A Seabird trying to be greener…..

On the day of the latest global school climate strike what can we do to try to be greener……..

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The recent UK Government ban on plastic earbuds and straws is welcome, but it is nowhere near enough.

While I know personal changes are not enough without systemic changes I am trying to reduce my own impact so that at least I am less part of the problem and working towards a solution. The Sea Squids are quite rightly putting on the pressure, inspired and informed by their participation in the Climate Strike.

Here are 4 changes I have made (and most importantly managed to sustain!) to help reduce my own plastic footprint:

  1. Refill – if you only refill your laundry liquid and softener think how many plastic bottles you will save each year! Brighton has the fabulous WASTENOT in the open market off London Road and Harriets of Hove for those further West. (disclosure: We have extra love for WasteNot cos they stock our beautiful stainless steel pints)
  2. Donate empty food containers (big enough for storing a takeaway – like ice-cream and large yoghurt ones, those that have come into your life when you know they shouldn’t …).  Bring them to the Jollof Cafe on a Tuesday. They need them and can share them with another great community group MEP who also need them to avoid food waste. While you are there, stay for a tasty vegan lunch! (donations for the mutual aid foodbank also very welcome).
  3. Be prepared – don’t get caught short without a sustainable alternative to plastic bagssingle use coffee cups and water bottles etc in your bag. All available from us at Seabirds where your purchase will directly support our work to improve mental and environmental wellbeing. This takes a bit of forward thinking and I still kick myself when I forget but I am getting there…bag by the door helps…
  4. Glitter! For those of us who have found that surprisingly, glitter enters their life when you live in Brighton and with Pride, March of the Mermaids and festival season approaching: biodegradable glitters that are plant-based, planet friendly and packaged sustainably! Spotted on Plastic Free Brighton

We welcome your suggestions and shout outs for local plastic reduction tips/groups/shops below

Author: Seabird Cath

A Swim Shakes Solution – the Cosy Sports Robe

Swim / Dry / Sports /Cosy Cloak product review by http://www.seabirdsltd.com

My second sea-swimming winter looms. Seabird Kath has written about the feeling of anticipation of the cold now it is a ‘known’ quantity. We are far more prepared this year – having found what works (no pants, bed socks, core-warmers and tea) and what doesn’t  (trying to put skinny jeans on damp legs with numb fingers, forgetting a woolly hat, waiting for faffier friends on the beach as the after drop kicks in…).

So….our new Sports Robes are a complete GAMECHANGER this year. They are so cosy after a swim that I no longer have the fear of how long the warm up is going to take as I know I have it covered. It is like taking your own turtle shell with you to retreat into after a swim, hence the little turtle motif on the bottom pocket. Cheaper than other options on the market but of very good quality they have lots of lovely extras:

  1. They come in a bag that doubles as a wet bag and a changing mat. Essential to stand on instead of cold ground.
  2. Extra long zip holders for numb fingers
  3. Lots of pockets! For keys, phones, goggles etc.
  4. Roomy for changing in.
  5. Toggles for moving hood and waist in for greater insulation.
  6. You will be warm and dry from the wind and rain as you change and then head back home after swimming.

 

They say “The Charlie McLeod Unisex Sports Cloak offers a tough shower-proof nylon outer, with a thick Sherpa fleece lining.  All Sports Cloaks come with the usual CMc draw string bag that doubles as a changing mat for wet and muddy days.  There are 5 colours available including black, red, navy, royal blue and purple and 2 sizes small/medium and large/extra-large.  Inside the Sports Cloak are a number of zipped pockets including a mesh goggle pocket. It’s the small details that set the Sports Cloak aside from the competition.  We’ve added extra-long zip pulls for cold fingers and V vented side seams for ease of movement.  “

 

We say “Bloody lovely. Really warm. Especially love the fleecy lined pockets for cold hands”.

Here’s a brilliant video review created by one of our 11 year old Sea Squids

 

Author: Seabird Catherine

 

Cold Water Swimming Hack!

How to beat the after-drop after cold water swimming

Discovered a few weeks ago whilst river swimming….

