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Home Life

What is Sustainable Living and How does it Impact Global Warming?

We all want to do our bit to reduce the damage done to our beautiful planet.

But what exactly is sustainable living? Sustainable living means reducing your carbon footprint by making changes in what you buy, what you eat, what you use to do things around the house, such as cleaning and washing, and what kinds of transport you choose.


Many people think that sustainable living is a goal only for environmentalists or those who are trying to fight climate change. However, there are many benefits of sustainable living that everyone can enjoy and future generations will thank us for.

Here we will explore what “sustainable” really means and the environmental impact it has, as well as discussing ways to start a more sustainable life!

What Is Sustainable Living?

There are lots of ways to live more sustainably and we’ll look at some below. But the overall aim is to reduce waste and the impact your life plays on the environment and thus, your part in climate change. All of these issues become more important each day as we see the impact of a changing environment on our lives.

Sustainable Living Vs. Zero Waste What’s the Difference?

Sustainable living is a lifestyle that focuses on what we can produce without compromising our environment. Zero-waste, also known as the zero-waste movement or zero waste life, means what it says: there’s no trash to throw away because they threw nothing out in the first place!


In simple terms, sustainable living could be described as living with what you already have and reducing what goes to waste. It’s about consuming less, producing less garbage, wasting less water, using natural resources sustainably, or renewing what can’t be renewed.
The two terms are not mutually exclusive but sustainable living is more encompassing as it includes the idea of a circular economy where nothing is wasted, and everything is recycled to what it was before.

The zero-waste movement has been gaining momentum in recent years with more people attempting to lead a zero-waste lifestyle by reducing the amount of trash they produce each day. This can be accomplished by buying products that are reusable or recyclable, dividing bulk items into single-serving containers, and using reusable bags, water bottles, coffee cups, etc.

Why Is Sustainable Living Important?

Sustainable living is very important because it can have a huge impact on climate change. Our society has developed an economy that depends on the use of natural resources and what we produce with those resources, but this is unsustainable in terms of what it does to our environment, due to wastefulness and overconsumption.

In addition, sustainable living can also reduce your carbon footprint, which will help reduce global warming. By eliminating what we waste and what goes to landfill, we can reduce the number of greenhouse gases emitted into our atmosphere.


Sustainable living doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming! It just requires a conscious effort on your part – that starts with what you buy at the grocery store! You could start by switching to a reusable grocery bag, getting your own coffee mug and water bottle for the office, or calling in an order from home instead of going out to eat. There are lots of small things that you can do to live more sustainably!

How Can Sustainable Living Slow Climate Change?

Sustainable living can help slow down climate change by reducing what you waste and what goes to landfill. By being conscious about what we buy, consume, produce or throw away each day, we’re all making a difference in the fight against global warming!

This is how sustainable living breaks down:

Reduce what you use (buy less stuff, produce less, consume what you have)
Don’t waste what you buy (get products that are reusable or recyclable instead of disposable)
Recycle what can be recycled (plastic water bottles, aluminum cans, etc.) and compost what’s not able to be recycled.

When we use these three steps in our life, we create a sustainable lifestyle and are contributing less to climate change. By reducing what you buy, what goes into the trash, or what’s wasted, you’re helping reduce what contributes to greenhouse gases in our atmosphere!

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Home Life

How to Make Your Home Safer From Toxins

How to Make Your Home Safer From Toxins

The idea that there could be hidden nasties in our home, toxins that could make us ill, can be a big worry. These toxins are often present but don’t cause any real problems because their levels are too low to be a concern.

There are, of course, situations where levels may increase, or people may become vulnerable to them, for instance, babies and children, the elderly or the unwell, and pregnant women.

What can you do to combat these toxins and make your home safer?

 

  1. Mould is nasty stuff that can build up for a number of reasons. Dampness and too much moisture in the home is a top cause as well as mould growing on food in damp areas, the bathroom, inside damp cupboards, crevices or under the fridge. There are lots of types of mould that grow on different things, but all can give out spores that can cause nasty allergic reactions.

2. Mention dust mites and most people will start itching – it is an          instinctive reaction. Dust mites are found mostly on fabric and in carpets rather than on people. They feed on dead skin that falls off people and from pet dander. They are nearly impossible to spot as they as microscopic and can cause problems for people when they are present, especially if there are a lot of them in your mattress, duvet or pillows. Nites from dust mites can be itchy and irritating.

