Ecoffee Cup now available

The amazingly gorgeous Ecoffee cup is now available from Life Lived Simply.  For just R189, you will be prepared to always proudly refuse single use takeaway cups.

There are 6 different designs and the cup is 340ml.  So next time you want to grab a takeaway coffee, just hand over your cup and the barista can place it in directly.  Some stores even offer small discounts for using your own cup.

Best of all, you can sip with the confidence of knowing you are not contributing to the 100 billion single use cups that end up in landfill.

What I love about this cup is that it is light, and whilst the manufacturers do admit to it not yet being perfect, they are working on it.  The bamboo cup is made from naturally organic, naturally sterile bamboo fibre sourced from managed plantations in Anji province in central China; combined with non-GMO corn starch and a resin binder. The sleeve and lid are made from high quality food grade silicone – which is made from silicon (silica) and oxygen. Both elements are recyclable. It is free of BPA and phthalates, and if you look after it it should last a lifetime. The cup is biodegradable, you just need to crush it, soak it in boiling water and then bury it in organic compost, and it will take 24 – 36 months to fully biodegrade.

I particularly love that it is standard coffee cup size, as this avoids confusion at the counters.  I have already chosen my cup! Fits perfectly in my handbag along with my folded up cotton shopping bag, Freshbag, stainless steel straw and reusable napkin – so I am always prepared and able to politely refuse the single use.

ecoffee-cup-life-lived-simply

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am working on the shop aspect of my site.  If you would like to order and Ecoffee cup, then drop me a line at mrscolleenblack@gmail.com. Check out the other waste producing products I have available too.

Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle & rot – always in that order.

The Best Birthday, Ever.

So today I turned 34. My husband and I don’t really do birthdays, not because we are grumpy non-joiners, we just don’t.

So this morning I opened my eyes after around 730am after a lazy snooze in, and my eyes welled up! All I could think was how I honestly couldn’t be happier, not because I have everything and life is perfect, but because I have finally got to the point where my joy is in Jesus. No parties or gifts could make me happier than knowing that God has blessed me with another year and has changed my heart. Our life on this earth is short, and it is all about the journey, it is all about eternity. Realising this life is so short is not about cramming in everything we can do to live a busy life, being so busy in jobs to pay for ‘all the things’.  It is about focusing on what would bring God joy, what would bring our loved ones joys.  I finally realise that.

I have received more inspirational birthday messages this year than I ever have in my life, and to hear that friends can see in my life that I am living for the Lord is the best gift I could ever receive. Which led to more tears!  Hormonal or not enough crochet & cake … who knows!?

In just over 2 years, my life has completely changed, and there is only God to thank for that.  It really makes me reconsider the birthday vibe in our home.  Maybe it is time to start celebrating the years God has blessed us with, now that I don’t see it as just celebrating ourselves and buying presents.

All I can say is, Thank you Jesus for my life.

 

I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born. Isaiah 44:2

God doesn’t play dice.  Albert Einstein

Surely God would not have created such a being as man to exist only for a day! No, no, mad was made for immortality. Abraham Lincoln.

Reduce Waste to Landfill – South Africa

I created a group on Facebook called Reduce Waste to Landfill – South Africa, because I wanted a one stop spot for sharing tips on where & how to shop in SA to reduce waste. Also a place to share ideas and motivate each other, some might even choose to collaborate on various projects.


Whether you are a zero waste guru, or whether you have only just started using reusable shopping bags, whether you are vegan or a meat eater; all are welcome. It is only specific to South Africa.

WHAT TO DO:

💚 Share positive tips on what you do to reduce your waste.
💚 Share tips on good places to shop packaging or reduced packaging free.
💚 Share useful websites and articles on reducing waste.
💚 Share your relevant blog posts.
💚 Businesses can promote their page/product no more than once a week.
💚 Ask for advice.
💚 Be sure to check out the files tab for info on useful products and links.
💚 Be nice.

WHAT NOT TO DO:

💙 Use bad language
💙 Make political or racist comments
💙 Post graphic pictures or videos
💙 No judgements of vegans, meat eaters, milk drinkers etc etc etc.

Spread the word and let’s all help each other reduce our waste to landfill and live healthier, happier lives in our beautiful country, South Africa.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/reducewastesouthafrica/

Why I love Resthaven Ministries

We found out about Resthaven Ministries  (NPO 013 389) through a very special couple we met through Riverside Community; Marcelle & Cory. Marcelle works for Door of Hope and Cory is involved at Resthaven Ministries, he runs Christian courses (parenting/caregiver, church planting, etc). Such an amazing couple.

It was late last year that we made our first trip to Resthaven.  Steve Rudd, the CEO, took us on a little tour and it didn’t take long for this organisation to creep into our hearts.

