LIVING LAGOM – THE END??

I can’t believe it’s time to submit our last blog, we are at the end of our Live LAGOM project and it doesn’t feel like 6 months since we started!  What a fantastic experience it has been, we are so grateful that we were chosen to take part and would like to say Thank You for giving us such an amazing opportunity!

I think we spent the very generous £300 given to us, wisely….certainly we’ve put everything we purchased to good use.   I believe our purchases have helped us considerably with food waste, reducing our energy consumption and being more organised.

As of writing, we haven’t received an up to date energy bill so I’m unable to show a reduction in our energy usage which I had hoped to do.  As I mentioned in my last blog, our monthly energy direct debit HAD increased, however this was more to do with the winter months and the fact I’d come to the end of a MSE Collective Fix and there wasn’t a comparable tariff, I opted for the next best tariff but our monthly payment had still increased quite dramatically.  It’s not all about money tho’, I am quite confident that when our next bill does land, we will see a reduction in both electric and gas usage and that’s what’s most important I think.

We are continuing to use all of our purchases, with the exception of the Bellahare bottles.  They just didn’t work for us which was rather disappointing however I have purchased bottles elsewhere and touch wood, they are working well, so we are still keeping empty water bottles out of the recycling chain.

My TOP 3 purchases are:

  1. Storhogen battery charger and batteries,which has resulted in us not having to buy any single use batteries in the last 6 months!
  2. Kallax unit which has totally transformed my daughter’s bedroom, making it more organised and allows her to get her sewing machine out for small projects.
  3. Koppla adaptors which have 2 USB slots and 3 plugs, allows for better cable management and used with timer means we never charge items overnight any more.

I really enjoyed our first workshop on Cosy Homes/Save Energy, making a draught excluder with my daughter but unfortunately couldn’t make the second workshop due to other commitments.  It’s a shame there weren’t more workshops to attend, I thought there would be more as I’m sure there is so much more we could learn altho’ I’ve found the Live LAGOM Facebook page a great source of information and advice so not the end of the world.

I think that Live LAGOM would be great if it was opened up to schools….get children involved from an early age!  My children all attend Discovery School in Newcastle, a new STEM school and I think this project would be fantastic for them and other schools.  When we did our initial store visit  with my daughter, she was really impressed with the recycling and said that it would be the sort of thing her Product Design class would benefit from as they looked into sustainable packaging.  Perhaps this is something for the powers that be could look into, should the project go ahead for another year?

Going forward, we will continue to do what we have been doing for the last 6 months months, to be more aware of how our actions can not only impact our purses and wallets but also on our environment!

Going forward

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Living LAGOM 3 months in!

Here we are a 3 months into our Live LAGOM project experience and I guess you might be wondering how we are getting on? Reasonably well for the most part, we are all definitely more aware of how we can reduce our energy consumption and food waste which can only be a good thing in the long term.

We have swapped energy suppliers….we were with British Gas on a Money Saving Expert Collective Fix tariff which was due to end on 28 February.  We had started off paying £65 a month which was reduced to £37.37 after the summer.  With hindsight I should have asked them to keep our payments at £65 because despite only being £30 or so in  debit they upped our monthly payments to a whopping £81 a month!!!!  Ouch!   I was a bit gutted as my New Years Resolution was to save even more money on our energy bills and here we were with them doubled!

Unfortunately there was no MSE Collective Fix deals and with time running out, I searched for the best deals myself and found a good deal with Eon with a monthly direct debit of £73.  Only time will tell how much of an impact our LED bulbs have made to our energy bills, we’ll definitely see a difference with the summer bill as the solar panels capture sunlight (if we have a sunny summer that is.

So energy bills aside I wanted to share my Best/Worst Live LAGOM purchase(s) so far….

Best purchase – Storhogen battery charger and Ladda rechargeable batteries which have kept my favourite battery operated ‘real flame’ candles going each evening, giving our living room a warm, cosy feel.  My daughter bought some lovely filigree battery operated lights from Clas Ohlson in Newcastle, just before they closed for her bedroom so she’s making good use of the rechargeable batteries too!

Worst purchase – The Bellhare bottles, I had such high hopes for these reusable bottles, I thought they would save not only money, but also would reduce our recycling.  They started off great but the internal seals came out after a short time and resulted in them leaking which isn’t good in a school bag so we’ve had to revert back to buying bottle water until I can find a suitable alternative.

Unfortunately I’m going to miss the second Live LAGOM workshop which is focusing on Growing in Small Spaces, which I’m gutted about but looking forward to seeing what the third workshop is going to be all about.

