Friday, 12 January 2018

Easy green actions and articles.


Hello!   Start the year off right with some easy online activism and some articles that show that not everything is bad!

picture via foe.org

Sign Friends of the Earth's petition, asking the government to find a solution to our plastic problem

This Guardian article says supermarkets should be the ones paying for plastic recycling, and I agree! 

And sign this petition calling for a stop to the UK's ivory trade.  

picture via moralfibres.co.uk

Sad news friends, glitter is a micro plastic and it's been wreaking havoc on the environment.  Wendy from Moral Fibres has found some eco friendly glitter alternatives for us though.  

Talking of shiny things, read Vegan Life Magazine's article on the real cost of diamond mining

Talking of expensive things, a wild truffle has been found growing in an urban roof top garden in Paris! 

For example, if we’d like to reduce our rubbish or plastic-waste in 2018, declaring that we’ll “be zero waste” is a huge step. It sets a high (and possibly unrealistic) expectation of ourselves, adds unnecessary pressure and can feel overwhelming before it’s even begun.
That’s not a recipe for a fun ride.
Rather than make grandiose goals, try thinking about the small steps that need to be taken. Break it down into things that you can start on straightaway. You will start making progress, and that will give you the confidence to take the next step when you’re ready.                          Words via treadingmyownpath.com
If you're looing for new year's resolutions how about these totally achievable micro actions to cut down waste from Treading my own Path. 
Picture via NT Times. 

The NY Times has also published 3 easy new year's resolutions that can help fight climate change

And here's some sensible life advice for the new year from Pip Lincolne.  

And if you're trying out a vegan diet or lifestyle for Veganuary don't forget to check out my vegan tips, and my yummy vegan recipes and product reviews





Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Charity shopping.

I had one trip the charity shops on the way home, and came home with all of this (plus a dress, that was in the wash!),

Charity shopping. With Terence Conran books, Kiln Craft Baccus plates, Hornsea saffron pepper pot and retro plant pot. From UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #terenceconran #kilncraft #baccus #hornsea #retro #vintage

My mum's friend gave me her copies of the Terence Conran House Books ages ago and I sent them to the charity shop when I moved house.  Which I regretted.  They have amazing retro interiors photos in.   I bought an edition of The House Book for £1 from the library book sale, then picked up an earlier edition, and a copy of Plants at Home second hand online too.
Terence Conran's The House Books, and Plants at Home, £1 from library book sale, and about £3 each online.  

Charity shopping. With Terence Conran books, Kiln Craft Baccus plates, Hornsea saffron pepper pot and retro plant pot. From UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #terenceconran #kilncraft #baccus #hornsea #retro #vintage

You can't tell from this photo, but this is a stack of 5 (FIVE!) Kiln Craft Baccus plates.  Which is my absolute favourite make and design of 1970's plates.  I couldn't resist them!
Kiln Craft Baccus plates, £2.50, local Air Ambulance charity shop.

Charity shopping. With Terence Conran books, Kiln Craft Baccus plates, Hornsea saffron pepper pot and retro plant pot. From UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #terenceconran #kilncraft #baccus #hornsea #retro #vintage

This Hornsea Saffron pepper shaker pot came with an extra special free gift, a load of gross old white pepper in the bottom!
Hornsea Saffron pepper pot, 50p, local Air Ambulance charity shop.

Charity shopping. With Terence Conran books, Kiln Craft Baccus plates, Hornsea saffron pepper pot and retro plant pot. From UK charity shop blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #charityshopping #terenceconran #kilncraft #baccus #hornsea #retro #vintage

I'll admit I can't remember when or where I bought this, but it was definitely from a charity shop, and it's super cute.  The pale blue bits of glaze are raised so it's lovely and texture-y.
Plant pot, can't have been more than a pound, from one of the local charity shops! 


Have you had any luck in the charity shops lately?

P.S. Check out my other charity shop posts for more!  





Friday, 5 January 2018

Tips and resources for new vegans.

Tips and resources for beginner vegans. Just in time for Veganuary.  By UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganuary #veganblogger #ukvegan #vegan

Are you taking part in Veganuary this year?

