Friday, 21 July 2017

Without Trying

'When at night I go to sleep
Fourteen angels watch do keep'

I'm still sleeping through the night.  For the first time in years I consistently pop off to the Land of Nod and stay there until the morning.  No special tips about temperature of the room, blocking out all light, barring caffeine....... I even had a bit of wine yesterday.  That used to be a complete no-no in terms of shut-eye but not any more. As sleep experts have noticed, those who are not insomniacs don't have any special tips to share.

What has changed is that, in spite of a busy life where I am subjected to trauma in my working life on a daily basis, I no longer fret and worry.  I haven't eliminated stress altogether but it's very much on the back burner.  I attribute this to the meditation, running and taking on board some of the spiritual musing I've been doing over the last  few months.  Friends are continuing to comment on how calm I am.  Now serenity isn't something I've ever been accused of in the past!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Stoney Faced

My efforts to cut down waste during 'Plastic Free July' are still going strong. There's been some cheats and a few downright failures.  I'll tell you about those another day.  But there's also been some permanent lifestyle changes too, like the milk and juice delivery.   That's got to be a good thing.

Here's a lovely idea for recycling food waste that I won't be trying anytime soon, just because  I barely have enough time in the day change my pants let alone carve avocado stones .  I've grown one before, pretty successfully too I have to say.  Until it got marauded by tiny flies and had to go.

Jan Campbell's work is wonderfully whimsical. She has her own website, Avocado Stone Faces. I especially love the calm little faces, the tiny hands and the mushrooms.  This is a woman with the perfect excuse to eat lots of avocados.  Mashed on toast with a sprinkling of salt and a dash of tabasco and lemon juice they're my favourite snack at the moment.  Yum!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Thief Averted!

I'm always surprised by how little Louis remembers of his younger years.  He's off to stay in Bath today as part of his school's enrichment week.  It's his first visit since he went there at the age of five. We met up with friends and it was one of the first jaunts away in Klaus the Knaus our motorhome.  I recounted something that happened on that trip last night.   To my surprise Louis recalls it vividly. It seems that I put the fear of God up him.

We were back in the van after a day of sightseeing.  I noticed that Louis was playing with some tacky keyrings that weren't entirely unfamiliar.  'What are they?'  I asked.  'They're mine!' he pronounced.  It turned out that were nothing of the sort.   I'd refused to buy them earlier in the day so they'd been shoplifted from the gift shop at the Roman Baths.

Determined not to see my son begin life as a career criminal I took a hard stance.  'You're taking them back and 'fessing up.' I told him.  'What will happen to me?' he asked.  I shook my head.  'I don't know.' I replied with a faux woeful look.  'We'll have to find out tomorrow.'  I was on a roll so I added,  'Maybe they'll send you to prison.'  'But I'm just a child!' Louis remonstrated. 'We'll see if they take that into account but I really don't know.'

The next morning we walked hand in hand to the shop. We heard a police car siren in the distance on the way.    I was still up for keeping the pretence going.  'Maybe they're out looking for you' I told him.  We finally arrived back at the baths.   Louis returned his booty to the man behind the cash desk. 'I'm very sorry.' he said.  'These accidentally fell into my pocket.'  The guy gave him a stern look and sent him packing.  'Thanks for doing that.' he said as  my relieved son sidled out of earshot.

I'm not sure what a parenting expert would think.  All I know is that it seems that scaring the pants out of a small child seems to have had a lasting effect. There's been no further brushes with law breaking ever since.  Maybe my approach worked.  Lou's turned out not to be a bad egg after all.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Roland Gift: Still Gorgeous

At one time Roland Gift, the lead singer of the Fine Young Cannibals was voted in the top 50 'Most Beautiful People in the World'.  What bollocks: for we are all gorgeous  in our own ways darlings! Back to Roland though.  I, along with a group of my forty and fifty something friends can all vouch for the fact that he's still pretty darned hot.  And his voice still packs a punch.  We loved the lady backing singers, the same certain age as us,  in their Corbyn T-shirts too.  You go girls!

I'm still aching from Sunday.  Along with a 9km run and rather a lot of walking, I danced for hours at the 'Sounds of the Summer' event at Newton Abbot racecourse.   It was ace.   UB40, All Saints and China Crisis played too.  The Fine Young Cannibals were definite my favourite.  The '80s album 'The Raw and the Cooked' is downloaded to my Spotify account and features in my in-car entertainment selection.

