Monthly Archives: March 2017

Slow camping and dealing with doubters

Slow camping and dealing with doubters - Episode 147 of The Slow Home Podcast

It’s that time of the month again! Where Ben and I sit down and answer some of your questions about all things slow living, and try to keep the stupid jokes to a minimum. (In today’s episode I think we succeed in at least one of those areas).

I don’t know why I’m always so surprised at the wonderful questions we’re asked every month, but I always am. I learn so much from these episodes, and they give Ben and I an opportunity to talk about things that we honestly wouldn’t sit down and chat about otherwise.

This month we open up by answering a question from Sharni about camping, which is super fun and timely as we’re currently waiting for the soaking wet Sydney March to end so we can spend some time in the national park down south.

Sharni asked specifically for a list of the bare essentials when it comes to camping so I thought it best to put that together here. Keep in mind, much of this can be borrowed rather than bought (particularly if you’re just starting out with your camping adventures and aren’t sure of your style yet) and it’s definitely worthwhile taking a few exploratory trips before committing to one kind of set up.

I love that camping requires us to be intentional in everything we pack, and the realisation I always have about how very little we need in order to have an amazing time.

So here’s a list of items we always take with us (based on the fact that we don’t hike in, but rather camp near our car and usually stay a few days) but I’d love to know yours too – feel free to leave a comment sharing your must-haves or leave-at-homes:

  • something to sleep in and all necessary pegs, ropes, poles (tent, swag or similar)
  • hammer
  • something to sleep on (blow-up mattress, bunk style bed, foam mattress)
  • something to sleep in (sleeping bags are best but if it’s warm or you’re backyard camping, a sheet or blanket would be fine)
  • basic clothes and shoes that are OK to get (potentially very) dirty
  • folding table
  • folding camp chairs 
  • light (torch, gas lamp)
  • Esky and ice
  • firewood and hatchet
  • something to cook on (if your campground doesn’t have wood fired BBQs then just a simple gas stove or a camp oven)
  • pack of cards
  • large water carrier
  • drink bottles
  • Aeropress and KeepCups (coffee is non-negotiable)
  • hats
  • tennis ball/cricket set/soccer ball/frisbee
  • solar shower if going for longer than a few days, or if campground has no facilities
  • toilet paper
  • shovel

We also have a box in the shed that contains the smaller basics and is always packed, which makes packing so much easier as we know the essentials are ready to go. It includes:

  • camping plates, bowls and mugs
  • cutlery
  • washing up bucket
  • dishwashing liquid
  • dustpan and brush
  • matches
  • rechargeable torch
  • knife
  • chopping board
  • saucepan
  • frying pan
  • tongs
  • large bowl
  • wash cloths
  • tea towels
  • a few clothes pegs
  • length of rope
  • suncream
  • insect repellent

We keep it as simple as possible, and I’m sure there are ample ways we could improve our set-up, but I love the idea of making do with what we have rather than going out and trying to optimise things. Necessity is the mother of invention, apparently!

Aside from camping, we also answer questions about phone use and the arguments it can cause, as well as how to deal with the guilt that arises from even necessary purchases, learning to adopt ‘holiday slow’ in to daily life, and what to do when people aren’t down with the changes you’re making in life.

It’s another good’un and I hope you enjoy it!

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1.9 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Slow Home: Minimising Cleaning Waste

Slow Home: Minimise Cleaning Waste

One of the biggest changes I’ve made in cleaning our house over the past few years (aside from my love of vinegar and citric acid!) is to really think about the materials we use, and to start looking at ways of reducing waste.

I’d simply never thought about it before, but when I realised that the dishcloths we used at home were made from plastic and would spend hundreds of years in landfill, I was a bit shocked. It doesn’t seem like a big deal really, but for such a ‘disposable’ item it was entirely the opposite. So I started using compostable kitchen cloths instead and over the years have developed a lifecycle of products that makes a big difference to our waste output.

In today’s poggie Ben and I talk about that lifecycle and how even the simplest of changes is having an impact. Specifically we look at:

Cleaning cloths: We buy compostable dishcloths and use them in the kitchen. Every Monday I wash them under boiling water and then use the cloth to clean the kitchen. Then it’s washed, dried in the sun and put in the laundry to be used as a cleaning cloth. Once those cloths are spent, they get composted.