(Can you manage to say Veganuary without it sounding like vagina-ry?  Because I certainly can't!)

Veganary is here, 100,000 people have signed up to try veganism for a month, my 11 year veganiversary is almost here, and there's never a better time than the present to explore the concept of eating a little less meat and dairy to help your health, the environment and our animal friends.

Here are some nice resources I actually use and find really handy,  

Websites for vegan support and info.

The official Veganuary website has so much information, you can even click for a free online vegan starter kit

I love The Vegan Womble's website, for really, really extensive lists of vegan products available in supermarkets and highstreet stores.  Check out their vegan product lists to see all the yummy things you can still eat. 

The Vegan Society have loads of online resources, and a 30 day vegan pledge you can sign up to, anytime, for support and information while trying out veganism.  

Shopping.

My food shopping pretty much all comes from supermarkets and my organic veg box, there's no need to visit health food or specialist shops for vegan food anymore!  If you shop online you can type 'vegan' into the search box on the website of your supermarket of choice (eg. Morrisons) and all sorts of things will pop up.  If you're shopping in store you'll need to get real good at reading labels.  Either way check out this accidentally vegan account on Instagram for lots of inspiration.  

My staple vegan shopping items include Pure dairy free olive spread, Violife vegan cheese, Linda McCartney sausages, sausage rolls, vegan scampi and vegetarian burgers, Fry's chicken nuggets, Quorn vegan hot and spicy burgers, and for ice cream Ben and Jerry's vegan chocolate fudge brownie or Booja Booja hunky punky chocolate.  My favourite chocolate is Moo Free, Lindt 70% dark chocolate and Cadbury's Bournville, Tesco's own brand vegan white chocolate is really nice too.  

If you do want to find something special I like Ethical Superstore, The Vegan Kind and Vegan Store

Books and magazines. 

Vegan Life Magazine brings you monthly articles and recipes, and even a vegan agony uncle page - you can subscribe here.  

My favourite vegan cook books are Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Peace and Parsnips by Lee Watson and River Cottage Veg Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.  To be honest though I usually just find recipes online, my favourite is Jamie Oliver's vegan chocolate brownie recipe, it's to die for and super easy to make.  

And if you want a fiction book that'll make you never want to eat eggs again then read The Hen Who Dreamed she could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang.  

Eating out.

Trip Advisor (just make sure you tick 'vegan options' under dietary restrictions) or Happy Cow are pretty good shouts for checking out vegan restaurants and cafes.

So many chain restaurants are really vegan friendly now, I like eating at Wetherspoons (onion bhajis and chips!), Las Iguanas (mushroom fajitas and chips!), Loungers (vegan all day breakfast!), Zizzi (pizza!), Pizza Express (pizza!) and Handmade Burger Company (falafel burger!) but there's a full list of vegan friendly chain restaurants provided by Peta.    

If you're trying out a vegan diet or lifestyle during January (or anytime!) good luck, enjoy it and check out my vegan posts for lots of recipes and ideas.  






Disclosure - I receive a free digital subscription to Vegan Life Magazine, in return for giving them a shout out.  I only work with brands I like and all opinions are my own.  

Friday, 8 December 2017

Christmas at home.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  Well, it is at mine anyway!  I can never resist getting my Christmas decs out early so I can bask in the glow of fairy lights on dark December days.  We've gone for a different set up this year, with little trees instead of the big one, but our traditional Christmas tat is out too!  Here's a little peek, 

Christmas at home. My cute, kitsch Christmas decorations, by UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #Christmas #christmasdecorations #kitschmas #cutechristmas

Christmas at home. My cute, kitsch Christmas decorations, by UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #Christmas #christmasdecorations #kitschmas #cutechristmas

Christmas at home. My cute, kitsch Christmas decorations, by UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #Christmas #christmasdecorations #kitschmas #cutechristmas

Christmas at home. My cute, kitsch Christmas decorations, by UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #Christmas #christmasdecorations #kitschmas #cutechristmas

