RemiI’m walking my dog in the park. It’s lovely. I’m listening to the birds singing, enjoying the sun on my face. Suddenly I feel a tug on the lead behind me. I turn to observe my cute puppy, hunched over, looking at me with guilty eyes as she squeezes out a poo. I spy the poo bag dispenser. My mind time travels.

I wonder, what will future species think of us? Archaeological digs will uncover masses of plastic waste, poo bags included. Seeing as it takes the average plastic bag 200-400 years to beak down, and landfills create a kind of compacted, rubbish fossilizing system – what’ll they think of all the perfectly preserved dog poo’s?

As a responsible dog walker I must be prepared for said poop. ‘Dog-Poo-Shoe’ is a major faux pas in most western cultures, not to mention protecting public health, (I don’t want to blind a child!) But what does one do whilst attempting to save ones planet? Plastic poo-bags are obviously a no-no, because as we all know: plastic NEVER EVER BIODEGRADES!

Scouring the internet, my only option seems to be a huge and claw like contraption. Not at all practical for a day frolicking in the park. What I need is a good old fashioned poop-a-scoopa. They looked like an egg box, you scooped the poop and hey presto! Where did they go?

Alternatives? Recycled paper bags do the job. I save them up after shopping trips. The checkout chick looks at me funny because EVERY loose vegetable is in one. Whatever. This method isn’t suitable for all dogs, but for my puppy, the 3.5kg love-child of Sweep and a Jack Russell, they suffice. Sometimes I find an empty re-usable coffee cup. This used to make me crazy. It now makes a great poop-scoop. The other day I even used a large leaf. How bloody biodegradable of me.

However damn imaginative I have to be, however crazy things get, I will prevail. It will NOT be my dogs poo on the examination table of the future.

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DharmaorDramaLife’s a drama ey? Back in the ‘olden’ days, before the era of social media and smart phones there were far less ways to torture ourselves; and I don’t mean in the physical sense. Now, with the help of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter our communications online are free to be misinterpreted by any number of people, a form of ‘open source mis-communication’ if you will.

Within our amazingly advanced digital existence we’ve created a breeding ground for paranoia and mental torment. We read into emails, ponder over the meaning in a text message and through our Facebook eyes we scrutinize the lives of others. Our existence, it seems, is a full scale and often dazzling theater production.

In an attempt to gain perspective and calm my inner self, I’m reading a book called The Rebel Buddha. Funnily enough I can’t seem to concentrate on it for more than five minutes before my phone vibrates or email dings, however I did get through the first chapter. Luckily for me and my drama-addled brain this chapter just happened to hold the golden answer, or should I say question.

Is it Drama, or is it Dharma? Dharma being the Buddhist term for ‘the state of Nature as it is’ –  real life, black and white and no fluffing around. Drama on the other hand, well, being just that: emotions, fabrications and theatrical story lines that could rival any good soap opera.

Our lives are governed by a kaleidoscope of emotions, but when I ask myself this magic question it’s as though I see situations for what they really are. Put into practice, this little piece of ‘rebel buddhism’ cuts out the mental torture, strips back the facade and clears our mind to reveal the world in crystal clarity.

Rebel Bhudda: A Guide To A Revolution Of Mind, by Dzogchen Ponlopis is available through Amazon.com for the bargain price of $10. Get free.

There’s a rebel within you. It’s the part of you that already knows how to break free of fear and unhappiness. This rebel is the voice of your own awakened mind. It’s your rebel Buddha—the sharp, clear intelligence that resists the status quo. It wakes you up from the sleepy acceptance of your day-to-day reality and shows you the power of your enlightened nature. It’s the vibrant, insightful energy that compels you to seek the truth.”

Long haul flights can be a real drag. Fifteen hours of cramped conditions, dry and fart laden air and to top it all off, it’s a bloody throwaway plastic nightmare, if you’re that way inclined. Hubalini and I have strived and strived to reduce out plastic footprint. Taking it to the next level of dedication we have even subjected our locks to the Bicarbonate Of Soda method, which left us both with hair Chaka Khan would be proud of. Not however a good look for a mere mortal.

