Top tips for staying warm this winter…

warm

This has been a cold, nasty week in our nations capital. On Monday morning I went into work at 10.30 and there was still frost on the gound!! Not just in the odd shady corner either. There were thick blankets of it laid out across the grass. Not. Good.

So my top tips for keeping warm?

1) Build some big woolley socks into your wardrobe. Eco-friendly, and with lots of Australian made options, socks will not only keep you warm but may also increase your chance of orgasm!!! Find out more here.

Tuff Mongrel Socks

2) Block up spaces around your windows and doors to help keep the heat in. Don’t have anything? That’s ok. Make your own door-snake with these simple instructions.

doorsnake1

3) Drink lots of tea. Comforting, delicous and warm. You’d be mad not to use the change in the weather to drink more. It’s also an opportunity to help lift people out of poverty, with 100’s of tasty fair-trade blends out there for the buying. See this post for some of my favourites.

tea

4) Make your own heatpack from things that are lying around the house when things get truly desperate.This easy little trick is a great substitute if no hot water bottles or wheat packs are on hand to soothe a sore body or add a little support to feet that are desperately trying to warm up.

So there you have it – the simplest, cheapest and most universe friendly ways I know to add a little warmth to your winter.

Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go back to Netflix and a massive cup of peppermint tea… maybe winter isn’t all bad 😉

The Fab 5: The best posts of the past year

 28 April marks the one year anniversary of All You Need is LLUF.

It’s been a year of little triumphs, terrible disorganisation and great support from my loved ones. 44 posts and over 700 visits later, I have chosen 5 of my favourites to share:

Number

The first post I published, detailing the four part philosphy designed ‘to minimise the impact that my love of pretty things has on people and planet‘, that All You Need is LLUF was born from.

about

Number

The most popular post about our delightful stay in Hepburn Springs, Daylesford – a beautiful little town in wine country Victoria which I highly recommend for couples looking for romance, families looking for fun, and just about anyone looking for the perfect spot to relax.

Fair Grotto - HSMR

Number

The first to go ‘viral’ … ok, so the term ‘viral’ might be a bit of an overstatement. This is the first to be shared on Facebook by someone else. In particular the lovely people at Taygra Shoes Australia who were excited to be mentioned in the post.

Family of Taygra

Number

 My Mum’s favourite post. And there is no higher seal of approval.

paper binders 2

Number

The one that won…or at the very least was a favourite of the blog Living Well Spending Less who allows other blogs to post their best spend thrifting ideas to their Thrifty Thursday page.

BeetrootThrifty ThursdaySpring onions

So there you have it. Five of the best. A big thankyou for sticking with me so far, and a toast to the year ahead Champagne

5 alternatives to giving chocolate this Easter

I’m no health nut. And I love chocolate as much as the next overworked, slightly hormonal woman who occassional eats her feelings. But I feel like there are so many more sweet treats in everyday life than there ever where when I was a kid. Maybe that’s just because my Mum doesn’t tell me what to eat anymore, I don’t know. But I don know that there are alternatives out there to giving chocolate:

1) Easter themed books

Like these appropriately themed second hand books collected from local op-shops and second hand book stores.

bunny books

2) Real eggs

Healthy and delicous, and pretty as well. Die your egg shells with food die, or for something more adventurous, try coloured devilled eggs.

Colored Eggs in Easter Basket - Free High Resolution Photo

3) A real chicken or a real bunny

There are plenty of homeless bunnies and chickens available for adoption through the RSPCA. Just remember that an Easter bunny, just like a Christmas puppy, is a lifetime decision. Be a responsible pet owner.

Rabbit

4) Toys

If real bunnies aren’t your bag perhaps you should consider a bag of toy bunnies, like this cute as a button carrot full of fairtrade bunnies.

bunnies

5) Hours of fun

Or sit down with the people you love, no matter what age they are and do some easter crafting. Be inspired by these 40 great Easter craft ideas.

craft bunny

Hepburn Springs, Daylesford (ethical holiday extrordinaire – Pt 1)

Hepburn Springs is a quaint little village just minutes from Daylesford proper, and like Daylesford is famous(ish) for its mineral springs. A quick google of Hepburn Springs and Daylesford may have you believing that mineral spa bath, winery tours and restaurant dinners are pretty much the extent of Daylesford. But this quaint little region has so much more to offer.

