Next stop Crapham Junction

“Don’t worry hun” a comforting mate texted me a few days ago as I whinged about indigestion, lingering nausea and the mounting horror at my ever expanding waistline, “the worst is yet to come”
This was immediately followed up with the succinct text

“Crapham junction”

Quite.

It later transpired that the second text wasn’t in fact a prophetic vision of my future cleverly combining the two (percieved) disasters of my recent life – moving south of the river and signing myself up for several years of nappy changing. (The sender was a confirmed north London bachelor) but was actually a misdirected text sent to me instead of the helpful family member trying to relocate him. Lost and bewildered south of the river he was apparently stranded in Europe’s busiest station.

In fairness I’d prefer to be facing years of nappies than getting stuck at Clapham Junction any day. But hey.

Nappies have been on my mind a bit lately, no prizes for guessing why. In fact it was an initial eBay search for used cloth nappies that started my recent bout of consumer flu.

Did you have any idea there were so many types? And that they could be so cute!?! Now I’m sure they are decidedly less cute when they are filled with pee and poo but even so, some of these things have got owls on! Owls ffs, who can’t love that? And don’t even get me started on the ones called little lambs. I love lambs I do! And they’re all white and fluffy! Just like lambs!

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Twit-twoo

It’s probably worth pointing out that Chris grew up farming sheep and tends not to focus on the fluffiness of sheep’s wool having slightly less romantic memories of herding poo splattered sheep. But hey, he’s not pumped up on pregnancy hormones and so able to be far more rational about these things.

After the initial wave of desire, bidding on anything remotely cute and luckily losing auctions all over the place I moved on to being bewildered and slightly overwhelmed.
It turns out there are quite a few different types of nappy. Prefold, Terry’s, shaped, all in ones, one-size, not one-size. They all seem to have different things going for them and it seems that you can’t really know which is best for you until you try them out on a real life Bubba, preferably your own. Hmmm.

Not wanting to find myself at Crapham Junction in 4 months time without at least a few cloth nappies to stand between me and the lure of handy plastic disposables I decided I needed to gather a small selection to trial and then make an informed decision based on actual battlefield experience rather than, you know, anthropomorphic patterned owls.

Unfortunately the only thing all these nappies had in common was that they all cost… a lot… even second hand. Especially since I had no idea what would suit Chris and I and our wee one or even if we would manage the whole cloth nappy dream at all.

Just before I got settled back into my hormonal induced secondhand spending spree I luckily stumbled upon the total best site in the whole wide internet.Er, this might only be your opinion if you are an expectant mother about to blow your household budget on cute nappies that give your babe a zebra print arse but I stand by my statement.

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Zebra, cow, any fluffy animal will work on pregnancy hormones

The Greenwich cloth nappy library loan parents a selection pack of different types of reusable nappies absolutely free for 2 weeks giving you the opportunity to trail a variety of nappies before splashing out on ones that may never suit your and may end up unused and wasted at the bottom of a drawer. They can also arrange long term loans for a small fee if you find a type that suits.

This is great on so many levels. It helps protect parents from the overwhelming initial investment that cloth nappies often require despite offering cost benefits in the long term.

It stops people buying new items that may never get used and helps avoid all those wasted resources.

Even in my second hand consumer fever I’m very aware that buying 2nd hand is rarely as good as borrowing and returning since libraries can keep useable items in circulation more efficiently than selling or swapping does. Not to mention borrowing is much cheaper than buying new.

Basically, overnight I became the Greenwich cloth nappy librarie’s no.1 fan. Despite having changed a grand total of 3 nappies in my entire life. I can relax and drink tea thankfully able to step away from my online shopping habit.

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Don't shop, drink tea.

Now I just need a baby to practise on oh, and fingers crossed they’ve got one of those owl nappies to borrow.

A (very long) moment of madness

Something a bit weird happened to me a few weeks ago.  In the space of about 20 minutes I transformed from fairly well balanced young woman (ha! we are talking relative here before anyone sniggers too loudly) into a fully fledged scarily obsessive cutesy baby obsessed gender stereotype.  I wanted to buy baby things and I wanted to buy them now!

