plastic detox week 2

milk bottles

This week things have been interesting and challenging.  Our milk delivery has started and the milkman also delivers fruit juice in glass bottles, brilliant service and can recommend Milk and more.  I am collecting the foil tops and will be sending them off for recycling when I have a jar full.


One of the trickiest switches made this week was weaning our 7 year old cat from his favorite Sheba pouches (not recyclable).  I have switched him to tins and trying dry food from Lilly’s Kitchen.  Lilly’s Kitchen dry food packaging are all completely compostable and recyclable.  The dogs have also switched to dry food in compostable bags from their  super healthy plastic tray food.  The poop bags I have been using for many years are biodegradable, I usually buy them in TK Maxx of all places.

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I went back to Hetu to try their refill washing up liquid and multi surface cleaner, price wise it was a little shock.  £1.80 for 300 ml, Ecover is £2.50 for 1L. So not sure I’ll go back for more refill.


Finally this week, tea has been a pressing issue, we normally drink Yorkshire tea.  I have discovered almost all teabags contain polypropylene to heat seal the bags and come wrapped in cellophane, again not recyclable or compostable.  I’ve been emailing and tweeting different tea companies and supermarkets to find out more and so far have found Brew loose leaf Tea is plastic free including the packaging, their teabags are made from SOILON, a 100% biodegradable material, so you can pop them straight on the compost.  Taylors of Harrogate contain plastic – though they are developing a fully biodegradable, plant-based alternative to their Yorkshire Tea bags at the moment.  Marks & Spencer tea bags contain plastic to seal the bags.  Clipper said ‘the filter paper in our pillow tea bags does contain polypropylene to provide the heat-seal function.’  Dorset Tea bags comprises of approximately 75% cellulose fibres, 25% synthetic fibres for the heat-sealing properties and 1% wet-strength resin.  Tetley tea, also contain plastic to heat seal.  Tesco teabags are all heat sealed with plastic with one exception, Tesco finest green tea Jasmine 15 tea bags 30g.  Co-Op also contain plastic as a sealant and said they are working with suppliers to find an alternative.  Sainsburys told me ‘At present all of our tea / infusions bags are not biodegradable. They contain a small amount of PVC in order for the tea bag paper to seal sufficiently. The tea bags used in the TTD new range are biodegradable.’  PG Tips tea bags are made with 80% paper fibre, again with plastic to seal the bags.  Twinings said “Environmentally sustainable products and packaging are important to us and we are constantly working with our suppliers to find the best solutions and innovations that can help us become even more sustainable. We have several types of tea bag design across our ranges and ensure that they are predominantly produced from a natural plant based cellulose material and are biodegradable and compostable. Our pyramid teabag range contains no plastic and is fully biodegradable, or if you prefer no bag we also have an extensive loose leaf range”.  Teapigs tea bags are made from soilon,  derived from cornstarch.   Lidl wanted me to give them bar codes for all the products for them to give me an anser, so I’ll be working on that this week and  Typhoo and Asda have not responded at all.  There are a few companies in London who sell loose leaf tea, Mariage Freres in Selfridges sell tea in tins and are happy to sell it to customers with there own containers.  Bluebird Tea sell in tins and again happy to sell to customers who take in their own packaging.  HR Higgins sell tea and coffee in a caddy and I am sure would allow you to take in your own pot, they have not responded to my email.


If you have any tips do please share and if you know of any good teas, do please comment.


plastic detox week 1


This week has been a steep learning curve and I have failed in terms of plastic wrapped salad and meat at the supermarket, although have found a milkman via Milk and more – so no more plastic bottled milk and fruit juices.  My expiriment with oat milk was ok, but not great in tea, the search goes on for an eco non dairy/plastic free milk for me. The plastic waste that came home with me, will be posted to Waitrose Customer Services with a letter asking for a plastic free isle (except the contaminated meat packaging that is). I’ve now signed up to a veg box with Odd Box.  I really like their philosophy, fresh vegetables and fruit delivered to the door and no plastic.

odd box

I also needed shampoo and conditioner, I headed to Lush and bought solid shampoo and conditioner bars.


