The other day someon asked me about my razor. They assumed that safety razors where more dangerous than the plastic disposable kind we have grown accustomed to, the PLASTIC kind. I said it wasn’t, that they’re simple to assemble and showed her. Then I decided that perhaps others were on the fence, unsure whether to #DITCHTHEIRDISPOSABLES and reach for the reusable. This video above demonstrates just how SIMPLE it is. Plus don’t you think they’re just so gorgeous?
Five reasons you need to switch to a reusable razor:
They’re reusable-it’s a no brainer #reuserevolution
A safety razor will save you money in the long run
They’re completely recyclable
They’re very stylish
It is estimated that in the US alone, 2Billion disposable razors are thrown away every year- which is a lot of plastic in landfill or our waterway
Perusing charity shops has been one of my favourite pastimes for over 15-years. I love the eclectic offerings, finding treasures and saving a lot of money. The image below encapsulates all of the above and demonstrates the quirkiness charity shopping can offer.
These days there is a growing interest in all things #upcycled and #preloved and initiatives, even movements that encourage and promote buying less/wasting less, re-purposing, reusing and recycling.
As a result, charity shops and social enterprises have come into their own, and their significance has shifted and their purpose elevated (alongside shops promoting local produce and that offer long lasting, ethical and sustainably sourced produce).
And as the movement grows, charity, local and higher welfare shops will undoubtedly become more important in our lives. After all, if we are collectively going to have a positive effect on the planet, and try to slow or even reverse the impacts of global warming, then we need to reflect on our current shopping habits.
Christmas is a crazy time of year. Families reunite, friend’s reconnect and all the merriment of Christmas is often underpinned with the need to gift. With all the normalised craziness going on, this Christmas could be a good time to reflect on your own shopping habits, and if you can implement positive change: ie, buy less, buy local, buy homemade, avoid packaging and plastic and try as you might to buy preloved or if choosing to buy brand new, make it ethical and compostable, then do it. By acting on your eco-consious endeavours, it means you are voting with your feet. Millions of people carrying out small acts such as avoiding packaged gifts, with have a combined positive impact. Most importantly, don’t doubt your intentions. I did this a lot. For example, I would feel sheepish about using my reusable stainless steel straw in cafes and pubs. It takes a bit of adapting to, but soon enough it’ll become second nature. And, even more refreshingly, you’ll find you’re in very good company.
In London, my favourite charity shop was Oxfam in Camden town. It was laid out like a boutique, and somewhere in the realms of SDIG, is a post containing a lot of pictures illustrating its beauty! Now that I am based in Bristol, one of my absolute favourite charity shops (with an epic cause) is the Brandon Trust.
About the Brandon Trust: services for people with learning disabilities and autism
Founded in 1994, the Brandon Trust supports approximately 1,600 children and adults with learning difficulties and autism in southern England. According to their website, there are 1.5-million people in the UK with learning difficulties. Even though the life chances and opportunities for those with learning difficulties and autism have vastly improved over the 20-years since the Brandon Trust was formed, a recent figure suggests that only 7%of people with learning difficulties will be in employment.
At Brandon Trust we’re striving to change this. We inspire the people we support to set themselves free so they can reach for their dreams and be all they can be.
-Brandon Trust, ‘About us’ page
Their shops sell the usual preloved clothes and wares, but also stock a lot of handmade products, such as ceramics, homemade **jams** & **chutneys** and dried flowers, products from their various social enterprises.
Elm Tree Farm, Banwell Pottery and Fired Up are Brandon Trust enterprises.
Elm Tree Farm in Stapleton is a working farm where the chutneys, jams, apple juice, soap and MORE are produced.
Banwell Pottery and Fired Up based in Weston-Super-Mare and Yate respectively, produce the ceramics and pottery you find in their shops(such as the red toadstool above and below)! Their enterprises are clearly proactive, engaging and have a really positive influence on those who participate in these enterprises.
I purchased my Christmas decorations from the Brandon Trust shop on the Whiteladies road (pictured below is the wicked display) and all are all handmade.
Jams & preserves
As more and more people wake up and become eco-conscious, the way we shop or rather what is made available to shoppers (what once facilitated our lifestyles) will inevitably change. That’s why the Brandon Trust (and all charity shops) are a valued presence on our street.
Not only do they offer roles to people who might not otherwise be in paid employment, the homemade offerings are made locally, support local craftsmen and women, and receive your unwanted clothes, making these available to shoppers who will adopt them, to see them through another life-cycle. #30wears
The Brandon Trust is an excellent place to do some Christmas shopping if you are looking for something homemade, ethical, local- it ticks all the boxes. If you want to buy preloved, then it ticks this box too. Even just out of curiosity, pop in- their shops are laid out with thought and are unlike most other charity shops around, which is why its my go-to and favourite : )
My shopping list (under £30):
Apple juice for Mum £4.50 – You can reuse the bottle afterwards
Chutney for Dad £3.00- #reuse the jar afterwards
Jam for Grandma £3.00 – #reuse the jar afterwards
Ceramic mushrooms or gingerbread people for sisters from £1.50.
Screen-print shoppers for my friends £8.50 – excellent to promote #plastic-free shopping
Dried flowers for me! £4.50 – to decorate the house. Only downside is they come wrapped in #plastic 🙁
Because the first batch of Christmas in a cleaner (vinegar infused with Christmas smells) was so gorgeous, and moving with the Christmas theme, I wanted to try out my first air freshener, nostalgic of everyone’s favourite Winter festival.