One minute I was wallowing in the novel experience of not feeling sick and actually being able to think clearly. In my excitement I decided to have a laid back search for some 2nd hand cloth nappies on eBay – “that would be useful in a few months time” I naively thought.  Then, Boom! I was lost. Unable to do anything productive with any free moment except coo over sickly cute items on eBay, tugging on Chris’ sleeve for the millionth time attempting to convince him to also gaze longingly at some piece of tat from Mamas and Papas or Jo Jo Maman Bebe. (even in my total madness I had expensive tastes!) 

He obviously didn’t – having not lost all his functioning brain cells like me – although I am impressed at how often he managed to politely glance at the screen and look moderately excited before getting on with some actual useful job or an enjoyable life affirming activity.

For the past 2 years I’ve been working to get stuff out of my life.  I’ve used the time I would have spent shopping to do fun things like drink cocktails with Chris or tea with my mates or plant mulberry trees in the garden or read an improving trashy book.  I’ve sold or given my tat away in an effort to avoid the drudge of dusting, cleaning and sorting it.  In particular I’ve wallowed in the reduced clutter that doesn’t now fill my flat and makes it an even nicer place to live.  Within minutes I’d lost sight of all those ideals.  I didn’t want to see my mates, or talk to Chris or watch a film,  I wanted to search for baby crap on eBay.  It was horrific!  Not least because I was painfully aware of what I was doing but seemingly unable to stop myself.  

In particular I became obsessed (and I do mean obsessed) by a stuffed horse

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I’m not even all that into horses

and baby blanket both from Mamas and Papas.

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£30 new!!!! for a blanket errr. probably not

In the space of 3 evenings I bid on at least 50,000,000 actions and thankfully lost nearly all of them.  The pitfalls of trying to buy things secondhand on eBay saved me in that respect.  The following Saturday I decided to take affirmative action.  Realising that one of the problems was despite searching, clicking, bidding and occasionally even buying! madly, I just didn’t have anything cute or fluffy to actually hold in my hands and sate my desire.  Despite feeling sick and fat and bloated I didn’t have anything real to connect me to the bubs in my tummy.  I was basically a grumpy, spotty, bloated lady hunched over a PC feeling a bit sickened by her behaviour.    

I needed something tangible – not just a grainy scan pic.  

Chris and I headed to our local charity shop which I’ve since discovered has an amazing kids section (much of which donated by my best mate down the road, lol) and I was like a woman possessed.  I grabbed wildly at baby grows and cuddled soft toys while Chris stood steadfastly by trying to pretend I wasn’t attracting stares from other shoppers. 

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a full on wave of morning sickness hit me.  I’d been nausea free for about 2 weeks and then suddenly without warning there I was about to projectile vomit all over a cute wee elderly ladie’s well polished shoes.  Unable to do anything, not even stay standing, I sat down without warning but with a mahousive bump in the middle of the floor of the shop while fascinated shoppers pretended not to gawp at the crazy lady clutching armfuls of baby clothes and sitting on the floor.

Poor Chris, as shocked as anyone, was amazing.  Trying to find me a chair, comfort me, shield me from staring shoppers and even totally dealing with the fact that despite the sickness, despite the sitting on the floor, despite the stares I was still swiping wildly at the rack of babygros and cooing over knitted jumpers.  He even carried on passing me items as I pointed them out amazingly not looking half as embarrassed as he probably felt.  It wasn’t my finest hour I’ll be honest.  

Thankfully some of the obsession has now passed although not before I accumulated a whole box full of clothes, toys and nappies which I occasionally get down from the top of the wardrobe and shuffle through if I feel I want to buy something else.  

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Far more stuff than I expected when I emptied out the box of shame

Some super generous mates have donated outgrown items to add to the box of shame but I have to own up to the majority of this madness!

