25 November 2014

The benefits of eating seasonal and locally grown food

I have made the move to eat only seasonal and locally grown food. It is one of the best decisions I have made. My wallet and health agree with me and you might too. 


The benefits of eating seasonal and locally grown food

Do you know where your food comes from? No not the location of stores and markets where you gather the weekly groceries. Where is your food grown and harvested? How many kilometres does your food travel before it gets to your shop? And do you know what seasons your food grows?

I didn't until recently. Now we have made some changes and decided to become local and seasonal food consumers.

When the builder and I moved in together we made a consciences effort to shop and support local business as we navigated the ins and outs of living and shopping plastic free. We frequented the green grocer, butcher, fish monger and the grain and nut store. It was not until the Builder questioned whether our green grocer's fruit and vegetables were organic that I began to investigate what it meant to eat sustainably.

I looked at our food buying habits. Nope we were not buying organic fruit and vegetables. Although we were supporting a small business not all of the food was coming from local farmers. Much of it was travelling from several states away resulting in a larger carbon foot print.

We decided that aside from organic fruit and veggies, we also wanted to make less of an impact and could achieve this by simply supporting local farmers and eating what is in season. Aside from being a sustainable earth friendly choice there are other benefits too only buying food that is in season and from within our own State. Let's look at why...

Environment

Our food has a smaller distance to travel equaling fewer carbon emissions. The fruit and vegetables we buy come from farms that are less than three hours away, some even closer. An organic farmer will steer clear of toxic chemicals and pesticides, using only friendly methods to grow food. If the farmer grows organic it is a sign that he cares about the environment just as much as you and me. Eating locally grown food means we have to eat seasonally. It goes hand in hand.

Supporting local businesses and community

Recently one of Australia's big name supermarkets were sprung marketing and selling freshly baked bread that was...no joke...baked in Ireland and shipped to Australia. Now no harm to the Irish, you are very gifted bakers. I adore your soda breads and potato breads dearly but this was ludicrous. It makes me cringe when I think of not only the environmental impact but also the economic and social impact eating food shipped from far away countries and regions has on food growers in my very own State. By going to a certified farmer market we support food businesses in Victoria which in turn supports local families and the local economy.

Save money

Eating seasonally will also save you money as food that is purchased out of season can be marked up. Think about it; tomatoes grow naturally in summer. They are a summer fruit and a delicious one at that. So for farmers to grow tomatoes out of season will require more effort which requires more money. The farmers then have to pass this added price onto the shop owners. Then the shop owners can mark it up using the valid reason a tomato is not in season so it is a premium sale. Since buying food that is in season we have enjoyed a reduction in our weekly grocery bill.

Health

I am limited with the food I can buy. Coming from a habit where I used to buy whatever I fancied I did find the change limiting. But now I am glad for this change. I know food is picked when it is ripe, providing my body with all the nutrient benefits. Let's take the humble strawberry which is in season right now. It is programmed by nature to be eaten this time of year. The farmer should not need to add anything to them to help them grow or put them into greenhouses, which are usually made of plastic to prolong seasons. There are no weird chemicals, waxes or preservatives to make them look nicer. Nor have they been picked and frozen. They come as they are, never looking supermarket perfect but always bursting with flavour. The foods that flourish in the different seasons are aligned to help our bodies through winter, autumn, spring and summer.

At the farmers market I am able to talk to the people that nourish me. I have a direct relationship with the person that grows my vegetables and fruit; farm to plate to belly. I am cultivating community.

We downloaded a list of what is in season from the Victorian Farmers Markets Association to help us understand what food is in season. Sometimes there have been items at the market that are not on the list so we ask them how they are storing the food. There are even some leeks still available but now they are on the smaller size because the season is finished. The list is there a guide. The best person to ask is the farmer or produce seller.

"Our accreditation system means that shoppers can be sure they are buying freshly harvested, seasonal, local food direct from the person who grew, reared, baked or caught it. And it means local food producers can get a fair price for their goods." Victorian Farmers Markets Association

Of course the best way to eat local and seasonally would be to grow your own and partake in local food swaps. But if you are like me and are still a novice gardener, lack the space or simply don't like gardening then I suggest you check out your local farmers market. If a farmers market is not an option and the idea of eating seasonally appeals to you search for what is in season in your area.

