not consider giving one to someone who plays an important role in your life this holiday season?

This is a particularly worthwhile gift for those living in Australia. Habitat destruction is a huge issue over here, a mega 50% of our forests have been destroyed in the past 200 years ( most of which were hundreds of thousands of years old!). Deforestation in Australia is the main cause behind our loss of biodiversity, which is really tragic as Australia has been blessed with many unique animals and plants which are not found naturally anywhere else in the world. So when you are thinking of gifting a tree this year you should know you are giving so much more than just the tree itself.

Washington Cherry Tree Planting 2012

Image: Michelle Obama planting a tree taking part in a 1912 Cherry Blossom tree planting re-enactment ceremony with Fujisaki Yoriko.

Now down to business…

There are two ways of giving a tree:

  1. Give an actual tree: This is the perfect gift for someone with the space and time needed to nurture and ensure the success of the tree. It also gives you the ability to make the gift really personal as you have complete control over it: what tree to buy, what size is appropriate and is the climate suitable for this tree where they live? Keep in mind though not everyone is blessed with a green thumb, and these days we do not always have the time and space to accommodate a tree. Having a tree is quite a spiritual thing for some people as it will be something that is going to be around for a long time, it will most likely out live the recipient and will provide generations with shade, tire swings, tree houses and many animals with a habitat or food source that may not of been available locally before.
  2. Give a tree to a charity organisation:  This is better for those who do not fit the criteria of space, time and commitment above. The Australian Koala Foundation has an informative and easy process for funding a tree with options such as buying a tree for yourself, as a gift or in memory of a loved one. You are given a certificate for your recipient to show off to his/her friends, a thank you letter and their names will be put on the honour board. It’s also really budget friendly (it can even work out to being cheaper than purchasing the tree yourself at a nursery) with donations starting from $10.

Have you ever given or received a tree as a gift? I never have but it’s something I’ve always thought about and it’s definitely on my giving list this year 🙂

 

TGIF

Well Friday has come around again and since we’ve now been doing BNN for a little over a week I thought I would reflect on the progress we have made during the week.

On Sunday we went down to the farmers market and bought a nice sourdough loaf and then sat back and enjoyed a coffee and a Sri Lankan cooking demonstration as well as a nice bag o’ bones for puppy pop. We really love this market and would recommend it to anyone living in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. http://www.mulgravefarmersmarket.com.au/

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Monday we went into Collingwood and had a nice browse of the various op-shops where Little Pop purchased some funky sunglasses. We also stumbled upon a lovely shop run by the NGO Friends of the Earth where you can buy local produce package free (so environmentally friendly!). what you do is come along with a few old tupperware containers fill them up with whatever you’re in need of (chickpeas, pasta, muesli… maybe some kidney beans?) then you pay and take it home, just like a regular supermarket! http://www.melbourne.foe.org.au/?q=co_op/home

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Tuesday we made a lovely mandarin jam which tastes great with a nice cheese or even just some plain toast 🙂

Here is the recipe we followed: http://www.recipelover.com/recipe/1724/mandarin-jam-marmalade-mirowave-recipe-recipe

Wednesday we received a lovely box of fruit and vegetables from CERES, a company dedicated to providing fresh, organic, fair trade, locally grown produce. It was so exciting, we had been anticipating what may be in the box since we ordered it on Sunday. I think one of the best bits is the mystery of not knowing what you will end up with. For just over $30 we got a whole box stacked full of yummy treats 🙂 http://www.ceresfairfood.org.au/

Photo: On the weekend Mum and I decided to purchase our weekly shopping online through CERES - An organisation committed to giving Melbournians access to organic, fair trade, locally grown produce + home delivery! Today our huge box arrived packed with goodies (all for just over $30) here is a small snapshot of what we received.

Thursday Big Pop did a big clean out of the corner of here bedroom, which has been blocking access to part of her wardrobe for months now (maybe years!) and ended up filling a bag with about 20kg of no longer needed clothing and she was so happy!

Now we have Friday, who knows what today will bring! Mothers Day is coming up this weekend what have you got planned?

I think we have been adjusting really well so far to our commitment to buy local and not be controlled by matierial items and being able to write this list has allowed me to visualise how hard we have been working. Something that did come up during the week which never really got settled was if BNN includes digital items such as apps and ebooks, what do you think?

Little Pop xx

Big Pops take on Buying Nothing New

‘Buy nothing new for a year’, is what Little Pop wanted for her 21st Birthday. As a parent I support my child in her their pursuits, this request was more than that for me.
Two years ago I left my job of 29 years, it was always a battle for us to pay the bills anyway, but when i was offered a generous redundancy package I took it as an opportunity for us to live the life we had always dreamed of (just for a while anyway!). For the past 1.5 years since I left work we have brought what we wanted with little thought about the impact the goods we
purchased were having on the environment. There came a point when I said ‘I don’t want any more junk!

To be honest I’m not entirely sure what I buy that is so bad, but Little Pop assures me that we will be significantly decreasing our environmental footprint by doing this. We still haven’t established any definitive rules around what we can and can’t buy (although we really should get onto doing that) but I plan on buying as much food as possible from local farmers and thus reducing the environmental costs associated with spraying, transporting and packaging the foods we buy (I know this isn’t really classified as buying nothing new but I am really planning on getting back to our roots when it comes to food).

Back to buying nothing new… We are a household of two girls so as you can imagine clothes are probably the biggest product we tend to buy new. We are a household of collectors, you never know when you will need it. We went to my wardrobe tonight and found a skirt I have had since I was 17 yrs old because ‘one day I will fit it!‘.

I would like to have a go at making things like skin care products myself from locally sourced resources wherever possible.
I plan on implementing a similar strategy in regards to cleaning products although this won’t be a huge difference to the way our household operates now. Due to health reasons i am unable to use powerful chemical cleaning products so most of the time we use natural home made cleaning products anyway. those who know me knows that I love my bicarb soda and lemon juice (these two are  must have for anyone looking to make their own cleaning products!) – soap flakes, natural oils and vinegar are also great! I plan on regularly putting up posts with various home made cleaning product recipes and showing the results they can have (for proof of course!) for anyone looking to take a more natural approach when it comes to the cleaning of the house.

Oh and lastly…something I’m looking forward to with ‘buy nothing new’ is de-cluttering our house! We have a third bedroom that is unusable due to’ stuff’ – note that cleaning this room does not mean buying storage solutions, but to really look at what we need and get rid of anything we no longer need.

I think our motto should be, ‘clean natural, eat in season, donate, up-cycle, recycle and live life chemical free.

Lets see how our Buy nothing new rule negotiation goes

Stay healthy and happy ..Big Pop.