I did a quick ecosia (instead of Google! and planted another tree in the process hihi!) and happened upon a very, very simple recipe. And, seeing as its my first attempt, its raining cats and dogs and I have the two ingredients the recipe required, it seemed obvious to experiment with this one first.
I have edited it bit however, by adding leftover whole spice and baked and dried orange peel, I have from the first batch of Christmas cleaner.
You will need:
2tsp baking powder
Whole spice and/or Christmas essential oils. I used tangerine
A spray bottle
As simple as ABC:
Put all of your ingredients in a jar. Shake and open the lid to release some of the gas. Leave for about 24 hours. Use the funnel to sieve out the whole spice and transfer to an empty spray bottle. It really is as simple as that!
I have infused a blend of vinegar and water with the smells that denote winter and Christmas meaning with each spray, you are enveloped by the nostalgic cosy scents that are always in abundence at this time of year. Its gorgeous ❤.
I have infused vinegar’s before with rose, lemon balm and lemon peel. But this one is by far the best of all the infusions so far!
I am still on a journey to creating and maintaining a toxic-free home, which means I am still very much in the early, experimentation stage. A stage I actually really enjoy! I think I have it sussed with regards to the general household anti-bac spray; I just need to do a bit more research and exploration into the following:
…if I intend to go totally chemical-free.
In making homemade products, you are also able to cut-down on your plastic consumption in addition to reducing toxins you aren’t sure are good for your skin or general health. I can remember working as a dishwasher while studying my art foundation course in Swansea, many moons ago now. In order to make the plates and cutlery extra shiny, I was instructed by the boss to use **bleach**. Not only does bleach smell horrific, it also had a terrible effect on my skin: my hands became blistered and very sore.
While I wasn’t there very long, the restaurant didn’t own washing-up gloves to protect my hands, so the overall experience while really bad at the time, has actually reinforced my desire to rid my house of these nasty chemicals. I mean you can actually drink this Christmas cleaner, where as I am pretty sure drinking bleach would harm if not, kill you-yikes! If memory serves, I think the female victim in ‘An Inspector Calls’ died from drinking bleach:(
The result of this Christmas fusion is so good I plan to make more and distribute among friends and family. You can also use as a hair conditioner, and why not?!
What you’ll need to bottle Christmas:-
•Empty spray bottle
• Tsp of cloves
•Tangerine or frankincense essential oils
•Cider or white vinegar
Bake the orange peel and cinnamon in the oven at 150 degrees for about 15-mins or until the orange peel has dried out.
Then, add 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water to your empty clean spray bottle.
Add your cloves, peel cinnamon and essential oils.
Leave to infuse for about 24 hours to appreciate the smells, although its immediately useable as an antibac spray!
If like so many others (including my husband) you still feel uncertain about the powers of vinegar in zapping your bacteria, then read my post ‘Infused vinegar‘ to get the lowdown on what vinegar contains to make it so effective. Trust me, it WORKS!
And if you are worried how your spices and peel will come out of the spray bottle, you could just use a large jar. This would make it much easier to replace the dry ingredients once they’ve lost their potency. You can then compost these ?
I found this great website selling beautiful Fairtrade and handmade storage baskets. Instagram can be a world of discovery at times. I’ve actually come to know about a number of ecoconsious brands simply by clicking, reading and clicking some more.
I guess a visual portal such as instagram is the perfect platform to market a shops splendours.
This particular basket is therefore, an insta-discovery. Purchased from a shop called ‘ollieella’ it’s Fairtrade and also ‘handmade with love.’ As it should be, right.
Bean had lots of little toys that needed their own place to live. This is the perfect solution and size. Plus it’s really beautiful and compliments the theme of our living room (north African) beautifully. I’ve earmarked it for my bedroom once the Beans no longer needs so many tiny toys.
Their website is a real find and full of beautiful children’s toys made out of wood and other sustainable materials. Wood is a far more sustainable option for toys, that will breakdown if becomes unwanted and discarded to the bin in years to come (although hopefully by this point,it will have been preloved over and over).
While olliella are not predominantly ecoconsious, their shop does align with one whose aspiration it is to become a more conscientious, ethical shopper, preferring to buy products made from organic materials and, as is the case with this basket, fairtrade.
If you like the sound of the site, go and have a visit.
Upcycled creations proves that there’s life left in the old dog yet. Unwanted or broken drawers can become shelves that look really stylish. These are versatile and will look good in their original state or could be edited with wrapping paper, paint, collage, montage or whatever else you can think up. I found examples of these on various blogs:
I think these would look good in a kitchen to store your vegetables and jars. This picture was actually taken in the Anthropolgie store, New York. If you have a room big enough, a wall of drawers will become an eye catching addition to your space as well as being functional.
Source: vi.sualize.us. More inspiration for kitchen storage. These shelves have different patterned paper in the background which you would also adapt to suit your own colour scheme. Charity shops are great places to source roll ends of wallpaper and wrapping paper.
An amazing find from recreate.za.net. This website is truly inspiring as it has pushed the boundaries by using old things and giving them a new purpose. Recreate has stretched the imagination of recycled interiors. We love these suitcase chairs, the milk bottle lamp, the type writer desk light, the stool and the weighing scales clock.
Shopping trolley chair. Junk becomes a chair. Net time you see a trolley looming in the bushes or floating in the canal, think of this chair. It still has life left in it as Greener Ideal demonstrates.
Recycled crate chairs and letter box tables. Crates and palettes are the buzz word in the upcycling world. Their versatility knows no bounds. These crates are a wonderful example of this.
Wawzers- who ever realised upholstery could be this exciting! Could inspire the upholster in you? Especially if you have a piece of furniture that simply needs a bit of creative love and attention…This is beautiful.