Caught up in pre-holiday excitement we totally dropped the non plastic ball and unprepared we were greeted by an absolute barrage of waste. It was the biggest fail in the history of fails. It was like a bad joke, only we had to laugh, otherwise I might have cried. Plastic cups, plastic salad bowls, towels wrapped in plastic and plastic cutlery wrapped in plastic, it was a full blown plastic Armageddon.

Go on...hand it over!

Go on…hand it over!

When I attempted to retain my cup or knife and fork for a second use, the moment I fell into an awkwardly positioned sleep it would be cruelly swiped away. If I was awake I would usually end up in a wrestling match as I fumbled to explain my motif for harboring used cutlery. This I would usually LOSE.

In preparation for our next visit overseas I have done my research. Here are a few useful products to make your flight just a shade more environmentally friendly (and ease your conscious over the tons of aviation fuel being pumped into the ozone)

Re-usable Cutlery – re-usable for ANY occasion! Bloody marvelous! To-Go-Ware do a good set.  Check out these bamboo badboys HERE

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If you aren’t planning on leaving the country and running the gauntlet that is Airport security and customs, you could just keep a set of regular cutlery in your bag. Etsy have a few ingenious cutlery carrying packs, all handmade and rather cute. Have a gander HERE.

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Re-usable coffee cups – Also good for water, juice, tea, carrying goldfish, soup and beer. Our favourite is Melbourne based Hook Turn Industries. Made from food grade silicon, damn good looking and run by three lovely ladies dedicated to making positive change, what more could you want in a cup!?
Check em out HERE. All-4-pastel-colours

Lunchbox – take your own food, how about that?! On flight food is basically a load of crap anyway and the evil stuff tends to stay with you for days, impeding on your holiday fun times.

Yum. The photos 80's colour grade also reflects the nutritional value.

Yum. The 80’s color grade in this picture also reflects the meals nutritional value.

Eat light, its not like you’re running a marathon, its more like a sit-on-your-ass-athon. Nuts and dried fruit are good, and noodles, sarnies, pasta salads or some kind of cous cous arrangement.

Lunchbots make awesome stainless steel food containers. The only problem is the astronomical price. Whilst I struggle to get my writing career pumping and save some cash, my food will continue to absorb the plastic chemicals from my re-used take away containers.

Lunchbots are available HERE in the UK, and HERE in Australia. They’re available in a range of jazzy colors too.

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Lunchbots – So expensive you might presume they also make your lunch

You can’t poop. You can barely string a sentence together. You just woke up at 9pm ready for brekkie and have been lumbering around like a zombie ever since. If this sounds familiar you may be experiencing the disgustingly debilitating effects of jetlag, also known as Desynchronisis.

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I myself enjoy the ultimate punishment of the Australia to Europe journey. After suffering this heinous trip on several occasions I decided it was time to get radical. No damn jetlag is going to steal away my holiday time! An entire week feeling cranky and unfit for human consumption is just UNACCEPTABLE!

These tips genuinely eased my pain and suffering. They may seem rather killjoy but I’m serious about beating this shit hands down! So here you go. Share the love and prepare yourself for the 5 most unexciting tricks to avoiding jetlag!!

 #1. NO SLEEP TILL BROOKLYN!

 Traveling Australia to Europe means crossing 10 time zones. That’s impressive shit. You’re a modern day Marty Mcfly for chuffs sake! Unfortunately your body doesn’t see it that way.
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To avoid waking up at night wondering why its broad daylight requires Mr Miyagi discipline. A few days before your trip try to stay up a couple of hours longer than usual (4-6hours works well) During the fight synchronise your sleep to your destination times and when you arrive resist the urge to go straight to bed. 9pm should really be the earliest you hit the sack. Stay relatively active and expose yourself to as much sunlight as possible; this helps your circadian rhythm (body clock) to adjust. Just remember, one day of zombification is much better than wasting a whole week!
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#2. HYDRATION

