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Archive for the ‘lifestyle’ Category

Buying vegan foods and trying to avoid dairy products and palm oil as well as plastic packaging presents something of a challenge, and requires some inventiveness for preparing meals. I’m learning a whole new way of shopping and cooking.

These days shopping takes a bit longer than in the past….I spend a fair amount of time reading food labels. If it contains palm oil I have to look for an alternative…not always available. I recently had to bypass my favourite soups while shopping; Heinz cream of Tomato, cream of Mushroom and peas and lentils (contains dairy). Instead I bought mostly tins of plain ingredients and dried products and will make them myself, sans the ‘cream‘ of course. I made my first dhal for supper with basmati rice recently… Apparently it smelt delicious 😋 😋

Despite it being the first time I had made dhal, it was actually really yummy. I had a look at a few recipes online and in my usual style, tossed in this, that and the next thing… pretty much whatever I could find in the cupboard in terms of spices…I also roasted some sweet potato wedges in olive oil and herbs which made a really interesting contrast to the dhal. My 2nd attempt wasn’t quite as successful and I burned the lentils coz I didn’t have sufficient water in the pot LOL I ate it anyway….waste not, want not and all that!!!

It’s been an interesting exercise to see how much of what I wanted/needed I could buy without buying anything in plastic. I think I was about 70% successful. It’s incredible difficult. Even if you buy something in a cardboard box, when you open it, the contents are usually packaged in plastic. urgh. So annoying.

Buying fresh fruit and vegetables is the aspect that confounds me the most….why on earth do the supermarkets still have to pack bananas, apples, oranges, broccoli, cucumber, cabbages, potatoes, peppers etc etc in plastic bags, trays or wrap. It’s COMPLETELY unnecessary and just adds more and more to the plastic pollution blighting our landfills and oceans. Apparently a number of brands have signed up to a pact to reduce plastic…..by 2025!!!! Why so far in the future? With 8 Million Tonnes Of Plastic Dumped in the Sea every Year, that means an extra 56 million tons in the next 7 years!!!. There are so many alternatives available already that I’m pretty certain they could reduce their unnecessary plastic packaging immediately.

I was delighted to learn about The Clean Kilo, the UK’s largest zero-waste supermarket; A Gap in the Market.

I recently tried a different type of milk; Oatly and it’s delicious, even in my early morning tea. I’m trying to avoid soya products due to the destruction of the Brazilian rainforests, as well as palm oil due to the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests and the orangutans that live there. These forests are being torn down for palm oil, pulp and paper plantations threatening endangered species such as orangutans with extinction. It’s horrendous. “Without proper safeguards, the soybean industry is causing widespread deforestation and displacement of small farmers and indigenous peoples around the globe”. The EU’s hunger for soy is causing destruction in Brazil.

I’m afraid I was largely ignorant of the ecological impact of my lifestyle. It was only after coming to the UK, and particularly more recently, that I’ve become aware. I do agree that the number of people, consumerism and materialism have played a massive role in the destruction of the planet. Sadly, I don’t see that ending any time soon. But, lobbying to make changes, signing petitions and raising awareness by talking about it, as well as taking daily action will make a difference. I’m always reminded of the starfish on the beach. I believe that, although our actions are tiny, they do make a difference and they set an example that other people will follow. There are a number of brilliant initiatives taking place around the world that will collectively have an impact. Even grassroots initiatives like the people in Kenya who are collecting discarded flip-flops and creating beautiful artworks.  I feel for the 3rd world countries who don’t have the same infrastructures we in the western world take for granted. I just fear that the large corporations are not making enough of an effort. I’m going to start writing to every large company in the UK and urge them to take stringent actions now, rather than phase it out by…. Whatever arbitrary date they come up with.

We really do have to take urgent action NOW. On a more personal note…..my first grandchild is on the way and I want to make sure I don’t leave a planet decimated because of my lifestyle. And a major plus is that I’m saving a lot of money, my shopping bill has reduced quite a lot coz I’m not buying as many products as I did before.

In case you missed my previous post on plastic pollution

 

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Recycling has been the go to opt out for us to assuage our guilt over our wasteful throw-away lifestyle. For years now, we have been fed, and accepted the lie that recycling is the socially acceptable way to dispose of our trash.