Christmas at home. My cute, kitsch Christmas decorations, by UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #Christmas #christmasdecorations #kitschmas #cutechristmas

Christmas at home. My cute, kitsch Christmas decorations, by UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #Christmas #christmasdecorations #kitschmas #cutechristmas

Christmas at home. My cute, kitsch Christmas decorations, by UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #Christmas #christmasdecorations #kitschmas #cutechristmas

Christmas at home. My cute, kitsch Christmas decorations, by UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #Christmas #christmasdecorations #kitschmas #cutechristmas

Christmas at home. My cute, kitsch Christmas decorations, by UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #Christmas #christmasdecorations #kitschmas #cutechristmas

Christmas at home. My cute, kitsch Christmas decorations, by UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #Christmas #christmasdecorations #kitschmas #cutechristmas




Friday, 1 December 2017

What I've been reading.

Here's what I've been reading in the last couple of months,

What I've been reading. By UK book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #bookblogger #bookreview #librarybooks #librarylife

A Change is Gonna Come - Various authors
This is an anthology of short stories and poems by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic writers, and it's part of my attempt to read more diverse authors.  As with most collections of short stories, I loved some and some weren't for me!

What I've been reading. By UK book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #bookblogger #bookreview #librarybooks #librarylife

Optimists Die First - Susin Nielsen
Do you like books about crafts and cats and cat videos?  Then you'll like this.  It's also quite sad, because it's about a group of teens dealing with various tragedies, traumas and mental health issues.  Pretty much all the reviews I've read about this book have questioned the mix of comedy or whimsy and tragedy, and suggested the issues were treated too lightly, but I thought it was just right and I really enjoyed it.

What I've been reading. By UK book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #bookblogger #bookreview #librarybooks #librarylife

Some Girls Bite - Chloe Neill
I've started this new vampire series and I'm on the third book already.  Merit is a super strong new vamp, former graduate student, joining Chicago's vampire community.  There's Always some will-they-won't-they sexy vampire drama in all these urban fantasy type books that I'm getting quite bored of, but I'm otherwise enjoying making my way through this series.

What I've been reading. By UK book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #bookblogger #bookreview #librarybooks #librarylife

It Only Happens in the Movies - Holly Bourne
I love Holly Bourne.  And I really liked this romance story that calls into question the themes of typical romance stories.  Also, there's feminism and zombies.  

What I've been reading. By UK book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #bookblogger #bookreview #librarybooks #librarylife

The Hate You Give - Angie Thomas
Oof - this was a powerful read.  I wasn't sure when I first started reading this if I would like it, but I'm so glad I persevered (despite the fact I had several graphic nightmares about shootings - I should learn not to read this kind of book at bedtime!).  It had me sobbing by the last page.  That it's based on the Black Lives Matter movement makes it an even more important and affecting read.    

The Roanoke Girls - Amy Engel
All the Roanoke Girls have died or run away, only Lane and Allegra remain.  This is creepy, I thought the reason why the girls dissapeared might be magical, but it isn't, it's revealed pretty soon in the book that the thing you fear is in fact true but I had to keep reading to make sure the girls would be ok at the end.  This book has been haunting me.

The Babysitter's Club - Dawn and the Impossible Three - Ann M. Martin and Gale Galligan
I like these graphic novel versions of the BSC for nostalgic reasons.  This one has a new illustrator, who I don't like so much as Rania Telgemister who illustrated the first 4 BSC graphic novels.

I am Bat - Morag Hood
This is a children's book, but I love it!  If you have children, or are a child at heart like me, then you should definitely read it.

What have you been reading?  I'm trying to read by more diverse authors, but I've realised that I rarely read books written by men, so I'd love it if you could recommend me some awesome books written by men?!  I'm already on the library waiting list for the new Phillip Pullman book!  






Friday, 24 November 2017

Diary of a suburban edible garden - November 2017.

It is coooold, so not much gardening has been going on!

As you can see the garden is looking very autumnal at the moment, the big tree at the back has dropped all it's leaves in my garden, which is it's wont every year. 

