Global Guardian Project

Global Guardian Project is an inspirational digital multimedia resource – called a learning capsule- designed to educate children (and adults!) about caring for our planet, and to empower children of any age to take action and be change-makers. 

“Our mission is to create learning tools that support the entire family in making simple, daily changes that will become positive habits.”

Each learning capsule is delivered monthly to your inbox. Subscription costs $14.99 per month and can be cancelled anytime. You will only ever pay for what you receive. You can also buy one-off capsules for $16.99. 

The capsules are beautifully presented, and contain a wealth of information and activities. They include things such as endangered species, interviews and spotlights, DIY and art projects, recipes, and guided meditations.  Each one focuses on a different country. The current one is about Sweden and coming next, on 15th April, it will be Israel. Here are some page samples from this month’s Sweden learning capsule…

Global Guardian Project, learning subscription, home education, activist, global citizen, green living, sustainability, our world, freedom to learn, childhood unplugged, affiliate

Global Guardian Project, learning subscription, home education, activist, global citizen, green living, sustainability, our world, freedom to learn, childhood unplugged, affiliate

Global Guardian Project, learning subscription, home education, activist, global citizen, green living, sustainability, our world, freedom to learn, childhood unplugged, affiliate

Global Guardian Project, learning subscription, home education, activist, global citizen, green living, sustainability, our world, freedom to learn, childhood unplugged, affiliate

I cannot express how much I love the aim and approach of this fabulous initiative. As home educators, we are always excited to find awesome new resources. But this one is an absolute dream because it matches our own values so perfectly. So I am genuinely SO delighted to have teamed up with them to offer 10% discount on subscriptions using my code LIVINGLIFEOURWAY To subscribe, click here and enter the code at checkout. Remember you can cancel anytime. 

If you are not sure if you want to commit and would like to try it out first, you can get a free India capsule, worth $14.99, simply by signing up to the newsletter here. They send out useful emails once or twice per month. No junk. Promise.

You can also download the free Oceans capsule here. This is a mini capsule, about 50% of the content of the full size subscription version. But it gives you a great idea of what the capsules are all about. And I am so happy that this one is dedicated to the ocean!

Remember, if you decide to subscribe, my code is LIVINGLIFEOURWAY for your 10% off discount! I hope you love it as much as I do!!!

*Disclosure: I am an affiliate. This means I get paid a referral fee for each person who subscribes using my discount code. You save money, I receive a fee, Global Guardian Project gets subscribers and our planet gains a tribe of protectors. Everyone wins! 

Simple Ways To Reduce Energy Consumption In Your Home

Last week I posted about energy waste and how to save money on your bills. I mentioned briefly how to reduce energy waste within the home. However, I think these tips definitely deserve their own post! 

So here are some simple ways to reduce energy consumption in your home…

Technology Use

Leaving technology on standby or plugged in when not in use consumes small amounts of unnecessary energy that quickly adds up over time. Set technology to fully shut down automatically and/ or remember to turn it off properly at the socket. Unplug phones, tablets etc… as soon as they are fully charged then unplug the charger itself too. 

Small Appliances

Unplug small appliances at the socket when not in use to ensure they are not sneakily wasting energy. At the very least, ensure they are turned off properly at the socket. 

Smart Power Strips

Alternatively, a smart power strip is an affordable way to combat energy waste in your home. These clever strips cut the power supply to technology automatically when it goes into standby mode. Very smart indeed!

Lighting

The Lighting Superstore have created this useful infographic showing why LED bulbs are the way to go as part of their #LEDeasy campaign. In summary, LED lights use up to 90% less energy compared to incandescent bulbs. They also have a longer lifespan, are more environmentally friendly, are versatile in both style and placement, plus offer a wide range of lighting options in terms of brightness and colour too.

The Lighting Superstore, infographic, energy consumption, environment, green living, home and garden, sustainability, eco friendly

Heating

Using your existing heating thermostat/ timer correctly to make sure your heating only comes on when you need it, as high as you need it and for as long as you need it, ensures you heat your home efficiently and only use the energy you really need. 

Water

Take a few moments to sort out any drippy taps in your home. Also switching your showerhead to an eco-friendly design is a fairly inexpensive way of saving water and energy consumption.

