The Conclusion of My Great North Swim

Tracey Smith, author of The Book of Rubbish Ideas in The British Gas Great North Swim at Lake Windermere
A bit of a clingy number, I grant you

Not the most fetching of outfits I know, but here’s me in my neoprene wetsuit, getting ready to depart for Lake Windermere to take part in the second Great North Swim.

It was the inaugural GNS at Windermere that took place last September that first hooked me in.

In 2008, around 2,000 competitors swam a mile around the edge of the stunning lake, many raising money for charity and others simply doing it for personal achievement.

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I’ve Got Rubbish ‘Ways With Words’

Dartington Hall, Totnes
Dartington Hall, Totnes

Of all the Literary Festivals I’ve appeared at this year, Ways With Words at the beautiful Dartington Hall in Totnes is the one that has given me the biggest squidgy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

The annual festival takes place from July 10-19 at Dartington Hall in South Devon and my slot is carved into the schedule on Monday 13th at 2pm. 

“Few people who visit Dartington Hall are untouched by its magic,” explains Festival Director, Kay Dunbar. “The combination of the medieval courtyard, the majestic Great Hall and the extensive gardens and woodlands creates a captivating setting for a literature festival,” she adds.

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Hair today, gone tomorrow and other things…

Going grey with style...
Going grey with style...

Afternoon all and sundry.

After many happy years of gert lush long hair flapping about in any sort of a wind, I decided to have it all lopped off.

It was a decision I took a few weeks ago and I thought I’d just kick it around a bit before heading for the scissors to see if I wanted to change my mind, but as time went on, the more it irritated me, the hotter I became on sunny days and so finally, yesterday, I lunged for the blades and ooh, I feel like a new woman!

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Eco-Chick Rallies from Brighton to London in a Winner

Penney Poyzer, Oliver Heath and Tracey Smith
Penney Poyzer, Oliver Heath and Tracey Smith


I’m home from the 2009 Eco-Rally and oh, what a gig it was.

Late Sunday night found me and my co-driver Joe Wadsworth hovering outside the Royal Albion Hotel in Brighton, awaiting a full collective of hungry eco-celebs (Quentin Willson, Robert Llewellyn, Penney Poyzer and more)…

After the exciting arrival of the Tesla and once the blokes had all taken it for a spin around the block, we eventually went trotting off to get a bit off Thai tucker and I sat next to the lovely Robert Llewellyn (Kryten from Red Dwarf).

Carl Honore, the bestselling author of In Praise of Slow joined us and good food was munched by all.  Robert had half an eye on my tasty veg spring rolls and I thought it only fair to share the love…but he wasn’t getting a look in at my sweet and sour prawns.

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Rubbish Chick Drives in the Eco-Rally

The Eco-Rally Drivers
The Eco-Rally Drivers

Morning all!

Yes, I know, long time no natter, well, I’ve been up to my ears talking rubbish!

I’ve been doing lots of Lit Fests which are great fun and doing talks around the country on ways to cut the crud out of your life and save yourself a fortune in the process (by the way, if you’re interested in booking me, click here).

And today, I’m about to pack my bag and head to Brighton beach!

On Monday, I’m driving with a delightful handful of planet-loving celebs in the Eco-Rally 2009 (get me, the little ‘Z’ lister!)…

Continue reading “Rubbish Chick Drives in the Eco-Rally”

A Few of My Favourite Bits from UK Aware

Danny Carnegie - one of the founders of UK Aware
Danny Carnegie - one of the founders of UK Aware

I’m back in the saddle after spending 3 days up ‘in the smoke’ (that’s London to you missus) attending

I was helping Dave Hampton (the Carbon Coach) to host the speaker panels that were on Friday and Saturday and sat on a panel too on Saturday afternoon.

It was an amazing event – Mr OOFFOO himself, Al Tepper, was there and I had very eco’nversations with the delightful Ruby Wax and the charmingly talented Oliver Heath too.

I could witter on about how much I loved the whole thing, but my calves still haven’t forgiven me! I must have walked 500 miles….

Instead, I thought I’d tell you about my personal favourites in attendance at the show.

1) Morsbags – what smashing ladies (and gents) they are. This is a sociable guerilla bagging group for want of a better description and if you’ve got a sewing machine, you need to visit their site at

2) Nether Wallop Trading – I was honoured to present a little award to them for their Paper Potter….if you’re a keen gardener (and even if you’re not) have a look at this at

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The Woodland Trust Launches Their Annual Christmas Card Recycling Campaign

Coronation Street's Samia Smith really digs the Christmas Card Recycling Scheme
Coronation Street's Samia Smith really digs the Christmas Card Recycling Scheme

The resources section at the back of The Book of Rubbish Ideas is packed out with some of the most inspirational, eco-friendly innovators and The Woodland Trust is no exception.  

They do incredible work protecting and planting new areas of woodland and ensuring we have lots of lovely clean air to breathe!

Recently, I caught up with Robert Lane from the Trust and asked how the plans were going for this year’s Christmas Card Recycling Scheme and how my readers could get involved.

He told me, “If everyone in the UK recycled just one Christmas card with The Woodland Trust this year, the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity would be able to plant 15,000 trees!”

Now imagine how many trees the charity could plant if everyone recycles all their cards in the special bins at W H Smith, Tesco, TK Maxx and Marks & Spencer stores, throughout January. The cards are recycled which generates money, which the Woodland Trust uses to create new woods in the UK.

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Who Would You Give the Landfill Prize to?


I came across the Landfill Prize earlier this year whilst chatting to my good friend author Carl Honoré, who’d been signed up as a judge; incidentally, he’s also one of my celebrity case studies in the book.

The Landfill Prize was the brainchild of John Naish, author of another great read, Enough: Breaking Free From the World of More and another of my celebrity case studies in the book!

Here are a few words from the man himself: Continue reading “Who Would You Give the Landfill Prize to?”

How To: Take the Chutney Challenge and Reuse Your Glass Jars

I'm having an identity crisis - I used to be a jar of tomato puree, now I'm all a pickle...

I must confess I haven’t made any chutney for a few years – I’ve been a very lucky girl and on the receiving end from a few preserve loving chums instead.

The first time I made it however, I seem to remember I was making good of a massive glut of courgettes and onions and our tomatoes were on their last legs, so it seemed like a good idea all round.

After becoming sick to the back teeth of eating courgettes in every possible way, including dolling them up as the delicious ‘Courgette Surprise’, I thought there wasn’t much else I could to do to inject excitement into the little green fellas; I couldn’t have been more wrong. Continue reading “How To: Take the Chutney Challenge and Reuse Your Glass Jars”


Eco-friendly, FairTrade lover, Chris Martin - front man of Coldplay
Eco-friendly, FairTrade loving, Chris Martin - front man of Coldplay

The world of celebrity is so mightily powerful; in truth, it’s probably immeasurable.

One of my hopes in writing ‘The Book of Rubbish Ideas’ was that I might be able to tap into some of this energy and encourage changes in sustainable behaviour by showing how the international ‘stars’ do green!

These days, the definition of ‘celebrity’ seems to be in a perpetual state of evolution, as the parameters continue to open ever wider, so I’ll quote the current definition of one from Wikipedia.

A celebrity is a widely recognized or famous person who commands a high degree of public and media attention. The word stems from the Latin verb “celebrere” but they may not become a celebrity unless public and mass media interest is piqued.’

People in the public eye can influence fashion changes, eating habits and beauty product purchases in a heartbeat and I think as a resource for encouraging positive eco-change, it remains relatively untapped, so hereto lays my quest!

Continue reading “Eco-Celebs”