Until next time……

Our first Live LAGOM Workshop

I have to admit to being quite excited when I received the email invite to our first Live LAGOM workshop….not just because it was our very first workshop but also because it was on one of my favourite subjects – saving energy and cosy homes.  I’m already on board with the whole saving energy/cosy homes concept, I have several throws on our sofas and bed and I’m reaching for them rather than the central heating thermostat dial wherever possible (especially if I’m home alone) and my battery operated candles also give a ‘warming’ glow which gives our living room a nice cosy feel.

Our workshop was held on Sunday 5 February at IKEA Gateshead and it was a ‘full house’ with all the Live LAGOM ambassadors turning up to see what our project leader, Richard had in store for us.  We had a walk through the store first and looked at room sets to get ideas on how we could cosy up our own rooms before heading over to our workshop room where tasty pastries and refreshments were waiting for us.  We were asked what we  thought our best purchase was so far (Storhoggen battery charger/storage just in case you were wondering) and it was really interesting hearing what everyone else had to say about their purchases.

Our task for the workshop was to make a draught excluder and we were provided with a piece of fabric that had already been sewn into the correct shape by the very talented, Suki.  We were also provided with a plethora of buttons, ribbons and  fabric pens to decorate our draught excluders to our own taste, adding heart shaped buttons to represent  #Showthelove then stuffing them before taking our makes to the entrance for another Live LAGOM photo.  Not only did we get to bring our draught excluders home but IKEA gave us even more free goodies…..a fantastic Pressa dryer, a cream throw and a fab reusable bag to bring them home in.  I never tire of thinking how lucky we are to have been chosen to be a part of this project.

Both myself and my daughter thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and can’t wait to see what the next workshop is going to be about, it was nice to make something together and has fired us both up to get her sewing machine out to make another draught excluder for the back door, we will be going material hunting next weekend.  And if that’s a success, we’ll be looking for another sewing machine project very soon!

Until next time…..

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Move over Laurence Llewelyn Bowen….I’m about to steal your crown!

 

Well, not exactly but I have to say I’m rather proud of our achievement with Operation Daughter’s Bedroom, now that it is complete!   If only I had taken a ‘before’ photo, you could all have gazed in awe and wonder (ha) at the miraculous transformation that has taken place over the last few weeks.  Instead you’ll have to take my word for it, that ‘before’ it was a little-girl-pink, cold, cramped, unworkable space with hideous pink make-up marked carpet.  It was several weeks of stress, painting, shopping and upheaval with boxes and crates everywhere……who knew such a small room could hold so much stuff!

And it is a small  room, just 266cm x 213cm (that’s 8’8″ x 6’11” in old money) with a off-shot little cupboard that had turned into a dumping ground.  A Great British Sewing Bee inspired sewing machine purchase was at the bottom of it all, nowhere to store it, nowhere to use it and we really wanted that to change, so that’s why we asked if we could buy the Kallax unit with desk during our home visit.

With the Kallax unit an acceptable Live LAGOM purchase, we decided that it really made sense to update the bedroom for the long term which meant waving goodbye (and good riddance) to the carpet.   We got bargain Quickstep laminate from B&Q as it was end of range and Barry from BnC Laminate Flooring in Cramlington did a grand job of fitting it for us – wouldn’t trust anyone else to do it!

With new bedding purchased and Walls painted to accommodate a change of colour scheme, we returned to IKEA to purchase a 4 square Kallax unit to sit on top on the 4×4 square Kallax to give even more storage, picture ledges and frames for photos that Eleanor, a budding photographer had taken herself.  The Linnmon desk was returned as unfortunately it took up too much room so a Micke desk is now in situ and is multi purpose – dressing table, homework work area and soon to be, sewing desk.  The sewing machine fits perfectly into the Kallax unit when not in use and we already have plans for our first make….watch this space!!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed ‘designing’ this bedroom makeover, I’ve enjoyed shopping and pulling it all together to achieve what is now a beautiful, calming, well organised ‘grown up’ room with great storage that really works for a teenager and rather bizarrely, it feels so much warmer than it did when the carpet was down….not sure why.  Best of all, our teenage daughter loves her new room/storage.

Until next time……

New Year….New Resolutions

2016 is almost at an end and I really won’t be sorry to see the back of it!  Losing my Dad to lung cancer less than 2 weeks after diagnosis in May has had a huge impact on us all and at times I’ve felt totally lost.  Participating in the Live LAGOM project has been a welcome distraction and is giving me something positive to focus on at a really horrible time.

