Links we’ve loved #15

It’s been a while since we inundated you with links we’ve enjoyed. Here goes for a mega-episode of links we’ve loved…

We don’t know if this is a link we loved per se, but it did make us think. Floyd Mayweather clearly has more dollars than braincells. If we had squizillions of dollars would we do stuff like this, too? We like to think we’d be ethical, thoughtful, ‘non’ consumers no matter how much money we had but who knows? Gross amounts of money changes the way people think.

We really liked this post “Good bye Screen Time, Hello Awesome Kid“. It sort of echoes our experiences when removing large quantities of Little Fearse’s toys – a more settled, happier child.

So, this guy is practically father of the year. What a beautiful letter to his daughter – although it’s kind of important not to presume that there will be future husbands…

This very provocatively titled post really hits the nail on the head when it comes to judging parents.

We love this community cabinet idea, but are not sure if we’d want to host one. Would you do this in your front yard?

We have heard many parents say that they just couldn’t handle having to lie with their child for an hour or more each night to get them to sleep. We understand that sentiment so much, but this is what we have to do sometimes with Little Fearse. Not every night, but often enough. Sometimes this is harder than other times – sometimes Mama has work to do or Big Poppa has to go to TAFE. Generally though this is a time we have learnt to cherish. This post made Mama cry because she realised suddenly that Little Fearse won’t be Little Fearse all her life. One day she will be Medium Sized Fearse and one day she will be Big Fearse and then she won’t need us like she does now. *sob*

We’ve been feeling quite sad this week and it has made us realise that there is a real link between buying stuff and our emotions. There are two aspects to this – firstly, it is much harder to care about buying nothing new when we are emotionally ragged. Secondly, buying things (although they have all been second hand and mainly small toys) has given us enough of a happy buzz to be worthwhile to us. What a sad world, where we make ourselves feel better with stuff. This situation has made us realise just how happy we have been this year, which is a wonderful thing to realise, even when you’re feeling sad.  We just hope we can find a way to deal with sad times without needing to accumulate stuff. This article talks about the link between happiness and consumerism through advertising. A worthy read.

This video is weird, because it’s pretty much exactly what a day in BP’s life looks like.

BP has been listening to this song on repeat – a pretty nifty cover of Jackson Five’s I want you back. In the meantime Mama has been indoctrinating Little Fearse in the Beatles fan club. So far this video has been a favourite for both of them.

Joy of Joyfully Green has nominated us for a Liebster Award. We’re honoured! Stay tuned for our response soon, but in the meantime, check out the great list of like-minded blogs Joy nominates. We also highly recommend a trot into the archives of Joyfully Green itself.

Have a great week,

The Fearse Family

Links we’ve loved #4

Fascinating article exploring the origin of the diamond ring as an engagement gift. Mama does have an engagement ring, though not a diamond. It is a vintage 1930s ring and did not cost three months of anyone’s salary.

We are big Rosanne fans in the Fearse cave and have been enjoying viewing old series back to back this year. We love Jackie, but she’s not cool. This made us laugh.

We love looking inside other people’s homes. This takes voyeurism to a whole new level. The last fridge probably looks the most like ours, though we like to think we have more fresh food in there.

Fan or not, this Kanye interview is one of the best interviews either of us have read in awhile.

Dad humour.

Tina does it again.

Furnishing your apartment for free. We certainly furnished our house on the cheap, but these are some great tips for doing it even cheaper.

Travelling with kids just sounds horrendous from this stand point, but not everyone has a terrible time of it. Some people even like it. Here are some ideas for making it simpler. 

Little Fearse is teaching herself  this dance. We are not sure how we feel about it.

Stay warm this weekend,

Big Poppa, Little Fearse, Mama xoxoxox

Is more knowledge better for us?

I don’t say this often but I’m really lucky to have BP around. He is a great Dad and a terrific husband. This week he has cooked every night to give me extra time to work on school reports. Today he took Little Fearse to swimming and stayed out of the house for three hours to allow me uninterrupted writing time. I haven’t even thought about the washing this week – it’s just been done. In the past few months I haven’t even stepped foot in a supermarket. BP has done all the supermarket shopping. He’s my blessing. I really appreciate him.

