Fun Family Activities To Celebrate Earth Day!

Sunday 22nd April is Earth Day. So here are some lovely ways you can celebrate, either then or any other day (because really, everyday should be Earth Day anyway!)…

Fun Family Activities To Celebrate Earth Day!

Nature Art

There are lots of fun nature art activities that you can do as a family. One that is particularly great for Earth Day is to collect some large pebbles, arrange them in a solid circle, then paint them with a map of the world (I decided to add a peace sign too!)

Earth day, world peace, creative, art, artivism, family fun, educational activities, home education, green living, global citizen, our world, environment

Get Crafty!

Make a paper mache globe – a project takes several days but is lots of messy creative fun – head on over to The Crafty Classroom to for a detailed tutorial. Or make an Earth Pom Pom, pop over to Monkey and Mouse for info!

Nature Walk

Use all your senses to explore the natural environment around you. Stop for a few moments, be still and listen. What do you hear? What do you see? What can you smell? Touch the bark of a tree, go barefoot on the grass. Take it all in and connect with our earth.

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Complete a Challenge

Go from room to room to find ways to reduce energy consumption in your family home. Who can spot the most ways?

Give Earth a Helping Hand

Clean up your local environment with a two minute litter pick in your local park or nearby beach.

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Family Movie Night

Watch an eco documentary such as A Plastic Ocean or Blue Planet 2.

Storytime Snuggles

Grab some books from your local library, such as Duffy’s Lucky Escape.

Duffy's Lucky Escape

Plastic- Free Picnic

Can you manage to hold a plastic- free family picnic? Which part is most difficult? How could you resolve it?

Take Part in a Project

Create your own family documentary about whichever aspect of green living you choose. Or make a poster about it. Or whatever format you prefer! The key is to engage with your ideas and share them with others.

What are you doing for Earth Day? Tell me in comments, I look forward to reading about it!

Sustainable St Albans Week 2018 and Launch of Plastic Free St Albans!

There are only a few days to go now until Sustainable St Albans Week 2018, so I want to share with you some of the fab things that will be going on! If you are local, then pop along to some of the events to learn more about eco living and show your support. And if you aren’t local, maybe these ideas will inspire you to host your own event in your local town!

The week will be kicking off with an afternoon of talks to launch the event, as well as over a dozen activities on just the first day alone. Over the course of the week there is a massive range of fun, educational and inspiring activities for all ages.

Sustainable St Albans Week 2018 logo

Some of the highlights include the grand opening of our first ‘Little Free Library’ – where you can take a book and donate another, several guided walks and cycle rides, organised wildlife watch, vegan cooking demo and tasting (yum!), plenty of talks and workshops on various topics, eco tours, growing activities, seed swaps, clothes swaps, litter picks, poetry recitals and film screenings. The list goes on and on…! It is a jam packed week full of brilliant options to choose from.

Children can also meet Munch the recycling lorry and discover more about recycling, do creative activities using old items, take part in interactive storytelling, attend woodcraft taster sessions, and swap books, amongst other things. Lots of the other activities are very family- friendly and suitable for all ages too of course!

For the full event schedule visit the Sustainable St Albans website and download the booklet.

There is also a one day Know- How Festival, which sounds brilliant! I thought this was worth a specific mention as it has so much going on for the whole family. Here is further information…

Know How festival flyer - part of Sustainable St Albans Week 2018

As part of Sustainable St Abans Week, on Sunday 22nd April, which very aptly is also Earth Day, marks the official launch of Plastic Free St Albans. I am so excited about this, so let me tell you more about it!

Plastic Free St Albans is inspired by Surfers Against Sewage – an environmental charity who are leading a national campaign called Plastic Free Coastlines, to encourage communities to drastically reduce single use plastics – and is an alliance of several local activists. It was founded by Emma Tyers, who previously ran the hugely successful St Albans Refuse the Straw campaign and also has members from our fantastic local groups, Sustainable St Albans and St Albans Friends of the Earth, too. What a team! The group aims to hopefully achieve S.A.S Plastic Free status eventually.

Plastic Free St Albans logo

The main goal is to work with local businesses, schools, and other organisations to remove, as far as possible, plastic straws and stirrers, water bottles and balloons from St Albans. These particular items are being targetted because they are so rarely recycled, and therefore form such a large part of our plastic waste and litter.

