New moon – reasons to celebrate

“Happy new moon!”

This is what we say to each other in our house on the night that we first see the slight silver crescent n the early evening sky. Sometimes this is several nights after the dark moon if clouds have hidden the delicate curve from view. Each evening i look out eagerly for her, my eyes searching the area of the sky where she will seem to recline back as she sinks towards the horizon. I feel excitement in my monthly moon-huniting, reminiscent of the energy of being in a pub or club on New Year’s Eve. Although I’ve never been big on New Year – a festival of a human-made rather than natural cycle and, in the UK, the mass drunkeness can just get a bit vulgar – I have always found something special in that buzz. The buzz that starts as the night creeps on and everyone starts checking the time, checking it again, making sure they won’t be needing the loo as the clock strikes, Then, at midnight, the smiles and cheers and hugs and greetings shared between everyone, be they friends, lovers or strangers. The sense of fresh energy, hope and new goals to look forward to that it brought by the new calendar year.

Image

One of our reasons in our house for connecting to the lunar cycle is to feel this lovely energy 13 times a year instead of one. Well, 15 if you count New Year’s Eve and your birthday too!. We find that it keeps life more in perspective to make plans every 28-29 days and review how they are going through the lunar month (more in that in future posts). I’m sure many people have found that you start the year with various aims and then they fizzle out and kind of get lost. Or you wish away the year looking forward to the big things like your holiday abroad.

This more frequent planting of your ideas-seeds also means you can be more specific, which fits well with the SMART approach to goal making that is largely considered more likely to read to success in achieving them. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). For example, rather than just saying “I’d like to be more creative”, you might say “this month I’d like to start knitting that hat I’ve bought the pattern and yarn for”. Similarly, you may re-attempt old goals, Say your new year’s resolution to improve your diet isn’t working out; here’s fresh energy and a new time framework to kick-start your plans! We generally find that with the lunar calendar we tend to make smaller goals (that knitting project, exactly which seeds to plant) whereas the with solar calendar (ie, at the winter solstice) we make bigger plans (move house, email Grandma photos of Dylan every couple of months). But it’s whatever works for you.

I personally like to right goals down in a positive way which will focus on what I’ll gain rather than what I lose, So rather than saying “I’d like to give up smoking”, I’d word that something like “I intend to enjoy feeling healthier and richer through being cigarette-free”.

Happy new moon to you! Do share your goals – particularly if doing so is more likely to keep you on track with them! ♥

Advertisements

Playlist

Yay! I had a piece of writing published in The Guardian!  🙂
Ok, so it’s a reader contribution called “Playlist” they have each week in the family section, not like some professional feature article, but still yay! For the Playlist feature, readers are asked to send in a short piece about a song that reminds them of a particular event or time in their lives.

You can see it here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/nov/17/family-photography   (scroll down the page a little; it’s below the video) 

recycling update

Recycling update

The first week of this month saw National Recycling Week with the plea to us all to recycle just one more thing. http://myzerowaste.com/zero-waste-week-2012/ I know that there’s more we can do as a household to reduce waste but we’re working on it. Here are some of our favourite reuses for things before they end up in the recycling or rubbish bin:
 
  • We generally use cloth nappies and washable wipes for Baby D so don’t often have need for nappy sacks. When we do, plastic packaging does fine. Packaging for bagged supermarket veg (salad etc), the packaging loo roll/nappies come in, plastic mail packaging…sure it then goes to landfill but at least it gets one more use before it does.
  • Yoghurt pots make good candle moulds, or cloches for young seedlings. Sometimes we cut the bottom 4-5cm off and use it as a holder for plant pots with drainage holes in if we’ve got them indoors.
  • We use just an empty jam jar with the lable soaked off to store our toothbrushes and our dishbrushes. I like its simple rustic look. Every now and again we pop the old one in the recycling and divert a new one from its route there.
  • We once found a lovely pine bunk bed ladder in a skip. We use it as a shoe rack!
  • Old newspaper or paper bags line our food waste bin.
  • We avoid takeaway coffee cups as a rule but there’s the odd occasion where we fail. We make a hole in the bottom and use them for seedlings.
  • Tights and socks beyond repair get used for stuffing, as do tiny fabric offcuts and thread offcuts from sewing.
  • I’m right now making a mobile for Baby D out of old CDs and a metal ring that had broken off from our kitchen bin.
  • And here’s a piece of recycling art! My husband found the desk fan in a bin at his work and brought it home to see if he could fix it. Unfortunately he couldn’t but he did save some of the electronic components for his It-Might-Be-Useful-One-Day box. I saw potential for a flower, and here it is!

 

 
 
 
 
A few months after starting our Plastic Chauffering Service, my estimate is that on average we get a carrier bag of empty TetraPak cartons and plastic pots/punnets dropped off almost daily. So about 6 carrier bags weekly. I initially felt a little disappointed about this amount but worked out that’s about 25 carrier bags a month and over 300 per year which equates to a huuuuuge pile of plastic rescued from landfill!!
Mo   

The Plastic Chauffeuring Service

Plastic seems so omnipresent, even for our household actively trying to avoid it. Food packaging, flower pots, toys, computers, the front door, the kitchen sink. It’s EVERYWHERE! In the UK, we generate approaching 5000,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually. (www.ecoforce.co.uk).

Packaging seems to be an area particularly liberal in plastic use, such as food often coming in a plastic punnet/tray that is then wrapped in a plastic film. Some councils are starting to be quite generous in the amount of plastics they collect; Bristol’s doorstep collections now take plastic tubs, trays, yoghurt pots etc as well as bottles. Our address comes under South Gloucestershire Council and bottles are the only plastic they collect for recycling. They don’t even take other plastics at any of their recycling centers so most people probably put it in their general waste to go to landfill where,according to ecoforce.co.uk, it will take around 400 years to break down.
However, we often pass or visit places where you can recycle plastics and have been taking ours for some time. It occurred to us that we could encourage our neighbours to drop their plastic waste round to us (after giving it a quick rinse, and we can take theirs. Likewise with TetraPak waxed cartons, which South Gloucestershire’s recycling centers do take. So flyers were printed and posted through doors, and a receptacle was made by Mr Heartshapedhands for people to leave their plastic in if we’re out. So far, about 5 households are taking us up on the completely free offer (about 100 cards delivered). We hope the number will increase but, judging by the amount I took to a recycling bank today, it will still save a lot going to landfill!
If you live around Bitton and would like us to chauffeur your plastic and TetraPak to the packaging paradise, ring/text 07595 043860.

Ostara/Easter

It may be a couple of weeks since the spring equinox now but I always feel it’s best to continue the celebrations (and chocolate egg eating!) until Easter anyway. Especially as my birthday falls around this time too.


So I’ve felt on a bit of a roll with inspiration and positive ideas for 3-4 weeks and will hopefully soon be putting some of these into action. These include a community recycling idea, planning a non-religious christening equivalent for Baby D, and planning a street party to give an opportunity to try to improve the sense of community we feel is quite lacking where we live. On the equinox itself I planted 4 bulbs, baby D watching me intently from his bouncy chair beside me. The bulbs are for an autumn-flowering nerine called Ostara: perfect! I dressed our altar with a green scarf and green candles to symbolise the fertility and “greenness” of nature at this time. And chocolate/decorative eggs! I bought some daffodils, although now we have lots of lovely grape hyacinths out in our garden so I have been able to have some of them inside. We looked at our goals that we made at the winter solstice and how we are doing with these; a couple have been achieved and most are being made progress on.