The solid shampoo was great, easy to use, lather and rinse.  The conditioner was another story, not easy to apply, smelt great but very hit and miss.  My hair is dry, highlighted and needs conditioner, this just didn’t work for me.  One thing I did learn in Lush, was they have dental care, all packaged in plastic sadly – although if you take a pot in with you they can decant the toothy tabs and return the plastic bottles to the factory. IMG_2106

Finally, I visited Hetu in Battersea today.  Wonderful concept and very busy, so busy they had sold out of so much!  I will be heading back next week for laundry liquid, fabric conditioned & washing up liquid re-fills.  They also have multi surface cleaner, shampoo and conditioned refills, many dry goods including baking powder, bicarb, pulses etc.  Take your own bottles, pots and bags or use their paper bags or purchase cloth bags in store.  I came home with freshly ground hazelnut butter (utterly delcious) amongst other items – so worth a visit.  You can see from my photo the empty containers – do hope the early success continues.

Big learning curve this week and hope that with the veg box and milk delivery things will be easier.  Here is a link to the zero waster website and gives lots of links to places all over Great Britan where you can zero waste shops.

New year sewing plans

Happy New Year!!  I thought I’d share some sewing plans I have for this year.  A friend of mine is a professional declutter, she gave me a simple tip to see what clothes I wear and those that just hang unworn.  Go through your wardrobe and turn all the coat hangers the wrong way round.  When you wear the item it goes back in with the hanger right way round, simple!  Do this for 3 – 6 months and it will be easy to see what you actually wear.  I have been wearing my trapeze dresses by merchant and mills, both in super warm wool.  Although a lot of the time I wear my jeans, white shirt and sweater or cardigans – sometimes all 3 when its cold!

shirts from top left clockwise: Paula Wilson, white company, Wolf in sheeps clothing, Old Town, Zara.

My wardrobe is lacking good shirts, some have worn and now have been darned, my favorite blouse is really looking past its best.  I’ve been searching for some good patterns and have found a few brilliant looking versions, thought I’d show you a few I’ve found that fit in with what i wear.

Etsy is always the first place I look and discovered a fab shop in Japan called Patternerie.

LINNET Pattern : No.81 Blouse with Small Square Collar

love the simplicity of line in the Linnet patterns.  In fact I found it hard to pick just 1, but this one above I think would work best.

melilot shirt pattern

Melilot Shirt by Deer & Doe

The covered placket and simple line works beautifully and in silk would be so lovely to wear.  Great in tana lawn or linen as well.

nell shirt

The Nell by A verb for keeping warm

Thought this would be great in a fine cotton lawn.  Some of the images show the bib looking stiff and bulky, thought I’d use a very fine interfacing and see if this would work.  I found this pattern over 18 months ago while I was in New York.

trudy tunic style arc

Trudy Tunic by Style Arc

Lovely tunic shape and so very like the Zara blouse.

and finally

Box Shirt The maker's atelier

The Box shirt by The Maker’s Atelier

An easy to wear boxy shape that would be great with jeans or a skirt.  The Maker’s Atelier patterns are brilliant and never had a pattern not work.  I love all 5, just need to choose which one’s to make.  Do you have a good shirt pattern you could recommend?


new year challenge | 2018


This isn’t sewing, but thought I’d share what a few of my friends and I have decided to do in January 2018.  Instead of a dry January and attemps at a healthy detox, we have decided to do a plastic detox.  It was sparked by the WI’s plastic soup campaign [plastic soup], its such a huge topic and seems to be in everything – what could we possibly do.

The first change I  made is no take away/disposable  coffee cups (i do fail at times) and asking for a mug/cup instead.  One Starbucks branch have charged me more and I have questioned why, no answer given (kensington high street branch).  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall did an amazing job at raising awarness of the coffee cup, well worth reading if your interested

The second change I made a few weeks before Christmas was to not buy plastic wraped toilet paper.  I discovered a company called Who gives a crap via Kate Arnell’s youtube channel & blog, great to watch as full of ideas.  WGAC rolls are wrapped in paper, our box had 48 rolls and only had a little tape to seal the box.  Its soft and quality and would reccomend it.

Just before Christmas my toothpaste ran out, I found a natural toothpaste in Holland & Barrett and at the time it must have been on special offer as I didn’t pay the listed price on their website.

IMG_2056  As someone who loves Pearl Drops or Colegate whitening – both very much plastic, this is a huge change. Some toothpaste also contain microplastics, there is a good website where you can look up items that contain microbeads and Polyethylene (PE).  Will be looking at others – although this pot is probably going to last at least 3 months, if not longer.  It’s a powder, you are supposed to take a pinch into the palm of your hand and then with a damp brush mix.  Only did that once as way to messy for me and grey dust went everywhere.  On the plus side, it does clean my teeth very well.

