5 Steps to an Eco Easter!

Easter has always confused the hell out of me. One second i’m eating pancakes, the next my school principal is rubbing soot on my forehead, then I am told not to eat anything and then BAM I am sniffing out anything that has cocoa in it and gorging on said item! What a strange holiday it is. It is Lucy’s first Easter and it has definitely made me consider how I will bring her up to think of Easter. I have decided that it will be the same as Christmas – a time where family comes together. What it will not be about is the merciless destruction of all over-packaged, sugar-based food stuffs within a 10 kilometer vicinity. She’s already perky enough without the sugar thank you very much!!!

SUGAR!!! Nom nom.. no!

SUGAR!!! Nom nom.. no!

So I started thinking about all the ways we could reduce our Easter impact while staying healthy at the same time…

1. Sustainable Good Friday Fish

If you are a fish eater make sure you choose an ecologically sustainable breed of fish for your Good Friday Feast. The Australian Marine Conservancy has a brilliant website that tells you exactly which breeds are best – see the list here. If you are not from Australia though the Marine Stewardship Council provides global information on sustainable seafood – see their list here.

2. Make Your Own Chocolate

Itty bitty eggs all wrapped in unrecyclable tin foil… every eco-minded individuals worst nightmare. By making your own chocolate you can completely avoid the packaging as well as making them a hell of a lot healthier. In this recipe I made raw Fruit and Nut Chocolate in a slab but you could easily pour it into a chocolate mold for a more traditional feel!

You could also try these AHMAZING Raw Easter Eggs from one of my favorite foodie ladies Adele (aka Vegie Head)…

Image and recipe courtesy from www.vegiehead.com

Image and recipe courtesy from http://www.vegiehead.com

3. Always Buy Fair Trade

It can be really hard to walk past beautiful brightly-coloured eggs that are so perfectly designed to catch your kids eyes. But it is important to remember that a lot of those eggs are produced in terrible conditions by children… just like yours. See the list of companies here that are doing the right thing and using certified Fair Trade cocoa. But if you are out and about and have forgotten the list, then make sure you look out for the FTA (Fair Trade Australia) logo…

fair-trade

4. Opt out of the traditional Easter Egg Hunt

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I loved Easter Egg hunts as a child. In fact, I still love ’em. I went to my brothers house last Easter and I had to be reminded that I was helping my nephew find eggs… not competing with him. But it does occur to me that it can be a glorified form of littering really? Running around and scattering bits of candy wrapped in non-biodegradable packaging around the garden. I am sure there is a percentage that get forgotten or that some poor animal finds first. BUT this doesn’t mean you need to forgo the hunt altogether. Why not try these ideas:

  • There are loads of funky reusable ‘eggs’ around which you can open and put in healthy treats. I haven’t found an Australian manufacturer yet but these ‘Eco Eggs’ are made from a non-toxic plant-based plastic that are fully compostable! (Although I’m not sure why you would chuck ’em… they would last for many many Easters). There are also gorgeous wooden eggs (see here) which you could paint and decorate with the kids.
  • I have never been to an op-shop and not seen a whole stack of wicker baskets for $2 each. No need for new! If that’s not the case wherever you are though, check out this gorgeous upcycled jumper basket…

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  • You could make your own eggs! There are plenty of gorgeous options from these little felt eggs (from the very creative One Inch World) or you could even make old greeting card boxes like these (from yours truly!) to hide treats in.
  • Instead of hiding eggs you could instead hide some gorgeous hand-painted rocks (hear me out!) and at the end of the hunt treat them like coupons. The children can come up to a ‘treat’ bar and exchange rock creatures for their treat of choice!

painted-rocks-resizedWEB

5. Avoid Palm Oil

Both Woolworths and Coles home brands of hot cross buns contain palm oil.

Consumers (a yucky name for you and me) are definitely wising up these days. It is so nice to that the tribe of people that give a shit is growing and that people are starting to speak up about unacceptable corporate behavior! Better yet… they are boycotting it. Coles and Woolworths have both used Palm Oil in their homebrand Hot Cross Buns this year. They have (rightfully so) copped some flak for this nasty inclusion (if you want to know more about Palm Oil I have written a blog post all about why it is so nasty – see it here). Don’t condone their use by buying these products, why not make your own instead. Total eco babe Alison (from Relauncher) posted this recipe for Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns. I am trying it out tomorrow!

Image and recipe from http://www.relauncher.com.au

Or if you are getting into the raw swing of things you can try my recipe for Raw Cross Buns here

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Happy Easter!

What are you doing to make sure your Easter stays eco? Would love to hear from you in the comments.

Pics from Less Is More Festival 2013

Back in February I was a presenter at what is fast becoming a stalwart of the Perth Sustainable Calendar: the Less Is More Festival. I ended last years (see the round-up here) and had no idea that a year later I would be asked to give a talk at the next one – to say I was flattered is an understatement. My topic of choice was indeed topical given the recent events of my life; Eco Babies! The presentation was an hour long and was chock-a-clock full of information and links so instead of creating one gigantic blog article I am going to post them over the next few weeks… I spoke about a whole range of things from nappies, to designing your nursery, homemade baby products and toys.

For now though I will just share some snapshots of the day. It was really amazing… such a fun variety of workshops and activities all focused around the idea that less can be more. Less waste, more fun. Less shallow, more fulfilling. Less materialistic, more creative. The way it should be.

The gorgeous setting - The Grove library in Peppermint Grove.

The gorgeous setting – The Grove library in Peppermint Grove.

