Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Plastic Free July 2017 Challenge ~ Our Results

Some of you maybe aware of Plastic Free July, if not. Plastic Free July is a campaign to raise awareness of the amount of plastic we use in our everyday lives. Especially Single-use plastic. And every July since 2011 there is a challenge to refuse for a whole month, Single- use plastic.

Even though we started our zero waste journey last year. This is the first year we joined in.
Not going to kid around I thought because we have been on our journey for 19 months we would find this challenge REALLY easy.

Was it easy?

Nope...No we failed.

We completely forgot about the ice lollies.

Really disgusted with all this plastic!

Even though we failed. We really learnt a lot. Saving every piece of plastic we purchased, single-use or not. It really opened our eyes to what we purchase. And seeing all that plastic from the ice lollies that CAN NOT be recycled its not worth the "treat", it really isn't . It was, I say a smack in the face and a big wake up call, to really motivate us to make our own. Which not only are  zero waste, but cheaper and Healthier. It really has got to me, seeing all this plastic because these ice lollies have absolutely no nutritional value, Nothing. I was only eating them because they are like the Junk food I used to eat, but a vegan, palm oil free version. I never thought about the wrapper, just one a day was nothing. But seeing them all together, a whole months worth of "TREATS" it really is shocking!. Tesco will be getting these wrappers back. And we no longer purchase these ice lollies.

The rest of the packaging, we don't really have an alternative. We don't live near a bulk store.
Frozen Veggies and fruit, Porridge Oats, Rice, Pasta, Potatoes, Lettuce, Cucumber And my vegan cheese, which when we finally purchase a more powerful blender I will be making my own cashew cheese. My little magic bullet struggled when we first attempted making our own cheese.

Our local supermarket recycles the plastic packaging from the above products. Which obviously doesn't make it okay. We would prefer to not have it in the first place.

Since this challenge, I no longer eat Quorn. Mainly because it contains egg. I no longer want to eat them (health reasons). I now purchase Linda McCartney products that are in a cardboard packaging. And we are having a go at making our own Hash Browns.

The following items are packaged in a Tetra Pak (which until a few days ago I found out they really are not sustainable :( ).
The Tropicana Juices ~ This really is just laziness on our part and the amount of oranges we would have to purchase and squeeze to make a glass!!
Coconut Milk ~ I use this for my smoothies and they are fortified with calcium and B12. If I was to make my own, I would not get a lot of this in my diet. Because I don't eat any thing like cereals or store bread, which are fortified with calcium and B12.
So for now the Coconut milk is staying. Unless I can find one in a glass bottle.

So as you see even though we technically failed, because we have all them ice lolly wrappers that can not be recycled. We did learn from it. Failures and mistakes are only that if you do not learn from them.  We have, and have given those failures value.

We have really gotten more motivated to make our own food, and make even more healthier choices.
My advice to reduce your plastic consumption is take note of what you dispose off for a month. It really does make you aware of what you consume. And hopefully like us find a better alternative.

Did you participate in Plastic Free July? Did you learn anything? I would love to know.

Till next time

Donna x

Like this post? You might like to read: Trash and or A year aiming for a Zero Waste Lifestyle Part 1 ~ Packaging & Consumtion


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Jars, Jars and more Jars PART 2 ~ #Reuse #Upcycle #DIY

I've had so many lovely comments about my upcycled jars. I thought I would put them together into one post. My original post HERE I mention what I use my jars for. One of my favourite ways is for a plant pot.

I love that I can put any design I want (so far any, I haven't found one I can't do yet :) ). I really enjoy decorating them.

I use Sharpies, Glass paint and nail polish to decorate them. Yep you read that right, Nail polish, its a great way of using them up. I can't be the only one that has a draw full of polishes? I have so many that I will never wear again, but they are great to decorate a jar with.   

 I recommend once you have painted them. Don't clean with any liquid. Just dust/wipe them with a dry cloth. I have noticed on some the paint comes off.

Also if you decide to use the jars as lights. I don't recommend using nail polish for decorating them.

And make sure you are in a well ventilated room. From experience I have felt a bit heady after spending some time decorating these esp. with the nail polish.

Lily, Daffodil and Rose

Yin and Yang





Stars and Hearts (I've done more in different colours)

Tulip without light

Tulip with light on


Witchcraft, Pagan, Wolf and Unicorn 

Witch Light

Hope you enjoyed this post and got some ideas to decorate your own jars. I will add this post to a tab on my homepage and add new pictures of my jars when I do them.