On Thursday, however, I did go to the supermarket. It was an awful experience. Since our BNN year started we’ve been cutting down on stuff but boning up on knowledge. Every new thing we learn about consumerism, advertising or food quality helps us to make more informed choices when we consume. But are we making better choices, or is it just harder?

When I read a package I know I’m being duped, somehow. I just have to read it the right way. But what is the right way? What are they really telling me with their befuddling statistics, deceptive ingredient lists, colourful images and use of words like “natural”, “organic”, “healthy” and “real”?

We used to shop a lot by price. What was our cheapest option per 100ml / 100g? We no longer get tricked by the ‘less is more’ marketing scams. Now we are focusing on buying the best quality – which rarely equates to the best deal. How do we really know we are choosing the most ethical option that is also the best option for our health?

I feel as though every new piece of information conflicts with the last. Don’t buy items containing palm oil. Also, don’t buy from this company, because of that awful thing they did here. Buy fair trade. Buy local. Buy organic. Help this community by buying their something or other but don’t buy this from this place because it’s negatively affecting their communal health.

I’m lost. Am I allowed to buy chocolate? I think the answer is yes, but only if it contains no palm oil (unless you are able to assess that it is sustainable use of palm oil, and then carry on), is not made by Nestle, is locally crafted, contains a high percentage of cocoa and is very dark. It should also be fair trade and organic. If, after you have assessed all of these factors, you still want chocolate and have found one that ticks every box, sure, have one piece. You should really stop after one piece. It’s not good for your health. Where’s your will power? You’re an intelligent person, do you really need chocolate?

Even buying sultanas was a difficult and somewhat distressing choice. They all have the same ingredients – sultanas and oil. The price difference between name brand and no brand is huge. Is there a big quality difference? I DON’T KNOW. I HAVE NO IDEA. JUST CHOOSE SOME FRIGGIN’ SULTANAS.

You know what? I find all the extra knowledge just makes me feel distrustful. I don’t trust what the packaging is telling me. I don’t trust what the nutritional information is telling me. I don’t trust what my body tells me it wants.

I look at food in the super market and I know that I can make it myself. I also know that I don’t have the time to make everything myself. Is the best and most ethical option to go without?

As a society we are obsessed with food. We have too much choice and sometimes, too much knowledge. Am I making better choices? I have no idea. I have less idea than I did before I began.

This is NOT simple.

Mama xo

A few tiny steps.

We had two gift vouchers remaining from Christmas that were due to run out in May – one for a popular stationary store and one for Myer. We ummed and ahhed over what we should spend them on, as we couldn’t allow them to go to waste. Of all the ideas the only ones we had that seemed to make sense, or were justifiable, were to spend them on Little Fearse.

At the stationary store we purchased her a new lunchbox. She didn’t need a new lunchbox. The one we purchased at the op shop is still going strong. We were just at a loss – we didn’t need anything at the shop. It was an empty kind of purchase and it felt like we were cheating on BNN and ourselves.

At Myer we bought Little Fearse a winter jacket (much more expensive than we’d usually get) and a winter top that will probably fit her this winter and next. Of course both items of clothing are ridiculously cute. I did get some pleasure out of this purchase because they were things Little Fearse will get a lot of wear out of. Although we can easily purchase clothes for her second hand it’s nice to have the opportunity to buy her something special. It sort of tickled the consumer in me in the way the previous purchase hadn’t.

Being at the shopping centre (for only the second time this year) was unlovely. The visuals there are like an assault if you haven’t been for a while. When you’re at a shopping centre already it becomes kind of second nature to pick up something here and something there. Since we’re not buying anything new we ended up purchasing coffee and snacks we didn’t need.