Right this way.

Right this way.

Beautifully apt quote to have in front of the library.

Beautifully apt quote to have in front of the library.

What a fun schedule of workshops!

What a fun schedule of workshops!

Me with my tables of goodies!

Me with my tables of goodies!

Talking about the moment I lost my head and bought some useless baby merch... a shower cap. What all babies need right?

Talking about the moment I lost my head and bought some useless baby merch… a shower cap. What all babies need right?

Talking with some of the people afterwards... showing my DIY products.

Talking with some of the people afterwards… showing my DIY products.

A mending station was set up, where people could mend and sew to their hearts content!

A mending station was set up, where people could mend and sew to their hearts content!

Great old sewing machine

Great old sewing machine

We need to replace Spending with Mending!

We need to replace Spending with Mending!

Funky old upcycled jeans

Funky old upcycled jeans

There was also a movie lounge screening eco documentaries. Love these denim jean bean bags!

There was also a movie lounge screening eco documentaries. Love these denim jean bean bags!

REALLY cool junk mail art by local artist Rob

REALLY cool junk mail art by local artist Rob

More cool art and sculptures!

More cool art and sculptures!

The busy foyer.

The busy foyer.

Info about Living Smart

Info about Living Smart

The main mode of transport for the day. Love that even the bike has been yarn bombed!

The main mode of transport for the day. Love that even the bike has been yarn bombed!

And ended the day with a big ol' love heart leaf. Doesn't get better than that! :)

And ended the day with a big ol’ love heart leaf. Doesn’t get better than that! :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Unexpected Pre-Baby Baby

So I have been a bit quiet on the blog lately but it has been for good reason. An unexpected pre-baby baby of the feline variety. Meet Velcro…

It all happened a few weeks ago when my husband and I were coming home from dinner and innocently stopped off to get some petrol. There were a huddle of teenagers standing out the front and one of them approached us and just said ‘Do you want a kitten?’. Pardon? She held out her hands to reveal the tiniest cat I have ever seen in my life. The kids had been out walking and heard a small squeaking coming from the bushes and there she was… all by herself. The girls said their mum wouldn’t let them have her and they didn’t know what else to do. Luckily my husband – who has one of the biggest hearts in the world – already had a look of love in his eyes. He had also shared a few bottles of wine with our friends which surely helped. Either way, we took her home.

To give some idea of her size…

Thinking about it rationally we knew this wasn’t the best time to adopt a cat. I am 8 months pregnant which means we are cutting costs as it is, my husband gets allergies and cats and babies are not the best mix (toxoplasmosis, the whole lying on warm face thing) not to mention I have a Pug with only one working eye! I dread the thought of a playful swipe catching little Pugman’s good blinker. But sometimes you just have to go with what is in your heart. The dogs are very excited by the new addition too – Pugman is quite obsessed with and cuddles her constantly whereas my other canine brute (Allen) is very much her plaything. And very proud of the fact.

“Can we keep her?”

We took her to the vet the next day where they told us she was no more than 2 weeks, which is insanely young to be away from ones mother. We got some proper cat milk (Cows milk is an absolute no no for kittens!!!) and took her home to bottle feed this precious 200 gram being. She could hardly muster more than a few steps without stumbling which sadly leads to the deduction that she was dumped. I went back to the roundabout the next day to look for other kittens or perhaps a mother but to no avail. It breaks my heart to think that someone would just abandon something so defenseless.

Her first night home… safe at last.

So I just wanted to share this little story for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is amazing how much kindness you can see when you are looking for it. From the group of teenagers who stopped to look after her to the vet that didn’t charge us because she wanted to repay our good deed. I am sometimes guilty of getting caught thinking the worst of people but there really are some big hearts out there. Secondly, it got me thinking of all the gorgeous animals out there that are in shelters. These shelters are mostly at capacity which means that some have to resort to euthanasia and others have to turn drop-offs away who are then met an uncertain fate.  For some, like my little pudding, that may be the side of the road but for others it can be much worse. If you know that there is some extra (permanent) room and love in your home for an animal companion – even if it is a tiny gap like ours was – then please check out some of the shelters in your area. Why do we still have pet shops when there are so many beautiful ‘unwanted’ souls already in the world.

In Perth alone we have these fantastic organisations;

If you aren’t looking for a pet but still want to help, they are always open to donations and/or volunteers!

And last but not least I wanted to share some photos of her with you. Because I am a proud mum and that’s what we do.

Love is.

Bottle-feeding the little muffin!

Milk-drunk.

A whole little life in my hands.

Quite the lady. Now pushing 600 grams.

Her savage alter-ego!

Peek-a-boo with Allen

My gorgeous big-hearted husband.

High Five for kitty!

Truly believing she was sneaking up on me.

Sustainable Christmas Gift Wish List

Well, I have given you a guide on how to buy sustainable Christmas presents – now here is my list of what I am hoping to buy (or in some cases – have already bought!). Hopefully it will give you some good ideas as well…

Oxfam Unwrapped Donation
By Oxfam, As much as you want to give

Fairtrade – Supports Organic and Sustainable Living

Tee hee

Oxfam Unwrapped Cards are a quirky and funny gift for the person that has everything! With slogans like “You know how you said you always wanted a bucket hygiene kit?” you can chose a cause to donate to and you get to give your loved one the card as a memento. You can buy supplies for a town in a developing country, help fund the construction of a well or donate towards innoculations for deadly but preventable diseases.

Here are some examples of what you can get buy – Continue reading