Lent and the Year’s Intentions

 

Today is the first day of Lent and I have been considering whether I should give up or take up anything. My mum and sister always give up chocolate, and I have joined in a couple of times. But I always feel that giving up something like that kind of misses the religious connotations of the period. Instead, I am going to take up being thankful. It is something I try to do anyway – recognise the blessings in my life (which are many) – but focusing on it specifically for a set period will hopefully help me appreciate what I have even more.

I don’t especially intend to share moments of thankfulness on this blog – there’s enough people out there keeping thankfulness diaries already. But you may get an update a few weeks down the line.

Lent also feels like an appropriate moment to re-visit my intentions for this year:

Be Mindful of Food Choices

Avoiding meat for most meals and making more considered food choices is going ok, but is probably the one I have been doing worst on. I have slipped up a couple of times and ordered things with fish in at restaurants, because I forgot I wasn’t supposed to. And Mr Techno always provides a meat-based meal when he cooks on Tuesday evenings. And there was a pack of bacon open in the fridge that needed eating, so I did add that to my pea and goats cheese salad. But I’ve still managed to cut way down on meat consumption, going from eating it almost everyday to just once or sometimes twice a week.

We’ve also made the switch to getting milk and juice from our local milkman. Along with the veg box we have had for years, this is helping us reduce our reliance on big supermarkets and cut down on packaging waste. Hurray!

Buy Only Secondhand Clothes

Tom is beginning to grow out of his 12-18 month wardrobe, so I’ve been having to buy him a whole bunch of clothes. So far we’ve scored everything we need secondhand, though I may need to get him some vests new, as I’ve been struggling to find enough in the right size. He needs more pjs too, but is otherwise set for the next few months and I’m pretty confident I can find him some secondhand (it is lack of money, rather than availability, that is holding me back currently).

I did get a new pair of walking boots at the very beginning of the year, but have allowed myself this as a) it was Mr Techno’s Christmas present to me and b) I really needed a good quality, good fitting pair which is difficult to achieve secondhand. With luck these will last me at least 10 years, where as a secondhand pair would be unlikely to have so much life left in them.

I’ve also developed a minor obsession with wearing men’s vests over leggings, but have kept to my promise and bought a few on ebay rather than getting them new. I tried to take a selfie to show you my favourite, but my selfie skills are sadly pants, so you will have to do without. I know this will be a great disappointment!

 

Get Outdoors Everyday

And, of course, we are still getting outside everyday. I don’t think we have had a single day this year when we haven’t got out, even if it is just the walk to nursery, or a potter round the garden (sometimes in the dark with a torch just before bath and bed). My new job and our lack of family time recently has meant we haven’t explored as many new places as I had hoped, but we have discovered a new park and gone on a trip to Epping Forest, so some progress has been made. We also have a camping trip in Wales planned for this summer (I have to go anyway to run a course on repairing old floors and the site we are using is right on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, so was far too good to pass up!)

 

Anyone else giving something up for Lent? Or taking on a new challenge?

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Intentions for a Greener New Year

Happy 2016 everyone! 2015 was a good year for us – we got to watch Tom grow from a four month old baby to a 16 month old toddler; a journey that has included him starting nursery, learning to crawl and then to walk, and begin to say his first words. I went back to work and Mr Techno was promoted. And we enjoyed some wonderful adventures in the great outdoors.

Like a lot of people, I’m very wary of New Year’s Resolutions, especially those that require me to give something up, or take up something I don’t enjoy (going to the gym springs to mind…) I have more sympathy with those that involve taking up a new challenge, and thought of doing something like that for this year. However, there is already a new challenge on the horizon which is likely to change our daily lives a bit – I can’t say more now as it is not yet finalised, but should have more news for you soon!

Until I know what impact this change will have, I don’t want to commit myself to further new challenges. So instead of resolving to do something new this year, I thought I would put together a short list of things we already do, which I intend to explore more deeply.

1. Be Mindful of Food Choices
As I explained in a previous post, I try to reduce the impact that our food choices have on the amount of waste we produce. However, I definitely used to be more mindful of where our food comes from. There was a time when the only meat I ate was the pigs my parents raised, or the game shot by my father-in-law. In both cases, I knew exactly how the animal/bird had been raised and how it had been died. In the case of the pigs, I even knew their names. But my parents no longer keep pigs, and I let pregnancy cravings alter my diet to the point that meat is now on the table most days. Since that excuse was exhausted long ago, it is more than time for me to reassess the amount of meat I eat. As a result, I intend to reduce this by only eating meat if someone else is cooking for me. Admittedly, this is less admirable than it might be, as Mr Techno cooks dinner once a week. But I feel it is a commitment I can sustain, whilst anything more is likely to test my resolve too far in the long run.

2. Buy Only Second Hand Clothes
As a university student, I made a commitment to only buy clothes that were either second-hand, or produced ethically. Realistically, that meant only second-hand clothes, as new ethical fashion tended to be a bit beyond my budget. But over the years I have slipped a bit, using the excuse of my changing shape (weight loss, then pregnancy, then post-baby weight not shifting) to buy the odd item of new clothing. I intend to go back to my original commitment, buying all of my clothes and most of Tom’s second hand (some things, like vests, I struggle to find enough of, so have to buy new). The exceptions will be underwear and shoes – underwear is hopefully obvious, and I tend to wear my shoes into the ground, so need them to fit well and be in reasonably good nick, something that can be hard to find second hand (I have tiny feet).

3. Get Outdoors Every Day
Making this pledge a few months ago, and then starting this blog to help me stick to it, has really transformed my life in a way I wasn’t expecting. I feel calmer, happier, fitter and more energetic than I did before. My bond with Tom has deepened as we spend quality time together outside, away from the electronic distractions at home. Mr Techno and I talk excitedly about where we will explore next, instead of letting lethargy get the better of us and make us stay indoors. I intend to build on this good work by continuing to explore the places local to us, but also by venturing further afield. We hope to take some camping trips come spring, and, as Tom begins to need less sleep, we want to take more day-trips to places outside of London. The new challenge I mentioned earlier in this post will have an impact, but one that I think we can work around.

So bring on 2016 – a year that will hopefully be as good as the last, if not better. A year that I hope will be greener in more ways than one. I can’t wait to get started!

 

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