I took the boy to educate him about the music from my youth.  Surprisingly China Crisis turned out to be his favourite act.  I'd forgotten this haunting song that I loved when it was a chart hit.

Monday, 17 July 2017

In The Box

I'm still working with that Japanese tidying book even though I'm being a naughty little sausage and not keeping to the letter of the law. In her comment on my original post, Sol said that she'd lost interest when the author, Marie Kondo, recommended emptying your handbag nightly.  I'll admit to thinking it was  a bit of a daft idea as well.  But  hey ho, I thought that there'd be no harm in giving it a go.

A by-product of this tidying lark is that I now have loads of empty storage containers.  I re-purposed one, a rather gorgeous felt number from IKEA, as my 'handbag tippy out box' that I keep near the front door.  One advantage of the exercise is that any crap that's accumulated during the day, till receipts, sweet wrappers and the like get thrown away immediately rather than building up into  a mini model of Torbay tip at the bottom of the bag.  The other thing is that I only take out what's needed.  See that tape measure for example.  It's standard kit for an occupational therapist as one of the glamorous bits of our job for many of us is measuring toilets.  But I don't need it every day so it now stays at home more often than not.  As does my umbrella when I'm pretty sure that it's not going to rain.   My load is lighter as a consequence, literally and metaphorically.

I also use the box for things that need to leave the house.   Books I've borrowed  and read or ones of my one that I want to pass on, paperwork such as those return slips for school, things that need to go to the motorhome.  That two pin plug socket is going to be put in the van and the sticker that admits me to the quiet field at next weeks Chagstock is somewhere in there too.   Yes,  much to my surprise I'm sold on the idea.  It's a habit that's going to continue.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

The Merging of Stories

If you remember a few months ago I was moved by higher powers to give away some of my most valuable possessions from a monetary perspective.  Off my own back I felt that I'd like to give something precious to Red Mel. For she has been a wonderful friend for the twenty years since we met in the common room of the now demolished St Loye's School of Occupational Therapy on our first day as students there.  She's kind, funny, a bit dippy  and assertive in the most gentle of ways. I love her dearly.  'What would you like of mine?' I asked her.  She remonstrated and then she said that if I was getting rid of beads she would be very happy to give them a home.

So as part of my mammoth tidying project I had a sort out of my crafting materials.  I kept just a few of the beads I'd accumulated but gifted a huge bagful to Red Mel.  'Here's a present from God'.  I told her because I knew that as, an atheist it would piss her off a bit!  The picture above is some of the selection.  She'll use lots of them to make jewellery to sell to raise funds for St Mungos, the homeless charity in Bristol where she lives.

All that tidying that's going on here seems to have cleared psychic space.  I'm making stuff here on a more regular basis that I've done for yonks.  I cobbled together this bracelet yesterday to add to the mad wrist.  There's stories behind the materials used.

I put the beautiful glass beads in a homemade Christmas cracker.  I wasn't going to leave myself out when I chose personalised gifts for the family festivities.  Most of the sterling  silver findings come from a bracelet that I'd rarely worn.  When Louis was born my mum and dad gave me some money to buy some jewellery to celebrate.  I bought four pieces in a favourite silver shop in Exeter.  Two bracelets and a necklace get a lot of wear but the last piece was redundant.  It was too chunky to be comfortable.

So I've took it apart. There's silver beads that I kept and  yet to be recycled. Other semi precious ones went into Mel's stash.  The conjoined jump rings and the fasteners that I salvaged have been used here.    A homage to the old piece of jewellery but much more wearable.

In fact it's already on that mad wrist and complements the semi precious bracelet bought in the Animals in Distress shop for a quid rather nicely.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Little Blue

'Yes I think my mind's made up.'  That's what I said back in February when I started to think about a replacement car for Leif, my little green Skoda Citigo.  I'd hit upon the idea of having a Fiat 500.  You'll remember I toyed with a diesel one and then got hit by eco angst.  In the end I thought I'd decided on the 0.9 dual air version in a natty shade of salmon pink  called 'Glam Coral'.

But then I had a change of heart.   Those little Italian jobs are everywhere and have become a bit too ubiquitous.  I like to be different.    And did I really want a two door car and a step down in overall space?   Leif has been jolly handy for lugging around camping equipment and taking stuff to the dump.  A bike rack fits easily on his back too.   Perhaps the real clincher was the lack of heated seats in the Fiat 500 even as a extra.  Louis and I have got rather partial to having our bums warmed on chilly days!

