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

How to reduce your waste in everyday life

Global WAKEcup Bamboo water bottle

There are some really quick and easy things you can do to reduce your waste during your work day.  And a little will go a long way if more and more people participated. I’ve been working on cutting down our waste as a family of four, for a few years now, but the more I do, the more I want to do, and deeper I go down the rabbit hole.  I am learning about zero waste, but I’m not quite sure I’ll ever go there.  However, there are a few small things that everyone IS capable of doing in their everyday life.  And you’ll save some dollar too!

  1. Take a shopping bag everywhere, keep one in your day bag, in your car, by the front door, at work.. it doesn’t have to be fancy, any bag or old plastic bag will do, it just saves another one being used once.
  2. Water bottles.  I started doing this more so once I’d had kids.  We are always out and about, and on maternity, I found it to be adding up if we bought food and drink out nearly everyday.  So I never left the house without water bottles for each person, snacks and/or a packed lunch.  And it just pisses me off paying for water as thats what I’d get anyway.
  3. Coffee travel cup / keep cup. Whatever you want to call it, you can buy travel mugs that flat pack down to fit in your handbag.  And if you use them in coffee shops, you get a discount on your coffee.  And no waste.
  4. Packed lunch.  I used to get ripped when I used to work in the corporate world because I was earning good money but still living like a student.  I still take a packed lunch with me everywhere, mainly because I then don’t have to worry about finding food, I don’t spend money on food, and I’m also not using single use packaging and I’m not wasting last nights leftovers.
  5. Travel Cutlery.  I know bamboo cutlery is all the rage, but I have a metal camping cutlery set that all click onto each other, thats about 20years old… it works well.  Now we have four sets, one for each family member that come out and about with us.
  6. Straws.  You can buy metal straws online and use them until the end of time.  You can reuse plastic straws, which we have done, but they are harder to clean smoothie out of.

So there you go, six quick and easy top tips on how to reduce your daily waste while living your normal (best) life.  I hope this helps!  I’ll do another blog about easy swaps you can in the home to either reduce your waste, or taking that small step away from single use plastic.

My Amazon link to some of the things I’ve found useful along the way.  Water bottles, coffee cups etc.. 

Global WAKEcup Bamboo coffee cup