Have you made your own Vases/Plant pots? Have you ever upcycled a glass jar? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to know :)

Till next time

Donna x

Like this post? You might like to read: Trash

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

What do you eat? ~ Food Diary

If you don't follow me on my other social media accounts, you wont know that I decided to share 'What I eat in a day' for one week.

I decided to do this because I get asked all the time "So...What do you eat?" because I'm Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Palm Oil Free and Plant Based. So people think I'm left with....

I'm Gluten Free because I am Intolerant to Wheat and Gluten ~ Trust me if I could eat it I would.

Dairy Free because of all the research I have done (animal agriculture and environmental) Milk is for Baby cows (please do your own research on Dairy)

Palm Oil Free ~ I do my best to not consume this oil because I don't agree with it. I don't believe we should be burning down trees, destroying rain forests and killing thousands of animals for a very cheap oil that isn't even good for our bodies. Sadly a lot of Gluten Free products and surprisingly vegan products contain Palm Oil.

Plant based because I can't say vegan, because Quorn Gluten free products contain egg. That is the only Animal product I eat. Quorn vegan range is not Gluten Free. If I wasn't gluten intolerant it would be so much easier to be a vegan.
I haven't always been a Vegetarian/ Vegan, Its been a gradual process since 2013 of gradually cutting back on Dairy, then meat products, then animal products.

I also don't add salt to my cooking. I might rarely add Garlic salt to my homemade crisps and chips. 

I have said before, when I first became Gluten intolerant. It did take time to find what I can eat and luckily over the past few years the Free From and vegan ranges have increased. But like I mentioned above you have to pay attention to what oil they use.

Since I shared my latest 'Before and Latest Fitness' update picture
The What do you eat? has increased. 
In my previous post here about my fitness journey I mentioned I was ill last year due to not eating enough! I have mentioned that a lot, its always been a problem of mine. But since then I have made the conscious effort to not miss meals. I have kept the Fat off and got myself back to a "healthy weight".  I've put "" because a Healthy weight differs from person to person and I don't weigh myself anymore. I can't tell you how much weight I have lost. I go by how I look and feel. That number is just a number. I don't count calories or weigh my food. I listen to my body and eat when I'm hungry.

So... I should stop rambling and show you what I eat in a week. It does vary, and its not the same thing week in week out. I'm sharing my main bulk of food I eat. Please check out my other Food Diary posts for recipes and other meal ideas.


Breakfast ~ Homemade Vegan Pizza (base) toppings ( tomato paste, garlic, sweetcorn, onion, mushrooms and Nutritional Yeast)
Mid-day Snack ~ Banana, coconut milk, Chia seeds and peanut butter Smoothie
Lunch ~ Homemade Bread with vegan 'Cheese' , lettuce and cucumber.
Snack ~ Tesco Free From Choc Ice

Dinner ~ Rice, Quorn 'steak' strips, mushrooms, carrot, broccoli and sesame seeds. (No Oil)
Drinks - 3 decaf Green Teas and 2 litres of water


Breakfast ~ Baked Beans, Hash Browns, mushrooms, Quorn 'Steak' strips & Avocado.
Mid-day Snack ~ Banana
Lunch ~ Homemade Vegan Pizza (base) toppings ( tomato paste, garlic, sweetcorn, onion, mushrooms and Nutritional Yeast) I always make two pizzas when I make my bread
Snack ~ Tesco Free From Choc Ice
Snack ~ Glass of pure Orange Juice (was a full glass I forgot to take a picture)
Dinner ~ Linda McCartney  x2 Veggie Red Onion & Rosemary Sausages with Lettuce, cucumber, beetroot and a bowl of skinny fries with chip seasoning
Drinks - 3 decaf Green Teas and 2 litres of water


Breakfast ~ Baked Beans, Hash Browns, Quorn 'Steak' strips & Avocado.
Mid-day Snack ~ Banana, coconut milk,  Chia Seeds & Peanut Butter
Lunch ~ Homemade Vegan Bread with Peanut Butter and Jam
Snack ~ Glass of pure Orange Juice
Dinner ~ Homemade Pea Soup with leftover Rice from Monday's dinner.  
Recipe for Pea soup is HERE
Drinks - 3 decaf Green Teas and 2 litres of water


