Green Beauty

    Living Naturally Ayurvedic Herbal Hair Mask (No-Poo 3)

    No-Poo has been really tough…

    Much tougher than I could have anticipated. I mean not washing your hair sounds like a challenge, but I would never have expected it to make my hair look so lank and greasy (that even a homemade arrowroot and cocoa dry shampoo could not rescue) I started to feel a bit lank and greasy on the inside too:(! Coupled with the daily aches of being a Mamma to a super busy toddler, that something had to give.  I know if no-poo worked for you, you are probably thinking, “surely no-poo is a time-saver?” Yes, if it works! Otherwise you’re just trying to find inventive ways of disguising the grease and in my case for nearly 4-months.  

    Is it just me, but when I am tired, no wait, exhausted, I just love and need to wash- this makes one feel much better about everything:  a lovely long, replenishing shower! I guess that I also craved running my hands through my hair without getting them caught on a knot! And also leaving it down- this is not a good look when your hair is clumped together with glue-like grease. 

    Perhaps hair like mine: very, very thick, was never going to take to the no-poo experiment well or that it might just take a lot longer. I gave it my best shot and refrained from all soap-based products and used rye flour, followed by cider vinegar and lavender hair rinse and followed this with a lavender  water rinse. And at the end of the day, there are so many natural options to choose from anyway, right? The lure and promise of clean hair for the rest of my life, without ever needing to wash it is still tugging at me (have I slightly exaggerated/romanticised the no-poo in my head, with visions of waking and giving my hair a shake and off I go?!) but that said, I may try again…

    Besides, my hair showed no signs of adapting to cleaning itself at all. And I waited for over 3-months, and this just feels like a very long period of time when you’re waiting for a miracle to happen. I read it should take 6-weeks for your hair to learn to clean itself, so  I had long surpassed this point and felt and looked poo! Anyhoo, no-poo does not mean a return to nasty and plastic packaged shampoos, I am still actively avoiding both the nasties like SLS and the packaging. So with this in mind, I turned again to the lovely Insta-discovery shop,  Living Naturally Soaps (aka soapnuts.co.uk).

    Who are Living Naturally?

    Living Naturally are based in the UK and produce among other things, a lovely range of handmade soaps and shampoo bars that come in a cotton bag. Mindful of avoiding wasteful packaging  and inspired by nature to create products that can be used by those suffering with eczema and psoriasis, their products are proof that we can place our trust in nature. And thank goodness for companies like this one!

    As part of their hair care range Living Naturally offer an Ayurvedic Herbal hair mask that contains an eclectic mix of ground ingredients that combine to give your hair the waw factor- I am very happy I ordered this little pot of wonder. The mask contains: amla, shikaki, Maka, brahmi, neem, tulsi, and organic hibiscus.

    The hair mask comes in a cute little tin pot (below) and you simply blend equal parts powder to water to use either as a mask, which is left on for minimum 10-mins or a shampoo. If  you’ve ever used Henna on your hair, it has a similar consistency but I assure you, it it much easier to rinse off.

    Clarifying herbal hair mask inspired by Ayurveda

    Ayurvedic Herbal Hair Mask

    As a shampoo…

    As you have the option of using the powder as a mask or shampoo, and I have tried it as both. I first used it the day it was delivered, last Saturday when I used it as a shampoo: made the paste, rubbed it into hair and scalp and rinsed it off. The results were perfect: my hair felt very clean, looked really healthy and it was unusually easy to brush. Given that my hair is prone to tangling, this impressed me.

    Ayurveda: inspired by nature

    Living Naturally Ayurvedic Herbal Hair Mask

    As a hair mask…

    This afternoon I decided to use it as a mask. I mixed it up, smothered all over my hair and left it for nearly 1 hour! (Bean is asleep so I caught up on some I-Player and pottered for a bit-a rare treat!). The results of leaving it on mean my hair is even shinier compared to when I used it just as a shampoo. I gave it a very good rinse and even though I think there are a few grain remaining (the only tiny criticism I have) my hair feels absolutely lovely. Again, as though  it is a flower or plant, fed some highly nutritious feed! In case you’re unclear, I would definitely recommend this hair mask!

    Next time…

    One thing I didn’t order from Living Naturally was their conditioning hair rinse. I did worry that the hair mask alone might leave the ends of my hair feeling dry but happily, my hair felt incredible. In fact as though it had been conditioned meaning the mask has deep condition properties as well…Although I am probably going to make their herbal rinse my next purchase.