3. Cleaning products help to handle problems from everyday dirt and also to treat infestations like fleas and dust mites. However, the chemicals in these products can also cause issues of their own from the toxins they contain. Disinfectants, aerosol sprays, cleaners and pesticides can all have chemical-based elements that can cause a bad reaction in humans and pets. They can also even contain elements such as triclosan – this reacts to UV light to create the phenomenon known as indoor smog.

How to combat indoor toxins

These are just a few of the most common toxins that we introduce or let into our homes. But there are also lots of easy ways to combat them.

Use a doormat

Doormats are placed immediately inside every door in the house that leads from outside and can catch a lot of those nasties to stop them being tracked into the house. Don’t forget to regularly vacuum them to make sure the nasties are removed and don’t get the chance to spread.


Use the vacuum and mop regularly

Both your vacuum cleaner and wet mop are your friends when it comes to removing toxins. Many vacuum cleaners have filters to help grab these toxins and a simple wet mop of a floor helps remove debris that toxins can be found within.

 

Wipe down surfaces

Again, warm water, some vinegar and a cloth are all you need to remove any debris or dust that is accumulating on surfaces. This is the kind of spots that mould can grow so by removing its food source, you can combat the problem.

Avoid chemical cleaners

If you can avoid chemical cleaners, you can reduce the risk of a reaction. Instead look at natural cleaners such as lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, baking soda or even just warm water to get the job done.


Get some help

There are also other ways to monitor the home and spot potential problems. Radon and carbon monoxide detectors can be lifesaving, spotting those invisible gases that can cause health problems and even be fatal in extreme cases.

A humidity tester can help you achieve the ideal of 30-50% humidity in the home. Too high and dampness is a problem while too low and the home is dry and unpleasant.

Finally, look at the ventilation of the house. Kitchens and bathrooms are top culprits for creating situations where toxins can be found, so look at fans and other ways to ventilate the space.


Cleaning up the air in your home doesn’t have to be complex. There are lots of little steps to take and equipment to get to help. Then you can avoid those nasty toxins and be happy and healthy at home.

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Home Life

Starting Your Home Bar: The Essentials

Don’t have room in your home for a full-blown home bar? No worries! This article will give you some great ideas on how to create an entertaining space with all the essentials of a home bar.

Home Bar Essentials

Essential Home Bar Tools

Whether it’s a built-in bar or a mobile bar cart, you’ll need the following mixological tools:

Shakers:

Shakers are available in a variety of forms and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: making fantastic cocktails. Larger shakers enable you to make a larger quantity for pouring out numerous drink servings that taste identical.

Muddlers:

It’s simply a pestle, with tiny teeth or texture on the bottom to help grind garnishes like mint to release more flavour (essential oils) into your mojito.

Bar spoons:

The long handles are both entertaining and useful. These spoons allow you to check that the cocktail is well-mixed, especially if you don’t want to use a shaker, since they reach all the way down to the bottom of highball glasses. It’s also useful for scooping out garnish from the bottom of the glass.

Jiggers:

These measuring cups ensure that the taste and strength of your beverages are constant.

Cocktail Strainer:

You’ll need an easy technique to strain the herbs and citrus garnishes into the glasses without losing half your drink once you’ve muddled them in there.
A good strainer swiftly separates the solids from the liquids, bringing a bartender touch to your cocktail that screams “upscale lounge.”

Drinkware:

Cocktail glasses, like the drinks they contain, are available in a wide array of shapes and sizes. The following are some of the most popular types:

Cocktail Glass:

A martini glass has a wider mouth to allow the drinker to detect the aromas of the cocktail, and its triangle form makes it simple to add garnishes.

Highball Glass

A highball glass is a tall, straight glass that’s ideal for spirit and mixer mixes.

The Collins glass is the same height as a highball glass, but it’s narrower. You don’t need both highball glasses and Collins glasses at a home bar, so choose one or the other.

Rocks Glass
A double rocks glass, sometimes known as a rock glass or lowball glass, is meant to be used straight from the bottle, or “on the rocks.”

Base spirits:

Vodka
Vodka is an essential ingredient in many mixed drinks and cocktail recipes. It’s a requirement behind the bar because it’s used in so many mixed beverages and cocktails.

For mixed drinks, get a budget brand and something top shelf (or close to it) for vodka-based cocktails. There are also many flavoured vodkas that appeal to certain drinkers.

