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The circus that has exploded in the last 1-2 weeks after the big supermarkets have stopped using single use plastic bags has been flooding my newsfeed, the TV, papers and radio.

And to make matters WAY worse, this afternoon this article popped up: “The Whole World is laughing at us”. I cringed at my desk in horror as I read that newspspers all over the world were running stories on Australia “because we’re throwing giant, howling tantrums over the supermarket plastic bag ban.”

I am one of those people who have been using reusable shopping bags for years. I have a bit of a collection which is great because if I leave bags at home, there are always some still in the car. I have little mesh bags and those bags citrus fruit sometimes come in for my fruit and veg. When I buy a bottle of wine I save the paper bags to reuse at Affordable Wholefoods or Kombu Wholefoods when I buy in bulk.

The images and statistics of how fast and furiously we are destroying the environment is ridiculous. I can’t imagine what our kids and grandkids will say to us in the next 10, 20, 30 years when it becomes apparent just how much we’ve damaged the environment in our current throwaway society.

So something like banning single use bags should be accompanied by celebration, by cheering and congratulating ourselves for taking “small steps to make big changes”. But instead we are seeing new terms being thrown around such as “plastic bag rage” and the result is a backflip by supermarkets like Woolworth’s now giving 15 cent “reusable” plastic bags out for free (until the 8th July anyway).

How about we NOT ban single use plastic bags. We BAN plastic bags full stop. The 15 cent bags are still made of plastic. They are still being use as bin liners (I witnessed this myself at my friend’s house yesterday! I was horrified!) And while we are at it ban the Woolworths & Coles “green” bags. They’re made from polypropylene and are not biodegradable, but end up breaking down into micro plastics and have the same environmental impact as plastic bags.

So what’s the best reusable bag? I found this article interesting which discusses the pros and cons of various reusable bags. There is another great article on “Oh So Busy Mum” which discusses even more options for grocery shopping bags.

Last week I asked the question on the Coffs for Kids Facebook pageWhat reusable bags do you use and where did you get them?

There were some really fantastic comments, here are some highlights & tips:

  • Keep a small folded bag or two in your handbag for those quick trips to the shop to grab milk & bread.
  • Make some fruit & vegetable bags out of curtain netting remnants.
  • Boomerang Bags is a local community group who run sewing bees to make, sew and sell bags made out of recycled material. The next one is 5th Click here to find out more.

  • Local Mum, Just Joyce says “We made ours from some beautiful linen tea towels that we scored at an opshop. The tea towels still had their tags on them. They are perfect grocery bag size, folded in half and sewn, then the base is sewn in (simple triangle), and handles of cotton bias tape (which was wrapped about a set of tea towels that I purchased). I’ve also made bags from fat quarters from Spotlight.”
  • Diana says: “I have variety of reusable bags collected over the last 20 years still going strong, calico, cotton, hessian, these last way longer than the woolies and coles $1 or $2 ones, but my favourites are the EcoSilk bags bought at Go Vita 5 years ago. Lightweight but super strong & easy to wash. Winning!”
  • Keep an eye out for reusable bags for sale where the proceeds go to a charity, then you are doubly helping!
  • DON’T “resuable” bags at the supermarket! Instead, support local business such as:

 

Stained

Local Mum, Trish can colour print on calico bags, there are different shapes, sizes and styles to choose from. Available in any quantity.

Harley B

Visit “craftsy” where you can purchase & download the “market day tote” pattern. The pattern is designed to be quick and easy, perfect for beginners and uses just 1m of fabric.

Kristina will be hosting a Market Bag Tote Workshop at Stitches by the Sea on Moonee St later this month. Check the Facebook event for more information.

Totes Green

Local Mum, Megan. makes and sells reusable cotton muslin produce bags as well as lined cotton tote bags for lugging home your shopping.

Homemade and Sew Cute

Handmade reusable bags using the same pattern as the plastic single use bags. They are gorgeous & fit heaps in them.

Eco Diet – Sustainable Living Education & Solutions

Another local business that sells heaps of sustainable living products such as reusable bags such as jute, hessian upcycled ones made from old clothes. The jute ones are really good quality.

Happy Frog

Sells great reusable bags and gorgeous shopping baskets.

Each Peach

Bellingen based Mum is about to add to her range of essential oil bags and make some reusable shopping bags.

Nourished Earth

Has a range of reusable fruit & veg bags + reusable bamboo straws and other eco-friendly items.

Go Vita

Sell Ecosilk bags which are SO fantastic. I’ve used these for years. They fit so much and seem to be indestructible! They are easy to wash and best of all fold up really small, easily squished in small spaces!

Support these local businesses who support a plastic free July. All are committed to having a plastic free month, some of them are even banning plastic for good!

If you are a local business or individual who wants to find out how to get involved and raise awareness, visit the Our Living Coast website – there is heaps of great information and resources. You can also follow them on Facebook for events and news.