    Final thoughts: 

    Even though I have declared I have given up on the no-poo challenge for the time being, I used this hair mask on Saturday and it has kept my hair looking really clean/grease-free until today: that’s 5-whole-days!

    I love a discovery that ticks all my favourite boxes:

    -handmade

    -100% natural

    -eco friendly

    -non-plastic reusable or recyclable packaging

    -cruely free

    -vegan

    Green Earth Green Eats/Health

    Kitchen compost

    Vegetable peelings and food waste

    I have been mulling the different purposes of the food waste caddy supplied by our locals councils, in my case Bristol City Council and home composting bins. I have heard people say they add paper and other non food items to their caddy but this just sounded wrong. It’s fascinating to think our food waste goes on a journey once the rubbish people collect it.

    According to Bristol city council’s website you can put:

    • bread, pasta, cereal and rice
    • cooked and uncooked food
    • dairy products and egg shells
    • fruit and vegetables
    • leftover food
    • meat, fish and bones
    • tea bags and coffee grounds

    You cannot put:

    • any other household waste
    • corn starch liners without the compostable logo

    You can learn more about what the council do with your food by visiting your local council’s website. Spoiler alert: it’s fascinating! The addition of the caddy food waste bin demonstrates that our local authorities have recognised the need for, and are participating in positive action to redirect our waste away from landfill so that it can become something a lot more useful such as biogas and fertiliser. The green fingered home composter is also playing their part, particularly when the food caddy option isn’t yet available in their area. By choosing to not add your vegetable and fruit peelings to the ‘general waste bin’ we avoid contributing to the greenhouse gas methane that builds up in landfill


    HOME COMPOST

    On the spur of the moment I gathered my vegetable peelings and put them in a really big jar with the hope of it becoming compost. Since discovering that many chocolate companies are now using compostable foil to wrap the chocolate in, I was encouraged to see whether it really does work. This along with wanting to start my own indoor herb garden is the impetus behind the impulse.

    Since adding my very muddy peelings which were from vegetables from the veggie box I have conducted a bit of research into home composting to make sure I’m on the right track. Although before I begin, I want to list the things that my instincts told me would fair well in a composting situ:

     

    vegetable and fruit peelings

     

    tea leaves

    coffee grounds

    paper shreds

    What foods will I avoid when home composting for the first time?

    I will avoid bread, garlic and any food items overly moist for now as I want to (cautiously) observe what happens to the above before getting adventurous, especially with food that might take longer than I expect veggies and tea and coffee grounds to break down. 

    What do you need to ensure your home compost will work?

    Just layer organic materials — garden clippings, dry leaves, kitchen vegetable scraps, shredded paper — and a dash of soil to create a concoction that turns into humus, the best soil builder around. Before you start piling on, recognize that there are two types of composting: cold and hot. – Better Homes and Garden

    I am cold composting, piling up vegetable and even garden waste in my pot and according to Better Homes and Gardens waiting for about a year for my ‘materials to decompose’ (!).  I guess gardening is a slow and patient art form. I will not be sealing the lid as air needs to enter the jar. 

    Therefore, this morning I am going to take a wander to my local park, Redland Green, and collect a handful of leaves and twigs and scrape a little bit of soil, bring it home and add it to my ‘compost’ to create the right environment for the materials to hopefully one day become ‘humus’.

    I will need to buy an organic soil for my herbs anyhow. I am determined to keep my homegrown herbs as organic as possible, eliminating the doubt that often accompanies the food we buy these day. Does anyone else question foods that have been labelled organic?

     

    Source: 
    recyclenow.com

    bristolcitycouncil.gov.uk

    betterhomesandgardens.com

     

    Green Family

    Castell Carreg Cennen

    While I predominantly use this platform to share ideas on sustainable living occasionally I like to share snippets of my family life and our days out.  And what better family day out is there than a visit to a very old Castle on the top of a mountain in Wales.

    Castell Carreg Cennen has been one of my favourite places to visit for a long time. I think it is the combination of driving through the black mountains which is a beautiful experience in itself and then being the first person to spot the castle in the distance as you get closer.

