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giving and sharing and living | Bristol projects to follow

I was out in Stokes Croft on Friday night. Yes, me, parka-clad mum, loose on the streets. 20 minutes of finding somewhere to park, Tapas, a delicious glass of Tempranillo, couple of minutes watching the poi twirlers on Turbo Island, home. Stuck in traffic, I stared at the above street art for a while, thinking about all the things I’ve bought recently, for the new house, and felt strange.


I mean, the cushion I got from Marks and Spencer is beautiful, to me. It’s everything I need from a cushion (check that out as a contender for wanky sentence of the decade). However, as the IKEA CEO said recently, we as a society are in danger of reaching ‘peak stuff‘. So, what to do with our stuff? And what to spend our money on?


Well, in terms of stuff, please, please have a look at The Baby Bank Network before you fold up those clothes and stow that moses basket in the loft ‘just in case’. Recently, the charity hit 100 families it has helped – that’s 100 babies in Bristol benefiting from your lack of stuff! They are also looking for new volunteers. So, if you’ve got time, and stuff…


Did you know that there are 150 women working the streets of Bristol? Most of these women are struggling with poverty, violence and addictions and can see no way out. One25 believe every woman has immense value and tremendous potential. Please take two minutes to watch this film. If you have more time than two minutes, please consider Sleep Out, on February 26th. Sleep outside, in the grounds of Pip ‘n’ Jay church, to raise money and awareness and show solidarity with women who need our help and support. Sharing just part of their experiences would be a kind and generous thing to do.

Also, if you’re into the idea of lessening the amount of food waste in Bristol, and cranking up the amount of food sharing with your neighbours and local cafes and restaurants, check out OLIO. It’s basically an app for your phone which puts you together with other folk for food-sharing goodness. Mega, right? Plus, they are holding an awesome sounding pot luck lunch at Hamilton House on February 6th, tickets here. £700.00 a year, they think the average family throws away on food they don’t use! Think of what sharing could save.


In terms of saving and spending, having just saved, and spent, on the new house, I’m going to take inspiration from George Carlin in the quote above, and stick to saving for experiences for the rest of the year instead. We’ve got 18 months left of holidays that are unrestricted by school terms, so I intend to make the most I can of that. Holidays are the experiences I love the most! Like 87.5% of my daydreams, I’m already plotting some kind of Portuguese escape – my happiest place.

I’ve borrowed money before, and I think if you do it safely and responsibly, it allows you to plan for holidays that might be out of your grasp otherwise. I love the sound of peer-to-peer lending for this kind of thing. I’d never heard of it until Lending Works got in touch, but it’s basically banking without using a traditional bank. The money you borrow belongs to some other human willing to lend it. Interest rates seem low. It could perhaps appeal to the more ethical borrower or investor.

Although all my own words and thoughts, this post has been sponsored by Lending Works. However, I have donated 50% of the fee to One25


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  1. This was a thoughtful post to read. I’ve just bought the book ‘affluenza’ which is all about consumerism and why we feel the need to buy so much stuff. I’m a bit worried I’ll get to the end of it and want to throw out all my lovely cushions 😉

  2. Really great post to read- it’s sometthing that’s been on my mind lately. I just did a massive declutter, but felt kinda awful that I had so much stuff to get rid off – and didn’t miss it if it was gone.

  3. this is a wonderful post Eleanor, I love one25 they do such good work don’t they? I definitely have too much ‘stuff’ and need to sort it out (but 3am night feeds and amazon prime are my downfall at the moment!) x

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