In reality our trash has been shipped to other countries like China (until they put a stop to buying it in January 2018) and now apparently its being shipped to Indonesia. This has allowed us in the West to gaily make it ‘someone else’s problem’.

But in reality, unless we are living on a different planet to the Chinese or any other country you care to mention, our oceans are interconnected – Trump hasn’t yet managed to build a wall between the oceans. This means that our trash travels. It may start off in your household recycling box, but from there it travels…across the world (why?) = huge carbon footprint – one negates the other. It gets stripped down and besides polluting the soils and water systems in those countries, it gets dumped into rivers and makes it’s way to the sea….and thus into the world’s oceans.

As we now know, fish are eating this plastic…we’re eating the fish and voila…..now it’s catching up with us. Scientists have discovered plastic in our poop. Nice one.

We in the west have been exceptionally lazy about sorting out our own trash. We are wasteful and have trashed this world even more than the developing countries we love to blame. African countries were only introduced to our plastic production in the last couple of decades. Unlike us, some many African countries (you know, those 3rd world ‘less than’ countries that white people in the West are so disdainful of!?) are way ahead of us in taking action against plastic.

Botswana – https://www.victoriafalls-guide.net/botswana-is-banning-plastic-bags.html

Kenya placed a total ban on the manufacture, sale or use of plastic bags on 28 August 2017.  This became law and has been enforced with remarkable effectiveness.

“Plastics are being replaced with natural materials and there has been growth in small-scale bag making, creating jobs”

“More than 40 countries have now joined UNEA’s #CleanSeas campaign, which covers more than half the world’s coastlines. The threat is very real. If nothing is done the oceans will have more plastic than fish by 2050, according to leading environmentalists”.

Rwanda, Mauritania and Morocco all have bans in place and it’s worth noting that there is no such ban enforced in the UK, US or China, all of which have highly developed plastics industries; producing and exporting plastic bags across the globe – ergo we in the developed countries ARE TO BLAME!! It’s all about making money, the bottom line and obscene profits, and the manufacturers have no interest in the fact that it’s killing the planet.

If you’d like to read more, here is the link

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/22/recycling-fuels-consumption-plastic?fbclid=IwAR1R3efRw2UZ6D_I27lyUZjbT8XkmwFH6SZ7bEcfVVOKJ_fUJOigFv66tQc

After watching the Fashions Dirty Secrets documentary last week, my attitude to our wasteful lifestyle has intensified exponentially. I don’t want my grandchild growing up in a world that is polluted by plastic and toxic lakes, rivers, seas and oceans. I’m hoping there will still be fresh water available to this child in the future.

In this child’s name I am now naming and shaming:

tesco foods, plastic pollution, polluting the oceans, ban plastic bottles, named and shamed for plastic pollution, ban plastic

TESCO

plastic pollution in the supermarkets

Iceland

img_20181022_142724_0755405836.jpg

Iceland

img_20181022_142724_072936471424.jpg

Iceland

plastic pollution in the supermarkets

Sainsburys

plastic pollution in the supermarkets

Sainsburys

plastic pollution in the supermarkets

Sainsburys

plastic pollution in the supermarkets

Sainsburys

All of these products are wrapped in totally unnecessary and pointless plastic. These companies are also forcing their customers to buy in bulk; much of which ends up in the trash…”In the UK alone, 8.4m people in the UK struggle to afford a meal, according to the UN’s FAO – despite the UK wasting billions through food waste every year, according to food waste charity WRAP.”

“Unsurprisingly, the proportion of food waste is highest in western countries, while developing countries are more likely to suffer from food loss.”

We have to face up to our waste and make some drastic changes if we are to preserve the sanctity of life on this planet.

 

 

 

 

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I posted a few images on instagram of plastic pollution being caused by the supermarkets like Iceland foods, Sainsbury, Tesco, Co-Op, Morrisons, Waitrose etc a couple of days ago. Why are they STILL wrapping fruit and vegetables in plastic? Haven’t they read the UN Report? Which planet are they on?

About 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into our oceans every year, harming biodiversity, economies and, potentially, our own health.

