Plastics. Part 1

PlasticA synthetic material made from a wide range of organic polymers such as polyethylene, PVC, nylon, etc., that can be molded into shape while soft and then set into a rigid or slightly elastic form.

There is no denying that plastics are a brilliant innovation- It is cheap, convenient and versatile. In the modern world, it would be hard to find yourself in a position where you can’t spot at least a few plastics. Out clothes are made from them, our food is stored in them and our entertainment systems are cased in them. Leak-proof and child-proof plastic containers house our harmful household chemicals such as bleach.


Perhaps our love of, and reliance on plastics has gone a little too far? Just like smoking used to be known for its ‘health benefits’, and penny farthings were advertised as a safe mode of transport for the elderly, through research, it has been found that storing food/drink in *certain* plastic containers leaches *small* toxins into the food. These toxins (BPA and PBDEs) are linked to miscarriages, prostate cancer, birth defects and hormone and reproductive system damage Perhaps that simile is a little far fetched, but the research doesn’t lie. However, as our lives are so intertwined with the use of plastic food packaging, I don’t see this changing anytime soon. Also, unless we have an alternative which is as good, or better than plastics for the purposes of use, the convenience far outweighs the risks.

 The real problem however, is how we view plastics as a disposable commodity. Recycling has become ingrained in our lifestyle, which is great. But it doesn’t yet go far enough. In terms of recycling, there are 7 different types of plastics, with an eighth category for all of the other types that don’t fit in. Only one or two of these plastic types are recycled in each council, the rest goes to landfill. The only way for most plastics to be broken down is for them to be exposed to sunlight. This is why your swimming cap may break down after a lot of use, but when digging in the dirt as a kid you may have dug up a juice bottle years and years old. So when we try to hide all of our rubbish under the ground, we are just preserving the majority of it for years to come.

Would you like to live in here?

Even worse, litterers throw plastics on the beach which either ends up killing marine life, or turns up at the great Pacific garbage patch. The Pacific garbage patch is made up of all plastics- non biodegradable items that have a lower density  than water. Currently this floating dump is estimated to be twice as large as the US.  There is nothing to deal with the rubbish in it though. All we can do is stop polluting our waters, and wait for the plastics in the sea swill to break down.


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The Sunshine Award

Ok, this has to be a miracle, 

I logged on here the other day to *try* to write, and found I had a comment on my last post, that I had been nominated for the ‘Sunshine Award’ from my friend Rob over at Eat, Sleep, Procrastinate.

Much like Rob, prior to this I had no idea what the ‘Sunshine Award’ is, and had never heard of it. It turns out that the Sunshine Award is a really lovely chain letter passed from blogger to blogger, the kind of chain letter that gives you a warm fuzzy feeling instead of threats that dead zombie children are going to come in the night to kill you if you don’t pass it on. It is more of an opportunity to let fellow bloggers that you appreciate their blog, and that it inspires you. Also, for me, it has finally thawed me out from the massive writers block of ice that I have become stuck in for the past few months.

Anyhow, here are the rules of the Award: Image

  1. Include the Sunshine Award logo on your blog post.
  2. Answer 10 questions on yourself- I will do more research to see who makes up the questions.
  3. Nominate 10-12 other bloggers who inspire you.
  4. Link the other nominees and post on their blog letting them know that they have been nominated.
  5. Link back the lovely person who nominated you.


After looking into this, generally the questions are the same with only a few variations- I get to choose the variations 🙂

