Energy Saving, Home and Garden

Save Energy With One Simple Step #9

save energy defrost fridge

It’s Thursday and that means it’s energy saving o’clock!

If you’re a new reader – let me explain – for the last few Thursdays I’ve been writing on saving energy in one simple step, without the need to buy any fancy equipment or spend any money.  They’re all really easy to do, and once you get into the habit of doing them they’ll become so second nature that you won’t notice doing them.  While each tip won’t save that much money or energy, cumulatively they will add up to substantial savings.

This week’s tip is:

plan ahead kitchen energy

Plan, plan, plan!

I’m a huge advocate of freezing leftovers or making larger quanities of what you’re cooking for dinner and freezing portions for later.  Nothing can beat that organised (re: smug!) feeling when you’ve got a freezer stocked full of meals ready for when you need them (and it’s energy efficient!).

The downside to this is that some nights I get lazy, and just can’t be bothered cooking.  Knowing that I’ve got a stack of pre-prepared meals, I grab something out of the freezer and defrost it in the microwave prior to heating it.  Sound familiar to you too?

While this is certainly convenient, it adds around 30% to 50% of energy required to cook the meal.   If only I’d been a bit more organised and taken the food out of the freezer and placed it in the fridge the night before to defrost.  That would have saved all of that energy, and has the added bonus of reducing the amount of work your fridge has to do as it acts as an icepack, helping to cool the fridge down.  Failing to defrost the night before, I could have at least taken the meal out as soon as I got home and left it sitting at room temperature for a couple of hours before cooking.

So the lesson here is definitely to be more organised.  Some might say write a meal plan for the week to help, but that’s just a step too organised for me!  Instead I’m going to make small steps and plan one night ahead.  Who’s with me on this?

By the way, here is some handy advice on defrosting food safely – no-one likes a side helping of food posioning with their dinner!

I’m thinking about reducing the frequency of these energy saving posts.  Rather than weekly, perhaps run them monthly instead.  What do you think?  I need some help deciding so do let me know in the comments below whether you’d prefer to see them monthly or weekly!


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Fashion, Life & Style

Stylish Cycling Accessories for Women

stylish cycling accessories for ladies

stylish cycling accessories for ladies

This post contains affiliate links, denoted by *

As cliche as it sounds, I would love to be a Pashley owning cyclist, cruising about in a pretty dress with a bunch of flowers and a baguette in my bike basket.  The reality is that I live in rural village surrounded by hills and A class roads, which demand to be approached with a bit more vigour that could be sustained on a sit up and beg Dutch style bike!  Our village is also a popular spot for the local road club, who do a weekly competitive cycle through here.  So it’s pretty much hardcore cycling central over here.

I have a hybrid bike (a Marin Larkspur) which handles the roads and paths around here really well.  And to indulge in my girly side, a vintage Raleigh road bike from the seventies, which is very pretty, but not entirely practical (I can’t quite get used to the gear lever being on the frame rather than handlebars) and has sadly sat in my shed neglected for quite a while and is in probable need of some TLC.

Instead of digging it out from the shed and fixing it up, I’ve been procrastinating – I’ve been searching the internet for some stylish cycling accessories that are practical as well as pretty.  Here are my finds:


1. Bike Bell from Claire La Secretaire / 2. Bike Basket from Bobbin Bicycles / 3. Pannier Bag from Basil / 4. Bike Basket from Brooks* / 5. Helmet from Bern


1. Poncho from Otto London / 2. Saddle from Brooks* / 3. Strongman D Lock from Knog* / 4. Reflective Badges from Cycle Chic / 5. Front Light from Bobbin Bicycles

All of these stylish cycling accessories fall into the pretty category.  Some would be nice to have but not essential, but some accessories are essential.  Lights (front and rear) are a must if you’re planning on doing any cycling early morning or at night.  As well as being dangerous you can receive a £30 fine for each light that is missing – a total of £60 if both lights are missing.  A good lock is a must, preferably a D lock (some might call it a U lock) as it’s harder for thieves to cut through than cable locks.  The Knog Strongman is pricey but it’s one of the best on the market.  If you can’t stretch to a Strongman then buy the very best you can afford – I have a Kryptonite one, much like this one, and it’s pretty heavy duty.

I’d also recommend a bell to let pedestrians know that you’re coming up behind them.  It’s difficult to hear a bike sometimes, and it’s just common courtesy.  Helmets aren’t required by law, but I’d always recommend them (try wearing a silk scarf under your helmet to help banish helmet hair if you’re blighted by it).  And light coloured clothing is always a good idea, especially if you’re cycling at night.

I’ll be back with some practical cycling tips soon!


Main image c/o Bobbin Bicycles.