Finally, if you want to find out more about “going green” and more local businesses who can help you do this, read this article written last year by Megan Jones – “Guest Post: The War on Waste Coffs Harbour”.

 

Categories : Alison's Blog
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One month into winter and the maximum temperature today was 22 degrees! Glorious! While some winter days on the Coffs Coast can be raining and miserable here, this winter so far we’ve had a lot of gorgeous, sunny days which means we can head outside and enjoy our beautiful Coffs Coast – even in Winter!

Here it is! Our list of 10 Wintertime Activites in Coffs for Kids:.

1. Sawtell Chilli Festival

Saturday July 7th is the 20th Sawtell Chilli Festival. First Avenue in Sawtell is taken over by all-things Chilli. This year features the Chilli Kids Hotspot with loads of activities, information, 100 stalls, freebies, competitions, live music, activities for the kids and HEAPS more.

Click here for more information.

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2. Buster the Shipwreck

A local secret is that we have our very own shipwreck! Visit beautiful Woolgoolga, head to the Beach Reserve and about a 10 minute walk up the beach North you’ll come across “Buster” which was shipwrecked in 1893. Sometimes it is very exposed whereas other times a fair bit of Buster is covered in sand.

Woolgoolga has an awesome fenced in kids’ playground and a fantastic fish and chip shop called White Salt.

Click here for detailed history on the shipwreck or here for more information on other shipwrecks in the area.

buster

3. Bellingen markets

It gets a little brisk in Bellingen in winter so make sure you wear a nice warm jacket when you visit the Bellingen Markets. On the third Saturday of every month (July 21st, 18th August), there are tonnes of really unique and different stalls. Keep an eye out for the organic donuts (trust me, you’ve never had anything like them!) and lots of other yummy treats as well.

Click here for more information.

While you are in Bellingen wander around the town, we always have to go to the very funky retro Gelato Bar, Kombu Wholefoods and the Swiss Bakery (Wildberry Dampers are TO DIE for!)

4. Jetty Area

A real favourite amongst locals. Head down to the Jetty, park anywhere, then walk towards Muttonbird Island. If you are feeling energetic you can walk (be warned: it is quite steep) over to the other side where there is a whale-watching platform. We are right in the middle of whale season so take your binoculars – you are almost certain to see a few whales!

Click here for more information.

For an easier walk, check out the new plaza and park area then head to walk along the historic jetty. Make sure you keep an eye out for any turtles & dolphins..

5. School Holidays

The NSW winter School Holidays are from the 8th July until 19th July. There are always lots of free and lost cost activities for kids and families to do around Coffs during the holidays. Our School Holidays page will be updated as the holidays approach.

There is also a load of events & activities coming up you can check out under the EVENTS tab on our Facebook page.

6. Sealy Lookout

The turn-off to Bruxner Park is about a 2 minute drive past the Big Banana heading North. The road winds up through banana plantations with some amazing views. Head up to Sealy Lookout and the Forest Sky Pier where you can see a fantastic view of Coffs Harbour and surrounding beaches. There are lots of picnic areas and walking trails around Bruxner, a perfect sunny winter’s day activity!

Click here for more information.

The newly opened Treetop Adventure Park is an amazing and very memorable experience. Take a look at the website for more information on the various courses and prices.

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7. Big Banana Ice Rink

Rug up with your warmest jacket, scarf and gloves and head to the rink for some awesome family fun.  Check out the Big Banana Big Day Out deal for just $29.90 per person.

Click here for more information on prices and session times..

8. Butterfly House

From ice to the tropics, if you need a bit of warmth head out to the Butterfly House.  The average daytime temperature inside is 29 degrees! If you have never been I definitely recommend going. Everyone will love it, the kids and adults alike find it fascinating and a very beautiful experience to be able to walk with butterflies fluttering all around you.

Click here for more information..

9. Head to the Beach

While it might be a tad cold to go for a swim you can still head down to your favourite Coffs Harbour beach for a walk, an explore, to fly a kite or a scavenger hunt. One of our favourite beaches is Charlesworth Bay, dogs are allowed and there are so many parts of the Bay to explore.

Click here for my post on the nature scavenger hunt – the boys loved it!

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10. Made in Dorrigo Hickory St Market & Teddy Bears Picnic

Being held on Saaturday 14th July. Take a toy or book to donate to charity.

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For more kids winter activities,

head over to the Coffs Harbour page on VisitNSW.com

 

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Nov
12

Why I Choose Chemical Free Pest Control

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I’m a label reader. I check for sugar, additives, preservatives and colours. I check for MSG and any weird chemical sounding ingredients. I’ve read books and watched shows and documentaries on the effects of food on kids (and adult) bodies.

So naturally when it comes to pest control I am also very conscious of what is being sprayed in our house, the effect it has not only on me & my kids but also on our birds and bunny rabbits!

Added to this is the fact that one of my son’s has asthma and even certain cleaning products can trigger hay fever in both of us.

BUT I REALLY HATE cockroaches and other creepy crawlies so I need pest control that is safe for my family.