We stayed at Clover Hill accomodation in private, comfy rooms that were super spacious, and CLEAN. My friends will understand the gravity of my approval when I say that it passed the ‘hair-test’ with a whopping five points remaining!!

I’m not neurotic. I’m just detail-oriented, ok?

Clover Hill provides some great complimentary facilities including gym, sauna, pool-table and dvd library. Your tarriff also includes a very well appointed continental breakfast, and champagne and chocolates on arrival. This secluded little getaway is on the far-end of Hepburn Springs, but still less than 5 minutes drive away from the myriad of antique stores, galleries and conveniences of Daylesford.

Fair Grotto - HSMR

Just up behind the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa is the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve. A 150 year old garden with many little trails that lead off to rambling fairy grottos (see above), a tree-top walk, fields of daisies, and of course the mineral springs. Each of which can be accessed through an old fashioned pump system.

Tree-top bridge - HSMR

We spent a few hours exploring, and still would’ve happily returned  for a picnic the next day, or for a Rainforest Allliance certified coffee at the architecturally stunning Pavillion Cafe, if only we’d had time.

Pavillion Cafe

Access to the reserve and springs is free, but make sure you bring a cup or waterbottle with you to make sampling easier. Each spring tastes slightly different, so it’s worth sampling them all, but prepare yourself. They all smell like sulphur, and with the exception of the Wyuna Spring, we decided that one mouthful was enough!!

Wyuna Spring

With this in mind we graciously requested tap water instead of mineral spring water when offered the choice while dining with Rubens@Hepburn. This is a delighful rustic diner, with tasetfully mismatched chairs and a delicous menu incorporating local produce with medditeranean tradition. Our meal included goats cheese from the award winning Meredith Dairy and Prosciutto and Chorizo from Istra Smallgoods.

Rubens

We teamed these with a Mt Franklin Pinot Grigio and an organic Sandy Farm Cab Merlot for the full local produce experience.

So between a day at the park (to help you buy less), an abundance of local produce, access to nearby antique stores and a fairtrade coffee at the Pavillion cafe, Hepburn Springs ticks some serious – and somewhat delightful – boxes for an ethical holiday destination.

But wait! There’s more! Look out for next Thursday’s blog about more of the wonderful things the Daylesford Region has to offer.

 

 

Presentation is everything

I had promised myself I wouldn’t post about second-hand books (my one true love) for a while given my recent post on the great book swap but I was in the op-shop (again) today, and I overheard the Salvo’s turning away a box of books because they just can’t move them out fast enough. I hate to think of those books rotting in landfill and the family that Salvo’s can’t help because they can’t sell the books they have in stock. But I understand that many people prefer to watch movies, listen to music, and play on their phones than curl up with a good book, and that even many readers have converted entirely to eBooks. So what would most people do with a second hand book anyway?

Well, thanks to Pinterest and an old encyclopedia I picked up this arvo in just one episode of House of Cards I can tell you they can make them in to super-cute bows to wrap pending birthday presents with!! And if I can do it, you know anyone can. No hilarious ‘nailed it’ pictures here.

The classic bow

1. The easiest of all the bows to make, for the classic bow you need to start with 2 pieces of paper that look like glasses:

Classic Bow 1

2) Fold the ends of each into the middle like so:

Classic Bow 2

3) Put one on top of the other and wrap a skinny slip of paper around them to hold together. Done.