The benefits of eating seasonal and locally grown food

We are able to avoid plastic and any other packaging, keeping our shop to complete zero waste. If our food comes tied in elastic bands we take them back for the farmers to use. One upside of buying at the farmers markets is there are no stickers on our produce. One downside is that buying meat or fish is not worth trying as our market is took small to have effective refrigeration which is required to sell meat in Victoria. The upside is that we are now eating a lot less meat. 

Another downside is that most of my cookbooks are not season friendly. Like at all. Or the food blogs I frequent. So recipes have kinda gone out the window and ingredients have become king to inventions resulting in dishes that are simpler and resulting in less time in the kitchen.

Check out what is in season and locally grown were you live. I promise you will enjoy eating food that is good for you, grown with care and will feel good about making a sustainable choice that will save money too.

Tell me, what is your fave food to buy in season?

13 November 2014

Interview with No Plastic Fruit & Vegetables

You are in for a treat today. I was fortunate to get an interview with Luke Flesher, the Store Manager from Australia's first plastic free grocery store aptly named No Plastic Fruit & Vegetables located in Queenscliff, NSW. 


While the store has not been open long I feel that it has laid important foundations of what will one day be a shift in how the people of Australia shop. What makes the store unique is that its goal is to actively encourage shoppers to understand plastic is not necessary. While there are a growing number of bulk food stores that plastic free shoppers frequent this is the FIRST one I have come across that has chosen to focus specifically on minimising plastic. They are a small store with great big heart and I look forward to watching them grow.



Congratulations on being the first grocery store in Australia that is plastic free. What made you want to open a grocery store devoted to plastic free living?
Thank you! The store is owner Alex Grant's brainchild. He is a Sydney Northern Beaches local, keen swimmer and passionate plastic hater. He sees this store as his way of taking a stand against the amount of plastic in the world, particularly in our food supply chain. And to maximise the impact he could have, what better way than starting a dedicated store, enabling others to reduce their own plastic use at the same time? He wanted to show people that it is possible, and there are alternatives to what many think are the only grocery shopping options out there.

As Store Manager, it's my job to spread the word far and wide, provide great customer service to ensure positive word of mouth, and keep finding new products that fit our criteria of no plastic in the products themselves, or their packaging.

No Plastic Fruit & Vegetables

Even your store itself has minimal plastic, was this easy?
In most ways, absolutely. We chose wooden and metal display racks, and particle board free standing units. We don't have any of those plastic price tag holders you see on supermarket shelves, nor any laminated signage, stickers or price tags - instead we use paper, blu-tak and masking tape. Our bread is displayed in a second hand wooden bookcase, our newspapers on a recycled wooden crate, and our coffee machine sits on a second hand wooden table. We have metal shopping baskets instead of plastic. The concessions we had to make plastic-wise for our shop fittings were the till itself (sadly old-school metal tills don't quite have the functionality for what we need), the EFTPOS machine, and an air conditioning unit.

Were you living plastic free previously?
I come from South Australia, who have had a couple of excellent initiatives in place for a number of years - a ban on grey plastic bags at supermarkets (an imperfect solution but an admirable step in the right direction), and a drink container deposit scheme - both of which make plastic reduction a lot easier. I wouldn't by any means say I lived 100% plastic free, and I don't think Alex would either; although he certainly avoids plastic like the plague, it's an unfortunate reality that it has traditionally been very difficult indeed to completely eliminate it from every day life.

Since starting this business though, you can't help but look at your own plastic use, and, when you start to think about alternatives and see through research and hard work that there are legitimate alternatives, find ways to dramatically reduce your own use. Sites like your own are a tremendous resource for helping people, and we do commend you for the time you spend spreading the word!

And we're pretty realistic - it still remains very practically difficult for most people to live plastic free. No one is perfect, and I myself still make mistakes on occasion. But that realisation you've made a poor purchasing choice in itself is useful...as long as you act on that realisation and change.