Resthaven was started in 1979 by the Saunders, and these days, Steve is now holding the reigns.  I don’t even know where to start to try and help you understand just how much they do! They are so busy looking after so many people, as well as other small organisations in their area, that there has just not been time for things like running projects to try get funds in, or updating social media and websites etc. I am in awe at how much they are achieving and the difference they are making to peoples lives.

There are 3 houses; Camelia, Jasmin and Rose, where elderly people live and are cared for.  These are people who either have no family, have been deserted and/or have nowhere to go.  They receive a government pension of R1500, and they pay R1200 to stay at Resthaven, but this doesn’t cover their costs. This includes a live in Caregiver, all their meals, utility bills, laundry etc.  Resthaven also has two mini buses which are used to transport residents to hospital appointment, the shops etc. There is such a lovely homely  atmosphere at these houses, they are not institutions for the elderly, they are homes, and they are run like homes.

Then there is David House, where 7 children live with their house mother, Ronel and 2 Aunties.  The children are all HIV+; they are so healthy and well and this is all thanks to the meticulous care they have been given by Ronel, from the day of their arrival. They attend schools locally, some attending a Christian School and a couple of them attending a special needs school. They are all doing so well in school and whilst this does come at a cost due to the school fees, Resthaven are determined to keep them in place so they can continue growing in character and academically.  They receive a discount on the school frees which are a huge help, but these are still R2800 per child per month! They are involved in extramural activities; they have been sponsored their classes with Dance Mouse Johannesburg. These kids have some pretty good moves! Again, David House was like walking into any other family home, the fridge and walls had kids artwork, reports and certificates pinned up, and they even have their own pet dog, Fifi. Their main supporter is Kibwe Kids, and they could not run as they do without this invaluable support.

They are in the process of re opening their Baby Sanctuary, where they hope to start off with up to 6 babies.  They have had the centre revamped and they are just awaiting final sign off from Health & Safety, etc etc etc!

In addition to all of this, every week they are feeding families and distribute food and donations to other like minded organisations in their area. So if anything is donated to them that they do not have a need for, they share it.

What I love about Resthaven, is they are not dealing with numbers or beds.  They care for each individual and want the absolute best for that person. Steve and his wife Jackie are dedicating so much of their lives to Resthaven, and have actually adopted two children who are now in their teens, one of these kids was actually from Resthaven.

Resthaven run at a loss every year! Their buildings are in need of maintenance, some of the roofs are leaking and the gutters are in need of repair.  The mini buses which are used to transport the residents are on their way out! Next years school fees are looming at a rapid rate. They need extra security installed, CCTV, electric fencing etc, as their unfortunately have been incidents. The list goes on. You can support their GivenGain Maintenance fund here.

I have wanted to be involved or help in some way, but logistically, they are in Johannesburg and we are in Heidelberg, and now moving to the North Coast.  But then I realised I run my business in England from South Africa- location doesn’t matter?!  So I offered to help them online, with a new website and assist with their social media accounts and trying to raise awareness for them.  We also have some exciting projects coming up! I am also thanking the Lord for bringing us Jackie de Paiva of Everlasting Photography, as she has donated her time and talent to take photos for our new website!

So please do visit the Resthaven Facebook page and give it a like. If you are interested there are so many ways you can help.

  • You could offer the obvious –  financial support!
  • You could offer your time as a skilled trades person
  • You could volunteer to go paint the ladies nails or play cards with the men or even just chat
  • You could volunteer to play games with the kids
  • Maybe you are an art student – offer your time to do art classes in the kids holidays
  • Maybe you are sporty – offer your time to play soccer or games with the kids
  • Maybe you don’t have time or money, but you could help spread the word by telling your contacts about Resthaven, and sharing their posts on social media.
  • Donate some treats like nice toiletries or boxes of chocolates to the elderly folk. When given a box of biscuits, one lady remarked how thrilled she was as she couldn’t remember when last she had her OWN entire box of biscuits.

We can make such a difference to these peoples lives.  If you want to help but don’t know how, drop me a line and I can assist with ideas to suit your time, skill and/or budget.

If you are interested in finding out more, please do get in touch with me on hope@resthavenministries.co.za.

 

 

All the changes.

I have been a bit quiet on the Life Lived Simply blog and social media.  Not because anything is wrong, more like everything has been mind blasting.

Last year, our first year of marriage, we had been hoping for an ex-pat opportunity somewhere amazing and warm and tropical like Zambia and Malawi where we could make loads of money and life would be awesome.  But the door continually closed.  Point taken.

So not all that long ago, February in fact, the plan was to go live a self sufficient life  and so we bought our plot on the Vaal. The idea was to share that space with those in need of breaks, for example, the kids or residents at Resthaven. I loved the idea of being on my own with loads of space, growing veggies and throwing chicken feed around.  It was going to be awesome. So that was all good.

