Gift wrapping…. a la “eco Sare” style

I know we are only days away from Christmas and the vast majority of you have been super organised like always and are well and truly passed the wrapping stage in the lead up to your celebrations.  Then there are those of you that, like me, are running late in their preparations.

I believe I do have an excuse, although my husband thinks it’s only that…. An excuse!  I have been away for work for the last six weeks and I didn’t see him start the preps now did I so there you have it, in my head my excuse is valid.

I have done all my Christmas shopping online this year.  Not good for the carbon miles I know, but I am proud because I know I have bought well from quality independent retailers and small designers.  All Australian.  I can’t tell you what I’ve bought as some of the recipients could be reading….so you’ll just have to close your eyes and imagine.

Now, as my parcels are arriving in dribs and drabs on our doorstep, I am finally able to start gift wrapping!

Now the fun begins!!!

Here are some ideas….

fabric_gift_wrapI could chose to wrap my presents in the Japanese style “Furoshiki.”  Find some beautiful organic fabric, exclusive to each recipient, and totally reuseable…

gift wrap newspaper

What about using newspaper and a gorgeous ribbon?

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Or making these gorgeous newspaper rosebuds to decorate your present?

santa sacksWrapping in a santa sack or stocking like these from My Munchkin Home?

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One year, I wrapped everybody’s presents in gorgeous reuseable shopping bags from Envirosax.

425697_10151131550405826_1386458818_nOr what about using pages from that old and out of date street directory you found in your bookshelf?  My very old school friend Bronwen has done just that!  These are her presents in the image above…

2126326166_1bbeaa20e1Then there’s beautiful recycled kraft brown paper.  Make sure it’s unwaxed.

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There are gorgeous ways to make brown paper shine!

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In fact, this image below is how I’ve chosen to decorate mine this year.

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Using recycled brown paper that can be composted and some cotton Divine Twine from my own online store, my presents look beautiful and compliment our absolutely exquisite “living” Christmas tree!  Being a part-time greeting card designer, for me, it is all about the card.  I have used stunning tree-free cotton cardstock and have hand stamped my own image.  So personal and sets off the brown paper perfectly I think.

There…..Done…. Now if only the postie can get his deliveries done on time we’ll be laughing!

xx

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Nominated for a Super Sweet Blogging Award!

How exciting and thank you to “Beautywhizz” for nominating “Living Green in a Modern World” for a Super Sweet Blogging Award.  I feel sooooo priviliged especially since my blog has only been in existence for just over two months!!  Let’s hope I can continue to deliver and that you all continue to love reading my posts.

To accept this nomination I am required to firstly crediting Beautywhizz once again for this award nomination.  What a lovely early Chrissie present!!

The second step is to answer the questions below…

Cookies or cake?

Oh boy….. This is a hard one!!  I love a good cake but I am also a sucker for a good chocolate chip cookie!!  Being allergic to wheat has made these treats much harder to get my hands on unless I make them myself.  So saying that, I might go my warmed gluten free chocolate chip cookie with walnuts, sultanas and coconut.  I cannot stop at one!  I must also list the DIVINE french salted caramel macaroons that I sample at the Subi Farmers Markets here in Perth every Saturday morning.  They are well and truly my weakness!!

Chocolate or vanilla?

Another hard ball!  I am a recovering chocoholic!  Yes, can you believe I have managed to now be able to say “NO!” to chocolate!?  Most of the time anyway.  I have replaced commercially made chocolate with homemade cacao treats sweetened with agave syrup.  Yum!  It’s a dead heat between chocolate and the taste of real, pure vanilla pods.

What is my favourite sweet treat?

My Saturday morning macaroons and the healthy cacao balls I make at home.  Oh and pavlova….. I do LOVE a good pav!

When do I crave sweet things the most?

After dinner and once I have succumbed to the first mouthful of sugary treat…

If you had a sweet nickname what would it be?

Of course, I would have to be “sweet as sugar!”

Now to the final part of the award nomination.  This is where I return the favour and nominate my favourite 13 Bloggers.  I might have to add a few more than 13…. How can I stop at 13? Some of these, I follow via email and others I tend to follow on Facebook.  I have linked them in the way I follow them.  Hoping you love them as much as me!!!  Here goes….

DIY: Eco decorations for the Christmas tree

Eco Christmas

We are blessed with THE most beautiful real Christmas tree in our home this year.  The smell of pine has filled our home and created such warmth and love.  We are totally feeling the spiritual side of the Christmas season.

It is not easy to make eco conscious choices at Christmas.  A living Christmas tree in a pot is the ultimate gift you can give the earth at Christmas, but only if you have the land available to plant the tree afterwards.  A real Christmas tree, like we have this year, has given to the earth for the past three years by stopping erosion, creating homes in it’s branches for a myriad of insects and by collecting carbon as it grows.  What happens to it’s carbon now that it is cut, I am not sure.  But knowing that it will give back to the earth in it’s sacrifice as mulch at the end of Christmas has to be a plus.

Choosing a living tree is the ultimate for Christmas.

But if you already own a plastic tree do not fear.  Yes…a plastic tree is bad for the environment as it takes carbon, petrochemicals and toxins to create but you can justify keeping your already purchased plastic tree by realising that it will save the sacrifice of many trees in its lifetime.  The truly eco conscious way I can see to justify your plastic tree that you already own, is to make it last for years.  Love it for years.  And when it is finally at it’s end, choose to recycle it consciously.

As for the tree decorations, it is nearly impossible to avoid the mass consumerism and marketing that comes with Christmas decorations.  They surround you wherever you look!

I have come up with some beautiful ideas to decorate your tree in a truly unique and consumerism-free way…

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Origami is such a truly beautiful art form.  Why not have your kids make many Japanese cranes or something similar from divine Origami paper.  Join together with string and decorate your tree.  You could even make paper planes!