My top 5 personal energy-saving actions for my own home:

  • TV, console and freeview box are all on the same strip anyway; so easy to turn it off at the socket! 
  • Ensure other technology is also turned off at the socket or unplugged when not in use. This includes unplugging mobiles as soon as they are fully charged!
  • Unplug kettle, nutribullet and microwave (and any other small appliances) when not in use. 
  • Use LED lightbulbs.
  • Use heating thermostat effectively.


What are your top home energy-saving tips or eco-friendly actions you will take in your own home from now on? Tell me in the comments!


*This is a collaborative post.

Energy Waste: How To Save Money On Bills 

Energy waste is a huge problem – for everyone. It not only impacts our environment but it also costs money too. This infographic by Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies shows how much energy the UK wastes and how this compares to other countries. Perhaps more importantly, it also explains the ways we can save energy (and how much money this can save).

Did you know that the UK wastes a shocking 54% of its energy? Furthermore, the average UK household wastes a massive £250 per year just by not being energy efficient? EEK! Overall, in 2010 the UK used almost 330 billion kWh. For comparison, Africa uses approximately 19004 kWh annually.

Worse still, the amount of energy wasted in 2012 by the US economy could power the whole of the UK for 7 years. Now that really is shocking! The average American household also uses 2.7 times more electricity and 1.3 times more natural gas than the UK too.

So what can we do to reduce energy waste, and therefore also save money? Well, quite a few things actually! Simple changes can make a big difference; turn off technology properly (not just leave on standby!) and/or set them to auto shut down, unplug small appliances when not in use, use smart power strips, use LED lightbulbs and change air filters regularly.

To reduce energy consumption in your home you can make investments that will save you money in the longer run. For example, buy the highest star energy efficient appliances, invest in smart blinds and ceiling fans, install a dual flush toilet and water-saving shower head, and use light dimmer switches.

Underfloor heating is very energy efficiency. To maximise this, make sure your home is properly insulated. Also, use a heating pump. Last but certainly not least, use a smart thermostat to further save energy and therefore heating costs. Ideally this would be in conjunction with underfloor heating but either way it is well worth investing in. 

energy waste, green living, environment, sustainability, home and garden, bills, money saving

*This is a sponsored post.

#LivingLifeWild Linky

Thank you to everyone who linked up last week. There have been some lovely outdoor adenture posts, such as Squished Blueberries sharing their experience of watching the sun rise on the beach. Mummahub did a wonderful job of reminding us how great getting outdoors is for our stress levels and restoring peace, and over on instagram Mammas School has some fantastic unique ideas so do pop over and check her out for inspiration!

I have chosen two instagram pictures to share this week…

This is a stunning photo by Dermot Cosgrove. Read about his adventures in an interview with Phonetic Planet here. I love the quote too!

The second one, I simply love the way the photo captures the sunlight…

Please do link up your posts below, old or new, and use the hastag #LivingLifeWild  For more information, read here.

#livinglifewild, Living Life Wild, nature, wildlife, green living, outdoors, environment, linky, blogging, hashtag, instagram, community

Happy wild adventures!


#LivingLifeWild – RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 

I loved reading everyone’s posts from last week, and seeing your pictures too. Thank you all so much for taking part! Even when it’s cold and you feel reluctant to venture outdoors, it can turn out to be lots of fun, can’t it Eps and Amy?! lol! (Check out the blog post to see what I mean!) 

I have chosen the following instagram photo to share by Mammas School but it was a tough choice! I particularly loved this photo because I never would have thought to do pond dipping at this time of year, but it’s a great idea! 

All of the photos are fab though, I really loved seeing all of your adventures and look forward to seeing more this week! Don’t forget to use the hastag #livinglifewild and also tag me too so I don’t miss it!

#livinglifewild, Living Life Wild, linky, hashtag, nature, wildlife, environment, outdoors, green living, Living Life Our Way

This week we are preparing to do some citizen science for the Big Garden Birdwatch with RSPB. We have got our pack and made sure our garden is inviting and bird friendly! The Big Garden Birdwatch takes place this weekend from 28th-30th January. If you want to take part you can apply for your pack and download it here.

