Ways to Become More Eco-Friendy

Becoming more eco-friendly is not just about reducing the amount of plastic that we use, nor is it just making sure that we re-cycle or re-use items as  much as possible, there are so many other things we can do to help the environment and reduce the impact that we have on it, and there are ways that we can help other earth inhabitants to not just survive but to thrive too.  And each little step we take to help our environment goes a long way towards helping us and Earth to survive.

Earth Day, this year, was about raising awareness, and putting into action, plans to Protect Our Species, from tiny insects to larger animals, and there are so many ways we can do our bit to help.

Bees are one of the many declining insects in our world, without them and other insects, we would have no food supplies, we rely on these little creatures to pollinate crops that give us our food.  With no insects we would have no corn, no salads, no crops, no coffee…nothing.  We can help to increase their numbers in lots of different ways – planting bee friendly plants and flowers, encouraging insects into our garden spaces by making insect houses and reducing our use of pesticides.  There is plenty more that we can do from inside the house too, things like reducing the amount of aerosols we use, a good example is to switch from spray canned antiperspirants and using block deodorants instead (I’m especially fond of Lush’s Sunflower Deodorant), using less harsh chemicals when cleaning our homes by making our own cleaners or choosing products that are less harmful to the environment.

Being a more conscious shopper can also help the environment.  Choosing to source and buy more local produce will lead to less carbon emissions, support the local producers and encourage them to plant more crops which, in turn, will encourage more wildlife to stay in the area and survive.  Think about how far the items you buy have had to travel to get to you and take steps to reduce the mileage travelled by each product you buy.

Choose products that will last longer, opt for garments that have been made from materials that are not as harmful to the environment, and where possible, try to steer clear of fast fashion or outfits that you may use only once.  If clothing is ripped or has a hole, opt to mend it rather than replace, and if a garment is dirty or stained then learn the tricks and tips to get stains out rather than add it to landfill.  If that isn’t possible then see if you can salvage parts of it and re-make into something else you can continue to wear or use for a time.

Reduce food waste, create a meal plan and buy only what you need.  If you cook too much food for a meal see if you can use it in another meal or have the leftovers for lunch the following day.  i regularly have pasta and will then have it cold the following day for lunch with a salad.  Freeze leftovers and have them at a later date if you don’t fancy eating it the following day.  If you have foodstuffs that are nearing their expiry date and you know you are not going to use them up, see if friends and family would like to have them instead, or, see if you can invite friends and family over and use the items in a feast.

There is so much more that we can be doing for the survival of all species if we just use our brains more and think about what we are doing.  I’m sure that there are lots of other ways we can become more eco-friendly.  What tips do you have?  Let me know in the comments….

Advertisements

Earth Day

Earth Day is fast approaching and takes place on 22nd April.  This day sees people taking part in all sorts of activities that aim to spread awareness, start a movement to get things done, and take action against things that are harming our planet or that will help species to survive.

Many people will start or sign petitions, others will hold a local area clean up day, some will hand out leaflets about how we can take steps to help the bees, some organisations will help promote green living, reduce plastic, educate on things we can re-use or recycle.

This day is a day to take steps to help our planet.  I intend to take a bag out with me and pick up any litter I see, brin it home and re-cycle it or dispose of it in the proper manner.  If we all did this on a day to day basis there would be less litter getting into our sewers and waterways, less then making its way to the sea, and there would be less damage being done to the eco-system, fewer animals being killed by our selfish, lazy ways and our streets would be cleaner environments for us to live in too.

What will you do this Earth Day?

Easy Ways to Reduce Plastic Consumption

In the lifestyle we lead today many of the items we come into contact with on a daily basis are designed to be used once and then thrown away, from plastic packaging to cups, bottles and food wrappers.  A lot of the waste we produce is made of plastic and with plastic being one of the biggest problems the environment has, it is one that we need to work on to reduce.  Today I am going to give you some easy ideas that you can choose in order to reduce the amount of plastic waste that we throw away.

When Shopping.

Take re-usable shopping bags with you, or re-use the plastic ones that you already have.  With many plastic bags only ever being used once, and for a total of just 12 minutes, it seems obscene to just use once and then throw away.

When buying tinned goods try to avoid purchasing those multi-packs that are wrapped in plastic to keep them together.  Instead, buy single cans where possible, or look for cans that are packaged together with cardboard as it is easier to re-cycle.

Choose loose veg and fruit where possible (it can work out cheaper too).  Buy (or make) some produce bags to put your fruit and veg in or just place them, loose in your cart.

Eating Out.

I always carry around a set of my own cutlery just incase I decide to buy food when I am out and about.  This means that I don’t have to use plastic cutlery that comes with many fast food items.  I have a small pencil-case that I keep them in and, once used I put them back into the case to be washed at home and returned to my bag.