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Or how about reusing the decorations you already own and using ribbon as tinsel to tie the theme of your Christmas together?  Therefore the ribbon is uncut and totally re-useable…

Eco Christmas ribbon decorations

What about hanging gingerbread men, homemade iced circular cookies with a hole in the middle, cinnamon sticks, some cranberries on thread, fresh cherries on their stalks and candy canes on the tree?  You are limited only by your imagination……

My husband and I have used offcuts of ribbon to decorate our tree for many years now.  We tie the ribbon in bows at the end of each branch.  At the end of the Christmas period, we untie, flatten and then place into a box with the stunning Christmas ornaments we have collected over the years ready to be reused next year.

Eco Christmas

We have decided that by purchasing only two absolutely stunning Christmas ornaments each year made of ceramic, glass, timber or metal, we are building a tradition we hope will be passed on through future generations.  Less is more.

Merry Christmas

x

DIY: Make your own eco Christmas Wreath

I returned home a few days ago from a six week work trip.  Never before have I been soooo excited to get home and start Christmas!

Obviously after arriving home from so long away, there are endless jobs awaiting their catch up…. One of them was my overgrown garden.  After giving my rosemary bush a rather large prune, I was looking at the pile of beautiful cuttings thinking how sad it would be to have to throw all this fresh rosemary away.  That’s when I had a wonderful idea!  Make my very own Christmas Wreath!

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Firstly I started bunching the rosemary so it all ran the same way.  I staggered it a little so neither the stems or the tips are aligned.  Once it had reached my desired thickness, I wrapped a fine piece of wire around the bunch.  I secured it by twisting with pliers before tucking the ends into the bunch.  Once this was secured, I adedd more rosemary to one end of the bunch following the original principle or letting neither the stems or the tips align.  I secured it again with more wire about 10 cm along from the first piece of wire.  I continued these steps until my bunch was the required length to form the circle of my wreath.  Then I wrapped it in a circle and secured with my hand.  I tucked the stems and tips into each other to join.  Using some small cutoffs, I added around the outside of the bunch to hide the tucked in stems and tips.  Then I secured the last piece of wire around where I was holding the wreath together.  All that was left to do then was to decorate!

I chose to decorate mine with a simple red and white gingham ribbon.  You could use flowers, holly, pine cones, Christmas ornaments, raffia, hessian or what ever your heart desires.

Other beautiful ideas for a Christmas wreath would be to make it out of lavender, daisies, roses or any fragrant herb you desire.

A beautiful way to enjoy the wonderful scents of your garden whilst celebrating this special Yuletide season…

xx

 

My wickedly healthy, awesomely yummy banana smoothie

There is no better way to start the day than with a fresh and super healthy smoothie.  Here is my favourite banana smoothie…

SARE’S WICKEDLY HEALTHY, AWESOMELY YUMMY BANANA SMOOTHIE

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2 bananas

150ml biodynamic apple juice

1 handful of ice

1 tespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon agave syrup

2 good tablespoons of natural greek yoghurt

Whack it all in a blender and whizz!! Yummo!!

For a chocolatey version, just add a tablespoon of raw cacao powder.  Tastes just like a Boost King William smoothie but LOADS healthier!

xx

The toxins in our everyday beauty products

ecomom and Jessica

What can I say?

The majority of us are born with beautiful, perfectly functioning, healthy bodies.  Just like a car, if we maintain them with maintenance, quality fuel and a bit of TLC, we have the power to keep them in good health.  Dis-ease stuggles to live in a healthy body.  Life is a gift.

For a one stop toxic free beauty store in Australia head to http://www.nourishedlife.com.au/

Nourished Life is run by a gorgeous lady called Irene who has dedicated the last year and a half of her life to finding THE most healthy beauty products on the market.

Thanks to http://www.ecomom.com/ for the image.

x

 

Ethical Phone Apps for the Supermarket

As much as we try to avoid it, we all shop in supermarkets.  They are quick.  They are easy.  They are everywhere.

In this fast world of consumerism our supermarkets are a place of mass confusion to people like you and me.  Where do you start when it comes to choosing ethically??

Well there are two phone apps that I LOVE to rely on!

SHOP ETHICAL – $4.49

Available for iphones and androids, this app guides you through every aisle at the supermarket, rating every brand and giving you the choice of what you buy.  Featuring the most up to date data from the Ethical Consumer Guide, this app gives you information on over 3800 products.  It tells you who manufactures them, their principles, the ingredients they contain etc… So finally you’ll know which products contain palm oil!

You can also access this guide in hard print from http://www.ethical.org.au/shop/

SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD GUIDE – free

“The fish we choose today will directly affect the health of our oceans tomorrow” – Australian Marine Conservation Society.

This iphone app is fabulous when you are looking longingly through the glass displays at your local fishmonger, giving you an insight into the sustainability of over 100 seafood species commonly found at our fishmongers and in our supermarkets, fish and chip shops and restaurants.  It tells you where the fish comes from, how it is caught and whether it is responsibly fished.  Once again, helping you to make an informed ethical and sustainable choice whilst saving the health of our oceans at the same time!

The app also includes the FABULOUS  “Greenpeace Canned Tuna Guide” to help you sort out your tunas in the supermarket aisle.  Absolutely priceless!!

The guide can also be bought in print form from http://www.sustainableseafood.org.au

I’m sure there are plenty more apps out there on the market that help us change the world one product at a time whilst we shop.  These are two that I use on a day to day basis.

I’d love to hear from you if there’s an app you’d like to share.

xx

Reality…

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As I write, there is a television reality show somewhere in Australia that currently in production.  This show is recording 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for an entire month.  There are close to 400 employees working behind the scenes.  Maybe even more!  My colleagues and myself are all working flat out.  We are all exhausted.  Life is consuming right now…..