I also mentioned how I’m making an effort to avoid palm oil. Someone asked in the comments section “what the deal is with palm oil?” Firstly, I’m astounded that there are still people in the western world who are so ignorant of the effects of palm oil plantations on the biodiversity of the countries where its been/being grown. So I compiled some information for her from all the links that I investigated via google. This is not my ‘opinion’, these are not my words, this information is compiled from the various websites that try to educate people on the destruction caused by palm oil…

read on:

Conflict Palm Oil production is now one of the world’s leading causes of rainforest destruction.

Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world, having even surpassed soya in terms of usage. Surging global demand for palm oil has fueled massive forest destruction throughout Indonesia and Malaysia, countries that together account for 85% of the world’s palm oil production. Palm oil is ubiquitous!

Every day 25 orangutans are killed thanks largely to palm oil. The main threat to the survival of orangutan populations in the wild is the massive expansion of palm oil plantations in Borneo and Sumatra. … Increasingly, palm oil is used as a biofuel. Oil palms only grow in the tropics and need much water.
In Indonesia alone, an area the size of a football pitch is lost every 25 secs.

Over 50,000 orangutans on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra have died because of palm oil deforestation.

Orangutans whose habitats have been destroyed often enter villages and oil plantations in search of food where they are captured or killed by farmers who treat them as pests.

Palm oil is the leading cause of orangutan extinction. It’s in 50% of all household and food products sold in the West. It’s an ingredient in shampoo, toothpaste, detergent, frozen microwave dinners, cookies, peanut butter, lotion, makeup and much more!

Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil made from the fruit of the African oil palm tree, which originates in West Africa. However, it can be grown successfully in any humid tropical climate and has taken a strong foothold in Indonesia.

Not only is Palm Oil bad for the environment, and a major cause of climate change, but it is also the leading cause of orangutan extinction.

From ice-cream to shampoo, palm oil is present in a multitude of consumer products.

25 orangutans are lost every day

https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/180215-borneo-orangutan-150000-lost-palm-oil-logging-vin-spd

Just check the ingredients label of the food you buy….but bear in mind that often it’s listed under vegetable oils. Just another dishonest way for manufacturers to use it without listing.

Petition your MP, sign as many petitions as you possibly can, stop buying fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic; look for the unwrapped items. Check the ingredients list of your purchases…look out for palm oil and buy a different brand.

If we as consumers challenge the corporations, they will HAVE to make changes. It’s not about convenience anymore…..it’s about actually saving this planet from total destruction. No matter what you do today, every bit of plastic you and I have bought, used and trashed in our lifetimes, will still be here in 400 years plus. BUT we can make a difference by reducing the amount we use.

The plastic takeout container from your dinner last week is going to be around a lot longer, up to 1,000 years longer, than the rest of your trash.

 

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My daughter and I attended a 2 day Investment Trading Course in London this weekend.

It wasn’t, thank goodness, one of those rah rah happy clappy ‘guru’ type courses where they spend the weekend showing you snippets of how they made their millions and all the consumeristic tat they’ve bought with said millions, and then at the end of it all they tell you that in order to learn more, you need to buy their next course….a bit like the courses I attended ; Tony Robbins, Roger Hamilton, Christopher Howard and their ilk. All very deceitful. I won’t go into the details here, except to say that they always have a caveat that let’s them off the hook.

Or like the Jill Fielding course we did…provided just enough of the strategy and steps required to get you excited, then ended off with…if you want to learn more, sign up for my next course. They also don’t tell you beforehand that you need a lump sum to get started. If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have signed up for a very expensive course. It irks me a great deal that these ‘professionals’ never give you the full picture, but get you excited about the possibility, then sign you up, and you only find out the reality once you’ve signed up.

No, this was a down-to-earth practical course showing you the actual steps and strategies used in her investing portfolio.

Our heads were not filled with ‘oh look how wonderful I am with my millions’, but rather we were shown a realistic presentation of this is what I’ve done over the last 10/15 years to gain financial freedom. There are no millions involved, no fancy lifestyle of big cars, mansions, motorbikes bigger than a small car, jet-set trips blah blah blah.

No, what I really appreciated about this course is that it was kept simple and straightforward with practical ‘this is what you do’ steps to investing over the long term.

Yes, you do need a decent lump sum to get started in order to gain that financial goal over 10 or even 15 years, but you can equally start with £100. You’re not going to be a millionaire overnight or even in 10 years time (if that’s what you’re looking for then buy a lottery ticket).