    I was not  that invested in history lessons when at school, perhaps they focused too heavily on Welsh chapels, workhouses, Welsh Not (which is quite a fascinating period of linguistic history and makes me proud to be a Welsh speaker) but overall didn’t take the subject very seriously or treat it with the interest and fascination I do now. I think if history lessons took place in castle’s like Carreg Cennen then as a subject it would be a lot more popular.

    I have always loved visiting Castles and Castell Carreg Cennen is one I feel I will always revisit. Plus on my most recent visit on Easter Sunday we discovered they offer bottomless coffee, an American concept that is actually appreciated when you are parents to a curious and feisty toddler.

    The car park at the bottom leads you to the cafe and shop, before you climb the steep but really easy walk up to the ruins. I love cafe’s and especially ones where everything on offer is homemade. The smells from the kitchen were divine. We had coffee, soup, sandwiches and lots of cakes were enjoyed. The only tiny qualm I have is that their menu was limited if you avoid dairy or are vegan:( (no dairy-free milk options either- but it’s OK I have become used to  black coffee).

    The views from the top are just sublime: rolling hills, farms, sheep, lots and lots of sheep and as it’s Spring, lambs too. All shades of green, clouds changing from light blues to ominous greys and of course we experienced a few rain clouds bursting above is- when in Wales…

    And although the Bean was determined to stay fixed in his poppoo on his father’s back, in the end it was probably the best place for him. The castle has some very steep steps and not really suitable for  a 20-month old to roam freely. Luckily, he seemed intent on being very lazy which gave us the chance to take in the views from the many vantage points.

    You can explore the surrounding areas and there are longer walks you can do to reach the castle starting from nearby Trappe and Llandeilo if you want to integrate the castle into a walking expedition.  Both of these little communities are worth a visit, and I am told that Llandeilo has a brilliant Gin bar!

    Green Earth Green Family

    Pottering and peace

    Sometimes days spent doing ‘nothing’ but pottering: picking flowers, wandering around, eating avocados and drinking lots of your favourite teas are the most peaceful and turn out to be your favourite of all. This has been our Easter Monday, and while we accomplished two walks and visited a castle over the Easter weekend, I have enjoyed the slow, meditative pace of just being today.

    Breakfast: avocados, chilli, lime and spinach cooked in garlic

    On the Sunday we visited Castell Carreg Cennin

    In fact, I think I appreciated it all the more because it started off quite catastrophically with three of us being knocked down again with a bout  of diarrhea and vomiting. The three of us, Bean, my mum and myself were out for at least 36 hours but thankfully made a full recovery in time for Good Friday and the festivities that were ahead. (It’s really frustrating being ill ahead of a long awaited party or long national holiday isn’t it?)

    The Bean loves to forage for flowers

    Although there has been busyness and lots of food has been eaten and drinks drank, one of my favorite parts was this afternoon when the Bean and I simply walked up and down and an old canal picking flowers, looking at the trees, the berries, the flowers about to bloom and the splashes of colour everywhere. Then we arrived back at the house drank tea, played and felt very serene and calm, a feeling that lasted all day long.

     

    Green Earth

    Zero waste home: a morning of contemplating our waste

    Bea Johnson: Dispelling misconceptions about ZERO WASTE living

    I attended an inspiring morning of talks on a subject of the utmost importance and close to my heart:  zero waste. Headlining the event is perhaps the person many consider to be the mother of the movement,  Bea Johnson. She was there to impart her advice for aspiring zero wasters and talk about how zero waste has changed her and her family’s life for the better.  

    The event was organised by Bristol based family-company Eco Living and compered by  London based zero waste vlogger, Kate Arnell, and held in Bristol’s iconic Arnolfini auditorium. The talks marked Bea’s first visit to the city.

    Prior to Bea’s talk, two other inspiring individuals, Michelle Cassar creative director at City to Sea Bristol  and Lizzie Carr, adventurer and environmentalist  shared their own experiences of plastic and more specifically plastic pollution, and how it has affected them and prompted them to to combat the problem. Both were equally captivating and I am in no doubt we will be hearing more from both in the future.*


    Who is Bea Johnson?