Thankfully I discovered Puresafe. They are:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Child safe
  • Animal and pet safe
  • Safe for pregnancy
  • Safe for gardens (including herb and veggie patches!)
  • Low toxic
  • BONUS – locally family business!

Puresafe Coffs Harbour uses only non-allergenic, odourless, very low toxic methods to manage and reduce pest infestations. Companies that use chemical pest control use potent chemicals and pesticides which can be breathed in and touched by little hands and have been linked to a wide range of health issues. Chemical pest control is also harmful for the environment, whereas Puresafe is eco-friendly.

Give the lovely Greg a call to have a chat and he will even pop into your home or business for a free quote.

Find out more information on their website. You can also follow them on Facebook.

 

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Sep
17

Time Out Adventures

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My family and I were very lucky to be invited to an afternoon visiting Time Out Adventures last Saturday afternoon. Located amongst the gorgeous grounds at Pacific Bay Resort, Time Out is open to the public which is good for us Coffs locals!

There are SO many activities to do at Time Out, the hardest thing would be choosing which activity to do! So whether it be a fun afternoon of family bonding, something to occupy the kids during the school holidays or weekend, a special treat or even a birthday party, Time Out is the perfect place to spend an hour or two.

Here are some of the activities we did:

BUMPER BALLS

The best thing about this activity is it can be enjoyed by anyone. You don’t need any special sporting skills (I certainly don’t have any!) and it is SO much fun. Not only that, even if you aren’t “on field” it’s hilarious to watch. I couldn’t stop laughing.

Simply crawl inside the big blown up balls, and try your best to run around and stay on your feet. There are games played as well, such as last “bumper” standing and bumper soccer.

You can have any number of people particating as the activity can be quite tiring, so it’s good to have a rest and sit back and laugh watching the others get bumped around. I would also suggest this activity is good for ages 8 years and upwards.

More information – http://www.timeoutadventures.com.au/activities/bumper-balls-coffs-harbour/

 

SPASH GOLF

Splash Golf is heaps of fun, especially for those who have never played golf before! My kids loved it! Step up to the platform, grab a ball from your bucket and aim for the floating targets. There are even prizes to be won for hitting a target or getting a hole in one. The lagoon where the splash golf is played is just gorgeous, what an amazing setting for some family fun! The youngest in the family even enjoyed this, so probably fine for 5 year olds upwards.

More information: http://www.timeoutadventures.com.au/activities/splash-golf-pb/

SEGWAY

By far the number #1 favourite activity of everyone for the afternoon. You’ve seen segways before but not many people have a chance to try one. Well, cruising around on the paths at Pacific Bay is the perfect opportunity for an introduction!

Riding a Segway is quite simply amazing; it feels like nothing you’ve experienced – because there’s never been anything like it. It’s very easy to learn and our instructor was very helpful and hands on. Please note, Segways are only available for kids over 28kgs.

More information: http://www.timeoutadventures.com.au/activities/segway-fun-ride-coffs-harbour/

PADDLEBOATS

The newest addition to the Time Out Coffs family, these are SO much fun for the whole family. They can seat four and it’s a lovely little ride out around the lagoon. Perfect lazy afternoon activity and getting out in the fresh air. Just make sure Dad is in the front to paddle!

OZBOBBLE

Another favourite, and also very funny to watch for those not participating. It’s hard to describe what these are if you’ve never seen one in action before so here’s a short time lapse:

 

Once inside your Ozbobble (it’s like a Zorb ball but on water) you will run, float, somersault and more on water without getting wet. Then afterwards go for a swim in the lovely pools to cool down and relax. Access to the pool is included in the price of the Ozbobble fun.

More information: http://www.timeoutadventures.com.au/activities/ozbobbles-coffs-harbour/

 

And at the end of all that fun and activity, of course we needed to sit down for that well earned ice-cream. Also available at the Time Out Cafe are snacks, coffee, slushies and other food and drinks.

 

There are other activities to do at Time Out such as the gorgeous 9 hole golf course, archery and bopping heads music video. You can combine activities or get special packages. AND don’t forget, Time Out is the perfect place to have a birthday party for the ‘older kids’ who have outgrown places like Tabatinga and Springloaded. My 12 year is old is begging for his next birthday party to be an OzBobble pool party!

Time out is probably the first place that I’ve taken my kids that I’ve enjoyed as much as they have, and they’ve been talking about it non-stop since we went. It’s one of those experiences we will all remember, we definitely made some memories that afternoon!

A BIG thanks to Glen, the manager, for personally escorting us and showing us around all the activities. Glen and his staff are very friendly, relaxed and easy going and definitely made the afternoon a lot fun for us.

You can find out more by clicking on the website (just hit NSW and then “Coffs Harbour” to search for our location) http://www.timeoutadventures.com.au/activities-search/.

You can also call 02 6659 7006 or 1300 090 767.

The Time Out “Activities Hut” is located at Novotel Pacific Bay resort, the entrance is on the left just past the Marine Science Centre.

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