That's something everyone can do, and this is something I always stress: make small but meaningful changes to their everyday habits. And that can definitely start with your grocery shopping. Our store is by no means a panacea for a global problem, but it provides a viable alternative and, hopefully, gets people thinking a bit more deeply.

No Plastic Fruit & Vegetables
Luke with a selection of the store's plastic-free offerings on a trade table at a local festival recently.

What common misconceptions about living plastic free have you come across?
  • That throwing something away means it's gone. It doesn't disappear - it goes into landfill. Or worse.
  • That releasing balloons at a party is a good idea. It's not. They get blown into the ocean.
  • That kids don't understand simple conservation messages like "take a bag to the supermarket instead of grabbing a plastic one". They do, and educating at a young age is the best possible way to instill behaviour for life.

What was the moment or event that made you want to live plastic free?
For Alex, I'm sure it was swimming or snorkelling at a local beach and being overwhelmed with sadness at the amount of rubbish on the sand and in the water.

For us here in the store, it's receiving the messages of support from customers and people on social media - it tells us that, despite the many challenges in running a small business like this an industry of true giants, what we're trying to do is touching a lot of people. That certainly does make it worthwhile.

What are the biggest challenges you have overcome?
Finding suitable products would be the number one challenge, certainly. It's often a case of "right product, wrong packaging" - there are countless great products that could be a great fit for our store, but plastic in one form or another gets in the way. And we don't budge on that - right down to a plastic label on a glass drink bottle instead of a paper one. But on the flip side, we have met many suppliers, particularly smaller ones, who are willing to work with us. For example, our most popular product is locally made Bobby Muesli, which normally comes in a plasticised pouch. But we worked together, and for us, Kristi from Bobby packages it in glass jars with paper sticker labels. We've also managed to reduce the plastic coming into our store; for example our regular bread delivery at first came on a tray wrapped in a large plastic sheet. We said we didn't want that, so the very next day it came simply covered in paper instead, and it has ever since. I think that says something about what is possible if you ask the right question, too.

It's always a great sense of achievement when we find our own solutions, too. Buying bulk, eco-friendly dishwashing detergent and repackaging it in glass bottles with cork stoppers and paper sticker labels is a nice feeling. Even though, yes, the initial 20L container is plastic, we're saving 30-40 single use plastic detergent bottles and lids, plus giving people the chance to refill their own bottles, and we send the containers back to the manufacturer to reuse. That is a great result by any standard of measurement.

As a small business, the obvious other one is creating awareness to convince people to change their habits away from shopping with the big guys. There's a nice bus shelter campaign in Sydney at the moment encouraging people to shop local and support local businesses, which is great to see. Social media is also great for bringing in like-minded people, and we never pass up opportunities to speak to people like yourself who are so obviously on the same wavelength!

What are your plans for the future?
As I said, we've been really encouraged by the responses we've had to our concept. We're still very much in our infancy and there's lots of work still to be done to establish ourselves in our current location. We want to keep adding new products to the store, keep spreading the word, and keep improving our own processes to ensure we adhere to our own principles as best as possible.

It's too early to talk about expansion or other stores, but I think the concept certainly has potential, particularly as the overall movement grows and more and more people start to change their ways.

No Plastic Fruit & Vegetables

What is your number one tip for reducing plastic?
Other than shopping with us? ;) But seriously, supporting people trying to make a difference is probably one of the best things you can do. Spending $30 or $40 in a store like ours makes a real difference to us, whereas it's just one more micro-transaction for the big guys.

Take the time, where you can, to educate yourself on alternatives. Buy a solid shampoo bar instead of one that is 90% water AND comes in a plastic bottle. It's a better product AND it uses no plastic! 

And ask for NO LID on your take away coffee...better still, bring your own cup!


Store info:

No Plastic Fruit and Vegetables
94 Crown Road, Queenscliff, NSW 2029

Opening Hours:
9:00am to 6:45pm, Monday to Friday
9:00am to 1:30+pm Saturday

www.noplastic.com.au
www.facebook.com/noplasticfood



Inspired much? I know I am. If you are too let your friends know about this store and feel free to share this interview. And don't forget to support your local businesses.