It is only when you stop and take the time to slow life right down that you realise we are working in a beautiful rainforest that lives and breathes.  An ecosystem so divine and so fragile.  A place where life lives, irrespective of us sharing this environment or not.  It is such an amazing world.  Most would have not even notice a tiny little bird’s nest hidden in the thick of this large rainforest….

These photos were taken today by my beautiful girlfriend, Sammi.  It is THE most beautiful bird’s nest I have ever seen.  Thank you soooo much for sharing Sammi.

This IS nature.  We all NEED nature.  It’s moments like this that make us feel alive.

Uashmama – A paper bag you can wash

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UASHMAMA

A paper bag with the texture of leather.  A paper bag you can wash.  A paper bag with a life span of a leather bag.  Made in Italy with virgin fibre from cultivation not deforestation, Uashmama bags are DIVINE!!!  I just stumbled across them in Harvest Deli in Newrybar yesterday and already I am in “lurve” with mine!!

To wash, just handwash in 50 degree water with a little handsoap or detergent and dry flat.  They come in brown, black, white and grey.  For everyday use or so special you can use them in homeware displays. Use for lunch, your grocery shopping, in your laundry, as a vase or planter, or a rubbish bin… The uses are endless!!!

They have even released special gold and silver Christmas designs that are made to weather and look like alfoil.  These look amazing!!!

Made in 5 different sizes these bags are ready for every use you can imagine.

This Lucca based family run business even make gorgeous shoulder bags, aprons, paper light shades, and totes.

You can find Australian stockists here http://www.objettrouve.com.au/Stockists.aspx

Yay for Uashmama!!!

xx

20% off Keep Cups for a limited time!

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Looking for the perfect gift for that coffee addict??  Look no further!

KeepCup have offered us a special promo code to save 20% off purchases in their online store!!!

Simply submit the promo code GREEN at checkout at http://www.keepcup.com.au/  for 20% off their purchases.

This offer is only availble from Saturday 10/11/12 till Saturday 24/11/12.  Get in quick!  These cups are LOVED by those that own them!!  You can even find one in your team’s colours!!

About KeepCup:

  • They are barista standard because they replicate standard takeaway sizes and fit under the group heads of most espresso machines. When espresso based coffee is made in your KeepCup the crema remains intact and the portioning of milk to coffee will be correct.
  • They are BPA free and non-toxic.
  • KeepCups are dishwasher safe, microwaveable and splash proof.
  • KeepCups fit into most car cup holders and many bicycle bottle holders.

To read about their sustainability go to http://www.keepcup.com.au/sustainability

Eco Gift Ideas for Christmas

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As Christmas comes around again, so to starts the dilemma of present shopping.  What would Uncle Bob like?  Will Cousin Sandy appreciate her present this year?

Then if you are like me, there are the bigger questions… How can I minimise my impact on the environment this year whilst avoiding consumerism?  By promoting local Australian made?  By giving gifts that keep giving?

Here are some suggestions if you are looking for ideas:

For the ladies:

Queen B Candles

Beautiful Australian made beeswax candles

Polli

Using plantation timber and recycled stainless steel, Polli make the most wonderful jewellery right here in Australia!

Bambu

Beautiful kitchenware and homewares made from completely renewable materials.  Not made in Australia but I adore their totally renewable cork bowls.  Such a feature table piece to talk about!

Madonna Bain

Organic and eco luxurious underwear.  Australian made.

Ecolinen Organic

THE most beautiful bedlinen you could EVER sleep on!!!  They also have a fabulous range of bathroom and baby linen as well as organic pillows and doonas.

Apple and Bee

With THE most gorgeous totes and purses, Apple and Bee is a must!!

Ecovault

Stunning iphone and ipad cases handmade from brass etc in a little shop in Brooklyn NY.  Something your gal will cherish forever!

Solar powered lanterns

Divine!!

Eco yoga mat

Made from TPE (Thermal Plastic Elastomer) foam, these eco yoga mats contain no latex, PVC or rubber and they use no toxic materials in their manufacture.

Handmade linen ballet flats

So beautiful!  Made with cotton canvas and hemp and found on Etsy.

Mokosh

An Australian organic skin care range that has the most fabulously smelling massage oils, body butters and soaps!!

EcoTools

Environmentally friendly make up brushes etc.

Or what about a gift card for a fabulous local masseuse or beauty bar?  Or a specialist eyebrow shaping?  Or a gym membership?  Local dressmaker?  By supporting local you are keeping your money in Australia where it is needed.

For men:

Organic Wine

Why not buy him a beautiful case of Australian made organic wines?

Automatic Solar Powered Mower

Leave it to Husqvarna to come up with it!!

Envirowheels electric bikes

Get him out and about without sweat!  Great for the commute to work!

Bamboo MacBook Case

Stunning!

Holloway Sunglasses

Stunning sunglasses made in Brisbane out of recycled skateboard decks.

Keep Cup reusable take away coffee cup

An Australian made reusable take away coffee cup for his coffee on the run.  BPA free.  And you can even design your very own design on the website!

Bokashi Bucket

Australian made composting bucket that works right in your kitchen.  Reduce your landfill whilst improving the soil in your garden.

Stonemen

Not eco but seriously cool and they ARE Australian made and donate to Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace, Surfers for Cetaceans and My Life.  This November they are donating to Movember – supporting prostate cancer and male mental illness.

Adrenalin Gift Vouchers

They may not all be eco friendly but at least you are supporting Australian businesses whilst feeding your man’s need for speed!

For the kids:

Avoiding Chinese made and by giving a gift that keeps giving and teaches your kids along the way…

Skipping Pebbles

An Australian small business bringing back the games of elastics, hopscotch and skipping ropes.

Cocoome

THE most divine organic sleepwear and pjs for kids!!

Eco Toys

A treasure trove of eco toys, gorgeous teddybears and eco versions of the good ol’ favourite toys we had growing up including a gorgeous eco bug catcher that will last generations!

