Protect the Earth. Live Simply… Our Future Depends On It.

In November and December of 2015, I visited a couple of places in India that inspired some questions and thoughts about what is involved in protecting the earth. I was particularly impressed with what a difference the qualities of individual human bei

Source: Protect the Earth. Live Simply… Our Future Depends On It.

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Day 40 of Project Happiness – Happy Birthday Mum!

Status (Yesterday)

  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – No
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – No
  • 5 random acts of kindness per week  – 4/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 3/3
  • Unnecessary items bought – 1
  • Total car miles saved – 70

Can’t believe I have been doing this for  40 days!

Didn’t get to write yesterday as I had a really busy day travelling down to visit my brother and his girlfriend in their new house, and also my Mum whose birthday it is today who came to stay also.  Fantastic.  I don’t get to see any of them as much as I’d like so this is a real treat.

Journey down was not bad, I took the train and it gave me plenty of time to read, doze and catch up on a bit of work.  I’ve just thought I could have done my blog post offline, and then posted it when I got here, but never mind.  Brother’s new house is in a lovely Cornish village, they can see the sea from their window, and it’s a half hour stroll down to the beach.  Absolutely blissful, and I’m so happy for the both of them, as they’ve worked very hard to get there.

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**Non happy portion alert**

However, the laid back lifestyle, and fantastic surroundings, did make me think again about our situation at home.  We moved slightly north some years ago due to personal circumstances, but unfortunately the rest of my family have moved south, and I do feel quite isolated at times.  I also am increasingly questioning the point of what I do on a day to day basis.  I work 40 hours a week (which is a vast improvement on my last job where I worked at least 60 a week), and struggle to fit everything else in, but for what?  Other than my wage?  The work which I do is for a company which provides services for the oil and gas industry, which I don’t believe in.  And for what?  Whatever money we earn, we spend.  Right from the beginning it’s always been the same, and it seems that financial advisers do make that assumption; income = expenditure.  We have changed this, and now are in a position to start saving more (we have no savings to speak of currently), and whilst my goal is to pay off the mortgage asap, realistically it’s going to take 10 years best case scenario.  And then we’ll need to work for another 10 years probably in order to get enough savings to be able to live off the interest.  That’s 20 of the best years of my life that I have left.  Do I want to spend them this way?  Working 48 weeks of the year, to  earn enough for a 2 week holiday somewhere, buying ‘stuff’ for the house, and running round like a headless chicken to keep everything running smoothly.  I sometimes feel like I never stop.

  • I don’t spend as much time as I’d like with the kids.
  • I don’t spend as much time as I’d like with my husband.
  • I’m often stressed, which isn’t good for my health.
  • I don’t have enough time to do the stuff I want to do.  I.e. following my obsession with healthy eating, climate change, sustainable living, gardening etc.

I’ve been reading lots of things, and I have come up with a solution, but I am 99% sure Mr EN won’t be willing to go for it.  My current proposed plan of action is to sell the house and with the proceeds buy a canal boat and move in.  We’d have no mortgage, and although I have yet to do all of the sums, I reckon if Mr EN and I continued working for 5 years, with the reduced expenses, we’d never have to work again after that.  If I wanted though I could do a 3 month contract every now and again to get enough for any extras.  We have a marina near us which is very affordable, but what a life style change that would be!  But for me all the changes seem positive ones.  My main current concerns are around the kids.  Would they be ok with such a radical life style change?  How would things at school be for them?  Would 5 of us cope with the reduced space?  Especially 3 teenage girls(!)  We don’t have enough space currently, but for sure we have  far more ‘stuff’ than we need!

I feel super excited about such a possibility, but at the same time rather low because I know the rest of my family will think I’ve lost my marbles, and it’ll be too radical to contemplate  sensibly.

Lots to think about.  Maybe I’ve just been working too hard, and I’ll look back on this in a few days/weeks/months and wonder what on earth I was warbling on about, but currently it sounds wonderful!!

Plant based diet has gone out of the window this weekend, staying with family who offered me bacon for breakfast 🙂  Done the best I could, but hunger prevailed a couple of times, and my brother’s girlfriend went to a lot of trouble to make a veggie lasagne complete with white sauce, so I wasn’t about to refuse to eat it.

EN

Keep bee-killing pesticides off our fields this year

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bumble bee on flower (1)

Click here to sign the petition

Why is this important?

Our bees are in danger and strong evidence points to particular pesticides – called neonicotinoids – being to blame for killing them. They’re currently banned across Europe – but powerful lobbyists are putting together plans to get the UK ban on bee killing pesticides lifted.

