Supermarket-free Lent 2015: Day 13

Unlike last year, when I felt my supermarket-free Lent was an uphill struggle at times, I’m finding this year pretty easy so far. This can be almost fully attributed to the excellent new Nisa store that opened in my area around 10 months ago (mentioned in my last post). It has met almost all of my needs so far, and is only a little bit further away from home. Admittedly it’s not close enough for me to walk with children in tow, but I do my big shopping with the car anyway so it’s not causing me difficulty.

I had hoped by this stage to have reviewed some of the local shops in my area, of which there are plenty, but (as ever) life is really busy and I’ve not been able to do any exploring yet.

I wrote in this post about how we’d got used to swapping our Tesco Clubcard vouchers for money off at Pizza Express. With this option being much less attractive now that the Clubcard points are out of bounds, this weekend we ventured out to a family run pizza run restaurant instead, in the centre of Edinburgh. It was our second choice as we have a really excellent locally-run pizza place near us, but it is closed on a Sunday lunchtime.

I was really hoping (and indeed expecting) that I could rave about our great experience here on the blog but…we were disappointed. The pizzas were too salty and difficult to cut, we were seated so close to the toilets that people had to squeeze past us, it was cold to the point that I had to put my coat back on, plus they always used to have balloons and activity packs for kids but they didn’t this time.

I feel a bit sad about it as we’ve had great experiences there within the last couple of years. I didn’t give them feedback during our visit because I didn’t want to complain as such. The staff working there were lovely, and I was enjoying family time. My conscience says that I should probably offer them kind and constructive feedback though, otherwise they will almost lose customers to the bigger chains who are able to team up with supermarkets to secure an income.

I have increased my cooking as expected. Today for example, I made a big batch of tomato sauce for the freezer which I can use as an emergency meal with pasta or as a pizza topping. I also made bread in the breadmaker and…er…a jelly from jelly cubes – that doesn’t count, does it?! I’m still not completely on top of the veg box but am finding ways of using up more of it, and our meals and snacks are getting healthier all the time!

Finally, I am finding that by going supermarket-free again I am thinking in more depth about where my food comes from and the quality of supermarket food. By having a break from the supermarket, I have the freedom to challenge myself on the bad habits I’ve fallen into, without feeling automatically defensive because I’m not adhering to my ethics as much as I think I should…

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Supermarket-free Lent 2015: Day 8

I am amazed that in the last week, I’ve done so little shopping. Admittedly, we have been living to some extent on what is already in our cupboards, but I must’ve spent significantly less than I usually would in the same period.

Throughout January and February, I was becoming alarmed at how often I found myself in the supermarket.  We always seemed to be short of something, or I needed to find something easy for dinner. Somehow I never left the supermarket with the couple of items I was just popping in for. I really was wondering how on earth I was going to manage being supermarket-free this Lent.

However, with double portions of fruit and veg being delivered to our doorstep (as a result of me increasing our veg box order), we are all eating a lot more of this lovely fresh produce as snacks. The pears and apples that are in season just now are delicious, and I’m finding that I’m having to limit how many the children eat to prevent sore tummies. This makes me realise that the Pom Bear/Oaty Bar ilk of treats I’m used to stocking up on, have been somewhat unnecessary!

I have also now visited my first physical shop – twice in fact! The farm shop I grew to rely on during my last two supermarket-free stints has closed, and a bigger better shop has opened in its place. Initially, this sent me into a bit of a panic because the new shop looked decidedly like a supermarket.

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I searched for it on the internet however, and discovered that the Nisa sign above the door is actually good news for me.  Nisa stores are franchised, and are essentially local businesses (local businesses – yay!) that get support to help them compete for their share of the market – you can read more here.

The store is great!

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It has a variety of products, including its own bakery counter and a small café area. The prices seem competitive and, although I haven’t taken the time to work out whether I would pay more or less in my local supermarket for an equivalent shop, I found that I didn’t spend a scary amount.

Also, I hardly bought anything on impulse – partly because there were less of the extras and wild deals that I’m so used to in the supermarket, and partly because I used a wheelie basket and ran out of space to put anything else in it! (The trollies took £1 coins and I didn’t have any). In addition, I had the kids with me, and they were getting in everyone’s way dragging the basket around – fun for all the family – so I wanted to get out as quickly as I could!

