The Spirit of Christmas

We all know Scrooge, don’t we? From either the book of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, or the film. And, despite not rooting for him at the beginning – he’s not the most generous of human beings – counting his money and ignoring the needs of those around him, especially the Cratchit family, we come around to liking and admiring him by the end.

Scrooge’s story, despite being set in Victorian times, is a story for our times too. One we could learn from, without being too preachy or gloomy. Scrooge was faced with his personal ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. We have those too. We can’t fix the past, but we can predict with some accuracy what will happen to our global future, and adjust the present accordingly. 

It’s simple, really. We need to consume less stuff to help the planet, and ourselves. To recognise, and really focus on, the fact that joy and pleasure in life isn’t about material excess, but love and laughter, dancing and singing, playing games (with a little bit of eating and drinking thrown in too, of course). 

Scrooge teaches us the spirit of Christmas isn’t about accumulating and then discarding ‘things’, and their wrappings. If we choose to do less of this we’ll be benefitting the Earth and the plants and animals that live here. It’s something we all know, deep in our hearts, and many of us act upon it. Things are changing, and the time to change is now. Really, it’s a thoroughly modern book and film.

Like Scrooge at the end of the book (or the film!), we too could skip with joy at the thought of spending time with close friends and family, because we have done the right thing, taken heed of the future, and lived ethically and sustainably in Christmas Present.

Christmas Surgery, Community

Nothing Stingy About Sustainability

During a chat on facebook, Our Donna wrote an absolute gem of a response:

When considering the upcyling nature of making Christmas tags, wrapping paper etc, it could be very easy to feel concern that using newspaper, cereal boxes, packing paper etc, that you might be perceived as ‘stingy’

We want to shout from the roof tops that the intention of sustainability can NEVER be considered stingy, its worth a fortune to the planet and future generations, that! in itself is priceless.

We now all want an upcycled jumper with this slogan on, would you want to buy one too if we made them?


Walking the walk: the Greta Thunberg effect

Two daughters of Sustainable Ruislip

A day off school to protest and join with our Extinction Rebellion comrades about the climate emergency we’re facing? 

Why not?

Myself and my friend were persuaded by our daughters; and it was brilliant.

Last Tuesday the four of us made our way to Parliament Square with banners made from twigs and recycled paper (loving the message ‘May the forest be with you’ – thanks Karen for coming up with that one).

May the Forest be with you

There were drummers outside the Cabinet Office. The effect was tribal, the message being spread about the time we have left to turn things round not solely for humans, but for life on Earth. It was hard-hitting, visceral, and impossible to ignore.

We each collected a number of saplings and laid them out in front of the Houses of Parliament. Each Member of Parliament was invited to collect their tree. People were labelling them with the names of each MP as they were laid down. The trees were accompanied by a choir, celebrating the symbolism of their presence. We witnessed one MP, Kate Green, collecting her tree. 

My daughter was in turns delighted to be there and, understandably at times, slightly nervous. There was a police presence, not least. People were being arrested. People from all walks of life and all ages, not just ‘crusties’ as labelled by some politicians and commentators in recent days.

What did our kids learn?

That protest is sometimes necessary, as is civil action. Extinction Rebellion are both sorry and not sorry for the disruption. 

They learnt that the time for inaction has passed. 

The emergency is NOW.

We were so glad we went. For a day we were part of something. Something moving, inspiring and thought-provoking. Something global. Something we won’t forget as we weave actions on climate change into our everyday lives. We’re working on a local level, but our kids have, we hope, been inspired to work beyond that too. We hope they will work to influence others.

It’s their future they’re fighting for, and we should join them, to show we care.

Shared by FranTracey – Sustainable Ruislip founding member.

Christmas Surgery, featured

A Christmas Surgery

“Our Christmas of excess has forgotten its handmade and homely past”

Ian Jack

Duck Pond Market and Sustainable Ruislip would like to announce the opening of a Christmas ‘Surgery’ to provide help and ideas for a sustainable but beautiful low-cost Christmas full of love and laughter.

Come to our stall at Duck Pond Market Ruislip for inspiration on presents, wrapping and crackers.

Did you know that about 90% of wrapping paper in the shops isn’t actually recyclable?