Last year pesticide companies persuaded Environment Minister Liz Truss to let them use neonicotinoids in certain fields across the UK. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen again this year!

Day 37 of Project Happiness – Pearl Barley

Status (Yesterday)

  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – Yes
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – Yes
  • 5 random acts of kindness per week  – 1/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 1/3
  • Unnecessary items bought – 1
  • Total car miles saved – 70

I am so pleased with myself today, I have made a fab salad for lunch.  I’ve never tried Pearl Barley before, and I have discovered it’s scrummy!  I put in it –

  • Pearl Barley
  • Black Beans
  • Sweetcorn kernals
  • Orange Pepper
  • Sundried tomatos
  • Cucumber
  • Mixed lettuce
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Avocado

And then I made a garlic and lemon olive oil dressing.  Absolutely gorgeous!  I would have taken a photo, but by the time I thought of it, it was all gone 🙂  Actually, I do have some in the fridge for lunch tomorrow. Result!

I have just heard from middle sproglet that her Maths GCSE went ‘REALLY WELL!’ which I’m very pleased about, and will be taking her for a nice gallopy hack later to celebrate.

I have splurged out on the book from the blog I linked to yesterday.  It should arrive tomorrow, in time for my week away (which starts with a 6 hour train journey) so I’m hoping I will be able to take it with me, and will actually have some time to read it.  Really want to get some proper ideas on how to properly start on my road to financial freedom, and looking forwards to putting together my plan.

I’ve spent some of the morning chasing up my life insurance people again, but have finally got it sorted today – Yay!  Vitality customer services really are appalling.  It’s taken me numerous emails and phone calls to get the points from my fitness assessment in early April added to my account.  They have offered to refund my health assessment checks, and the cinema tickets we bought because our codes didn’t work which is nice, but this isn’t the first time I’ve had problems.  Fingers crossed things get better, as I love the concept, and am definitely all about a healthy life style.

Last night I took middle sproglet to an NCS meeting.  It seems like a fantastic (government run) initiative, which gives young people the opportunity to go away from home and take part in things they might not otherwise get a chance to do, get them thinking about community issues and what they can do to help, and teach them all kind of useful life skills; planning, communicating, budgeting etc. which will be useful to them personally, as well as potentially in their career.  It’s run over a number of weeks, and seems well organised, with enthusiastic and dedicated staff, and Sproglet seems quite excited by it all.  It will be interesting to see what she gets out of it, other than an amazing week doing zip wiring and kayaking etc. 🙂

Only a quick update today as I’ve already used up my lunch break.

EN

Day 36 of Project Happiness – Storms and stuff

Status (Yesterday)

  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – Yes
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – Yes
  • 5 random acts of kindness per week  – 1/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 1/3
  • Unnecessary items bought – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 70

Wow!  Just wow.  Our world is such an awesome place to live.  After a very muggy day yesterday we had just the most amazing storm.  Crazy crazy rain like a monsoon, and thunder and lightening that was indeed “very very frightening”, or so mini EN thought anyway.  Eldest EN sproglet and myself were at the yard so she could have a riding lesson with my trainer, and the thunder was so loud the walls were vibrating with it.  Fortunately pony was very well behaved, and just his ears showed that he was a little apprehensive at times. When we went to put the horses back out in the field, there was a lightening bolt which forked across the whole sky.  It made both of us ‘Wow!’ out loud (WOL?) and made sproglet muse where thunder comes from.  What a silly question!  It’s storm giants of course!!

Today, the weather has been calmer, as has work.  I’m actually feeling on top of the world currently.  Lots of positive things happening at work which has really turned things round for me, still as busy as ever, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel now.  I’ve started doing some of my meetings as walking meetings to make the most of the sunshine which I’ve been really enjoying. sun1 At home, I have so much to look forwards to, visiting friends and family, a training course next week which involves boats 🙂 , and I’m taking the kids pony out to an event to hopefully prove that he is a good boy and can do it, so next time they can do it on him.  Fingers crossed.  Also, all the rain from the storm has really perked some of my plants up, and they seem to have grown twice the size in just a couple of days 🙂

Tried some more of the quinoa chips from Eat Real today, this time the sun dried tomato and roasted garlic flavour.  Delicious.  So much so that I went and left a positive review on their website.  Random act of kindness – check! 🙂  Much better than the packet Ainsley Harriet cous cous which I took in a panic as I hadn’t prepared anything in time.  Very meh.

