Question time. How many jars of chutneys, jams and pickles do you get at Christmas? You know the ones, all the fancy flavours that you find at the Christmas markets... Jars of special somethings in stylish hampers... The cute layered cake mixes you might get as a gift from the cousin you see once a year...
Now add in all the jars you buy during the year to keep your store cupboard well stocked. That's a fair few jars collected right? Now what are you going to do with them? Stick them in the recycling?
Well that is one option but it's far better to repurpose and reuse them in some way. With a little creative thinking a plain boring old jar could be just the thing you need around the house. Or maybe you could fill them up with goodies, pretty them up a bit with some ribbon and make beautiful homemade gifts for loved ones.
Here's a few ideas...
Make sure to give them a good clean before you repurpose them and you're good to go! If you're going to use them to store foods make sure you sterilise them before each use.
Sterilising is easy. Pop your oven on to 150 - 160 degrees C. While your oven is heating up give the jars and lids a wash in hot soapy water, then rinse, leaving upside down on the draining board. When the oven has reached temperature place them on a baking tray and 'bake' for about 10 minutes. Providing they are dry fill them as soon as you can so you don't risk contaminating the freshly sterilised jars.
That's it for now. Make sure to check back as we've got some great community tips and recipes on the way!
Time to get picking!
Yep, as we said earlier throughout this September we'll keep coming back to the themes of community tips and recipes around foraged fruits.
We've picked blackberries in particular as they are easily recognisable and easy to find, therefore a great option for foraging beginner's. Other easy to spot fruits for beginners are apples and pears. The best time to pick these will depend on the variety, just get exploring and see what's local to you. Wapley Bushes where Alex visited earlier today have all 3 so you can grab yourself a free fruity feast!
For some great foraging tips visit last year's post Foraging Fun... Blackberries are super common so you shouldn't have much trouble finding a patch to call your own. They grow on hedgerows, woodlands, along the roadside or maybe even hiding behind the fences to your back garden. We wouldn't recommend picking blackberries that are close to busy roads though, they might look tasty but exhaust fumes won't make them the healthiest of crops.
Blackberries typically are at their peak in late August and early September so make a great late summer treat... Like Alex said in the video the weather brought them on early in a lot of places so go and nab yours before you miss out. We picked our first crop at the end of July!
Check back tomorrow for the first of our blackberry recipes. We'd love to see yours too, so please send them in either by email, facebook or visit the community drop in. Meanwhile, just for the fun of it...
Blackberry myths and legends...
Never pick blackberries after September 29th (Michaelmas Day)! The devil fell from heaven on Michaelmas Day and landed in a blackberry bush. In his anger he exacted his revenge by urinating on it... Yuck.
Blackberries were the downfall of Belleraphon, a Greek hero. He rode Pegasus to Mount Olympus only to be thrown into a bramble bush. He was blinded by the thorns so wandered alone and sightless ever after…
Whether you believe it or not there are some lessons in folklore. Poor wet and cold conditions in October can cause the fruit to spoil and you definitely want to watch out for the prickles when you're blackberrying!
Get picking... Get freezing what you don't use straight away... Enjoy!
Reference: Country File
Hooray... Another community tip!!!! These make us very happy.
Today's community tip is actually from Ruth - AAG's secretary. And it's a simple one, one we should really already know and do but somehow, some of us forget.
When it's dark...
And you walk into a room, turn this on...
When you leave...
Turn it off again...
Told you it was simple.
So simple we're going to add a little extra tip in, we'll even tell a story with it.
Our tip is when you pick up a good habit that saves you money and saves the planet... Teach someone else. Because then there are 2 of you saving the planet and feeling a little more financially smug. If both of you then teach another person, that's four people saving the planet and feeling financially smug.
Ruth is a very good lady who always remembers to turn off lights when she leaves the room. That's 1 person turning off their lights. Richard, sometimes forgets... so Ruth reminds him. Sadly, he still forgets.
So Ruth taught Rosie and Ellen to turn off the lights when they leave the room instead. That's 3 people turning off their lights and sometimes they also turn off Richard's lights. Hooray!!! Richard still sometimes forgets...
Ruth came in to the office and talked about ideas for the sustainability blog and said it's a good idea to turn your lights off when you leave the room. Alex wrote it in the sustainability blog! So now that's Abbotswood residents, Alex, Ruth, Ellen and Rosie all turning off their lights when they leave the room.