Valuable trees are felled to make the paper but then plastics, foil and glues and glitter are added so after use it’s only good for incineration or landfill.

But there are other ways to decorate and wrap your presents; how about Japanese furoshiki wrapping cloth, something that is saved and used again and again, or make fabric bags for your presents that can be reused again either for gifts or as vegetable bags, or paint old newspapers or the brown paper padding that comes with Amazon parcels? Add ribbons and unique gift tags and your presents will look just as fabulous as the gifts inside without much cost to you or the planet. 

Crackers are also unrecyclable, as are the majority of plastic games and toys inside. This makes them heavy on the world’s resources, but making your own crackers is not only great fun but can be personalised too. Stuff them full of your favourite Christmas jokes, fortune cookie fortunes, homemade hats, forfeits such as sing Jingle Bells without showing your teeth, juggle three satsumas whilst standing on your left leg, etc., and include chocolates such as foil-wrapped liqueurs. A good cracker bang! isn’t forgotten either, simply buy snaps to include, 10p each from our stall. 

Decorations are easy to make, cut up old Sunday supplements and make paper-chains, use newspapers to make snow scenes at the bottom of windows, paint pine cones with snowy tops, make snowflake-chains etc.

We are writing one of the most precious Christmas resources ever, ‘The Duck Pond Book of Christmas Presence’. Obviously the market itself is overflowing with wonderful presents, but sometimes it’s not about the money you spend, but more about the time or memory you give. This beauty of a book will be jam-packed full of heart warming and unforgettable present ideas for all ages – 

  • Make a five-photo album, choose some of the most special photographs to you and write about what makes them so special. This could be done by all family members young and old and then collated.
  • Write a family recipe book. Include the meals that bring you all together, be it a wobbly jelly or the best ever nut roast.
  • Give a voucher for your particular skill, how about a woodwork lesson, or art, knitting, macramé, horse riding or cooking?
  • Donate a your time, e.g. this voucher allows the recipient three hours of Daddy time specifically to play Knights and castles, etc.
  • Get a blank canvas and write on your family catchphrase, ours include ‘where’s my phone’, ‘you’ll catch more bees with honey’ and ‘go away tripe hound’!
  • Make a cushion cover from an old, outgrown but well-loved jumper, shirt etc.
  • Make a sock puppet kit including a range of the families’ socks, gloves, mittens etc.
  • Put together some of the kids’ own Lego and write challenges on what to make with the bricks included. You could make up four identical bags of bricks and challenge the family to make the best dog, cat, robot, house etc. they can in a set time.
  • Make up a tool kit and include enough wood to make a bird or hedgehog house.
  • Buy a whittling knife and provide wood and instructions.
  • Give an eight-foot piece of wood, the perfect toy for walking the plank, pretend rowing, getting access from one sofa to another, the top of a tent, etc.
Christmas Surgery, Community

Sustainable Ruislip is back!

We are very sorry, it must have felt like we pretty much fell out of touch with you all overnight!

When our shop closed, following an impromptu lovely two months on Ruislip High street, it was the beginning of summer, and the team’s volunteers really needed a bit of a rest, to recharge and spend quality time with their families. 

Extremely grateful for the opportunity to host a shop on the high street, it was completely out of the blue, the group had only formulated at the beginning of 2019 and in we were in the early stages of getting to know each other and bat around ideas of what we could do, to assist in the worldwide movement towards living more sustainably, our new group had yet to find its flow, before taking on the massive project that was the shop.

That said, we feel we handled it exceptionally well considering it was all started with only 24 hours notice, no time to truly formulate a plan, we simply ploughed right in organising and adjusting our direction on the fly. The whole group donated countless hours, daily, from home and in the shop, it was truly magical, but the rest of our world was put on hold in the process. 

So this post is to say: we are now back in action! beavering away behind the scenes, planning together new projects for Ruislip locals to work towards living more sustainably. 

We are now officially a Social Enterprise (not for profit) company called ‘Sustainable Hub’

The broad evolved ‘formal’ name is with view to making it possible to extend out to other areas if we create something that works well in Ruislip, we want to encourage and help spring off groups in other areas of the UK.