Diary of a suburban edible garden - November 2017. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #ediblegarden #ukgardenblog

I appreciate the leaves and scoop them up to mulch any bare soil in the garden, to protect it over the winter.  I tried to make leaf mould one year, but the bags I filled with leaves also filled up with slugs, and there's one bag which I still haven't been brave enough to open that makes an alarming buzzing noise every time I touch it!  So I do this more direct method instead, from what I've read about permaculture and forest gardening it's good, and replicates natural systems, and it's a lot easier too!

Diary of a suburban edible garden - November 2017. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #ediblegarden #ukgardenblog

I finally dug the worst of the huge fuchsia roots out from the side garden, and planted my new apple tree.  Luckily most of my garden is raised up a foot and a half, so the soil is still quite warm and hasn't really suffered from ground frost yet.   I planted a bay tree I've had in a pot for a few years too. This is my attempt at a really simple guild - a permaculture idea, where lots of plants work together - round my apple tree there's red clover for nitrogen fixing, curry plant for stinky herbyness to keep pests away, creeping Jenny for ground cover to protect soil and keep weeds away, and I planted bulbs too for pretty flowers.  

Diary of a suburban edible garden - November 2017. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #ediblegarden #ukgardenblog

I've been looking out for an acorn to plant, and I found one on Bonfire night, at the cricket club where I used to go to see fireworks when I was a little girl.  I hope it grows.  I'm still struck by all the beautiful oaks we saw when we visited the Centre for Alternative Technology in May.  

Diary of a suburban edible garden - November 2017. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #ediblegarden #ukgardenblog

I bought this pretty copper forget me not as a memorial for the pregnancy we lost last year.  It seemed fitting and forget me not's are my favourite flower.  

Diary of a suburban edible garden - November 2017. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #ediblegarden #ukgardenblog

In terms of veg, I still have some carrots in the ground waiting for me to pull up, and I've actually managed to grow a tiny kale plant!  They've been eaten by slugs every year before - thank goodness for raised beds they seem to be a lot better!  I hope it'll last trough winter and continue growing next year. 

Diary of a suburban edible garden - November 2017. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #ediblegarden #ukgardenblog

I've popped my cut and come again cauliflower plantlets in the cold frame for now.  I'm not sure if that's the right thing to do with them, but ones already died (it wasn't in a good state when it got to me in the post!) and I don't want to risk the other!   Please ignore/excuse my messy greenhouse - thanks! 

Diary of a suburban edible garden - November 2017. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #ediblegarden #ukgardenblog

This little calendula is still flowering! 

Diary of a suburban edible garden - November 2017. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #permaculturegarden #suburbanpermaculture #ediblegarden #ukgardenblog


How's your garden this month? 







Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Easy eco friendly actions and articles.


Here are a few easy online actions and interesting articles to make the world a better, greener, happier, place, 

How much waste are meal subscription boxes creating? 

I love this list of resources for solutions to plastic pollution from the fab blog Treading my own Path. 


Easy eco friendly actions and articles. From UK eco friendly blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ecofriendly
photo via The Guardian


Environmentalists are usually thought of as folks who are trying to stop something: a destructive dam, an oil export terminal, a risky pipeline. But when it comes to housing, new-school environmentalists...understand that it’s necessary to support things, too. To meet California’s ambitious goals to cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, regulators say the state must build dense, walkable neighbourhoods that allow people to ditch their cars.
quote via grist.org

I thought this article about how housing development and environmentalism overlap was really interesting.  

How to be kind online - especially when dealing with differing opinions expressed on social media. 

Easy eco friendly actions and articles. From UK eco friendly blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ecofriendly
photo via foe.co.uk

Use Friends of the Earth's online form to ask your MP to protect EU environment laws after Brexit.   








Friday, 17 November 2017

Review - Abel and Cole organic veg boxes.

We've been looking for an organic veg option for a while, I don't get many crops from my garden during the winter, and the organic stall has disappeared from my local market.   We've tried the Morrisons organic veg box, but I think we've settled on Abel and Cole's weekly organic veg boxes for now. 

This is what we got in our first few boxes,

Week 1.