I’ve also been a bit concerned with some of the studies on vegan diets which I’ve been reading, and the lack of certain vitamins (B12) and iodine in the common diet.  On reading the natural ways of putting them back in your diet, I’ve decided that iodine I’m going to struggle with full stop, and the other vits will be hit and miss, so I’ve started taking a multi vitamin supplement from Healthspan, which is specifically for Vegetarians and Vegans.  One of the claims it makes is that B12 can help with :

the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and the production of energy-yielding metabolism.

Sounds mighty fine to me 🙂  I’ll report back if I notice a difference.

tired

I’ve also found this Early Retirement Extreme blog, which looks fascinating.  I’m really really keen to become FIRE, but Mr EN isn’t as motivated as me.  I’m hoping this blog and forum will help us on our way.  It’s tricky as without the ponies we could do things so much quicker, but the kids just get so much from them, and it gets them away from the computer and out into the real world, that I’m just not willing to give that up.

Today’s plant based diet has gone well, however, I have a small dilemma as every now and again I like a couple of squares of chocolate with a cuppa in the evening.  I have some very low fructose chocolate but the milk obviously does have milk in it.  I need a low sugar, dairy free milk chocolate – any suggestions?

Today :

  • Breakfast – Bagel with cream cheese – how long does the violife cream cheese last?  This is our second week now(!)
  • Snack – Eat real quinoa chips and an apple
  • Lunch – Half a baguette and some packet cous cous.  Not the most nutritious!
  • Snack – Carrot cake
  • Dinner – Fajitas with peppers, mushrooms, onions, black beans, spices, salad and rice. Yum!

Day 26 of Project Happiness – Weapons!

Status

  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – ✔
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – ✔
  • 5 random  acts of kindness per week  – 3/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 0/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 2
  • Total car miles saved – 60

Today has been all about the karate, and specifically weapons.  We had an intensive all day session (although I did get a lay in), from 10-4pm, started with some kata,  went on to work with sai (which I loved,  and am  now trying to source some for practice as I’ll need it for black belt progression), bo (also could  do with a bo, but I have a make do one for the moment), kama (not quite so keen on but ok) and tonfa.  Wow!  My brain is completely frazzled by fitting so much new stuff in.  Also did more kata, and a bit of jujutsu just to finish us off 🙂  Very satisfying way of spending a few hours, although I think one guy in particular is going to have a headache, after walloping himself with his own sai on one occasion and drawing blood.  Yeouch!  I have located a pair which I really like the look of from www.worbingtonsteele.com/, but they do not look cheap!  I’ve emailed to find out how much they are, but here is a piccie in the mean time…

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I’m a bit torn, because I think they would class as an unnecessary spend, but yet if I want to progress in karate, I need to practice my weapons.  Waahhh!

Followed it up with a quick trip down to the stables to groom, long rein and feed the ponies, a glorious day for it and kinda wished I had time to ride out on one of them to make the most of the evening sun.

Back home for chilli, snuggles and a bit of TV with mini EN.  Speaking of which, I didn’t update yesterday due to her returning after a week away with the school.  She had a fab time but it was soooo good to see her again and spent the evening catching up with her, snuggling, and not a lot else 🙂

So, my random acts of kindness were simple ones, but I think they count.  Mr EN and I went for a drink, and sat  in the beer garden.  Returned our beer glasses and crisp wrappers to the bar staff who looked pleased.  Then today I phoned a relative who has fallen out with a lot of the family, but is frail and on her own.  We had a catch up and I hope it lightened her a day a little.

Unnecessary spends were the drinks and takeaway, and Mr EN bought me a present, a special hose which sort of  shrinks and coils itself up.  It’s absolutely fab when watering my plants, and apparently was very cheap from ebay.  He also didn’t tell me he was getting it.

Plant based diet has been ok (ish) as usual.

  • Breakfast – Bagels and vegan cream cheese
  • Snack – Nothing! :O
  • Lunch – Slice of home made vegan pizza, carrot and cucumber stick with delish jalepeno and pepper humus, and another  Green Smoothie with spinach, banana, peach, blueberries and coconut milk
  • Snack – Carrot and walnut muffin
  • Dinner – Veggie chilli (not vegan, couldn’t find any vegan quorn.  So far we’ve had it once, and it was superb, tasted just like normal quorn mince.  Since then, I can’t find it anywhere.  Where’s it gone?!)
  • Pudding – FAIL – mini choc ice 😦

EN