At Home: Zero-waste and thank-yous

Happy Friday everyone and here's our end of the week post.

This week has been one of change for Authentic House. I mentioned before how we're trying new things, all with our vision of helping people live more sustainably. What will be different though, is how we do it.

At the moment I'm looking out for small businesses who create products that help us create less waste in the home.

Interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme last week, David Attenborough spoke out against the 'functionless' ways in which people are using plastic, a finite material that is notoriously hard to biodegrade.

"We use plastic - or have done until now - with total abandon, without any care or concern about where it's going to go and what it might do."

In the UK, there are new changes coming that make me hopeful.

This week, Michael Gove announced a ban on wet wipes, thousands of which are sold in the UK each year. When flushed into toilets, these don't degrade, harming marine wildlife.

Other single-use plastics on the list to go are straws and cotton buds. If you simply Google the photos of sea turtles with plastic straws in their noses, you'll be glad to see this change.

What is great news about these changes, is that they're going to push us to explore new options for what we use in our everyday lives. From reusable straws to bamboo coffee cups, washable makeup pads to beeswax food wraps, I wouldn't have known the amount of great products out there before I started to do my research.

So this is our new idea, to share a little more of that with you. I'm excited to tell you about this soon!

This week I made a resolution to celebrate the good things in life.

Here are just some of them:

Handcrafted by Ty Hafan

Last Friday I was lucky enough to get to spend a day crafting away with the volunteers at the Ty Hafan workshop.

After a hard push getting the bicycle up the hill from the Cardiff Bay barrage to Penarth (a kind super-cyclist adopted me on the way with friendly encouragement!), I made my way to Penarth and on to Sully with lead 'handcrafter' Penny Collins.

From darning 'woofachiefs' to painting furniture in chalk paint, the Handcrafted workshop is a tranquil place where the biggest dilemma for a volunteer is the choice between a 'cobble' grey or 'pitch' .

What I did realise though is that this safe environment is important. I met one really impressive volunteer who was herself a life-limited child and has pulled through. She's found a talent for craft at the workshop and is now planning to become a carpenter.

Even as I sat eating my lunchtime sandwiches, looking out over the Bristol Channel, children at the hospice came by with their carers to enjoy the view.

I went away with a real feeling of how special a place Ty Hafan is.

If you would like to volunteer with or buy Handcrafted items for your house, visit the Ty Hafan website and support this important children's charity.

The Prince's Trust

I had so much help from my brilliant mentor Gemma this week. A big thank you for this.

If you're under 30 and thinking of starting a business, the Enterprise programme is the best thing you can do.

Ethical Hour

If you're interested in sustainable living, this online network founded by Sian Conway is definitely worth joining.

What I love most about it is the support you get. Any question or idea you might have, post it there and you'll get loads of feedback and help. Thank you!

Nicola at Pedal Flowers

If you've seen a pink trike making the rounds of Cardiff, loaded to the brim with flowers, that's Nicola our allotment neighbour, turned successful florist.

This week I want to say thank you to Nicola for helping me out on my return to the allotment and teaching me to dig up weeds with a pitchfork - buttercups beware!

My grandma at the allotment with me

Sheffield University

A personal one - for accepting me today to study Landscape Architecture. I'm very excited to get started with this and bring what I learn to Authentic House!

Now it's time to switch off for a weekend and some chocolate cake.

Have a great one!

Here's to sun like last weekend and another day at the beach...