Live Lagom a year on…

As the new #LiveLagom Ambassadors start their journey I thought it was a good opportunity to look back on mine and a chance to look to the future.

Little did I know when I signed up for the project just where it would take me…and still is taking me.

Famous for 5 minutes

As the project started to come to an end last year for me I was photographed, filmed, interviewed for a magazine and questioned about my experience on the Live Lagom project and what had changed. What fun it has been. I now feature in the new Live Lagom brochure, a You Tube video and am off for a press launch tomorrow in London. For me the project was the start I needed to change how we were living as a family…the lightbulb moment to stop buying ‘stuff’ and take stock. I’ve had and am still having such a blast.

I am far more aware of what we are buying and think more before any purchase…do we really need it…can we make do with using something else we already have…can we declutter/change the room round and do without…or can we upcycle/ make something from other ‘stuff’ we have knocking about?

Upcycle/ Recycle – A good example of this philosophy is recently we bought a new bed (the other one was knackered after 15 years and 4 house moves) this gave us chance to have a reshuffle, declutter and revamp of our bedroom without buying anything new to achieve this. We have two recesses either side of a (filled in) chimney breast that were ideal for making into hanging space for clothes. Luckily for me hubbie is really good at DIY and if I come up with a design he will do his best to build it for me 🙂 A quick check in our garage and we found panels left over from when we fitted the kitchen, MDF from a warehouse clear out and sheer curtains from one of the house moves. All we needed to buy was a hanging rail…Bargain! It looks fab and fits in well.

Learning Saturday…

A new wardrobe in 3 easy steps!

GYO – I am still growing salad leaves using the Hydroponics kit I was given as part of the project. I have grown seeds into plants, bought ‘Living Salads’ and planted them in the kit to grow on and kitchen scraps from spring onions to leeks to pak choi; they have all flourished and grown well. There is no stopping the Hydroponics and its uses. Brilliant


Pak Choi Hydroponics

Here is the Pak Choi I am growing on in the hydroponics kit.

I used the leaves for a stir fry and then ‘planted’ the root in the hydroponics basket and popped it into the hydroponics kit. Hey presto it grew. Fabulous.

I have also been experimenting with growing an avocado stone to see whether I can get any fruit to grow. It is a slow process but so far so good I have a couple of plants growing so may be in the summer I will have some growing.


I think the main message I will take away from this project is that last year was just the start of the journey and now is the real test. My attitude and outlook has definitely changed and I am trying to live a more ‘just enough’ life.


I pass on all I have learnt to my learners and anyone else that will listen and am always promoting the benefits of living a Lagom lifestyle even if it falls on deaf ears with my teens! When I go out walking now I come back with arms full of wood for the wood burner, pine cones to cover in the left overs from candles, for firelighters or foraged food (or rubbish to recycle in my bins).

I will carry on growing on my kitchen scraps, composting my food waste/ cardboard and egg boxes and using it to grow my own veggies.

Why we should all be Composting…


My kitchen window is full of ‘growing on’ kitchen scraps – celery, chives, spring onions and salad leaves


I try and buy food out of plastic containers and have been buying from my local greengrocer and butcher something I didn’t really do before; this means no plastic bags as I can pop fruit and veg straight into a hessian bag and meat into a glass bowl.

I am trying not to buy anything new this year but to shop in charity shops; if this fails and I need to replace something then I will buy new but only after I have decided whether I REALLY need it!

Thank you Hubbub and Ikea for all the help, inspiration, workshops, advice and opportunities I’ve had a ball 🙂



When rubbish isn’t rubbish at all..

Well if like me you thought that all kerbside collected rubbish ended up in the landfill, you would be wrong. Local authorities are under increasing pressure to reduce the amount going to landfill and associated costs; finding alternative and innovative ways to reduce the amount being sent is critical.

In Leicestershire all of the collected kerbside rubbish goes off to a Mechanical Biological Treatment plant (MBT) in Cotesbach as a ‘last chance cafe’ to recycle any valuable resources before it heads off to the landfill and I was lucky enough to go and have a tour.

‘The principle aims of New Earth’s technology is to extract recyclable materials where they exist….diverting waste away from landfill and reducing exposure to landfill tax.’

I passed the first test by reversing into a car parking space and that set the tone for the tour, Health and Safety is very important to the company and they manage it with an obsession. We were duly given the Health and Safety briefing and kitted out with a high-viz jacket, hard hat, goggles, mask and gloves.

All kitted out

Our first stop was to see the Delivery area where all the waste is deposited first. Any oversized items are removed and bags are split and waste spread out. The size of space was amazing with the set up sorting through a tonne of rubbish every couple of hours. The waste is then lifted onto a vibrating plate and Sorting takes place.

The vibrating plate…vibrates, funnily enough, and sorts the waste by size. The smaller bio-mass rich particles go into the Bio-Stabilisation Halls and the other materials travel on into the another sorting area for more separation.


The recyclable metal and plastic materials are separated from the rest of the waste using various methods including a drum separator and magnets, again on a massive scale.


Once all the ‘recyclabubble ‘ material has been removed the remaining waste still doesn’t go off to landfill: it is suitable for use as fuel. Not any old fuel though.

Currently the fuel is transported to Europe for use in high efficiency Combined Heat and Power Plants’

‘New Earth is looking at building its own energy recovery plant in Avonmouth, Bristol’

Karen standing next to the ‘ma-hou-sive’ accelerator machines 

As previously mentioned in the Sorting stage, all the bio-mass rich particles are sent to the BioStabilisation Halls to be ‘composted’ down.


The Bio-rich particles or ‘fines’ as they are known are stored in long heaps in ‘ma-hou-sive’ enclosed halls allowing the compost to reach its optimal condition. They are kept in here for about 6 weeks and the heaps are turned regularly to help the compost decompose equally.

‘Ma-hou-sive’ turning machines are used daily to turn all the heaps over.

This compostable material cannot be used anywhere other than as a soil conditioner on brownfield sites, once it has been screened and reaches all the legal requirements.

Animal By-Product Regulations’ –  In order to meet ABPR requirements the material must reach a temperature of at least 60 degrees C for a minimum of 16 days while being turned every 48 hours. This is monitored by electronic probes inserted along the length of the heaps, sending data back to the automated control system’

This is the end result of the composting stage, looks like normal compost to me!

My Learning Outcomes:

  • Who knew so much went on behind the scenes once my kerbside rubbish has been collected
  • The whole set up at New Earth was clean, tidy and didn’t smell. Not what I was expecting at all.
  • The company tries to maintain the status quo within the location in terms of smells, environment and pests.
  • I didn’t see any rats whilst I was there (a bonus!)
  • Flies and maggots are sprayed frequently to keep them down
  • A fascinating visit that lasted over 2 hours and could have gone on longer
  • All this takes place to recycle and reuse as much material as possible before the final drudge is sent to landfill.

#waste #wastemanagement #recycle #newearthsolutions #biomass #biostabilisation #MBT #reduce #reuse #landfill