Think about whether drinks you buy really need a straw.  Where possible, refuse the straw and if you really do need one, think about buying a re-usable straw.  I have stainless steel straws that are perfect for most cold beverages.

When I am in work, I make my own lunch at home the night before and pack it into a lunchbox that I can re-use time and time again.  This helps me, not only to eat more healthy, but to save money too, because I’m then not tempted to buy a pre-packed sandwich meal deal (with crisps and a bottle of pop).

Buy a re-usable travel flask or cup.  Most coffee shops will be happy to use your own cup for drinks so long as it is clean and in good condition.  Sometimes places will even offer you a discount if you use your own cup.  Or, if you have time, why not sit and enjoy your hot drink in the cafe in a proper mug?

At Home.

Cut down on your use of cling film.  Assess what you use cling film for and have a look on-line for other alternatives, for example, if you use cling film to wrap food items, why not give wax wraps a try?  Or for heating food in the microwave (or for covering leftovers) these silicone food wraps are brilliant.

Swap plastic dish brushes with wooden ones.  I really like the design of this one, not only can you re-cycle the whole thing but, you can re-use the handle and buy replacement heads for it.

Be mindful of what you throw away.  Where possible re-cycle.  In my area, we are lucky enough to have a re-cycling collection each week that runs alongside our normal refuse collection.  I have 3 containers – one for glass, plastic and metal and a bag for cardboard waste that I put on the kerb weekly for collection, however, even if you don’t have this sort of scheme running where you are, you can still re-cycle.  Look online for your nearest re-cycling facility and sort your waste, dropping it to the centre weekly.

There are so many other ways to reduce the plastic that we consume daily, these are just a few ideas to help you along the way.  What other ways can we reduce plastic?  I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

What is Bohemian Style?

Bohemian style, in terms of interiors, is bright, patterned and full of visual interest.  The style is laid back, with elements from different cultural backgrounds – think Indian, African and Egyptian, all blended together.

The styling of an interior is often bright and richly coloured with decorations of wood, brass, silver and gold.

Furnishings are often decorated with throws that are patchwork, crotched, embroidered and in jewel tones.

Mirrors are used, not just as the typical place to check yourself out, but to bounce light around and to add interest to areas.

Contrasting textures are used, suede mixed with velvet and leather, faux fur and satin elements, all added to play with the senses.

Furniture tends to be ornate, low, carved coffee tables, sofas with intricate designs up the legs, beds with fabric swathed across four-poster struts.

The bohemian style lends itself nicely to artists and creative types who want to surround themselves with items that inspire.

I think I could fall into the Bohemian style, that and being a Maximalist!

Earth Hour

eh 2019 global digital assets 300x250-03

Earth Hour takes place on the 30th March at 8:30pm, and the great thing is that it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, this is a rolling movement that is set to take place globally so when it hits 8:30pm wherever you are, you can take part.  All that is asked is that from 8:30pm, for one hour, electrical items, like lights, wifi, plug sockets and other non-essential items, in your home are turned off.  Just by taking part, for this one hour we can make a difference in our world.  Read more at the Earth Hour website here.

I am planning on turning off all my electrical devices (even my phone and laptop) and lighting candles and just sit and be.  Last year I took part and I was amazed at how quiet the house was, there was no humming of lights, no computer fan, no buzzing from electric flowing from sockets to devices, and there was something quite peaceful about unplugging from everything while making a stand to help our world.

Will you join me in making a difference?

eh 2019 global digital assets 480x80

What is Upcycling?

upcycle meaning
Definition taken from Google

To upcycle or upcycling has become a pretty trendy thing to do but, when you think about it, generations before us have been doing the same thing over and over again.

To upcycle today has a huge meaning, from taking broken furniture and making it into something completely different (for example a chair turned into a side table) or just to sand something down and re-paint it.  Even repurposing things is a form of upcycling, like turning a dresser into a home office space.

Upcycling does not stop at furniture either, clothes can be upcycled from jeans and dresses into bags and tops, old blankets into cozy jumpers, plastic bags into rugs…the list is almost as endless as our imagination.

The definition talks about creating a product of higher quality or value than the original and the meaning of the word value is not one just of monetary value but of emotional value too, taking something that you dislike and adding your own touch to it and making it something that you are proud of and like, something that fits your life and style.

For me, upcyling is about adding my own personality to something, from chairs and lamps to my desk and storage space, clothes and accessories, and making things stand out, become unique and a piece of artwork in its own right.

What do you consider to be “upcycling”?