Breakfast ~ Baked Beans, Hash Browns, Quorn 'Chicken' pieces & Avocado.
Mid-day Snack ~ Banana, coconut milk, Porridge Oats Chia Seeds & Peanut Butter  

Lunch ~ Homemade Pea soup and Homemade Vegan Bread
Snack ~ Tesco Free From
 Choc Ice
Dinner ~ Homemade Pasta bake - Pasta and Bolognese sauce with spinach, Quorn mince, mushrooms, carrot, sweetcorn, courgette, broccoli and vegan 'cheese' 😊 
Drinks ~ 3 decaf Green Teas and 2 litres of water


Breakfast & Lunch ~ Homemade Pasta bake - Pasta and Bolognese sauce with spinach, Quorn mince, mushrooms, carrot, sweetcorn, courgette, broccoli and vegan 'cheese'
Snack ~ A glass of pure orange juice
Dinner ~ Grilled 'cheese' toasties 😊 Homemade vegan Bread and vegan 'cheese' and tomato ketchup
Drinks - 4 decaf Green Teas and 2 litres of water


Breakfast ~ Hash browns, Baked Beans & Quorn 'chicken' pieces 😊
Snack ~ A glass of pure orange juice
Lunch ~ Homemade Pea Soup with Homemade vegan Bread
Snack ~ Homemade bread with Jam and Peanut Butter
Dinner ~ Jacket Potato with baked beans & vegan 'cheese'
Drinks - 2 decaf Green Teas and 2 litres of water


Breakfast ~ Hash browns, Baked Beans , mushrooms and Quorn 'steak' strips.
Snack ~ A glass of pure orange juice
Snack ~ x2 Homemade Vegan Brownies (Recipe found HERE swap the honey for a vegan alternative)
Snack ~ Homemade Parsnip & Potato crisps (sprayed lightly with oil when cooking) (These were shared with my man).
Dinner ~ Linda McCartney red onion and rosemary sausage , Roasted Potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, courgette, onion, sweetcorn and broccoli.

Drinks - 4 decaf Green Teas and 2 litres of water

You might have noticed that I do make a lot of my food. Homemade Bread, Pizzas, Smoothies, Soups, Sauces and Snacks. I rarely purchase ready meals. It might not be convenient for some to make their own meals But trust me it is so worth it.

When I make my own meals I always make extra for the next day or two meals. I do make batches of Sauces and soups and Freeze them.
You save a lot of money and time. And the best thing, you are deciding what goes into your food. Your own meals will be healthier (depending on what and how you cook ;) ).
Pick one day a week to meal prep, my day is Sunday. We bake our snacks and bread and or pizzas. And during the week we make a meal or two with an extra portion or two. That way we don't spend every evening cooking.

I hope this post has inspired and motivated you to eat not only more plant based foods but healthier food overall.

Till next time

Donna x

Like this post? You might like to read: Leek and Potato Soup

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

A year of collecting Litter ~ 1 Year of Take 3 for 365

WOW, I can't believe its been a whole year since we joined this challenge. Have a look at my original post HERE . Even though we do pick up litter whenever we see it. We never before documented what we picked up.
I wouldn't say its been a fun challenge, some days seeing the litter was really frustrating, especially with the items we were picking up. 

This challenge has been a real eye opener. I find it shocking how we has a society have become so desensitised to litter. There is no value or responsibility in anything. When we finish with a product apparently it is someone else's responsibility to get rid of it?!?  whether that be from a bin, the pavement, road and or a waterway.

Seeing people of all ages just leave their trash behind, throwing it out of a moving vehicle or just empting their trash and ashtray on the curb. And more shocking thinking its okay to throw their trash in the canal ~ because apparently that's what a canal is for ?!?!?!?!? It's really frustrating.

:( :(
Some of the items we picked up were no surprise ~ cigarette butts and packets. Plastic bags, which thanks to the bag charge has decreased a bit, but we still see a lot of bags from take away and corner shops. Plastic bottles, cans and fast food. In other words convenience items.

The real surprises are the amount of half drunk and not even opened beverages and the same with Food especially take away, fast food. This stuff isn't cheap!

The big shock (probably because we was paying closer attention) is the 2nd most collected item

Everyday we were picking up these things.
Before this challenge when we picked them up, we would save them and put them into this box

and at the end of the year I would post them back to the Royal Mail.