Gin
A classic London dry gin, such as Beefeater, will come in handy when making Martinis, Gin & Tonics, and other beverages. Consider getting a more botanical gin for sophisticated connoisseurs if you want to serve something a little more unique at your next party.

Whiskey
Some prefer brown liquor neat, while others like it in mixed drinks. That is why you should keep at least two distinct varieties of whiskey on hand.
You’ll need a bottle of scotch whiskey for the cocktail drinkers, and a bottle of Canadian or bourbon whiskey for those that want to sit by the fireplace and drink. (You might also need to purchase a fireplace).

Rum
You’ll need both a dark and a white rum on hand. White rums are fantastic for mixed drinks (Rum & Coca-Cola), mojitos, and daiquiris. A decent dark rum is just what the doctor ordered if you’re going to make any tropical or tiki cocktails.

If your visitors are expecting Margaritas on the drink menu, you’ll want to stock tequila on hand. You should also study up on the growing appeal of Tequila-based cocktails, including the Paloma and Tequila Sunrise, as well as variations on classic drinks utilizing Tequila rather than their original spirit. Grab some limes and salt in case things get out of hand during the party, since your guests may want to do some tequila shots.
Other beverages you may want to keep on hand include red wine and white wine. Stocking a variety pack of craft beers is another excellent choice. If you’re not sure what kinds of craft beer to offer, consider buying a sampler pack.

Essential liqueurs
Many of the most famous mixed drinks and cocktails include this liqueur.

Amaretto is a light almond-flavored liqueur.
Kahlua is the most well-known of these.
Sweet vermouth and dry vermouth are two types of vermouth. They’re both required for making martinis.
Baileys is a good example of an Irish cream liqueur. Of course, Baileys is the gold standard.

Nice-to-have liqueurs

The Benedictine is a liqueur made from herbs and honey, the sweetness of which comes from sugar.
The correct term for what most people know as Kahlua is Cacao. It’s a wonderful smooth flavor, not overly sweet like many other liqueurs of the same style.

Crème de Menthe or Peppermint Schnapps.
Drambuie A sweet, scotch-based liqueur.
Frangelico Hazelnut liqueur in the monk-shaped bottle.
RumChata Coconut rum liqueur.

Essential mixers

Mixers are used in a wide range of mixed beverages that would be significantly different without them. Here are the essentials:

Fresh-squeezed juices are the best, but they aren’t always accessible. Purchasing a container of orange, cranberry, pineapple, or tomato juice is more practical and easier.

You will also want plenty of fruit juices and mixers to create delicious mocktails for those who don’t want to consume alcohol!

Lemon and lime juice are used in a variety of mixed drinks. If you don’t have access to lemons or limes, consider using lemon juice or lime juice instead. Orange juice is used in tequila sunrise, screwdriver, fuzzy navel, and other beverages.

Cranberries are used to make the cocktail Cranberry and Vodka, as well as the Cosmopolitan. The rest of these cocktails include cranberry juice.

For just about any tropical drink, pineapple juice is a must.

Simple syrup is a simple combination of equal parts sugar and water. It’s easy to make at home.

Grenadine is a cherry-like syrup.

The White Russian, for example, is made with milk, cream, and half-and-half.

Ginger beer is an excellent ingredient in the Moscow Mule Cocktail. It’s also used to make a number of fantastic mixed drinks.

Black tea is a popular drink that can be made with many different ingredients, including fruit juice.

Tabasco sauce is most frequently used in a Bloody Mary, and Worcestershire sauce adds a savoury touch to many mixed drinks.

Ice

You should be prepared to use ice in almost every drink you prepare. It may seem obvious, but you’ll employ it in nearly every cocktail you create.

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Home Life

3 Tips To Peaceful Sleep

 

If you want better sleep then read on, and learn how to catch some better zzzzz’s.  

1    Optimize Your Bedroom For Sleep 

Sleep can be somewhat elusive as we get older. Modern lifestyles mean we probably aren’t doing as much exercise as we should, or getting a lot of fresh air. We may be eating too late to feel comfortable, or drinking caffeine or alcohol to manage our alertness or relaxation levels.