It’s really easy to see how parents spent thousands on newborns and kids as they grow.  What with hormones and aggressive marketing it’s overwhelming and I’m really thankful that buying second hand makes it just a little bit harder for me to bankrupt myself and slightly limits the impact my spending has on the world.  I am soooooo thankful for all those lost eBay auctions.  I’ve not shamed myself in a charity shop since that day although i have bought something in just about every chazzer shop I’ve walked past in the last month.  The amount of baby tat in the world is terrifying.  All those resources used to make items that so many people buy new and then give up after just a few months.  I can’t really understand why anyone buys clothes etc for babies new! (I do understand the importance of car seats and mattresses but they are one item in a world of consumer hell)

In case you were wondering I did get the horse – (and then felt horrifically guilty about the whole 5 quid it cost including postage)

 

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box of shame atop the wardrobe

But not the blanket.  Even second hand it is just waaaaay too extravagant.  Although I may save up and make an informed, thoughtful decision to buy it in a month when my hormones are less likely to spur me into pointless consumerism.

It probably helps that I found these two amazing blankets at the local shit market for 50p each.

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If it’s pastel pink it’s not really tartan… honest

The smelt very strongly of wee when I picked them up and I usually hate tartan (yes even tho Chris is Scottish.  that doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to have some taste. ;)) but something about them made me fall in love.  When I got them home and washed them I discovered that

a) they no longer smell of pee and

b) they cost about £25 a pop and are all about the Royal connection.  I’m a bit scared I might be called a fraud if I use them out and about in a posh area.  hee hee hee  

 

Spring daffs

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Whoop! Wasn’t it sunny this weekend? I confess I’m actually a little bit happy that the weather has turned a bit pants now that Monday is here. No one wants to be stuck in a hospital or office when exciting spring sunshine is glowing outside.
We spent much of the weekend sorting out the chaos of our garden. A chance conversation with a random man pruning roses in his front garden on friday inspired me to attack the monsters in our garden. Armed with his detailed instructions – this man really knew about roses and dearly wanted to share his love with any random passer by (no matter how late they might be for their next patient!)- I felt very grown up locating living outward buds and making neat slanting cuts away from the eye.
It would have been super twee apart from three small points.

1) my new obsession with packaging-free money-free organic rose fertilizer. Errr, that would diluted human urine. For some reason Chris was kinda resistant to peeing in my watering can! Rude!

2) The awe inspiring beast like roses in our front garden. These monsters are huge! Like 2 or 3 meters high with stems thicker than my thumbs and thorns like mini daggers. My new pruning knowlege shrank in their prickly stabby shadow. I made an attempt but barely made a dent and now have hands so scratched that hospital alcogel hand Sanitizer is my new nemisis.

3)The slightly disturbing discovery of a dented meat cleaver hidden in the undergrowth of our front garden. Now I’m sure there is a perfectly innocent explaination… I’m yet to actually solidify that explaination but I’m sure it exists.

Ahhhh, but don’t dwell on such mucky subjects as bloodied hands, secret meat cleavers and wiffy fertilizer,

Look at the daffs what I picked for fresh in my wild garden.

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Glove Love!

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Following Valentines Day it’s important to remember the lonely ones.  You know who I mean.  All those sad soggy singleton gloves left hopefully on garden walls or found languishing in puddles?

They’re always a bit damp aren’t they – even on the sunniest day.   What’s all that about then?! Except the world conspiring to make the sad anthropomorphic glove picture even more tragic.

I bet you’ve found a solitary glove on the pavement and picked it up (probably very gingerly between forefinger and thumb) and plopped it on a surface ever so slightly higher than the pavement and so ever so slightly closer to maybe being happily discovered by the orrignal owner (who obviously hasn’t thrown the partner away). Even less likely,  You hope it might be spotted by a passing stranger with the exact same glove looking lost and lonely at home having lost it’s partner weeks earlier but not yet given up on.

One of the guy’s Chris works with spent a rainy afternoon dreaming up a glove matching service in which people would send in singleton gloves found on the street to an office where people could wash it dry it catalogue it and attempt to match it to it’s partner.

He imagined gloves posted in being listed with a photo and a short description of where they were found.  People who had lost one glove would then log in to see if their glove was featured and people who had found a glove could do the same.  It would be like a dating service for gloves.  He never did anything with the idea.  For some reason it died when they left the pub.  Questions such as who would administer this site and who would get to keep the pair of gloves, The finder or the loser each with one glove and how would people collect the gloves made it all a bit complicated.