Well done Ruth, good work! Together we'll save the planet one light switch at a time... And maybe along the way we can all remind Richard...
Lights off for now and see you again tomorrow!
With the world turning more and more to technology and our happy habits for 'retail therapy' libraries need our support now more than ever... Once you're in the door they can support you just as much as you support them!
Libraries and book swaps aren't exactly a new concept so why aren't more of using them? Save your pocket by reading a book that someone has already read, then pass it along to someone who hasn't.
Chances our your local library is offering a lot more than just a few thousand or so books to browse. Yate Library is a fantastic community resources just waiting for your visit. Pre lockdown you could use their computers, bring your little ones to story time, be part of the poetry group or speak to Bevan Evemy for some free legal advice. And that's just a small fraction of the list! They're in the process of reopening some of their services so make sure you take a look!
Summer Reading Challenge...
We're proud to be supporting the summer reading challenge!
This is a fantastic annual event to get your kids enjoying reading! Challenge bags include reading suggestions, even e-books count, and some fun arts and crafts. Perhaps you would like to join Mason and accessorize your silly squad giraffe...
For your summer reading challenge bags or pyjamama bags if you've got pre-schoolers, you can pop over to the library, see Alex at our community drop in or join is near the Abbotswood play equipment on Friday 11th September from 2.30pm.
What will you be reading?
See you again tomorrow!
Not that we want to lower the tone in anyway... We have some very serious business to attend to...
Naturally as humans we have to spend a few minutes every day on the loo... A good time to think about the important things in life, right? Well, have you ever thought about how green your toilet habits are? And no, that's not green as in you might need to see a doctor... We mean green as in environmentally friendly.
Think green like Barbara!
We've been asking around for tips and tricks from the community on how to live sustainably. Our lovely friend Barbara has given toilet trips a fair bit of thought and has come up with a way to make them a little better for the planet.
Being the nice, tidy, clean people that we are - we all go about our business, press the flush and give our hands a thoroughly good scrub. All good. Well we learnt today that flushing toilets accounts for almost a third of household water usage. A third!!
Now then, you might like to invest in a low-flush toilet. You know the ones, where you've got 2 different flush presses... One for a quick swirl after spending a penny and a bigger gush for when things may need a little extra help around the U-bend... Fair enough, a worthy investment and will save you water along the way.
Or you could you just not flush it...
The sink to the rescue!
You still have to wash your hands, silly. On top of the third of household water going literally down the pan, you've got extras going down the drain every time you tidy up after yourself.
The tip is simple. When you're finished, don't pull the flush. Instead make sure you've got a washbowl available to prop up in the sink, so the water goes into the bowl and not down the plughole. Give your hands the good scrub they deserve then empty the bowl into the toilet. Hey presto, you've got yourself a home-made flush!
A job well done...
We'll stop with the puns now, that's quite enough toilet humor for one day...
See you tomorrow for day 3!
We're very excited to bring Sustainable September back for 2020...albeit in unusual circumstances. We may not be able to do all of the sorts of things that we would normally but we're still busy. We've got a fantastic program of events that you can take part in. We're updating information regularly so do keep checking back...
Anyway, it's time to talk about this year's sustainability blog don't you think? Just like last year we'll be posting daily tips, tricks and activities all around sustainability. We loved your involvement last year so we're opening the blog up to all of you! If you've got some suggestions for sustainable living that you do or would like to try then we'd love to share them. We're also having fun with foraging so we'd like to see your favorite recipes showcasing foraged fruits. These could be just the recipe, photos of what you've made or if you're feeling creative you can even send in short videos!
Tip number 1...
We started simple last year and we're doing it again. We're even talking about waste plastics like last year. Anyone else feeling a sense of deja vu? We've had a lot of amazing people out in Abbotswood and the wider community litter picking lately. Can you guess what one of the most common pieces of rubbish is?
We'll give you a second longer...
DUNN DUN DUN!!
Yep. The disposable face mask. Coronavirus has not just affected us but is starting to affect our wildlife and planet too.
With so many places making face coverings mandatory it's not just good for the planet to get something reusable but nicer on your bank account. Treat yourself to something fancy or grab your sewing kit and go homemade, there are plenty of DIY guides out there so find one that suits.