Humidity at 30,000ft sits at around 12%. That’s drier than most deserts and definitely drier than a dead dingos donger. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. It’s as simple as that. This unfortunately means avoiding the free booze and caffeine. I know, BORING right? Just visualize Tutankhamen’s dusty remains and imagine yourself waking up in his tomb. This should be your motivation! Carry moisturiser and grease up your nostrils!
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#3. SELF-CLEANSING & COMFORT

After 16 hours on a plane you can guarantee you’ll be feeling pretty gross, slimy almost. Imagine Sigourney Weavers baby in Alien Resurrection. This is a disgustingly accurate comparison for myself. Take deodorant, a flannel and a shower at any layover opportunity!
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On my last adventure I also took a pillow and sleeping bag as carry-on. This meant I could have a proper snooze during the layover AND I was lovely and cosy during the flight. Choose clothes that would look the part at an MC Hammer convention.

#4. MOVEMENT

I am always overjoyed to be allotted the window seat. I can lean on the wall for sleep and enjoy some serious cloud watching. This time however the guy in the isle seats turned out to be some kind of Olympic bladder control expert. He got up ONCE in 12 hours and seemed to be sleeping for the entirety of the flight.  The more times I asked him to move, the more awkward it got. This basically confined me to my to my tiny corner.
Like Sardines in a Can

Moving around is incredibly important for circulation and comfort. It will ease swollen ankles AKA cankles and help prevent DVT. Do it as much as possible. Fuck isle seat man! Hang out near the kitchen where there is space to stretch and do a few star jumps. Seriously.

#5. CABIN PRESSURE

Its true! We really are full of hot air! The human body contains a large amount of gas. This includes air as well as gasses generated in the stomach and intestines during digestion. Cabin pressure causes these gases to expand in your intestines so beans on toast may be a regrettable pre-flight snack! The excess gas will definitely cause discomfort. Eat very lightly before and during the flight. Thoughtful meal choices can reduce the after effects of the journey as well as improving comfort during the flight.
cowboy_fart Most of the time I only eat because I’m bored. Dinnertime on an long and arduous journey is more than just eating. It’s an event! This time I took a lunchbox of mixed nuts and ate only the fruit and salad at meal times. This sounds SO FRICKING BORING, but the initial food envy I felt watching my husband stuff his face was thankfully short lived.  After the flight I experienced no problems at all with digestion, so the payoff was well worth the sacrifice.

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My question is this; who the hell invented this modern day Christmas lunacy?

Whoever it was, I’d like to offer them a wholehearted plethora of festive profanities!! You’ve driven’ everyone stir crazy!

I’m damn sure that somehow we are totally missing the point.  Its nice that we all get together but what’s with the frantic shopping, shopping SHOPPING!!!?  Subtle yet insidious marketing whispers to us all year round ‘if you buy this brand everyone will think you’re awesome’ or ‘buy that and your family will love you more.’  By the end of the year every crumb of our very being screams BUY MORE STUFF! The Christmas tradition seems to have disintegrated into a hideous festival of consumerism!

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The original Christmas party bares it’s roots from a very Roman affair. Always up for a reason to get naked and drunk, they created a kick-ass festival to celebrate their god, Saturn. For the entire month of December they would party like rockstars, dish out gifts and do naughty sexy stuff that was usually prohibited. Saturnalia was a time of freedom and pleasure without consequence. The Christians later ‘borrowed’ this festive idea and used it as a way to persuade people to convert to Christianity. As reinforcement they only went and bought out the big guns, St Nic himself! A few hundred years later Christmas was stolen AGAIN, this time by Coca Cola.

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This Roman soiree is a far cry from the modern image of Christmas time. Aggressive last minute shopping, cataclysmic queuing and fighting for car park spaces have replaced scenes of mass festivity and party good times. Where did we go wrong?!

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I say lets take a leaf out of the Romans book, and as they say…”when in Rome…do as the Romans do!”

Take a deep breath, a good slug of mead and get our Saturnalia on! There is more to life than extreme stress, near bankruptcy and premature greying!  Life is about doing stuff, not stuff itself.

