Past self’s decisions #2


While “past self’s decisions” was about stocking up on food and trying to recognise that habit, this post is also about the danger of “2 for 1” deals.

I have worn Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea Lotus perfume for about 8 years now. The last time I re-stocked – a couple of years ago – I found myself buying two bottles for the price of one. I didn’t know at the time that

a) I would eventually want to change perfumes (but it’s okay – I still like it)

b) I would be transitioning into a zero-waste lifestyle.

Again, I have to deal with the consequences of my past self’s actions. I have to find out whether the packaging is recyclable, and if so, where.

I also have to start thinking about future plans, once this bottle runs out: should I simply not wear perfume? Fabricate my own? Buy from local perfume makers who could re-fill my bottle (do these shops even exist??)?

And lo and behold, there go another seven hours of internet trawling.


Past self’s decisions

I have this insane habit of ferociously stocking up on food. It’s like I am terrified of running out of food at a critical moment, or of running out of money and being unable to eat. I don’t know where this comes from. My friends make fun of me and of my piles of food under my bed.

So this is why it is only now that I am finishing a few packets of food that I had bought about 6 months ago (seriously).


Do you ever feel frustrated about your past self’s decisions? There are big things you can be angry about, like that partner you should have separated from earlier or that letter you really shouldn’t have sent… And then there are the small things, like a comment you made a few months ago that lacked empathy, or buying a £13 cheese when you really need a hairdryer so you don’t go out into the cold with wet hair…

And then there’s a slightly ridiculous habit of having vast amounts of food stashed in ever corner in case disaster strikes.

Needless to say, I will now buy ground almonds from the bulk bins!

Maybe I’ll just have glass jars full of food under my bed from now on… Old habits die hard…

Galette des rois – or when homesickness for another home produces trash

I don’t celebrate any religious festivities – however since a few years I make a galette des rois on the 6th of January (recipe below). Because it is the most scrumptious thing on this planet and I will take any excuse to make a cake, especially in grim and grey Glasgow.


It’s a French puff pastry-frangipane delight, light enough to eat bucketloads of and tasty enough to make even the meanest kid smile. Normally, bakers add a porcelain figurine somewhere in the frangipane for a lucky eater to find (Peau d’Âne style). Typically, the youngest child scrambles under the table and dictates who gets which piece of galette, so that there can be no peeking. When someone finds the figurine during eating, they become “king” and don a golden crown.

This is the first year when I consciously took stock of how much trash this tradition produces in my household. As you can see in the picture above, the puff pastry came with its own baking sheet. It also came in a plastic wrapper and cardboard box.

This time of year has probably been the hardest so far on my quest to reduce my trash production – and not even because of presents, which we don’t really do in my family. Simply because of all the foodstuffs that I chose to bring back from France or Switzerland (heaps of chocolates) and that sustain me for the time I am away in my other home. A friend often comes back from Italy with 2 litres of olive oil. Another French friend brought lots of raclette cheese back and had a raclette party a few years ago. All of us who have left home to find another home use food as a reminder of what’s left behind, and what we carry with us everyday.

So how can I produce less trash, whilst still fulfilling this need of mine?

Galette des rois recipe (via)

  • 1 rectangular puff pastry
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 50g butter at room temperature
  • a few drops of almond extract (optional)
  • 1 egg yolk

Heat oven at 210 C.

Cut the puff pastry in half. Put one half aside, and lay the other one on an oven dish. Prick the latter with a fork.

Mix the almonds, sugar, egg and butter (and almond extract) to form a paste. Spread the paste evenly on the pastry. Cover with the other half, and seal the edges well (I see a fork).

Dilute the egg yolk in a bit of water and spread on the surface and edges of the galette. Using a knife, lightly trace decorations on the top of the galette. Prick the top a few times, to let the air escape.

Cook in the oven for 30 minutes (start to monitor from 25 minutes onwards, don’t hesitate to leave it in for 40 minutes if it needs it).

Food haul #3

Funnily enough, here I am talking about peanut butter again. I think it will be a recurrent theme. In real life, few of my friends have the patience to listen to me wax lyrical about peanut butter. My brother does, thank goodness.

We are peanut butter brethren.

I wonder if we were surreptitiously bathed in it as children.

To be honest, I’m in admiration with myself. I haven’t bought a jar of peanut butter since the last Ground Peanut Butter Jar. My determination has not wavered on this point (but it has elsewhere, as you will see). I have held fast through all my cravings, through all my trips to various stores displaying lovely little jars of Peanut Butter Of The Gods. Singing Siren Peanut Butter. Orpheus Music Peanut Butter. Watching A Sunrise From The Top Of A Mountain Peanut Butter. Swimming In The Sea Peanut Butter. Listening To Birdsong In The Morning Peanut Butter.

I went grocery shopping today and prepped some jars:


(Because I don’t have any cloth bags and have stolen all the tupperware the flat has, to my great surprise. It was only when my flatmates asked me where their tupperware was that I realised I had completely monopolised them. I promptly fessed up and opened my food cupboard for all to see my food stocked in THEIR shiny tupperware. Woopsies. So instead I steal their jars from the recycling bin. I hope they don’t find me too odd.)




Holy mackerel.


I was vastly unprepared, having only brought small jars, rather than a 5 kilo one.

I spent all afternoon spoon-feeding myself peanut butter.

It also made me think – once again – about Calvin and Hobbes and the great wisdom within it.


I’m beginning to have a lot in common with Calvin’s dad: a hatred of over-consumption; a love of camping and an adoration of cycling.

Advertisements and the public space

Perhaps a little off-topic, but here’s a video (in French only – hopefully the English-speaking world will make a translated one soon) about what’s happening with about 3000 advert boards in Geneva’s streets.

Let us not forget

  1. the role adverts play in encouraging a consumerist society.
  2. how much trash is generated by the advertisement industry


“We are used to seeing extremely simple messages that impose a life model with a big car, a big salary… So this is both a critique of commercial advertisements and a proposition of reinvesting into the public space, in dialogue with its citizens.”

Some of the messages on the boards:

“Less (images of a tank) in 2017 and more (images of a smiling person and someone on a bike)”

“More ❤ for the Earth”

“When publicity isn’t here, the brain danses”

“We feel better without mental/visual pollution!”

“Mirror, mirror, tell me who has the most material goods!”