    Bea is a French native now based in California. Her lifestyle has catapulted her to prominence since starting her zero waste journey back in 2008. In that time she has published a book entitled ‘Zero Waste Home’ that  is available in 12 languages. The book contains tips and advice for others who are trying to live waste free.  In addition she has  travelled the world giving talks to curious audiences wondering how she maintains her lifestyle. She also keeps her blog and social media channels updated with daily/weekly posts, has been interviewed by numerous news outlets keen to scrutinise whether she’s telling the truth and how her  family of four produce just one jar of waste annually. Their home has even been under 24 hour CCTV surveillance to prove her doubters wrong.  She  claims the change in her family’s lifestyles has meant they now have experiences rather than stuff, they collect memories not souvenirs.

    I really liked that she opened her talk with what she doesn’t do. She was clearly keen to dispel misconceptions about living zero waste:

    • She doesn’t do no-poo – I guess she gets asked this a lot because a lot of people keen to embark on their own zero waste give up shampoo (I did!)
    • She doesn’t use moss she uses loo roll
    • She doesn’t use stingy nettles to make her lips bigger (confused? Bea was trying to find a zero waste option to replace her lip plumper. She decided to love her lips just as they are, and gave up on both natural and shop bought plumpers)!
    • She’s not a vegan (she’s been the recipient of online abuse from the vegan community). It is common to hear the argument that a vegan diet has the most positive impact on the planet.

    So, what does she do…

    She uses shampoo, but a bar without any packaging. She buys her loo roll in bulk wrapped in paper not plastic and makes her own make-up (her kohl recipe is said to be excellent).  What I really appreciated was the level of attention she gives to everything . For example she requested that the company who make her beauty oil remove the label so she is left with the glass bottle only. The labelling on jars is often an afterthought, so for those who buy produce in glass jars to avoid plastic, there remains limitations to our attempts at being conscious consumers, and we will still produce waste. She really has taken it to the  next level, and by listening to her talk you can feel her passion for making a difference.

    What is zero waste living? Living your life according to the 5-r’s.

    What are the 5 R’s of zero waste living? 

    1. Refuse: what you don’t need. Napkins are a common example as are plastic straws, but the list is endless and junk mail is also a problem and make a stand against unnecessary marketing paraphernalia and gimmicky things that are feeding an unhealthy economy
    2. Reduce: sort through your clutter and donate what you don’t need and use to local charity shops. Keep shopping trips and shop less, bringing less in reduces the opportunity for waste
    3. Reuse: replace your disposables with reusables: look around your home and especially in the kitchen and when out about, stop buying plastic water bottles and use water flasks instead, take tote bags and tupperware, tiffins and boxes when you shop
    4. Recycle: if you have refused, reduced and reused first and recycling is the only viable option then Bea suggests you get to know your cities waste policy and take it to the relevant place
    5. Rot: find out what you can compost and find a composting system that works for you

    There will often be things you won’t agree with, even if you really admire the person saying them. For me the second of the 5 R’s, reduce is one that perplexed me the most. Not because I disagree, as it happens I am currently having my own declutter and this is possibly why it resonates. It is more because I see that this is the problem and I can’t help feeling guilty about being part of this problem.

    When you consider all the stuff we have, surely we can’t all offload it hoping someone else will want it? Sorting through clutter and donating to charity shops is excellent and gives functional things a new home and lease of life. Yet it’s still shifting ‘stuff’ from one place to another. And if we all did this over and over again, then charity shops will be burdened with donations they can’t accommodate.

    And all the time we’re sifting through our clutter, more stuff continues to be  produced. It’s all bonkers. What need to change IS stuff: it needs to be reduced.

    Until about 70-years ago, most households would have primarily been functional with little decor and stuff. We have been catapulted into an insanely materialistic age that hasn’t done us or the planet any favours.

    Overall, Bea’s captivating talk reinforced my (and I am sure my fellow audience members) desire to make a positive impact in our own small but significant way. She reinforced the zero waste lifestyle and its powerful message.

    Sometimes fighting waste feels like a losing battle especially when there’s plastic everywhere. But I have faith and by educating our children as Bea has done, perhaps we can have a lasting impact on our wasteful ways and learn the art of living without stuff.

    Afterall stuff is a very 21st centur and until relatively recently a very Western problem and therefore responsibility lies with us to manage our waste and come up ith solutions to prevent more being produced.

