Category Archives: eco

AD Just Add Water – Don’t have it Shipped!

Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free. It is classified as an AD due to containing affiliate links. If you click on any NeerSol link in this post and purchase a product or make a crowdfunding pledge, I may earn affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own.

A household produces on average 11-25 kg of non-food plastic packaging waste every year, as per research by NeerSol!

I’m always keen to find more sustainable alternatives to adopt, so I was pleased to hear about NeerSol who are crowdfunding for their idea of eco cleaning tablets. Their strap line is Just Add Water – Don’t Have It Shipped which is an excellent ethos, along with their focus on reducing plastic waste. Did you know that most liquid cleaning products comprise about 80-95% water. So by purchasing tablets, you reduce the carbon footprint of shipping the solvent.

NeerSol glass cleaning tablets

They will be restocking with plenty of kits and refills in November/December after the crowdfunder, but in the meantime they sent me a free refill sample pack containing 4 of their glass cleaning tablets.  Also suitable for cleaning mirrors. This refill pack is entirely packed in paper / cardboard which you may either recycle or compost, so reducing single-use plastic waste that may potentially end up in the ocean, plus it easily fits through your letterbox. The NeerSol range also includes both all-purpose and bathroom cleaning tablets, and they are planning on introducing more products next year.

NeerSol glass cleaning tablets

Now as I just got the tablets only, I did need to find a suitable bottle that I could reuse for this but if you purchase a kit, it comes with a reuseable bottle which has a spray nozzle attachment.

The directions on the packet advise you to half fill a 350ml container with warm tap water and then drop in the tablet. Wait for the tablet to fully dissolve before filling the rest of the bottle.

As my bottle was larger than 350ml, I decided it would be best to measure it in a jug and it was a good job I did, since I had deliberately chosen a bottle with a narrow neck because I didn’t have a spray bottle. However I hadn’t factored in that the tablet was too big to fit through a narrow necked bottle.

NeerSol glass cleaning tablets

Now one thing that isn’t specified in the directions is how long it will take for the tablet to dissolve. I naively assumed this would be a couple of minutes, but it was actually over half an hour, even with stirring, by which time the water was fairly cool. So do allow yourself plenty of time. I wonder if there is any particular reason, it states to use warm water, as I’m sure it would be quicker if you could use hot or even boiling water for dissolving.

I put a little on a cloth and tested it out on an internal window. Initially I thought it was going to be a little smeary, but a bit more rubbing and it looked perfect. Also no over-powering synthetic cleaning smell. Job well done.

NeerSol glass cleaning tablets

Another big plus point of this product is that it contains no SLS, Bleach, Phosphates, Triclosan, Parabens, Ammonia or VOCs (volatile organic compounds) so reducing your family’s exposure to hazardous toxic chemicals typically found in traditional non-eco cleaning brands. Instead it is formulated of the following components – plant-based surfactant, food-grade chelating agent and preservative, 100% natural essential oil fragrance so much more enviromentally friendly for the future of our planet. Also it has not been tested on animals.

From a price point of view, you are probably aware that you tend to usually pay more for green eco products. Well NeerSol have carried out some market research which indicates that legacy brands are £1.70 – £2.50 per litre and other eco cleaning brands are £2.80 – £5 per litre. However NeerSol tablets are £1.75 per litre making them much more budget friendly on your wallet.

You can check out the NeerSol crowdfunding campaign here. They are offering some great discounts for backing them.

In summary, NeerSol cleaning tablets are a great sustainable innovative product. I’d love to hear what eco-friendly swaps you have made.

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AD Claim your freebies to help save water, money and the environment

Disclosure.  This post contains links to the Save Our Streams campaign. I may earn commission on completed campaign questionnaires.  All opinions are my own.

waste less water

Regular followers of my blog will know that I am passionate about the environment, so when I was recently asked if I could help to promote the Save Our Streams campaign, my answer was a resounding yes. This campaign helps both the environment and the consumer’s pocket.