Happy Thursday,
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4 November 2014

Walking slow

Walking slow

I had a tete-e-tete with my sister via text today. We were swapping thoughts about the Melbourne Cup and the lose of one horse and injury of another. I was reminded and shared with her a quote from a simple and mindful exchange between two characters during the story of Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.

I thought I would share the passage here because it is fitting for the slow lane life I have started living more and more. Maybe it will resonate with you too.

“If I tried to ride that donkey it would stop and I'd never get there at all,” Po said. “Besides, I don't ride animals.”
“Why not?” Pea asked, amazed.
“It's not civilised,” the old man said. “We're animals too. How would you like it if somebody rode you?”
Such a question was too much for Pea. He didn't consider himself an animal, and in his whole life had never given one minute's thought to the possibility of being ridden.
“You mean you just walk everywhere?” Newt asked. The notion of a man who didn't ride horses was almost too strange to be believed. It was particularly strange that such a man was coming to cook for a crew of cowboys, some of whom hated to dismount even to eat.
Po Campo smiled. “It's good country to walk in,” he said.
“We got to hurry,” Pea said, a little alarmed to be having such a conversation.
“Get down and walk with me, young man,” Po Campo said. “We might see some interesting things if we keep our eyes open. You can help me gather breakfast.”
[…]
“I like to walk slow,” Po Campo said. “If I walk too fast I might miss something.”
“There ain't much to miss around here,” Newt said. “Just grass.”
“But grass is interesting,” the old man said. “It's like my serape, only it's the earth it covers. It covers everything and one day it will cover me.”

Walking slow, 
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30 October 2014

Make recycled food labels for your plastic free and zero waste pantry

Looking for a plastic free, zero waste and sustainable alternative to labeling the food in your kitchen? Look no further, I have you covered. 

recycled food labels
When I started on shedding plastic from my life I naturally tackled my food cupboards first. That was where most of the unnecessary plastic packaging hid. I began storing my food in glass containers when I made the switch from pre-packaged food to bulk bought food. I mainly collected jars from Opportunity stores and kept some old food jars too. Many of these jars came without labels. While I knew the name of most items there have been instances where I went to pick up the polenta and instead grabbed the falafel mix. Plus I am not sure the Builder knows what beans are what…but that’s a different kettle of fish. These jars needed labels, stat.

I did not want to buy a marker for the purpose of labeling my glass jars. A marker would create so much unnecessary waste during its production and then sit in landfill for years after the ink had dried up. I thought about painting names on but I swap jars as they empty, and when I wash them the paint would no doubt come off.

So I created my own sustainable, reusable and compostable labels while upcycling old toilet rolls in the process. These can be taken off before washing and moved around different jars to your hearts content.



Twine
Scissors or a stanley knife
Toilet paper rolls
2 x Pencils

Flatten your toilet rolls and cut down the fold, then cut in half again, giving you four pieces.

Pick a side to write your label on, then flip over. Take two of your pencils and using one of the pencils top flat side trace a circle around the pencil onto the top edge of your label. You could use a pen or crayon or even a stainless steel or glass straw…because you live plastic free and have a these right?

After doing this, draw an X inside the circle. Take your scissors or stanley knife and cut the lines of the cross. This is where you will pull your twine through that will attach your label to your jar.
Flip your label over and write the name of your food onto the label. I just used a black pencil. You can use whatever you wish.
Cut your twine. I cut mine at 40cm.

Then fold in half and pinch at the place it is folded over. Now push 5cm of the looped twine through the hole. Take the other two ends through the loop and pull.
Marvel at what you have made.
recycled food labels
Tie your new label around your jar, put back into cupboard and never be confused again.

TIP: If you are using old jars that have old labels on them here is a trick to remove them easily. Soak in hot soapy water. Try and remove the label by peeling at the edges. If you have some left over residue from the labels use an oil like lavender, eucalyptus or tea tree oil on a cloth and rub over the residue to remove it.

The Builder thinks our pantry looks professional..whatever that means? What do you think? Are you a fan of the labels? 

