As promised here is the second instalment of ideas for making small changes to the plastic coming into your home and life… just four easy to do things that will have a big impact over time and if we all did these things the change would be much faster. If you missed yesterday’s four ideas you can find them here x
I’ve been reading today that the British Government is calling for a ban on plastic straws – I’m happy that they are beginning to consider all these issues, but hope that this (very easy and free for them) quick fix is the start of something rather than the end… we shall see.
If you need some ideas for places to buy some of these items – we love the multi-coloured stainless steel straws at EKO they also have reusable cups (they have a discount on our membership directory if you haven’t joined yet). We also like to shop at www.ethicalsuperstore.com – and are looking at their affiliate program!
There is so much information floating around (a bit like all the plastic…) about the massive and complex problem of single plastic use and disposal… to be honest I got a bit overwhelmed and distressed. Watching Blue Planet I found myself so upset that it was immobilising, but then you feel as if nothing you do will help and consequently end up doing nothing.
Of course the reality is that we can ALL do SOMTHING that helps, but they will be small changes to our everyday living, and most of us with families and sleep deprivation and pasta to cook will have to slowly and carefully make our changes bit by bit. What I hope this site tries to show is that this is a totally ok way to go about things – making life long realistic steps in the right direction is great. You are also having an impact you may not even realise by role modelling to your children, neighbours, friends and family. When you make change, and are positive and happy that message gets sent out into the world, and the impact is like a ripple on the pond.
We have created this infographic this morning – to give just 4 quick fixes you can do TODAY to reduce your plastic consumption and use. There are lots more you can try, but let’s just start simple and move on up! I will add another 4 to try tomorrow, and then we all have the weekend to try things out.
We LOVE this day, it’s all about LOVE which is the stuff of life… and you can moan about the commercialisation or you can just ignore that and do your own thing – which is how we roll at Frugal HQ. So here’s how we have a Frugal Fun Family Valentines.
We plan ahead –
Family have been drafted in to babysit, and Mr Frugal and I are off to the cinema tonight with free tickets using our Tesco Clubcard vouchers. It’s so nice, and a rare treat for us to go out just the two of us and it’s so essential to have time for being a couple as well as a larger family unit. These outings are truly valued by us, and big thanks to anyone willing to look after our four exuberant children for the night, it’s means the world x
We show love –
It’s not about what you buy, but what you DO that really matters. So, we do cards but not gifts – the cards are mostly homemade or very funny and relevant. The kids make cards and various other things at groups and nursery and we collate these to make a lovely collage on our mantelpiece.
We play games –
Last year we had a scavenger hunt to win sweets, the year before we put photos of family members and friends around the house and the kids had to find everyone on their tick sheet to win the prize.
We also have some homemade Love Bugs that are used for all sorts of strange games over the years, you can drop things through them, use them for bowling or try to blow them over while laying on the floor…
We make stuff –
This year we have the new play tray so I had to put that to good use. With a range of ages to engage we have gone with:
cards and envelopes to make
games using sweets – naughts and crosses
games using sweets – stacking them until they fall
love hearts – to write something you love and stick it on our collage mirror
a pot of pink and red pens
We eat weird things –
We try to eat pink and red foods, it’s usually easy with some heart shaped pasta that they do at Lidl, but I was too late this year, so we will have heart shaped pudding and red sauce on ‘normal’ pasta, I think I’ll get away with it as there are lots of sweets in the house, all heart shaped of course.
This is really just to prove that you can include children and the whole family in discussing and celebrating love, you can show them how much you care with treats, but also with time and shared experiences. You don’t have to spend anything, or a few heart shaped sweets to make it extra special. It’s not about what you spend, it’s about taking a ‘fake’ day and making it your own, to express something you do feel is valuable. If you are looking for some ideas for a more intimate, adult Valentines Day then you might find our post on Adult Love useful x
There is going to be a flood of posts and articles surrounding Valentine’s (or Galentine’s if you’re trendy) Day, and it’s hard to think of something a little different to talk about! I actually LOVE celebrating Valentine’s Day, I think any excuse to talk and show affection and love to those we care for should be grabbed. We have games we play with the kids and eat heart shaped and/or red and pink foods for dinner, after 24 years Mr. Frugal and I still send cards to each other and have a take away as a treat with something bubbly in the evening.
Love is special, and if you have someone you really feel good around then take every opportunity to tell them. Of course for a relationship to show commitment and longevity you will need to show you care on more than just one day!