Balloon Balls

Imagine a ball that the kids can use inside!!

My Munchkin Home Santa Sacks

Not eco made but OMG!!  The cutest and totally reusable Santa Sack for generations to come!

Decorations:

Have you met Miss Jones

Made from ceramics in the Phillipines, these decorations are THE most divine things you will ever have hanging on your Christmas tree.  These will become hand me downs!

And if all those ideas are still not right for your special one or many, there are some amazing charities that you can choose to donate to this Christmas both in Australia and abroad.  You can adopt an orangutan, save a koala, buy a goat to feed a village, etc..etc.. You can even volunteer to help others on Christmas day.  Just google and you will find!

Now THAT truly is the gift that keeps giving!!

Happy Christmas Eco Shopping!!

xx

50% off Evohe skincare

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There is a fabulous Gold Coast Company making their mark on the eco conscience beauty industry.  Conceived in the hills of Northern New South Wales after selling a motorbike to fund the business, EVOHE has grown rapidly into a “luxury” skincare company with highly enriching products that are vegan, ethically sustainable, free from animal testing, organic in part and palm oil free.  Their products are amazing!

They are offering us as first time EVOHE customers the opportunity to receive 50% off their trial pack. You just need to email service@evohe.com.au.  Mention “Living Green in a Modern World” and ask for the special “secret” code 🙂

Their trial pack contains a cleanser, moisturiser, mist spray and a fabulous product called 3.6.9 Omega – a serum rich in arctic cloudberry, goji and borage oils designed to give your skin an anti aging punch!!  The trial pack is great for traveling and will last three or more weeks!  What a fabulous special offer.  Just in time for Christmas too!!

This offer is only valid to readers of this blog.  How special are we!!!!

http://evohe.com.au/

xx

A natural fly eliminator..

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I say eliminator cos it does exactly that.  Eliminate flies from your home without killing one single one!!

Well…that’s what they say.

We had a call today to tell us that our rental house is currently suffering a fly problem and asking when was the last time the house was pest treated.  How do you answer that question and say that the house has not been commercially treated in seven years?

How do you suggest that the tenant wash floors with a few drops of citronella in the water?  Or hang sticky paper up on windows?  Or put white pepper along doorsills to repel ants?

The next minute I found myself on Google…

I found THE most amazing fly deterrent that I will be testing out tomorrow to see if it works.  By all accounts, apparently it does.  And fantastically at that!

  • Step One:

Grab yourself a ziplock bag.  Fill it with water. Add four coins (from my research, they suggest pennies but I will be trying the good ol’ Aussie 5 cent coin tomorrow.)

  • Step Two:

Seal the bag and hang inside or outside your home.

That’s it….

Apparently it works by reflection.  As flies have so many eyes, the theory is that the water acts as one enormous disco ball and as flies are prey to insects, the flies don’t stay around long .

I’ll let you know how I go tomorrow.  Fingers crossed!  The flies here in Perth are so sticky and impatient, so if it works here I reckon it’ll work anywhere!!

xx

Organic meat vs conventional farmed meat

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Why eat organic meat?

There are many reasons to choose organic meat over regular farmed meat.  Both health wise and ethically.

  • You will find more Omega 3s in grass-fed pasture ORGANIC meat.  As we all know, Omegas 3s are essential in reducing risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer etc.
  • ORGANIC meat contains up to five times more CLA, a fatty acid called Linoleic acid which reduces your risk of cancer.
  • A 170 gram ORGANIC steak has 100 less calories compared to a regular steak.  It also contains less saturated fat.
  • ORGANIC meat is free from toxins, antibiotics and hormones.  Because ORGANIC animals are not fed animal by-products there is no risk of mad cow disease to you or your family!
  • ORGANIC meat poses a low risk of carrying E.coli.

Not to mention the ethical reasons!

  • ORGANIC farms use renewable resources, conserve water and don’t require the growth, transporting, waste and use of bulk feed.
  • ORGANIC free-range animals are free to roam, socialise and show their instinctive behaviour 365 days a year.

There is no denying it…… ORGANIC meat IS unfortunately more expensive to produce and that is why it is more expensive at the counter. By paying that little bit more at the counter, you can sleep easy knowing that your money is going into the health of you and your family.  Knowing that you are making a difference to the lives of our livestock animals when you put your money where your ethics are.

You can even go one step further and choose your meat by choosing the farms that you trust.  Choosing farms that look after their animals humanely.  Choosing farms that protect their animals from stress all the way through the meat process.   Choosing to shop at local farmers markets where you can talk to the farmers who love their animals.

Why not choose one or two days a week for your family to go meat-free?  There are fabulous vegetarian recipes that will have you not even missing meat they’re so good!!!  The animals will love you and so with your health.

The most fabulous farm I have ever come across for ethically raising their animals is Pasture Perfect in Australia:

http://www.pastureperfect.com.au/organic

Have a good look around their website and their FAQs page.  You could not ask for happier, healthier animals!  Pasture Perfect are just about to open an online store so you can order directly from them.  I don’t eat much pork at all as I have always had trouble digesting it, but I can tell you this pork is DIVINE and no trouble on my stomach!  Their Chrissie hams are THE BOMB!!

I am sure there are many other fabulous farmers out there doing similar work.  I would love to hear from you about your favourites!!

xx

PS Did you know that pigs have the cognitive ability of a three year old child and that chickens can recognise up to 100 different faces?  Amazing hey!

Growing veges in a small garden

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My husband and I are currently renting.  We have a small vege patch that we have created in two small gardens that once had dead plants, with the garden beds covered in grass.  We also have a few pots that we bought off Gumtree.

Our vege patch totals about 2 square metres.  It’s only small but high yielding.