Plenty of people (parents of young children especially) struggle to get a full night’s sleep, which in turn leads to being over tired the next day, when you don’t make the best choices for your health, and the cycle repeats. We compound this if our sleep environment isn’t conducive enough. Creating a comfortable and soothing bedroom environment can make sleep more enjoyable. Here are a few tips on how to make your bedroom sleep-friendly. 

a )  Turn off all the lights:

Make sure the bedroom is dark- like really dark- whenever trying to sleep. Consider investing in blackout curtains or a sleep mask if there’s invasive light. Making the room dark will help improve the release of sleep hormones, melatonin. For this same reason, it’s a good idea to dim the lights some time before you go to sleep, and avoid using devices in bed, or just before bed.

b)   Dampen any noises:

Do you live in a noisy neighborhood? If yes, consider investing in a white noise machine, a fan, or even better earplugs. Drowning the noises will make sleeping and staying asleep much more effortless. Sillicone earplugs are good for remaining in situ all night and dampening the noise of snoring, revellers passing by your windows, and birds heralding the dawn!

c)   Keep the bedroom cool:

Make your bedroom cooler than other rooms. Experts recommend setting it a few degrees lower than usual to promote sleep. Sound weird? Well, you will be under a thick cover and toasty warm, so it’s a good idea to keep the air outside of the duvet fresh, then you shouldn’t get too overheated and dehydrated in the night.

 d)    Invest in a comfortable mattress and beddings:

How comfortable is your bed/mattress.? If not, then consider investing in a more comfortable and supportive bed. Read these customer reviews about Made Trade. Although a significant investment, going for the best quality bed can make your nights more enjoyable. Opt for a highly sprung mattress if you can afford it, the support is unrivalled in my opinion. And don’t forget your pillow! I bought an excellent memory foam pillow a couple of years ago and it has changed my sleep, my neck pain, and is still going strong. Best £45 I ever spent!

e)  Valerian root and other similar supplements can be helpful to relax you and help you fall asleep. It could be worthwhile investing in some of these supplements. Be sure to investigate any possible contraindications you may have before taking these. Plenty of supplements don’t work well with conventional medicine, so please exercise caution. Taking a melatonin supplement is said to be very helpful in promoting good sleep.

  1.     Have A Regular Sleep Schedule

Make a habit of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This will help keep the circadian rhythm in check, making it easier to drift to sleep each time you hit the blankets. According to sleep experts, irregular sleep cycles can/do interfere with melatonin production. Inconsistent melatonin production translates to poor sleep cycles and sometimes no sleep at all. Keeping a consistent sleep cycle will also help the body regulate the production of hormones responsible for controlling sleep and wakefulness. Here are a few tips on how to keep a regular sleep schedule: 

i.) Have a fixed wake-up time:

What time do you wake up every morning? Depending on your schedule, most people prefer to wake up at around 6 or 7 in the morning to prepare for work. Make this your daily wake-up time regardless of the day, and you will be surprised at how much more rest you get. Sleeping in on the weekend sounds like a good idea to catch up on missed sleep in the week, but sadly, this is a myth. It’s a much better and healthier plan to stick roughly to a sleep schedule of around 8 hours per night, than skimping in the week and ‘catching up’ at the weekend.

ii.)  Allocate enough time for sleep:

The average healthy adult needs at least 7 hours of sleep every day. That said, you want to ensure you get at least 7 hours of sleep and not more than 9 for a healthy sleep cycle. It’s a good idea to plan your regular bed and wake times to ensure this as well as you can. 

iii.)  Make gradual adjustments to your sleep schedule: 

If you have to adjust your sleep schedule to accommodate changes in your work times or travel, try not to do it abruptly, if at all possible. Little adjustments of say, half an hour to an hour gradually increasing over time, will enable your body to readjust quickly. 

  1. Increase Your Exposure To The Morning Sunlight 

Soaking in the morning sunshine not only improves your wakefulness but your quality of sleep at night. The natural morning sunlight helps reset the internal clock, enabling the body to cut down on melatonin production and trigger increased body activity.  Resetting the circadian rhythm also helps activate other essential processes and functions as well. 

The morning sunshine helps trigger increased production of cortisol while inhibiting melatonin in the process. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for increased heart rate and various other functions of the body. This explains why basking in the morning sunshine leaves you feeling energized, ready to take on the day’s events. Unknown to many, allowing the morning sunshine to soak in does help reduce sleep disturbances and improve your overall health. It also reduces the risk of sliding into depression later in the day. I’m sure we all know how that feels- the 3pm slump when only a sugary snack and a caffeinated beverage will do? Well, a little sun in the morning might just stave that slump off.

Add in a few exercises- stretches and maybe a little jog- in the morning, and most of your sleep woes will fade away.  