I’ve decided to use all this talk of love and relationships to write a post of two halves. 1. Frugal Romance and 2. Sustainable Sex (eco not stamina!).
If you are still looking for love there are a number of dating sites specifically aimed at people with strong eco and ethical values:
So, the shops will have lots of options for you to spend money to demonstrate how much you love someone. I’m here as the voice of reason to say what you SPEND does not demonstrate how much you love someone! Really, it just doesn’t. However your ACTIONS may well be a huge clanging bell of how much you have thought about/planned for/taken care over the person you wish to show affection. There is a very fine line between saving money and being careful about people’s feelings. A homemade item only works if it’s genuinely made with care and affection, FREE things you could consider creating might include:
- a card
- a photo collage
- upcycling a favourite piece of clothing
- a keepsake box
- a mix tape (or modern equivalent!!)
- inviting over a treasured friend
- offering to babysit for an important occasion
- cook/buy a favourite meal
- put on clean bedsheets, maybe with some perfume or petals on there?
- do all the cleaning, and open a bottle of wine…
If there is a chance that you have very different views on the whole Valentine’s Day thing I would encourage a conversation about this in advance to avoid common pitfalls and crushed expectations. Examples of AGREED spending changes could be:
- Celebrating on an alternative day when everything will be cheaper, flowers, meals, chocolates EVERYTHING.
- Setting a budget for gifts.
- Showing love to a common passion instead, so rather than flowers donate that money to a project you both love or buying an item you both agree is needed/wanted.
- Not spending at all, and have a free date night (see below)
- Buying one thing that’s really wanted rather than spending on lots of smaller items available in the shops that are red and heart shaped, but will ultimately end up in a charity shop.
For a no spend Valentine’s Day you will have to be a bit more creative, and if you are planning a surprise remember to focus on the LOVE and not the PRICE
– people don’t want to hear that it was cheaper to do X than Y, it’s just not romantic.
Here are five ideas for a FREE Date Night, and you can do these on any night of the year obviously – maybe you could have a monthly night of romance instead of just birthdays and anniversaries?
- Watch the sunset or sunrise together… this can be a truly peaceful and wonderous experience. NB if you are parents of young children I’m aware this won’t work for you x However, you are probably up for one of these anyway so having a partner to share it with might be nice??
- Look over an old photo album together and remember some fun times, you can laugh about your teenage haircuts, see your first dates or a wedding album. Have a laugh and remind yourselves why and how you fell in love… The longer you are together the more hilarious this gets.
- Snuggle up and watch a movie. Turn the lights out and grab some snacks or a hot chocolate and just be. Choosing a movie can be tricky – I would go for whatever is most likely to induce laughter, romance or sleep depending on your situation.
- Make a Plan – think about the future you plan together, discuss some shared goals or dreams and see how you can support each other to make them happen.
- Have an ‘early night’ – wink wink, see below
Somewhere in between the Romance and Sex halves of this post I want to quickly mention underwear – there are some really beautiful, ethically sourced and made underwear producers that may cost a bit more than Ann Summers, but will last you a long time are comfortable as well as sexy and offer an elegance and sensuality that may be more to your taste take a look at…www.lbpclub.co.uk, www.luvahuva.co.uk & www.moralfibres.co.uk.
So now we move to the more awkward part of the post – at least if you’re British it will be awkward! – to think about how we allow for frugal and ethical values in a healthy sex life. A quick word of warning from my own recent research if you use an online search engine to find ‘eco sex’ you are likely to come across a lot of articles, books and information about a group who took the term as their own and have a very specialist view of what it means; basically they practice and encourage people to love the Earth in the most explicit sense. If that’s your thing, you have found your people; if you are looking for a more environmentally friendly way to express human to human love then the ideas here will be more for you…
Below are some ways you may want to consider making changes or at least pondering the issues of sustainable sex.
One of the great things about sex is that it’s free! But if you want to change things up a bit here are a few more FREE ways to explore:
- turn the lights off and save some electricity (frugal and ethical!)
- consider the Great Outdoors as a possible location…
- save water by sharing a bath together
- enjoy a sensual massage using up some moisturiser or oil you already have
- change your ‘usual’ location if things have got a bit ‘same same’
- borrow a book from the library and try one new position a week/month/year
- make some cards with sexy suggestions and take turns to pick one at random
- one partner gets to choose the whole evening’s activities
If you have or use ‘equipment’ you might consider how ethically they are made, and the materials they are made from. The more natural the material the better from an environmental point of view, however it’s likely most sex toys are made of plastic. You will be pleased to learn therefore that the company LoveHoney can at least recycle your WEEE categorised sex toys. You just give them a clean and send them off, all the details are on the link.