It’s even better than that….it’s an easy way to get started on investing money following a system that over the long term uses a simple strategy and takes advantage of compound interest, along with two other strategies that she shows you.

My daughter and I learned so much this weekend, and not just about investing, but also about the mindset you need in order to be able to invest regularly and sensibly. There’s no high-risk fast-gain strategy. But there is a simple honest way to invest and gain financial independence.

We were talking about the strategies on the train afterwards, and as my daughter said, if they taught this in schools, they could eradicate poverty within a generation. We are taught all sorts of shit in school that we never need again and nothing at all about financial planning. Rather the expectation is to leave school and either get a low-paying job or go onto benefits, or nothing at all in some cases. Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone, but the majority of people do fall into the cycle of financial poverty. And while it’s good to have a job, people are mostly not taught how to budget and how to invest, and so they fall into a cycle of never-ending debt.

It doesn’t need a huge investment to get started and if kids are taught how to budget and how to invest a small amount every month, by the time they’re adults, they could have a decent nest-egg to get started in life.

After a yummy meal, but tired we got home, relaxing on the couch and chatting, we happened to start watching a programme on minimalism which opened up a whole new train of thought.

We are influenced on a minute by minute basis, especially since the advent of TV advertising, and now social media platform advertising, that we are only happy when we spend spend spend : fancy cars, big houses, the latest technology, flat screen 55 inch tvs, holidays here there and everywhere, the ‘latest’ fashion, jewellery and high-end watches with lots of friends milling about the swimming pool in our garden sipping cocktails or beer and smoking… The height of fashion. This the advertisers say, will make you happy.

But it doesn’t. Besides that, it comes at a massive cost; to your family, your health, the health of developing nations and to the planet. Think plastic. One of the things they mentioned in the programme was how in the past, you had 4 seasons of fashion, but now they have 52 weeks of changing fashions. Consumers are constantly bombarded with messages that unless you buy the ‘latest’ this that or the other, you’ll be out of fashion and unhappy and a failure for not keeping up with the Joneses. Think Apple. What they don’t tell you is the massive, negative impact of buying all this stuff is having on the planet. It’s cheap designed to break down quickly and forces you to buy another. Of course I realise the latest Apple phones are not cheap, but they don’t last and every year they persuade millions of people to buy the latest model. They get nauseatingly wealthy and you don’t.

And are you happy?

So, after much discussion we’re now looking at serious minimisation. I’ve been downsizing anyway coz I’m tired of all my possessions that don’t serve me or bring me joy, but instead weigh me down with having to store them and restrict my freedom. But now, I’m going to be brutal. That jacket I love but never wear….out. The dozens of cds I never have time to listen to….out.

I have boxes and boxes of stuff I’ve accumulated over the years that I never look at or need…. Out!!!

I’m going to become even more of what I’ve been for the last few years….every companies worst nightmare : a non-consumer. I experienced so much freedom on the Camino I walked last year with everything I needed in a backpack. It had a massive impact on my life.

Getting back to the Investing Course, as I mentioned earlier, it’s not one of those £5,0000.00 courses where the presenter promises you that you’ll be a millionaire in no time at all (it never happens), and it’s not a ‘fake it till you make it’ type of course (think of any big name in the Personal Development arena), but it is a simple, straightforward, no bullshit, this is what you can do to invest your money and using a simple strategy gain financial security for the long-term.

If like me, you’re already ‘over the hill and still travelling’ then unless you have a large lump sum to invest, you’re not going to be wealthy overnight, but you can secure a decent amount of money to provide a boost to your pension. It is a long-term strategy…..Minimum 10 years, but at the end of it, if you stick with the strategy you should see a decent financial gain.

If you’re still young, 40 and less, then you can, with due diligence and discipline, be able to secure a decent amount of money for a more secure lifestyle.

Let’s face it, unless you earn megabucks (which the vast majority only dream about but never attain) then your pension is going to be shit. Mine will be £65 per week. Rah rah.

So consider your future and think about investing and give yourself a better chance of a decent financial lifestyle.

For me, financial freedom would mean being able to buy my motor home and having sufficient funds to travel and not work. It would be about having just enough money to sustain me while I walk along all the routes I want to do, take decent photos and have the time to blog about my adventures.