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I took an isothermal bottle  full of boiling water, my daughter’s mini hot-water-bottle and two core-warmers; one cotton for next to the skin and an ultra-warm one. Once out of the water and dressed (and while my fingers still worked) I filled the hot-water-bottle with the boiling water and popped the hot water bottle into my “roo pouch” of haramakis! Together with my robe, I built up a nice, warm core, which radiated heat.  Adding tea and amazing marmalade cakes, made for a delightfully happy, post-swim seabird! Been doing it ever since to beat the after-drop

cold water hack

 

Author: Seabird Catherine

Plastic Free Christmas Hack!

The fabulous and inspirational Surfers Against Sewage are crowdsourcing tips for a “Plastic-Free Christmas” guide – which they will release during the days of advent.

Seabirds the have added a few suggestions and would encourage you to add them to their post and in the comments below this blog please 🙂

Here at Seabirds HQ, we’ve been thinking hard about how to reduce all our waste at Christmas.  ZERO waste might well be a bridge too far but we will do our very best. Here are some suggestions below on how to make it less of a waste-binge-horror-fest this Chrimble!

A few tips for a less-waste Christmas

* Buy pre-loved

Shop from second-hand shops to find unique gifts that are built to last. Charity shops, vintage markets and shops like Brighton’s own Pre-Loved

* Give memories, not ‘stuff’

Go for an experience. No shortage of brilliant ideas in Brighton. It even has Feminist Swear Nights which sound truly perfect for our potty-mouthed Seabirds… How about Membership of the Duke of Yorks Cinema? (last year they had great Black Friday deals…hopefully the same this year. Apologies for mentioning BF), A Kimchi making workshop, a gig or a talk about anything from micro-dosing to the art of flirting….or, my personal favourite –  the Catalyst Club , which promises to celebrate the singular passions of everyday folk. That’s us!
 
* Make your own cards, presents and wrapping

We love re-using fabric wrapping like the Japanese Furoshiki or even old scarves. My kids re-use last year’s cards for gift tags and we are already busy collecting glass jars to make kimchi for everyone this year.

* A Secret Santa actually worth doing

Have fun, save money and get a gift you actually want with a “friends and family Secret Santa”. Our family uses  DrawNames to keep it anonymous and add as many present suggestions as you want. Saves you time and money and avoids you getting or buying unwanted landfill. Buy some brilliant gifts from Wastenot Shop – it’s plastic free paradise

  • Don’t go anywhere near a Poundland.
  • Make your own crackers, without the landfill plastic moustaches.
  • Buy all your presents from us!  All carefully chosen to reduce the use of single -use plastic or be very very useful and long-lasting!

What are your top tips? Do  please share and re-share you ideas….

Author: Seabird Catherine
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10 Good Gifts for under £10

Affordable, thoughtful, local, ethical or non-plastic pressies for under a tenner!

The dreaded ‘C’ word. Much like the inevitable John Lewis Ad and the Coca Cola bus.

The Television of full of Christmas adverts. Restaurants and pub are full of Christmas menus. The shops are full of Christmas presents. It is an expensive time of the year and too much money is spent on single use, plastic cheap gifts. It’s easy to say stop buying gifts but a hard thing to actually do. So if you are inevitably going to buy gifts here is a list of affordable, thoughtful, local, ethical or non-plastic pressies. Happy Shopping!

  1. £5 Thirty Words for Water book. A wonderful booklet written by Vivienne Rickman Poole who swims and photographs in Snowdonia. Open Water Swimmers will love it and it will be featured in next months Book Club. In her words it is “Part descriptive, part emotional, these words are personal, found from inside my very core. Brought about by my wandering relationship with water since childhood, from a month of continued swimming, and from loving and losing.”
  2. £8.50 Ecostrawz – eco-friendly stainless steel drinking straws. In an ideal world people wouldn’t use straws but we do not live in an ideal world. Kids love them and the elderly sometimes need them to assist with drinking. Pack of 4 with a squeegee to clean them thoroughly so you can use them for years and years. Eradicates the need for plastic straws. Dishwasher friendly. High quality stainless steel. Suitable for hot and cold drinks. No more single use plastic straws and closer to zero waste and a plastic free community. A durable and sustainable plastic pollution solution.                                                           stainless-steel-straws-long-[3]-163-p[ekm]180x180[ekm]
  3. £8 The Box Express 30mins session at Brighton Beach Box Sauna