Tea towels: We buy pure cotton or linen tea towels, and once they’re too old to be used in the kitchen any more (we’re talking years and years here) they’re used as cleaning rags. Again, once they’re spent, they can be composted in our backyard heap.

Vinegar: I wasn’t aware of this when we recorded today’s episode, but you can buy vinegar concentrate (20%) online and dilute it at home. This helps reduce even further the plastic bottles needed for vinegar and something I’ll be doing from now on. (Thanks for the tip, Em!)

ecostore products: We use ecostore dishwashing liquid and laundry powder as they’ve been far superior to any homemade product I’ve tried (give me your suggestions though!) and while some ecostore products come in plastic bottles, it’s actually made from sugarcane as opposed to petroleum. They’re fully recyclable too, and a pretty great compromise for the items I haven’t yet found in plastic-free packaging.

Pot brush: I bought a wooden pot brush recently to replace steel wool pot scrubbers, and while Ben’s not sold on it I’m a big fan. Particularly of the fact it will last for many years, and when it’s spent can be composted.

These changes all seem so small, so insignificant even, that it can be tempting to ignore them. But even the smallest changes have the potential to make a big impact over time, and with that in mind I’d love to encourage you to try this week’s simple action: Buy some reusable, compostable kitchen cloths instead of the plastic ones. Or, if you’re a crafty person, try your hand at either knitting or crocheting a few instead – even better if you can use scrap yarn! You can find links to instructions below.

Enjoy the episode!

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1.9 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Purpose (and planet) beyond profit with Dane O’Shanassy of Patagonia

Purpose (and planet) beyond profit with Dane O'Shanassy of Patagonia - Episode 145 of The Slow Home Podcast

Thank you to everyone who entered our giveaway! The winner of the three Patagonia books is Jaimee G! Your inspiring new reads are on their way. xx

As someone who espouses simplicity and buying only what we need, I have an uneasy relationship with the idea of capitalism. But as a business-owner, a traveller and someone who does indeed purchase things on occasion, I recognise that I take part in a capitalist society on the daily.

During a conversation with Carolyn Tate back in September last year, I was introduced to the idea of conscious capitalism, in which for-profit organisations are making capitalism stand for something good – for people, for the environment or for social change. It was also through Carolyn that I was introduced to my guest today – Dane O’Shanassy of Patagonia.

If you’ve listened to the poggie for any length of time, you’ve probably heard Ben and I talk about Patagonia and how impressed we are with their commitment to ethical manufacturing and the environment. Founded by climbers, surfers, skiiers, mountaineers and explorers, Patagonia is a company that loves nature and wants to protect it.

They actively discourage people from buying new clothes unless they’re needed, and have in-store repair stations where you can have your Patagonia gear fixed for free. They distribute 1% of sales (not profits) every year in to grass-roots campaigns, and are highly engaged both as a company and individuals in environmental activism. They’re currently transitioning to 100% Fair Trade and are one of the most transparent companies I’ve ever come across, both in terms of supply chain and business management. In fact, founder Yvon Chouinard’s book ‘Let My People Go Surfing’ is basically the blueprint on which Ben and I are trying to build our own business.

Ben and I travelled down to Torquay a couple of weeks ago to chat with Dane, and while we do talk about the work Patagonia is doing both here in Australia and globally, we also focus on his personal journey towards a more sustainable, simple life. As a surfer, Dane loves being outdoors, and he and I share a similar philosophy on the best way to get people to actually care about the environment: spend time in it.

This is a great conversation that doesn’t shy away from the tension that exists between environmental protection and manufacturing, and also left me feeling hopeful for the possibilities that come when people turn their passion in to action (and activism!)

Patagonia has also given us three of their amazing books to give away to one lucky listener this week. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post and you’re in the draw to win a copy of Let My People Go Surfing, The Responsible Company and Tools for Grassroots Activists. Read them, be inspired, pass them on and spread the message!

In the meantime, enjoy today’s show.

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1.9 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Slow Home: Green Cleaning Tips

Slow Home: Green Cleaning Tips - Episode 144 of The Slow Home Podcast

Just quickly, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has given such great feedback on our new Monday episode format. It’s been fun to make a shift after the experiments last year, and we’re really enjoying it, but to hear that you lovely folk are too is so ace.