They are also working on St Albans Refill scheme, which asks businesses to provide free water bottle refills to anyone who asks, free of charge. Look out for other upcoming projects in future too!

Last but not least, check out their excellent interactive map of all things plastic free, so you can see how the campaign is developing and, more importantly, know where to head to avoid the plastic! Awesome initiative, looking forward to seeing the map grow!

You can also read more about Plastic Free St Albans in this Herts Ad article.

To launch this fantastic new campaign, there will be a plastic-free picnic at Highfield park on Sunday afternoon, followed by a screening of A Plastic Ocean in the evening, along with a panel of guest speakers, hosted at the beautiful Odyssey cinema. There are only a few tickets left, so grab yours now!

Enjoy what promises to be an inspirational and exciting week!

Handmade recycled silver labradorite stone ring image and giveaway wording

GIVEAWAY!!!

To help celebrate and support both Sustainable St Albans Week and Plastic Free St Albans, the lovely Sally from Leonard of London has offered us a stunning piece of jewellery to giveaway to one lucky campaign supporter! This gorgeous handmade ring is made from recycled sterling silver and has a beautiful labradorite stone.

The ring will be resized for the winner as per the measurements given before sending it to them.

Check out Leonard of London on facebook for more of her work.

Handmade recycled silver labradorite stone ring

The giveaway ends on 21st May 2018 and is open to UK residents only. Enter via rafflecopter below. Other T&Cs apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

9 Awesome Reasons Why You Should Travel To Tokyo

In every part of the world, no matter where you are, you always hear a lot of people saying they want to go to Tokyo. Why is that?

It is because you will never run out of things to do and places to see when you travel to Tokyo city in Japan. There are just so many options for you that you can never go wrong with any choice.

Travelling there isn’t difficult either, as there are efficient modes of transportation in Tokyo, plus getting to Japan isn’t so difficult – thanks to Cleartrip! Cleartrip has cheap flights to Narita Airport.

9 Awesome Reasons Why You Should Travel To Tokyo title with an image of Tokyo

Where can you go?

Meiji Shrine
In Japan learning about their culture doesn’t need to be done through reading tons of history books, it can be simply done by going to the places where they worship and pray. It is not just the solemnity of the place which you will enjoy, but the architecture and the overall atmosphere of the area as well.

Tsukiji Market
No better place to food trip than in Tsukiji Market. It will be the kind of market that you won’t want to leave because not only is it clean and organized but the entire market itself isn’t rowdy and super crowded. You get to go around peacefully while having a bite-to-eat here and there. Make sure to save some space in your tummy before you go here.

Ginza
Let your inner shopaholic wild and free in Ginza. Ginza is the known place in Tokyo ALL OVER THE WORLD where you can have your shopping galore with the assurance that everything you buy is worth it. If you’ve been lessening your expenses during your trip, this is the place where you spend what you’ve saved.

A photo of Ginza at night

DisneySea
It may not exactly be found in Tokyo, however it is really close. It is an amusement park that is somewhat like a water park, but it is the only one that exists in the whole world.

Ghibli Museum
Studio Ghibli fans out there, this is the place to make all your dreams come true. If you’ve seen the films produced by this studio, then you will definitely enjoy going to this museum because it is as if they transport you to the world of every film they’ve made.

What else can I do?

Eat Sushi from a Sushi Stand
Sushi from a stand in Japan truly has an unforgettable taste. Japanese people really treat this delicacy with such finesse that in every place that serves sushi, you’d love.

Sushi

Try Out their Desserts
There are Japanese desserts that are very unique to the country. Many of which can be found in Tokyo.

Cross in Shibuya Crossing
As simple as this may be, once you are there you would actually be surprised on how cool it really is.

Get a meal in 7/11
You read that right. A 7/11 in Japan is unlike any other 7/11 in the world. You might actually think you’re dining in a formal restaurant with the flavours of the food their 7/11 has.

There is no need to wait any longer, book your trip in Cleartrip to Tokyo now!

*This is a collaborative post with Karla.