    Beach Box is an outdoor Sauna Spa at Sea Lanes Brighton . The sauna is in a beautifully converted horse trailer on Brighton Beach. The sauna experience gives you space for relaxation, body care, digital detox and socialisation. Great for a quick warm-up after swim, massage, treatment or class.

  4. £7-£10 Seabird  Pint Pots and Water bottle   The 800ml stainless steel water bottle in our tough canteen range and comes with both a quench cap – good for drinking on the go or at the gym and a screw top. The pint is made in the UK from recycled stainless steel. Take your own pint to events and festivals and avoid single use plastic.
  5. From £7.50  Lush Shampoo Bar   Shampoo in a solid form so there is no need for a plastic bottle. There are different shampoos for different hair – lots to choose from.            web_halcyon_shampoo_bar_2018Lasts longer than conventional liquid shampoo too. What’s not to like! And everyone likes smellies at Christmas.
  6. £6 – £9 Seabird Enamel Mug and Bamboo Coffee Cups Reusable Coffee Cup in beautiful patterns. There is no more excuse for single use plastic. Reuse cuts daily consumer waste of single-use cups. Made with natural, sustainable bamboo fibre
    Light and lovely to drink from; no plastic after-taste and fully dishwasher safe.Or you may prefer the Classic/Retro White and Navy Large enamel mug printed with the Seabirds Logo. Great for camping, picnics or at the beach. Long-lasting. Holds a whole pint of tea!

     

  7. £8.50 Wastenot Shop Bamboo Cutlery SetThis super lightweight cutlery set can go anywhere with you. I keep mine in my handbag. Ideal for camping, hikes, impromptu picnics, and to keep in your bag or pocket for lunch on the go. The set comes with its own handy travel pouch to keep it tidy and clean. Say no to single use cutlery, bring your own! cutlery
  8. £5 – £6 Seabird Tote Bag and Turtle Bag  These colourful, and durable cotton bags are small enough and lightweight enough to squeeze into your pocket or handbag so you are never caught out. Your only decision is which colour to buy!

     

  9. £7 No More Plastic Book by 2 minute beach clean founder Martin Dorey.  Have you ever wanted to know what you can do to cut down your plastic consumption but don’t know when to start? No.More.Plastic. is a simple and effective way to do this. Great as a gift for a family member you are trying to convert! Also £ 8 Duffys Lucky Escape available in the Surfers Against Sewage Shop is a wonderful children’s picture story book.
  10. £7.50 Seabird Swim Hat – for the swimmer in your life. It doesn’t matter if you swim in a pool, the sea or a lake hair in your eyes in a thing. There is one in every colour to suit every swim suit or pair of goggles and the profits go towards getting more people to use swimming as respite.

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Happy Shopping and Ho Ho Ho!

Do Good Deeds in Dark Times

Doing good makes you feel good! How the Seabirds built doing good into their business

The Seabirds became a flotilla as our moral compass points the same way so swimming with each other in the same direction was easy. When we decided to start a business together our decision to be a social enterprise wasn’t even discussed. It was assumed. Registering as Community Interest Company was as fundamentally a part of our company set up as registering with Companies House and signing our Articles of Association. Ultimately we are a business and we need to make money to thrive. But with the money we make we reinvest in our business and donate to causes that share our aims of improving wellbeing and the environment. So why do we do this?

The News is full of unhappy headlines. The impact of austerity on the most vulnerable in society. Leaving Europe with ‘No Deal’. Climate Change and the plight of the Polar Bear. Global Civil War and unrest adding to the Refugee Crisis. I could go on but you get the picture.

