Friday, 30 December 2011

Coffee cup challenge

Surfing the net and drinking coffee at home on a rainy summer's day, I came across The great coffee cup recycling challenge. Now, I'm not usually someone who jumps on their environmental high horse, but this really got me thinking. Using reusable takeaway coffee cups is not rocket science; it's just plain common sense. So why don't more people do it?

As a coffee lover, I'm one of those five-coffee-a-week habiters mentioned in the article. Last year, I bought a reusable coffee cup from Coffee Creation and use it daily at work. To me, it made good economic as well as environmental sense as I am charged 50c less for coffee when I use my own cup, which meant it paid for itself in no time at all. It's not big bucks but it all adds up. As colleagues' disposable cups pile up in bins several times a day, a quick rinse of my cup leaves it ready to go for next time and I just throw it into the dishwasher at home in weekends. Easy!

I chose this style over the increasingly popular Keep Cup as I prefer to drink from ceramic rather than plastic, but the concept is the same. Much like using reusable supermarket bags, it is an easy habit to adopt and makes more sense than consuming endless packaging destined for landfills. Actual recycling of these disposable products rarely occurs and is both a difficult and costly process.

At weekends, I will either make a stovetop espresso at home or drink coffee at a local café. Occasionally I'll buy coffee to take away if I'm on the move but this doesn't happen very often. I've got to say that in all my frequenting of cafés, I don't recall any that advertise different prices for takeaway coffee served in your own cup. The wonderful Celcius Café in Petone uses biodegradable takeaway cups and the rest of their coffee production is totally sustainable, too. There may be others, but none instantly come to mind. Perhaps if the financial incentives were spelt out in black and white with two prices side by side then bringing your own takeaway cup would become a more attractive option, benefitting the environment at the same time?

How about you? Do you use reusable takeaway coffee cups? What do you think is the best way to encourage coffee drinkers to adopt reusable cups?

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Summer daze

So, Christmas is done and dusted. The presents have been opened and new homes found for most of them. Overdoses in family and food were consumed in equal measures. The longest day came and went all too soon but has left us time to slide into warm weather and lazy days. We have almost finished our diet of Christmas leftovers and the hammocks have joined our outdoor furniture. We briefly toyed with hitting the sales yesterday before wisely steering clear of the mania. Yes, the holidays are here.

Summer has officially settled in and the past few days have been reminiscent of the holidays I grew up with. Although the weather is set to change before New Year, I'm enjoying lazing about and letting the weather decide our itinerary. It hasn't properly hit me that I'm on holiday for a couple of weeks. Bring on the relaxation vibes!

I have a list of things to do these holidays but will let my energy and motivation levels determine when and if they get done. No doubt these days will fly by and it will be back to nightmare that work has become - something I'm trying to push to the back of my mind and not think about. In the meantime, there are books to read, coffees to drink, baking to do and friends to catch up with ... but all in good time.

What are your holiday plans?

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Divorce party

Yesterday, I discovered a new phenomenon after being invited to my first ever divorce party. My life has pretty much followed this pattern: my friends meet a partner, the move in together, they buy a house, they get engaged, they get married, they produce a child, they baptise said child, child turns 1, they produce another, baptise that one ... and so the pattern continues until the numbers get frightfully out of hand. All along the way, I am expected to reward them for their choices and duly do so until I lose count of how many presents I owe whom. A few got divorced, thereby exiting the conveyor belt somewhere between marriage and child #1 and enabling them to start the cycle again, but as far as I am aware none of them threw a divorce party. Until now.

It's hard to know the correct protocol for an event such as this. What does one do at a divorce party? Is it an event for celebrating or commiserating? Who is invited? Are couples, or people with partners, allowed to turn up and be happy in their relationships? No-one seemed to know.

I appealed to the Twitterverse for help. Suggestions came in thick and fast, ranging from "I guess everybody will drink lots of wine and cry" (euw!) to getting drunk and singing trashy karaoke. You've Lost That Loving Feeling was a definite starter.

Work colleagues had their own ideas. A recently separate workmate thought it sounded like a great idea and said she might consider throwing a divorce party of her own with her ex-husband and all their family and friends so they can celebrate ten wonderful years and two beautiful children together. Now, this sounded more like an anniversary to me and I had to check if this is what she meant. No, she confirmed. They were definitely separating.

I don't get it.

As it turns out, the divorcee declared the event to be an occasion of great joy. Although it was a simple dinner with a small group of friends at a Chinese restaurant, it was one she had planned to celebrate for months. I won't go into detail but can confirm that she did indeed look joyous, couples were both invited and welcome, there was wine sans karaoke and tears ...

I still don't get it.

Do you have a divorce party story? Or have you thrown a divorce party yourself??

Friday, 9 December 2011

7 Days Live

We enjoy watching 7 Days on Friday nights; it has become our way of unwinding after a long week. Last night, 7 Days Live came to town with a show at The Opera House. It was a show of two halves, beginning with short standup routines from each of the comedians before a live set of the tv show itself.

We were glad to see some of our favourite kiwi comedians, including Ben Hurley and Steve Wrigley, joining host Jeremy Corbett and regulars Paul Ego and Dai Henwood on stage. Armed with razor sharp wit and free from the shackles of television censorship, the group let rip on news, current events, local humour and each other during an absolutely hilarious night.

It quickly became clear that the Hutt Valley was going to be the butt of most jokes for the night (stereotypes do exist for a reason!). However, it wasn't long before they honed their jokes even further, with Upper Hutt becoming the natural punchline. The audience was involved in several of the games, including a version of "My kid could draw that" which naturally ended up with dodgy pictures being drawn by audience members before the show, and Captions, where you got to text in a caption to a dodgy photo during the intermission. The fact that neither of us could come up with a caption that was even remotely coherent, let alone interesting or funny in 20 minutes shows just how quickly these guys think on their feet (or butts - they were sitting down after all).

This was an hilarious night of standup comedy and fun. Hopefully there will be another 7 Days Live tour next year!