So back to Skoda it was.  Another Citigo will be perfectly fine.  I played around with the car configurator on the company's website and found that I could add better air conditioning and a sun roof.  On warmer winter days we might have wind in our hair as well as heat around our nether regions.  This is the car I ordered yesterday.  Skoda have a special offer event on this weekend and I thought it was a good time to do it.  'Little Blue' will arrive in September.  He's on lease for three and a half years.  Then there's the option to buy.  If I'm feeling really flush at the time he'll make a brilliant present for Louis' 18th birthday.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Plastic Free July: My Own Ernie!

This Plastic Free July is more restrictive than being a vegan!  I've wandered around supermarkets gloomily,  a rare state of affairs; for I'm normally a happy soul.  But there's so little that I can buy.  At the suggestion of some of my lovely blog readers I've found a solution to reducing plastic waste in one  little area of life.   I've signed up with Milk and More.  If you live in the UK you can enter your postcode on the website to check whether they deliver in your area.  My own personal Ernie, who actually happens to be called Tony, gets up even earlier than me and delivers pints to my door.  Here's the result.  You can tell that this isn't one of those perfectly composed stock shots.  My mug needs a jolly good scrub!

Of course I knew about doorstep delivery but pooh-poohed the idea because it hadn't worked for me in the past. I'd either be swamped with milk or run out.  I'd have to remember to cancel orders before I went away.  And then there was paying the milkman at the weekend. I never seemed to be in at the time he called and I'd owe weeks and weeks worth of payments. The good old internet has ironed out those problems.  Tony calls three days a week.     I order online at 9pm before the day of delivery if I need anything and will then be invoiced monthly.  Payment is taken automatically.    Empties are popped back on the doorstep ready to be cleaned and refilled at the dairy.  That bit is just like the old days when a reduce, reuse and recycle ethos was ingrained into society.  With my first delivery came a complimentary bottle of orange juice, again packaged in glass. That's solved another problem as all the tetrapaks seem to have plastic lids these days.  I've added more to my second order.

Sure this is a little more expensive than shop milk and OJ.  In fact this plastic free lark isn't working out to be cheap and couldn't be sustained in its entirety for ever.   But I'm happy to make some lasting moves to change my way of consumption.   I also want to support a business which has benefits for the community.  Milkmen these days don't just deliver dairy products  but groceries too, very handy for people who can't easily shop themselves.


I've been given this code by Milk and More.  If it works and you use it with your introductory order you'll get £10 off your first monthly invoice and I get a tenner too.  How's that for win-win?

Finally I couldn't resist posting a Youtube video of Ernie for a bit of silliness never hurt anyone.  It still makes me giggle after all these years.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Lunchtime Ramblings: What I Saw

Maybe I should do a series of posts about what I spot during my lunch breaks.  For I am getting better at going off duty towards the middle of the day.  A little breather to break the intense mental mayhem that comes with working with people with poorly headspace. What I do varies according to where I find myself.  Earlier in the week I popped up to the motorhome to do a few jobs as I'd just finished a meeting only a couple of miles away.

Yesterday I had a little wander up the main drag in Totnes.  Fore Street, a common name in Devon towns, leads into High Street.  There's some  chain stores:  Bastins,  Peacocks, Supadrug, Mountain Hardwear, WH Smith but they're far outweighed by the independent retailers.  And it's not just arty farty places either.  There's a tourist place that I know in Somerset that you'd be hard pressed to buy a loaf of bread.  But not so here.  There are food shops, a cobblers,  stationers and yes, a smattering of charity shops.   Kingsbridge, where I often work is pretty much the same too.  Maybe it's a model for how high streets should be.

This caught my eye in the Bowie Gallery at the top of town.  I'm showing it as I saw it, complete with reflections.  It's a wonderfully inspirational piece of mosaic by artist Susan Elliott.  The prize tag was a bit daunting so unless I win the lottery some time soon, it won't be adorning my walls.  But I might be inspired to add a bit of 3D to my own arty designs.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Sweary Video Alert

Brilliantly funny and very touching video that captures the humour of a fourteen year old boy perfectly.  Look away now if you're a sensitive soul and don't do swearing and rudeness.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Pasta Brixham-nese

The other week my littl'un, who  will always be my baby but now is a shade taller than me and has a big deep voice, had a poorly tummy. He was off school for a whole week.  He said that while he was sick he thought fondly about all the food that he wasn't able to eat.  'Can you make me a bolognese on Monday?' he asked when he phoned from his Dad's house the other day.  It was one of the things that he'd craved.  How could I refuse?