Save Our Streams

The water we drink comes from our local environment, flowing through nearby rivers and streams.

Save Our Streams is the UK’s biggest ever water saving initiative, focused on saving our incredibly rare chalk streams, and the habitats they provide for local wildlife.

They have made it easy with lots of free water saving devices and bespoke expert advice for you. Get started by entering your postcode – it’s quicker than making a cup of tea.

The advice will help you with ideas on how to reduce your water consumption, plus the associated environmental and financial impact.

Here are some of the tips.

water saving

This is something I’m very guilty of exceeding, as I find it so relaxing standing under a hot shower, that time just passes by. A navy shower would be even better, but that would definitely be a step too far for me. However one of the freebies is a shower timer, which I could definitely do with.
water saving

I’ve already ticked this one off years ago.

water saving

And this one, definitely no need for a full kettle just for one cup of tea.

water saving

Wow I knew this would be bad but I am surprised by the magnitude of this statistic. I’ve been planning to look into purchasing a water butt, so I ought to bump that up my list. I have a broken gutter which I stand a watering can under, and it does fill quickly in the rain.

The time of day can be key too. Did you know that it is best to water in the morning or the evening to avoid evaporation.

I did the questionnaire myself although I wasn’t entirely sure of some of the answers. For instance, I’m wondering by process of elimination whether I have a gravity shower. However I was very pleased to see the question regarding using a washing-up bowl. I always do that, but so far have been unable to persuade my other half to do similarly.

Freebies on offer include:-
Regulated Shower Head
Shower Regulator
4 Minute Shower Timer
Plant Water Saving Gel
Universal Sink Plug
Bubblestream Swivel Tap Aerator
Regulated Tap Insert Twin Pack
Buffaloo Cistern Bag
LeakyLoo Detection Strips

Anyone can fill in the quick questionnaire for personalised water saving advice, but consumers need to be in the following geographic area to redeem their freebies or to have leaks repaired for free.

– Bedfordshire
– Berkshire
– Buckinghamshire
– Essex
– Hertfordshire
– Surrey
– Some London Boroughs

Here is a funny video of Sandi Toksvig promoting the Save Our Streams campaign.

 

I’d love to hear your top tips to waste less water.

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Veo, the sustainable marketplace plus giveaway

Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Sustainability is the number one word for me when it comes to shopping these days, but in general it does tend to take a lot more time and effort researching what to buy where, so I was very pleased to hear about Veo World. They have taken out the hard work by liaising with reputable ethical independent brands to bring quality products to the online sustainable Veo Marketplace. I was even more delighted to be selected as a brand ambassador for Veo and to have the opportunity to tell you all about them.

Broadly speaking, the Veo Marketplace encompasses fashion, beauty, food and homeware. They have put together curated selections of these categories of products, in order to showcase some of the brands they collaborate with. I have received their curated selection of food and drink products free to review and promote.

Veo World selection

The contents of my box were as follows:-

75g Cocoa Husk Tea from The Cocoa Concept
Adrift 20cl botanical non-alcoholic spirit from Pentire Drinks
Three 30g packets of Gnawbles snacks from Creative Nature
32g Rich Chocolate Protein Powder from Bodyhero
35g Minty Mylk Chocolate bar from Mr Popple’s Chocolate

All carefully packed in a cardboard box with paper shreddings and then in a home compostable mailing bag.

Cocoa Husk tea

Cocoa Husk tea is a very clever sustainable innovative idea to make tea using the outer shell of the cocoa bean, a by-product when harvesting the cocoa beans, which would otherwise go to waste. We found this tea very refreshing and loved its chocolatey flavour and smell. What a win-win of an idea in developing this product. And after use, the cocoa husk can be added to your compost or garden soil. This is the shortest dated product with a best before date of 30/9/21, which is plenty of time.