Our social media outlets have therefore been tweaked and to reflect this.

Sustainable Ruislip can be found on facebook, Instagram and Twitter as: @subhubruislip 

Our facebook and twitter pages are new and we welcome your continued support on these pages.

Financially we now have a nice pot of money, which is currently held in an official bank account ready for us to discuss with the community the best direction for it.

We started a ‘crowd funder’ with view to opening another shop, this idea is currently on hold, as we feel it better to take time to plan it properly with a view of it being a long term project. The two month taster, has given us an insight into what we need to focus on if we feel it a feasible prospect.


Plastic Free Ruislip, was our first project, working with businesses to find ways to be ‘plastic free’

It is still ticking away in the back ground (post the distraction of the shop), and soon we hope to be able to officially announce Ruislip as plastic free town, as part of the Surfers Against Sewage programme, which is very exciting.

It still has its own facebook page @plasticFreeRuislip for updates and all things plastic free.

The Duck Pond Collective, was a joint project in the shop, we joined forces with the ‘Duck Pond Market’ who made it possible for us to bring together the perfect selection of local traders to offer retail in the front half of the shop, complimenting the education/workshops that were hosted in the back.

The retail flag has continued to be flown by the ‘Duck Pond Market’ team, their allied vision of offering ‘Local, Ethical and sustainable’ traders a place to sell beyond the weekend markets is currently being hosted at ‘Wembley Park Markets’. You can find up to date information about this project on facebook/instagram @TheDuckPondCollective


Sustainable Christmas Surgery, Sustainable Ruislip and Duck Pond Market have joined forces again, and would like to announce the opening of a Christmas ‘Surgery’ to provide help and ideas for a sustainable but beautiful low-cost Christmas full of love and laughter.

“Our Christmas of excess has forgotten its handmade and homely past”

Come to our regular stall at Duck Pond Market Ruislip in the lead up to Christmas, for inspiration on presents, wrapping and crackers. We will be there to chat about all aspects of eco-living, as sustainability is for life, not just for Christmas. But, with the festive season fast approaching its a great talking point and focal aid, especially as its a time that sees a lot of waste, and we want to make it easier, and support you with introducing changes on this public holiday and beyond.


REVOLTEEN – Stencil + Street Art Workshop

Want something fun to do in the half term break ?

We are hosting a super cool workshop for 12 – 16 year olds.

Tuesday May 28th 1pm – 4pm

Hosted by Dr.D aka Dr.d – Subvertiser

Aerosol paint and sharp knives will be supplied*

Tickets need to be purchased in advance, either in store or online

This is back by popular demand, so we encourage you to book up quickly as spaces are limited.

*An adult will need to sign a disclaimer/permission slip before Teens will be let lose

The Duck Pond Collective

We need your ‘words’ of support…

The Duck Pond Collective shop has now been open since April 2nd and it’s just fantastic. In the last 6 weeks we have created the most incredible community space – consisting of three parts. 

1. The retail incubator – a pop up shop of locally, ethically and sustainably made products, paying a small fee and commission on anything they sell – all profit going back into the Sustainable Ruislip project. 

2. The environmental education zone – a place to engage, discuss, and find meaningful changes at home and at work to benefit our planet.

3. The Workshop Area – a meeting and workshop space open to all – with low cost workshops and our calendar gaining momentum every day!

The response has been amazing. It’s emotional to discuss the scary state the world is in, but our wonderful team of people, most of whom didn’t know each other in February have all bonded and developed and the creativity is just outstanding. 

Please take a look at our Insta feed for a picture diary..

Please pop into the shop if you’re local. We have so much to tell you. Our government are the first in the world to declare a climate emergency, which is terrifying, but positive that we are now working to slow it down… (can someone tell Trump?)

Part of our vision is to acquire funding to enable us to build a wall of packaging free products – a refill store, eliminating more waste. Recycling isn’t an option – the only option now is to not create the waste in the first place. In the Atlantic sea there is a gyre slowly spinning, it’s packed with plastic and is growing every day and it’s TWICE THE SIZE OF FRANCE. 

To move forward we need your views and words of encouragement, so that we can show this to potential investors, If you can take a moment to:

Comment below

Give us feedback, engage, spread the word – everything you do can make a difference.

