Posts tagged ‘blog every day’

November 12, 2013

A Month without Supermarkets Update: BEDN #12

So, we’re 12 days into November and I thought I’d give you a bit of an update about how we’re getting on without supermarkets. We’ve had some notable successes and failures over the past few days, which have provided us with much food for thought (no pun intended!) and set us on course for what comes next.

Here’s what I’ve learnt:

  • Organisation is key to living without supermarkets. On the couple of occasions that we’ve failed, it’s because of a lack of organisation.  Mostly discovering that we’ve run out of milk. Next plan – freeze some milk. Supermarkets are often the only place open on the occasions when you discover that you’ve run out of something vital, and sadly we don’t have a local corner shop that would fill the need for somewhere at short notice, or late at night.
  • Vegetable boxes are great; we’ve really enjoyed using ours. BUT – in order to make the most of them, we’ve needed to be pretty organised. Eating the vegetables in some kind of order of their longevity, rather than leaving the salad until it’s a wilting, soggy mess is important, and has helped us minimise waste.
  • To make sure that you can cook genuinely great food from a veg box, you need a decent stock of the other stuff – herbs, spices, carbohydrates, dairy, protein. In short, everything else. Otherwise you find yourself going “Oh, we’ve got a great squash in the veg box, we could make curry/risotto/soup”, only to discover that you lack everything but squash…
  • Also, getting a veg box rather turns food planning on its head a bit. Often, we might decide to cook something because we’ve seen a recipe or have a hunger for a particular thing. Getting a veg box means that you cook with what you’re sent, not with what you’ve decided to buy from the supermarket. With Abel and Cole, we’re able to see a few days in advance what we’re getting, which means the cookbooks come out, and I have a lovely time planning what to do with what we’re having delivered.

Cookbooks

  • Because part of our hope for this project was to reduce waste, we’re making a lot more use of the freezer too; we’ve made breadcrumbs from stale bread, cooked in bulk, and frozen bananas to make smoothies.
  • There’s a lot less packaging waste from this kind of shopping, simply because there’s a heck of a lot less plastic. It wasn’t part of the original plan, but it’s now something we’re actively seeking to do.
  • We will never be able to do a one-stop-shop at anywhere but a supermarket – not even the central market in Leeds, which is wonderful, stocks everything we’d like. I think we’ve pretty much accepted this, and decided that because the time spent on food shopping in local shops or markets is a joy, rather than a chore, that helps to make up for it taking more time.
  • Having said that, time is precious and short supply here. So, if you’re as busy as us, I recommend that once you’ve found your perfect butcher/baker/cheesemonger, it’s a good idea to stick with them and build some kind of routine, in order to reduce the amount of time you spend on food shopping, even though it is fun! A great case in point is the Leeds Bread Co-op . We’ve just signed up to a regular order, that we will collect every Wednesday, hopefully it will help us stay a bit more organised (see point one!) and the bread is splendid.

Overall, the whole project is going really well. It’s making us appreciate our food more, think about what we’re buying and how we’re cooking it. We’re wasting less food, using less plastic, and really enjoying ourselves in the process. We’ll be continuing with this beyond the month of November, that’s for sure. And even if we do end up buying last-minute milk from a supermarket, if the overwhelming majority of our food comes from elsewhere, then I think we’ll still consider this to be a great success…

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November 9, 2013

Blog Chat: BEDN #9

Today’s blog post is about the subject of blogging itself. I’ve had a day off from #BEDN because yesterday was a bit of a crazy day. If I’d done a post on the prompted subject, which was ‘A Day in the Life’ you’d probably just have needed a lie down after living vicariously through my dashing around.

Anyway, after a day off it was time to get back in the ‘Blog Every Day in November‘ zone, and I did that by reading one of my favourite blogs, Espresso Coco. On there, Dave had written his post using questions from Janet (who writes a blog that I’ve just discovered because of #BEDN) and so I was cheeky and asked if I could use them too. And because they’re clearly both fabulous, they said yes.

So, here we go…

How and when did you decide to start blogging? Um. I have utterly no idea why I started blogging, if I’m honest. Other than for some misguided feeling that the world needed to know what was going on in my head, perhaps? Seriously, I think it was more that I wanted to write, and couldn’t get my head around the idea of being a ‘writer’ (still can’t) and so I thought that starting a blog would be a good way to have a go at writing about things that I was interested in, in a safe and accessible way.

I wrote a blog called ‘Daisy, Daisy’ on Typepad for a really brief period of time, which has now been mothballed because I lost heart with it. Then, after a while, I decided that I wanted to try again, and started ‘Margot and Barbara’ in May 2011. If you asked me now why I blog, it’s basically because I have to. I often go round in circles, loving and hating my blog with equal force. I’m always on the verge of quitting and always on the verge of self-hosting to make it more than a hobby; two completely opposing views about my blogging future. For now though, you’ll find me here, writing because I don’t know how to stop.

What’s the story behind your blog’s name? For those of you of a certain age, Margot and Barbara will be synonymous with The Good Life, and indeed, that’s where my blog name comes from. You can find out more about why I chose the name over on my About Me page. Really, it’s an odd name and I accept that. People often think that there are two people writing it, and if I ever get unsolicited spam emails about ‘working with your blog’ they’re always, but always, addressed to Margot.

On the plus side, many of my Leeds-based Twitter friends now call me ‘Babs’ and I love them for it.  For the record, my name is Elizabeth. You can call me Liz, if we’ve met and you’ve bought me a beer…

What’s the best post you’ve ever written? Dunno. You tell me? In terms of the number of hits it has received since it was published, it’s this post about equestrian influences in fashion. I’m clearly not a ‘fashion’ blogger though, despite my love of clothes, so it’s an unusual post for me. I might write more fashion posts, as I do love the subject. But I’d write from the perspective of a 37 year old woman with a strong belief in sustainability, small wardrobes of clothing, long sleeves and looking good on a budget, so not sure I’d have much of an audience! What do you think? The other things I’d quite like to write a bit more about (at least at the present time) are cycling and beauty. I appreciate that makes this blog a bit odd, but at least it’s honestly who I am. My favourite posts are those that feel true to me. When I feel as though I’ve been open with people, and it’s got a good response, then that’s a good post.

What are your favourite and least favourite things about blogging? Hmm. The worst things are probably trying to fit it into my life. With a full time job, two small kids, one very important lovely boyfriend (with a blog of his own!) family and friends to spend time with, an allotment, loads of hobbies and a to-do list as long as my arm, it’s always a juggling act to find the time for it. It’s partly why I sometimes struggle with blogging and decide to quit, only to return after a few days off, with yet another plan, post or series that I want to write. It’s like a bloody drug… I’m also trying to make more time for finding, reading and commenting on other blogs. Being part of the blogging community is important, yet because I don’t fit into an easy niche, I do sometimes feel a bit lonely.

The best thing about blogging, without question, is the people I’ve met. That, and finding a place where I can be just me. A place that I can talk about the myriad of different things that interest me, and generally find at least one other person on the whole planet who is interested too! I don’t have any great advice for would-be bloggers other than this: if you want to blog, then do. Find the things that you care about, write about them as often as you’d like, as well as you can. And above all, enjoy it…