and the kids are back at school. Yesterday it was just me and our dog Bella for our walk and we had the entire stretch of beach to ourselves.
Some things money can’t buy. This is one of them. There really is nothing like having access to some out door space. Whatever that may be. I am so lucky to be living by the sea. Our beach is not the most beautiful in Ireland (or even in our neck of the woods), but yesterday because the sun hit the sand and sea in the right way and it was all ours with no distractions, it was. It’s a natural remedy for well being.
Just watch how it affected Bella.
The Great Bulb Exchange
There is nothing like a free giveaway and to be fair it’s not often that happens, well not here in Ireland anyway. This doesn’t even have a catch! Weee Ireland are offering everyone in Ireland flowering bulbs for their garden in exchange for their old CFL lightbulbs. It’s a simple as that. Free bulbs and your old lightbulbs will be recycled. Go online to www.weeeireland/bulbexchange and find your nearest participating retailer.
This morning I noticed that even my other half is embracing my water bucket approach to showering and without being nagged, I may add. So terribly proud!!!
I’m all about the little things that make big changes especially in matters of the environment but sitting smugly back on my laurels would be a massive ‘fail’.
Water conservation is complex and employing a bucket to catch water from the shower and NOT watering the lawn is really not close to doing enough…….although it is a good place to start.
So where can you go from here? Continue reading
We are home. Finally. On December 25th 2014 we celebrated our first Christmas in our ‘new’ home.
Eight weeks ago, we arrived, hot on the heels of our retreating Builders. I say retreating as they haven’t fully departed but we can live with that as occasionally they return to finish off odds and sods. In my reckoning we are 98% finished.
The plaster dust has pretty much settled but I like to think we still have that ‘new house’ smell. Our Solar panels went up three weeks ago and despite being the darkest days in Ireland this time of year we are definitely noticing their benefit. The panels are heating our water and storing it in our solar tank houses in the attic. We do need to use our gas to additionally boost the heat of the water for a short time each day but by April I feel confident that all of our hot water will be heated by the panels right through hopefully until the end of Autumn. That is no mean feat by the way. There is five of us living here (seven if you include the dogs) and between us we have three bathrooms all with a 3 bar pump attached. The Irish Government haven’t implemented water charges yet but even with the ‘free’ solar water heating we are still mindful of conserving water.
The benefit of our insulation is also the other stand-out technical feature for us and our triple glazed windows. We have not hit the coldest part of our winter yet, but the house, despite a largely open-plan living space with elevated ceilings, is beautifully warm. While the threat of a Polar Vortex has, much to my dismay, been concocted by the media, we are hopefully going to experience a ‘cold snap’ to which we can put our insulation to the test.
This is a ‘sealed’ house. Not passive but sealed, without even letterbox or chimney to allow heat to escape. To ensure we don’t suffocate in our smug/snug bubble we have a cleverly designed demand controlled ventilation system Aerco. It is powered by two units in our attic that require a minimal amount of electricity. The house is divided into two zones, living and sleeping, and the units detect changes in humidity levels throughout the day and night. As the humidity rises during the day with cooking and living the units focus their energy in the living part of the house. At night, while we sleep the focus is on our sleeping quarters. Simple and proving to be very effective. Condensation was a huge problem for us in the house prior to our retro-fit. During our first few weeks in the house we were very dubious. Our windows dripped each morning with condensation. The Aerco system initially had a lot to cope with; huge amounts of moisture are present in the new walls and floors as a consequence of plastering and layers of concrete screed. It has been eight weeks since we have moved home and the ventilation system is now coping beautifully. The evidence clear in our moisture-free windows each morning.
It has been a long, inspiring, educational and often painful journey. A six month build that initially left us with just three walls of our original house is not for the faint hearted. It was an emotional roller coaster of an experience that I can only compare to childbirth. We had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for but we muddled our way through it. Sleepless nights, difficult choices and pain in many guises were part of the experience but in the end we were handed a treasure that is ours.
This is not the perfect home. There are many many more ‘Eco’ methods or solutions we could have employed but without a doubt we did all that our budget afforded us.
I love our new space and love that we pushed ourselves (our Builder and Architect!) and our savings much further than we in all honesty thought possible.
Happy New Year.
The Dangers of PERC in Dry Cleaning
We strive to create a healthier, greener, more ‘pure’ life for ourselves, eliminating processed food, buying organic, and recycling as much as we can, but few people stop to think about the negative impact products that are supposed to help make our lives ‘cleaner’ actually have. We have begun to make the shift toward greener businesses and products for environmental reasons, but have you ever considered the impact that conventional cleaning products have on your own safety?
In dry cleaning we have come to associate a certain smell with a ‘clean’ shirt. Bring a soiled shirt to the dry cleaners and they will make it sparkly clean and smelling ‘fresh,’ but that ‘fresh’ scent is actually the byproduct of chemicals used in dry cleaning that are absolutely toxic, not only to people who have direct working contact with them, but also to you as a customer for breathing it in and wearing it in close contact with your skin.
One of the most toxic chemicals in conventional dry cleaning is PERC. Our friends at Flat Rate Cleaners have made an infographic explaining the dangers of PERC in dry cleaning. So if you haven’t made the switch to green dry cleaning for environmental reasons, perhaps this infographic can convince you to make the switch…
Living in Ireland, after years of living in London, I have become increasingly concerned about the quality of the water that is running through our taps. Physically it took myself and my family a few years to adjust to the levels of chemicals that are present. For the record I haven’t done research into the quality of the water in London but I think your body doesn’t lie and when it’s telling you something isn’t right, you should listen. Myself & my husband both suffered badly with dermatitis particularly on our hands and my eldest child’s eczema was no longer manageable with over the counter remedies. But the truth is in the pudding and it was the highly chlorinated taste that got us! Despite living in a beautiful seaside village with plenty of fresh air, our water tasted, well, bad, to be quite frank and I longed for a glass of Thames Water.
Asides all of that, the mandatory fluoridation of water in this country appalls me. While other countries are removing it from their water supply due to health concerns over the effects of fluoridation on the body, the Irish Government don’t think the subject even warrants a debate.
Until that debate occurs, an Irish company called Aqua-nu have run tests which prove their water filtration system removes 98% of Fluoride from water along with a host of other chemicals. Check out their Facebook page for more details
Everybody loves a gift especially one without any ‘strings’ attached. The Tree Council of Ireland in association with Coillte and Tetra Pak Ireland is offering a free Alder tree for every school in Ireland to help encourage bio-diversity and celebrate Tree Day this October 9th 2014. This is such a wonderful way to encourage tree planting and to get children and schools involved in a project that benefits the whole community. There is nothing like getting soil beneath the nails and nourishing and supporting a young sapling so that year after year and through the seasons, the Children and Teachers alike can see the fruit of their labour. What’s not to like! Log onto the Tree Day website now to register your school for your free tree. Or register your School’s details at http://firstname.lastname@example.org