That Big New Thing We Bought

two chairs with glass table on living room near window

So, after pledging to buy nothing new, cut our spending and push on with our greener lifestyle Mr T and I blew the whole thing out of the water! We bought a new house – not just any old house, a brand new, fresh out of the earth new build. Probably one of the least green things we’ve ever done.

So, onwards and upwards…

On the positive side, it’s super insulated and has PV panels on the roof to generate electricity. On the down side, I don’t even want to think about the cement, the carbon footprint of a new build and the loss of green space and wildlife habitat! But, we’re here now and rather than dwell on the negatives Mr T and I are determined to make the most of our new life “back home” in Cumbria.

Buying new allowed us to upsize our living space, downsize our garden and offer a house that will be relatively maintenance free as we approach retirement. We bought all our old furniture with us and we haven’t really  bought anything new to fill it yet (please don’t judge us for the new toilet roll holder – that seemed like a pretty essential piece of equipment after a few nights fumbling in the dark!) Freshly painted, we’ve no plans to decorate. I do have plans though and ultimately the bright white walls will morph into something bolder and more cheerful (my fantasy for a raspberry pink paint in the main bathroom may take some time – Mr T thinks that might be a bit “bold” for his taste.

The few DIY jobs we have undertaken so far have been minor. We’ve hung pictures in most rooms and shelves in the utility room. The shelves have been a bit of a “win:win”. Mr T bought lots of old pine shelving with him from the old house. Freshened up with a dark wood stain and a coat of clear varnish they look like new and do a great job of hiding all the household essentials above my eye level!

Our main focus this year will be the garden and I’m quite desperate to transform the large expanse of grass into something more productive, I’ve been saving yoghurt pots and egg boxes to plant seeds and I’m thankful the removal men didn’t raise an eyebrow at the the bags of home made compost that came with us!

I miss my greenhouse. But the plan to utilise all the window sills as temporary growing spaces is a success – not only do I have green shoots appearing – but Mr T is also very fed up of the motley collection of seed containers of every window sill that plans to invest in a green house have moved a lot higher up his priority list (the plan is to source one secnd hand once the weather improves).

We have been here two months now, which goes some way towards explaining the long silence here. Thanks for sticking with me, and as we move closer to spring and the weather warms up I have no doubts I’ll feel more inclined to post regular updates about our new life and adventure – I can’t wait to introduce you to some of the “treasures” we’ve already discovered – refillable red wine, a wonderful fish seller, a great plastic free shop and some very inspiring garden visits!

Take care of yourselves lovely readers – see you again soon xxx

Photo by Vecislavas Popa

Buy Nothing New

five people standing against wall

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Well hello there! Yes, it’s been a while,  but I’m back. refreshed, revitalised and ready to share my offline adventures in the online world again!

After my last post, you’ll be pleased to hear that I have been writing. Sitting with a pen and real paper each morning and writing all kinds of cr*p! It’s been good to just write on any subject that takes my fancy. Observations on the garden, short fictional episodes, which may or may not become stories and lists.

Lists are what led to this post. I’ve been writing lists about what’s important to me. My friends, my family, the planet and the people my life impacts. What I want to do and what I want to be remembered for. I saw a post on Instagram about Extinction Rebllion’s Boycott Fashion campaign and that struck home. I’ve long been aware of the human and environmental impacts of fast, throw away fashion and I try to make ethical choices. I make my clothes last and I buy second hand. But I felt there was more I could do, that I could take things a step further and so a plan was hatched to Buy nothing new for 52 weeks.

Nothing new? Well of course there are exceptions. Food, for a start. We grow some of our own and we buy local. Underwear – I draw the line at second hand knickers! Replacements for broken things that can’t be repaired. Gifts for friends (although I’m going to try and make as many as possible) and essential stuff like glasses (although last month I had the lenses replaced and kept my old specs, so you could say I’m already on this path).

I’m loathe to set rules about what I can or cannot buy, but I have begun to think about strategies to mitigate the need to buy new and how we’ll work around the hurdles. It’s possible we’ll need to buy a new car soon, but we’ve already considered trading in both cars and switching back to one car we can share (something we’ve done before, so we know it’s possible).

I don’t want to just “cheat” my way through the year by  allowing myself abundant charity shop purchases, I want to think carefully about what I buy and why I’m parting with my hard earned cash. Our usual approach of “Buy what we need, use what we have”, will still apply.

I know it’s going to be a struggle and getting friends and family on board might be hard (birthdays and Christmas might be a challenge, but maybe these will be opportunities to be gifted new essentials – toiletries and book perhaps – so that every purchase is needed rather than wanted, with the proviso that gifts  have an ethical edge – cruelty free, recycled, hand made perhaps?).

I’m not asking you to join me, but perhaps keep me company on my journey? You can read the press release and background to this campaign by clicking here. Meanwhile, we’re off to France for 2 weeks and we’ll see how the challenge affects our holiday. We’re not big spenders, but we do occasionally come home with a memento or two. I am thinking that maybe I’ll get a couple of my holiday photos printed out and framed (the charity shops are full of second hand frames)? Does printing a photo count as new?

 

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