My final thought for tonight is that Mothers’ Day is on Sunday 15th March. Last year I wrote this post which makes for depressing reading (I wonder if I blew the whole issue a little out of proportion!).  I wrote with a heavy heart about buying my Mothers’ Day gifts and cards from chain stores. It seems that they lacked the personal touch – I have no recollection of what they actually were! This year I need to do Mothers’ Day differently if I want to spare you another self-deprecating post…I need to get planning!

Lent 2015: Day 4

So far my experience of supermarket-free Lent has been most uneventful – I’ve got through it without doing any shopping whatsoever! I have of course upped my veg box delivery (which includes fruit and eggs), and I’ve had milk delivered by a local dairy for the last year – both of which have helped me to avoid physical stores so far.

Things are getting a bit desperate though in some departments.  We are, for example, down to our last loo roll (!) and the freezer’s supply of convenience-type foods is about to run dry. As anticipated, we’ve done a little more cooking than usual, but we aren’t yet feeling any pain from being supermarket-free.

I threw out some Tesco vouchers today that will go out of date during Lent.  I wondered if that might hurt a little, but actually the vouchers were to encourage us to buy products we wouldn’t use, so would have been binned anyway.  I think that because we shop with local businesses to some extent, our Clubcard can’t obtain an accurate picture of our lifestyle, and therefore predicts our needs incorrectly. I feel like I’ve foiled a spy, which makes me happy.

I am slightly dreading being supermarket-free negatively impacting on the kids’ lives in some way, for example, if they are asked to bring a specific item to school, or if we have to duck out of some supermarket-related social activity (I used to spend happy hours in the café with friends when they were babies!).  This hasn’t, however, been a problem the last two times I’ve done the challenge, plus now we have older children, my group of friends have found better things to do with our time! Hopefully the kids and I will emerge in April with our social lives unscathed…

As far as I’m aware, and due to planning on our part, we don’t use any extra supermarket services, such as banking or film hire. I’ll admit though that we are partial to saving our Tesco Clubcard vouchers and swapping them in for money off at Pizza Express. This was a weekend treat that saved us money, and meant that we could eat out on a whim if we didn’t fancy cooking.  I think we’ll miss that over the next 40 or so days. I must look into how this deal benefits Tesco, and decide if it’s a boycott that I should continue once Lent is finished.

I hope everyone else who’s going supermarket-free over Lent has got off to an enjoyable start. I’ll be back with a shopping update over the next few days.

 

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the last toilet roll

Lent 2015: Day 1

Phew! Day 1 of my Supermarket-free Lent challenge is almost done and I’ve made it through. There’s not much to report since today was never going to involve any shopping anyway. The kids and I ate out with friends for lunch, and the rest of the food we consumed was in the house anyway.

The main thing I’ve done by way of preparation for this challenge is to double my veg box order. I know! It’s crazy, given my very recent blog post about how I’ve been struggling with the veg box, and that I was questioning whether it even had a future in my household… I realised though that without a guaranteed supply of fruit, veg and eggs being delivered to the door, it was going to make going supermarket-free harder and more time consuming than I already anticipate it will be. I’m just going to have to do a lot of cooking over Lent, and I’ve decided to accept that and put the hours in.

As well as my fellow bloggers and tweeters outlined in this post who are joining in with supermarket-free Lent, I am delighted to introduce you to Katherine H of secondhandtales.wordpress.com plus @jennifer_nini of ecowarriorprincess.net, who has committed to give up the main supermarkets in Australia*. WooHoo!  Welcome aboard guys.  I am secretly hoping that in the near future giving up supermarkets for Lent will be a ‘thing’ and people will take the challenge even once, just to get them thinking about the impact of the supermarket on our society and environment.

I’ll sign off for now but will be back within the next few days with an update.

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*She lives there.  It doesn’t count, if you don’t live there, ok? ;-)

Lent 2015 Challenge

After a bit of frantic googling on my part, it seems that Lent starts soon – on Wednesday 18th February – or, in fact, just…Wednesday.

If you’re trying to work out what I’ll be giving up, it’s a no-brainer – supermarkets. Again. This will be my second year of doing a supermarket-free Lent, or a #supermarketfreelent as I tend to think of it, due to my high level of interaction on Twitter during this time. Also, in 2013, I gave up supermarkets for 28 days. I should therefore be an old hand at it, and looking forward to a relatively easy experience. This is not the case!

