I make truly terrible sourdough

Living the simple life is easier said than done! We’ve been making truly terrible sourdough bread lately. I’m determined to keep practising but there must be an important detail I’m missing. Like everything about me, my sourdough is inconsistent and incapable of settling with one way of being I am creating problem children who grow up to be sad toast, breadcrumbs or worm food.

Our starter has abusive parents. I’ve inherited one quality starter, “Kate”, which got mixed up in a tragic salt accident (totally my fault). I’ve made one from scratch, “Yeastie Boy”. Yeastie attempted to revive Kate but tragically suffered the consequences. Lastly, James and I made a bouncing baby “Phillis” (named from a typo ‘fill us up with bread’). Phillis was left out for too long without feeding. I revived it with organic flour and distilled water. Phillis is still with us (pictured).

Our dough is feeling low. My dough rises *some* of the time. I’ve tried gentle folding and more intense kneading. I’ve had a friend show me how to make this step by step. Maybe the inconsistency is caused by varying temperature and time between working the dough.


Fiery tingle tea for a sore throat.

This tea saves lives. Well sorta… As my illness has transformed from laryngitis to a chest infection, I’ve soothed my throat with my homemade lemon, ginger, honey, turmeric and chilli tea. Its fiery tingle has made it an effective substitute for cough drops, with the added health benefits that it has way less sugar and it’s kept me hydrated.

How to make:

A quarter of a lemon, one teaspoon of honey, 3 slices of ginger, half teaspoon of turmeric, half teaspoon of chilli and 2-3 cups of boiled water depending on how strong you like your tea. Being fresh, it will take a little longer to infuse – roughly 5-8 mins. Feel free to change the balance of the ingredients to suit your taste.


Coffee grounds + Castile liquid soap = basic coffee body scrub.

We packed a bottle of Castile for dishes, clothes, hair, face, surfaces, etc. We also packed a gold mesh filter so we could buy local coffee and make our own fresh brew on the go. These two products enabled me to make a body scrub while traveling. After a few days of camping in the harsh Aussie desert, it was nice to feel sparkly clean again with this simple recipe.

Note: This makes a mess. Our hotel shower had its fair share of coffee grounds. Only attempt if you don’t mind making a mess 🙂 This should not replace body wash. Use soap afterwards to remove any coffee stains on your skin.

This is just a basic version of the scrub. For the full recipe: add sugar, cinnamon, essential oils and coconut oil. The full recipe is creamier and doesn’t create as much mess.

I love that zero waste has allowed me to be creative within my limitations. And I believe that staying pampered is an important part of rewarding new zero waste habits.

DIY Coffee body scrub on the go
DIY Coffee body scrub on the go
DIY Coffee body scrub on the go
DIY Coffee body scrub on the go

Making the most of excess food

Yum! This Brocolli from our @ceresfairfood delivery is bigger than my head. I guess this size would have been rejected by major supermarket chains?
For excess food, I get my inspiration from @pinterest. I plan to cook this for stir-fry, ramen, pasta, soup, potato bake, etc and make broccoli pesto from the stalks.


DIY apple cider vinegar

When life gives you old apples, make apple cider vinegar. My second attempt is a roaring success. It can be made with skins and core or the whole apple. Must be mixed regularly to avoid the yucky mould.
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I use apple cider vinegar for healthy digestion, hair conditioning rinse and clay face masks but it has a multitude of uses beyond this.


Doing it yourself

Apart from its zero waste benefits and affordability, I find DIY is therapeutic and allows me to defragment my mind after a stressful week at work.

Where do I find the time to DIY?

– On a Sunday morning, about an hour before everyone else wakes up, I make 1 or 2 things that are running low.
This includes frequently used cleaners and toiletries, and sometimes a new experiment. I am an early riser so this is my “me time”, a time for creative play.

– I have a drawer in the kitchen cupboard filled with multipurpose ingredients such as baking powder, coconut oil, cornstarch, xylitol, Apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, soap blocks, liquid Castile and a couple of essential oils. I bought all of this package free from bulk stores like @thesourcefitzroy@ceresbrunswick but they can also be ordered online or purchased in larger containers if bulk stores aren’t available to you.

– I deliberately choose simple yet effective recipes that take only a few ingredients. They must be easy to make, even in my sleepy state.

– I make a large batch and store it at the top of the bathroom cupboard and refill smaller (often travel-sized) containers when I need to top up.This ensures that we always have supplies and gives me plenty of opportunities to clean the small containers that get regular contact.

Surprisingly for me, my partner favours my minty fresh toothpowder over other recipes/products we’ve tried. It’s only 3 ingredients: 2 tablespoons xylitol, 1 tablespoon baking soda and 4 drops peppermint essential oil. Put in a jar and shake like maracas until mixed thoroughly. This morning, I transferred the remaining powder to a clean jar and topped up our bigger jar within a few minutes. Topping this up was easier than going to the convenience store.