Ju-Lyn might consider me a Queen of Lemon Cakes, but I am no reigning monarch of cooking, merely slightly obsessed with lemons. The family loves lemon cake, which means I am keen to try out any new lemon-themed recipe I find.
This month, in setting up a tasting contest between my most popular Lemon Cake recipes at home, I discovered how versatile lemons could be not only in improving heath, but also in replacing certain chemical cleaners and insecticides around the home with natural alternatives.
Lemons are a plant native to Assam, in Northern India and South Asia. Lemon juice in its natural state is acidic, but once metabolized it actually becomes alkaline.
The acidity of lemons makes them a great adjunct to cleaning around the home and lemon peel can even repel insects when peel is placed outside your door.
Rub your chopping board with a cut lemon to eliminate garlic or stubborn odours
Clean windows and chrome fittings with a half a lemon dipped in salt
Remove red wine spills (mix to a paste with salt and baking soda)
Add a cut lemon to your dishwasher in place of rinse aid for a streak-free wash.
With the Changing Seasons, lemons are a natural way to bolster our immune systems.
Lemon Cake Tasting Challenge
Renowned for reliable recipes it may be no surprise that a recipe from The AustralianWomen’s Weekly magazine took first place in the Lemon Cake Challenge. As voted #1 by colleagues and family. This is how it turned out:
Australian Woman’s Weekly Lemon Cake
Are you keen to make the winning cake for yourself?
According to the [U.S.] EPA, the average person produces approximately 4.9 pounds of “solid waste” or trash per day. Thankfully, you can recycle many everyday household items to help promote a cleaner, greener environment.
No doubt you have heard it all before and you may have already adopted some measures. You don’t need to be a hard-core zero waste advocate. Start with a minor changes and add one more each week.
Get your friends on board. You can set the example for your family, friends and workplace because we need to do better than the following graph indicates.
Simple Waste Solutions
Take Care or Take your Trash Home
• Eliminate your need for bins in forest areas. Birds and animals may spread litter from public trash cans around and it ends up contaminating waterways. When you visit a park or beach, remember to take your trash with you. Keep trash and recyclables in a bag or backpack until you can put them in a proper receptacle.
Public refuse bins in Japan are almost non-existent. You won’t see any trash in Japanese streets either. Japanese citizens take their rubbish home so it can be sorted to Recyclables, compostables and refuse.
• Keep a Litter bag in your car. Be like the Japanese people.
Choose Re-usable and Compostable Packaging
• Carry your own Re-usable stainless steel straws or decorative re-usable Water Bottle and Travel mug instead of buying bottled water or coffee in polystyrene cups.
• Avoid one-use plastics – they can’t be refilled unless you are happy to swallow micro-plastic.
• Polystyrene litter such as disposable coffee cups or packing materials can be eaten by animals who mistake it for food. Polystyrene can poison and/or clog stomachs leading to death by either toxicity or starvation.
Once released into the environment, polystyrene products does not decompose to a non-recognizable form.
Reduce Litter at Home
Keep backyards clean and free of things that can blow into the street and become litter.
Tie up garbage and recycling bags securely so loose papers and other items cannot fall out and become litter.
Avoid overfilling your bins and ensure the lid is properly closed after depositing your trash or recycling inside, preventing accidental spills and overflows contaminating local waterways – endangering wildlife.
Recycling in the Kitchen
• Cloth napkins and kitchen towel, for spills and cleaning, rather than paper disposables. They are much more absorbent and easily washed out for re-use many times over.
• Compost food scraps
Start a Worm Farm for food scraps and cardboard packaging. My worms love devouring cardboard. Break it up and wet it. A cardboard box is a good alternative to buying worm blankets.
• Use your consumer power to influence choice: Avoid buying food or ancillary items with excess packaging when you shop. This will decrease litter from the start.
Plastic shopping bags take between 10-20 years to decompose.
Wildlife such as Turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them causing suffocation, drowning and gut obstruction. Do not accept plastic bags for items you purchase, if you can carry your purchase without them.
Alternatives to Plastic Carry Bags
• Refashion the scrap fabrics into re-usable bags or use natural canvas or fibre bags for your groceries and errands. Keep several reusable bags handy, in your car or handbag/backpack, so that they are always handy whenever you might need them.
Plastic beer can holders or bags can entangle an animal swimming. It may suffocate or drown. Six packs rings causing 6 million sea bird deaths a year and over 100,000 marine mammal deaths.
Eco Six Pack Rings, started in 2017 by three different groups, are made with all-natural ingredients. These include both straw and wheat fiber. While sturdy enough to hold six full-size cans, Eco Six Pack Rings are intended to fall apart if accidentally littered. This prevents them from creating the same environmental damage their plastic forefathers did. According to the company, “the product will degrade in less than 200 days (depending on the ecosystem).”