But last week I read over on the inspiring make do and mend year about a website that are a step ahead of Chris’ mate Phill.  Glove Love collect odd gloves and mismatch them or knit partners to make slightly oddball pairs and then sell them for a fiver.

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Totally worth a look.  However, just when I was about to buy myself a pair of loved gloves – out of the blue a colleague of Chris gave him a pair of beautiful soft woollen gloves which one of her colleagues (keeping up with all the workmates??!) had given her but which she is unable to wear.  

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Gorgeous Gloves

Never look a regift horse in the mouth says me.  Especially not such a beautiful regift!  So, for now, I will keep Glove Love in the back of my mind until I lose a glove and need to buy a new old pair or find a sad solitary glove looking to be matched.  But who knows, it might be just what you were looking for.

Changes afoot in Brockley

Cooking up a storm in Brockley

Cooking up a storm in Brockley

So it’s been a while since I wrote anything over here and I left the blog on a bit of a cliff-hanger.  Kitchen in disarray, blind half finished,  Christmas puddings to be eaten.  phew! The tension must have been unbearable!  Well I hope that the eagle eyed among you might have guessed a suitable reason for my blogbased laziness over the past 4 months.

(The really eagle eyed among you may have picked up that the kitchen is looking fairly functional, as is the blind and the furry monster keeping an eye on my culinary efforts isn’t our adored Rasputin. It seems a lot can change in a few months and not just my kitchen!)

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Classic hand on back pregnant lady pose

So just in case anyone is still confused and wondering if I spent the past few months eating chips (I did if I’m honest – but only to prevent 24 hour nausea turning into 24 hour vomiting … honest) I am ridiculously excited about growing a wee human shaped lumpy, jumpy, blurry (if the ultrasound is anything to go by) creature in my big belly.

Unfortunately I really wasn’t prepared for how much growing a little life inside your tum can really put a dampner on your life and I’m not talking about going alcohol free.  I’ve pretty much become a hermit over the past 4 months getting home from work and crawling straight into bed sometimes not even managing to get out again for meals but instead being lucky enough to have an understanding Chris bring me food – usually with an increasing potato bias.  I am so not proud! (although I am proud of Chris!)

I’m finally getting back into the swing of things – speaking to friends, eating food that isn’t chips… at a proper table! cooking food that isn’t toast.  You know the usual things that most people manage with alarming efficiency.  You non chip eating people are amazing!  respect!  And today I’ve even managed to post.

I confess that I really can’t write much more – bed calls but just to answer a few of the questions in the photo,

The kitchen is usable – having been refurbed with almost entirely second hand items. – I promise to properly post pics when I have enough energy to make the place look respectable.

The blind is beautiful and again is just waiting for photo-op energy

Lastly and most importantly our beloved Raz passed away last October.  At the time I couldn’t even consider writing a blog post about it.  He was so much part of our lives – even appearing in the strapline to this blog and I didn’t think I could write anything to do him justice.

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The total Bestest cat in the world

 We had all but decided not to get another cat ever again but life isn’t really like that is it?  Our friend Nikki was fostering a rescue cat and her kittens and was freaking out that the last kitten and Mum hadn’t been adopted yet meaning she would be stuck with them over Christmas when she had planned to travel to family.  We offered to look after them for her just for xmas and immediately realised that we could never give them back again.

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Herring

I mean would you give this little guy back?

Stir Up We Beseech You

So last weekend was “Stir up Sunday” which has become a new zerowaste tradition in our house.

Last Year's stir up

Last Year’s stir up

I’m a massive Christmas pudding fan. Massive fan as in I occasionally have dreams and cravings for figgy pudding in June when sitting in the sun eating an ice cream.  Summer is obviously the top season but winter gets all the best foods.