  • Favorite colour?  Red, though I do also really like orange. It’s a bit of a toss up really.
  • Favorite animal? Has to be the cat. Cape is the coolest animal I have ever had the good fortune to know. Even if she does like to pass off stunned window-hitting animals off as her own catch and brings them in for all to see. (To be honest, this saves a few feet of walking to collect the animal for the ride to the vets).
  • Favorite number? Similar to Rob, mine is my birth date. 6. I was born on the 6th of the 6th month, at 6am, on the 6th day of the week. Luckily as I have 4 sixes and not 3, I cannot possibly be the devil incarnate 0;)
  • Favorite drink? Robinsons sugar free Summer fruits juice. Other than 50% diluted fruit juice once a day, it is all I drink. It used to be Robinsons blackcurrant, and apparently when I was on holiday in America when I was little, we had to pack some and when it ran out I cried when my parents gave me the American equivalent. (In my defense, I was only about 3 at the time). 
  • Facebook or twitter? Facebook I suppose, it is a good way to keep in contact with people. I detest twitter I’m afraid.
  • What is your passion? I’m not entirely sure I have discovered mine yet. I love sewing, boarding, sailing, baking and anything scientific. If I had to choose one, it would be baking; as I have loved it all of my life, I am into the science behind it, and I do it irregardless of how I’m feeling, unlike my other interests.
  • Giving or receiving presents? Giving. I enjoy thinking through exactly what would be an appropriate/useful gift for the person and seeing if they actually use it. I do like receiving gifts, but only if I can open them on my own. It is a little awkward otherwise. 
  • Favorite food? If you’re thinking favorite raw ingredient food, then definitely tofu. But not tofu on it’s own. Unless it is fresh homemade then YUM!  It is the most useful/versatile/nutritious food I know. It has a really bad rap, but seriously,  go to dinner with someone who knows tofu and you will be pleasantly surprised.
  • Favorite day of the week? Wednesday. Just because it is.
  • Favorite flower? Oddly enough, the same as Rob again. Tulips. They are the only flower I actually like. (Apart from the random flowers kids pick and give to me- ditto other flowers given to me by people I like). At my funeral I would have black tulips. Or at my wedding, either one.

And now the passing on of the award, my nominees are. . .. . .  . .

Drumroll . . . . . . 

  1. 101 cookbooks. Seriously, I may never buy a cookbook again. Though really, we all know that is a lie, I love my cookbooks. But anyway, this blog is filled with great, workable recipes, many of which are vegan or can easily be turned into such and are natural and healthy. Woohoo!
  2. Sewing school. Filled with awesome ideas for sewing with kids. I have used this site for inspiration more than a few times for activities for kids I’m looking after and for my Beaver group. My favorite activity was one for strung bird feeders (if you look after children, I really reccomend looking this up).
  3. Naked vegan cooking. Not only does this blog have awesome vegan recipes (sometimes from guests across the world), it approaches some important issues such as body image and eating disorders. Plus, it is written by naturists who are younger than retirement age! 
  4. The tiny times. Quite the most adorable blog ever. A photo blog about a little kid, what cool things he has been up to, and the awesome clothes he wears. This is about a trillion times better than whatever crappy fashion mag you’re reading. I must admit, I want this kids wardrobe.
  5. Enviromom. I am not sure if this even counts, as the blog is now dead, but it has some really awesome ideas for sustainable living in it. And some killer recipes for things like soaps and cleaning products.
  6. Sew liberated. This is a great blog written by a ladywho has travelled lots, has two lovely chidren and does sewing for a living. It is filled with stories from her life, and interesting sewing bits (she designs patterns for a living). It also has stories about teaching and raising children Montessori style. I really like the ideas of Montessori, and how it views children as capable functioning beings other than small dependents. Enabling children is how they learn and grow, and this is what happens at this blog.
  7. Ironicmom. One word, hilarious. As the lady who writes this blog is an English teacher, and writes a.lot. I shall not write much here 🙂
  8. To Write Love On Her Arms. Ok, ok, maybe I am bending the rules a little here. But TWLOHA does have a blog section. TWLOHA is an American based charity championing mental illness awareness, acceptance and cure. The site gives hope to so many people, and offers a hand in the darkness. You should check it out, even if you you don’t care. My favorite poem (see last post) was read at a TWLOHA gig.

Now, as all of the blogs I have listed here are so very awesome; I need not mention anymore. 8 is the new 10 after all. 

So thankyou very much Eat, sleep, procrastinate for the nomination and for thawing me out of my block.

Peace out.


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This poem.

Everyone should listen to this poem. It is my favorite poem, the one which I will listen to many times on repeat. It is a poem written for everyone. I first heard it online through a charity that I support [and should probably blog about at some point] called TWLOHA, as he read this poem at one of their events. It is such a beautiful poem that it must be listened to, or read out loud to be appreciated, not just read in silence.

It is a beautiful poem.