If buying something new, you have the chance to be completely eco-friendly with options that are recyclable (glass, wood) or rechargeable, for example the Gaia Eco Vibrator is biodegradable and can be recycled. There is also a wind up vibrator which only needs you as a power source. You can check out www.lovehoney.co.uk, www.ethicalsextoys.co.uk and www.EarthAngel.co.uk who offer a selection of items for more ethical consumers, including recycled leather whips. There is also a social enterprise offering ethical sex toys alongside educational resources at www.vavven.org.
Condoms are still one of the safest and easiest ways to make sure you avoid unwanted pregnancy and STD’s. However, they are not biodegradable and often end up in landfill or our waterways. The only currently available option that is biodegradeable is made from lamb intestines which aren’t especially sexy. BUT there are ways you can make more ethical choices… some companies offer 100% recycled packaging, and Fair Square off ultra thin condoms from fairly traded latex. At www.babipur.co.uk you can buy vegan, fair trade condoms – it is mainly a children’s site so don’t be too alarmed when you first get there!
Here is also a good point to think about being comfortable – there is a great lube available from lots of places including Boots called YES! Lube, this is organic and free of parabens.
If you have the urge to go all 9 1/2 Weeks, just remember to think about where your food is sourced, and it’s impact… traditional aphrodisiac foods like seafood are often full of unpleasant plastic particles or mercury and that’s not at all romantic. It might be better to go for a safer homemade option like this easy vegan Chocolate Sauce recipe…
14oz coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk coconut milk, sugar and cocoa powder together and then simmer in a pan for 10mins, add the vanilla and oil off the heat stir to blend and allow to cool (or not!)
If you like to dress up, consider getting costumes pre-loved instead of new, and consider the quality and flammability of the materials used! Again, you may want to try a homemade version, you might create your own school days with white shirts and ties, wrap up with toilet roll like a mummy and then rip it all off, recreate a favourite gig with the live CD and wear the gig t-shirts you bought back then…
Whatever floats your boat between consenting adults should be fun and healthy. It can be very difficult in family life to find the time and energy for romance or even the most cursory of sex lives, but intimacy is what makes a relationship different from a friendship so it’s worth nurturing for the long run.
I will be adding some more relationship based articles to the FRUGAL YOU page, after writing and delivering a number of courses on relationships, as well as working on my own for over 20 years I feel in a good place to share the love x
January was a wild mix of ‘getting back on track’ – it seems to have flown by, and suddenly my post about what we’re doing in 2018 feels a bit late… However, better late than never.
I wanted to update you on all the exciting things we are planning, or are already happening for 2018.
I want to have a greater impact on individual families and really move towards our vision of a practical and active community of families looking for ways to save money while also saving the World. To achieve this we have a number of exciting developments…
Winning At Winter Book – this was a collaboration and is a wonderful resource to save money and waste, to keep healthy and happy through the dark Winter months. We are planning to have four books eventually covering all the Seasons, watch this space!
Meal Planning & Sourcing Your Food – this is our first email workshop! Arriving in your inbox over 5 days you will receive videos of me (no filters as you know) as well as lots of resources to help you become a meal planning ninja.
7 Starters to Frugal Freedom – for everyone in our community we have a FREE ebook to get you started on saving money, and becoming a more conscious spender. To get your copy just add your email in the box on this page, or at the bottom of the homepage.
Plan It, Love It, Do It! – our new membership community for people to get support, ideas, inspiration and goals directly from Claire. There are also extra resources based on our monthly themes and EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS with some amazing small businesses. February Founding members also get a FREE 1:1 with Claire.
School Holiday Survival Guide – our next ebook will be the complete guide to surviving school holidays, all you will ever need to Spend Less, Use Less and Do More! I’m hoping it will be out in time for February half term…
FaceBook LIVE! – I’m starting a weekly FB Live interview with movers and shakers from the family or ethical world that will help all of us to focus on small changes we can make to live our dreams, within our means
Out & About – I’m also working hard to get our family friendly, ethical message out and about by doing lots of guest writing, interviews and sharing our message with anyone that will listen! February looks like a bumper month with a feature in REVEAL Magazine as well…
I’m so thrilled by these projects and ideas to get real families moving forward to live their dreams. Join our newsletter here and you will get regular updates, as well as your FREE 7 Starters xx