We will then run on with it, fly the flag for Ruislip and keep this opportunity alive

Our Warmest (sustainable) Wishes

Alicia, Ali, Caron, Damon, Donna, Fran, Karen, Linda, Lucy & Samantha


SWISH – Clothes Swap, Mending & Upcycling

Friday 17th May 7.30pm

How it works



They need to be in a bag that is clearly marked with your FULL name (we have a LOT of Clares coming)… if possible, please provide coat hangers, any spares are greatly appreciated.

We are looking for good quality, washed and ironed clothes, shoes and handbags in excellent condition (no stains or rips) 

MAXIMUM of 30 items from each participant


Drop them any time between NOW, and 7.30pm on the night of the SWISH, to The Duck Pond Collective (TDPC) – 72 High Street, Ruislip HA4 7AA



On the night please drop your clothes by 7.30pm at the latest. Our hosts will direct you to the Hop and Vine for a complimentary drink whilst our in store style guru sorts the clothes ready for the swap. No quibbles on banding, please ☺.

If you are likely to be uncomfortable with our decision we would ask that you hold onto your clothes.

Clothes will be sorted into three bands:

  • Fast Fashion (eg Primark, New Look)
  • High Street (eg Next, Marks and Spencer, Boden)
  • High End (eg Calvin Klein, Ted Baker)

To keep a balance of style, please pack your bag with a maximum of: 

  • 5 items in Fast Fashion
  • 15 in High Street 
  • 10 in High End 

30 CLOTHES IN TOTAL – No children clothes. You are welcome to bring men’s clothes


You’ll be given vouchers for each item that you have donated. The number of vouchers you get will relate to the clothes you have donated and which category they belong in.

When you look through the rails and find something you would like to take home, you hand over some of your vouchers and then, congratulations, you’ve just contributed to sustainability and that little item in your hands has found its new home. #adoptdontshop

Fast Fashion: 1 voucher

High Street: 3 vouchers

High End 5 vouchers


After the event we will be keeping a clothes swap rail in the store, so keep hold of left over vouchers and swap again in the future. (or collect your remaining items during the following week)


SEAMSTRESS: There will be a seamstress in store on the night. Bring along those jeans or dress you brought and never turned up and they will alter them for a small fee.

UPCYCLER: Nina, our expert up cycler, will also be on hand to add sparkle to item that need a revival. We will have ribbons, buttons, leather and lace on hand – so please bring along plain t-shirts, or any items that could do with a quick revival, and Nina will turn them into something special for you


Be More Cat – Upcycling Workshop

Thursday 23rd May 1-3pm

“Be More Cat”

Upcycling workshop, incorporating feline-inspired Mindfulness training, cat wisdom-ergonomics, and a Pussycat Prosecco cocktail (or non-alcohol option) along with the upcycling tuition to create your first Wonky Cat.

Materials included – take your Wonkies home with you!

Skill requirement;

1. Basic sewing skills only – no knitting, its upcycling sweaters already in existence

2. Cat-ergonomics, Mindfulness training; no experience necessary

3. Cocktail management – able to hold glass without spilling!

£12 per person

Over 16s only

All profits from workshops will be going to Wonky Pet Rescue, who provide forever-home care for all sorts of rescue animals with physical, medical or psychological wonkyness.


How to use Excel Workshop/Drop In

Microsoft Excel Workshop / Drop in

Are you daunted by spreadsheets and don’t know where to start  ? 


are you a more advanced user who wants to move to the next level ? 

This session can help get you started with basic formulae and tables


some of the more complex functions like vlookups,  pivot tables and charts.

You can also bring along your own spreadsheet for some help on a particular task .  

Excel (or its free Google equivalent – Google Sheets) is a brilliant tool for calculating and tracking all types or numerical data – most obviously household expenses or small business  accounts but can be daunting if you’ve never used it before.


WEDNESDAY 22nd May 1-3pm

To get the most from this session, please book a ticket in advance*

(Please book at least 24 hours before) 

Once you have booked Linda will contact you to understand what level of support you would like so she can best tailor the session. 

If you are keen to have help, but cannot make this session, please fill in the form below:

* you will need to supply your own laptop