If you are in USA, and you are into visual learning, here are heaps of solutions. I especially noted the online shipping options: who knew Amazon/online options were so wasteful? Choose slower shipping to save cardboard.
Smoking in the Workplace
Cigarette butts, are made of a form of plastic and can persist in the environment for 10-12 years! 4.5 trillion non-biodegradable cigarette butts are littered worldwide.
• Do you have a “no smoking” policy at your house or workplace? Containing cigarette butt litter is facilitated by requiring smokers to use only designated areas or not smoking at all.
• Do not dump anything toxic down a storm drain.
Marketing Flyers and Advertising Leaflets
• Remove flyers or take-out menus promptly from your post box/front door or windscreen before they are blown away and become litter.
• You can stop litter at the source. Reduce your junk mail by writing to Direct Marketing companies to request no junk mail to be sent to your address.
• Participate and promote local recycling programs such as kerbside cleanup (Australia).
Here are some more ideas on reducing and recycling waste:
Metal: Old forks and spoons, as well as cans, are perfect for making a variety of unique items like a custom key holder, beautiful jewelry, or a fun mirror. Old cans make excellent cookie cutters, too.
Clothing and bedding: Get creative and use an old pair of jeans to make a funky “jeans chair.” Old bedding can be torn or cut into smaller pieces and used for cleaning rags. Any type of fabric is also great for reupholstering furniture if you’re really feeling crafty.
Coffee grounds and tea bags: You can use coffee grounds as fertilizer or dried coffee grounds or tea bags [plastic free tea bags, of course], in the freezer as a deodorizer, too.
Japan is a very clean country. You won’t see or find litter in the streets. Why?
Several years ago in Japan, a bomb placed in a busy commuter station waste bin exploded and this on top of a 1995 domestic terrorist attack using deadly Sarin Gas also in a garbage bin, led to the removal of most bins, from public spaces, in Japan.
Japanese Garbage Disposal
Since then, the Japanese people have been responsible for the disposal of their own rubbish. Most carry a bag and take their trash home with them when they are out and about. Consequently, you will see nothing but a clean streetscape without litter of any kind. And if you do find a public bin, it will be separated into recyclables and combustible garbage all ready for recycling.
Despite the huge population, you won’t find trash anywhere on the streets of Tokyo or Kyoto.
Not even at Shibuya, the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world.
Nor will you find any rubbish or litter in Arashiyama, Nara or at the steps of Mt Fuji.
Recycling Garbage in Australia
Australians are fairly new to the waste recycling game with only a small portion of the 70 million tonnes of waste we produce, being recycled. The rest ends up as landfill or is shipped to willing countries, usually in the third world in exchange for hard currency! Surprising? It is true and as an Australian, somewhat shameful.
Think New Product, Not Waste
Think resource, not waste, when it comes to the goods around us – until this happens, we simply won’t award recycled goods the true value and repurpose they deserve.
There are many things that might be recycled if we considered them a resource for the development of new products, rather than waste.
Paper, cardboard and plastics can be, and are, upcycled to new products; food and garden waste biodegrades in backyard compost heaps/bins; books are re-used, via book exchanges or free services such as Bookmooch.
It’s estimated about 130,000 tonnes of Australian plastic ends up in waterways and oceans each year through littering. Especially problematic are products like wet wipes are being flushed and plastic flying away from landfill processing. 130,000 tonnes! No wonder the oceans are dying.
Do you know what happens to the waste you dispose of, in your country?
Global Recycling Day is observed around the world on 18th March each year, and thus the theme for the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge is:
Up until Thursday 25th March, the challenge is toshare photographs, a story or a blog post about what recycling means to you, on a circular economy, or what is happening in your local area?
Include a comment below, tag your post Friendly Friday Recycling and pingback myself and Sandy, who will host the next challenge on Friday 26th March.
Recycling is a key part of the circular economy, helping to protect our natural resources. Each year the ‘Seventh Resource’ (recyclables) saves over 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions and this is projected to increase to 1 billion tons by 2030. There is no doubt recycling is on the front line in the war to save the future of our planet and humanity.
The use of essential oils for therapeutic and cosmetic use has become mainstream in recent times. With a multitude of aromatherapy products to choose from, which ones stand out from the ‘crowd‘?
What are the real benefits of using products with essential oils?
How are Essential Oils Created?
Essential oils are extracted from plant material using steam or water distillation. Selected plant materials are heated with steam, water or both until the essential oil vaporises. The oil then condenses as it cools.
Being a concentrated plant oil, they should be used sparingly and always diluted in some other medium, such as plain massage oil (cold-pressed vegetable oil) or unscented base cream (but not a mineral oil cream, such as most brands of sorbolene or baby oil)…Aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, should never be ingested (taken in by mouth), as they can be toxic.
All the products at Utama Spice, an all-natural skincare company, are based on traditional Balinese herbal knowledge and comprise 100% natural ingredients.
