mardi, décembre 12, 2017

Christmas windows

We went windows viewing at Printemps and Galleries Lafayette after chinese lesson. The boys told me they enjoyed viewing the windows though I felt that they had outgrown this tradition. They used to look at each window for a long time, catching all the details.
Seb felt that the window displays were full of consumer goods and had lost the magical Christmas feeling like it used to be. There was even a display of EasyJet with its plane and bears dressed as crew members. 

We went into Galleries Lafayette to admire the center decoration. I find it really pretty with all the candies bright balloons.

I told the boys this was the last year but they were keen to come back next year. We shall see.

jeudi, novembre 16, 2017

Almost zero waste

I have always recycle and do my part to save energy. On my own effort, these are some of the examples:
1. Lights are turned off when I leave a room. 
2. Tap is turned off when I do not need running water. Like scrubbing the dishes or pots, brushing the teeth, shampooing my hair.
3. When washing vegetables, I have a basin in the sink to collect the water. I then pour the water into a pail. This water is used to water the plants. The water collected from washing rice is full of  nutrients and help my orchid plants to bloom frequently.
4. Left over food are given to Handsome.
5. Peels from fruits and vegetables used to be kept in a bag and thrown into the forest while walking Handsome as natural compost or food for wild animals.
6. Plastic, paper and glasses are recycled. I tear off the plastic window from envelopes as this flimsy plastic cannot be recycled.
7. I keep jam jars for friends who makes jam.
8. I use grocery plastic bags as rubbish bags instead of buying black rubbish bag. 
9. On my letter box, there is a sticker 'No publicity' to avoid junk mail.
10. Since I work from home, I don't flush the toilet after each short usage. 
11. I boil hot water and keep them in a hot flask. I notice colleagues boiling a kettle full just for a cup of tea.
12. If the sun is out or if the fireplace is working, I hang the clothes to dry instead of using the dryer.
13. I mend clothes and A2 wears hand me downs from A1.
14. I source for pre-loved items at flea market or on
15. Back of envelopes or unwanted papers are used to write shopping list or to do list.
16. I bring my own grocery bags to supermarket. For my rubbish bags, I have friend and family in Singapore who give me supermarket plastic bags.
17. I try to buy local and organic.
18. I eat less meat.
19. I recycled my hair.

Living in this village, I came to know other mums who are eco conscious like me. Some are striving towards zero waste. Kudos to them. We exchange ideas and I came to realise from our discussions that though recycling is good, the best is to avoid having materials to recycle.

That means making our own, instead of buying excessively packaged products from the supermarkets. 
For my part, I have cut down on buying cakes and snacks and instead make cookies and cakes once or twice a week. Some friends even made their own cleaning products but I am not there yet.

I wished for a yogurt maker for my birthday and am making yogurts for the boys regularly. This means less plastic yogurt containers to throw since they cannot be recycled. And the boys love my yogurt.

A neighbour takes my veggie and fruits peels for his composter. I no longer throw them in the forest. He in return gives me the rich soil. That started me in creating my vegetable plot this year.

I use a cup to reduce the waste of hygienic pads. 

And with these ladies, we are organising events to influence people to care for our planet. 

We started a seed library in the village library. Our seed library is basically a box containing small paper bags of seeds. People can share seeds from their gardens or take seeds they want to grow. 

Our last event was a clean up of the forest. Our forest looks green and clean. We were expecting small litter and beer bottles. However, the participants found bulky garbage like plastic table top, tyres and a gas heater too.

Our next event in Dec would be on a DIY theme. We shall be making sponges from old socks, cloth produce bags, microwave heat-able bean soft toys and bird seeds feeder.

I am proud that there are movers and shakers in this village making an effort to save the planet despite their busy schedules. 

If you have ideas to add in, please leave a comment. All ideas welcome. 

dimanche, octobre 29, 2017

Rome revisit

This post is way overdue. It has been in draft mode since my last post about our Italy holiday. Let me put a proper end to our summer holiday in Italy now that autumn is here. Seb and I visited Rome in 2013 thus Rome is not new to us. As all roads lead to Rome, I would like my mum to visit this city.

From Gargano, Seb drove us to Rome to our third Airbnb. It was an apartment with two bedrooms nearby the Colosseum. The apartment was very comfortable with everything provided, even washing detergent. If you are keen, drop me a comment and I can share the Airbnb with you.

In Rome, we walked a lot in the city center and enjoyed ice creams under the hot sun. We visited chapels and cathedrales. We took photos at the main attractions, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Palace of Justice just to name a few. We had wanted to visit the Pantheon but it was closed when we arrived.

With my mum, we visitied the Vatician City while Seb brought the boys to the science center. We reserved a guided tour of the Vatican Museum online to avoid the long queue. The guided tour was informative and we ended the visit with the Saint Peter's Basilica.

After Vatican City, we met up at the appartment to rest. Seb told me the activities in the Kids' Science Center were in Italian and was not useful for the boys. He had to explain to the boys. Still, the boys had a good time.

On our last day, we visited the Colosseum. There was a queue due to the security check. Tour operators were touting and telling the people in the queue that it would take an hour and half to get to the ticket counters. They offered guided tour which could get us in without the queue. As Seb and I had done a guided tour before, we were not interested. The queue moved on fast and it took us less than 20 minutes to get the tickets. These touters were liars.

The end of our Rome trip was also the end of our summer holiday. My mum enjoyed Rome. The kids enjoyed the beaches more than Rome. I enjoyed my time in Italy and do not mind coming back for the next summer.