There’s a very real possibility that my use of the supermarket has actually increased, compared to this time last year. I’m too scared to get out the credit card statements to check. The reasons aren’t due to a lack of desire to cut down on using the supermarket (which I’m desperate to do!), but rather, for the factors outlined in this post about my veg box – I have less time for cooking and for proper food planning. This of course leads to an increased dependence on convenience-type foods which, in my case, involves more trips to the supermarket.

Feeling generally ‘time poor’ at the moment means that I am completely and utterly a part of me is really quite anxious about ditching the supermarket. On the other hand though, my shopping habits need to change, so I am going to be embracing Supermarket-free Lent. I hope that it will have the knock-on effect of improving my household’s diet.

There are many reasons why I want to stop supporting supermarkets. I am sceptical about many of their trading practices – see this recent Guardian article about Tesco’s alleged delay of payments to suppliers – and the way many of the big supermarkets price milk. Also I hate excess packaging, the confusing deals which leave you unsure if you are actually making a saving, the air miles that goods often travel to reach the shelves, and the ‘perfectness’ of the fruit and veg (indicating fertilisers and food waste). Further, I don’t know where supermarket profits end up but I suspect it is far away from my local community. I wouldn’t consider ‘donating’ to assist a supermarket financially, but should I be any more comfortable handing over my cash in exchange for goods?

For this challenge, I have enlisted some support via Twitter as I’m sure I will find it easier to stick to, having some company and support (plus the accountability of others reading my blog).

Are you in? If so, do join our wee group! So far we are:

Me, Westywrites, also to be found @westywrites I am a blogger who writes mainly on sustainable issues but I also sometimes throw in the odd post on anything I fancy. I am the CEO of a household of four which, for the purposes of this challenge means I have full control over shopping and diet*;

Trudie Holden of a alazygirlgoesgreen.com blog and @trudlenoodle ;

‘Practical Lou’ of beautifulorpractical.wordpress.com blog and @PracticalLou ; and

Mrs M of mrsmscuriositycabinet.com blog and @meg_e_r

Entirely supermarket-free people (not just for Lent, for most of the time!) who I do a fair bit of communicating with on the old internet are:

Zoe of ecothriftyliving.com blog and @Ecothrifty and

Lindsay of treadingmyownpath.com blog and @treadmyownpath

I must also mention Richard of @agreenthought who contacted me with this post to say that after deciding to give up supermarkets for Lent last year, he’s now supermarket-free!

See? There’s a wee community of support, just waiting for you. Plus you might want to consider following @Local4Lent who do this challenge every year too, with their own Twitter and Facebook community. They are a great source of support and I guest-posted for them last year (although I’ve lost the link!)

If you are considering the challenge but want to read some more, happily thanks to my previous experience I’ve done a bit of writing around this subject. Check out these links for some recommended reading on why you might give up the supermarket; advance planning and reading about how I got on last year.

Anyway, I don’t want to be pushy, I’d just love to invite you to read along as I write about this topic and if you find a bit of inspiration on the way, or support your local shops every now and again, well, so much the better!

 

 

*This translates to me being a stay-at-home mum who gets stuck with the shopping and cooking. While I have control over provision of diet, sadly it’s not up to me if anyone else actually eats what I serve up. Sometimes by the end of dinner the hoover has consumed more nutrients than the kids…

 

My first sewing project

A few weekends ago, I was given the gift of time – a few hours to myself, with which to do whatever I pleased.  Sometimes I feel dizzy with the responsibility of how to spend this precious time, but on this occassion I knew it was time to get the sewing machine out and ‘actually make something’.

I leafed through my lovely little sewing book for an easy beginners project, and decided to make a tiny drawstring bag. It was really designed for hand sewing, but I was sure it’d work on the machine too.

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I’m keen to make things we can use. There doesn’t seem to be any point in reducing my general consumption (as I’m always trying to do), just to produce a lot of crap we don’t need in the name of learning to sew…but a tiny drawstring bag, in all honesty, is of limited use!

However, I knew the kids would enjoy it.  They are (surprisingly) fascinated by my sewing machine that just sits in its box for most of the time, and I knew they’d appreciate me making something for them.  It would also allow me to learn to make something that I could give away as part of a gift for other children. We have endless parties that we take presents to, and I’d love to limit the amount of mass-produced ‘stuff’ that is made abroad.

A while ago I bought some fat quarters in Hobbycraft. I managed to forget that I was aiming to buy UK material, in the hope that it is made under fair working conditions. However the label says ‘Designed in England’.

