Jen, Author at Sustainable(ish) - Page 35 of 35

All Posts by Jen

Houston-we have problem…

The lovely hubby just went to get the tyres swapped around on the car (apparently this is good practice, as the tyres wear differently front and back, so if you swap them around then you should get more wear out of them-I just smile and nod and leave all things car related to him-he loves it) BUT the tread had gone on the front two and we had to get two NEW tyres… I questioned whether you could get second-hand tyres, and you can get part-worn tyres, but I’m told this is not good in terms of either road safety or value for money as it ends up being a false economy. So, at least this is the practice month, and it is doing what it is supposed to and throwing up any potential problems! The rules may have to be amended to exclude bits for the car(s) should they need fixing. You can get lots of car bits re-conditioned, and we will endeavour to do so, but if safety dictates, then I’m afraid we will have to buy new.


We had a lot of fruit in the bowl, going a bit manky, and looking very sorry for itself so in true thrifty housewife mode, I thought I would whiz it all up into a smoothie!

I chopped it all up, tried to hook out most of the watermelon seeds (I may be making it up, but I'm sure I remember reading somewhere that the seeds can be really bitter when they get whizzed up), added a handful of ice and a slug of lime and lemongrass cordial and blitzed the life out of it in the blender!

Mmmmmmm! The Smalls loved it, and when I eventually got to sample the last little bit left, I had to agree!

My predictions for the year ahead..

I thought it might be quite cool to make some predictions of problems I might encounter, what I think I’ll find hardest, what I won’t miss, etc before I start, and then I can look back on it at the end of the year, and either laugh at my naivety, or marvel at my amazing foresight, depending on how accurate my predictions are!

Things I will miss:

  • magazines (and to a lesser extent newspapers, but I know the lovely hubby will miss his newspaper)-I LOVE magazines and have a bit of a habit! My favourites are ‘Mollie Makes’, ‘Homes and Antiques’ and ‘Good Food’-if anyone wants to forward me their used copies I would be forever grateful…!
  • stationery-I don’t mean printer paper and the like (which according to The Rules, I can still buy, as this qualifies as a necessary consumable), but pretty notepads and lovely things!
  • the instant gratification thing. I think my generation is the start of the ‘have it now’ generations, and we (forgive me for generalising, maybe it is just me!) have never really had to wait or save for anything, since the advent of credit cards, HP, and shopping online. For the next year, if there is something I really really need/want, I am going to have to be a little more thoughtful about how I procure it, and this may involve having to wait until I find the right thing-this isnot going to be easy for someone whose husband sometimes refers to as ‘little miss instant pants’…
  • Christmas present buying the easy way!

Things I won’t miss:

  • the inner debate and grappling with my conscience/bank balance I have whenever I purchase something I consider to be slightly frivolous, like a new pair of shoes for example.
  • having to spend good money on crap for the Smalls-BigSmall loves children’s magazines, you know the ones, themed to a TV programme, and complete with ‘free’ plastic crap on the front that is either of no discernible use, or breaks within 2 seconds. It is not the magazines themselves I object to-some of them have quite good material inside and are usually quite educational, but it is the price (some of them are nearly £5!) and the crap ‘toys’ that come with them-when I start to think of the energy that has gone into making these and then shipping them in from China, wrapping them in yet more plastic….sorry, rant over! Now I have a readymade excuse not to cave in to the pester power!!
  • Christmas present buying and all the money, and packaging and stuff that goes with it. This year it will be Make Do and Mend all the way…!

Potential problems

  • the first and most obvious one being, if something big breaks, like the computer, or the boiler, or the freezer. Having to try and source a secondhand, goo-quality one, could potentially be a nightmare.
  • little things you don’t even think about, like wrapping paper and birthday cards-all of these will have to be handmade now…
  • if one of the Small’s wants something really specific for birthday/Christmas, it might be hard to find it secondhand-although I’m sure  E-bay can usually be relied upon!
  • time-finding the time to research alternative sources for things that are needed/wanted, or to make something, is going to be tough.



Before it all starts-party party party…!

With a start date in the calendar of 1st September, I have decided that August will be a practice month! This will hopefully give me some feel for problems that might be encountered and will hopefully galvanise me into sorting out anything that needs sorting before my year starts.

So far this month, the biggest challenge has been a birthday party! BigSmall was invited to a 4th birthday party, and as a practice run, I decided to make the birthday boy's present. I have made presents for small people's birthday s before, but in the past I have decorated plain t-shirts that I have bought new, and I won't be able to do this, so I had to think of another plan!

The plan I came up with was beanbags. I thought it would be quick and easy, I have loads of fabric to use up, and all I would need to buy would be some rice to fill them with. I was worng-it wasn't quick and easy-it was a bit fiddly and took far longer than I thought it would, and I'd obviously left it all until the night before the party, meaning I was up until nearly midnight, so was alittle grumpy the following day! But I think they came out ok, and I think the birthday boy liked them. 

It also threw up the question of gift wrapping and cards! I made this bag here to serve as gift wrapping, and storage for the beanbags so I came up with drawstring bag to put them in. Here is the link to the tutorial I found.

Big Small and I then made a card together. He did a 'beautiful painting', and I cut a number 4 out of a squareof card and used the empty bit of the 4 (if that makes sense) to glue over the top of the painting. It would be much better if I had a picture to help explain all this but I forgot-sorry! I will try better next time...

The next problem is my parent's Ruby Wedding Anniversary this weekend. Anyone got any speedy thrifty yet amazing homemade anniversary present ideas...??

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