By cultivating the soil and making it the best we can, we have a patch of land that make us sooo proud!  We have cos lettuce, rocket, baby spinach, beetroot, endive, celery, roma tomatoes, carrots, leeks, snow peas, peas, shallots, garlic, blueberries and chilli.  Our herbs consist of parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, sage, mint, coriander, vietnamese mint and chocolate mint. And to top it off, we have a lemon tree, lime tree and the garden is filled with rosemary, lavender, daisies and roses.

We share this garden with snails, caterpillars, aphids, their nemesis lady beetles, two cats and many birds.  It doesn’t worry us though when our crop is shared as we plant by the seasons using permaculture and figure that, as in nature, only the strongest will survive.  We don’t go without and neither do they!

Who cares if there’s a couple of holes in a spinach leaf?

That is nature.

xx

PS you may also appreciate my blog about DIY healthy soil.  You can find it at https://livinggreeninamodernworld.wordpress.com/2012/10/13/healthy-soil-diy-as-easy-as-123/

DIY The Eco Laundry

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Washing and ironing.

They are jobs that are never done.

How is it that you can finally hear the last load of washing for the day churning on its spin cycle only to turn around and see some MORE dirty clothes that have magically appeared!!?

Well, considering we spend almost 24 hours a day wrapped in our clothing, it seems only understandable that we choose a natural, healthy product to wash our clothes in.  There are many great products out there on the market that are worthy of doing the job extremely well but are unfortunately not able to keep up with the marketing of the global super brands.  All products do the same thing.  It’s what else they do that counts!

I have some washing balls that I use in my delicate washes.  These balls work without chemicals.  They require nothing but the water in the machine.  They are anti bacterial and hypo allergenic.  They work by ionising the water, which in turn pulls out the dirt.  They are not miracle workers and are surrounded by a lot of controversy, but I like them for my delicate clothes.  The one I have has ceramic balls inside.  I used ceramic balls around the filter in our outdoor pond and had great success with the length of time before I needed to clean the filter.  And the fish were very happy.  I’m sure they were smiling 🙂

My husband is a very keen exerciser.  Whether it’s a run, cycling, kayaking, surfing or swimming, there are forever stinky clothes in our washing basket.  For these clothes I do trust the experts.  And I also add a swig of eucalyptus oil.   I am currently using laundry liquid made by NZ company, Eco Store.  It used to be hard to get but with Eco Store now being stocked by Woolworths here in Australia, well… it is just too easy to be green.  Being plant and mineral based with no toxic petrochemicals, phosphates, enzymes, brighteners, dyes or perfumes, Eco Store products are GE free and PETA cruelty free.  And they label every ingredient!

Then there is the other option, making your own laundry products.  Below are some fabulous recipes for some AWESOME old favourites!

HOMEMADE LAUNDRY LIQUID

  • 1 1/2 litres water
  • 1 cup grated soap (Try Eco Store’s soaps too! Fabulous!)
  • 1/2 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup borax (Can be omitted or replaced with baking soda as it can be toxic.  Please spot test on your family.  Used to make whites whiter.)

In a saucepan heat water and soap over medium heat.  Stir until dissolved.  Add washing soda and borax.  (Note: if using baking soda make sure you mix well as the baking soda can sometimes clump on your clothes.)

LAUNDRY POWDER

  •  2 cups grated laundry soap
  • 1 cup washing soda

Mix.  That’s it!

I also add a few drops of eucalyptus oil into the fabric softener compartment in the washing machine to give a bit of a disinfect and a fresh smell.

FABRIC SOFTENER

Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the final rinse.  The smell will dissipate once the clothes are dry.

I don’t iron.  My husband does.  I am LUCKY!!!

LAVENDER IRONING WATER

1 cup demineralised water

25 ml vodka (90% proof)

15 drops lavender oil (or you could try rosemary or rose)

Add essential oil and vodka to a sterilised bottle.  Stir well and leave for 24 hours.  Add water and put into a spray bottle.  Mist your clothes as you iron for a lovely smell.

Yum!!

xx

DIY The clean and healthy kitchen

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We all know the chemical cocktail that goes into our cleaning products around the home.   The vast majority of us don’t even know what we are exposing ourselves to.  From asthma to skin allergies and health troubles, a great many of these products are slowly killing us!  It seems quite ironic when cleanliness is meant to be good for our health.

Here are a few simple old fashioned recipes to make your very own -healthier- kitchen cleaners.

ALL PURPOSE CLEANER – for floors, walls, bench tops and sinks

  • 1/2 cup of washing soda
  • 2 litres of warm water

Mix together and store sealed.  You can add a few drops of lavender oil or eucalyptus oil to your mix if you are after that CLEAN smell.

STAINLESS STEEL CLEANER – good on a buffed steel finish

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 bucket warm water

Mix. Using a rag, apply to surface and then wipe dry. To a clean cloth, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil and wipe off streaks.

ALL PURPOSE SCRUB

  • 1/2 cup baking soda

Add enough dishwashing liquid to form a paste.  Using a sponge, scrub.  Great for shower and bath.  Make as you need.

WINDOW CLEANER

1/2 cup vinegar

juice of 1 lemon

1 1/2 cup hot water

Mix and add to a spray bottle. Rub into windows with newspaper.  In summer, also add lavender, lemongrass or citronella oil to deter flies.

For a nice smelling vapouring mix to rid the kitchen of left-over smells…

  • 2 pods vanilla
  • 2-3 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cloves

Crush all ingredients in a mortar and pestle or if you are lazy like me, a food processor.  Tip into a heavy bottomed frypan and slowly heat until spices start to smoke.  Your smells will be gone and the kitchen will smell gorgeous!

And one tip, don’t use lemon juice or vinegar on your beautiful stone topped benches.  Always test the cleaners in an inconspicuous place before using…
As for dishwashing liquid, I don’t believe you can make a quality one.  I use Ecostore Dishwashing Liquid.  A NZ company dedicated to changing the products we use in our homes.  It is much safer on the environment and does a fabulous job with your dishes!!  You can find it at Woolies here in Australia.