I love Christmas pudding despite hating fruit cake in all its forms and occasionally crying if I find a raison in my delicious scone or rum truffle. I can only assume this is because Xmas puddings don’t try to hide their raisins. Dried fruit is fab but I don’t want it sneaking into my food unannounced. I believe that cake is not cake when it has stealth sultanas trying to freak you out. Now, pass me an eccles cake and let me enjoy my raisins right where I can see them.

As a child of the 80s I thought puddings came packaged in plastic from M&S.  This image wasn’t helped by the fact my family still talk about the year my mum made a white Christmas pudding. Well, my dad talks about it, my brother and sister groan and my mum refuses to talk about it. An event that happened over 40 years ago is still raw for her so, by the time I was born, my mum had decided never to make a pudding ever again.  Until last year I only had vague notions that it was possible to create something as wonderous as a Christmas pudding yourself.   If I thought about it rationally I probably assumed that constructing a pudding would be an impossible task only to be attempted by the brave… and Mary Berry.

But last year I heard about Stir up Sunday and I fell in love. With churchgoers prompted to go home and get baking by the annual collect read in church.  It was all so twee it made my heart sing plus it was a legitimate way to get into the Christmas spirit early.

I’ve always been a fan of rationing Christmas to make it more exciting and avoid the consumer burnout that comes with jingle bells ringing in shops before Halloween. So no mince pies or mulled wine allowed  before advent and decorations can’t go up until after my sister’s birthday on the 12th. I obviously can’t break my own rules but “Stir up Sunday” gives me a perfect outlet for Christmas excitement in November!  Bonus.

Get your bowls out

Get your bowls out

Last year Chris and I decided to make up some family traditions to surround Stir up Sunday which include playing Harry Belefonte at full volume dancing round the kitchen to “Jump in the Line” while constructing the pudding, whipping my brother into a similar Stir up Sunday fever and engaging in some serious sibling oneupmanship.  We spent the week before swapping recipes ideas and then texted each other competitive photos of our efforts along with cute pics of my neices covered in sugar and incriminating pics of me emptying bottles of whisky into bowls.  Pete, a massive Jamie disciple stuck to Jamie’s Nan’s recipe and I made one up loosely based on about 4 recipes found online.  Despite totally overloading it with whisky (which later turned out to be quite special and probably massively expensive and perhaps not quite the most sensible move I’ve ever made but definitely the most delicious) our pudding was totally lush.  I don’t know what Pete thinks but I know I won that particular sibling battle.

The enthusiasm hasn’t dimmed a year later and last Saturday I got a text from my brother filled with exclaimation marks announcing the date. No less excited I was able to smugly inform him that my fruit was already soaking in alcohol and the whisky fumes were once again overtaking the kitchen

Boozy Fruit

Boozy Fruit

Having totally forgotten my recipe from last year I made it up again.  But this year I am writing it down… here… so you can have a go too.  It’s loosely based on this recipe but includes whatever fruit I can find at the stalls in our local shopping mall where they fill my pots with obvious confusion and variable enthusiasm

Fruit pick'n'mix

Fruit pick’n’mix

(Slight deviation here but how sweet are those pots.  I found them when dropping off some bits at my local charity shop on the way to buy fruit and grabbed them with a little bit too much enthusiasm – I may have scared the lady behind the till, I definitely scared Chris.  I’ve noticed that the nicer your pots the more enthusiastic shopkeepers are to fill them however unused to the concept of refilling they are.)

This year my fruit and alcohol mix was was

  • 50g cranberries
  • 100g figs
  • 150g dates
  • 150 sultanas
  • 50g mixed peel
  • 150g raisins
  • 1 large Bramley apple (about 125g), peeled and finely chopped
  • 250ml Guinness Extra stout
  • 50ml Whiskey

I let the fruit stew in the Guinness and whisky overnight while texting Pete to tell him he was behind the times.  The next day we turned up Harry Belefonte and then followed the recipe from the BBC food site.  Chris looked at youtube clips to perfect our pudding dressing and we got boiling.

Big bowl and a big smile

Big bowl and a big smile

It takes a long time!  Basically for 6 hours last Sunday we couldn’t leave the house because we had two hobs bubbling away.  I did get on with other stuff (tiling the kitchen and putting up a finished blind – yes you heard me right I promise to post pics soon)

For some reason Last.fm decided that “Harry Belefonte Radio” includes the song “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” which just made the whole enterprise more exciting and means that I’ve been singing it all week and also telling all my patients that it is actually beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  Some take the news better than others.