According to research, the amount of morning sunshine one gets, translates to an equal number of restful sleep at night. In another study, researchers were able to determine that basking in the morning sunshine does help reduce stress and depression levels and contributes to good quality sleep at night. You, however, do not have to depend on the natural sunlight to experience these benefits; artificial light sources mimicking the sun’s spectrum do come in handy too. Consider investing in these to use during winter. A SAD lamp is truly a great invention for those of us in the northern hemisphere, and it is truly worth the investment. Add in Vitamin D to your supplement regime and you will be doubly protected from SAD.

Also, think about adding other aspects of self care to your routine, be that taking a soothing bath at bedtime, taking a walk in the morning, or adding meditation to your daily routine. The better you treat yourself in the day, the more likely it is you will get a great night’s sleep!

 

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Home Life Play

5 Tips for a More Fulfilling Lifestyle

 

Having been through the pandemic and its associated lockdowns (and we aren’t in the clear from them just yet!) many of us have had some extra time to think about where we are, and where we would like to be. The outcome is that a lot of us realised we want to live a more joyful and fulfilling life.

Sound selfish when there are people in the world struggling for every bite of food they eat? I don’t think so. One person’s more fulfilling lifestyle might include volunteering at a shelter, a soup kitchen, or a food bank, or even taking a 6 month sabbatical to go to a developing country to dig latrines. Fulfilment is all about personal choice, after all – we don’t all crave Ferraris and Gucci bags to feel like we have wrung all the juice out of life. In fact, many of us could do with decluttering our lives a little, not to mention our minds!

The upshot is, we all have one life (as far as I know) and it’s probably not a bad idea to enjoy as much of it as we can!

Work, family, various extra-curricular and social commitments can all add up to a full and draining calendar, and it may seem impossible to find time for yourself or your hobbies, or the things you think might really push your life in a different direction. I’m talking about going back to college to study for a different career, learning a language to prepare for retiring abroad, spending time travelling, or even trying out a series of little hobbies that make you feel like life is that little bit richer.

If you are pushed for a gap in your schedule to create some lifestyle changes, there are still plenty of ways to make the most of the spare time you do have.

We’ve got five tiny and manageable tips to help you live a more fulfilling life and feel happier with your busy schedule right here:

1) We all need time for ourselves- it is so important to take a little time every day for something you find nourishing. It could be ten minutes of meditation, spending time on a cherished hobby, taking care of your houseplants, baking bread, pottering in the garden, or even sitting with a cup of tea and your journal. I find the important thing is that this slot is regular, and isn’t spent on an activity that takes too much concentration. During this time, your brain has a moment to decompress, to unwind a little from everything else it has to deal with being thrown at it all day. This is an easy way to get some self-love in without taking too much time out from work or chores around the house. You might find that practicing this time-out gives your brain the space it needs for inspirational thoughts.

2) Invest in your hobbies, no matter how small they may seem- this investment could be time or money, or energy. For instance, running doesn’t need to be an expensive hobby- a pair of trainers and some PE kit is all you need to start, but as you grow more serious, you might invest in things to enhance the experience. Perhaps gloves and a hat for cold weather, more technical trainers, specialist socks, or even a pedicure for those tired feet! An investment in a mini greenhouse will give a budding gardener so much scope to grow the number of seedlings grown for spring, it will enhance the experience through the whole growing season. This ranges right up to investing in a qualification that could change your life significantly, re-training in another career, or to start a side hustle as a bookkeeper, for example.

3) Learn something new every day, even if it’s just a few words in another language. I use Duolingo for this very purpose! I don’t have the time for a full on language course right now, but I can easily find five minutes a day to learn a little. And by learning a little every day, you build on your knowledge base exponentially. I feel like I have learned more than when I have previously taken language classes, and because I practice it daily, it is sticking better than a weekly class where all of last week’s knowledge gets buried under everything else that has happened since. Again, this could be on any topic, not just language learning. You could look up a new word in your own language, or pick a topic you know very little about and commit to learning one additional fact about it every day. The point is more that learning expands our horizons, and the more we practice learning, the better we can see the world around us.

4) Say no – it’s a complete sentence. Now this is a harder one!! Most of us have done something that feels like an obligation rather than a choice, be it sitting on a PTA committee or attending work drinks because you think you should be ‘seen’ to do so. If you want to feel more fulfilled, even a little, these obligations have got to go. This needs to be handled delicately, but if you have a feeling of dread around any obligations, it’s probably a sign that they aren’t enriching your life any! Of course some things you might chose to continue because, for instance, you want your children to feel supported by you sitting on the PTA committee, but if there’s no justification balancing out that obligation, there will always be a way to reclaim that time commitment.