Not even half way through this challenge we had to change boxes.

What's worse is that also half way through I wasn't keeping the broken elastic bands. Not realising that just because they are broken, Royal mail should still get them back!! No excuse for discarding them onto the pavement.

I wish there was a way of showing the route we take to show where we pick up these bands, to show just how shocking this amount really is!.

The total is at least 546 Bands (recorded)

The royal mail will be getting these back.


Apart from the usual suspects we did pick up some, what I like to call FREEBIES ;)

An unopened packet of flower seeds.

Candle and Glass Candle holder.

Lighters ~ half full and full = 10

Mirrors (4 mirrors in total) (see blog post here )

And £2.20  2 Euro cents and 5 Singapore cents


According to our spreadsheet we collected 4,191  items.

Sadly this isn't accurate, the true item count is more. This is because we didn't photograph everything. Some days we forgot, we either picked up something and just put it straight into a bin, it was too dirty to layout and photograph, we didn't have the time to layout the items or we just forgot. Nearly every picture is from a 5 - 10 min walk in London and few from Essex.


Sadly there were times when we couldn't pick up the litter, due to not being able to reach it, no time and or no where to put it.

Documenting this challenge at times made us both feel like we were fighting a losing battle. But watching and having watched these documentaries they kept us motivated to keep going.

Trashed    A Plastic Ocean    Mission Blue

Plus many more videos on YouTube and Netflix about Trash and Plastic Pollution.

Even though this challenge has come to an end. We will both still pick up litter when we see it. We are just no longer going to document everything. Unless there is another challenge or survey that needs to be done.

No surprise in the 10 ten items most collected, the majority is PLASTIC

Nearly everything we collected was a single use item. And sadly a lot can not be recycled. Single use Plastic is a huge problem.

Take away containers (plastic and foam), Crisp and Cigarette packets, smoothie and coffee cups and bottles. All of which are harder to recycle as they do not conform to the ideals of closed loop recycling process as many are made from two or more types of materials.

What can we do about this?

Throughout this challenge I have tried to think of what can be done to stop Litter.

Apart from harsher punishment for those that drop litter ~ which would be difficult to police.

I couldn't think of just one or an easy answer.

We really need to change our mind set that convenience is not better. We need to slow down and take responsibility to what we purchase and dispose off.  
If you have a takeaway coffee/tea everyday, bring your own travel cup. Bring your own bags. Pack your own snacks and or lunch.

Choose products that are not over packaged.

No surprise that most packaging came from Junk food. None of it is nutritious!  

I personally don't think more litter bins are needed. What we have witnessed, people just can't be bothered to put their trash in the bin, even when they are right next to a BIN.

I believe it goes back to the companies, the brands themselves and the Retailers. They all should take more of a responsibility on what they package their products in and what they are selling.
I've put retailers in the mix, because retailers advertise/represent brands. It says a lot what retailers do and sends a message.
Like I mentioned above everything is in single use packaging and it can't be recycled. Left on its own Plastic breaks up into tiny pieces and degrades but will never biodegrade as it is not organic but chemical. Only a small percentage of plastic can actually be truly recycled as part of a closed loop process and be returned to its original form of purpose.  Other than that it is only down cycled for maybe one more use, then it hangs around for hundreds of years. If the packaging was card, paper, metal or glass it can easily be recycled into what it once was, and if at worst it was discarded it would biodegrade, break down and be absorbed back into the land.  

And the Royal Mail needs to stop using Elastic Bands!.

The main reason I have shared this on my blog is to raise awareness. Since we have started our zero waste journey and picking up more litter, it has become a lot more apparent of how much litter blights our streets, parks and water ways.  It's kind of like the magic eye pictures.  You have to focus and look for it at first but once you've seen it and worked out the image, you recognise it instantaneously every time you go back to look.

Please help to be part of the solution and NOT part of the pollution.

I'd like to think that this goes without mention but please bin it, don't drop it.  But based on everything above, this does not appear to be some peoples first instinct, otherwise we would not have picked what we did.

Thank you for taking the time read this. I hope I have inspired you (if you don't already) to make a difference. Just doing a little bit really does make difference.

Till next time ~ See It Bin It

Live Green

Donna x

Like this post? You might like to read: Trash and or
My Journey towards a Zero Waste Lifestyle