Happy Thursday,
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28 October 2014

Learning to let go


I wrote in my last post that my hiatus was busy but sadly not as productive as I had planned. A dose of illness was mixed in leaving me with plans that went astray. It is nice to be back on the blog, writing about my eco journey. I was afforded some time to do a spring clean. I slowly piled up items that we don't use and have two or three of (like three cheese graters?!) and took them to our local Op shop. There were two items that I kept picking up and putting down again. I would stand and stare at them, knowing too tell they had to go but I couldn't figure out why I could not shake them off.

What was even more baffling is that both items were broken. Unable to be used. They sat on a shelf above my desk. One of the items had been broken for two and a half years.

Learning to let go

The first item that sat in pieces was a mug that I had bought when I moved to England. I had just arrived in London, my life packed up in a suitcase. I was staying at a friends place, sleeping on their kitchen floor (they were in a small studio room in Stockwell). After two weeks of applying for jobs and rooms to rent I decided to go and explore the country I had moved to. The jobs and room could wait. It was a bitter and cold winter morning in January when I jumped on a train to Salisbury. I had only intended to go for the weekend but this turned into an adventure that took me down to St. Ives on the Cornwall Coast. I visited a variety of small towns along the way, marvelled at Tintagle, watched the surfers in Torquay, ate fish and chips in Penzance and then settled into St. Ives for a week renting a room above a pub. I was on my own, free to wander and do as a pleased. It was bliss.

St. Ives has a rich art history and it was here that I discovered the Bernard Leach pottery house. I visited often during the week talking with the local potters and learning more about the area. So before I returned to London, I decided to take Bernard Leach mug as a momentum of the wonderful two weeks I had.

I have had this mug with me since. It was my special mug. Never went into a dishwasher. Usually sat on my bedside table. It was not special because it was a Bernard Leach design. It was special because I attached sentimental feelings to it. So when I dropped it one night in the bathroom as I went to fill it up with water, I was close to tears. It was a bit silly in retrospect. I have many wonderful memories of that trip that could be conjured up, and continue to be, without the need of a mug.

The other broken item that I could not bring myself to part with was also a souvenir. They were two decorative wall hanging plates, part of a 12 piece set. According to my Danish friends they are the kind of thing you would see at your grandmothers house...a bit daggy and not very trendy. But I liked them. They told the story of a woman and a man falling in love, each plate showing a month of the year. I bought them at a garage sale while enjoying a Saturday drive around Southern Denmark near Ondense. Anyway two broke on the move back to Australia (I did not pack them very well..). During the whole two years I was in London, these hanging plates never hung on a wall and when I got back to Australia three years ago, they sat in a box until early this year.

Learning to let go
Learning to let go
I wanted to get the two broken plates fixed but new it would not be a easy fix with some small parts missing. If they hung on a wall my eyes would focus on the imperfection. And part of me did not want to throw them out because then I would not have a complete set. Only I would know that. I doubt the Builder or any of my friends would know March and December were missing unless they were experts in Danish decorative art from the 1960s. The photo above is of me at the garage sale. I had just cut all my hair off and looking very Fraulein Maria. I do not need the plates or even the photo. The memory is fully intact.

I was able to move pass the sentimental attachment and instead have decided to break up the pieces and use them as drainage in pot plants. Unfortunately I have not been able to locate somewhere to recycle pottery so this was the best solution. Either way hanging onto them as they were was not productive and now they are being productive.

This somewhat idiotic process taught me that I need to not attach sentimental feelings to items. The world will keep turning without the mug – I have a cupboard full of mugs that work just as well. The plates will look nice on our wall if two are missing. I have written before about the need to value our stuff. But sometimes our things break by accident. If they are worth fixing I will fix them. But holding onto them, hoping that they might be fixed when they cannot, does not serve me. If they have been sitting there untouched for over two years then it is a sign to pass it on and give it another life.

Perhaps being able to let go is the key to a simple life and wanting less stuff.

Congratulations you made it this far. I promise the next blog post won't be as wordy. Tell me, do you find it easy to let go? Are you a big souvenir collector?