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PS.  My Mum phoned me this morning to tell me that she was also making her own pudding!  A week late admittedly, but she’s a catholic and I don’t think they have the whole “Stir Up” collect stuff.  It looks like my and my brother’s rivalry has bought her out of pudding retirement.

Some movement in the pinterest graveyard

So I’ve been meaning to post this for a couple of weeks.  There has been movement on the polystyrene cat blind pinterest graveyard. Whoo hoo!

When I say movement I do have to warn you that it is particularly slow and painful movement but it is definitely movement.

No, I haven’t made the blind. I was waiting to do that before I posted but that could take forever.
What I have got is some cat covered fabric.
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I know it doesn’t look much but trust me it took some getting to. After making the stamps from a load of old rubbish against the advice of my nearest and dearest I took a breather.

When I finally felt up to the job I found the fabric I thought would work and cut it to size. The fabric is an old French linen cot sheet that my mum gave me. I have a bit of an obsession with vintage linen and my mum always looks out for old sheets at sales etc. If you’ve never tried full on vintage linen you have never slept. Honestly, vintage linen is like sleeping in a fairy-tale. If you find some then buy it buy it buy it.  Unless you are near me at the time, then hands off – it’s mine.

However for some reason the sheets my mum gave me are more nightmare than fairyland. Perhaps they’re just a bit too vintage, or too rustic or perhaps french people hate their children. I don’t know. Whatever the reason these sheets, while being a seamstresses dream – heavy and high quality – they are super rough. I wouldn’t want to sleep in them let alone make a child sleep in them.

That said they are perfect for window covering.

I washed and ironed the sheet to make the stamped shapes as “clean” as possible. Then I froze. I was so scared of making a mistake that I couldn’t bear starting the stamping. A quick pep talk from Chris and my big sis and some advice from Dali- have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it! Got me over my many barriers.
I measured
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I stamped
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And stamped
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And stamped a few teatowel sized sheets for luck
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And dried overnight spread all over the flat

Then … I covered with a plain sheet and ironed.
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Now. I have to say, this was the grump inducing bit. To “fix” the fabric paint and prevent it washing off you have to iron it on a hot setting for 1-2 minutes. Although i do hate ironing this sounded well easy and I saw myself getting through it in about 20mitutes tops.  On reflection I got a bit nervy.

First I had a large area to cover with about 50+ cats on it. Did I have to iron each cat for 2 minutes? That’s like 2hours of ironing. !?!

Second what if I burn a cat. Surely I can’t just hold the iron down on one spot for 2 minutes. That’s the behaviour that fire safety “scare your kids in the 80s” ads are made of.

Third, If I move the iron do I have to increase the time spent on an area to make up for the time the iron spends not covering each bit.

Fourth, what is very hot? I want figures. As in very hot 40 degrees? 100 degees? 3000 degrees!?!?

I guess hotter = better fix and longer with iron on one area = hotter. But hotter and longer both increase risk of roast cat which = rubbish blind and much sorrow.

I’m basically a recovering scientist. I’m used to precise instructions such as iron at hottest setting for 1minute × the area to be covered measured in cms or something like that.

Instead I came up with my own psueudoscientific rules and decided I would iron two cats at a time for 2 minutes total.

I even used my work mobile to time 2 minute intervals (something I consistently fail to do every circuit class I run)
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I hoped that if I didn’t manage to fix the dye properly at least the effect would be the same accross the whole blind.

Now, anyone with basic mathematics and minimal interest in the topic has probably worked out something that took me about 20 cats and 21 minutes to clock. I was facing a good hour of sodding ironing in tiny 2 minute patches constantly freaking out that I was singeing a cat or letting the cloth temperature drop below an unspecified “hot heat”.

That did not go down in history as the most relaxing evening entertainment. Let me tell you.

