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Thursday, 30 March 2017

More on Books

You'll find plenty of mentions of old books in my blog posts. Books are a passion of mine, and collecting old books, a passion of my Derek.
I  was excited when I recently found this book in the library - Shakespeare and Company, Paris. Have any of you been to this iconic bookshop with such an interesting story to it?



It is an English language bookshop founded on Socialist ideals by eccentric American George Whitman, where poets, writers and drifters were able to find a free bed in exchange for working in the shop.
We are off to Paris later this year - and this shop is on my list of places to go.


There are a lot of books here for me to dip into - most of them very droll, but they harbor some interesting insights into the past, such as from The Saturday Magazine for 1839, a book made of the collection of magazine articles. There are diagrams of early electricity, tales of travel to exotic lands, examples of fashion and carriages.



I read an article about a young English woman servant, who after sailing for months to Australia, quickly married a man who turned out to be an ex convict, who hadn't changed his ways. Ah Australia - we Kiwis always tease the Aussies about their convict past.

An article on dental care gave a recipe for toothpowder  - 
2 parts chalk and 1 part well burned charcoal, or another using just ground cuttlefish. 
But I wasn't so keen on their ideas for filling teeth using creosote, metal and cement - hmm. 

Derek should have plenty of time to enjoy his books now - today is his last day of work. Early retirement starts at 4pm. 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

I'm Working on Straws

It's not easy to go zero waste and to be quite honest, we'll probably never achieve it. To offset the bit of rubbish that we do make, we make an effort to work some environmental improvement of our own, such as picking up beach and roadside litter, trapping pests, removing noxious weeds, giving out reusable bags at the Grower's Market....and my latest one....

Targeting Plastic Straws 

When I started to search for solid paper straws, available in New Zealand, that wouldn't collapse on use, could be bought in bulk and weren't too expensive - I came up with nothing...until I found out about The Rubbish Whisperer.
I figured that if it was difficult for me, then bar and cafe owners would probably be pleased if someone found that for them.

The Rubbish Whisperer has since sent me samples and price brochures which I have made into a little pack with cellophane. I  have been dropping these into our local bars and cafes with it - three or four every time I go into town.
In the pack I have included a little information from The Last Plastic Straw which is an organization dedicated to ridding the world of plastic straws. The line that I use is that even if they don't buy into using paper straws, would they please consider adding a sign that says straws available on request, instead of putting them into every drink automatically. 



I point out that I'm not affiliated to the company - just concerned about single use plastic.
I've generally had a good response so far from the places that I have visited.
It's just a little step, but if some take it up, then my time spent will have been worthwhile. At the very least - it makes them think. 

Friday, 10 March 2017

Something to Wake You Up and to Put You To Sleep

We don't drink a lot of plunger coffee here - but our visitors do, so we are often left with opened packets of ground coffee. They don't keep forever, so we have sometimes used them to make a body scrub, which is divine, but a bit wasteful too.

Lately I have started drinking Iced Coffees and find this a great way to finish off packets of coffee. I make a full plunger of strong coffee and let it go cold, then put it in the fridge - where it is good for several days. My iced coffee recipe is a large glass of ice cubes, topped with a scoop of homemade icecream, a little extra sweetener if necessary - pour the coffee over, top with low fat milk, stir and enjoy.
Small quantities of leftover plunger coffee get made into coffee ice cubes to go in the iced coffee too.


I reckon it's better than most ice coffees that I have tried from cafes.
I have some metal straws that I usually use, but this straw is special - more about it in my next blog post.

If I accidentally overdose on the iced coffee then sleep can be elusive.
Derek and I have just had our shared birthday, and as part of his gift, I found this cool little antique pot, then just had to make something to put in it.


Hence...
Sleep Salve

2 Tablespoons of coconut oil
2 Tablespoons of olive (or grapeseed oil)
2 Tablespoons of beeswax
15 drops of lavender essential oil
15 drops of cedarwood essential oil

In the microwave or a double boiler, melt the coconut oil and beeswax then add the olive oil and mix. Remove from the heat and add the essential oils and stir.
Pour into a suitable container and leave to set.
Apply a little to skin somewhere, such as hands or feet, to aid sleep.