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A bleary eyed night-time post

A month (ish) ago, I decided to join a gym. I have always quite liked doing exercise things/gym things/strength things, but because I *really* dislike lots of people, it often puts me off going to gyms and classes.

So I decided to join a members only gym. It is great! I went one Sunday and it was just me and another random man working out in the cardio bit of the gym. It ROCKED! I had a great workout session, longer and harder than I usually do, and to top it off, Wallace and Gromit was on, score!

The gym I go to is in the middle of Newbury town centre, and as it also has a members only car park- it means I always have a place to park on busy days. (This was great last Sunday when we had a parade for St Georges day- it was tipping it down and this meant I didn’t have to walk so far to meet up with everyone.)  It is actually a beautiful place to work out in, being a 20’s art deco cinema building. I always have a much better time when I am in a beautiful environment, and this one also contains memories from when I was a very young kid going to see films.

*Insert cool old photo of parkway cinema*

Notice the tree in the bricked in window up top? Yeah, 5 years on that's still there


As hard as I tried I can’t find an online photo of the building as it was, though to be honest, the exterior hasn’t changed much at all. Here is a photo of it in ’07 when it was between owners (it is on its 3rd gym company now).

If I were a better blogger, I would scan in a photo I have from a book of the old cinema. Or at least have taken an up to date one, but not me 🙂

As well as being in the cardio theatre and sticking out like a sore thumb amongst the massive muscle men in the strength training area, I also do some of the exercise classes. It is pretty decent in that the membership package includes all classes for free. I think that just encourages you more to do them. The two classes that I do are yoga and kai bo. I am going to talk about kai bo, as I am sure you guys know what yoga is already. Kai bo is kind of like martial arts to music, and I have been told by a reliable source that it is similar to body combat. There is generally about 10 of us, all girls, and we always go at the back. This means that you can watch what everyone is doing and copy. This is also why I like that there is mirrors everywhere so you can see what to do.

The only problem with exercise classes is that I have hearing problems, so that if there is much background noise I find it hard to hear people. This is why I stopped going to Tai kwon do (which I am still trying to find a smaller -quieter- class for) because I couldn’t ever hear what I was supposed to do in such a large hall with so many people mumbling. I wouldn’t be able to do Kai bo if it wasn’t for my position in the class and the mirrors. I generally start each sequence a bit later than everyone else because of this as well. But it is fun. You don’t get laughed at or yelled at for getting it wrong, or falling over. There is always at least one other person finding it as hard as you.

Though there are about three ladies who are on the running machine before and after Kai bo. I do not even have words for this.

I have run out of concentration right now.

Here is a photo of a puppy, and here is to wishing I would get over whatever bug i have so I can get back to the gym!


I. Want. This. Puppy

I wish gyms opened at night, I love running at night.


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50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4

This has to be one of the best ideas to get kids doing more fun things outdoors. You can see the full list of things here. It makes the list into an online challenge. You post pictures and a description of what you do on each step, and for each one you get an online ‘badge’. If you manage to get a lot of them done (it doesn’t say how many) you can unlock games, and if you get all 50 done, you get a mystery prize and an actual National trust badge. Pretty cool I think.


The list is full of things that I did when I was a kid, and definitely my parents did as kids. All of the ‘adults’ (40+) that I have asked have done all, or all but a few of these. I must admit though, I have never managed to skim a stone more than once- though not for lack of trying- and I was 15 before I slept out in the wild. I have still to this day never gone geocaching (a GPS worldwide hide and seek type game) though I expect I will at some point. I have also never kept a caterpillar until it became a butterfly as I never kept my creatures long enough.