    *I will include blog posts about both in the coming weeks 🙂

     

    Green Earth

    10 Tips to reduce your plastic pollution when food shopping

    For the first time in what feels like a looooong time I visited a supermarket with my sister to do a fairly big shop. The experience reminded me why I have stopped doing my main shopping in supermarkets: plastic!  Darn, insidious plastic is everywhere, it’s unavoidable and so normal that regular (often time-pressed) shoppers are unlikely to think about it, or if they are frustrated, they’re still trapped and will generally buy produce in plastic and other over-packaged items regardless.

     

    When I found myself in Sainsbury’s local late one Saturday evening (the local shops generally shut at 6) I realised how difficult it is to shop consciously and package-free. This local Sainsbury’s is so  small it doesn’t have a deli counter.  This meant we couldn’t purchase some of the items we wanted to buy, by weight and use our own containers to avoid single-use plastic. Instead we bought our olives, capers, roasted peppers and artichokes in glass jars (yes- we were having antipasto!). I’m not claiming the taste is better than those packaged in the fresh produce aisle, as the olives we purchased in jars were in brine and I generally think olives are tastier preserved in oil. Yet we decided to vote with our feet, stick to our guns and principles. We also bought unpackaged fruit and veg, a carton of almond milk (which comes in Tetra-Pak. This company claims to be responsible but I intend to read more about this) loose bread  rolls as there’s an in-store bakery at least.

     

    I realised supermarkets in their current form offer a desperately flawed shopping experience to shoppers with a package-free or zero waste approach to shopping. There isn’t really a viable option to avoid plastic packaged food without making exceptions, even if you really want to. Of course plastic as a material needs to be banned-it’s a no-brainer, but until it is the continued and extravagant use of a material that has unanimously been denounced by every scientist and environmentalist on the planet due to its toxicity and limited life span, should surely be managed better than it currently is. Eventually my hopes are it will be made illegal. I mean if you attract a taxed for carbon emission when driving certain vehicles (and rightly so) surely we should be doing the same to companies determined to use plastic?

     

    The other things is, I along with so many others, treat my decision to avoid plastic a lifestyle choice akin to being a meat-eater or a vegan. Products exist that meet the needs of these consumers. Supermarkets should give equal regard to their shoppers who have chosen plastic-free lifestyle, I am sure they’d be surprised just how many of their shoppers care about this issue.

     

    Until the world of economics stops influencing common sense, I have come up with the following tips that can be tried out  when food shopping in both mainstream and independent shops (because as such as far as I am aware there are only a handful or package free shops in the UK, and none of these are in Bristol, yet). So you can try some or all of the following when shopping:

      1. Buy jarred instead of plastic or better still take your own jar and fill up on*:
      • olives
      • pesto
      • antipasti (at the deli counter)
      • drinks
      • bread – lots of supermarkets have a loose bread and pastries section so you can avoid plastic 🙂
      • *I noticed that the express aisle was full of delicious foods that have become staples: hummus for one, olives for another and artichokes and sundried tomatoes which are clearly very popular with shoppers as they’re always available in the express shops not just the larger ones.

      2.Take your own produce bags, tupperware, tiffin boxes and so forth to scoop shops

      1. Order a veggie box and state ‘no plastic’ when placing your order (I did this and so far it has been plastic free, although I do wonder if this means I will never have kale or spinach? I will happily give them a box or produce bag to use instead)
      1. Stop using a bin bag, wash your bin instead
      1. Make your own from your scooped produce
      • homous
      • bread
      • dip
      1. Support local and buy your fruit and veg from local green grocers and take your own bags or use paper ones
      1. Take your own boxes to fishmongers and butchers
      1. order milk from the milkman which will be delivered in glass bottles that are collected washed, and refilled
      1. Take your own bags every time- the less plastic bags that are used, the less demand there will be to make them
      1. LOBBY- every time you identify an unnecessary use of packaging, then write to the company- email, call,  or start a petition – there is power in being a consumer so let’s  harness it and make a difference

      By doing some or all of the above, you will should notice that you produce less plastic during the week and in the process you’re having a major impact on:

      • the environment
      • the economy
      • the supermarkets
      • brands that aren’t participating in change- I have a major bugbear with babybel cheese stored in wax and wrapped in plastic just to include the brand name :(((

      Finally, because buying is voting  your choices can act to lobby brands and supermarkets to change their approach to waste management. You are letting them know the way they are dealing with it is just not acceptable to the modern enlightened green consumer:- which these days is pretty much every educated person out there.
      What are your top-tips? Leave your  top-tips in the comment section below 🙂