I had a problem though with not much time to gather together ingredients that don't fall foul of 'Plastic Free July'.  My usual meaty pasta sauce contains minced beef and bits of bacon to boost the flavour.  I've run out of those and I didn't have time to source ethically wrapped meat for the butcher.    One of my rules to get me through this month is that I'm allowed to use up stuff in plastic packaging that I've already got in the house.  So I rummaged about and came up with some lamb mince and half a stick of chorizo sausage.  I also found some mushrooms lurking in the back of the fridge that had been there for a while.  Instead of going off they'd freeze dried themselves.  Waste not, want not I thought. They could be used too.

So here's a rustled up ragu recipe, Brixham not Bologna style!

Chop an onion, grate a carrot, crush garlic to taste and fry in a pan until softened.  Don't wash the grater yet but use it to shave off a big pile of chorizo.  Add that to the pan with the mince to brown and the chopped up dried mushrooms.  They smell wonderful but I'm not sure how you'll replicate my happy accident.  Once that's done add a tin of tomatoes, half a pint of water, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika and pepper.  Leave to simmer until thickened.  Stir into pasta and serve topped with parmesan.  It was pronounced delicious by my very fussy fourteen year old food critic.  And there's enough over to make a shepherds pie for later in the week. He's pleased about that.

Monday, 10 July 2017


Here's a  rather wonderful little quote that bowled me over yesterday when I read it.    To celebrate its emergence into my life  I made it into a Canva image and used a picture of one of those wacky flowers that look like they've originated from outer space.   Well said Mr Foster and true on many counts. Take heed my darlings. Accept the unacceptable nature of lukewarm and approach every aspect of your life with passion!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Nightmare That Is Plastic Free July

Oh my golly gosh!  When I embarked on the Plastic Free July challenge I thought that it was going to be a bit of a laugh,  a breeze in fact.  The enormity of  what I've agreed to do has now set in. Keeping to the pledge of refusing single use plastic is nigh on impossible.

On day three of the challenge I popped into Sainsburys Exeter and experienced what I can only describe as an enlightenment.  My eyes were opened.  Everywhere I looked, in every section,  plastic packaging abounded.  I'd forgotten my lunch but there was virtually nothing that wasn't off limits.  Finally I clapped eyes on a Dickinson and Morris Melton Mowbray Pork Pie in the chill cabinets.  Yay!  It was wrapped in paper.  A lovely treat but a girl cannot live on pastry products alone for a month.

And yes I've failed, and cheated, and wished that I had the foresight to cheat a bit more by stocking up on illicitly wrapped stuff on 30th June or before.   I accepted a plastic knife to cut the cheese from Rosie and Spiky Kay's wedding cake on day1!  That's spurred me on to buy a portable cutlery set that I can keep in my bag so the same thing won't happen again.  And I bought some savoury rosemary infused biscuits.  Last time I bought something similar the inner packaging was foil.  On this occasion it was plastic, which I might have found out if I'd read the box first.  As you can see it's a minefield.

I'd worked out that sourcing  pasteurised milk in sustainable containers was going to be a problem early on.  Don't even go there with suggesting that the UHT stuff could be an alternative.  I can't abide the taste.  I thought I recalled that Riverford used cardboard packaging and made a special detour to Ben's Farm Shop  who are stockists.  Eek!  As you can see from my photo of the chiller Riverford milk is now packaged in plastic.  I left empty handed.  The solution I've come up with is highly questionable.  My six pint bottle ran out on Friday, just before a camping trip to Cornwall. I've sneakily got the friends who I've been spending time with to buy the milk and then, whilst drinking my tea, have taunted them for their lack of eco morality.    I don't know what I'm going to do when I get home and run out again.  I could do soya but even most of the tetrapaks have plastic lids.  Finding an obliging cow seems the only possibility.

I'll bring you another update further down the line.  It's only going to get harder.  I've been relying on store cupboard ingredients  so far but they're dwindling and I'm going to have to stock up soon.   More ingenuity (and cheating!) will be  required as the month goes by.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Proven to Be Pinocchio

Okay, it may be a little inappropriate to tell this story but when has that ever stopped me?  Anyway Lou's been dining out on it for a couple of months so it's no secret in my circle.  I'm not sure what came over me when I attempted to try and convince my fourteen year old that I was, as near as damn it, a virgin.   After all it seems that way at times.   Not quite on a par with Mary, Mother of God,  I told him.  There'd been one slip off the path of purity and he, of course, was the result.

