Resolutions 2020: Better late than never

I’m not sure where December and January went… anyone know?  Ah I remember, December we were wiped out with a horrible virus that just.would.not.leave, and January was spent on the back foot, catching up with everything missed in December.  But we’re here now and back up to speed.

So Resolutions!  2019 I listed a whole bunch which were mainly focussed on a family effort to cut down on our waste, you can check out what those points were here Resolutions 2019  I feel that we stuck to a lot of the goals when it came to cutting down waste, but there is so much more room for improvement.

Things we nailed were: water bottles, travel coffee cups, metal straws, carrier bags, soap bars, washing powder, rechargeable batteries, ground coffee, making packed lunches (instead of buying in wrappers), natural shower scrubbers, reusable make-up cloths, shampoo bars, loose fruit & veg, buying less stuff, saying no to receipts on non important purchase or getting them emailed, splitting items that are part recyclable and part non recyclable, washing out packaging before it goes in the recycle bin / glass bin, making our own pizza dough which is healthier and no packaging!

Room for improvement: 

I’ve gotten slack on taking my own containers to supermarkets, as you really seem to have to fight your case as to why you don’t want to buy in packaging.  This is a shame as somedays I’m up for the conversation, and some days I’m more like, meh..  I will try my best to take my own containers going forward.

I have yet to visit a new re-fill store that has opened up near to me which I should have done a few weeks ago..

I don’t like my hair conditioning bar, its not very good?  Help, please let me know if you’ve found one that leaves your hair feeling silky smooth.

So thats the waste section done.. on to diet, health and fitness.  Last year I continued on my ‘journey’, everything is a journey, so en trend, anyway, I still practice yoga every single day first thing in the morning (thats 18 months guys!!) and I still love it.  (You can read about my 365 days of yoga here.)  I started to dabble in doing a Hiit workout before my yoga, which I did manage to do a few times, but I would like to make more effort this year, when I do get up, I enjoy going into my day knowing that I’ve already got a sweat on, and feeling smug AF.  I also focussed on getting stronger last year.

Diet.  I get asked about my diet, a lot.  Like its a big secret, but its really not. I’m an active person, I cook at home and I don’t eat many processed foods, and I drink a lot of water.  My diet does change as I’m always learning about what food can do to your body and the science behind it, like I’ve been researching a more plant based diet over the past few months.  The biggest change I’ve made is switching from cows milk to a non dairy option, at the moment I’m loving oat milk.  But this might be another blog entirely, (let me know if you want a ‘what I eat in a day’ blog).

Time: now our kids are four and seven, we’re out of the trenches, we can, and do, take them anywhere (not that that stopped us before! but its easier now) as they can start to interact with the family activities now, like we ALL went rock climbing last week and it was so so fun!  And also more date nights.  We’re big on family dinners in our house and we all sit down for a home cooked meal in the evenings, which is a luxury now, because just a couple of years ago, my husband used to leave for work before we woke up, and get home after the kids were in bed.  So these meals are great, but they revolve around the kids, so we don’t actually get to have a good catch up, so 2020 is the year of the date night. Investing in my man.. and any chance to not have to cook an evening meal. Seriously, is there a competition where I can win a chef for a year?  Sign me up.

So there are my Resolutions for 2020:

1. Continue to cut down on waste and learn more about different ways to cut down

2. Get a workout in before yoga a few times a week

3. More date nights

4. More activities with the kids

5. Continue to learn about food and how they are linked to health

6. And work goals… I’m excited for this year.

How to cut down your weekly food shop waste: My 2019 Supermarket Challenge

One of my 2019 resolutions was to upgrade my shopping habits so that we could produce less waste as a family.  This has been a long process but I feel I shop a lot more mindfully than I did at the beginning of the year.

I used to be a devoted Sainsburys shopper… until my friend introduced me to Aldi.  I did go through a transition phase of shopping for some goods at Sainsburys and some at Aldi, but that only lasted about two weeks as it was not time efficient.  So Aldi it was, cutting our monthly food bill in half, from around £120 to £60.