Cocoa Husk tea

The tea packet itself is labelled as oxo-degradable, with a rubbish disposal image alongside. I had to look up this terminology and effectively it is a greenwashing term, as although it should degrade within a couple of years, it will only degrade into micro plastics which will then be around for 100s of years, so I assume that will be why it shows the rubbish disposal image. Perhaps Veo will be able to give the brand a nudge as regards their packaging. Such a great sustainable product deserves not to have their credentials dulled by greenwashing. It would be better to just say dispose in rubbish, although hopefully the brand is investigating other packaging alternatives, which can still keep the tea fresh.

Adrift non-alcoholic spirit

Adrift is a distilled coastal botanical non-alcoholic drink from Cornwall. Now I don’t really know much about spirits, either alcoholic or non-alcoholic, so I was hoping that either the bottle or the marketplace would give me some guidance on how to serve, but unfortunately not. I guess they are assuming that their customers would all know what to do, so I went with my instinct and measured out 20ml of Adrift, added some ice and topped my glass up with lemonade. But maybe that was the wrong choice of mixer, as certainly lemon was the dominant flavour although I could detect hints of something else pleasant. I subsequently read that lemon juice was one of the ingredients.

Gnawbles snacks

The Gnawbles were a big hit with all the family although we had different choices as to which of them was our favourite flavour out of Super Salted Caramel, Cheeky Choc HazelNot or Creamy Mylk Chocolate. These have a light crunchy cereal middle covered in chocolate. They are vegan, gluten free, no palm oil and nut free, yes even the HazelNot. According to the marketplace, there is also a fourth flavour called Brilliant Orange Cacao which sounds like it should be just as yummy. Surprisingly the packaging type varies across flavours with Creamy Mylk in 1 PET, whilst the other two are in 5 (polypropylene). Some of the supermarkets are now starting to take these soft plastics for recycling.

Bodyhero chocolate shake

Now I don’t possess a shaker so I did the best I could at mixing the chocolate Bodyhero powder, and I must have made a reasonable attempt, as son1 who had requested this particular drink whilst the adults focussed on the tea and spirits, gave it the thumbs up. And he did let us all have a taste too. This product is vegan with the main ingredient being pea protein. The packet indicates it is also suitable for blending into smoothies or adding to good fats for a keto diet. This is another soft plastic packet, this time 4 LDPE. And I see that there is a Bodyhero shaker for sale on the marketplace for which they plant one tree per order. Another plus point.

Mr Popple's chocolate

The Minty Mylk bar of Mr Popple’s Chocolate also got a very positive taste reaction from all of us. Its credentials are equally impressive with the packet indicating that it is organic, vegan, raw, no refined sugars, no palm oil, gluten free, soya free, ethically traded and sustainably grown, along with home compostable packaging. Plenty of other flavours in the range but you will have to be quick for this one as it is a limited edition.

These are just a small sample of the selection of products available from the Veo marketplace. I certainly recommend Veo for the breadth of ecofriendly brands they have partnered with. Do have a browse around to see the full range. I’m off to check out their sustainable underwear next.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition, courtesy of Veo to giveaway a similar selection of products to one lucky winner!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

I’d love to hear your favourite product on the Veo marketplace or your suggestions of other sustainable additions you would like to see there. My two favourites from those I received are the Mr Popple’s chocolate and the Cocoa Husk tea.

UPDATE 3/8/21
I now have an offer to pass on to my readers – £10 off your first order at Veo using the code: YABM10. This is valid for the first 10 people to use only.

How Green Reco Laundry Detergent Sheets?

Disclosure.  This post is a review of  a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Early last year I was introduced to Reco toothtabs, which I’ve been purchasing on subscription since reviewing them as they are my favourite plastic-free toothpaste that I’ve tried to date.

When you browse round the Reco webshop, you will see they also sell a good range of eco-friendly products from other trusted brands. But they are now about to launch their second own product and they sent me a trial pack to test out in advance for free. And no it is not a dental item this time. May I present …..

….. Reco Laundry Detergent Strips

Reco Laundry Detergent Sheets

I certainly haven’t seen or heard of anything remotely similar, so was only too happy to put these to the test.