The Importance of Having a Content Plan

the importance of having a content plan

I’ve had several blogs over the years which I would add to when I thought of something to write about, sometimes this would be several times a day and other times 3 or 4 months would pass by before I published anything.  In that time I would have ideas but they would come and go, especially if I wasn’t near a computer at the time.  Often I would think about my blog and have the fullest of intentions of adding to it but then sit at the desk, the little cursor on-screen blinking away and not have an iota of what to write.  And in time ALL of my previous blogs failed – I failed to write posts in a timely manner, I rushed what I was writing and didn’t really think about my words or topic carefully, I missed opportunities to link to interesting articles or previous posts, photos were rushed or non-existent and the general quality of the post was poor overall.

Now though, I have approached this blog differently.  Before I even signed up and created MyColourfulLifeUK, I started to write down ideas for this blog, I talked about it with friends and family and generated a few ideas of what they found interesting in the subject fields I enjoyed.  And so started the beginnings of a content plan.

A content plan is so important as a blogger as it gives you a framework with which to create blog posts and help you with what you are going to write about on a day-to-day basis.  Having a content plan is like driving somewhere you have never been before but with well written directions.

Here are 7 things that having a content plan has helped me with

  • Knowing what I am going to write about

Having a plan has helped me no end.  I always have an idea of what I am going to be writing about and now I don’t waste half of my time sitting and staring at a blank screen.  What I didn’t bank on was that having a plan actually encourages me to write and I am always excited to sit down and draft up a blog post now.

  • Helps me to prepare content (Including links and images)

Having the knowledge of what I want to write about allows me to thoroughly prepare, from researching topics, making notes, finding useful links, taking photos, writing the post and editing it.  If you know then you can prepare.

  • Helps me to generate new post ideas

Whenever I sit and look through my content plan I seem to be able to come up with new ideas to write about, and in researching topics I will often find something else that piques my interest and opens up a whole new set of thoughts about posts I can create further down the line.  Now I have a content plan I never seem to be short of ideas!

  • Provides well thought out posts for your readers

My English A Level lecturer always said he could spot an essay that had been hastily written and I didn’t really believe him back then, but now, after reading lots of different blogs on all sorts of different topics I know exactly what he means.  When you have a content plan there are not many posts you will write in a rush which in turn means that your posts will be well thought out, the points raised will be clear and there will be a good flow to the words and pace.  Rushed posts often meander off track, words are clumsily thrown together and even the reading pace feels rushed.

  • Helps me to stick within the theme of my blog

I’m a lifestyle blogger which means that I can over a lot of different subjects and still be within the theme of my blog overall but if you have a niche blog, I had one covering art when in university, it could be really easy to stray from that overall theme.  I know that it’s your blog and you can pretty much write what you want, but if you have a niche theme then it’s worth sticking to it, trust me, your readers will thank you!

  • Helps me to build a schedule for my posts

Once I have a list of content that I want to write about I then open Excel and use a calendar that I created to schedule my content, colour code each topic and start placing the topics against dates to publish.  This helps me to see what to write and when as well as not having too many posts on the same topic being crowded together.

  • Keeps readers interested and gains return visitors and followers

All of the above points lead to this – keeping readers engaged with your writing, gaining repeat visitors and, hopefully, gaining followers who will keep coming back to read the content that bought them to your blog in the first place.

I hope you find this useful.  What are your thoughts on having a content plan?

How to Have a Productive Day

I don’t know about you but, sometimes, it feels like a whole day has rushed by and I don’t seem to have achieved or done anything much at all.  Today I’m sharing with you my steps on how to have a productive day.  There will be tips, tricks and hacks that seem to work for me, mean I get more done, and more out of my day.  These simple steps seem to help me both in my working day and in my personal life so can be applied to any part of your life.

  • Preparation
enlight2
Make a List

Knowing what you would like to achieve in a day goes a long way towards actually achieving those things.  I like to sit down at the end of the day with a notepad and pens and create a list of things I need to do, want to do and things I should do the following day.  Every activity gets written down however big or small, significant or insignificant it may be.  Once I have a list then I can move on to the next step.

  • Categorise
enlight3
Categorise

Next, I like to go through the list and categorise everything into 3 lists – Need, Want and Should.  I like to use highlighters here so I can see what categories things fall into.  Things that go into the Need list are things that absolutely have to be done that day, they can be things like making appointments, sending emails, household things, anything that has to be done that day and is time specific.  Next is the Want list which I use for things that I want to do or achieve that don’t really have any fixed priority except for personal gain.  Want things can include reading a book, having a bath, working on art, anything that is about you and what you want to do.  Lastly is the Should list which I use for things like cleaning the fridge, clothes washing, tidying up, organising my books, things that should be done but are not really needed to be done at a specific time.

  • Prioritize
enlight5
Prioritize and Timings

Now I have the categories sorted I go through them and number them in order of importance – 1 is high importance and 4 is the lowest/no importance.  I can see then what order I should complete the tasks in.