Classic Bow 3

 

The star-of-wonder bow:

1) Possibly the most common style in newsagents and dollar-shops these days, the star-of-wonder bow is both labour and sticky tape intensive when compared with the classic bow. First cut out 3 strips of paper, 3 strips of slightly shorter paper, 2 strips that are slightly shorter again, and one more shorter strip – ensuring that the difference between each size is the same:

SOW Bow 1

2:) Fold the ends of each strip around and secure to the back of the strip:

SOW Bow 2

3) Arrange on top of each other with the larger strips at the bottom. Voila:

SOW Bow 3

The wiggly worm bow:

1) This one only works for waxier papers, but I was suprised to see that it actually really works. Cut a sheet of paper into strips, leaving approx. 2cms at the bottom uncut. Then use the edge of your scissors to curl the strips just as you would curling ribbon:

WW Bow 1

2) Fold along the bottom so that the curls are closer together:

WW Bow 2

3) Once you have reached optimum curl-density, attach:

WW Bow 3

A Tale of Two Literacy Rates…

…How your love of second hand books can help to raise indigenous literacy rates in remote Australia.

Old Books

I love old books. I love to read them, to smell them, to run my hands along their spines. It’s a serious problem that has reached the point where I am not really allowed in second-hand bookstores unsupervised anymore. I just buy too much.

But you know what I really don’t love?

The knowledge that in this country there are many people who may never understand the joy of starting a new book; or returning to a beloved classic like a comfy pair of slippers.

In Australia this is most likely for indigenous children living in remote areas. Across the nation only 32.5% of Year 7 indigenous children living in very remote areas were measured at or above the national minimum standard for reading in 2013 as compared with 92.7% of non-indigenous children in the same areas. This was even worse in the NT were only 13.3% of Year 7 indigenous children living in very remote areas and only 44.9% living in remote areas achieved the national minimum standard. This is compared with non-indigenous scores of 97.5% and 93.6% respectively.

I think of the beautiful stories, the funny stories, the powerful inspirations that I would have missed out on had I not grown up with books. What a different person I might be.

Our indigenous children are being robbed of their potential by being robbed of their literacy, and I can barely believe that in Australia today this is still such a big issue!! It’s horrifying.

ILF2

So how can you help out and score some lovely old books for your own library?

Hold a book swap. Invite some of your favourite bibliophiles (lovers of books) around and swap books with them, dropping a small donation into a jar for every swap. Sending these donations to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) will assist them to:

raise literacy levels and improve the lives and opportunities of Indigenous children living in remote and isolated regions. This is done through the delivery of books and literacy resources, publishing and visits out to remote communities.’ – http://www.indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au/about

For more information on how to hold an ILF book swap click here.

Got no books you are willing to part with? Don’t panic. Just head down to your local op-shop. The advent of Kindle has meant that an overwhelming number of excellent titles have ended up on op-shop shelves for as little as $2 or $3. Two charities, one very cheap stone.

Got kids? Get together with a group of other parents and swap the books your babies are growing out of for something a little more challenging.

Got no time to organise a book swap? I can totally sympathise with that. But if you still want to help you can donate to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation here.

A-door-able: stay warm with this super easy, eco-friendly DIY project

Over the last two weeks I have talked about staying warm with less (using the Bogan Heat Pack, or BHP) and with the amazing Tasmanian made Mongrel Socks. Moving on to the next part of the LLUF philosophy (less; local; used; fair), I want to talk about how you can stay warm using second hand clothing. Not to wear – so don’t freak out if you are a person who prefers to avoid second-hand clothing – but to sew into a super cheap door snake…

The advantages of making your own door snakes from second hand clothing or material are many and include:

  • You can choose a material that matches your décor, as opposed to choosing between the bright red and the brown striped options at the supermarket.
  • They are very easy to sew – a good way to practice your skills.
  • In the words of Napoleon Dynamite ‘girls love guys with great skills’. That’s right men. Sewing your own door snake will make you more attractive to women.
  • You are can choose to use all recycled and/or biodegradable materials, reducing your impact on the planet.
  • You can save your wallet too, by drastically reducing your heating bills.

Oh the list goes on.

