1. Have our very own vegetable garden. The garden re-landscaping went really well and we were both very pleased with how the raised beds area turned out, in particular. Actually growing fruit and veg in our garden turned out to be a little less simple... I fell pregnant at a particularly awkward time and was practically incapacitated with morning sickness just at the time when seedlings needed potting on or planting out in the late spring. Still, quite a few things did survive and we had some quite tasty root vegetables, a major crop of shallots and garlic, and the top fruit and soft fruit both gave us good yields. We had our fair share of disappointments too, though, with our tomatoes, peppers and cucurbits cropping well below the levels we had in our previous garden. Equally, the potatoes, sweetcorn and squash felt like the crop received didn't really repay the effort expended. And sadly, the early harsh winter meant that between them, frost, snow and flocks of pigeons did for the brassicas, which had looked quite promising! Still, it was a very good learning experience and, hopefully, we'll have more success next year.
2. Waterwise. We did get the eco option on the dishwasher and we also invested in the amusingly titled 'water imp' to help soften our limescale-heavy water ,which assists the efficiency of both appliances generally and the boiler. Unfortunately, because we've been having to prop our greenhouse up all year, we didn't get around to installing any kind of eco-watering system for the garden. We've agreed to invest in a new greenhouse at the beginning of this growing season, which will include guttering and down spouts to connect to a water butt or two, and I'm already lusting after a water butt drip system. With a new baby I'm afraid our water usage is definitely going to go up, but we'll be looking at a variety of ways to minimise the environmental impact - watch this space!
3. Make. I've made a number of items from scratch this year, mainly for friends and their babies! Now that I'm about to have my very own little nipper, I'm looking forward to making a variety of items. My baby wrap-blanket is almost complete (just in the nick of time!) and I'm planning to knit a couple of cardigans too. I'm also stocked up with the full range of Cath Kidston books now (Make, Sew and Stitch) to keep me occupied over the coming months with some more adult projects!
4. It's a wrap. See my earlier December post about Christmas wrapping - I've been relatively good all year on this and am now a pretty dab hand at wrapping without sticky tape! I'm also developing a disturbing tendency to horde bits of paper, ribbon, buttons, etc - fine for the minute but not sure what will happen when the cupboard's full...!
5. Charitable giving. Done and done, but it was pretty easy - charities want you to give to them after all so the process is fairly easy!
6. Activism. Hmm, well again, the pregnancy issue sort of got in the way with this one, but I did join my local Women's Environmental Network and I've also signed up to volunteer with the NCT at some point in the future, so some small movement on this one.
7. Skin deep. I'm pleased to say that I've been completely successful on this front, spurred on by being pregnant and not particularly wanting any nasties in my system. I once watched a pretty horrifying documentary (Beauty Addicts: How toxic are you?) fronted by Sarah Beeny of property-programme fame (as well as for the fact that she seems to be almost constantly pregnant), on the levels of plastics and other unwelcome chemicals that cross over into things like breast milk. I've therefore added to my organic/green brand shampoo, conditioner, face wash and moisturiser, with organic make-up and deodorant and we already had a house completely devoid of any non-green brand cleaning products (although most cleaning is done using just a microfibre cloth or some bicarbonate/vinegar anyway. That's when any is done at all...
8. Buying recycled. This is a fail, I'm afraid, although at least partly because I've not been buying very much of anything this year! Will do better next year.
9. Plastic bags. I've definitely been better at not accepting plastic bags in the shops, but have fallen down occasionally when I've been taken by the urge to shop and haven't had enough reusable bags on me. This one really is just about being prepared. Doubtless with my new-found 'Mum' skills will come the ability to always have absolutely anything required in my bag at all times, including more bags!
10. Outdoor activities. Well, beyond gardening, this ambition fell by the wayside and I'm going to try and blame this on being pregnant too! However, I have spent an inordinate amount of time in the garden, which surely has to count for something?!
Overall report card? Generally a good effort all round, with some highlights, but could do better. Here we come 2011, with all the new green challenges that our little baby is going to bring!