Finally I washed the fabric again and then hung it up to dry.
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This is the point that I got so excited I had to take a little break. A week and a half later I’m still waiting for the final push to get this blind well and truly off the pinterest grave yard.

Unfortunately I’m aware that the next job in the blind making instructions is to iron the fabric again!  Gah!

Naked shopping and using the brain God gave you.

I mentioned about a year ago – probablly with tears in my eyes – that unpackaged moved to my old street almost the day we left.

For a year I was looking for a place to buy groceries naked and then, just as they move in, I move out.

I now regularly cycle past unpackaged as part of my job and assumed that I would pop in and buy bits from time to time but it never really worked out that way.

Once or twice on my half day I loaded a load of empty glass cannisters and bottles into my pannier. Cycled 8 miles to work then cycled to the Lido, had a swim and then filled up my containers at unpackaged.  Realising that I was too late to take my laden down bike on the train. (For some reason they get a bit grumpy when you try to take a bike on a rush hour train????! Who would have guessed. ) I then had to cycle 8 miles home again.

I was a bit tired

Correction

I was freaking knackered. As in, “get me some chips right now I think I’m going to pass out on the sofa and wake up next May” sort of tired.

For some reason I never repeated the experience.

Last week I tried again. We’ve been running low on cooking oil and I’m convinced that there is a stall at Brockley market that lets you refill olive oil bottles from big kegs. I’m sure I saw them months ago but despite hopefully taking bottles along each week I’ve never seen them since.
Perhaps I imagined the stall. Perhaps it was a ghost stall. Who knows. Its not there and we’re still short of oil.

Last week chris asked if I could maybe do an unpackaged run to get oil and I had a whinge about the whole cycling with heavy glass cannisters, being terrified they would break and needing 5 years to recover problem.
He looked confused and asked “couldn’t you just take plastic tubs and decant them when you get home” I stared at him … and stared a bit more. Of course I could do that but I hadn’t.

Word up for glass.
Its pretty
Its easy to wash
It doesn’t absorb smells from things and pass them on to other things
Its pretty
Its see-through so you can see what’s inside without opening endless containers
Its pretty
Its very energy efficient to recycle  Its pretty much inert when its thrown out.  Think sand – a substance so dangerous you let your kids play with it. Obviously only after the sharp edges have worn off! What are you? A child endangering psychopath? But seriously, once glass is blunt then its basically pebbles.
Oh and did I mention, its pretty.

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All this is great but the flip side is that glass is super heavy.  Its expensive and energy inefficient to drive about the world.

A way round this is local bottling plants coupled with bottle return deposits. I once lived with a guy obsessed by Irn Bru. He was the least likely recycler I’ve ever met and a pretry laid back stoner type.But throw out an empty Bru bottle and you discovered just how angry he could get. He got a whole 20p from taking each bottle back to the corner shop.

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Consequently our kitchen was full of empty soft drink bottles which he basically used as a savings account. Annoying but pretty impressive.

After my epic glass laden cycles I didn’t need telling how heavy glass was. To be honest I didn’t really need telling before either. So why didn’t I just take plastic pots and decant? Why, in other words, was I not using the brain that God gave me? Probably because it sounded like a hassel to do all that decanting back home. But reality check! More hassel than cycling 16 miles with a pannier full of glass? Not a chance.

So last week I took one glass bottle for the oil but also took couple of plastic pots.

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Its really silly but I quite enjoyed it. For some reason I get a real kick out of filling containers with things, even if its just porridge oats or something equally uninspiring. I’m prepared to admit that its probably just the novelty factor but I don’t care. I love it.

So despite using fugly plastic Tupperware I felt great and I didn’t have to cycle miles across town with a load of glass.

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And actually decanting the stuff was no bother. So after about 5 minutes of faff, during which I managed to tidy all our kitchen jars and spices, my fugly Tupperware had been replaced by pretty glass.

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Sell it all, All of it!

I am ridiculously, hysterically, pantwettingly overexcited about this

 

The one and only myatt table top sale

The one and only myatt table top sale

 

Back in April I was so excited about going to the Myatt Garden school sale that I turned up 23 hours early with the sort of hangover that makes death look like the fun option.  When the sale actually started the next day (I did go home to eat, sleep and wash rather than standing outside the school looking suspicious)  I found the much sort after fridge magnets for my “too ugly to love – to useful to get rid of” mirror.  