In my next post we will look at healthier homemade laundry powder and liquid.
xx

Chocolate

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Those that know me also know that my life doesn’t exist without chocolate.  Chocolate is my sin.  Those that know me would be horrified to hear that I have been chocolate free for 3 weeks.  Sugar free for three weeks.  Well, not entirely.  The chocolate free part is true.  The sugar free is processed sugar free.  I have swapped it for agave syrup, for xylitol and for maple syrup.  These products have nowhere near the effect of spiking your GI levels that cane sugar has.

Considering I am not even craving chocolate I don’t know whether I am giving into my sin by making a chocolate torte tonight.  This is no ordinary chocolate torte but, if there is such a thing, a HEALTHY chocolate torte!!

I found a fabulous recipe for a double chocolate torte online, that I have adapted for my own.  Here goes!

Double Chocolate Torte
1 cup 70% dark chocolate in pieces
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup of coconut flour
1/4 cup cacoa powder
1/2 teaspoon himalayan sea salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup rice bran oil
1 tablespoon lavender syrup  (you could also try orange zest or peppermint)

  1. Place ½ cup of the chocolate pieces in a food processor and pulse until the texture of gravel
  2. Pulse in almond and coconut flour, cacao powder and salt and process until well combined, about 10 seconds
  3. Add eggs to food processor and pulse again, then add in agave, oil and lavender syrup
  4. Pulse all ingredients together until smooth
  5. Remove “bowl” from food processor and stir in second ½ cup of chocolate chips using a spoon or spatula
  6. Transfer batter into a well oiled 10 inch springform pan
  7. Bake at 180° for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
I am waiting for it to come out of the oven but OMG I can’t wait!
xx

Healthy soil DIY… As easy as 1,2,3!!

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There is nothing more satisfying than picking your own home-grown fruit and vegetables or filling your home with beautiful home-grown flowers.  Achieving this in any sized garden is so much easier than most people imagine.  Gardening is not a big chore if it is tended to regularly and with love.  It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3!

Whether you are planting your garden on one acre, in a few pots in your courtyard or on your apartment balcony the principles are the same.  The only difference is the space you have.  Obviously, in a smaller space you will need to farm intensively and feed your soil more regularly.

The most important ingredient in successful gardening and vegetable growing is the quality of your soil.  Good soil is the foundation for a successful garden.  The time you give to your soil in the early stages saves so much time and heartache later.  Organic gardeners know that the key to a successful garden is not feeding the plants but the soil itself.  Think of a rainforest and then think of the underlayer of composting material.  Healthy soil is brimming with life.

So you have your soil.  What else do you need that is just as important?

  • Organic compost

Organic Compost comes in the form of chook poo, manure, worm castings, broken down vegetables and plants.  Artificial fertilisers may feed your plants quickly now but they strip the soil of nutrients depleting its quality in the long run.  Always go natural.  Dig it under the soil if the smell gets to you.  As for me, I LOVE the smell of chook poo as I know how fabulously it is feeding my garden!!  It makes me feel good!!

  • Seaweed and if required, soil conditioners

Healthy soil holds water longer and provides conditions that the plants are better able to survive without water for longer.  The best vitamin fix you can give your plants is the occasional spraying with seaweed topical sprays and worm juice sprays.  So easy to use they are like lathering ourselves in moisturiser.  Your plants will LOVE it!!  Soil conditioners are used if there is a PH imbalance in your soil.

  • Mulch

Mulch suppresses weeds, feeds the soil with nitrogen and important bacteria and fungi, reduces erosion and protects your soil by keeping it cooler in summer and warmer in winter.  Mulch encourages worms, that in turn aerate the soil and provide nutritious worm castings.  I find it best to alternate between soft mulches and hard mulches.  Soft mulch like sugarcane breaks down and feeds the soil.  Hard mulches like tea-tree and coconut husk provide important fungi and bacteria. If you want to decorate your pots with stones make sure you mulch beneath them.  Stones etc may look good but they provide nothing to the soil.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!!!

Now you are ready to plant your veges and sit back and reap the rewards of your efforts!!

xx

The Backyard Gardener

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Okay my fellow animalarians (yes, it’s my word and I am taking it global!), I am on a mission to return us all to a society that finds chooks in backyards across our cities!!!

As well as the obvious eggs, chooks are weeders, pest control, fertiliser and lawn grub eaters.  They make fabulous pets to boot with every chicken having such independant personalities!  Your garden and your health will thank you.  So too will the kids!  Not to mention, the hundreds of thousands of battery chickens that exist for one year only inside a farm and never given the chance to ever do what is instinctively natural for a chicken, to scratch in the dirt and feel sunshine on their gorgeous little backs.  Yes I am a chicken lover.  I was converted after seeing the Jamie Oliver special on the chicken industry.  How wrong our intensive farming principles are!!!  Two of my four “girls” are ex battery hens and I would never believed it if I didn’t see it but the first thing they did after spending their entire 18 month long lives in a cage was instinctively scratch when they first touched soil.  I nearly cried!!

As we have recently moved to Perth from Brisbane and are now renting, I sadly had to leave my beloved “girls” in the loving hands of a friend.   Somehow, landlords just don’t seem to understand my cause!!   I dream of the day that we purchase a home and I can return to a life surrounded by “girls.”  I now have to buy my eggs which I hate, but through my local farmers market, I have chosen a specific farm and know that although I can’t assure their chickens of their lives after egg laying, that my eggs have come from happy chickens in paddocks in the sunshine.

And yes, my husband now calls me a “crazy chicken lady” but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Neither would he!

xx

The secret to youth?

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In my recent detox I have discovered Chia seeds, Maca root and Mesquite powder.  How did I not find these before??