First the packaging is cardboard and according to their website, it has already been recycled. You can either recycle or compost this. Plus it easily fits through the letterbox. No plastic bottle or capsule. Did you know that it is estimated that only about 9% of all plastic waste has ever been recycled!

Reco Laundry Detergent Sheets

Moving onto the information displayed on the packaging or website, I immediately felt confused when I read the composition. A lot of chemical sounding words plus warnings of skin irritation. This didn’t sound as eco as I hoped, although the website does say safe for the environment – OECD 301B certified biodegradable. More jargon that I don’t understand. Hopefully when they launch they can make this side of things clearer for the consumer.

My personal wishlist in this regard for an eco laundry product would be to see clear bullet points along the following lines.

Natural Ingredients
No chemicals
Cruelty free

So I would be very interested to hear which of these it ticks. I totally get its plus points over a liquid detergent as regards plastic and carbon cost. But I’m going to play devil’s advocate now and ask what are its plus points over a powder detergent, besides less cardboard? I hope its not a case of greenwashing!

Reco Laundry Detergent Sheets

The product itself comes in lightweight perforated sheets of two strips which are simple to split. The instructions indicate that one strip will be sufficient unless you live in a hard water area and your washing load is heavily soiled, in which case two strips are recommended. I have soft water here.

Reco Laundry Detergent Sheets

The directions tell you to put the strip in the back of the washing machine drum before loading your laundry. It has a strong pleasant fragrance before use and I found my laundry to have a hint of this after they had dried on the line. As regards effectiveness, it was great on general soiling like food stains but didn’t really impact long-term stains like armpits at 40 degrees, which it is fair to say is on a par with most products. And it dissolved perfectly. In fact the website indicates that they dissolve instantly in cold or hot water.

I couldn’t see any mention of whether they expected you to use them in conjunction with fabric conditioner or not. However this is a product I stopped using a couple of years ago, and in my opinion the Reco laundry sheets worked fine without the use of fabric conditioner.

Reco Laundry Detergent Sheets

So to summarise, an effective laundry product which is definitely more environmentally friendly than a liquid detergent or capsule, but I would like more clarity on the rest of its eco-credentials. In the meantime I’ll be sticking to using horse chestnuts or soap nuts for my laundry.

And if you can’t wait until the product launches to give it a try, how about seeing if you get lucky in their giveaway to win a year’s supply of Reco Laundry Detergent Strips worth £100!

I’d love to hear what is your favourite product from Reco or your suggestions for additions to the range. And don’t forget to check out the Reco blog too, where I see they are on the same wavelength as me, when it comes to cleaning with vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.

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Boostology here to give you and the planet a boost

Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Regular followers of my blog will know that I am passionate about the environment and keen to support small independent UK businesses who are of a similar mindset to me. Boostology+ is a brand who caught my eye recently and they have now sent me a liquid hand soap in a glass bottle free to review.

Boostology liquid soap

These days where possible I buy loose bar soap as the best zero waste option. However there are plenty of reasons when only a bottle of liquid soap will do and I’m not just talking hand wash because of coronavirus. For example how about when you have been touching raw meat or someone in the household has a skin infection or for guests. Or it could just be a space issue, as the wash basin in our downstairs toilet, is too small to balance a soap dish, (see photo further down). Previously I’ve only seen liquid soap in  plastic bottles, so I was delighted to find this in an attractive amber glass bottle.

Boostology packaging

Dispatch was very prompt and the package was carefully packed with a prominent fragile warning sticker. Another label inside described how it is an eco-friendly parcel, telling the customer that the box and brown paper packing tape can be recycled together. Also that the natural starch beads are biodegradable and compostable. Thumbs up!

Boostology packaging

Looking at the glass bottle, I was very pleased to see how easy the pump mechanism is to open and close. Opening pump-operated bottles is something that has defeated me on several occasions in the past. Or it could just be me, as also trigger spray bottles seem to stop working for me about half way through most bottles, but that is a problem to resolve another day. The pump is the only component which is still plastic, so it would be great if Boostology+ could perhaps introduce a liquid soap refill option with a metal lid to the range, for returning customers to purchase.