Eco- Friendly Periods: What’s So Amazing About Menstrual Cups? A Guest Post by Jackie Bolen

Here’s something that I have some serious regret about…

Not knowing about menstrual cups until I was in my early 30’s. I’m not sure how I didn’t figure it out until then. Maybe I wasn’t hanging around the eco-friendly crowd, or maybe it was that menstrual cups weren’t so popular back then. Whatever it was, I’m happy that I did eventually hear about them from a friend of mine. I went out and immediately bought a Diva Cup, and have been using it ever since.

I do regret all those wasted year though. Imagine how much money I could have saved, and how much trash I could have not thrown out?

I’m going to share with you what’s so amazing about menstrual cups, and offer some advice if you’d like to make the switch yourself.

Eco- Friendly Periods: What's So Amazing About Mooncups? Image of 4 confident womens silhouettes against a sunset background.

More Money in the Bank at the End of the Month

I’m sure you know this already, but disposable pads and tampons are expensive! I know that I always feel a bit of sticker shock every single time I walk down that aisle at the drugstore. According to the Huffington Post, people spend an average of 13 pounds a month on feminine hygiene products. That’s a lot, especially considering that it’s an expense we incur every single month for around 40 years.

In the UK, tampons and sanitary towels are taxed at a rate of 5%. This has changed a few times during the last 40 years, but it’s currently at the lowest rate possible. It’s still too much.

Although menstrual cups cost around 20 pounds, they can last for years with proper care and cleaning. The best news is that you’ll recoup your costs in only a couple of months, when compared to disposable pads or tampons.

Less Waste Going to the Landfill

Estimates vary, but it’s thought that the average person uses between 11,000 and 16,000 tampons during their lifetime, resulting in 100-200 kg of waste from sanitary products. A portion of this waste is plastic which is not biodegradable. Although tampons and pads are not a big part of the larger waste problem, this is waste that can be avoided by making the switch to a menstrual cup.

Menstrual cups generally last for 5-10 years, so over a lifetime, a person will need only 4-8 of them. This is significantly less waste than thousands of pads and tampons. And there’s more good news—depending on where you live, menstrual cups can often be recycled.

Reduce your Exposure to Chemicals

Pads and tampons often contain trace amounts of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Manufacturing companies aren’t exactly upfront about what’s in their products, and legislators have been slow to require this. Although there are no long-term studies about what effects these chemicals have, it’s thought that exposure to them might be linked to things as serious as cancer.

I hope that governments will pass legislation that requires companies to disclose what’s in pads or tampons, and/or companies will work to eliminate these harmful things. In the meantime, it makes sense to use a menstrual cup instead.

As long as you get a top-quality cup (avoid the cheap ones from China), it’s made from medical grade silicone that is safe to use inside your body. It will not leak chemicals into your bloodstream and you’ll be able to have a safer period experience.

No Risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome

To date, there has been one reported case of Toxic Shock Syndrome that resulted from using a menstrual cup. With tampons, there are thousands of cases every year. Menstrual cups are not without risks, but it seem that the risk of this very serious condition is far lower than when using tampons.

Ready to Make the Switch?

Are you ready to have a cheaper, safer, and more environmentally friendly period? Then it’s time to consider choosing menstrual cups instead of disposable pads or tampons.

If you live in the UK, an excellent place to start is the MoonCup. It’s a company based in Brighton that makes one of the most popular menstrual cups in the world. MoonCup has been around for years, and people that try the cup really seem to love it.

You can buy the MoonCup directly from the cup for around 20 pounds, and shipping is free in the UK. Check it out here: MoonCup’s Website.

Image of hand holding mooncup with box and bag also in photo. Photo by Dylan and Me.Image Credit: Dylan and Me

Author Bio

Jackie Bolen is a tree-hugging, friend of the Earth who can usually be found on top of a mountain, paddling the rivers, or drinking coffee around Vancouver, Canada. She hopes that one day, a menstrual cup will be found in the hands of every single menstruating person in the world. This has the potential to make it a much better place.

*This is a guest post.

Rainwater Harvesting: Advantages for Your Home and Garden

It need not be said that water is an essential resource for all of us. We can live without a day of electricity, and there are many undeveloped places in the world that make do without its convenience; but everyone in the world, regardless of where they are, needs water. It is a necessity to all life.

Some of us are privileged to have instant and convenient access to water anytime we want. But not all of us appreciate this privilege; in fact, a lot of us take it for granted. We think all the water that we have at our fingertips -literally – is unlimited. But it’s not. Already, certain parts of the world are experiencing drought, and if we remain heedless about how we consume our water supply, this drought will become a global problem.