So we were an Aldi family for a few years, until I decided to grow an environmental conscience and care about the amount we were throwing out each week, that would inevitably end up in the ground.

I wanted to find an easy shopping system that would allow us to throw out less rubbish each week.  I have carried out our weekly food shop at Aldi, Sainsburys, Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, and a slither at M&S.  I did leave Waitrose out BUT they are carrying out an ‘Unpacked’ study with dedicated refill isles, unfortunately, I don’t live near one of the trial supermarkets.  I compared the prices and also started looking at what packaging was recyclable, and also what I could buy without packaging by taking my own, or buying loose.

So, who came in the cheapest with the best loose fruit and veg, and who were open to taking containers for the deli bars, and who had the most recyclable packaging?

Sainsburys and Morrisons came in around the £80 – £90 mark.  I know I said earlier that my weekly food shop at Sainsburys was £120… but over the years I’ve become a more frugal and savvy shopper, looking at pence per litre or kilogram, not buying into brands etc.. And meal planning to try and avoid ingredients being wasted and that can be used for multiple meals.  And these two supermarkets were pretty similar on their packaging as well.  They both have a great variety of loose fruit and veg, and they let you take your own container to buy from the counters.

Asda was around the £70 mark, but I wasn’t bowled over.  They have loose fruit and veg though.

Aldi, obviously great on price at around the £50 – £65 mark.  They are the worst offender when it comes to thinking about waste.  Hardly any of their fruit or veg is available to buy loose.  Unless you’re buying a product in paper or cardboard, I found it hard to come across anything else that was recyclable.  Obviously the funnest thing about Aldi is trying to beat the checkout team while packing your bags.

I tried a farm shop and a butchers.  These were fantastic, but its more than one stop, its a bit more expensive and they don’t hold all the other stuff you need in a weekly shop.

The supermarket that did surprise me was Tesco.  It came in at around £60 – £70, had loads of loose fruit and veg, you can take your own containers for the counters and they have loads of options to choose from when it comes to recyclable packaging.  I mean, I can buy organic coffee in recyclable packaging!  Win!  I tried online shopping for the first time (I know.  I have been living under a rock.  A giant one), and I liked it, however, you don’t have as much option to buy loose, and when you choose the loose option, I found it often comes in a plastic bag.

I have located a refill store near me that I haven’t explored yet so that is on the cards… and I also need to test out the local market.

So for all under one roof… Tesco is a winner for me at this point in time.

A note on the organic cotton mesh bags I bought.. these are great in the trolly, they keep all your loose veggies together down the conveyor-belt too, they even have the weight of the bag on them so that the cashier can take that weight away from the weight of the veggies.  Great right?  Or not, the tills cannot deduct the weight of the bag (I tried in Sainsburys and Tesco).  They did weigh the bag for me on its own to see how much extra I would pay to use it which was £0.04.  Not much right?  But say I have ten bags each week.. thats £0.40 each week, which is £20.80 each year that I am paying for the privilege of using my own bag and thinking about the environment.  So for now, I have stored my mesh bags away and my fruit and veg can roll freely down the checkout.

My research WILL continue, but this is what I’ve found so far just by carrying out my weekly food shop at a few different supermarkets and paying attention to what I’ve bought.  I have managed to cut down our waste as a family overall, but we’ve still got a long way to go.  It also helps with the other swaps we’ve made, eg, soap bars, shampoo bars, metal straws, using vinegar and baking soda as cleaning products etc, but thats for another blog!

Have you tried to cut down your waste?  How?  Any tips, let me know!

365 days of yoga

It was on the 20th June 2018 that I started doing yoga everyday.

Why?  Yoga is something that I’ve always turned to in times of need.  That sounds a bit dramatic, when I say need.. I mean, I couldn’t do any other sport.

