Tuesday, 19 July 2016

5 reasons...to compost used tissues

I was first alerted to the fact you can compost snotty or used tissues by the fabulous Jo at Down To Earth Mother about three years ago - and I haven't looked back since. Over the last few months my family has gone through box loads of them thanks to the never-ending colds the kids have, and call me crazy, but I still get a good feeling when I throw them in the compost instead of the bin or toilet.

Admittedly, when you're out and about it can be a little tricky and potentially unhygienic, but if you're not already composting your tissues at home, then it's time to start.


1. You stop them going to landfill
As we're all aware, reducing landfill is a major priority worldwide for saving the environment, and so every little thing we can do to make our household rubbish less is going to help. Although biodegradable, when tissues are sent to landfill they're often trapped inside plastic bags and therefore won't decompose for a long time. And when they do, they're deprived of oxygen and produce methane - a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. So the less tissues in landfill, the better - unless you like the sound of global warming. Plus you'll help appease an overflowing rubbish bin situation (if you have one).

2. Flushing down the toilet is not good
We obviously need to flush when we use the toilet, but what about the times you've just thrown in tissues and then flushed? When you consider that every time we flush we use valuable water - 4.5 litres of it in fact (if you're using a modern toilet on full flush, 3 litres for half flush) - it's just not worth it for the environment, or your wallet. On top of this, facial tissues are not the same as toilet paper. They may look similar, but toilet paper is designed to break down super fast whereas tissues hang around for a lot longer, making our sewage treatment plants work harder and contributing to clogged pipes.

3. You'll boost your soil supply
Making your own fertilised earth is awesome. It's rich with nutrients to help things grow extremely well, and means you don't have to purchase soil or potting mix. So the more compost the better and whether dry or wet, tissues are a great material to add into the mix as long as they don't have anything bad on them - e.g. pet poo or chemicals. For those in units or who don't have room for a compost, keep an eye on your local council as many in Australia are starting to introduce a compost recycling bin for residents that they will empty and compost the contents for you - how cool is that?

4. There's never a good fire when you need one
Sure you can chuck a used tissue on your log fire, but many people don't have fireplaces in their homes these days (or an actual roaring fire on the go at the same time you need to blow your nose - especially in summer). Not sure snot goes down too well in flames either... 

5. It stops you leaving them around 
When the whole household has come down with the flu sometimes the used tissues lying around can get out of control as people get lazier. This is not good because, you know, germs. Strangely though, when they're headed for the compost, they seem to disappear faster. Kids in particular love popping things in the compost bin as they learn more about recycling.

Did you know...
We're talking about facial tissues here, not wipes or paper towel - although you can actually compost paper towel and paper napkins as well. Just be mindful of what is on them first and if in doubt, throw instead. Where possible buy recycled paper tissues too.

Where do you chuck your used tissues?

Photo credit: Crate&Barrel

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

5 reasons...to eat the full fat cake

If your child is having a birthday party then you'd better look out because I absolutely LOVE THE CAKE. Particularly the full fat kind. Seriously, I ate five pieces at a kid's party earlier this year. Admittedly there was a lot of cake leftover and I was pregnant, but I blame the cake itself.  It was too delicious for its own good. Full fat crack cake.

Despite my penchant for cake, I do also love vegetables and other good stuff, and try and eat as much organic and wholesome food as possible. But, I can't give up the full fat cake and neither should you. Too many people already have and the world is becoming a soulless place because of it.


1. It's darn delicious
Yes it's true some healthy cakes are also delicious, but let's not pretend here - full fat cakes are the tastiest. I'm talking old school, sugar-laden, most likely preservative-charged, definitely wheat based, usually packet, oh so naughty, full fat cakes. If you don't agree, it's most likely you've just forgotten because the last time you had some was on your 8th birthday when your mum made you the piano from the Australian Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake book. Sure, if you want to control the amount of 'fat' in your cake then make it yourself and go a bit easy on the sugar and cream, but why not relive your past? Bring back the sunshine to your life. It's a mouth disco I promise. Eat the fat cake. Do it.

