Getting excited about cheese!

This morning as I was writing my shopping list before I went out to buy the food for the week, I was dragging my heels a little.  I have loads to do and never enough time (even though actually I am really lucky to have lots more time to do things than I have had in a long time), but I was starting to wonder if the honeymoon period of local shopping was wearing off.  I was beginning to miss internet shopping, where I could get on with other things while waiting  for my shop.  
I took myself off to the shops anyway and after about 5 minutes had forgotten about not feeling like shopping this week.  I did my usual whizz around the charity shops first to see if there were any toys or clothes that would be useful for my kids or as gifts. I found a saving tube which is designed to collect £1’s (I’m allowed to buy things for other people, just not myself).  It has a measure next to a central window showing how many pounds are in it – I thought it might encourage my older son to save as usually he spends any money he has as soon as possible.  We will see if it works!
I went off to the pharmacy to buy toothpaste (yes I know – plastic), went to the Chinese shop to buy noodles (again more plastic) and found some bicarbonate of soda next to them!  I was originally buying bicarbonate of soda from Hanwells, which is one of those all purpose shops which sells stationery, cleaning products, foods, cards, toothbrushes, kitchen utensils….  It is good because it is cheap and comes in a paper box, but they had sold out this week and I had found that because it wasn’t food grade it was coarser and wasn’t cleaning things as well.  So I prefer the finer food grade stuff and was happy to find it in the Chinese shop (Arm and Hammer brand in a cardboard box).  I have also previously bought it in the pharmacy (in a plastic box though and I think it was more expensive than the Chinese shop).  In case you are wondering what I am using it for – I wash my dishes with it! 
I also went to the grocers and the butchers, who are always friendly.  I have to keep alert in the butchers as there are a few of them there and sometimes they put my plastic wrapped cheese in a plastic bag which they tie up with coloured tape so it can’t easily be taken out without ruining the bag. So I need to concentrate closely to make sure that doesn’t happen and I don’t have a Westywrites moment (which I have had plenty of – the ones where you are holding your reusable bag and before you know it the shop keeper has handed you your goods in a plastic bag).
Last week I bought a chicken and took my own container to the butchers.  This week I quizzed them about cheese.

Sustainable gift wrap course

In my supermarket days I was buying a large block of cheddar each week, until they stopped selling the large organic blocks of cheddar.  There was always a deal on the two smaller ones though. so I bought two smaller blocks.  I’m guessing the supermarket did it to get people to buy more cheese as it was on offer, but I think it actually worked out more expensive and of course needed more packaging.

I was quite happy to find the butchers sold larger blocks of cheese, so I could go back to buying one a week on average – but they are still plastic wrapped. I took the plunge and asked if there was any possibility of having plastic free cheese.  The butcher pulled out a massive block of cheese from a fridge behind him and said next time they could cut me some off from the block – brilliant!  I don’t have to buy it in small chunks either. I could buy it in big chunks as it lasts quite a while and we eat lots of cheese.  I was so excited about this that once I got home I practically skipped into my house with my shopping (easily pleased I know). Plastic filled internet shopping – who wants that?  I’m really looking forward to buying plastic free (ish – the big block did come in plastic wrap, but a lot less of it) cheese next week. Plus I will try and remember to ask them if I can take a picture in the shop!

In case you are interested this weeks shop cost me £49.79 and the whole shopping trip took about 1 hour. During the week I did two top up shops – buying bread, milk, cheese and butter.  I also bought 25kg of porridge oats online here. They didn’t look like the picture at all and actually came in a paper bag in a cardboard box – hooray no plastic! Well very little anyway – there was the parcel label and masking tape – but one step at a time… In total I spent around £38 mid week.  The porridge oats should last a good few months though.

I am currently undertaking a Year of Eco Challenges . If you have a moment I would really appreciate it if you would consider sponsoring me with an action on my DoNation page. Also if you liked this post please click like on Facebook and follow on Twitter – thanks so much!