Big Garden Birdwatch, RSPB, #livinglifewild, Living Life Wild, Living Life Our Way, citizen science, nature, wildlife, environment, outdoors, green living, home education

Big Garden Birdwatch, RSPB, #livinglifewild, Living Life Wild, Living Life Our Way, citizen science, nature, wildlife, environment, outdoors, green living, home education

Share your posts (old or new) via the linky below. If you need further information about #livinglifewild hashtag and linky please check out the introduction, or contact me if you have any questions. Lastly, apologies again about the badge (teething issues!) – I am trying to work out how to resolve it, but have removed it temporarily until it is sorted. Please feel free to text link to my blog instead if possible, thanks. 

Have a fantastic wild week everybody!!!


Introducing #LivingLifeWild Community

Welcome! I am SO excited to introduce you all to #LivingLifeWild – the new hashtag and weekly linky for any posts and photos related to nature, wildlife, green living, environment and outdoor adventures…

#livinglifewild, Living Life Wild, nature, wildlife, green living, outdoors, environment, linky, blogging, hashtag, instagram, community

The Linky

Each Thursday I will post up a new linky for you to share your latest blog posts related to the theme. The linky will remain open until the following week, when the new one begins. If you do share a link, please comment on the linked up post directly before your own, the host post (ie mine) and at least one other. I will always try to comment on all of the links shared too. Also remember to grab a badge and share it on your blog post too! (Edit 22/01 teething issues with my badge! Please tag me in your post instead until I get the badge running, apologies and thank you!)

The hashtag

This does not mean you have to be a blogger to get involved! Anyone can join in; please tag me in your own latest nature, wildlife, green living, natural environment or outdoor adventure photos/ posts on instagramtwitter or facebook and use the hastag #LivingLifeWild to be part of our community. I will share as many on social media as possible, plus I will also choose one or two to share in the following week blog post too 💚

I hope this explains things well enough but if you do have any questions then please feel free to get in touch via the comment section below. 

#LivingLifeWild

So to kick it all off, I am going to keep it very simple for this week and just share my most recent instagram photo from this past week:

I can’t wait to read your posts and see your pictures! Have a wild week, see you next Thursday!

Katie xx


​Why Underfloor Heating Increases Your Room Temperature but Not Your Bills

Increased energy efficiency and saving money go hand-in-hand. The better insulated and efficient your home is at hanging onto heat, the more money you will save. But why does the installation of high quality underfloor heating kits make such a big difference? Are the savings after installation costs worth it?

underfloor heating, environment, green living, Living life Our Way

Installation Costs Vs. Savings
Take a moment to research underfloor heating, including its pros and cons, and you will see various articles that examine installation costs versus savings. Estimates of installation costs and savings fluctuate, depending on the source of the article. Some say that the savings are out of this world. Others suggest that the saving are too low to make the installation of the underfloor heating systems a viable solution.

Then there are running costs to consider too. For example, wet underfloor heating kits are more expensive to install but deliver better savings. Dry or electric mats are simpler, easier and cheaper to install but are more expensive to run.

So, what is the answer? Like any heating system, there are pros and cons. But the facts are a little simpler to decipher; a new heating system, underfloor or otherwise, is a long-term investment, offering longer-term savings. However, in most cases, and certainly when it comes to underfloor heating that is water based, savings are immediate. You will notice a difference in your energy bills, but the savings may not be the thousands of pounds every year – there is no heating system that can deliver this!

Use with alternative sources of energy
There is some suggestion that by using underfloor heating with alternative sources of energy you could save even more. This is a possibility, in the long term.

  • Ground source heat – this is where a series of pipes are buried deep in the ground. They use the heat in the earth to heat water running through your wet underfloor heating system. Clearly, as well as installation costs of the underfloor heating system, there is the additional expense of sinking pipes into the ground. Not suitable for all properties but has the potential to produce minimal heating bills.
  • Solar power – with a line of efficient solar panels on your south facing roof, you could generate enough electricity to heat an electric underfloor heating system. Again, there are double installation costs. However, if you generate too much solar power, you can use it elsewhere in your home, or sell it onto the National Grid and benefit from the Government pay-in tariff scheme.

Use with combi-boilers
There are various schemes around that help to pay for old, inefficient boilers to be replaced. A combi-boiler is possibly one of the most efficient pieces of kit to heat your home, using less energy to produce the same level of heat as an older boiler would. A combi-boiler can be used with a wet underfloor heating kit and produces some great savings. This is because the system runs at a lower temperature, over a longer period of time.