It becomes crucial then that we find ways on how to save on our water usage. For one thing, we should fix leaks around the house, as leaks are one of the top causes of wastefulness in the home. You might think all those drips don’t amount to anything, but over time, they accumulate to a sizable quantity of water. How sizable? Approximately ten thousand gallons per year. So get in touch with a professional plumber and stop those leaks before they give you problems.

Another thing you can do is to upgrade the faucets and showerheads in your household to more modern and more efficient ones. For instance, when brushing your teeth, do you really need a faucet with a really strong, pressurized flow? You are much better off with a low-pressure flow for these activities.

Finally, the practice of harvesting rainwater can help to cut down your monthly water consumption as well as your bills. Rainwater harvesting is the habit of making use of one of nature’s free resources – rain – and harnessing it for our own various household uses. This practice can bring about several advantages for your home and garden…

Rainwater Harvesting: Advantages for Your Home and Garden title with image

It reduces the risks of soil erosion and flooding.

This sustainable habit can benefit the environment in a lot of ways. For one, it can help to prevent erosion around your property as well as reduce storm water runoff. It can also decrease incidences of flooding in your area. In incidents of a torrential downpour, there’s a lot of excess rainwater that doesn’t get soaked into the ground and only ends up flooding your area. It would be much better if you made use of this water instead.

It reduces your water bills.

Harvesting rainwater can also help you reduce your monthly water consumption. Imagine if you were to use rainwater for your various household needs and tasks like doing the laundry and washing your car. You would not need to consume that much water from your tap like you normally do. Ultimately, you get to save on your water bills each month.

It can give you a backup supply.

There may come a time when your water supply gets cut off due to various reasons, like when the water company is doing major repairs or when there is simply a drought in your area and your community needs to ration their water use. In these instances, the rainwater you harvested can serve as a useful and necessary backup supply.

It eases the demand for ground water.

Although the Earth is covered with water for about 71 percent of its surface, more than 96 percent of that water is ocean-based and thus is unusable. Disregarding inaccesible fresh water found in icecaps and glaciers, we thus only have access to 1 percent ground water. Consider the fact that entire Earth population relies on this 1 percent and you can realize the extreme demand that is continually put on our limited supply. Once we start harnessing the power of rain, we can greatly reduce the demand that our population exacts on ground water.

Rainwater can be used for a variety of purposes.

We use water in our household for a variety of purposes, such as doing the laundry, washing the dishes, bathing and showering, flushing the toilets, washing the car, watering our plants, among many. All these tasks require a large amount of water in total every single day. While rainwater is the softest kind of water there is, it is also versatile in that you can use it for all these different purposes. Because it has no chemicals, it is better for your hair and skin and your plants and it also requires lesser amounts of detergents when washing clothes and dishes.

Now that you know all about the advantages that rainwater harvesting can bring about for your home and garden, you might want to invest in quality containers that a reputable company like Rain Water Tanks provides. Just a little cost upfront will help you save a lot on your water consumption and bills in the future.

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored guest post.

Fun Ways to Get Children Active Outdoors

In this day and age, children have grown up with technology. Smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and instant access to the internet is completely normal to them – meaning it’s a different world from when we grew up. While technology is fantastic, it does mean it can be difficult to get kids outdoors. When they have the world at their fingertips they’re less interested in running around outdoors than previous generations have been. But it’s so important to get them away from their devices and outside, learning about the real world and what matters. Here’s how you can go about it…

 Fun Ways to Get Children Active Outdoors title with image of child throwing leaves

Get Them Involved in the Garden

Gardening is an active hobby, and also teaches children patience. It shows if you work hard now, something fantastic will grow later on. It shows them the importance of daily care and nurturing of the garden, helping to develop empathy for the natural world around them. They will also learn about things like soils, types of crops, fertiliser and much more.

Since the growing season is relatively short in most places, it’s worth investing in a greenhouse to stretch this out as long as possible. If you have an old dilapidated one in your back garden, you could bring it back to life with some new sheeting for your greenhouse and a good clean. Choose some crops that are easy to grow in your climate zone, and then work your way up to more difficult ones. Children are more likely to try foods that they’ve grown too, so could be a good way to encourage healthier eating.