 

  • Timings

Next I allocate timings to the tasks, so, for example 20 mins for responding to an email, 10 for a phone call, 40 mins for reading…. I can see what will take the longest and what will be really quick to tick off my list.  I like to work with a mix of high priority and quick tasks as it makes me feel good about getting things marked off and encourages me to continue with my work.

  • Make a Timetable
enlight6
Making a Timetable

The final step I take is to timetable everything into my day.  I write out my day in hourly blocks then schedule in the things I want to achieve in that timeframe.  I schedule in all the Need and Should items then add the Wants in around them where there are gaps.

Creating a list and timetable like this the night before helps me to wake up motivated and ready to start the list.  I get up knowing what needs to be done and have an itinerary for the day that I know will work for me, I get things done that I need to, things I should do and also have time for anything I want to do as well.  I find mixing the tasks up keeps energy and enthusiasm high while keeping productivity going.  And scheduling in Wants through the day means I have a reward of sorts to look forward to along the way.

How do you plan your day?  What are your tips for being productive?

 

The Art of Thrifting

the art of thrifting

Thrifting used to be all about visiting an actual store, charity shop, car-boot sale or garage sale and having a rummage around all the goods available until you find something you like and then purchasing it after, maybe, a bit of haggling over the price thrown in.  Now with charities such as Oxfam offering on-line shopping, the likes of Gumtree, Ebay and Facebook Marketplace offering places for people to sell their goods, thrifting has become something we can do from our own homes, in our pyjamas if we so wish, and at any time of day or night – whenever the mood takes us.

Unfortunately, with all of these lovely, pre-loved items being available to us at the click of a button it is really easy to purchase and receive the product and have instant buyers regret. There is an art in thrift shopping and coming home (or taking delivery) of items that you love and today on the blog I’m going to share with you the questions I ask myself when thrifting, which help me to make decisions about what I’m thinking of buying.  Hopefully, these questions will help you too!

  1. Do I really need it?  If it is something that you have been needing for a while (whether it is a coat, bag, household or miscellaneous item) then it is worth considering purchasing.
  2. Do I really love it?  If it is an item that you love, then chances are, further down the line you will still love it and it will be a treasure for you to keep.
  3. Does it need altering?  Usually, if an item needs altering then I put it back.  I have a ton of things that already need altering and I really don’t want to add to the pile.  If it needs altering, chances are that it will just sit and gather dust until you just decide to part with it.  But, if it’s something that you need and love and are prepared to take home and alter straight away then, maybe it’s worth purchasing.
  4. Does it need mending?  See above, the same reasons apply to this as the question above.
  5. Does it suit my style?  If an item suits your style then it is worth considering purchasing as you will more than likely use it and look after it.  If something doesn’t fit your style but you love it and really want it, think of ways you could customise it to fit your style.
  6. Can I upcycle it?  Whether it is a piece of furniture, clothing or accessories, if it’s not quite to your taste and style then consider upcycling it –  can you paint it, re-upholster it, deep clean and varnish it, make it into something else then a purchase is worth considering.
  7. Where will I put it/where will it live?  It is worth visualising where an item will be placed in your home.  If you can visualise where it will live then you are already imagining owning it and taking care of it.  There is no point in purchasing something and shoving it away, out of sight, to be forgotten about.  If you can’t visualise a place for it, don’t buy it.
  8. Where will I wear it?  This is similar to the answer above.  If you can visualise yourself wearing it somewhere, or already have in mind somewhere to wear it and you know you will wear it more than once then this is a good thing.  So many times I have bought clothing because it was unique or interestingly cut or made but then it has sat in my wardrobe and never seen the light of day because I have had nowhere to wear it so take this question into consideration before buying.
  9. Do I own something similar already?  If you own something similar already then it is worth considering how much you use the one you own, how long it has lasted you and if you will use the new one the same amount.  If you don’t use the item you already have that much, or can find no reason to own 2 similar items then give this one a miss.
  10. Will I still use it in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years?  If you can see yourself still using the item in years to come or that it is still useful down the line then, after considering the answers to the other questions, it is worth thinking of purchasing.
  11. What is the life-span of the item?  If the item only has a short life-span in terms of function, fashion, style or how it is manufactured then leave it.  However, if the item is well made, to your taste and style and doesn’t have a limited use then it is worth considering.
  12. Can I get a better deal elsewhere?  It is always worth having a look online (particularly on e-bay, though a google search is just as good) to see if you can get the same or similar item cheaper elsewhere.  It is worth noting how much items are worth and how much people sell them for as, what you think is a bargain at the time may not necessarily be the case at all.

Do you have any criteria you stick to when thrifting?