I don’t need a big house, fancy car, latest fashion or any of the latest fads. I just want to walk and live a simple lifestyle.

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As I’m sure you well know by now, there’s a massive problem with discarded plastic in our rivers, seas and oceans.

I recently connected with a company called Making Waves Clothing on instagram.

Their clothes are made from 100% recycled products: Salvaged waste cuttings from organic cotton clothing, shredded and blended with recycled plastic bottles. The end result is this fantastic top, so soft and silky which belies the product used to make it.

Rocking my new @makingwavesclothing sweater.

Love it. I got 2 t-shirts as well. They are going to be perfect for my long-distance UK walks, and the colour I chose for the t-shirts fits with my Camino colour scheme.

“They said I was trash, But now I’m fashionable”. 😁😁😁😁 Genius

If you’d like to order some for yourself, they’re a UK based company and here is the link. Please note this is not an affiliate link, but goes directly to their website

https://www.makingwavesclothing.co.uk/

#makingwaves #makingwavesclothing #recycled #repurposed #reducewaste #reduceplasticwaste #ambassador

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I’ve often seen posts where people do a round up of the places they’ve been in any particular month or year, so I thought I’d do a first quarter round up of the places I’ve been since January 1st. I saw in the New Year in front of the telly at home with my daughter and future son-in-law LOL Although I used to love going into London to watch the New Year fireworks live, since they introduced the £10 admittance fee and having to queue for hours before getting in, I’ve decided….no more!

As part of the #walk1000 miles challenge for 2018, I’ve kept note of the km’s/miles covered on my various excursions, via mapmywalk. Some of the walks look like a drunken spider has been let loose! But what fun to look at the maps afterwards and see the places I walked through.

January 2018 – walked 41 miles

chirbury, project 101, travel in the uk, places of the uk, montgomery wales, not just a granny travels, montgomery castle,

London’s New Year fireworks on the telly. Key to the Kingdom; Montgomery, Wales and Chirbury, Shropshire

February 2018 – walked 48 miles

nottingham, nottingham castle, greens windmilll, project 101, not just a granny travels, places of the uk, domesday book towns

Nottingham

March 2019 – walked 63 miles

chester, eastgate clock, project 101, not just a granny travels, places of the uk, domesday book towns

Chester

chester, eastgate clock, project 101, not just a granny travels, places of the uk, domesday book towns, christleton

a walk along the Chester Canal to Christleton, a Domesday Book Village

quex park, isle of thanet, kent, places of the uk

Quex Park and a tour of the towers

places of the uk, explore england, domesday book villages, fordham, wicken, soham

Fordham, Wicken, Soham

ely, ship of the fens, explore england, domeday book towns, explore ely, project 101

Ely

ely, ship of the fens, exexning, domeday book towns, explore ely, project 101, Exning; birthplace of St Etheldreda and home of Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni

Exning; birthplace of St Etheldreda and home of Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni

ely cathedral, ship of the fens, explore ely, places of the uk, project 101, cities of the uk

Ely Cathedral

oliver cromwells house, explore ely, places of the uk, project 101, cities of the uk,

Oliver Cromwell’s House, Ely

And there it is; my first quarter round up of places I’ve been in January, February and March of 2018, and 152 miles from 01/01/18-31/03/2018 – I’m slacking and need to get out more if I want to reach my 1000 mile target. I had thought I’d stretch myself this year and aim for 2018 miles (LOL – yeah right) but most of the jobs I’ve had so far haven’t been conducive to much time for walking. I haven’t kept track of every step I’ve taken, and only count #bootson walks where I specifically set off to ‘have a walk’. My pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury in August/September will add at least 133 miles to the total, but even so…..

I wonder what April, May and June will bring. I know that most of May will be spent at home, what with my daughter’s impending wedding and everything involved with that, as well as which I’ll be flying in a Spitfire from Biggin Hill for my birthday later on this month….watch this space 🙂 I wonder if I can add ‘flying’ to my miles hahaha. I’m also planning a walk from Broadstairs to Folkestone later this month and a trip ‘up noooth’ for 3 days which will add a substantial mileage as I explore the city, however I shall have to motivate myself to get out more inbetween times.

 

 

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This is one of the most visually powerful images of the destruction caused by plastic that I have seen to date. Shared via Instagram @balloonsblow and @kayak4kuwait

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