Monday, 30 April 2012

Colgate it aint!!

My lovely family laughed at me for washing my hair in bicarb and vinegar but funnily enough the only reaction I got when trying my own homemade toothpaste was EEUUGH! It's a taste you have to get used to and maybe some people would really have to remember hard why they're putting themselves through it really isn't that bad after a while!! It's quite interesting to see what actually goes into commercial toothpastes (Mother Nature Network - what's in your toothpaste) ,personally I'd prefer to keep it simple and know exactly what's going in my mouth!

Like many others before me, I've spent hours trawling the internet for alternatives to some of the basic toiletries, cleaning products and healthier food and this is the recipe I've stuck with for toothpaste, incredibly simple and quick to make.

4tbsp Bicarbonate of Soda
2tbsp melted Coconut Oil
3tsp  Xylitol (sugar substitute)
5-15 drops Peppermint Essential Oil (depending on taste)

Xylitol and Coconut Oil can be bought from most health food stores.
Simply mix it all up together until it forms a smooth paste and put into a glass jar or airtight pot, this should keep on your bathroom shelf for a few months perfectly fine. Either dip your toothbrush in or use a little spoon to dig some out and brush as normal.

Keep with it, you really do get used to it!!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Silent (ish) Sunday

If we don't look after the world, the world will not be able to look after us.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Charity Shops..... Love 'em or hate 'em!!

On the clothing front.... we all need new clothes at times and although we would love to buy green, sustainable and organic clothing the reality is that we are on a tight budget and just can't! I did go and browse around a rather lovely shop today full of these type of lovely clothes ....... but then looked at the price tag and only left with a £1.50, out of date, Permaculture magazine (much to the owners disgust!!)

Our conclusion is that buying the majority of our clothes from charity shops, car-boots and jumble sales is surely better than always buying brand new? So we feel we are doing our bit to recycle, re-use and keep these away from landfill for just a bit longer.

I tend to have a love / hate relationship with our local charity shops though, we live in a high tourist area, with lots of second homes so I guess they feel they can justify upping the prices a bit. The problem is that when a t-shirt from Asda costs less than an identical second-hand one from a charity shop, something isn't quite right. It feels very disheartening when you can't even afford anything from a charity shop!!  Over the last year we have avoided all the local ones and gone out of our way to drop off any things we had for charity to a tiny little shop, run by a great group of older ladies, where they have a table set out for a proper cup of tea for anyone who drops in and their prices are amazingly cheap.....we always have a browse and come out with more stuff (who can say no to books at 10p??)

This week we have also discovered another little charity shop gem ...Salvation Army!! They have this great idea of a loyalty card, you drop off  a decent size bag, you get £2 off your next purchase......not only that... when you buy anything over £5 your card gets stamped and when you have ten stamps you get £5 off too!! Genius!!   

I hope they have plenty of space because we are now de-cluttering for Britain !!  


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

No Poo!

Having an illness that is always going to be there and one that I will always have to take medication for, apart from making me almost rebel against seeing the Doctor about every little thing(!,) it has also made me think a lot more about what goes on my body as well as in it. One of the areas I wanted to experiment with was going shampoo free.... not only for the chemical free route but also because it would be so much cheaper!!

I'm sure some people I know would be horrified at knowing I don't shampoo or condition my hair anymore but I guess the fact that no-one has actually noticed any difference is  telling enough! I started this in November last year and haven't used any shampoo or conditioner since...think how much money I've saved!

If you look on the internet there are many different ways of doing this but I liked the look of this one from the great blog Living On A Dime. All you need is Bicarbonate of soda and Apple Cider Vinegar.....simple

1tbsp Bicarb in approx 8oz warm water = shampoo
1tbsp Cider Vinegar in approx 8oz warm water  = conditioner

I just make up each mix in an old shampoo bottle and these last me (medium length hair) for approx 4-5 washes. Wet hair first, squeeze on enough of the bicarb mix to wet through hair, rub well into your scalp and leave on for a few minutes. Rinse this off and then squeeze on the vinegar mix and rub in well and rinse off.....easy! 

No chemicals, no faffing about, no expensive shampoos and conditioners and lovely hair at the end...