The farming communities in Bali, Indonesia, produce the raw materials for Utama Spice’s natural skincare products and in so doing, support local farmers in organic farming, bee farming and seaweed farming.
The company believe: “if you wouldn’t cook with it, you shouldn’t put it on your body.”
As a graduate of the Environmental Science, it is a joy for me to discover a business, such as Utama Spice Natural Aromatherapy Products, who offer a high quality, sustainable product with a low environmental impact, one that is ethically produced in harmony with nature and respectfully for humanity.
Furthermore, I was delighted to read the products contained:
No Synthetic Oils
No Synthetic Fragrances
No Artificial Colours
No Synthetic Preservatives
I found the Aromatherapy product range from Utama Spice, based in Bali, Indonesia to be a beneficial and therapeutic asset in, and around, my home. All the benefits of the essential oils are available, beautifully presented, in an easy to use pump pack.
Utama Spice Lip Balm
Being someone with sensitive skin, it was refreshing to find the Utama Spice Aromatherapy lip balms and liquid soaps were highly moisturizing, with no hint of dryness or irritation.
With all the benefits of natural ingredients like coconut oil and beeswax, infused with essential oils to lock in moisture, the aptly named WellKiss Lip Balm was a standout favourite for me.
The Tangerine and Peppermint Lip Balms were very much appreciated by my daughter, in the windy weather that we frequently experience, living here, by the coast. The whole family will be thankful for that level of protectiveness for the sensitive lip areas, come wintertime.
Utama Spice Liquid Soaps
The Man of the House found Lemongrass Liquid Soap excellent for showering and bathing and that fresh scent lingered pleasantly in our bathroom, after use.
If you are looking for something a little stronger to use on tougher cleaning jobs, Utama Spice offers an Antiseptic liquid soap which has the benefit of Neem Oil as an active ingredient to kill germs.
For those needing an intensive moisturizer for ultra-dry skin, an application of the Tropical Flower Body Butter, after showering, is an excellent remedy for cracked heels, as well as any rough spots on knees and elbows.
Moisturizing Soaps and Lotions
Lavender Liquid soap and Coconut Moisturizing Lotion with Pure Lavender Oil.
I suppose it is no surprise that the Home by the Sea overall favourite Utama Spice Aromatherapy product, was the Lavender Liquid soap and Coconut Moisturizing Lotion with Pure Lavender Oil.
Yoga Mat Energizing and Sanitizing Spray
Yoga mats can become notoriously grotty if you’re using them outdoors, so the compact size of the Utama Spice Yoga Mat Energizing Spray, was brilliant, meaning I could keep it in my handbag, for regular use after Yoga and exercise sessions.
The added bonus of knowing the essential Oil of Lemon, Bergamot, and Mint were helpful in sanitizing the mat was most reassuring, especially given the current Covid pandemic.
Quality Control of Utama Spice Aromatherapy Products
The company maintain strict hygiene procedures to ensure the products and the raw materials are checked at every stage of production, thereby guaranteeing the highest standard of quality control to create a well-made, but still handcrafted, natural beauty product.
Utama Spice Customer Service
Utama Spice maintain a supportive and friendly culture with its customers and shipping is prompt, with tracking options for orders at no extra charge. With a flat rate of $10 shipping, (free for orders over $100-AUD), the location is no barrier for customers worldwide.
If you have any issues with your order they will go above and beyond to make sure you are completely satisfied.
Discounts and giveaways are offered to customers who subscribe to their website.
Utama Spice Products Product Review Recommendation
I am very happy to commend their products to you and was thrilled with their products. I will be ordering more supplies.
Climate change is an important issue that each of us can contribute to increasing awareness about, through our photography and posts. So today, on Sunday sayings, I explore several environmental quotes that resonate with me. We can make a difference in our daily practices wherever we how in the world, however we live.
A skinny slip of a girl was studying the Environment at University. She learnt about planet earth and how fragile it was; how global temperature might rise at least 2- 3 degrees, and how this warming might lead to cataclysmic and irreversible ramifications for life, on earth.
That student also learnt how inland river systems were polluted by effluent from cities and how excessive irrigation for agricultural crops led to saline soils and dying river systems, in this the driest continent, on earth. She learnt how her country would begin to experience more drought, wild weather events, fire and more hardship on the land in coming decades.
Furthermore, she read how scientists detected die-back and bleaching of coral in the Great Barrier Reef due to run-off of fertilizers draining down from agricultural land into the sea, during rains.
She learnt how everything in the natural world is interconnected.
If one part of the ecosystem breaks down, or disappears, it has a deleterious domino effect on other parts, with potential species extinction and irreversible damage to nature.
She learnt along with rising sea levels, that there is not a single species in the ocean without plastic materials in its gut; that fisheries are disappearing and that the only marine species flourishing in the alkaline marine environment is Jellyfish.