Take Them Camping

Camping is a cheap and cheerful vacation that all the family can enjoy, and is a great way to get kids outdoors. From putting up tents to building dens, and generally running around and having fun, it’s a great way to get kids outdoors and away from their screens without it feeling like a chore. You could stay in a tent, an RV or more of a glamping experience in a ‘pod’- check out local campsites and see what kind of things are available. If you go away with friends and their children it could be a fun bonding experience too.

Two children outdoors studying something on the ground next to a pond.

Go on Hikes

Hiking is a great way to keep your family fit; even if you have younger children you could simply pick an easier hiking trail. You get to observe nature, you could print out fun worksheets from Pinterest and do a fun nature trail, take photos or look at birds and wildlife through binoculars. You could collect items such as feathers, pine cones and interesting pebbles, then use them to craft with later on. Or see if your local area does rock hunting even!

Make these walks fun, keep the conversation light and upbeat, and encourage them to really get into it. Even during the colder months, simply wrap up warm and wear wellies to keep your feet dry. If you have a dog you could take them along too, or alternatively you could all take your bikes out and follow biking trails instead.

Find An Outdoor Sport Or Hobby

There are lots of outdoor sports and hobbies that encourage children to have fun outdoors. From water sports and team games, to geogaching or traditional orienteering, there are many examples of lovely activities that will inspire children to spend time outside.

Another example is fishing; this isn’t just a fun hobby, there’s plenty that it can teach children. One of the main being patience, this isn’t a skill many children (or adults for that matter) are blessed with, and it’s something that could come in useful to them throughout their lives. Learning that good things come to those who wait and practicing calm and patience during uncertainty is a fantastic lesson.

*This is a collaborative post.

My Zero Waste Haul (with Eco Friendly Bundle Giveaway)

As part of Plastic Free July, I have been making more effort to find new ways to reduce waste in our home. We have been on a journey to consciously gradually reduce our waste, and especially plastic, for a while now anyway but there will always be more action we can take! So I walked around the house, and looked at our current waste and recycling, to come up with an action plan. Then I did some online shopping for zero waste essentials! Here are some of my purchases:

Bamboo Cloths

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, bamboo cloths 

I purchased these Cheeky Wipes reusable cloths through Amazon* for multiple purposes. They come in a pack of 25 in five different colours (£17), which is handy for keeping separate cloths for own their different uses/ remembering who they belong to!

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, bamboo cloths

I was disappointed that they arrived in plastic wrapping! However, aside from that I am pleased with them; they are a nice size and wash well.

Bamboo Toothbrush

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, bamboo toothbrush

I needed a new toothbrush so it seemed the perfect time to opt for a more sustainable alternative than the usual plastic toothbrush! This lovely bamboo toothbrush (RRP £2.75) was kindly sent to me directly from Save Some Green, along with one to giveaway as part of my mini eco bundle too! (See below to enter). It even comes in eco friendly packaging, very impressed!

Coconut Scrub Pads

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, coconut scrub

Again, the Safix scrub pad (RRP £2.70) was kindly received from Save Some Green and is a super environmentally friendly alternative to usual versions. It is biodegradable and compostable so zero waste.

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, coconut scrub



Resuable Water Bottle

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, reusable water bottle

Hubby bought this water bottle from a local store recently, which can also be purchased through Amazon: Brita Fill & Go Water Bottle* (£12.37). However, I also know that the Clean Kanteen water bottle (£30) comes highly recommended and is made from stainless steel, so that would have been even better still! 

Food Wraps and Zip Bag

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, food bag, reusables

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, reusables, food wrap

I purchased this Planet Wise zip bag (£5.95) and Abeego food wraps (£14.95) from Babipur. They are really easy to wipe clean and a very handy alternative to cling film!

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, abeego, food wrap, reusable

Babipur have also kindly offered these two fab items as a prize for one lucky winner. You can enter via instagram below:

***GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED. WINNER ANNOUNCED IN COMMENTS. THANKS ALL FOR TAKING PART.*** As part of #PlasticFreeJuly I purchased this Planet Wise zip sandwich bag and Abeego wraps, which are so useful 💚 I have now teamed up with @Babipur for one lucky instagrammer to win their very own awesome reusable eco essentials! 😊👍 Prize: Planet Wise zip sandwich bag (caribou bloom design) and a pack of 2 large Abeego wraps. To enter: All you need to do to enter is like this photo, follow me and @Babipur here on IG then tag a friend in comments! T&Cs: Winner will be drawn at random after the closing date. Ends 11.59pm on 12th August 2017. UK residents only (sorry everyone else!) Prize is kindly offered and dispatched by Babipur. Good luck! (My own items are pictured, but prize is the same).