I personally, struggle to cut up second hand clothing that isn’t either ruined or truly hideous. I prefer to wear them. And if you are so inclined, I would encourage you to shop-up at your local Vinnies/Salvos/whatever. I have bought some awesome jumpers, jackets and cardis from various op-shops and my star winter-find has been a bright pink snow suit with matching hat which I intend to give a run in the mountains this weekend. Too. Much. Fun.

So I have chosen an old shirt of Mr LLUFs that is well beyond saving to make into my door snake. If you are choosing an item to destroy I would probably recommend using pants or dresses – for the length – and avoiding stretchy materials because they are harder to sew with. This second tip applies if you have decided to use new material as well.

doorsnake2

As you can see, I have decided to stuff my doorsnake with plastic bags lying around the house, but for best results I suggest you use a grain such as rice or wheat. See instructions below:

how to sew a doorsnake

P.S – This is my first time putting together sewing instructions so let me know if they don’t make sense and I shall revise accordingly :-S

The best kids movies with an environmental theme

Need some inspiration to by less/used? Try:

The Lorax (2012) – ∗∗∗∗∗

I love this movie. Based on a book by the fabulous Dr Suess and beautifully animated this movie tells the story of a young man who is so busy chasing profit that he doesn’t realise the consequences of thoughtlessly using up the worlds natural resources. It points some very cute fun at our consumeristic society with my favourite moment where Ted’s mother show’s him all the buttons on the remote for their new tree, the Oak-a-matic – ‘summer, winter, autumn and… disco!!!

It also goes against Cartoon Hollywood’s standard stereotypes, with a fat old lady being instrumental in saving the day. But the most important message this movie has to impart is to empower people to take action for the things they believe in:

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.’ – Dr Suess, The Lorax

 

Wall-E (2008) – ∗∗∗

Set thousands of years in the future when humans are living in a giant shopping mall in space and the only thing on Earth is Wall-E, a somewhat romantic robot who’s directive is to compact the disgusting piles of rubbish that cover the entire Earth. Then EVE arrives , a very career oriented lady-bot who looks like a flying tampon and has an inbuilt arsenal which she is not afraid to use. Wall-E is instantly smitten.

EVE’s directive is to scan the Earth for any signs of plant-life and to return it to the mothership, signalling that Earth is ready for recolonisation. When EVE and her new shadow Wall-E arrive at the flying shopping mall hilarity ensues as their actions cause humans to slowly realise that there is more to life than social media and junk food, and that although saving the Earth may be hard work, it’s totally worth it.

 

Happy Feet (2006) – ∗∗∗∗

This is a tale that warns of the dangers of both trash and resource depletion in a much more present context. Mumbo is a penguin who is born dancing into a conservative religious species who do not approve. When Mumbo refuses to repent for his toe-tapping ways he is banished. His subsequent adventures lead him to believe that ‘aliens’ (humans) are the cause of a major food shortage and the near death of his friend Lovelace who’s magical necklace (the plastic loops from a six-pack of cans) begins to choke him.

Enraged by the thoughtless destruction that has been visited upon the Antarctic, Mumbo swims all the way to the US to try and educate people about the consequences of their actions. Funny, cute and incorporating some great mash-up musical numbers, this movie has the added bonus of the message that it doesn’t matter how much of a freak people think you are -you can still change the world.

 

Pocahontas – ∗∗∗∗

Less of a cautionary tale, and more a reminder of just how awesome our natural environment is. The main character is not white, which is a refreshing change, and what’s more is a kick-ass heroine who is not afraid of love, but is careful not to trust her heart to the wrong person. A great role model for little girls everywhere. Although horribly historically inaccurate the most powerful message of this movie is wrapped up in its most famous song – Colours of the Wind: ‘You can own this Earth and still, all you’ll own is earth until you can paint with all the colours of the wind’ (or just generally learn to appreciate nature).

 

Now I recognise the irony in suggesting you consume a movie to inspire you to consume less, so of course I encourage you to source these movies second hand, or buy digital copies wherever possible.