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Basically I love second hand sales and I love second hand sales next door to my house even more!

If that wasn’t exciting enough this year I’ve got a table to sell my stuff.   Basically, as a reformed shopaholic, selling/giving away my possessions is my replacement crack cocaine.  Smokers get into sweeties, heroin users get methadone, alcoholics get religion and I have eBay.  I love it. 

Last year I managed to sell , donate or gift a mountain of my treasured possessions and it felt amazing.  Not scary, not sad. Freaking awesome.  From eBay, Gumtree, Amazon, Freecycle, charity shops and even a bizarre yard sale I had the most fun of my life.  We moved house twice and it was total hell but I have nightmares every time I think about how bad it could have been if I hadn’t cleared out so much crap.  Even after we moved I used to get a kick out of filling a bag of stuff I thought I couldn’t part with and carrying it to the charity shop.  Since we moved in almost a year ago I’ve slowly been slipping back into my old style hoarding behaviour.  I may not be buying anything new but I’m still buying stuff second hand or picking it up on the street and this is the chance for me to get my giveaway groove back.

Selling your possessions is amazing for so many reasons

1)      Anything you have in a cupboard not using is something that someone somewhere else needs.  If they can’t find it second hand then they will go buy it new.  Buy clearing out your over-stuffed cupboards you make your unused stuff available to people who will use them and save one more unnecessary item being bought new.

2)      The less you have the less you have to clean.  This is a biggie! Unlike the inspiring Jo over at “All the Blue Day” I am more domestic sluttery than domestic goddess.  I love having a neat clean house.  I just don’t seem to be able to achieve it.  I’ve found that the more stuff I get rid of the better my living space looks and the easier it is to maintain.  The amount of time I used to spend sorting and storing was depressing.  Now I spend a fraction of that time cleaning and the rest of my time down the pub (or something like that)  My house is still not sparkling – it’s best to admit that’s never going to happen.  But it’s now so much easier to clean that cleaning actually tends to happen which it rarely did before.

3)      The less stuff you have the easier it is to find and make use of the stuff you have.  It’s weird but the less I actually have the more I feel I have.  I can actually get to, find and use the stuff I need because It’s not hidden behind a load of crap.

4)      Unlike when you buy things and get poorer, when you sell stuff you get richer.  Admittedly often just 50p richer but who cares.  For a while I kept a spreadsheet of everything I sold and I hit over £400 in 6 months.  It was sooooooo exciting – no really it was.  Especially as a student I was perpetually broke and reliant on screening moody teenagers for chlamydia to get cash.  Honest it’s a real job – Everyone test yourself yah…

5)      Everything you sell makes space to buy more stuff at a 2nd hand sale with the money you just made.  Whoop!  Bit of a contradiction to all the other items in this list but it’s a valid point.

 

So this week I am running round the house picking things  up to put on the sale pile.  I’m super excited

The red kettle is going because we now have a vintage blue  kettle and no-one needs 2 kettles however pretty.
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70s cups, gone! – they are fab but we are living the 50s dream in Brockley and we just don’t have the space for 70’s chic.
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Ice Lolly moulds are dead to me now since Paula our fridge doesn’t have a freezer compartment and if I’m honest I don’t have a 5 year old child in the house who would enjoy daily lollies made from fruit juice.  (and before you ask the gin and tonic lollies just didn’t work for me, sigh)
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Not to mention, a popup tent, silver plated plate, tinsel, folders, jewelery, dresses I never wear and books I’ve read and a few I haven’t.

I’ve promised Chris that anything I don’t sell will go straight to the charity shop but what am I saying???!  I am totally going to sell it all.  All of it!  What are you waiting for?  Get yourself to the Myatt Garden Table Top sale and come and buy all my stuff.   Go now, they are totally fine with people turning up days early and standing on the doorstep looking forlorn.  honest.  Especially if you look like you had far too much fun the night before.