I did have a love for snails when I was younger though. Especially when me and my friend Grace (another very outdoorsy type) got together; as well as herding the sheep in the field next door to her house, building things out of wood, foraging, climbing the hay bales, playing with candles, catching wasps (butterflies are for pansies), excavating old plates and rusty metal from the ground and making many many many (etc) bonfires we would catch snails. As well as having snail races, we would build complex houses for the snails out of flower pots and bits of rubbish we found in the woods. Something I am slightly ashamed of doing, now I am a little older, is ‘personalizing’ the snails. When we got to a certain age, nail varnishing numbers/ patterns on the snails was not quite interesting enough. Grace had a mini set of drill type things (they weren’t exactly drills, more like grinders but I can’t think of the right name). We would get on hand the drills, TCP (a antiseptic used on wounds), little plastic gemstones, and the chosen snails. We would select a drill bit the same size as the chosen gemstone, soak the gemstone and the drill bit in TCP, disinfect the snails shell, drill a hole through the shell (being very careful not to catch the actual snail and then placing the gemstone in the hole. It was really interesting to see as the days passed, the shell healing up around the gemstone, leaving the stone truly part of the snail. This usually only took about a day to heal and it made us identify the snails easily. I lost count of the snails we did this to, but only 3 died ‘post op’. Good old TCP.

One of the things that I loved most about my childhood is where we lived (moving when I was about 7). Not so much the house itself, but that it needed loads of work doing so it was a building site most of the time, and that it is cradled by woods. Me and my brother got to operate a digger, build brick towers, build many and build a toboggan run out of bricks and decking waiting to be used. The toboggan run was the best. We did it in winter, balancing planks between bricks stacked two high. We put the ‘rails’ just far apart enough to fit our crappy plastic sledge between (you know the ones with the rim around the edge- perfect runners for the rails). We put the course on the side lawn which slopes slightly, and put a bit of a jump at the end- not that it worked very well. Each night we would fill buckets with water, and sploosh it about the planks and the section of grass in the middle. Then the next day we would suit up and run outside to pull each other along the course in the toboggan. It is a shame I no longer have a DVD ripper on my PC as the video of it is great!

The crux of the argument is that it is great to have free access to building equipment as a kid. With the help of my dad, we build a proper large treehouse slightly into the woods. Then after that, when my parents weren’t watching we climbed up a tall tree at the front of our house, used a pulley system to get our tools up, and built a tree platform at second story height. It’s still there, and it is a great place to just sit and think, up in the tree, where you can’t really be seen. Family friends Sarah and David came over a lot when we were kids. As we spent so much time in the woods, we split it into a boys half and a girls half. We each had our own base camp with swings and a shelter. Littered throughout the woods are trees with nails hammered into the trunks enabling us and children to climb up to where there are branches to climb onto. Something that me and Sarah did most often, was something that I am very sad that I am too heavy to do anymore. We would each take a really long bit of rope and tie a strong stick to one end and a heavy bit of wood to the other. We would then go out in search of trees with really high up branches and fling the end with the weight over. Then you would sit on the stick, and hoick yourself up but pulling on the other end of the rope. That way you could get up really high, and swing in lots of different places.

When I was out exploring a new walk with my friend Em the other day in Johnathan’s hill (incidentally, a place that may be good for boarding), on the spur of the moment, we decided to relive our childhood and build a den. Slightly strange passtime for a 19 and 20 year old, but it was a beautiful day and, well, I need no more excuse.

Here is our result:


Surely even doing ‘children’ things out in the woods is still ok for adults to do. . . . don’t you think?


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Anyone who regularly talks to me knows I have a cat called Cape. And knows how high maintenance she is. But how much I love her. Compared to other cats, she is certainly hard work, but she really makes it up with how cute, funny and loving she is. When she wants cuddles, she will follow you throughout the house (not fun when you have a bath and she cries to be let in).

I adopted Cape from Cats protection last February. I love just visiting cp, as the place is filled with mini three tier cat apartments; each of which you can go into and have a play with the cats in there. Also, there are some ‘free range’ cats- ones which live at Cats protection and so can freely roam about, these cats generally have too high needs to adopt out, or do not get on too well with people.

When I persuaded my parents to let a new cat into our home it was a few months after our old cat from CP had passed away. I knew that I wanted to source our new family member from a shelter, as there are more than enough cats needing homes without paying to have more bread. When me and my mum went along to have a look around, there were several cats who caught our eyes. One was a cat called princess, who likes climbing onto our shoulders to have a cuddle but was very dribbly- not a good thing in a house with two asthmatics. The other cat was a little Burmese cross called Precious with a funny coloured eye because she was the carrier of cat flu. When she eventually let us come near her for a stroke, she rolled all about so we could get to every angle. Precious was found as a stray in Reading, and had spent a long time looking for a home- presumably because she was so scared and had a medical problem ticked on her name sheet.