So, my Live LAGOM New Years Resolution was to save even more money on our energy bills.  I aim to do this with the assistance of LED light bulbs and I have now successfully installed them in all light and lamp fittings (had to buy a deeper lampshade for our living room as the Koppla converter made the bulb creep above the shade and half blinded me).  We opted for two 1000 lumen bulbs in the kitchen and what a difference they’ve made – I can actually see what I’m cooking and the kids can see what they’re eating!!!!

In addition, I’m using my own ‘real’ flame battery candles which give our living room a nice warm glow on an evening (I can’t use the real thing as we have 2 very inquisitive cats and I really don’t fancy seeing how fast the fire brigade can get to us).  They are operated using Ladda rechargeable batteries (I’ve actually been back and bought more since my shopping trip) and have inbuilt timers so they switch themselves on/off at the same time every evening.  I also used Ladda batteries in my Christmas lights (we had low-key Christmas decorations this year with a twig tree).  I recharge the batteries in the Storhogen storage charger which I have to say, is the dogs danglies!   The ‘candles’ with the help of our existing throws, which I use rather than turning the thermostat up whenever possible, give our living room a cosy warm feel on dark winter nights.

We are all using Koppla 3 gang socket with 2 USB ports – these are safer than our old sockets as they have an on/off switch and allow us to charge mobile and tablet at the same time without using up sockets.  I had bought 2 Ledberg LED lighting strips to provide lighting for my sons when gaming, in the event the eldest decided against having one in his corner of the room but the youngest loves his and I made use of the second one by attaching it to the back of our bedhead…I love the fact that I can change the static colour according to my mood or allow it to change colour, either way I find it very calming when I find time to chill.

The kids are all using their Bellahare bottles for water which great on 2 counts – they will save me £100+ a year AND will reduce our previous practice of recycling 15 plastic bottles a week (based on term time usage that’s a staggering 570 plastic bottles that we won’t be going for recycling in 2017) and importantly, they don’t leak!!

The Pressa hangers have come into their own this week….I got them as I was wanting to reduce my tumble dryer usage, unfortunately my SECOND replacement tumble dryer from Hotpoint has gone kaput 😡 and will be out of action until the engineer arrives next Wednesday.  Having a North facing garden means NOTHING dries on our washing line during the winter months so, our socks/undies are now hanging from the Pressa hangers on the rads – I won’t be saving money there as I’ve had to have heating on for the rads but at least we’ve been able to dry our smalls 😁

Spare bedding and soft toys have gone into Dimpa bags which have gone into the loft freeing up space in our wardrobe and under daughter’s bed….on the subject of which, we got a bargain in the Bargain Corner this week – 2 Malm under bed storage  drawers which are on castors which were £20 instead of £40!  They make great shoe storage (if you’re a bit of an Emelda like me and my daughter)!

Operation Daughter’s Bedroom is underway….it’s a very small space and we bought a 4×4 Kallax unit, Linmonn desktop, Adils legs to give her more storage which would allow her to use her sewing machine.  The boxes are still on the landing as we’ve decided we are going to do it for the long term and that means putting laminate flooring down to replace her makeup marked carpet.  We’ve bought the laminate flooring, just trying to arrange for someone to fit it….we’ve got a chap coming to give us a quote this week and hopefully work will start shortly after.  In the meantime, we have now transformed the cupboard of doom (aka The Dumping Ground) into a workable wardrobe which, using Bitrade unit and Komplement rail, has been a resounding success and I’m currently painting walls as we’re having a change of colour scheme!  Stupidly, I didn’t take any ‘before’ photos of her room but if all goes to plan, it is going to be quite a transformation!

Think I’ve probably bored you all enough for now, so until next time…..

Live LAGOM Shopping Trip

On Monday 12 December 2016 at 5pm, I met Live LAGOM Project Leader Richard Coates at IKEA Gateshead for my much anticipated personal shopping trip.  Before setting off round the store, Richard checked over my shopping list – I have list OCD so had spent quite a lot of time on it, wanting to ensure I was spending wisely and I had each item colour coded by department so that I knew what I needed to get where….think woman on a mission!  Richard and I chatted as we went round the store and he offered advice and I made a few minor adjustments to my list, adding on a few extras.   Before starting our shop, I had swiped my IKEA Family Card and printed off a voucher giving me £5 off a £40 spend.  My items totalled £339.60, after my voucher and £300 gift card were deducted I had just £34.60 to pay!!!!  Now that’s my kind of Ikea shopping trip!