Lou told me very directly that he wasn't at all convinced and I thought that was the end of the matter. Little bit of nonsense done and dusted.   But no!   He returned to the subject a couple of hours later because he'd downloaded three lie detector apps to his phone.  I was subjected to the barrage of tests which included one that scanned my finger and one that supposedly analysed my tone of voice.  I can't recall what I had to do for the third.  However I remember well that the results were unanimous. Apparently I'll be growing a nose like Pinocchio sometime soon!

Friday, 7 July 2017

Happenings at Extremities

My mad wrist has evolved.  It's all silver and semi precious stones these days which is my preferred material for jewels.  Of course if anybody wanted to buy me diamonds and  white gold or platinum I'm willing to give it a go!  The dangly fish bracelet is the first ever piece of silver jewellery I made myself.  No bad for a beginner eh!  I rediscovered in my jewellery box and I'm having a renewed love affair with it.  I might even make some more and see if there's a market for them if I ever have a moment.

There's  a new addition near ground level.  Salty Dog bought me an anklet for my birthday.  I've never had  one before.  It may be because my mum put the idea in my very young brain that only floozies wore them.  As I'm getting old and no longer care what people think I'm wearing it now the summer months are here and my lower half is not swather in calf length boots and leggings.

I'm loving the weight around the ankle.  It's strangely comforting.  Again I'm wondering if it's helping proprioception and allowing me more feedback about where body parts are in space.  I mentioned my theory to  Ibiza Queen Vikki.  She's in agreement that I seem far less accident prone than in the past.  Far less spillage and breakages.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

On Trend With Trader Joe

Louis and I headed on over to Exmouth on Tuesday evening to meet up with The Second Martha Stewart and her husband, Nigel.  They're over from the US.  Martha headed off to her office in London today so I came away with goodies!   It's traditional that she sends me home with a very full tummy and  all the leftovers from her fridge and food cupboards.  Each time she gives me my loot in a Trader Joe bag.

Trader Joe is a grocery store in the States.  Apparently they are quite like a Lidl, which incidentally Martha told me arrives in the US soon.  The bags, which depict the location of the shops have wonderful quirky designs.  Martha, bless her, knows that I love them and tries to give me a different one each time.   One serves as a colourful holdall for my washing powder.  So much nicer than a box with a picture of a washing machine door on it.   I found out that Ibiza Queen Vikki is a fan too.  She wandered into work the other day with lunch in a Trader Joe bag that isn't in my own collection.

Here's the back of the Boston bag which isn't out of keeping in Brixham at all.   If you look in the background you might be able to spot that our Breton map colouring project is coming on nicely. Anyone who sets foot in my house is nabbed and handed a handful of felt tip pens so they can do their bit.

In amongst my food loot was a gorgeous chicken salad with grapes, pineapple and grated carrot and celery.  Just the thing for a hot summer's day.  As I didn't have to prepare supper yesterday there was time for an after work swim down at the local cove.  It's a hard life being a stone's throw from a glorious beach but someone's got to live here.   The Trader Joe bag is just right repurposed as a beach bag and containing my towel!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Something's Working

I'm still sleeping through after a couple of weeks of kicking insomnia in the nuts. Wow!   This is something that I wouldn't have believed possible a few months back.   I run further, meditate daily, fret less...Thanks to that lovely Japanese lady my house is tidier and creativity is more free flowing.  I have created space. both physical and metaphysical, to spend time with the people that I love and by myself. Both good for I am as solitary as I am sociable.  Slowly but surely I'm still working on that natty little business with the aim of making life even more flexible.   Even though my work is just as demanding and potentially stressful I find that I can leave it behind at the end of the day.  In fact I often do that literally.  My laptop and paperwork stays in the office a lot more.  It only comes home when it suits me.

 Are other people noticing a difference?  I thought I'd ask Salty Dog the other day for an evaluation. I repeated the question to Louis yesterday in the car after school.  There was no hesitation.  He came up with pretty much the same answer. 'You're happier!'

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Horticultural Inheritance

I must 'do' my garden but alas I'm not naturally green fingered.  I'm like my friend Salty Dog.  She put in an offer on a house in Cornwall with a massive garden the other day. Then her parents dissuaded her from buying it and she withdrew from the sale.  'I don't know what I was thinking!' she told me.  'I struggle looking after a chilli plant.'  And so it is with me.  I never got the gardening bug.

