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?

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.