A post shared by Katie (@living_life.our_way) on


Reusable Straws

I have already written about my fab straw purchases from Eco Straws, plus it is not too late to enter my giveaway to win a set of bamboo straws too! 
Last but not least…

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, Save Some Green, giveaway, competition, win
Save Some Green have sent me this awesome mini eco bundle for one lucky winner to win! Enter via rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition closes 20th August 2017. Open to UK residents only. Other T&Cs apply. 

5 Ways Gardens Benefit Your Health 

Although most gardeners have long known it, the science confirms it – gardening is good for your health!

And so with scientific data on our side, the time has come to reveal what an hour or two, or a whole afternoon, does to your health; physical, mental and emotional.

rattan direct garden benefits

Gardening reduces stress and anxiety

It’s probably a combination of fresh air, enjoying the sun when it shines and also caring for tender plants and shrubs that make gardening such a great antidote to modern life. Stressful jobs, full social lives and everything we have to deal with can lead to blood pressure rising and a state of stress settling in.

Whilst a little stress may be a good thing, too much has a negative impact on the body; both our physical and mental health. Depression is also an ailment that society is no longer treating as taboo, and studies have also shown that gardening can be part of the solution to managing depression.

The solution is clear for all to see; spending a little time in the garden; either weeding, planting new plants or simply mowing the lawn, will help to lower stress and anxiety levels and benefit your mental health.

Decreases risk of diabetes and heart disease

Who’d have thought it?! Spending time in the garden being active is part of the solution to keeping heart attacks and diabetes at bay.

Of course, keen gardeners have known for some time that gardening can be heavy work. Just think of all the weight you sometimes shift about; the digging and forking over the allotment, the hoeing, the plants and the weeding. Even a brisk mow of the lawn can work up a sweat once a week. Keeping your cardiac system in great shape and your weight in check is done by a variety of means but the best exercise is one that leaves you slightly out of breath and raises your pulse rate a little – and heaving heavy sacks of compost, mowing the lawn, cutting the hedges and so on can all do that!

This point also ties in with the previous point of lowering stress and anxiety too, which is a common cause of heart attacks. Physical and mental health are linked so taking care of your overall wellbeing is essential.

It makes you happy!

There is increasing evidence that the amount spent outside directly correlates with several health and behavioural problems. This is why many specialist schools and educational settings that deal with emotional and behavioural difficulties in children are spending more time out of the classroom, and enjoying settings such as Forest Schools and the like. Of course, it is not the only answer to dealing with behavioural difficulties, depression and feeling fed up but it goes a long way to lift your mood and spirits.

This doesn’t mean you have to work when you are in the garden, either. Why not take half an hour to sit, listen to the sounds of nature around you, the birds sing, admire the flowers, the buzzing bees and other insects that you probably haven’t noticed until now? You could invest in rattan garden furniture, sit back and spend some time in your own green space, no matter how big or small it is, and disconnect from your busy life. Try it for half an hour and see what it feels like.

A tool to stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s?

It has been noted that Alzheimer’s and dementia are the two biggest health issues that will impact on our nation in the coming years. Slowly, the science and medical world are peeling back the layers of these people-robbing illnesses, extending our understanding of both issues. The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that various physical activities cut the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in half – and one of the activities that was recognised was gardening. For those suffering from dementia, it has been found that garden-centred therapy is one of the most powerful in reaching and connecting with people.

It helps you sleep better

Finally, maybe it is something to do with all the activity, the fresh air and the mental stimulation of being immersed in nature, plus the reduced stress and anxiety, but being proactive in your garden helps you sleep better. And of course good night sleep is essential for health and wellbeing too!