Also, in the last few months, we decided that it was time to move on from doing a 100km round trip every week to go to the church we love, Riverside Community, and try a local church, so we can have fellowship and friends on our doorstep.  Well, in Heidelberg, pretty much all the churches are Afrikaans, and our understanding of Afrikaans is horrific. But we had decided to suck it up and give it a good go.  That we would adapt and Heidelberg would grow on us.  Not that there is anything wrong with Heidelberg, but we are like half-Brit Zululanders?!

Then we got back from our Botswana holiday, and conversations about kids started, and the thought of living out at the Vaal, potentially with a child or two, and still having to travel for church, was kind of freaking me out. Then, completely wham bam out the blue, my husband gets offered a job on the North Coast. Where we grew up, where his mother and family are, where my family are, where there are a gazillion English churches, where loads of our friends live, where the sea is and where the plants in your garden don’t get annihilated by frost. He obviously took the job!  We move September.

I cannot believe that in just a few months, we will be part of a new church, be able to attend cell groups and church functions without making a ten day camel ride, Erik promises he will catch fish.  Sigh.  It is almost all to good to be true, unbelievable really!?  Well, Erik catching fish; I know, that truly is unbelievable.  Shame. Apparently it is the lack of fishing ski.  So we shall see.

Looking back, I can totally see God’s plan in our life, and it is so reassuring.  He brought us to this area and to Riverside for a reason, without a doubt.  We have grown so much in ourselves, in our relationship with God and in our relationship with each other, and that is all through the friends we have made at Riverside.  We are so grateful.

We also plan to keep the land at the Vaal, as we believe that was part of God’s plan, and we want to continue to support Resthaven through it and possibly even other families and organisations. We are continuing to pray about it, and our friends are doing the same, and we trust God will guide us, as He always does.

So after that long ramble: We are moving to the North Coast!!!?? God is indeed good.

These are just some of the verses that have been so helpful to me over the last year; I am learning so much!

 

  • Disclaimer: I know some of you would have only seen the words “a child or two”, no decisions have been made. Calm down.

All the Zero Waste Fails in Botswana

IMG_2681So as you will know, since July 2015 I started to keep all our landfill waste in a jar. Why? So I could see exactly what my landfill waste is, rather than throwing it “away” and not thinking about it.  This system worked really well for us. Our large old rubbish bin is used purely for recyclables, and our food waste goes into our bokashi composter.  With thoughtful consuming, we didn’t have all that much waste really.

By the end of May 2016 the jar was pretty much full, and I was planning on starting a second one soon. For me,it is the most obvious way to have a neat, visual reminder every day, as well as a perfect example when explaining zero waste. It’s not for everyone, but I would highly recommend separating your landfill waste, recyclables and food waste for a week or two.  It is the perfect way to see how you can improve.

So come end of May we were preparing for a holiday in Botswana with friends (not into zero waste). I was in charge of organsing food and drink.  It was all going so well, I had baked rusks and other treats and precooked some snacks, managed to buy biltong, some meat, vegetables, fruit, cheese, olives and milk all package free.  But as I was walking through Woolies to get some eggs, I passed a shelf of bacon and it hit me; it was all going to fall apart on this holiday!  Bringing out the skottel for fried eggs for breakfast without bacon? I would be strung up!  So I bought a few packs of bacon, as I cannot find it at any butchers, bizarrely. First fail.

I had packed two tubs for compost and a bag for recyclables.  So efficient, I know.  Efficient? More like completely ineffective.  First night camping, before we even crossed the border, I emptied a large bag of recyclables, landfill waste and compost into a general bin. Gosh. Second fail.

So all is going well, absolutely flipping loving the holiday (will blog separately) and we were planning on stopping in Maun to stock up on vegetables and meat.  But it was fine, because I was totally prepared for this very moment.  I had my tubs to take to the butchery counter, and I also planned on buying whatever vegetables I could package free between the grocery store and the market on the streets in my bags.  But we changed our plan, stayed at extra night at an awesome camp, instead of overnighting in Maun, which meant we were on severe time constraints to be able to get to the next camp before dark.  So we turn up at an awesome butchery where they also have vegetables, eggs and everything we could need.  I waltzed in armed with my tubs and shopping bags to discover everything was in plastic and vacuum packed – except for the biltong – I won with the biltong!!! This is where you learn to pick your battles! So we bought an abundance of packaged meat and vegetables to see us through for the rest of the journey. Third fail.

So between the complete awesomeness of Botswana and zero willpower, I absolutely chowed down on packaged vegetables, ate packaged slabs of chocolate as if my life depended on it, and quite frankly didn’t give a damn.  I was in Botswana with awesome friends and elephants and lions?!

So not all went to plan. But lessons were learnt.  For better waste organisation system in future, but also just to remember to always just do the best with what you have, when you can, never give up and just keep trying. Maintaining a positive attitude and never giving up- Win!

So now we are back home and back in routine.  Need to figure out what to do with my full waste jar! Think I will definitely start another one, I find it really motivating.