So with this in mind, here are a few EASY homemade and heartfelt Christmas gifts ideas. Invite your best mate over for a craft and wine night. It’s not quite a Roman orgy, but 100% more fun than a night muscling your way around overcrowded department stores that resemble more of a stinky sweaty mosh-pit than a good-will incubator.
Spend fun time with other humans making cool and bankruptcy free gifts that other humans will actually appreciate.

Merry Saturnalia!

LEMON SUGAR BODY SCRUB

Lemony scubby good times, and best of all EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZEY to make. Save up some jars and use ribbon to decorate.

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RAW CHOCOLATE BALLS OF JOY

Raw.Chocolate.Balls.Of.Joy…need I say more? Make them a little gift box house and they make for excellent Christmas treat. If you can resist the desire to shovel them all into your face that is!

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TEA CUP CANDLES

Apparently melted Crayola crayons make the best colour for these badboys.

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COWBOY KAHLUA FIT FOR ‘THE DUDE’

Kahlua, vodka and milk. That is all.

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GINGERBREAD MAN RECIPE

Because everyone secretly loves a ginger.

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On my quest for the ultimate Recycled Christmas I found a simple recipe for these little buggers. Cute, easy to craft and plastic free!

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You will need:

  • Cardboard boxes (depending on the size of your trees, thinner card for smaller trees)
  • Scissors/scalpel
  • Pencil
  • Paint/pretty paper
  • Colored craft string

How to:

  • First draw out your Christmas tree shape, you will need two identical trees. I used my first tree as a template.
  • Next cut out the trees.

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  • To decorate; I found some pretty papers at the art shop, cut them to size and glued on with homemade glue. For the others I used red acrylic paint which I found in my housmates art box! I also used gold spray paint to get a splashed paint effect. For this I held down lightly on the nozzle so that the paint drips out rather than spraying.
  • Now cut one of the trees, from the bottom edge, along its center line, to the middle of the tree. Cut the other tree from the top down to the same center point

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photo 2(9)

 

  • On the tree with the cut bottom, pierce a hole through the top and thread through your string. This step is optional, you could just stand the trees up.

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Note; because I am going for a recycled Christmas I used old boxes from the shop. You could skip the whole papering section and just buy green cardboard. But that would be cheating!!

 

 

It is undeniable that this ‘no plastic’ challenge is, well, a bloody heck of a challenge!
It has changed the way I live my life and truly opened up my eyes. I feel like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense…only its not dead people I’m seeing…its plastic!
From takeaway food to coffee on the go, single use plastics have a really sneaky way of wheedling their way into our hands. It is a MIND BOGGLING battle which has me perpetually on my toes!

My little sister told me recently that she has been taking her own bags to the supermarket (like a trooper) and trying her hardest to go plastic free. She mentioned that even though her bag wasn’t plastic, everything in it was. She also mentioned that at times she felt hopeless in the face of this monstrous mission.
I have to admit that I too share in this hopelessness. BUT it is at this point that we should remind ourselves that what we are doing is AMAZING and part of something much bigger.

We are aware of this plastic pandemic which is the first step in combating the issue.
We are taking steps to break free and change our habits, whether it be using our own bags or refusing over packaged products. And most importantly we are inspiring each other to make the change.

I have noticed that this movement creates other positive chain reactions. For example, If I want chicken for dinner, I know that I can’t buy it from a supermarket. It will have been packaged to within an inch of its life so I have to look for a solution.  Say hello to my local butcher. I know that if I take my own lunchbox he will happily serve it to me minus any plastic. So there you have it, a triple win. The local butcher gains support and can continue to thrive, my meat comes from a healthy source free from hormones and my waste is ZERO. My point being; this is one person making one small step which created a whole lot of positive vibing!

Nice to meat you…

I believe in the power of an individuals actions, and as a wise man once said ‘99 is not 100’. Be that one person, even if it means looking like a lunatic! Remember that one less piece of plastic going to landfill is EXCELLENT news.
(And don’t feel too terrible if the fish and chip man sneaks in some plastic cutlery when your back is turned!)

Thank you for trying. You are my heroes x