Miranda Kerr swears by chia seeds as they have high levels of Omega 3, protein, fibre and antioxidants.  She snacks on them and alternatively makes them into a paste.  But you can just about do anything with them, from throwing a small handful into a smoothie to adding them like sesame seeds to your cakes and breads.

Maca root powder is AMAZING stuff!!  You name it, it achieves it!  It has long been known as the fertility drug of the Peruvians but it is not technically an aphrodisiac.  It works to regulate hormone production most notably involved with your adrenal and pituitary (an issue for me as I suffer from a microadenoma) glands and it boosts your immunity from within against both physical and mental weakening.

Finally, Mesquite powder.  This yummy caramel tasting gem holds a high amount of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc.  It is rich in the amino acid lysine as well which is an important nutrient needed in healthy cells.  Mesquite powder can be used in smoothies or instead of flour.  With it’s low GI it stabilises blood sugar levels.

I sprinkle these supplements onto my morning yoghurt and fruit as well as a dash of agave syrup and a teaspoon of LSA, or add them to my cacao smoothies.  So easy!!

Hey.. If Miranda Kerr’s doing it, why wouldn’t we???

For some really healthy, fabulous recipes using these ingredients check out  http://www.lovingearth.net/recipes

Based in Melbourne, Loving Earth work with indigenous people around the world to source fair-trade, sustainable and healthy food in it’s purest form and to bring it to our table.  They feature recipes from Scott Fry, Managing director and chef and Omid Jaffari, Raw chef and globetrotter to bring to the internet THE most AMAZINGLY creative and yummy recipes.  They also have an online store.  Check them out!!

xx

My new Subi favourite

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    I cannot believe that I have lived so close to this gorgeous organic beauty bar for the past year and I have only just walked into it for the first time today!!!  I am talking about “b kind” in Churchill Rd, Subiaco, WA.

Such a gorgeous clean-lines store filled to the brim with beautiful organic top-class and totally natural treats from beauty to hair to make up.  All their products are ethically sourced, free from sodium laureth sulfides, parabens, pegs, petrochemicals, synthetic fragrance, genetically modified ingredients and animal testing.  WOW!   And it was soooo lovely to see that they also have local offerings from Western Australian companies doing their bit in the worldwide organic cosmetic scene.

I have come home with some divine Mokosh Shea Body Butter in geranium and patcholi (said to be deeply moisturising and nourishing), a gorgeous hot pink lippy from Zuii and made in Australia.

Mokosh looks like a fabulous Australian company containing between 95 and 100% cerified organic ingredients and they don’t use palm oil.  None of their ingredients are bleached, heated or diluted, and to top it off they are handmade in a little Fremantle studio right here in WA!  I tried a tester of their hand cream and OMG…. DIVINE!  I can’t wait to try more of the range!

Another company I really liked the look of is Sodashi.  Using biochemistry, aromatherapy and Ayurvedic principles, their products are considered the purest skincare range on earth!!  And they too are made right here in Fremantle, WA.  There packaging is gorgeous and is recyclable and printed with natural vegetable dyes.

I cannot wait to try their products.  I will let you know my verdict.  As you know, it will take a lot to beat my organic coconut oil and Rose hip!!

xx

Those ghastly dry winter hands..

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If you are like me I have gone through soooo much hand cream this winter trying to keep any life in my poor dry  ol’ hands.  Not any more!  I have switched back to my beloved favourite of all time, Melrose Castille Soap.  Oh my goodness, I had forgotten how good this product is.  Made with organic oils of olive, flaxseed, sunflower and palm oil (From Daabon in Colombia, South America.  No Orang-utans live in South America and the palm oil is grown in a chemical free, organically certified and sustainable system), Castille soap is amazing!  Non drying, it still cleans like regular soap.  In fact, it can even be used for a pet shampoo and probably a baby shampoo as well.  I must say the Palm Oil is still an issue for my ethics but I am pleased to see a company looking for alternatives.  I know that this company is aware of the well deserved controversy surrounding Palm Oil and hopefully in the near future they will find an alternative.  In the meantime, Colombian Palm Oil is providing an income to families in South America.

So now I have teamed this soap up with InEssence’s Refining Lavender hand scrub and my InEssence Rose Hip Plus.  Now my hands are nearly summer ready!!

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There is nothing more certain in life than death.  There is nothing more final in life than death.

We lost my husband’s Nana this morning.  Such a horrific and devastating loss for her grown-up children.  Such a final moment for her grandchildren.  A hollow shock for her great grandchildren.  Such a sad farewell for her friends.  We all have such different loss and emotion when grief hits.  We have all lost the same person but such different entities.  For her children, her grandchildren and her many great grandchildren she was everything.  For me she was my friend.  My cheeky, witty friend.

Mrs Jobson passed away early this morning in her sleep.  She had been a prisoner in her body and mind for too long and had fought it as hard as she could.  This morning she willingly gave up her fight.

I was told that the sunrise was beautiful this morning and that through the beauty of today, it was a great day for astral planing.  She will be soaring the skies today like an eagle.  She will be cruising the worlds oceans.  She will be carried through the song of hymns.  She will be the biggest, brightest, newest star in the sky tonight.   She is free.

Rest in peace.  You will truly be missed but remembered always.  Fly high. xx

“You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”

written 1981
David Harkins 1959 –
Silloth, Cumbria, UK

Have yourself a Merry Ethical Christmas

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Christmas is fast approaching.  It is such a wonderful time of year filled with magic, laughter, family, friendships and ultimately love.  I am a meat eater.  I am not proud of it but I am very conscious of the choices I make at the counter.  I buy ethical meat from ethical farms that I know have happy, healthy, organic animals that have lived their lives without stress and with plenty of grass and sunshine.  I believe you can taste this “happy” meat.  And therefore the enzymes, vitamins and protein in this meat is much more alive, healthier and packed full of goodness.  Would you believe the fat on grass fed lamb is actually beneficial to our health??