Letting go,
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21 October 2014

Welcome back + quick update

Ever heard of the saying ‘the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray’?

No? Yes? Does it matter?

Either way I did not get everything of what I had planned with my two week blog hiatus. But that is life. I got everything else in order except to work on this space here. There have been some adjustments like explaining in detail Why I Quit Plastic and I began putting up categories for easy browsing.

Having said that I finally (FINALLY!) had time to perfect making my own lip balm.

Making lip balm is actually very easy. What made it difficult was adding colour to the mixture. I have not perfected the right colour yet but I think I am getting there. It was a little bit of an arduous process collecting everything but now I have it I can have another crack soon. This mixture contains coconut oil, beeswax and cocoa butter with hibiscus. The hibiscus was troublesome but not as much of a letdown as fresh beetroot juice. I used dried hibiscus, the form you would use as a tea. I mixed it in with the coconut oil for 30 minutes hoping colour would leach out but nothing happened. Which was kind of frustrating because all you have to do is add a drop of water to a dried hibiscus flower and the colour bleeds out. So I dumped that mixture out into the garden and tried again.

Welcome back + quick update

I then proceeded to put the flowers into a grinder which was messy and only resulted in touch of colour when added to the oil. So I divided the remainder of the ground hibiscus into two bottles and topped one up with almond oil and one with jojoba oil. These two oils are a lot lighter than coconut oil and not as greasy. I am hoping that after a month the colour would have diffused in one of the oils. Hopefully almond oil has the best response because I can buy that in bulk and reuse my containers. I cannot find Jojoba oil in bulk and would have to buy a bottle with a plastic lid. When you live plastic free and waste free it really is these small things that can upset the apple cart. I honestly believed mascara would be far more difficult than lip balm. I won’t put up a recipe until it is ready and full proof.

Avoiding virgin plastic and aiming to create no waste does make the DIY beauty learning process a little more difficult. But I know I will get there. Plus I am saving so much money.

Talking about money and I am going shampoo free instead giving bicarb and vinegar a go. Vinegar is very cheap and serves as a great multipurpose item to have. Clothes and house cleaning, cooking, face toner, hair conditioner...I am sure to find many other great uses for this product. So far the no poo has been ok. I gave up regular shampoo three years ago and have slowly been migrating to more simple shampoo bars. The last one I was using only had three ingredients. I will admit that I can now wash my hair just once a week and with my long mane, is makes me happy…and probably makes the Builder happy also as I used to take forever in the shower when I was washing my hair.

So that is why I am trying this no shampoo idea. So I can wash my hair less. I have to say I am really liking the way my hair feels after I wash it with the bicarb and vinegar. My scalp feels clean but not dry.

The only problem is that we have stone tiles in our shower and stone is not great friends with vinegar. Something I have learnt. So now I am washing my hair in the laundry sink.

Welcome back + quick update

I have wanted to cut my hair off for a long time and donate to charity. My friend inspired me to do it in 2012…well I have not made the snip yet. I keep saying I will after complaining about the effort that goes into my hair. I told someone the other day that I would cut it off in January. If it was short it would be so much easier to wash it in a sink that’s for sure. I will update next year with my experiment.

I will say that using apple cider vinegar in my hair has made it a richer red. If you want to make the switch I suggest reading this book Happy Hair: The definitive guide to giving up shampoo. It is fantastic and I recommend it to anyone thinking of making the switch.

Okay this blog post was meant to be a quick update of life over the last two weeks. Before it gets any longer I would like to add that I did manage to write a post for Sarah on Creating Contentment. I wrote about why I make my own beauty products. I loved writing this post for Sarah and sharing my story. Make sure you grab a cup of tea and make yourself comfortable because Sarah has fantastic beauty recipes that are perfect for zero waste and plastic free beauty DIY as part of her 31 days of homemade beauty.

It is good to be back,
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7 October 2014

My 100th post!

Hello! Guess what today is? My 100th post. I have hit the publish button more times than I imagined I ever would. And I reckon I have another 100 in me…probably more. 