Single use or plastic bags in general a huge problem and the Welsh assembly stopped the use of them.  It took a short while, but things do seem to have changed there.  I visit Monmouth regularly and take along my cloth bag or my favorite basket bought from Didier & Dandelion in Monmouth.  I’ll be sharing a pattern hack of the Burda Style Charlie reusable grocery bag.  I have made mine with bias binding on the raw edges, slightly slimmer handles, french seams for strength and the small pouch has a drawstring closure not envelope.  It scrunches up so neatly and easy to carry around in a handbag, rucksack or briefcase.  Made quite a few as small gifts.  And finally

beeswax wraps DIY

My WI made beeswax wraps and will hopefully very soon be selling them on Etsy.  We used local London beeswax, although any food grade beeswax works.  There are lots of tutorials around here are 2 ONE TWO.  The wax wraps work really well, covering food instead of cling film.  Cheese doesn’t sweat, its non toxic and just need to be wiped down to clean.  If washed they loose the wax, but the fabric can be recharged by adding more wax.  One tip, we used an iron wrapped in tin foil as it it so much easier to control.

I’m going to try to post a short catch up on my progress once a week, though out january and hopefully find my way through the maze.  If you have any tips or things you do, please do let me know!  I also have a pintrest board on plastic free things I find.


Sewing by Heart | Tilda | a review


This is the newest book by Tone Finnanger [Tilda] published earlier this year.  Inside the book are quilts, appliqued cushions, patchwork animals, pumpkins, bee hives complete with bees, Father Christmas with a quilted beard and patchwork Christmas Stocking to name a few projects.

The Bumblebee quilt is a kind of drunkards path design, it comes with good instructions and full size templates.  The Elephant is adoreable and would make a great child’s gift, simple and quick to make.


Tilda has an unusual way of constructing some of the shapes, prefering to draw on fabric and stitch along the line, then cutting out.  I tend to trace a template and add a seam allowance and sew that way, just because it makes more sence to me.  If I have time before Christmas I’ll make the Father Christmas, although the beehive would be a great make and the bee is the symbol of my local WI.

This is a lovely book and I have so enjoyed reading it.  The cottage quilt has inspired me to plan a baby quilt for a friend in the new year. I found the video below on you tube and thought I’d share, as it’s so sweet.

This is not a sponsored post, all opinion are my own.


Little piggie pies

Last week my WI Borough Belles were invited to have a stall at Borough Market.  It was a lovely day even though it was freezing cold and we also got to meet The Duchess of Cornwall, who was so lovely.  We had lots of delicious gingerbread people, lemon drizzle cakes, chocolate brownies, chocolate mocha fudge cakes to name a few, so I thought I’d try a savory.

As we were selling the bakes, decided to go with a good quality ready-made butter pastry [one of the girls said Mary Berry’s short crust recipe was the best she had used] and used free range pork sausages.  Cut a piggie shape, this is the template I based my piggie on, although it was too big for a pork pie.  I think I drew it around half its original size on card and then cut out my pastry, filled the centre with sausage meat, popped on the top and washed with egg and baked.  They were so much fun and will make them again for picnics, we were thinking up vegi alternative fillings on the day.  Been thinking about fun Christmas ideas with mincemeat instead of the usual mince pies and also maybe turkey leftover ideas for boxing day when I have a house full of guests.  I’d forgotten how much fun I used to have making food fun when Miss T was little – all started by the amazing Annabel Karmel book I was given when T was tiny.


sewing for Christmas

I’ve been using the off cuts from a dressmaking project to make gifts.  Will post more on the dress once I can take some photographs.  At the festival of quilts found some Outback Wife barkcloth by Gertrude Made and imideatly decided to make the Rose dress by Sew La Di Da.  I made the Rose earlier this year to wear to my daughter’s 21st birthday party, in a deep blue linen and love it, its been worn to lots of parties since.  This time I decided to make a Midi lengh version and bought 5 metres from Sew Hot and pre washed it, as quite a few people said the fabric shrank by quite a bit.  I kept all the waste fabric from the dress and decided to quilt it to make some gifts.


First to be made were boxy wash bags using this tutorial as a start, I make the lining seperatly and then slip stitch it in place afterwards.  The tassel was made using DMC cotton embroidery threads, so simple and fun to make.  One bag went to the London modern quilt guild with me as my secret santa gift and the other is wraped up and ready to be given to a friend for Christmas.