5) Give back by volunteering – you might just make a new friend! If you have said no to something that doesn’t fulfil you, this is a perfect time to find something that does. Volunteering can take a million forms these days, from spending a few hours helping in a charity shop to joining a committee to raise money for your favourite charity. Every cause is looking for any help available, be it a couple of hours or a couple of pounds, or some useful knowledge or contacts you may have. My parents have volunteered at the same charity shop for over 20 years and have made a huge circle of friends as a result, not to mention all the good work they have done.

So there you have it, a brief guide to taking your first steps on the journey to feeling a little more fulfilled.

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Home Life

Intentional Cleaning

As we move into the autumn-winter season, I have been thinking about how to keep my home clean in a more intentional way.

In the past I have just fitted in housework around other tasks – pushing the vac round while I’m waiting for the pasta water to boil, scrubbing the shower tiles while I’ve got conditioner in my hair, that sort of thing.

At this time of year I like to slow down a bit, take more time over cooking and eating, spending more time snuggled up and getting cosy, so the rushing around, squeezing in 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there into my housework schedule just doesn’t seem to fit right now.

Headspace do a wonderful mindfulness exercise called ‘Mindful Cleaning for Sleep’ – the theory being that if you can’t sleep at night, you can get up and clean something while also clearing your mind, and this has inspired me to bring mindfulness into my housework.

Firstly: make sure your headphones are charged!  You might want to stream something like a podcast or soothing music, maybe even a mindfulness exercise for while you are doing quiet tasks like dusting or tidying.

Second: Set aside a specific time every day to clean or tidy if you can – this will help you to be more mindful about the whole of your daily schedule as a side benefit.

Third: Be mindful of the cleaning products you have in your home – eco friendly is best, not only for the environment, but for you and your family as well.  Many chemicals used in house cleaning are having unseen effects on our health and even can affect our gene expressions, so stick to the natural stuff wherever you can. As an added bonus, you will save money and can add your own scents to cleaners, such as steeping citrus peels in white vinegar for a couple of weeks- the resulting scented vinegar leaves a lovely aroma after the initial vinegar tang has worn off.

Fourth: When you have settled on your time to clean, and the task to be completed, try to stay completely in the moment – no checking your phone, no stopping to answer an email, no watching the news for five minutes before you ‘get on’.  In fact, unless someone has dropped by for a chat or a family member needs urgent assistance, I’d suggest you do your best to stay on track to be as in the moment while you clean as you can. I’ve tried it, and truly, it makes cleaning less drudgery and more of a cleansing experience.

Lastly, light up a lovely scented candle and step back to enjoy your handiwork, knowing that you have taken time out to not only clean your home, but also to clear your mind a little. It’s an interesting concept to think of housework as ‘me time’, but it could just work for you!

 

 

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Home Life

So You Want to Shrink Your Energy Bills?

Utility bills – UGH!  Of course, we all love our creature comforts but my combined gas and electric bill is, well, higher than I would like!  One thing I’m looking at lately is saving power more around the house, especially electricity, with the aim of being both a little more sustainable and ‘green’ and to save myself a few pennies at the same time!

There are lots of little steps to take to conserve energy, waste less and cut back on utility bills.  Here are a few you can start looking at today. 

Use natural lighting and air conditioning 

The best source of light is the enormous ball of fire in the sky–the sun. And while it might not always be around, depending on where you live, it is great to use it when it is. Natural light is the best way to light your home and costs nothing. So open up those blinds, pull the curtains right back and ensure plenty of that natural light can get into your home. It can also help warm the house in cooler months if you are lucky enough to have decent double glazing and windows that face the right way to catch the sun’s rays! 

In the same way, open those windows and let that fresh air flow through the home, rather than using air conditioning systems. Open windows don’t cost anything, and the air flow is less likely to contain any bugs that can build up in air con units. Besides, a fly or two is hardly a problem, especially if you have a cat like I do who loves to catch and eat them.