So to celebrate this milestone I am taking a hiatus for two weeks. Namely because…

  • Work is kicking my butt. I am working on a project that is gaining momentum and will be concluding in the coming months. While life if shifting gears I need to prepare so I can enjoy this and work at the same time. Right now I am squeezing this out on my lunch break because I know when I get home tonight I won’t want to look at my computer…or any screen for that matter. 

  • My house is in need of a spring clean. 

  • I have an artwork I need to finish for a friend. I am sure that before your eyes move to the next dot point you are wondering why I am painting when most paint comes in plastic tubes!? I have a blog post coming up about this…

  • This week I am co-hosting a charity trivia night. The event has been some months in the making and I look forward to enjoying it. While it is the second one I have run I still have first time jitters. Send positive thoughts if you can spare some.

  • The Builder is heading overseas on a business trip and I would like to spend quality time with him before he goes. Usually I get home from work, gobble my food then rush up stairs to write. Not this week. 

  • There are a couple bits and bobs I want to add to this blog to make it more accessible. I have had some feedback from friends about what I can do to make this site user friendly in terms of finding content and I would like to implement this. It won't be gigantic overhaul. Just subtle shifts. 

The Rogue Ginger won’t be vanishing completely. I will be sharing on Instagram and Facebook over the two weeks. Come say hello. 
  
See you in two weeks, 
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2 October 2014

Like buying new? Don't feel guility and swap to shop + win two tickets to National Swap Day

Women wear only 30% of their wardrobe. I can attest to this and I bet you can too. We all have our fave items that are on rotation each week with the rest sitting there worn only a number of times. No wonder standing in front of our closets can be frustrating.

Like buying new? Don't feel guility and swap to shop + win two tickets to National Swap Day
We are faced with bulging closets but only pull out the items we know makes us look good and feel good.

There is no shame in wanting something new to wear. But this desire can be expensive and really is not that sustainable. Especially if we are adding clothes to our wardrobe to compensate for only pulling out 30% each week. No matter how much we buy we never seem to wear 100% of it.

Each spring people around the world clean out their homes, emptying the stuff they don't use and then filling it with new. We must be spoilt with stuff to complete a purge of our wardrobes each year. In reality spring cleaning was originally the act of opening the windows and letting fresh air into the home and giving the house a good clean. Not empty it and fill it with new stuff because we can. This is the type of attitude that taxes our natural resources and adds to the already mountains of waste we have.

It could be said that removing and cleaning out our wardrobe creates a good feeling. Releasing. Purging. Letting go. 

When we are surrounded by so many images of new season looks it can be hard to ignore the push to keep up. Perhaps there is something inside us that makes us want new too. It could be to try something out – to experiment. I don't think there is anything wrong with this. There should be no guilt wanting to try something new. What we need to do is open ourselves up to an updated definition of new so that we all can experience new. Let's define new as something that passes into our hands for the first time. Let's all be nice and share.



One of the most sustainable ways to enjoy new stuff is through collaborative consumption. 

I have written about collaborative consumption and some of my fave ways to share rather than buy new. Sharing allows for that joyful feeling of letting go without the guilt of waste. Getting involved in the cycle of sharing brings new items into your life. When I became more and more involved with sharing, the attachment factor on my wardrobe stated disappear as I realised my clothing is not mine but part of a cycle. 

The Clothing Exchange has declared October 9th to be the fourth annual National Swap Day.

To commemorate the day, The Clothing Exchange will host simultaneous clothing swaps in Melbourne, Sydney and the Sunshine Coast to create environmental awareness and social change by starting with our overstuffed wardrobes. Sharing is a playful alternative to shopping that saves patrons their pennies and the planet too. It creates community. I love going to clothing swaps. I have found many gems and passed on my own items to new closets.

The Clothing Exchange has generously offered two tickets for you and a friend to celebrate National Swap Day at one of their events in Melbourne, Sydney or the Sunshine Coast.

To WIN tell me what your favourite second hand/thrift store item of clothing is and why by emailing hello@therogueginger.com OR in the comments below by Sunday 5th October 2014. Winner will be notified Monday 6th October 2014.

Good luck, 
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