I purchased…..

Ledberg multi colour light strips to light the gaming areas of my boys’ bedroom at their suggestion.

An array of Ryet LED lightbulbs – I opted for 600 lumen in all rooms barring the kitchen where I opted for 1000 lumen bulbs as it’s North facing and quite dark and existing bulbs are dim and shadowy.

Koppla B27 to E27 converters so that we can use the above LED bulbs in our existing fittings

Koppla sockets with USB ports for 4 rooms – with my existing timers these will stop the current practice of all night charging of phone/tablets and should also improve cable management.

A Signum socket holder for the Koppla socket – I got one to try out initially and if it works for us, will purchase them for all the Koppla sockets.

Storhogen battery charger  plus a selection of Ladda AA and AAA rechargeable batteries (for my vast array of LED candles, LED Christmas lights and not forgetting Wii remotes, TV remotes, torches etc).

Kuggis box to turn into a ‘Use First’ box in the fridge to stop the kids wasting food (yogurts and the like).

Pressa hangers which I can use on washing line or hooked over my radiators rather than using my tumble dryer unnecessarily.

Fniss waste bins for 2 bedrooms

Korken jars to keep dried pasta fresh in cupboards

Bellahare water bottles – I was very impressed with the freebie in the Induction packed lunch bag.  We go thru’ 15 bottles of water each week when kids are at school so will not only save money but we will also reduce recycling waste by using them.

Stabil insert – this will allow me to cook different veg in one pan rather than using 2 or 3 pans thus saving energy.

Skvalpa long handled dustpan and brush – this will save me having to get the Dyson out multiple times each day to clear up dog hairs on kitchen and hall floors that drive me nuts!

Dimpa storage bags to put summer quilts in to go in loft freeing up space in our wardrobe.

Kallax 4×4 unit, Linnmon table top, Adils legs and Linmonn connectors – these items were not on product list but it was agreed this would be an acceptable purchase as it’s going in my daughter’s room and the considerably better storage and desk will allow her to use her sewing machine to make cushion covers, upcycle clothing etc, rather than being stuck in her cluttered cupboard.

Bitrade unit and Komplement rail – these items were not on product list and were purchased with our own money – they will help us turn a cluttered cupboard into a workable wardrobe for my daughter.

Typical for IKEA, £300 went an awful long way.  There were lots of other things that would possibly benefit us in our attempts to live more sustainably and we will definitely look at purchasing those ourselves in the coming months.

I’ll let you know what I think of my purchases when I’ve had chance to use them.

Until next time…….

My first ever blog post

Get me…..writing my first ever blog at the tender age of 47!  Ha Ha!  Have to be completely honest, I don’t really know what I’m doing but I figure if I can find my way around Facebook and Instagram, then I should be able to blog???  I guess only time will tell.

I was recently chosen to become a Live LAGOM ambassador by IKEA…..this means that I am part of a project that aims to help us live a more sustainable life without going to any extremes and IKEA have given us £300 to spend on products that will assist us to do this.  Exciting huh!  As I am part of the project, I along with all the Lagommers have to blog about our LAGOM experience.  I’m really looking forward to sharing our experience with others and in turn, reading about their experiences too.

I applied for the project as with 3 teens in the house I’m always looking out for ways to save money and I was interested to see how we could live more sustainably.  We have been recycling since Newcastle City Council introduced recycling bins so we are doing our bit there but if there were areas we could improve on I want to do it.  We’d had solar panels installed early in 2016 and were already seeing a reduction in our electricity bills but could we reduce them any further?

Living in Newcastle, I attended an Induction morning at IKEA Gateshead in November, meeting other Lagommers and last week the Live LAGOM Project Leader Richard and his colleague Luciana visited my home to chat about what I’d like to concentrate on before I have my personal shopping visit this coming week and I had to make a New Years Resolution.  One that won’t be broken within the first week of 2017.

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I’ve yet to finalise my shopping list but I’m mainly focusing on saving energy and trying to reduce our energy bills even further than we have already this year (we’ve had solar panels fitted and swapped energy supplier with MSE Cheap Energy Club and seen a dramatic decrease in our energy bills).  To that end, LED lightbulbs, rechargeable batteries and a battery charger will definitely feature on my list but I need to give serious thought as to what else I can buy that will help us live more sustainably.  With 3 teenagers in the house, I want to choose wisely!

Until next time…………