Tillie & Coco

two ladies, two bicycles, two hemispheres

Category: Green

Citrus cleaner

by Alacoque

Hi Tillie & folks,

as a little follow up to yesterday’s spring cleaning post I’d thought I’d share this great homemade cleaner. This is not something I’d buy citrus fruit specifically for, rather it’s really a frugal way to use every last bit of the fruit you can. My parents have an orchard so when I go up to visit them I often return with a load of citrus. We’re talking lemons, limes, navel oranges, blood oranges, tangelos, the list goes on and on. When we’re sick of eating them plain and baking them in cakes I will juice a whole bunch. Before juicing I peel the fruit with a vegetable peeler (I don’t want the thick layer of pith you get when peeling by hand) then immerse the rinds in a jar 3/4 full of plain vinegar. This simple concoction infuses for about 2 weeks and is then ready to use after being strained and diluted 50:50 with plain vinegar. The citrus oils smell amazing and have fantastic cleaning powers. It’s an effective all purpose cleaner that allows you to clean your home without chemicals and it’s oh so cheap!

Coco xx


Just another Tuesday

by Alacoque

Hey Tillie (and “hello” everyone else!),

this morning I headed into Newtown to attend a Seed Saving workshop at the Green Living Centre. The workshop was great! Jane demonstrated collecting and saving seed from carrots and tomatoes (two different techniques), then we planted broad beans in toilet paper rolls for The Great Crate– an installation that will be part of Art & About Sydney from 21st September to 21st October. For more workshops offered by the Green Living Centre have a look here (don’t worry I’ve already registered for the DIY Bicycle Panniers workshop!). I was too busy getting my hands dirty to take any photos but by coincidence the rocket in our community garden is going to seed so here’s a surrogate photo instead!

Rocket going to seed
Self-sown lettuce and a cheeky little tomato

As I had Willa with me I took the pram and walked to Newtown. It should have taken me 36 minutes to walk, according to google maps, but with three different stops in Victoria Park (1. ducks, 2. feed, 3. nappy change) it ended up taking  an hour and a half! This is why I need to get back on the bike. If I’d ridden it would have taken about 15 minutes and I would have arrived before those needs arose (well excluding the ducks but there’s always time to stop for ducks).

Victoria Park
Bike locked up on King Street
Pentimento window display

On the walk back through Newtown I stopped in at Cheeky Transport, my favourite bike shop, to check out their baby bike seats and helmets. Their recommendation? The Yepp Mini, a front mounted child seat. There were none in stock so I put my name down and will get a call when they come in. I said I’d be happy with either the lime or orange, which do you prefer?


Willa also tried on a couple of helmets for size. This exercise reminded me of an eighties movie montage where teenage girls try on various hats but instead of over-actors in fluro clothes and spiral perms we had a rather mellow baby covered in banana and leftover rusk. We decided on the smallest one (I can’t remember the brand) and at half the price of the next model up I can totally cope with the cat and dog pattern.

Walking back through Victoria Park I spied these folks smoking lazily on the lawn in the dappled sunlight. Bike dropped casually beside them.


When I was waiting at the lights on the other side of the park this bike ninja pulled up. BIKE NINJA!


All in all a pretty awesome day!

Love Coco xx

Long time no talk!

by tillieandcoco

Dear Tillie,

So sorry it’s been ages since I’ve written! Naughty, naughty Coco! Let me fill you in on what’s been happening (admittedly not that much).

For Easter my husband and I went away with my parents, sister, and brother in law. We drove out to Lake Cargelligo, central west New South Wales, where my Mother’s side of the family live. It’s about an eight hour drive inland from Sydney and we shared the drive with my sister and her husband so we had to pack light, that meant no bikes. There is actually a lovely bike path that runs along the side of the lake (in case it wasn’t already obvious the town is built on a large lake, hence the name) but the only people I saw on bikes in the whole time we were there were visitors staying in the caravan park. Sad really. The town is quite small and a bike would be an ideal way to get around. You can walk around the whole town in about an hour, and it’s flat, so riding everywhere wouldn’t be a problem. Even though I missed my bike I was able to occupy myself with some fishing (we only caught carp, an introduced pest) and trashy magazine reading.

My husband’s favourite POV

Hugo really getting into the fishing

This is the smallest fish I caught and of course the only one my hubby took a photo of!

A highlight of the trip was catching a glimpse of the new Solar Thermal Power Station they are trialing 2km outside of town. I’m always curious about new green technology and this just fascinated me. Luckily my Dad had managed to meet with the head engineer a couple of weeks earlier and was able to explain it to us (I have no idea how Dad manages to rock up at a secure site and not only get invited in but get a private tour!). Basically large blocks of refined graphite (think the size of shipping containers) are mounted onto stands with the bottom of the graphite block exposed. Surrounding the blocks at ground level are mirrors which reflect and focus sunlight onto the bottom of the graphite blocks, heating them to an immense degree. The refined graphite is unique in its thermal properties, i.e. it heats up quickly but loses heat very slowly, which means it can hold high temperatures for days, even if it’s cloudy. Inside the graphite blocks are pipes which pump through water, which is turned into steam by the heat, that steam then powers turbines which feed electricity back into the grid and power the town. It’s brilliant!

Driving back to Sydney we also spotted some wind turbines. It was great to see green energy options being implemented.

If only more people used our favourite form of green transport- the humble bicycle!

Love Coco xx

Greenhouse by Joost

by tillieandcoco

Dear Tillie,

I have enjoyed the most wonderful day. It started off with a little bit of a sleep in, then a nice lazy breakfast bruschetta, followed by a ride along the waterfront to Greenhouse by Joost.

Greenhouse by Joost is a waste free pop-up restaurant. The building itself is made using the Productive Building system developed by Joost Bakker. Think reused shipping containers, chemical free, transportable and recyclable. All produce is delivered in returnable and reuseable containers. Wheat is milled on site (see photo below) for bread and pasta, and milk is churned for butter and cheese. Everything is organic and compostable (including the cutlery!) and the compost used on the rooftop herb garden.

I could go on and on but to put it succinctly it rocks and offered me a chance for guilt free indulgence. Check out their website here, but you’ll have to be quick as they’re only around til the end of March (though rumour has it they’ll be back later in the year with a permanent restaurant). It seemed only fitting I arrived by the greenest form of transport I know- my trusty bike Camilla.

I was rather bemused by this gate on the bike lane at Barangaroo
Approaching Greenhouse by Joost
Wall of strawberries!
My table
Looking to the right…
…and to the left
Wheat milling in action!
Morning tea
Pistachio and cherry macaroon. Divine.
Flat white
Rooftop parsley
Rooftop view of the Opera House
Rooftop view of my lonely bike Camilla
Shipping container art
Riding back under the Harbour Bridge
Graffitied car art in Walsh Bay
After my wonderful morning tea I rode back over to Darling Harbour and attended a talk by Tony Brown at the Australian National Maritime Museum regarding the new exhibition Tayenebe of Tasmanian Aboriginal women’s fibre work with my gorgeous sister. Then I rode home again. Bliss.
Love Coco xx