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I went on to the website and couldn’t get further information about where the material was actually produced. Having already purchased it I’ve decided not to pursue that as the deed has been done,  but should I wish to replenish my supply, I will follow it up, and avoid it if it wasn’t made in the UK (which I strongly suspect it wasn’t!). Jen Gale of My Make Do and Mend Year has written a really wonderful post which covers purchasing UK and ethical materials here. I have no excuses the next time!

Anyway, I selected a dinosaur design (which came in a variety of colours such as cream, pink and blue) as it was a bit more appealing to both boys and girls than most of the fat quarters I come across. It will probably be of no surprise to you that I’m not keen on gender-specific toys where they can be avoided (my kids don’t necessarily share this opinion though!)

I got my sewing machine out and then took a look at the material. Whenever I look at sewing blogs there are always ironing boards set up in the background and now I know why – there were heavy creases in inappropriate places.

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I followed the instructions and pinned the material into place, then started sewing, while removing the pins. (Does the novelty of pressing that pedal and zipping down the material ever wear off??)

I’m not going to pretend it was totally easy. For example, I had to stop when I got loose threads caught inside the machine…

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…and I got some ‘bobbly’ stitches (I can’t remember how I managed this!) but I had to take the bobbin out – because of said bobbly stitches! – and like the last time, couldn’t get the damn thing back in again!

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Some of my stitches went decidedly off straight and narrow.

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But finally my bag was made…and it even looked a bit like the one in the book!

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My kids loved it and immediately filled it with their mini lego figures, so the bag turned out to be hugely useful!!!

It used to be love…is it over now?

Almost two years ago, when I first had a few weeks of going supermarket-free, I ordered an organic veg box from a local farm. I was pretty delighted with my fortnightly delivery and since then I have played about with the order – adding fruit and eggs, making it plastic-free and increasing it to once a week. It was even the inspiration of a number of blog posts, in which I demonstrated ways to use it up.

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Over time though, I’ve found myself falling a little out of love with my veg box.  As I upped the delivery and increased its frequency, it became so demanding!  The novelty of our wholesome and eclectic delivery had worn off somewhat, and we’d slightly dread the weekly arrival, that needed unpacked and cleaned up to fit in the fridge. As the months passed, we were finding that we weren’t using up our whole delivery because – let’s be honest – we’d not put the necessary time into meal planning and preparation.

Things finally came to a head when our compost bin got full a few months ago. We forced ourselves to look at what we were binning each week. Too much. The advantages of supporting a local supplier and buying organic were being compromised by wasting food and money.

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This is the empty compost bin – the full one isn’t pretty!

When I look at what ‘went wrong’, the answer is twofold:

Firstly, we stopped putting so much effort into using up our veg (the fruit has never been so much of a problem). When we started the veg box, I was supermarket-free and the easiest way to make meals was to use what was in the house. The children were also very small and it was important to me that they ate home cooked food, made with fresh organic ingredients. Secondly, although I had less child-free time then, ironically I had more time for cooking, as I could do things while they entertained each other.  Now I am constantly in and out dropping them at different activities. With my eldest away for most of the day now, my youngest needs me as a replacement playmate and that, of course, is my priority.

We made the decision to reduce our delivery back to fortnightly, which has been a relief and far more manageable.  However, I still don’t feel I’ve achieved the perfect balance.  For starters, the farm closed over the festive period, when our box was to be dropped off, which meant that we didn’t get a delivery for four weeks. FOUR WEEKS!!!There’s nothing like absence for making the heart grow fonder.  We were constantly running out of fruit and the kids weren’t happy about that at all…

I also found that I was buying more fruit and veg from the supermarket again which makes me really really unhappy :-( I felt guilty for spending more money there (as opposed to buying local), the prices aren’t that cheap (it can be downright expensive to buy the organic there that I’ve got so used to), everything looks too perfect and so I worried about fertilisers. Finally, almost everything comes wrapped in plastic and/or is sitting in a polystyrene tray.

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All the fruit & veg here is swathed in plastic

So what’s the solution?

The only real answer that I can come up with is that I’ll need to get cooking again! Although the fortnightly delivery is much easier, I don’t think it’ll be enough to sustain us when we go supermarket-free again over Lent.

I have lost my enthusiasm for cooking and I think the only remedy for that is to settle down with the internet, find some exciting new recipes and give myself some time to try them out. (I used to particularly enjoy cooking with the music turned up and a glass of wine as a treat. Since the children have become a bit older though, I seem to have dispensed with the kitchen – it turns out I can still enjoy the music and wine, but in a different environment and with friends…!)