You can liken this to driving a car. If you drive a car at full speed, with heavy braking and poor cornering, a tank of fuel will not last as long as if you drive at an optimum speed, with gentle braking and careful cornering. The same is true of combi-boilers and wet underfloor heating system. The energy used is lower and constant, as opposed to the system being asked to crank up from a low level to a high level, and in the least amount of time possible.

High Insulation Levels
Finally, a reputable underfloor heating supplier and installation company will tell you one thing; if you are serious about having a warm, cosy home and minimal heating bills, you need to invest in insulating your home. This is not about fitting draught excluders, but investing in super-insulation measures, such as;

  • Wall insulation – using cavity wall insulation or solid wall systems will make a big difference to the insulation properties of your home. An additional cost but an insulation tool that will have an immediate effect on decreasing your energy consumption to heat your home.
  • Double glazed windows – A+ rated double glazed windows and doors will also improve the energy efficiency of your property.
  • Loft insulation – when was the last time you updated your loft insulation? If it has a depth of less than 270mm, you are losing heat through the roof.
  • Floor insulation – all reputable underfloor heating installers will ensure that the kit sits on high-quality insulation boards so that no heat is lost to the ground.

Underfloor heating will make a difference to both room temperature and your heating bills. Why not start saving money and be cosy warm with underfloor heating?

Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies have a range of high-quality underfloor heating kits and components, perfect for both professional and DIY installation.

 

This is a sponsored post.

Sustainable Gift Ideas

Are you still looking for last minute gift ideas? Do you want to find a gift with a difference? Then why not choose something that gives back to our planet! Here is a list of great eco-friendly items to fill your (bamboo) stockings with…

Bamboo Coffee Cup Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) £12 each

This awesome 400 ml reusable bamboo coffee cup is dishwasher-safe, easy to carry around and lasts for years. It can be disposed of by crushing, soaking in hot water and burying with organic compost. The silicone lid and sleeve can be recycled.

SAS, surfers against sewage, reusable, coffee cup, bamboo, green gifts, gift ideas, eco friendly, environment, sustainable

Annual Membership The Wildlife Trusts

The Wildlife Trusts do fantastic work, and annual membership is a great gift for eco-friendly nature lovers.

Homemade Soap Second nature Soaps £12.95 

These homemade soaps are made using natural ingredients sourced locally wherever possible, and use biodegradeable recyclable packaging. Or have a go at making your own DIY handmade soaps to give as beautiful gifts!

Clothing/ Gift Card BrainTree Clothing £5-500

This gorgeous range of thoughtful clothing is made from sustainable materials such as hemp, organic cotton and bamboo.

More Stocking Fillers:

Do you have sustainable gift ideas? Please share them with me! I’d love to hear them.

This post contains affiliate links.

Eco- Friendly Christmas Decoration Ideas

We love it when it’s time to decorate for Christmas and turn our home into a festive wonderland! For us, it’s all about getting into the spirit and having fun together. But one thing that is also important to me is finding ways that we can make our Christmas decor abit more eco-friendly. We always try to be mindful of the materials we buy or choose to use, and the amount of waste we create, but Christmas can be an extra tough time for the environment. So on that note, here are some wonderful creative festive ideas that won’t cost the earth…

If you are looking for an alternative to a traditional Christmas tree then take a look at these great DIY versions by Inhabitots. We have a cardboard tree from IKEA (sadly no longer in stock) which we love because it can be reused – ours is on it’s third year – and can be easily recycled once finished with. The design could easily be recreated at home if you are feeling creative!

Christmas, decorations, reuse, recycle, eco, environment, DIY, festive decor, cardboard tree

The Forestry Commission have some beautiful suggestions for natural homemade decorations on Pinterest. Squiggle has been asking to make our own wreath, and there is a lovely design for us to try out.

I also love these ‘reuse and recycle’ ideas from Festive Lights. I didn’t know that gingerbread cookies can be varnished to make longer lasting decorations; I’m very keen to try that out, such a simple but effective idea, and a fun family activity! I also particularly love the snowman fridge too, so cute!

Christmas, decorations, reuse, recycle, eco, environment, DIY, festive decor, infographic, Festive Lights

Salt dough Christmas tree ornaments are natural and fully biodegradeable, yet are easy to make and look great! There is an excellent detailed step-by-step guide by MommyPotamus here. Squiggle had fun making some recently!