I thought I might be testing the friendship by having a series of shows about cleaning, but it turns out many of you are keen on learning more about how we’ve shifted to sustainable products over the past few years, as well as the ways we’ve simplified the whole she-bang. I’m not going to lie and say I love cleaning the bathroom or anything, but being able to do it with minimal fuss, minimal toxins and minimal stress is pretty great.

Today we wanted to go a little further than last week (where we extolled the significant virtues of white vinegar when it comes to cleaning) by looking at a handful of additional products that when combined with vinegar and a little elbow grease, will help you clean virtually every surface in your house.

As we said last week, making these really simple changes helps you to:

  • save money
  • keep it simple, as most products have many uses
  • minimise harmful chemicals or harsh commercial cleaners used in your home
  • protect yourself and the environment

So what are these additional products we speak of?

Bi-carb soda can be combined with water or vinegar to create a scrubbing paste and used to clean:

  • grout
  • bath ring
  • soap residue
  • kitchen sink
  • oven
  • vanity

You can also use bicarb to deodorise carpets, fridges, drawers, fabrics etc, and unclog drains. Just pour a handful in the drain, pour in a cup of vinegar, let it sit, then rinse down with boiling water.

Citric acid is excellent for cleaning toilets.

Just sprinkle the toilet bowl with citric acid, spray with vinegar, leave for a while, scrub well with a brush, flush and wipe with a dry cloth.

You can also use citric acid for tougher buildup in grout and on tiles, but it’s harsher than bicarb to be careful not to use it on a smooth/shiny surface without testing first.

Essential oils (particularly tea tree and lavender oils) are an antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial addition, and can be added to your vinegar spray or combined with water and used as a disinfectant spray, dusting spray or linen spray.

Tea tree oil is also great to add to the water when mopping floors, and as a topical way of treating mold. (Avoid if you have cats though, as it can be toxic).

We also talk about the commercial products we do still use, and why, as well as the importance of being consistent. These products aren’t as strong as the bleach-based products you find at a supermarket and as a result won’t be as effective at cutting through heavy-duty dirt.

I know lots of you tried the vinegar challenge last week (let us know how it worked for you!) and this week I’d love to offer this action to try: Buy a box of bicarb soda and simply use it to clean your kitchen sink. Sprinkle the bicarb around lightly, spray with vinegar and then scrub using a cloth. Rinse and dry. Then tell me if it’s as effective (or more? or less?) than the products you’ve been using previously.

That’s it! In the meantime, have a great week.

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1.8 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Presence over perfection with Dr Justin Coulson

Presence over perfection with Dr Justin Coulson - Episode 143 of The Slow Home Podcast

Dr Justin Coulson is one of Australia’s leading parenting experts – a father of six, a doctor of psychology and a passionate advocate for intentional relationships – and in today’s episode he and I sit down to discuss the importance of turning up for the people we love.

And while Justin is a parenting expert, he’s also a highly regarded psychologist and a voice of practical reason in all areas of relationships and in today’s episode he and I talk through a number of different ways we can turn up, be present and choose intention for the people we love – whether we’re a parent or not.

We start this conversation talking about the idea of slow living and how Justin, a self-professed ‘fast-paced’ person, fits in to a show centred on the idea of slow. As is often the case, the impression of slow living is one in which everything happens at a slow pace, or involves lots of meandering down time. But, as you probably know by now, it’s far more about intention than it is about speed. And because Justin is someone who talks about the importance of intention, I knew he was someone I wanted to talk to.

We chat about the impact intention has not only on parent-child relationships, but also the way we use technology, the way we allocate our time, and the way we choose our priorities. We also talk about the immense pressure we put on ourselves by trying to be everything to everyone, and how the resulting comparisons leave us exhausted and feeling like a failure.

I have a feeling there will be follow-up questions for Justin, so please feel free to leave them in the comments section below and hopefully I’ll get the chance to chat with Justin again in the near future.

Justin also has two super generous offers for listeners of the poggie, and you can see how to redeem them in the show notes below. In the meantime though, enjoy the show!

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Check out after listening:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1.8 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!