2. We could all die tomorrow
Natural disasters, terrorists, diseases...life is fickle and we never know when our number is up. So why deprive yourself of something that tastes bloody awesome when there is no guarantee on how long you'll be sticking around for? And if you don't legitimately have an allergy or intolerance to something in full fat cake then what the hell is your excuse? Get your cake on! Relish that sh#t. And trust me, everyone munching their carrot sticks wistfully will watch your carefree, allergy-free cake abandonment in complete full fat cake envy. You LOVE the full fat cake. You CAN eat the full fat cake. You WILL eat the full fat cake.

3. It will make you feel good
Depriving yourself constantly of food you like is not good for you. Experts claim it can even have the opposite effect and lead to binge eating. Food is not just fuel, it's meant to be enjoyed. Ok, so eating five pieces of cake in a row is a bit crazy and not recommended if you like wearing skinny jeans and seeing your toes, but one piece occasionally is not going to do long lasting damage. Your diet will not be ruined. You can indulge from time to time and you will love it. Just don't eat the cake and then beat yourself up about it - this only works if you surrender to the cake and don't allow yourself any guilt. So savour each bite and don't feel bad about it. You can go back to your kale salads after. Give in to the fat cake. 

4. It's the polite thing to do
What about the host who has slaved over baking an awesome cake for your eating enjoyment only to have everyone politely refuse? Because, you know, DIETS. No one (apart from maybe me) wants heaps of leftover cake lying around after a party. So don't be rude. Eat the fat cake. 

5. French chicks eat it
Like the book says, French women don't get fat and they LOVE THE CAKE. And pastries, and chocolate, and wine, and cheese (mmm cheese). It's all about moderation people. Plus French chicks are cool. You could be cool too, like this woman below - if you eat the full fat cake. Vive la cake!

Did you know...
Eating excessive amounts of full fat cake on a weekly basis will make you fully fat.


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

5 reasons...to grow lavender

Think lavender is just for old ladies? Think again.


1. It looks and smells great
You don't have to love Prince to appreciate a nice burst of purple in the garden or indoors - certainly makes a nice change from all the green succulents and hardy shrubs that are so popular these days, and it means you'll always have some flowers on hand to pop in a vase without spending a cent. The fragrance is lovely and relaxing too, making it a quick, non-toxic and cheap way to freshen up any room; and you can even use it to decorate a table setting or add as a finishing touch to a wrapped present.

2. It's super easy to grow
You can buy lavender seeds or plants, but better yet simply take a softwood cutting from a neighbour in spring, stick it in a pot and watch it take on a new life. You can then transfer to the garden later if you wish. It's a very resilient, low maintenance plant so perfect for those who struggle to keep anything in the garden alive. Why not grow a few cuttings in pots that you can then give to friends as gifts? 

3. You'll help save the bees
If you weren't already aware, the worldwide bee population is in serious trouble due to diseases, pesticides and a reduction in flowers everywhere, thanks to drought resistant plants like succulents being all the rage. If the bees disappear we lose more than honey - our food crops which rely on bee pollination will be drastically affected meaning globally our food supply is in danger. Bees particularly love flowers with strong colours such as purple, so lavender will not only make them happy as they can get a good collection of nectar, but they'll also be more likely to hang around your garden and pollinate the flowers of any edible plants or trees you have which will result in fantastic harvests for you too.

4. It's a tasty culinary herb
Lavender margaritas anyone? Be the coolest kitchen cat around by using dried or fresh lavender in your cooking. There are stacks of recipes available on the internet that incorporate the flower such as cakes, teas, salads, cheese and cocktails - even the old lamb roast can be given a fresh twist with it instead of rosemary. Plus, it can also double as a nice garnish on the plate - fancy!

5. It's good for you 
Scientific studies have proven that lavender scent can reduce stress, anxiety, depression and even things like headaches and labour pains; so if you're feeling a bit down get into the garden, take a seat next to your lavender plant and breathe deeply. If you're particularly handy you can go even further by creating your own lavender essential oil which you can then use in concentrated form on your skin or in creams, baths, candles, surface sprays, linen fresheners and more.

Did you know...
There are 39 different types of lavender that range in shape and colour? The purple English variety (shown above) is the most common and is considered the sweetest for flavour.    

photo credit: Echter Lavendel (Lavandula angustifolia) via photopin (license)