Next I made some hot water bottles, using my own pattern.  Quite a few years ago I wrote a tutorial for Annie at the Village Haberdashery when I used to blog under Two Hippos.  The only difference with my newer pattern is I no longer curve in for the bottle top.  This makes overlocking the seams together so much quicker and they can also be bound with bias if you want a beautiful neat finish.  I use a layer of insul bright [a heat resistant wadding] and a layer of 100% cotton quilt batting and then place the fabric right side up on top.  Quilt and then cut out, I’ve found this to be so much easier to do and enjoy the quilting.  Using Insul Bright or other insulated waddings keeps the hotwater bottle hot all night.  It is also a must for oven gloves, pot holders and fabric trivets, using a layer of cotton batting gives a little loft and also another layer to protect from heat.  Also works brilliantly for cool bags, sandwich bags etc.

Now back to my sewing machine to finish off my last sewing project before Christmas.



what do you listen to while crafting?

itunes podcasts

itunes podast symbol

I have been busy with commissions and listen to the radio a lot, generally radio 4Extra, a little LBC & podcasts,with the odd netflix/youtube playing.  So I thought I’d share what I love at the moment:  First up


First up is This American Life, probably the best know podcast and I found it after listening to the first Serial story and then came S-Town utterly gripping.  TAL is a weekly episode, presented by Ira Glass.  Its stories or a single story based on something topical in the US and is staged in ‘acts’ always an entertaing listen.


I discovered this during the summer and have really enjoyed working my way through the weekly episodes up to the most recent.  Liz was a journalist and also did lots of tv work, so good at interviewing people.  There are lots of topics, health related from grass-fed free-range milk, baking with Lorraine Pascale to travel tips.  Engaging and interesting and one I listen to as soon as a new episode is released.


Truly Myrtle is a knitting podcast made by Libby, who is a knitwear designer in New Zealand. Her podcasts are all yarn related, there are interviews, news on yarns and general chat.  Although my knitting is very slow and I maybe only work on 1 -2 projects a year, still find this a lovely weekly listen.

malcolm gladwell revionist history.jpg

This is one of my most recent finds, Revisionist History.  There are 2 seasons to listen to and so far I have really enjoyed each one.  Malcolm Gladwell is an author of 5 New York Times bestsellers has been named one of the 100 most influential people by TIME magazine.  There is an episode on Winston Churchill & Frederick Lindemann — whose connection to Churchill altered the course of British policy in World War II. This was the first episode I’d dipped into and it was so rich in detail, I’d never heard of Frederick Lindemann and only the general basics on Churchill.  So far only 2 podcast series, 10 episodes each.

walking the dog podcast.jpg

Walking the dog is the latest podcast I’ve found and love it.  Emily Dean interviews people out while walking their dog, they talkabout all sorts of things funny, chattly and a really great listen.

home front podcast

Home Front is a radio 4 historical drama set during the First World War, each daily (mon-fri) episode is set 100 years ago to the day of broadcast.  They include an historail fact in each episode although the characters are fictional.  It is well written and one can hear all sorts of extremely well-known voices, Toby Jones, Joanna David, Freddie Fox & Anton Lesser to name just a few.  It is available as a podcast and also on BBC iplayer.

bbc friday night com.jpg

A weekly podcast of the latest Friday evenings comedy show including The News Quiz, The Now Show, Dead Ringers and The Museum of Curiosity.  These always make me laugh, slightly disconcerting to passers-by while out walking the dog!

and finally:

you must remember this

You Must Remember This are stories about secret and forgotten histories of Hollywood.  Interesting and often a story will span 2 or 3 episodes.

I’d love to hear what you listen to and any podcast reccomendation!


Inari Tee top | a review


At the Handmade Fair this autumn Ms T and I met Josie from the Fabric Godmother who is so lovely and has a wonderful online shop.  Ms T fell in love with the Cobra corsage pattern and decided she’d like a t-shirt, so we chose the scuba cobra print and Named pattern inari to make the t-shirt.

Pattern: Inari Tee shirt by Named Patterns.

Fabrics: Cobra corsage scuba.

Notions: Epic polyfil 120, Moon overlocking thread, Prym stretch needle.

Pattern description: loose-fitting tee dress and a cropped A-line tee

Pattern Sizing:  I cut a size 12

Did it look like the photo/line drawing on the pattern once finished?  Yes.

What did you like or dislike about the pattern?  It was a straight forward, easy make.  Didn’t like the cuff detail on the sleeve, too bulky for the scuba.

Did I make  any pattern alterations or design changes?  No.

Would I sew it again or recommend to others?  Yes, would possibly make again.  Brilliant for a beginner and fast – cos somethimes thats just what I want.

Conclusion:  Ms T loves it and that is all that matters to me.


This is not a sponsored post, all opinion are my own, I purchased the pattern and fabrics.