Our bodies are what we eat.
When it comes to Christmas, the only food I serve at my table is healthy, happy food.  Loads of organic vegetables and salads.  Loads of sunshine grown, non gmo, organic fruits.  Loads of antioxidants and vitamins.  Happy Christmas food.  Of course for many, Christmas is not Christmas without the turkey and the ham.

Here are some wonderful producers in S.E. Queensland/ Northern New South Wales that I know first hand who bring ethically raised food to the table.  You will have NEVER tasted meat quite like it!!

Sunforest Organic Turkeys

Bendele Farms

Pasture Perfect Pork

This year, as we are now in Perth, I am soon to start researching my choices for this up-coming Christmas.  I will keep you posted with what I discover.

While you are considering an ethical Christmas of your own, why not boycott gifts made in China for those locally made or sustainably sourced.  Our planet will thank you.  What better gift could you give your children?

Gaia. Mother Nature.

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copyright 2009

She is everywhere.  Her paintings can be found in the little pollen footsteps left behind by a bee on this crocus flower.  She is alive.  She breathes every breath we take.  She is in the heart and soul of every living thing.  She is complete.  She surrounds us and completes us.  She is for all and all for one.

Beautiful Hair with Yarok

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Oh my goodness! ATTENTION GIRLS!! Throw out all your toxic hair products and check out Yarok NYC!! The products are AMAZING!! And they are healthy!! No more cancer causing ingredients….

Free of toxic alcohol, paraben, sulfates, Yarok uses certified organic ingredients and prides itself on being 100% vegan and cruelty free.  And they even donate 3% of their profits to The Pachamama Alliance, a non-profit organisation that protects over 10 million acres of rainforests in the Amazon.

Can I say Yarok’s Feed your Roots and their Feed your Youth are remaining in my bathroom cabinet for centuries to come.  Never have I come across a hair care range that I have loved as much as this!  The products feel so pure!

Now you don’t have to sacrifice your hairstyle for the earth.

Get on it!! I am loving them!! x

Living local

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There is something really rewarding about local farmer’s markets.   The community feeling that comes from such events is fabulous!  Surrounding yourself with like-minded people all out in the spring air buying fresh, local and often organic produce directly from those who put their heart and soul into it – the farmers themselves.

My Saturday mornings are my favourite mornings of the week!

Australia’s shame

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If you are like me, you would be absolutely horrified at the continued fight by a vast majority of Australians to Ban Live Export.

You may be in shock, you may be appauled, you may want to bury your head and hope that it will all go away.  Unfortunately it won’t.  Without a change of government policy this practice will continue.  You may feel powerless but let me assure you, you are not.  Every single voice can join together with other voices to create a wave that is as strong as a tsunami.   The first step is to follow this link to Animals Australia’s facebook page… https://www.facebook.com/AnimalsAustralia?fref=ts or to RSPCA’s Ban Live Export Page http://www.banliveexport.com/. From there you can be as involved as you are comfortable with.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step” – Lao Tzu

Skin care that is so ethically and organically green!!

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I am a simple cosmetic girl.

Yet it amazes me how a simple cosmetic girl can still have so many products in her bathroom cabinet….

I would have to say my most versatile product is Eco certified organic virgin cold pressed coconut oil.  I use it for EVERYTHING!!!  I use it as a moisturiser.  I use it for sunburn.  I use it against sunburn.  I use it for psoriasis.  I use it for a hair moisturiser.  I use it to detox.  I use it to smell like summer when the thick and bitter cold of winter has just gotten way too hard to take.  I love it!!

I also love my InEssence certified organic rose hip plus.  Packed full of Vitamin C, Rose Hip Oil  is so important in the stimulation of collagen as we age.   The oil reaches right down into the driest, most dehydrated skin and brings out the most wondrous healthy skin!! Why not mix it with a few drops of Jojoba oil for added benefits?  And why limit it to your face?

For more information on Coconut Oil: http://wakeup-world.com/2012/03/02/160-uses-for-coconut-oil/

Kale…The super food

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I have recently discovered Kale.  This superfood is amazing!!

my-new-roots-kaleKale contains amazing levels of Vitamin A,  Vitamin B9 (folate), Vitamin K, alpha-lipoic acid and lutein.  Therefore, it’s an important food in the fight against stroke, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and depression.  It fights infections and regulates blood clotting.  In fact, research conducted by the Angiogenesis Foundation in Massachusetts suggests that kale may be effective in blocking angiogenesis, making it much harder for cancer cells to grow and multiply in the body.

Therefore, why wouldn’t we all include kale in our daily diets!!!

Here are two recipes for a breakfast smoothie that are just divine!!

Blueberry Banana Punch

1 banana

A handful of frozen blueberries

Half an apple

A small handful of kale

200mls of biodynamic apple juice

Teaspoon of chia seeds

Ice.

Whizz in blender.

kale8

Monster Juice

A decent handful of Kale

1 cheek of frozen organic mango

1 banana

200ml of biodynamic apple juice (if you can’t find, the Nudie nothing but apples is good)

dash of coconut water water (100mls ish)

squeeze of lemon (this releases maximum iron from the kale)

A handful of ice.

Whizz!!

YUM!!!!!

xx

About me

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My name is Sare and I am a self confessed modern, city living, eco warrior.

I live in a world that is fast and furious, yet I prefer the slower lane, taking time every day to smell the roses. I grow vegetables in my backyard. I support local farmers markets. I raise chickens when I can. I compost. Everything I buy or do, I choose the most ethical, eco and sustainable option at the time. I detox. I make a difference by my consumer choices.

I truly believe information is power and that every single person has the ability to change the world, one choice at a time.

Come follow my blog.  I would like to share my world with you.  xx