Finally, I could use the freezer a bit more.  Although I batch cook, I could routinely prepare veg for freezing if I don’t have time to make them into an actual meal.  I should also be giving away any veg I can’t use.  If I give it to the right people, I occasionally get some back that has been cooked into something for me!

If you’ve experienced falling out of love with your veg box, let me know.  Perhaps we can support each other in making this challenging relationship work ;-)

Kicking off the sewing adventure

A while ago, I blogged about taking a sewing lesson. I really enjoyed it and, as a result, decided to buy myself a sewing machine.  I wasn’t confident about buying a second-hand machine (what if it didn’t work?) so I had planned to invest in a decent new one. I did my research and was on the cusp of making a purchase when I was invited to a party.

When the party night came, I wasn’t feeling in the party mood, but it was one of my good friend’s birthdays and I wasn’t going to let her down.  I reasoned with myself that I’d go and see how this experience was going to enrich my life – employ some positive thinking, if you will!

I’m glad I did – I bumped into an old friend I was in danger of losing touch with, a colleague from a decade ago, and…someone who was winding up a sewing school and had machines she was selling (that were still under guarantee!)

I am now, therefore, the proud owner of a lovely new (to me) machine that cost a fraction of what I was initially prepared to pay.  I even got a tutorial from the lady I bought it from, and she told me to phone her if I get stuck – I’m delighted :-)

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This beauty has however been sitting in a box in the house for the past few months while the festive preparations of last month took priority. Unlike my knitting which I’m able to pick up and work on for 10 minutes at a time around the family, I knew the sewing machine was going to need a bit of my undivided attention (away from my children who are very keen to have a shot!)

Yesterday I had an hour and a half to myself in the house, so I wiped the glitter off our dining table (don’t ask!), and extended it so that I had plenty of space.  I then unpacked the sewing machine, gathered the stash of bobbins and thread that I’d been collecting in anticipation of this moment, and opened the manual.

It started reasonably well.  I managed to wind a bobbin.  I cut the thread in the wrong place and somehow the bobbin has two thread ends which will no doubt come back to haunt me, but I’m ignoring that at the moment… I then threaded the needle perfectly which was where I’d anticipated problems. My problem area was loading the bobbin into the ‘bobbin holder’.   As you can see, it’s the kind of holder that is erm…front loading?  as opposed to sitting in the bottom of the machine (I’m sure my terminology will improve in time).

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Instead of just taking the bobbin holder out of the machine to pop the bobbin into, I removed the other parts too and then just couldn’t get them back in.  Part of the problem was that I didn’t realise I’d taken too much out, and the manual wasn’t helping me as it had assumed a bit more intelligence on my part and didn’t cover my particular problem.

Determined that I was bloody well getting this machine working in my precious 90 minutes, I did what all the cool kids do, and got onto You Tube.  Within 5 minutes a lovely calm lady from America had solved all of my problems.

Thrilled, I proceeded, managing to get the thread ‘pulled up’ from the bobbin holder to beside the threaded needle, and then I sewed some stitches on scrap fabric. I’m not going to pretend that it wasn’t exciting!

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Apologies for white thread on white fabric…

With my time just about up, I packed the machine back in its box and prepared a delicious nutritious dinner for my family in my last five minutes (okay, I actually scrubbed some baked potatoes, but that still counts…).

Join me for the next exciting instalment of my sewing adventure – coming soon!

Reusable crackers

This post is now out of season, but I thought it might be of interest for next Christmas, or other cracker-pulling events during the year.

I saw reusable crackers on the Onyabags website and thought that they were a great idea. Crackers are generally wasteful – expensive, excessively packaged with contents that are discarded and forgotten about by the end of Christmas dinner. The thought of most of the cracker being salvaged from the bin pleased me, so I ordered some.

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To buy the 8 crackers that I needed, it cost me £26.28, which included a snap, but no hat, gift or joke. I had a choice of about 8 different designs.

How did they measure up?

I suspect that opinions on these crackers will differ wildly from person to person but here’s mine…

Appearance: They are attractive with plenty of space to hold your gift of choice. They don’t look ‘reusable’ though, so warnings had to be issued to all guests not to chuck them out after pulling… ‘It makes us look a bit uptight’ pointed out my Other Half correctly. To be fair though, we were uptight anyway having the responsibility for cooking Christmas dinner, so no one noticed!

