Loving Life the #LiveLagom way


final 2

And so we come to the end of a new experience for me. Living with just enough, in a more sustainable way has been an eye opener for sure. I began this project back in December in all honesty terrified that I’d fall at the first hurdle and return to my wasteful ways. Pleased to report that didn’t happen and I’m on board fully with making full use of what I have, cutting waste and looking at things in a new way. The changes I’ve made have been fairly subtle in many ways but I feel are all the more sustainable for that. My biggest commitment was having the large windows draught proofed which, along with the LED lighting, has seen my monthly bills halved, saving over £200 a quarter!! But I have to say, it was the smaller changes that really got a hold of me, things like growing herbs and plants and recycling my hoard of beauty products which went to a local charity along with around four hundred books and clothes and bric-a-brac. There’s something very freeing about holding on to fewer objects. You let go then suddenly realise they were holding on to you and probably holding you in the past.


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The cookery books now come out of the bookcase and are actually being used. The products on my bathroom shelf are the ones I need and love for everyday and not some far off ‘rainy day’. final 11

I’ve rediscovered time for me by hanging new blinds and covering an old IKEA armchair, last used when I was doing the night feeds twelve years ago. It’s my reading nook and I just adore my space to think.final 6final 7

My living space is sectioned off into areas to work, play piano and relax and the lighting, rugs, new curtains and general de-clutter have made it a good place to be. So before…final 15

And now…

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Some changes were more difficult to make of course. Changing light bulbs in older fittings was a pain, breakages and cursing featured heavily. The rechargeable batteries, whilst a fabulous idea, initially were treated like old style by my son and put in the bin when out of power, very annoying and wasteful. Some of the storage jars had lids too flimsy for my liking and my attempts at growing Pak Choi were a disaster. Percy Thrower I aint. Even the windowsill herbs wilted and left the building after a few weeks. But the massive changes are that I save power and therefore cash, think before I buy,  recycle more, walk more, drive less and feel happier for it! As a rule, I like to hang on to things and letting go has been a revelation. Some things I couldn’t bring myself to part with. My old prints were re-framed and re-arranged and please me each time I look at them.final 8

My biggest take home from #LiveLagom? That I can make these changes with just a little effort and it pays back ten fold. Just enough is more than enough for all of us it seems.




#LiveLagom, a few months later…

So, there have been some changes for the better chez Cleaver.


After the fabulous five hundred pounds, courtesy of IKEA’s #LiveLagom was spent, I was keen to get started making some real changes to how we lived day to day. The first job to tackle was the great light bulb changeover. Our entire home was house to some 57 bulbs and they all had to be removed and replaced with energy saving LED light bulbs. Some of the fittings weren’t up to the challenge and had to be replaced. Who said progress is easy? A worthwhile job though, as our energy consumption has fallen already, just by a comparison with our previous three monthly electricity bill and today’s! I like.


Next up, to put the new storage jars and food tubs to good use. I was guilty of cooking (and wasting) too much food before. Now, a subtle change has occurred, right from the moment I order online. I can see with ease what I have in the cupboard more easily and so don’t over-order and waste. Cooking just enough for our family of three means less waste, but if there is leftover food, it goes in the food storage tubs and my husband makes short work of it for lunch the following day. I previously had to bin a lot of flour as the packets, once opened,  spoiled due to air. Not any more! These are small changes that make such a difference.

One of the main issues I had was keeping the place warm, our ceilings are incredibly high. This flat used to be a college, it’s an old building and draughty. So, a new Gaser High Pile rug made all the difference to the space we spend our evenings. I had intended to use it at my work space, beneath the desk. This was no longer necessary after we draft proofed the windows. Why oh why did we not do this nine years ago? I think one of the best ‘take homes’ from this experience is that a little effort can yield a lot of results, you just need to get on and do it! A rug in my son’s bedroom by his computer desk meant he no longer moaned about cold feet. Looks snug too.

And my favourite addition? The three enormous Nymo Light Shades in my living room. I just adore these. Huge but not at all out of place in such a large room. I admit to having something of a lighting fetish previously and, no matter the day outside, would have seven lamps lit in the living room alone, all day, every day. Now when I’m working, it’s easy to use one of these Nymos as overhead task lighting and the glow is soft enough to avoid glare.

I’ve learned though, just the act of thinking more about how we use things has had a profound affect on me. So much so, I leave the car and walk most places now – less fuel, I’m getting fitter and spending more time in the park with my family. What’s not to love about living with just enough?




Greater Cholesterol lowering increases the risk of death

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick

Sorry to get distracted from my series on what causes heart disease, yet again. However, I felt the need to blog about this article published in the BMJ on the 12th April 2016.

A group of researchers went back through the data from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment run between 1966 and 1973 in the US – on many thousands of participants. They were, in part stimulated to do this because they had previously looked at the Sydney Diet Heart Study 1966 – 73. In their own words:

‘Our recovery and 2013 publication of previously unpublished data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study (SDHS, 1966-73) belatedly showed that replacement of saturated fat with vegetable oil rich in linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated fat) significantly increased the risks of death from coronary heart disease and all causes, despite lowering serum cholesterol. Our recovery of unpublished documents and raw data from another diet-heart…

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Wilful blindness or medical negligence in Endocrinology?

Interesting study from 1952 trail of the new Levothyroxine versus the established desiccated thyroid extract. Clinically the patients were still hypothyroid and needing more Levothyroxine but the protein bound iodine levels appeared to show thyrotoxic levels. Sixty four years on, not only are patients refused the effective treatment of natural desiccated thyroid, they’re also having their Levothyroxine doses slashed to keep these godforsaken, non verified thyroid test results in some randomly chosen range.