In University classes, she discussed how we as humans, along with other predatory species will feel the concentrated effects of endocrine disrupting petrochemicals and accumulated pesticides. And that we might see evidence of this first in plants, second in animals that feed on those plants, and lastly in us, the carnivores that eat the animals, because we are at the top of the food chain.
Everything is connected.
She learnt that frogs are a good indicator of the health of the environment and that frogs and bee numbers are dwindling.
The student then learnt about the hole in the ozone layer and how the polar ice sheets could melt resulting in a rise in sea levels; meaning some low lying countries will become uninhabitable.
For this student, who had grown up in the shadow of potential nuclear extermination in the Cold War era, soon realized an even bigger threat to the planet was, in fact, man himself.
What kind of world would her potential future children be gifted with?
She left her work in the environment field as she could not bear to hear it any more.
Now no longer a student, but a Mother, that women began to facilitate and promote environmentally friendly practices in her own circle. She spoke about her concerns with friends, family and her wider community, and slowly changed attitudes of those around her, and increased awareness, in her own microcosm.
That former student learnt that education and knowledge can be a powerful vanguard for change in community thinking and ultimately, in the halls of government. The student, who had read so much gloom and doom in her University years, also learnt that there is HOPE.
Slowly, as temperatures began to rise, folks began to know the world was indeed a finite place and could no longer absorb man’s destructive ways.
Sustainable practices, solar and wind power and recycling became mainstream. Single use plastic bags were banned or minimized. Threatened forests and animals were protected and land clearing practices examined in terms of their biodiversity loss or environmental value. Salinity in rivers and streams began to be addressed and is now understood as both a threat and a challenge.
And the public started to realize that Climate Change is real.
I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.
Each Friday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking.
I hope you will too and join with me in a discussion on what we can learn.
The proverb and quotes this week focus on environmental concerns.
I conceive that the land belongs to a vast family of which many are dead, few are living, and countless numbers are still unborn
The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river
– Ross Perot
and a final quote this week:
Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them
– Albert Einstein
The Nigerian Chief recognized that we can never truly own the land. We are merely transient tenants. Inherent in this saying, is the understanding of the mortality of ourselves and of our planet.
Of environmental problems, can they be solved by increasing and augmenting awareness? Or can one team or sector of society make a difference? I think it needs to be a cooperative, collaborative team effort. A problem tackled by all, and for all, ages. Yet, in our our little corner of space, we can change the world for the better. But, if we heed Einstein’s quote – can everyone do that?
Today I traded in about ten of my good quality used books, at a Second hand book store ( that doubles as a nice cafe) and received enough store credit to purchase two more books. There is a really nice atmosphere in this shop. It is unlike the dusty musty stores of yesteryear and has an assortment of new books as well. The cafe section allow you to browse the second hand books as you enjoy your light meal and coffee
What do you do with all your “read” books? Do they gather mould and dust on your shelves? Do they end up in the thrift shop bins?
Here are several ideas for a better destination of your unwanted books:
This is essentially a trading club. You have to list at least 6 books you wish to give away, to get started and then you can request people to send you books that they have listed. Be careful to check the language the book is written in, as this is an international group and your may end up with a title in German, and you wanted Spanish! Can also be a bit costly as you have to bear the cost of postage to send your books, but not to receive! Extra points are earned ( which can be used to mooch more books) by sending internationally. The site is linked to Amazon in case you really want to buy the book asap. You can also donate your points to charity, if you like.
2. Used Book Store
Take or trade in at a recycling book store, like the Book cafe in Brisbane, Australia. You can trade in used good quality books for a store credit on their second hand lines. You can return the ones you bought on credit for further credit if you like. A great way to save trees, but also for retailers to make some money and share the wondeful things that books are….
3.New Book Swap/Club
Start a book club with your friends. Gather about 10 books and about 5 friends. Rotate the books amongst each of you, by placing or sending to each person’s letter box, when each person has finished with them. Keep rotating until you have read all five of the titles. Have a meet up once or twice a year at a nice inexpensive restaurant to discuss how you liked or disliked each book.
4. Book Crossing
Leave at a counter in a shopping centre or Doctors’ surgery or library for someone to find. There is an international program where you can track your book. To do this, register your book at Book Crossing http://www.bookcrossing.com/ and download a free label, for your book. As well as identifying it for tracking, it also gives directions so that the book’s movements can be tracked around your city or perhaps, even the world. The idea is for your to release your book to the ‘wild’ by leaving your labeled book on a park bench on a summer day, in a train station, on the table in your favorite coffee shop — anywhere it’s likely to be caught by another delighted reader. Then visit the website to read about your book’s new adventures!
5. Charity/ Thrift shop or library. The underprivileged or refugee centres love books. And it can be a source of income for those who have no other means.