My tuna hand roll came in a plastic box with a little plastic tray for the wasabi and a tiny plastic bottle of soy sauce, held together with a rubber band. I felt really guilty about how much packaging was involved in my purchase of one tiny hand roll. I wished I’d had the forethought to at least get them to leave off the plastic container. They had paper bags, which would have been marginally better.  Feeling ill at ease about the amount of stuff left over when I’d finished eating I tucked the container into the bottom of Little Fearse’s pram figuring I’d try and find a way to reuse some of it later.

The wind was ferocious. While we were unloading the pram the wind stole the sushi box and rubbish and whipped it off across the car park. “Oh no!!”  I cried. Big Poppa got ready to chase after, thinking it was his steak that had flown away, or one of Little Fearse’s new purchases. As I saw the box sadly crushed under a car wheel then lift over the edge of the upstairs car park wall I said “Never mind, it was just my sushi box.” I felt kind of relieved in a disgusting way. I no longer had to come up with some fancy way to reuse it. And I felt guilty, too. If it had been one of our purchases or even a $5 note we would have worked hard to retrieve it. Instead I just watched the little box float away.

I wish it was easier – that we didn’t have to work so hard to be good and ecological. Isn’t that terrible? I know that it is true, though, that if it were easier we’d all be much more willing to recycle more or purchase organic food more often or try harder to reduce our waste. It makes me sad to know that even though our little family feels like we’ve come such a long way we still have so much (SO MUCH) further to go. We’re really just a few steps along the pathway to becoming more aware people.  A few tiny steps.

Sigh.

Mama xo

Advertising is melting our brains and invading our homes.

Yesterday, arriving home from Little Fearse’s swimming lesson, as I struggled with baby / nappy bag / wet bathers / unlocking the front door I had time to muse over our “Do Not Knock” sticker, firmly planted next to our absent doorbell. It really irks me that I have to have a big ugly sticker on my front door. It irks me equally to have a big ugly ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker on our letterbox. It irks me that I have to opt out of Yellow Pages periodically and recommit our phone numbers to the Do Not Call register every couple of years.

I’m irked by advertising – especially when it leaps, uninvited, into our homes. When I started maternity leave I was, obviously, home from work during the day a lot more. At least three times a week I would have a knock at the door from a salesperson, usually trying to sell me a different electricity or internet deal. I’m not great at getting rid of sales people. It’s just not my strength. I’d often hear out their entire spiel and then lie about a) not living here b) needing my husband there to make a decision (HAHAHAHAHA) or c) not speaking English. Usually not C, too much commitment required. I lack the ability to say “I am not interested. Please go away”.

After Little Fearse was born the door knocking continued. Often I was breast feeding and didn’t want to answer the door – but what if it was a visitor coming to meet our new baby? What if it was my Mum dropping in a meal? So I’d unlatch, make myself presentable, open the door and BAM. Verbal sales assault.

Visiting a friend one day I noticed a ‘Do Not Knock‘ sticker. I enquired about where it came from, ordered one and that was that. Now I just notice a dark shadow at the door, an arm reaching forward to knock and then a hesitation. The dark shadow recedes. Honestly, it’s almost as disconcerting as when they used to knock.

Why is it considered okay, in a day when media placed advertising can reach pretty much 100% of people, for strangers to knock on your door, sometimes in the early hours of the evening, and try to sell you something you don’t need?

The best thing about Buy Nothing New is that you have pretty much no reason at all for paying any attention to advertising of stuff. I no longer watch TV (with iView I don’t need to) and I listen to Community Radio. I don’t buy magazines or newspapers and I’ve unsubscribed from email advertsing. It still gets me, but the impact is lessened and my mind feels a little freer to muse about more interesting things. Or just write about advertising….

By the way, for three small payments of just $3.99 I will email you…

Oh. Nevermind. Mama xo

Own What You Eat.

“Food Fight” by Earth Amplified feat Stic.Man of Dead Prez

Thought provoking music.

I’m glad the the Fearse Clan has really tried to cut out junk food and eat mostly local produce. I hope this makes you think about the way we consume food and question what you allow into your body on a daily basis.

Eat Well.

Big Poppa Fearse.