Review - Abel and Cole organic veg boxes. From UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #abelandcole #organicvegbox #vegboxreview

We went for a medium mixed box to start with, this costs £19.95 but we had a super special offer for 50% off our 1st and 4th boxes, so we actually paid £9.98 plus the £1.25 for postage.  This is a bigger box than we would go for usually, but we were cheekily making the most of the 50% off!

The box contains 3 fruits and 6 veggies, our box had,

5 big bananas, 6 apples and a box of red grapes.  A paper bag with 9 potatoes of various shapes and sizes, a bag of 9 carrots, 4 white onions, 3 big vine tomatoes, 3 huge portobello mushrooms, a cauliflower.

Opening the box was like Christmas and all the produce was beautiful and fresh and exciting!  Only two little niggles with the produce, one of the bananas was split and one of the potatoes had a green bit, but nothing that we were particularly bothered about.  I don't like the plastic boxes the grapes, mushrooms and tomatoes came in either - surely they could use cardboard ones instead!

Review - Abel and Cole organic veg boxes. From UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #abelandcole #organicvegbox #vegboxreview

We got a free cookbook too. 

Week 2.

Review - Abel and Cole organic veg boxes. From UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #abelandcole #organicvegbox #vegboxreview

We went for the small mixed box this time, which costs £14.25 gives you 3 fruits and 5 veggies, it contained,

4 big bananas, 5 apples, 6 clementines, 2 corn on the cobs, a red pepper, a punnet of mushrooms, a punnet of cherry tomatoes, a bunch of kale.

Although it wasn't as exciting to open the smaller box, I do think this amount of fruit and veg is more manageable for my two person household to eat in a week.  Usually the box comes with potatoes, but I swapped them out for a pepper because we still had loads of potatoes left over from the Morrisons organic veg box.  Again the produce was lovely and fresh and we were excited to eat it!

Week 3.

Review - Abel and Cole organic veg boxes. From UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #abelandcole #organicvegbox #vegboxreview

We had the small mixed box again, this time it contained,

4 bananas, 9 apples (a double portion of apples), a bag of 7 potatoes, a red pepper, 3 big leeks, 5 medium size chestnut mushrooms, a bag of corn salad.

Again, everything was nice and fresh, although I could have done with a few more potatoes in my bag!

Week 4.

Review - Abel and Cole organic veg boxes. From UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #abelandcole #organicvegbox #vegboxreview

Ok, I'll admit that we went too far with this one!  To make the most of the 50% off the 4th box offer I bought the large mixed box, which is usually £27.50, but we only paid £13.75 plus postage.

Inside the (huge) box was,

6 bananas,7 apples, 7 mandarins, 4 baking potatoes, a bag of 10 potatoes of various sizes, 2 broccolis, a cauliflower, 5 tomatoes, 12 mushrooms, 4 corn on the cob and a bag of salad.

I guess the portion sizes are bigger in the bigger boxes as well as you getting a larger selection of items. Luckily, Abel and Cole boxes are really flexible, so I skipped the next week's box to give us enough time to eat all this veg.

I made a couple of extra purchases from the Abel and Cole shop too, some organic pumpkin seeds and garlic.

Review - Abel and Cole organic veg boxes. From UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #abelandcole #organicvegbox #vegboxreview

Overall, I've been super happy with the quality of the fruit and veg in the boxes, everything is fresh and it feels like a real treat to eat.  I love the convenience of having it delivered too, I don't have to go to the market, or try to find organic in the supermarket.  It's nice that the boxes are flexible too, you can skip weeks, and check the website to see what's in your box in advance -and swap out anything icky like parsnips or butternut squash!  I wish there was less plastic packaging on some of the things, but I suppose there's less plastic than if I'd bought my veg pre-packaged from the supermarket.

If you fancy trying Abel and Cole for yourself feel free to use the code below to get £20 off your first order (and I'll get £20 credit too!).

Review - Abel and Cole organic veg boxes. From UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #abelandcole #organicvegbox #vegboxreview

Can you recommend any other organic veg boxes for us to try?