O.K. We all can be a little forgetful at times, maybe you've popped out for a walk with no intention of going shopping and then you realize how thirsty you are... A quick pitstop at the corner shop, WHOOPS, no face covering. If you do need to stretch to a disposable mask on occasion, please, please, pretty please, remember to snip the straps before throwing it away. We've all heard of turtles getting caught in the plastics off of 6 packs right? Well what about seagull legs in face mask straps? Any bit of material is fair game when you've got a nest to build!
When you can...
Remember to snip!
When you can't...
See you all tomorrow for day number 2!!
At long last we've made it through what felt like a never ending January, counting the pennies while trying to battle the extra Christmas pounds... But here we are, finally in Feel Good February. Hooray!
What a perfect time to relax, reflect and look after yourself. We all have our rough days, weeks or months and that's OK, it's how we cope with it that counts. Call a friend... Get your hair done... Have a massage... Attend a wellbeing class... Volunteer for a good cause... Do something that reminds you of that person you want to be and be good to yourself.
You could always pop in and join us at our Take 5 4 U sessions, each Friday in February. Each week has a different theme all based around taking a few moments away from real life stresses. Join in the activities (full programme available here), have a friendly chit chat with our team or just sit and let us make you calming brew.
Remember to Take 5 and feel good this February...
January 2020. Can you believe it?
A new year... A new decade... New beginnings...
So how are those New Year's Resolutions going? 6 days in and still going? We're very impressed if you are!
If not, never mind. We all understand, new year's resolutions are tough. So today, on the first Motivational Monday of the decade we'd like to remind you of one little thing. You don't have to wait until January 1st 2021 to get back on the bandwagon, every day is a new start and a new chance to do something great.
Don't let the past hold you back, leave the regrets and fears in 2019. Try something new, set yourself a challenge, meet new people, build bridges or simply make a point of making time for yourself. Let 2020 be all about being the best version of you that you can be!
We'll be here with you every step of the way!
Is everyone else feeling festive?
After Christmas In Abbotswood we certainly are! And what an amazing day it was too...
Some of you may have heard this little poem recently, after a special advert popped up on Facebook...
It's November in Abbotswood, and all round the green
Our elves are rushing, trying not be seen
Christmas is coming, there's lots to prepare
For Father Christmas, soon will be there...
And it all came true!
Hip Hip... Hooray!! Great effort everyone!!
There are a few special words of thanks to be said, so on behalf of all of us in Abbotswood:
Phil, Nessa, Barbara, Kerry (Abbotswood Action Group) and Alex (Southern Brooks Community Partnerships) for your hard work throughout the year organising Christmas In Abbotswood. Thanks also go to all the volunteers who helped us out on the day.
Dodington Parish Council for your help with advertising.
Yate Town Council for funding and installing the Christmas tree.
South Gloucestershire Council, Councillors Tony Davis and Louise Harris for funding the event.
We estimated that 500 people joined us to celebrate this year so we wanted to thank you all for helping us keep our community Christmas spirit alive.
It's the time of year for indulgence, so here's a few extra festive photos just for fun...
Before we head off and take a well earned Christmas break we thought you might like a quick trip down memory lane. A few reminders of the good times we've had over the last 12 months... They've been keeping us motivated and thinking ahead to make 2020 an amazing year for Abbotswood...
From all of us here in Abbotswood we would like to wish a you a very happy Christmas and a fabulous new year.
We'll see you in 2020!
No arguments. Today is a happy day! Just accept that today is a happy day.
Even in times of sadness or hardship there will be a reason to smile. Just one smile can make a lot of difference and lift your spirits, so make the effort to find the thing that makes you happy today.
It could be something amazing that has taken you surprise... Like winning the lottery!
Or it could be something that value and gives you a purpose and strength... The love of your family. Aww, nice warm fuzzy feelings.
Or it could be a teeny tiny gesture from a stranger... Holding the door for you're running for cover from a rainstorm.
We're happy because it's nearly Christmas, we love Christmas In Abbotswood. It might have been a laborious task cutting out flyers but it shows that there's not long to wait until the big community event. Hooray!
So what makes you happy today?
If you ask yourself often enough, every day could become a happy day...
Our current author is our AAG Committee member Pen Bailey. If you would like to be a guest blogger please do contact us here at AAG