Gardening is not just about pretty flowers and tasty vegetables. It is an opportunity to enjoy being outdoors, switch off from modern life and enjoy everything that nature has to offer. Along with their customers, Rattan Direct have long known that the garden has magical powers to relax and de-stress the human mind, body and soul. And now the science concurs.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

A Look into The Middle East Water Shortage

Currently, the whole world is facing possible future water shortages. However, the water demand in the Middle East has soared greatly along with the rise in population and urbanisation. The geographic distribution of the water resources across the Middle East is highly uneven, which is also a concern. Over 80% of the region is desert and receives little or no rainfall at all. Recent occurrences of erratic rainfall and then prolonged drought periods have added a whole new dimension to the problem, most likely because of climate change.

The demand for fresh water in the Middle East has continued to increase at a rapid pace. In order to deal with fresh water management challenges in this region, we should try and bring a balance to both water supply and demand.

Middle East, water shortage, our world, global citizen

Ground water supplies

Lots of areas in the Middle East have a higher water demand compared to the natural recharge of groundwater reservoirs. Ground water quality has also deteriorated due to an influx of saline water from laterally surrounding areas, excessive use of fertilisers and local sewage.

With many countries approaching the limit of water resource development and others reeling under severe supply shortages, the problem of water scarcity is turning into a crisis. Industry experts are of the opinion that policy reforms are required to address demand issues, while addressing supply problems require practicing integrated water resource management.

Wastewater recycling

From an economic and environmental standpoint, wastewater reclamation and reuse makes good sense. It can reduce or eliminate health and environmental hazards associated with effluent discharges. At the same time, it generates an alternative resource and thereby prevents immediate investment in costly water supply schemes (storage, transfer or desalination plants).

Many private sector residential projects and townships too have set-up wastewater treatment plants, in some cases even with tertiary treatment. At the same time, to address the issue of low demand for treated wastewater, several alternative uses are being considered. Jordan and Tunisia’s experience in wastewater reuse suggests application of treated sewage effluent (TSE) for agriculture, forestry and ground water recharge.

Besides this, in the last few years the water demand for non drinking applications such as landscaping, golf courses, district cooling, construction work, etc… has gone up significantly, thereby providing alternative avenues for wastewater reuse. Initiatives are required on behalf of the local authorities to bring in the necessary changes in regulation, redraft guidelines and open up these areas for use of reclaimed wastewater.

Middle East, water shortage, our world, global citizen

Supply and demand

Over the last five decades, supply augmentation has been the central approach to deal with water scarcity. Countries with considerable surface water resources, such as Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Morocco have focused on building water conveyance and storage structures.

Jordan’s Disi water conveyance project involves a 325-km pipeline being built through the Jordanian desert to Abu Alanda and Dabuk reservoirs. While in the present context, the importance of measures for water demand management and wastewater reclamation and reuse cannot be understated, these may not be sufficient to plug the demand-supply gap. Although  Jordan has wastewater reuse rates as high as 80%, they have adopted highly efficient irrigation technologies (drip irrigation). Jordan’s Disi water conveyance project is one such attempt.

Water is the source of life and the most precious of commodities. You can help by giving to a water charity that gives access to water sanitation and saves lives. One of the biggest challenges that face areas suffering from poverty, famine or drought is the lack of access to clean water for drinking and sanitation purposes. Water is fundamental to life yet even today millions of people, particularly those living in third world countries, have little to no access to it.

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. 

Star in the Night Sky #30DaysWild

In the early hours of yesterday morning, around 3am, I stood in the garden and looked up at the night sky. There was a bright light flashing, at first I thought it was a plane. After watching for several minutes though, it was definitely not moving and I realised it must be a star. But it was genuinely – by a million fold – the brightest, twinkliest, most magical looking star that I have ever seen. It made every other star in the sky look practically invisible because it shone so bright and twinkled so much. I know that this probably sounds silly, but honestly I cannot emphasise enough how mesmerising it was. 

I tried to get a decent shot of it but it just doesn’t even in the slightest tiniest way begin to do it even a miniscule amount of justice. You can only just see it as a small white dot in between the trees (to the left in the photo above, in the very middle of the photo below).

I started thinking; I wonder how many other people have ever looked up at the night sky and spotted that same star? I wonder if they had the same thoughts as me? I wonder if anyone else is out there looking up at it right now, this same moment? Truly amazing when you think about it. The universe is so huge, and we are all just a small dot in comparison. Yet everything is connected. And each one of us has an impact and can make a difference. Incredible.