Monday, March 25, 2013


The cold weather spell is lasting a long time so today I want to explore how to keep warm with or without a fire.


If we put on clothes that warm us and keep us toasty we are less likely to feel a bonechilling cold permeate us. A 100% wool sweater, gloves and socks are going to keep us cosy but if you still feel the cold the warmth of the fibre such as alpaca can raise the temperature. Wrapping ytourslef in a dressing gown or duvet heat the space wound you. The warmest fiber is qiviut but it is hard to get sufficient to date to increase the insulation factor. Check your clothing: a 50% wool/cotton combination is unlikely to keep you warm in winter. Most of our body temperature escapes via our heads so a hat is recommended.


For just a few seconds. A cup of hot chocolate creates a fleeting feeling of warmth in your hands and stomach but not a change in your internal temperature—which is a good thing: Maintaining a stable body temperature is essential to having healthy organ function and a steady heartbeat. We associate it with a cosy inside feeling which is a placebo effect.


We do have a woodburner and without central heating it gives us the opportunity to warm one room in which we can all huddle together. It creates a warm feeling watching the logs burn and we can sit on the sofa, read a nice book and have a conversation.


Closing the curtains or shutters enables the heat to stay in as a lot of heat escapes via windows and doors

Seal your doors with doorstoppers ( a big long padded roll) so the heat stays in and draughtproofs the room.


Close off any unused rooms which will enable the warm air to stay where you are instead of circulating throughout the house.


Cover the floors in carpets or rugs which will insulate them against warm air escaping through the gaps and insulate the attic to keep warm air  escaping via the roof. You can see how well your house is insulated by seeing if there is snow ( when it snows) on your roof or whether the heat from the house is melting the sneow on your roof.


Make cookies, or a meal ( without too much steam)/ Not only will you be moving about but the kitchen will warm up as the oven works and dry the air in the kitchen.

The snow can cause power to be cut so keep candles at hand.

Hopefully these measures will make you feel a bit warmer. A brisk walk or exercise will raise the temperature a little in your boidy and if all else fails, hibernating under the duvet can keep you cosy.

I hope these measures will warm you up a little in the shortterm.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Banana cake with crunchie

The weather has frankly been a bit dark lately and many are asking when winter will end. To fill the house with some cheer there is nothing better than the fuggy smell of a banana cake. Besides using up the needless black bananas that hang around in this house, it warms my heart and brings back wonderful childhood memories of Grandmother's kitchen. I love having cake in the house to dish out with that relaxing cup of tea or coffee. We are 15 miles from an urban coffeeshop  so we create our own coffeeshop atmosphere.

Ingredients :

  • 200g Self raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 75g butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 large amshed bananas
  • 2 crunchie bars

Grease and line a deep 1/2 kg loaf tin

Place flour,bicarbonate of soda,salt, eggs,butter and sugar in a bowl and mix together.

Add mashed bananas and put the mixture in the loaf tin. Then break the crunchie bars up, put on the top of the mixture and swirl inside the mixture.

Bake at 180 degree Celcius for about 45 mins to 60 mins until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Cool for 5 mins and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Hide away in a tin until you can no longer resist.

Friday, March 08, 2013

5 benefits to Living in a community

Living in a community demands that we reach out to people but in my experience that reaching out works both ways and provides an element of security.

When mentioning a life in a community it can be as intense as living as a member of the Amish Community in which the rules are set by each community such as no electricity, no cars, mobile phones etc to living in a particular place or joining an interest group online of like minded people.

In a time of economic downturn the equation between money and time shifts and my priorities in times of economic downturn shift too to spending more time investing in myself through reading, learning new skills and connecting with other people.

The 5 benefits of living in a community:

A sense of belonging

Many people feel isolated from the world by the fact they have no friends or relatives in their community. This can lead to loneliness and eventually depression. A community spirit can instil a sense of belonging in these individuals, they are no longer  alone, and they lead healthier, happier lives.


Living in a community protects the individual from the harshness of having to do everything.(The “every man for himself” mentality. ) It can help a person who falls on hard times if they are in  a community to feel supported, rather than living a corporate lifestyle where a person is only as good as their latest contribution. Community living also means that most of the people know each other. A small town environment like that often means less crime and also less need for surveillance. Surveillance is a consequence of living amongst strangers.

The sharing of resources

Sharing resources can greatly reduce the cost of living. Many of the luxuries that people enjoy are not used 24/7, or even if they are used frequently, they can often be shared. The quality of items that can be afforded goes up while the cost goes down. You can live cheaper and better, and the only cost is being more social.

Resources can be shared through the LETS system and FREECYCLE groups.
The transition towns initiative are creating communities that prepare themselves for sustainability after peak oil.

Cooperation and Competition

It is natural for individuals to cooperate with each other. We are a tribal species. In fact, cooperation on an individual level is very beneficial, because generally each person is interested in and skilled at different tasks than their peers. As a result close knit groups of individuals whose skills and personalities complement each other can be particularly healthy, happy, and successful.

Employment and fulfillment

One of the greatest benefits of living in a community setting  is that it gives us the freedom to care for our lives, our wealth, and often both at the same time. There is no reason for the community to resent individuals for participating in a way that does not directly benefit the bottom line. We can work together as business partners who share equally in the burden of maintaining the community economically. The needs of a community are numerous, and the avenues of occupations that could benefit a community are likewise numerous. Using local skills and expertise can benefit the individual member economically but also forges networks of professional relationships who have a sense of place and local solutions.There are  many diverse ways in which an individual can contribute. By working within a  community each individuals skills and abilities can be applied in a unique way, and no person need feel like a cog.

And community living is not just something for the countryside, there are areas in large cities that create hubs of community, where a local cafe becomes a meeting place, a place to relax and cultivate the relationships that bind us together as human beings.