So quickly, the three main times I’ve used it is when I was 19 and I’d had knee surgery.  I was prepped to have a couple of days on crutches but once the surgeon had got in there, it turned out I’d done loads of damage, which led to being non-weight baring for TWO MONTHS.  What the hell.  They were a dark two months.  I even turned to art to let out some emotion.  Good lord.  So after learning how to walk again, I turned to yoga to get my body moving.

Then I used yoga after having both babies, as you can’t just pop out a kid and hit the water two weeks later.  And I don’t do very well when I can’t move my body, its how I think, brainstorm, plan, let anger out, grieve.. you get the picture.  So yoga allowed me to start moving again.

I’d wanted to start doing yoga everyday for a long time, like a year, but NEVER made any effort to actually do it.  Then it was my husbands birthday (and it was a big birthday) and I had a mid life crises.  Not him.  Me.  What?  I freaked out.  Like, shit, we’re not getting any younger.  Our bodies are only going downhill from here, I don’t want that to be it, I’m going to die!…. all of that.

That evening I did yoga.

I felt calmer.

That night I said to my husband, ‘I’m going to do yoga before you and the kids get up.’  I set my alarm for 6:30 (the household comes downstairs at 7am).  The alarm went off the following morning, I got up and did a morning yoga routine on you-tube.

I felt amazing.  Number one because I’d just woken my body up with yoga, but secondly because I had actually done it!  And then I did it the next day, and the next… before I knew it, I’d done a week of yoga every morning.  My days were better, I was eating better (you know me, I’m always over-hauling my diet, I love learning about different foods and what health benefits they have), and my mood considerably improved.

Downward facing dog: June 2018
Slowly getting there: May 2019

Noticing my mood with the kids was the real eye opener.  Whether you have kids or not, sometimes you’re not in the best mood first thing in the morning. So for me, being thrown 101 questions and demands before I’d had my breakfast was a shit way to start my day.  Everyday… until the end of time. Amen.

So, now with the yoga kick starting my day, I have limbered up, I’ve oxygenated my blood, got the blood moving around my body and gone through my checklist of three things to be grateful for in my life.  (And I do between 10 – 20mins of yoga in the morning, not loads, but just enough).  When the kids come down at 7am, I’m ready for them with a smile on my face, open arms for a morning cuddle and down to make breakfast, (I’m on hot water with lemon, porridge with walnuts, almonds, raisins and coconut, with full fat cows milk, maybe I’ll switch to a nut milk one day but I like dairy for now).

I honestly don’t think there were any more than 10 days in the last 365 days where I haven’t done yoga.

What have I noticed from doing yoga nearly everyday for a year?

1. I sleep better

2. I’m happier

3. I deal with things in a much calmer way

4. I’m stronger physically

5. I recover from workouts faster than I used to (yoga is stretching everyone, shhhhh)

6. I haven’t had any injury (touch wood!)

7. I feel agile, which I bloody love!

8. I feel 25 (I am not 25).

9. I want to eat better because I’ve started the day with movement

10. I can’t think of a single negative.  Honestly.  None.  Nothing.  Nada.

Doing yoga nearly everyday for a year wasn’t an experiment for me, I wanted to make a lifestyle change, a manageable one which I feel I’ve achieved.  I wanted to be able to do the things I used to do in gymnastics, I want to push my body past what I could do as a kid, and stay active and agile for the rest of my life.  I really didn’t expect it to have the effect it did on my daily mood that it did.

And now I’ve achieved one goal… its onto the next…

What I would love to do is get up a little earlier to get a 20min run/bike/hiit session in, and then yoga.  We shall see… I’d need to get up at like 6am to fit all that in and then I’d need extra time to make a huge breakfast after that kind of activity!  Mmmm fruit and banana pancakes…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog, maybe it’ll inspire one person out there to start integrating yoga, movement & mindfulness into their daily routine! 🙂 Do you do yoga often?  What are your thoughts on it?  Let me know if you’d like me to send you a few links to the morning yoga you tube videos that I followed!

June 2018
May 2019
The Crow: June 2018
The Crow: May 2019