Monday, March 3, 2014

Slow Living 2014 - February

This year I am again joining Christine over at Slow Living Essentials in her monthly stocktaking. February has been a bit of a rollercoaster, as you may be able to tell - I'm loving the gradual building up of the slower, simpler life - the way I can encorporate new skills and new routines into my life - but am finding the conflict with my job frustratingly difficult to manage. 

{NOURISH} Yoghurt! This month I experimented with making my own yoghurt and found it so easy and so fun that it's fitting in very easily and naturally with my routines. I have taken your advice to make two or three jars at a time - they last a week or two just fine in the fridge, and it means I only need to make yoghurt once a fortnight or so. Plus it's so much cheaper! Homemade yoghurt is around €1.28 per litre, while the shop-bought was costing me around €3.36 per litre. Big difference - if I eat around half a litre of yoghurt a week, making my own yoghurt for a year would save me about €50. Not bad...

{PREPARE} Not much here, I'm afraid... What can I preserve this time of year?

{REDUCE} Making my own yoghurt has meant reusing glass jars, so one less glass jar and plastic lid in the recycling/landfill every week. I've also kept the various things I dropped and broke this winter - a pie dish, a plate, an oven dish - to use in the base of pots when I plant things up later this spring.

{GREEN} Not much progress here either - I still use mostly homemade cleaners and beauty products, our heating has only been turned on three times this winter (all occassions purely for the benefit of guests) and our electricity usage is less than half the average for comparable households (young couple, no kids, in appartment), at least according to our energy supplier. I'm not really sure what I could do from here - any suggestions?

{GROW} I BOUGHT SEEDS!!!! Hahahaha... Progress on this, finally! I'm so excited. I still need to get the actual pots and the potting compost, but I should be able to plant something in March. I decided to order online from a UK supplier, largely because I know the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society (who have a fabulously useful website) is a good bet for beginners. It's awarded to plants that grow reliably without being too fussy about growing conditions or being prone to particular problems. I hope to be self-sufficient in radishes by the end of April. (Mine is a small dream.)

{CREATE} Much going on here, as always! Finished the blue cardigan, now already stuck into a scarf for a colleague, with birthday makes lined up.

{DISCOVER} It might sound naff, but I feel that the growing daylight hours feel a bit like a discovery. It's so cool and I'm not sure I have ever been so acutely aware of the extra minutes of light, the extra mood boost from a few minutes of sun. It's been drawing me outdoors more, to rediscover the city I live in.

{ENHANCE} Really enjoyed my father's visit at the end of February - it's so rewarding to spend time together just chatting, and we had a good laugh and a long walk in the sunshine, both things I desperately needed after a tough week at work.

{ENJOY} Barring the last week of the month - always a tough one at work - I am, you know. I really am enjoying all of it. Even the ironing and the washing up. Life is good when you let yourself live it. (Note: must remind self of this in last week of month.)

If this month had a motto, it was 'turn your face to the sun' - seek the joy and the warmth and the welcome.


  1. Well done on the cardigan you knitted! I love the colour, I hope it won't be too long and I will also be able to knit like that :) I have often thought about having a go at making my own yoghurt, but so far have not felt confident enough, yours looks good. Good luck with your radishes!

    1. Thanks! It doesn't quite fit so I'm investigating options with this... It's my first ever knit that's more complex than a scarf or pair of mittens.

      I say definitely go for yoghurt, it's so easy, no confidence needed! And if it all goes wrong, all you've lost is a little heat and some milk - not a costly investment!

  2. My winter preserving is making soup and freezing it! I make my own yogurt too you are right it is so much cheaper and it is easy too!

    1. Now I feel very silly that it took me so much time and courage to work up to trying yoghurt when it is so very easy. I've just increased my batch size to 2l, I keep eating so much of it because it not only tastes but feels good.

      I don't really have a proper freezer, just one drawer for ice and the occasional tub of ice cream, but thanks for reminding me that there are more kinds of preserving than jams and jellies!



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