A week later ‘Precious’ was recovered from her anti-baby operation, renamed and boxed up in her carrier to take home. It took about twenty minutes and three people to wrestle her into her cage- something that is still true everytime she needs to go to the vets!


In her crisp box bed

Cape confirmed her name was the correct choice about a month into her getting home. She had got spooked when perusing her land, hid under next doors trailer and got really stressed when being rescued. The nature of cat flu, is that it arises when the cat gets overly stressed, and when the cat gets flu you need to keep them in in case the other cats in the neighborhood are not immunized and so catch it. She really was not happy about this decision and cried to be let out a lot! That week, my Uncle and Aunt were over and were staying in the room directly above the one I was sitting in. I was sitting watching television, when from the corner of my eye I saw something rather strange. A cat flying from an opened upstairs bedroom window, landing expertly on the patio and then trotting off happily in pursuit of garden insects. Clearly, she is not one to be held inside! Cape, obviously, is an excellent flyer. Though the upstairs windows are now permanently closed.

Five things about Cape:


  • Whenever I play David Bowie on my laptop and leave it on an even surface, she sits on it (and once deleted a load of my music this way!)
  • Even though she is now 4, she still plays as much as a kitten. Because of this, you can never leave a small item and expect it to remain there. When my dad bought a new Bluetooth headset and left it on his desk, in the morning it was found in the bathroom. I think she secretly thinks we are bored and makes hide and seek games for us to play.
  • Her fur gets darker in the cold. This is why her tail and ears are darker- they are colder than her body.
  • She is very territorial and doesn’t like guests, especially boys. Unfortunately she forgets that my brother (who is at uni most of the time) isn’t a stranger and actually lives here *cue hissing*.
  • Her favorite place to drink is my neighbours green algae loving pond *ick*.

She also can act very much like a puppy; following you around, carrying toys in her mouth, wanting her tummy tickled- rolling around looking cute to achieve this. Unlike puppies though, she is very very fussy with food (she will only have one type of Whiskers chicken pouches) and likes being up high. She went through a phase of climbing atop the extractor hood over the hob and leaping from there to on top of the cupboards when she wanted to hide. I am very glad she no longer does this as when she vehemently hung on to the cabinets to avoid going to the vets, she would loose bits of nails in the doors!

Though Cape is super playful, she is also very clumsy. Imagine her jumping for the back of the sofa, but going right over; chasing a toy and sliding into a door; rolling off beds etc. She isn’t really a prime example of a killer cat, though she likes chase games, she is very skitty and so frequently runs away from fast approaching butterflies in the garden. We play along with her case games, letting her win to maintain her ‘killer cat’ image however.

I will leave you with a photo of Cape in her new bed. Last night was the first night since she has been banished from bedrooms at night that she has slept through. YAY.

Night Cape.


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I said a cooking post on every day of the week? Me? No. I think it was really one every year (:

My lovely rings in action!

Anyway, I have wanted to make my own crumpets for *years* now, but have thus far procrastinated to the extent that it has never yet been done. But as luck would have it, the lovely Sarah bought me some crumpet rings for Christmas (YES they make them again!) and I no longer can eat the shop bought ones. But not to fear, as homemade ones are *delicious*.

I really do love the little introductions to each recipe this book has

I took the recipe for the crumpets from a massive Delia Smith book which is much much older than me and so no longer has its dust cover or spine (hence me not remembering its name).

Anyway, it was all fairly straightforward to make, with minimal rising time (45 mins) and no kneading as you get crumpet batter not dough (hallelujah).

I made them around making some ‘squares’ type crispy cakes, and so I barely noticed the batter coming nearer and nearer to cooking time. And when we were at the pan, 5 minutes one side, 1 minute the other and they were done! Only problem I had was me forgetting that metal rings in a pan on a hob will get hot and so you really should peel the crumpets out of the rings using a cloth! -note for next time’

Here are my lovely crumpets, I think I will be eating them for weeks!

Just over half are now residing in my freezer- I figured to just get them out when I fancy them.




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