I know other people have tried this and found they no longer even need the bicarb and vinegar to keep their hair clean, they just need to rinse their hair through with water...I still need to wash my hair approx every three days but I guess as with everything, we are all different!

After the initial jokes about smelling like a fish and chip shop (which I don't, I hasten to add!) I think I may be finally convincing the rest of the family to join me on this one..... slowly.......slowly...... 

Friday, 20 April 2012

Baby Steps...

I  work in a small shop where although cardboard is recycled, everything else isn't....this week it really hit home how much other 'stuff' gets slung in a black bag to trundle it's way off to landfill. Each week when new stock comes in, we end up with quite a few plastic reels amongst other things, the plastic is the kind which can't be recycled but I got to thinking there must be something they could be used for......? So after a word with my lovely boss, these as well as anything else I can grab will hopefully be heading off to Ulverston Scrapstore  a great charity that gets waste products from local businesses and passes them on to kids groups, schools etc for craft.

Just little baby steps......

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Ridiculous Recycling....

Today was recycling day, admittedly it hasn't been done for about a month and half and we've taken our lives into our hands every time we opened the cupboard door but.......this is a ridiculous amount!! There was half a bag of glass and tins and all the rest was plastic packaging, with milk bottles being the main culprit. All our paper and cardboard gets re-used in our woodburner to heat the house and water but this is still far too much.

Dave has been reading a book this week The Book Of Rubbish Ideas by Tracey Smith which gives tips on reducing rubbish through your home as well as trying to avoid it in the first place! Frighteningly it says that plastic bottles take 450 years - never to break down......450 YEARS!!!! That means that our milk bottles will still be around when our kids great, great, great (not quite sure how many but a lot!!).........grandchildren are alive......crazy.... and thats just one family!

So this has become a big issue for us, I'm not sure how to tackle it all yet but we have some ideas that may reduce this plastic mountain we produce each at local greengrocers, farm shops and markets where everything is not packaged in plastic, finding out if there is a local milkman that can deliver, cutting out processed, pre-packaged foods ......we'll keep the blog posted as we figure it out!  

On the plus side our lovely local farm shop Plumgarths have started doing big 25kilo sacks of local guess what we're eating for the next month!! 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


We had a lovely afternoon yesterday up at a friends smallholding, just having a nosey about, playing and chatting. The highlight of the afternoon for the kids was feeding some lambs which have either been orphaned or taken off their mothers to feed.
Happy Face!
After an encounter with a stroppy goose they may not make it to our wishlist!!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Amazing Nuts!!

One of the very first things we changed in our house was our washing powder, funnily enough we were really looking to save money, not so much thinking of how we could help cutting back on Phosphates etc. I had just joined a Frugal facebook group and someone had posted about these amazing little natural nuts which you could wash with, clean with, even make into soap.....I had to check it out just to make sure they weren't making it up!!  Well......I was hooked, ordered my first bagful off Ebay and we've been using them ever since. That was going back about a year now and for our family they work great, are much cheaper than washing powder or liquid and are completely, win. If you have really mucky clothes just put more soapnuts in the wash..simple!

( I know someone much further down the line of 'Green - ness' has mentioned that we should be making our own washing powder rather than importing these all the way from India, therefore raising our carbon footprint ....well maybe this is something for the future when this pack of soapnuts has finished...definately worth looking into. )

All we do with our soapnuts is pop about four into a small muslin bag, shove that into the washing machine with the washing and wash as normal. These amazing little nuts are also great for people with allergies and can be used in low temperature washes as well. I really can't tell you all the virtues of these and how I can't understand how so few people know about them!! This site is fantastic for learning all about them and how to use them in lots of different ways ..  Living Naturally - soapnuts

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Jump right in.....

We've been thinking about how to 'go greener' for a little while now so I guess our first few posts (or more!) will be going over some of what we have learned already. We are definitely not experts and this is not a blog of what you should or shouldn't do, it is just us sharing what we learn along the way and hopefully inspiring others to make some changes in their lives as well. We would love to hear from anyone with more experience or other ideas we might like to try as well.

Although we have always recycled like good citizens it's only been within the last year or so that we have become much more aware of lots of other areas where we could be working harder to help ourselves and the environment around us, from what we put in our bodies and on our bodies to what goes in our bins! Along the way we will explore lots of different areas and head towards our 'Big Dream' (see tab above)