But I thought I'd show you these guys that adorned the garden of my late sister Esther.  Now she was horticulturally attuned.  They need a home that is less of a wilderness so perhaps they'll spur me into action.  I didn't have oodles in common with my sister.  We were quite different but both had a keen interest in Easter Island.  A past life connection perhaps?  Anyway I hope to go there one day and lay flowers in front of one of those big Moai in her memory.  She never went herself so maybe it's my responsibility to go for both of us.

I thought that I might replant them with some wild whacky hair.   Grasses perhaps? But maybe I'll keep what's in there. The close cropped succulents seem to suit them.

Monday, 3 July 2017

A Metaphor For Life

The wallpaper on my laptop depicts a tiny person scaling a cliff that looks like it would be up there in terms of a grade for difficulty.  I don't know what a climber would call it.  'Bloody difficult' would be my own assessment.

So it serves as an illustration of my life.  It has not been the easiest of courses.  Two things have occurred to me.  I choose the intensity of my challenge. It builds resilience and makes me stronger.  And if you look carefully the climber isn't on their own.  There's another person watching over them and holding the ropes.  In real life and on a spiritual plain I'm reminded that I've got plenty of helpers too!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Wedding in Weymouth

I woke up this morning a bit hoarse.  Yesterday I'd was singing, dancing, eating, drinking and talking my little heart out.  For I went to a wedding.  I popped out on Friday lunchtime to buy a card in Totnes and then I'd realised I'd made a faux pas.   The bride in the papercut was wearing a dress. And neither of my friends who were getting married had worn a skirt in living memory.  I did some doctoring with a pair of scissors.  A bit of tippex was also caused into play to lose a ponytail.

Here are the brides signing the register.  Spiky Kay and her new wife Rosie.  Their wedding was held in the grounds of a beautiful pub near Weymouth.  The setting couldn't have been more glorious.

In the morning before  the wedding I lost my retailing virginity when Red Mel and I popped into Claire's Accessories to complete our AbFab look.   Nine year olds were fought  for those flowery ears! We trained as occupational therapists with Spiky Kay and voweled that we'd do 'over the top pink' if she ever got married.  I think that we pulled it off.

Another one of the brides, this time with their very gorgeous sons.  They've got one apiece.

Red Mel blowing bubbles at the reception tea party.  We had posh little sandwiches, tarts, a cream tea and cake.

Another look at those 'ears'.  There's something of a mythical beast about me.  They been recycled and are going to the dressing up  box of Red Mel's two year old granddaughter.

One of those cheesy cakes that are all the rage these days!

And here's Spiky Kay borrowing my ears!

And don't forget this was a Westcountry wedding.  I need lots of energy for dancing.  Sustenance at the evening do came in the form of a regional specialty.  One of the best pasties that I'd ever tasted!

Saturday, 1 July 2017

A Big Fat Zero!

Today marks the start of 'Plastic Free July'.  I'm going to give it a go and kickstart a more mindful way of consumption that reduces the waste that I personally generate - hopefully for good.   One of the steps I'll take will be making much more use of little local shops.  Earth.Food.Love: The Zero Waste Shop in Totnes will be one of the places that I'll be visiting in future.

My cupboard of dried goods is brimming at the moment but I popped up to the shop to see what they stock for future reference.  I was given a warm welcome from one of the owners Richard.  He runs the shop with his wife Nicola and they are 'helped' by their baby Willow.  They left an urban life in Manchester to raise a family in Devon.  From personal experience of bringing up a chilled out kid here I'd say that was a very wise choice indeed.

So how does this work?  Well, instead of buying pre-packaged goods you take your own jars, bottles, boxes and bags, fill them and buy by weight.  Easy!  There's paper bags and containers for sale too if you're a bit dippy like me and have forgotten your own.    Some of my friends are doing that thing where they dump all their plastic at the supermarket till.  I've been a bit of a scared-y cat and haven't dared to go down that particular route of activism.  The good thing here is that it prevents the need to do that in the first place.

All the stuff is organic and there's plenty to choose from: pulses, spices, nuts, seeds, cereal....And loose tea.  Did you know that the majority of teabags contain plastic?  I only found out after I'd just bought my last lot in bulk.  There's a small range of cleaning products as well, made in nearby Somerset. I'll be giving those a try.   The website has a handy price list  so that I can check they have what I need before I climb the hill up to the shop.

Isn't it all so pretty?  Much nicer than sterile supermarket environments.  I particularly loved these beautiful dispensers for liquids.  I'll be popping back soon - with a bottle.  I'm nearly out of washing up liquid!