I’d say medical negligence, what about you?

NHS Scotland: “Advisory Board Medics admit they were paid”

Hole Ousia

Last year, across the UK, healthcare workers received £41 million from the Pharmaceutical Industry. In Scotland we have no idea to whom this was paid and why.

This report by Marion Scott is based on her research and asks if we have full transparency regarding financial payments that may have been made to those developing national guidelines for NHS Scotland:

A hard pill to swallow 13 Sept 2015

This image file is not easy to read so I have included the html file below:

A hard pill to swallow 13 Sept 2015b

If you are interested in the evidence I have gathered for my petition to the Scottish Parliament for a Sunshine Act, this can be read here.

Open and transparent from omphalos on Vimeo.

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Loneliness in Waitrose

What a lovely, lovely man. We should pay far more heed to our elders.

Fabulous Oldies

My wife called me and asked me to pop into Waitrose to get some organic food. As I was leaving, I walked into the wonderful new cafe area. I noticed someone dressed very smart. He was a fabulous gentleman dressed immaculately with a tie and a checkered blazer. He had a small white moustache and nicely combed hair. He looked like a very famous British TV personality from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s – Alan Whicker.


I thought, how nice to see a gentleman looking so dapper, and continued walking out to my car.

As I sat in my Victor the Volvo, I could not get this man out of my mind. Who was this man, sitting there all alone? I had to go back. So, I went back to the cafe, bought a coffee and a posh orange cake.

He was still sitting there alone, just contemplating. I had to…

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New Year, New way of living #LiveLAGOM

As part of a sustainability project IKEA are running, I’m starting the New Year as I mean to go on, wasting less and being mindful of what I need and don’t need in my life. That of course means fewer expensive visits to Endocrinologists but also learning to use what I already have.


As a full time Thyroid Advocate, I work from home, a large college conversion with very high ceilings, at least fifteen foot high. My habit has been to work from the desk in the living room, but heating the entire house. Pretty wasteful I know, so in preparation for the project, I sealed the sash windows to prevent draughts and sectioned off the desk area with an Armoire and will use a large wool rug to keep that area cosy. The rest of the house doesn’t need to be heated while I use that one room so the radiators will be turned down elsewhere.


The forty six (yes indeed, forty six) lights around the flat will be replaced with LED bulbs in an effort to save energy. Of course, not lighting every room will go some way to reducing energy costs. I often wonder when I picked up that habit, lighting lamps everywhere even in day time. Maybe the dull Scottish gloom is part of it, or it could be tied to the years I was ill and pretty much terrified of my own shadow. Thanks to solving the thyroid riddle and moving to decent natural thyroid hormone, that’s a thing of the past and so the new lighting I’ve chosen will negate the need for multiple lamps being lit. The lights are going off!

Food waste will be cut, with leftovers and batch cooking being preserved or frozen in IKEA containers. Packaging is already at a minimum as I buy from local shops and take my own bags, keeping wrapping down. Looking forward to growing my own herbs on the window sill too, although it would be great to have a garden and we are looking to move in the spring so I can life the Good Life planting my own herbs, vegetable and maybe even some fruit.

A move will also mean less dependence on my car for the school run. My son will be able to walk to and from his new school. All these short trips add up on emissions! The cat will become an outdoor cat so the cat litter will be a thing of the past, I hope! As will the products to clean the litter tray, no one’s favourite job. Should also mean less reliance on the tumble drier, at least on the days it doesn’t rain, with clothes being dried outside.

Even so, until we move, the changes I’ve made will see my energy usage cut drastically and food wastage improved with small tweaks and better planning. It has echoes of my journey to health. The more pharmaceutical drugs I consumed, the worst my health became. Less is definitely more. Here’s to a sustainable and healthy 2016. #LiveLAGOM




When your doctor mislabels you as an “anxious female”

Relying on a TSH as a guide to anything is bad medicine.

Heart Sisters

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Take it from me: the only thing worse than a heart attack is being misdiagnosed and sent home from hospital while you’re having it. And for women in particular, this is a tragically all-too-common reality.  Research on cardiac misdiagnoses reported in TheNew England Journal of Medicine(1), for example, looked at more than 10,000 heart patients (48% of them women) who had gone to their hospital Emergency Departments with chest pain or other significant heart attack symptoms. Women younger than 55 were SEVEN TIMES more likely to be misdiagnosed and turned away from the E.R. than their male counterparts.

The consequences of this reality for women were enormous: being sent home from the hospital in mid-heart attack doubled their chances of dying.

Some of the most popular cardiac misdiagnoses that heart attack survivors have told me about include physician guesses like indigestion…

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Study 329 – where the hell is the outrage?

Oh, another case of piss poor evidence, fancy that! Just like the evidence for Levothyroxine being safe and effective…

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick

To quote from the BMJ ‘No correction, no retraction, no apology, no comment…’

Study 329 was started in 1994 by Smith Kline Beecham, which shortly become part of the larger conglomerate Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK). Study 329 looked at the use of paroxetine, an anti-depressant, in adolescents with depression.

Following this study paroxetine was promoted and marketed heavily by GSK as demonstrating, in the words of GKS marketing materials: ‘REMARKABLE Efficacy and safety’. Over two million prescriptions were then written for children and adolescents in the US.

However, in 2002 the FDA considered study 329 to be a ‘failed trial.’ In 2003 the UK recommended that paroxetine should not be used in children and adolescents with depression because it increased the risk of self-harm and potentially suicidal behaviour.

In 2004 the FDA placed a black box warning on all antidepressants in adolescents and children stating that…

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