Christmas, decorations, reuse, recycle, eco, environment, DIY, festive decor, salt dough hanging ornaments

Do you have any eco-friendly decoration ideas? I would love to hear about them!

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Littlesea Haven Holiday Park, Weymouth, Dorset

Last month we went to Weymouth for a mid week short break to Littlesea Haven Holiday Park. This was our second trip to Littlesea and, given it was one of our favourite Haven sites, we were very keen to return! It certainly did not disappoint.

Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
Pretty scenic views at Littlesea Haven Holiday Park

Littlesea is a lovely site, with scenic views and nice little ‘Tiger Trail’ nature walks. Squiggle really enjoyed following the Rory footprints on our map, so good for developing her map reading skills too!

Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
Tiger Trail on-site nature walks

There are also several playgrounds on-site, with a variety of equipment suitable for a range of ages. It is great that there are different play areas dotted around the park, as it encouraged us to explore further to find them all!

Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
Playground outside main entertainment complex
Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
The playground in the campsite section of Littlesea
Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
A lovely little natural playground

The holiday park is set next to Fleet Lagoon nature reserve, with pretty nature walks and coastal paths. We did find that some of the paths were abit too overgrown (and that is baring in mind we often explore wild overgrown areas!) and it was not always clear where to walk next, so better signage might be useful. However, I am not sure how much of this belonged to Haven, as it wasn’t clear at what point we left the site. Regardless, we had fun exploring and enjoyed a wonderful walk to Chesil beach.

Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
Beautiful nature walks overlooking Fleet Lagoon
Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
Exploring Fleet Lagoon

The caravan itself was clean and spacious, with everything we would need for our stay. We were also very kindly upgraded, which meant the quiet but central location of the caravan suited our needs perfectly. (A quiet area of the park is absolutely essential for Squiggle).

Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
Caravan at Littlesea Haven site

There is a good range of on-site amenities and facilities including; a Spar shop, gift shop, coffee shop, take aways, restaurant, bar, arcades, soft play, pool, golf, sports courts, entertainment venue and multiple play areas, as mentioned.

Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way, environment
View of golf
Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
Arcade

The swimming pool was newly refurbished last year and is lovely, with fun water features that Squiggle loves. Both indoors and outdoors there are shallow paddling pools, as well as the deeper family swimming pools. The changing rooms are quite small but adequate. There is also a separate pool for water sports and activities, for an additional charge, which we didn’t personally take part in but they do seem to be well recommended by others who have, and having a separate area dedicated to this is a great idea.

The showbar has been refurbished even more recently, just this year. It is a spacious venue with a good size stage and dance floor. The entertainment held in the showbar is a fun mix of discos, shows and competitions. Squiggle adores the Seaside Squad shows and she loves to meet them for cuddles; this is one of her highlights of Haven Holidays. Because of the nature of her needs, it is important that she feels unhurried during these meetings (otherwise it triggers her severe anxiety and OCD), which can be difficult during busier times or with certain members of staff present (and is difficult for me because I can’t mention it around her, as that also makes it much worse!) However, the majority of the team seem very understanding of SEND in many ways, and do a wonderful job generally. And Squiggle had a fantastic time meeting several of the characters!

Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
Meeting some of the Seaside Squad

 

The characters also give some great positive messages through their songs, shows and activities, for example about exercise, healthy eating and taking care of our environment. Squiggle often sings lines from Greedy’s songs such as ‘pick up all the rubbish and put it in the bin’ and dances around to keep fit like Rory. These are great role- models for children!

Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way, healthy eating, health, environment
Seaside Squad showtimes

This emphasis on healthy lifestyle and environment etc… runs throughout many of the daytime activities on offer too; with plenty of sports and games, and outdoor activities such as den building, exploring nature and wildlife spotting. I also really liked the information displayed in the corridor between Reception and the entertainment complex too.

Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way, nature, wildife, outdoors, environment
Display in main complex
Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way, wildlife, nature, environment
Bug Hotel

Overall, this was an absolutely wonderful holiday and we would highly recommend it. Thank you Haven for another brilliant time!

Caravan park, Weymouth, Dorset, England, holidays, places to go, review, Living Life Our Way
Littlesea Haven Holiday Park

(Photos of our previous trip to Weymouth are here).