Quality: I was surprised to find out that they were made from thick (good quality) card. I thought that, being reusable, they would perhaps be made of thin plastic for durability. It slightly alarmed me that when we folded them into shape, the ‘wear and tear’ started immediately as the card bent. However, by the end of Christmas dinner they still looked in good enough condition.

Ease of assembly: They came flat-packed, so we had to fold each cracker into shape, thread the snap through it, stuff with gifts, and tie the decorative ribbons into bows. There is a cute video on the internet that shows how easy this is to do. If you’d watched a video of us doing it though, it might have put you off! The air turned blue as we fumbled our way through the first couple, but we got into a rhythm and managed it, although my Other Half just couldn’t master tying the small ribbon into a bow…

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Contents: Obviously there are none included, so we bought bumper supplies of paper hats and cracker snaps on ebay which should last us for a few years. I collated gifts from things I had in the house anyway, mostly left over from stocking filler multipacks and party bags supplies.

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Oh, and I copied out jokes myself from the internet!

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Value for Money: There’s no denying the crackers are expensive for what they are. I am expecting to recoup this over the years, but have to accept that I won’t know how economical or otherwise they are until they fall apart and I can retrospectively work out cost per use!

Ethical: They are recyclable, cut down on waste per use and – in our case at least – got people talking about waste over Christmas dinner. (I appreciate not everyone would think waste discussions over Christmas dinner is a good thing!!)

So, would I buy them again?

Yes, I probably would. They were a bit fiddly, and less than perfect, but I think they’ll be easier to assemble next year. Ultimately, they are a good idea and, for those of us trying to reduce our rubbish, we don’t have many other options.

For the purposes of this post, I just asked my Other Half if he’d buy them again. His answer was ‘Buy them again? Surely the point is that we’ll never buy them again – they’re reusable.’

Thank you darling, that’s actually a good point.

I think.

Kicking off the knitting adventure

Aware that I have set myself some ambitious challenges for the New Year, I have made a start at learning to knit. As you may remember, back in September during Zero Waste Week, I dabbled with it a bit, using a children’s book to master the basics. It all looked quite straightforward.

Knowing that I wanted to take knitting further, I got a few adult library books out on the subject and…whoahhhh! Suddenly my fantasy of clicking away, while watching Eastenders, to produce a fantastic bespoke piece of knitwear, was shattered. Knitting, it turns out, is a serious skill, and what’s more it requires proper concentration – a commodity which I’m sadly lacking.

I’m doing this though! I’m going to learn to knit, so I’ve bought another book (using the services of hive.co.uk if you’re interested).

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It’s a beauty. It only arrived on Hogmanay (or New Year’s Eve if you’re not in Scotland), so I’ve not had time to fully road-test it but, so far, it looks like there’s a lot to learn and this is the book to teach me!

However, taking no chances that I will fall off the knitting wagon, I’ve also booked myself onto a weekly class. Ultimately, I am a social creature, and if I want to succeed I’ll do better if I have someone to ask and people to chat to as I learn.

All good…

…until I decided to actually knitting ‘something’ as opposed to rows and rows of different stitches for practice. Now, in my naivety I thought that if you wanted to knit something you just found yourself a nice pattern, picked some pretty wool, cast the required number of stitches onto your favourite needles, and got knitting.

Not so.

It turns out that for a beginner like me, who doesn’t have the experience to make my own educated choices, the instructions are pretty much spelt out for me – sometimes right down to the make and colour of yarn I should use, the size of needles and the tension of the stitches. Tension?!

Crikey.

Okay, I accept I have a lot to learn. As you know though I’m determined to learn to knit, and nothing is going to stop me (!), but you may remember from previous posts that the whole point of this challenge is to produce ethical items. To me this means UK wool which (I hope) guarantees that those producing the yarn have been paid fairly, and that limited transportation (and resultant pollution) has taken place.

I’ve therefore spent more time today than I had expected, trawling the internet to make sure that I can match a beginner’s pattern with wool that meets my specifications. I think I’ve finally done it. Sadly, I didn’t get as far as finding a local shop to purchase said wool from, but one step at time, eh?

I’ll post an update soon with my progress, but here’s a picture of my first item – a beautiful blanket for our lucky Lego figures.

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Hmmm….with a quality product like that, maybe I should open an etsy shop ;-)