Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Recycling Mobile Phones

So, a whizz-bang, you-beaut, brand new and very expensive mobile phone model was unveiled this week with much fanfare. It made the news here in Australia and I've no doubt there will be a lot of people queuing up to get one when it becomes available. After all, it's the latest must-have ... isn't it

All the brouhaha left me thinking though:  What happens to all the superseded, unwanted, left-by-the-wayside, broken & discarded mobile phones out there? As coincidence would have it, I had good reason to find out during the week because my hand-me-down and decidedly not trendy mobile phone broke and repair was not an option. 

According to this recent news editorial, Australians buy new mobile phones in their millions every year meaning there are more than a lot of discarded mobiles languishing somewhere. I can't even begin to fathom how many that would be worldwide! Given the plastics, metals and contaminants in all those phones, what is best to do with them?

When a mobile phone breaks and is beyond repair or when it's no longer useful (to anyone), it can be recycled. According to Planet Ark, up to 95% of the resources in a mobile phone can be recovered so it makes sense to recycle them. It's also really important that they don't end up in landfill because the harmful substances in them can leach into the environment. 

In Australia, unwanted mobile phones can be sent in to Mobile Muster (or they can be dropped off at designated collection points) or they can be donated to organisations such as those listed here. These are great alternatives to letting an unwanted phone languish in a drawer or sending it to landfill. We packaged up my broken phone and an ancient one too (yep, it had been hidden away in a drawer) and sent them off to be recycled. Less junk all round!

If you have a mobile phone collecting dust at your place, and you want to recycle it, all you need to do is print off a mailing label, attach it to a padded envelope or bag, pop your old mobile in and send it off. You can also pick up a reply paid satchel, like the ones we used, at participating Australia Post branches. No postage required!

As for my new mobile phone, I didn't go and pre-order that newfangled gadget and instead purchased a far less fashionable model within my limited budget. This was much to the consternation of the sales person who simply couldn't understand why I didn't want all the bells & whistles of more trendy models. I'm pretty sure he felt I was depriving myself of something. I knew this to be debt but I don't think he saw it that way!


Monday, 18 September 2017

Getting Ahead in the Kitchen

On Sunday mornings, I typically spend time in the kitchen getting food ready for the week ahead. 

Making biscuits on a Sunday morning. 

I always bake homemade somethings for the school lunchbox be it biscuits, a slice or, very occasionally, a cake. A sample of that baking is shared at Sunday's afternoon tea that we always have with Grandma and Granddad on their weekly visit. While the baking is happening, I also roast some nutritious veg to have in omelettes for brekkie and toss into healthy lunchtime salads. The oven is already on so I put it to good use! I prepare everything I need for dinner Sunday night and extras are frozen for later in the week. A homemade vanilla ice-cream is whizzed up on Sundays too. A couple of scoops makes an easy weekday dessert.  My kitchen is a busy place on Sunday mornings!

These are some of the things I regularly make on Sundays:

 Simple slices like this one and this one.

Bite-sized biscuits for the cookie jars.

 Trays of veggies ready for roasting.

Pasta sauces for spaghetti bolognese and lasagna.

Mini meatballs for the freezer.

Yummy homemade pizzas.

Salads, like this one, for weekday lunches.

Ice-cream mixture ready for the freezer.

Spending some of my Sunday preparing food for the week ahead saves time on busy days because there's food in the fridge, freezer and biscuit jars ready and waiting. It saves money because I don't need to buy packaged snacks or takeaways for dinner and having a salad or two in the fridge saves on buying lunches. It saves energy because I'm making full use of the oven when it's already on and those frozen extras just need reheating. It saves my energy too if there comes a night when I simply don't feel like cooking!

I think that Sunday's homemade foods are an investment in our health too. I know exactly what I put in them. Basic ingredients and no artificial anythings. I minimise the sugar content of the sweeter foods  (The ice-cream we make has just 40g of sugar in it as opposed to the 150g the original recipe calls for and we all still like it!). I add nourishing veggies into everything I can and those extra roasted veggies, baked along with the biscuits, boost the nutrition and fibre of simple breakfasts. A great return on the time I spend in my kitchen on Sunday mornings.

What foods do you prepare ahead of time for your families?


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Sweetly-Scented Rose Geranium

One of my favourite plants in the garden is coming in to bloom now that Spring is here. 

 A little cluster of Rose Geranium flowers.
While its little pink flower clusters are very pretty, they are not the reason I love this beautiful plant. Rather, it is the strong musky-rose scent, released by this geranium's leaves, that make it a favourite. Whenever I brush past it, or gently rub a leaf between my fingers, I catch a drift of its rosy perfume and breathe that in deeply. So beautiful!

Little buds forming on my Rose Geranium.
My Rose Geranium grows really well in a position where it receives lots of morning sun but is somewhat sheltered in the afternoon. The soil where it grows is free draining and so I just give my Rose Geranium a deep watering whenever I feel the soil is a touch dry. Definitely, a low maintenance plant in my garden!

Lots of fragrant leaves on my Rose Geranium.

There are many different kinds of scented geraniums, from those whose leaves smell like roses to those that are lemony or minty. I hope to add some different scents to my garden by swapping cuttings of my Rose Geranium for cuttings of some of the other-scented types.
Do you grow scented geraniums? If so, what's your favourite?