Turn off lights when leaving the room 

Using lights is pretty unavoidable in modern life, especially in winter. But, you can conserve a little energy by turning off lights when leaving the room. This means they aren’t using power lighting an empty room, will make the bulb last longer, and if you have left a door or window open- will attract fewer bugs into your home. If you are a fan of smart tech, you can get connected lightbulbs with motion sensors to set up that they turn out when you leave the room! 

Energy efficient appliances 

When it comes to replacing any appliance that uses electricity, look at the energy efficiency of the new one before committing to it. From kettles to fridges, washing machines and dishwashers, even boilers, they all have to have a rating on them with A being the best.  Don’t forget to check your laptop or pc as well, remember to switch it off at the end of a hard day’s work or gaming!  Check out Which? for UK recommendations.

Check your home’s insulation 

One of the biggest causes of wasted energy is poor insulation. Heat rises, vanishes through the roof and vanishes. Therefore, looking at the quality and thickness of the insulation in your roof or loft can be key to improving the home’s energy efficiency. Wool is a great eco friendly and very efficient option.

Producing your own power 

Not as wacky a suggestion as perhaps it used to be, we can now consider producing some of our own electricity right at home! There are lots of renewable options for almost any home to generate electricity, cut down utility bills and even make a little money selling unused power back to the national grid. 

Solar thermal 

A solar panel can heat hot water and works alongside an existing system. This means when there is sunlight, you can generate power to create hot water and not need to use gas and electricity to power your boiler for the job. You may need to get a new tank that works with this kind of system and you need a house facing within 90 degrees of south. 

Photovoltaic 

This is another type of a solar panel that creates electricity from sunlight. You have the panels fitted to the roof so again, a 90 degree of south angle is preferred. It can be expensive to set up but if you general more power than you need, there are schemes to sell it back to utility companies.  

Not everyone will be able to produce their own electricity at this point, but we can all do more to conserve it and therefore make our homes more energy efficient. It also has the benefit of saving money on those utility bills as well! 

Layer Up

An old school tip! When the temperature cools and you are at home, take steps to stay warmer for longer with jumpers, thermal underthings, and blankets! A nice touch to keep the atmosphere cosy in the winter while you are under your cosy blanket is burning a candle or two. You can leave the big electric lights off, and have an atmospheric lighting scheme with a couple of candles scattered about your living space.

Bonus Tip

There are hundreds of ways you can reduce both the money you spend, and the consumption of resources – both excellent outcomes for you and the world at large. Have fun trying out as many as you can think of!

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Do You Want to be More Sustainable?

Sustainability is a hot topic these days, as many of us realise that if we want to carry on living on this gorgeous planet we call earth, we need to change up our lifestyles a little!

Sustainable living means reducing your carbon footprint by changing what you buy, what you eat, what you use to do things around the house, and what kinds of transportation you choose.

Some people think that this way of living is only for wacky eco warriors, environmentalists or those who are trying to fight climate change on a grand scale. However, there are many benefits that will pay off straight away, not to mention that future generations will thank you for it!

In simple terms, we could describe sustainable living as living with what you already have and reducing what goes to waste. It’s about consuming less, producing less garbage, wasting less water, using natural resources sparingly, and looking for ecologically sound substitutes wherever possible, e.g. using solar power instead of fossil fuels.

Sustainable living doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming! It just requires a conscious effort on your part – that starts with what you buy at the grocery store! You could start by switching to a reusable grocery bag, getting your own coffee mug and water bottle for the office, or calling in an order from home instead of going out to eat. There are lots of small things that you can do to live more sustainably!

Here are some easy guidelines to follow:

Reduce what you use, buy less stuff, produce less, consume what you have. Make a list before you do food shopping and don’t buy more than you need- wouldn’t you rather have a few extra pennies than throw away those perishable goods you didn’t really want or need?

Purchase products that are reusable or recyclable instead of disposable, like glass water bottles, fabric shopping bags and reuseable coffee cups. Also remember to finish up products. Don’t just throw things away when you have bought a replacement.

Recycle what can be recycled: aluminium cans, glass jars, many plastics, and think about composting what’s not able to be recycled. Many councils have a food bin service to take away scraps for composting, which is a great idea. Take used clothes to thrift shops or to a garment collection service for re-use or recycling. If it ends up in the bin, it will sit in landfill, unable to rot down.

When we use these three steps in our life, we create a sustainable lifestyle and are not contributing to climate change. By reducing what you buy, what goes into the trash, or what’s wasted, you’re helping reduce what contributes to greenhouse gases in our atmosphere!

Check out this program for more info on sustainable living.