A Small Step to Greener Living

I have discovered something amazing! We have a milkman. We’ve lived in this flat for 2 and a half years and I had no idea we had a milkman. 

I only discovered this by chance – just before Christmas they came round all the flats in our street in the evening to try to attract new customers. Normally we wouldn’t have been home, but it was a bit drizzly, so Tom and I hadn’t stayed long in the park on our way home.

Not only do they deliver milk right to our doorstep, which is hugely convenient and helps keep some of our money out of the hands of the big supermarkets, but they use the proper glass bottles and collect them once a week to re-sterilise and resuse. So it is helping cut down our weekly waste as well.

And the company are a small family business that is based locally. And the milk is from a farm in nearby Essex. And they offer extras like organic free-range eggs and fresh juice.

I’m very pleased we were home in time to discover their service. Though slightly ashamed I had never thought to check if we had a local milkman at all…

Anyway, it’s another small step towards greener shopping habits. Every little helps and all that!

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Family Visit to Hackney City Farm

I love city farms. They are such a great example of what communities can do when they come together. Little pieces of farm life in the craziness of the city, they are usually run mainly by volunteers and are a fun, interactive way of teaching city kids about where their food comes from. Most have a real focus on sustainability and environmental improvement. So when Mr Techno and I were wondering what to do for our family day on Wednesday, a visit to Hackney City Farm seemed like a great idea.

It was a pretty wet day, so we all wrapped up in waterproofs before heading out the door. Fortunately, after being caught in a downpour on our way to the bus, the weather cleared enough for us to stay dry whilst we enjoyed the farm.

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Although it isn’t actually our closest city farm (that would be Brooks Farm in Leyton), Hackney is easy for us to get to, being on the 48 bus route. It took us about half-an-hour to get there, in fairly heavy traffic. It’s not huge (city farms generally aren’t), so perfect for a newly toddling toddler. There’s a farmyard, with ducks, geese and chickens roaming free and stalls with pigs and small animals (guinea pigs and rabbits). Just off the yard is a field which held sheep, donkeys and yet more chickens.

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We spent about half-an-hour pottering around the farm, showing Tom the various animals (he’s a big fan of the ‘Where’s My Donkey’ book so seeing real life donkeys was a bonus). For some reason, he was terrified of the small animals stall – we wondered if it might be the red eyes of the albino rabbit – but otherwise seemed very interested in everything. His new yellow rain footies got a lot of attention too!

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Having exhausted the possibilities of the farm, we washed up and headed to the cafe for a hot drink and slice of cake. I found myself sharing a slice of banana loaf, whilst Mr Techno was allowed to have his brownie in peace. The cafe is very family friendly, as you’d expect, with plenty of buggy space and a huge stack of high chairs. For older kids, there is a pottery painting studio room attached, which we must come back to when Tom is old enough.

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We rounded up the trip with a walk round Haggerston Park before heading home for tea. A great day all round.

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Wander Mum

We’re going on a…crab hunt?

The book, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, was one of my family’s favourites growing up. We had the CD, which we used to play in the car on long journeys, and even as adults my siblings and I will recite parts of it.

I love it as a parent as well. It has a great rhythm for reading out loud, is a good length, and best of all, it introduces lots of different environments, complete with sound effects.

So when Tom woke up unnecessarily early from his afternoon nap on Saturday, I decided to make use of our extra time and take him on a bear hunt*.

We set off with Tom on the buggy, teddy in tow for hunting.

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Unfortunately, Tom had other ideas, preferring to ‘hunt’ a plastic crab rattle he had found in the bottom of the buggy. So our bear hunt turned into a crab hunt.

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We hunted crabs in the long, wavy grass.

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And by a deep, cold river (ok, so we didn’t go in. It’s October!)

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Lack of rain meant no mud could be found, so we had to settle for some dirt at the foot of this tree.

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But we did discover a big, dark forest.

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It’s a little early in the year for snowstorms, and the closest thing we could find to a cave was the underpass under Lee Bridge Road. No way was I letting Tom out of the buggy there! All in all though, we had a great time, put the book into a real life context, and explored areas I wouldn’t usually head for. And of course we read the book when we got home.

*Although I had thought of doing this before, I also spotted this fantastic post on things to do outdoors in the autumn, which helped to inspire me: http://www.sunhatsandwellieboots.com/2013/10/50-outdoor-activities-for-kids-this.html

Life Unexpected