I don’t read or watch the News. I bury my head firmly in the sand. It’s a form of Self Care. If I let myself dwell on the day’s news I become overwhelmed at the magnitude of the problems we face as a global community. I am rendered a useless sobbing wreck, devoid of joy. But not devoid of hope. Instead I focus on the small stuff. The daily good deeds that make a difference. The Good News!

There is a viral quote that often circulates in the wake of tragic public events.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

So how does a Seabird do good deeds in dark times? How can we be the people that are helping?

The answer was assumed and simple. We set up a business that gives back!

We have a trading arm webshop that gives supporters the opportunity to give as they live. Giving makes you feel good. So does shopping. So why not combine the two?. The internet is accessible to all and our products are affordable, ethically sourced and sustainable. It’s conscious consumerism. Community Interest Companies are governed the same rigour as any other Company ensuring integrity and honesty in its trading but the profits don’t go to shareholders. They go back into the community.

We have a service that enables people to access the sea in a safe environment with the aim of improving their well being. In an age when modern day living rituals have a profoundly negative impact on mental health, the supporting services are being cut back. People are unable to access state funded services unless they meet certain thresholds. We have received National Lottery Funding to run our first wellbeing service courses aimed at women who lack the confidence to swim outdoors that is accessible to all. Until our trading business is buoyant enough to financially support this service we will continue to raise funds via grants.  This Service provides a contribution to the community.

We have a community of year round sea swimmers and Seabird supporters. These seabirds, sea dogs and sea squids give up their time to read through our business plans, set up Pop Ups, review our accounts, volunteer in the water and provide us with feedback. But most importantly they join us in the sea on a regular basis, so we too get respite from from running a new small business. Being part of a local community group  being part of something bigger, being part of the change keeps our business and our mood buoyant.

 

Doing good really does feel good and whilst it won’t solve the world’s problems, as Vincent Van Gogh said ‘Great things are done by a series of small things brought together’. Together we can do good deeds in dark times.

Author: Seabird Kath

Whilst you are here………Our next fundraiser is the  Aviva Community Fund. We are not asking for money but we are asking for 3 minutes of your time to register and vote via the link above. You get 10 votes and can use different email aliases to vote more than once. 

We hope to receive funds to buy equipment like swim hats and dry robes – to keep participants warm and safe, changing and pool facility hire – to provide a safe environment for participants to get used to open water swimming, administration costs and dedicated coaches and instructors to facilitate the courses to ensure the participants get the best out of the courses. Female-centric courses with participants falling into a similar age bracket in a safe and structured environment may be the only way some women would even consider swimming the sea. We are passionate about encouraging more women into the waves to improve their wellbeing and voting for this project would make this happen

Thank you!!!

Don’t be a mug…… buy non-plastic reusable

No excuse for single use!

So, here at Seabirds HQ we only want to sell products that we have tried and tested and love. Our love for the sea has deepened our love for nature and opened our eyes (with the help of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet) to the horrors of plastic pollution – especially marine pollution. Seabirds have wholeheartedly joined the crusade to reduce plastic pollution from our own personal habits to the products we sell in the ‘eco-goods’ section of our shop.

We wanted products to reduce the use of #singleuseplastics. They must be built well so it will be durable and not become yet more waste. We also want them to be pretty so you love them like we do.

Also, we LOVE tea. It helps us warm up after the sea. It sustains us in times of strife (or long meetings). So we bring you the pint sized (!!!!) enamel, Seabirds Mug. We have used our camping, at picnics, eaten cereal out of them at festivals (it was the only thing that got stolen when my daughter took it to Reading Festival!) and at home for cold and hot drinks. They come with our lovely Gertie seagull logo and they have a certain nautical appeal in their navy and white.

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When you buy one, not only will a Seabird do an actual happy dance (think Snoopy) but as as Social Enterprise we reinvest our profits back into the community through local charities that help people tackle mental health issues by going into the sea. So you too can do a happy dance when you feel your money is funding good stuff and you are getting a pint mug for your tea that will last forever! #pintforlife #pintoftea

Author: Seabird Cath