Moving on to the soap itself, I found it lathers up well and the peppermint and eucalyptus fragrance is amazing. I love it, and big plus point, you would certainly know if your kids say they have washed their hands but haven’t actually done so. They also stock a hand sanitiser in the same flavour.

Boostology liquid soap

I’m a firm believer in using one product for multiple purposes, so I also tried this in the shower as well as for hand-washing. It is absolutely brilliant in the shower, my skin felt really moisturised. And the Boostology+ tagline of each product is designed to give you, and the planet, a boost really comes into its own, as it gave me a fab boost especially the aroma which left me feeling tingly and revitalised, ready for the day. Great feeling for well-being. The product’s name Revive is spot on in this regard. I shall be trying it on my hair next.

It is a convenient 250ml size, made of 100% natural ingredients including 25% organic ingredients, essential oils and coconut oil. Plus it is palm free, vegan, cruelty free and handmade. The coconut oil will provide antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. There are 5 symbols on the bottle for things like vegan, but I’m not sure what the second one down means, so it would be helpful to be able to match these symbols against meanings on the product webpage. Yes it is more expensive than you would pay for soap in a supermarket, but look at all its qualities that I have listed above. I would certainly be more than happy to buy this and support a small independent UK business.

Boostology liquid soap

This product in its beautiful amber glass bottle would make a lovely gift for a friend. Also a helpful nudge in showing options for reducing plastic, if they are not already taking steps in that direction. Boostology+ has lots more great gifts in the range besides natural skincare, like jewellery, candles, face masks, diffusers and essential oils. Do take a look at the full range on their website, which is extra user-friendly with its filtering options by category, occasion, speciality or values. Each of their gifts is kind to you and has minimal impact on the environment. The range encompasses natural, organic, vegan, plastic free, handmade, reusable and made in the UK. They also offer a 60 day refund policy.

Boostology liquid soap

Having tried the Revive soap, I’m now very tempted to try their volcanic potpourri in the same peppermint and eucalyptus scent, a product sold exclusively by Boostology+ I did have to swap to browsing on my phone to discover this, as the drop down list of six scents seemed to be incompatible to view on my MacBook.

Returning to the sustainability angle of the packaging, it was great to read all the eco-information on the label and see how Boostology+ have taken steps for a plastic free delivery. But as a consumer I wish to pose more questions. Does that mean home compostable or would it require an industrial composter? How about an estimate of how long the beads take to biodegrade and what conditions are required. For instance, it partially defeats the purpose if the consumer then tips those beads into a plastic bin bag, ties it up and sends it to landfill. Also stickers are not generally recyclable, as the adhesive can get caught in the recycling equipment, so are the ones used here okay in that regard or not? If not, then how about warning the consumer to remove the labels before recycling. Yes they are probably better than self-inking stamps, but is there an even better solution? Maybe the eco-friendly details could be emailed on the order confirmation and “Fragile” could be hand-written.

Boostology liquid soap

I was very pleased to read that Boostology+ plant a tree for every order placed, no matter how small the order. A good step to help tackle the climate crisis. And they recycle all their office waste and use 100% renewable electricity at their HQ (from solar, wind and hydro-electric power stations).

So to summarise, I highly recommend both this product and brand.

And I’d love to hear your top tips for eco-friendly bathroom swaps you have made.

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Eco-friendly Frugal & Green Lens Cleaner

Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I am really excited to tell you about a new sustainable product which will be launching on Kickstarter towards the end of next month. This is an eco-friendly lens cleaner and I have received a 5-year supply free to review.

Frugal & Green eco-friendly lens cleaner

This brilliant concept has been thought up by two friends Marin and Alex who have named their brand Frugal & Green. And that name is so apt for a product which is not only great for the environment and planet but saves you money at the same time.

Frugal & Green eco-friendly lens cleaner

The product comprises of two bottles – a tiny one containing 50 tablets and a pocket-size empty spray bottle, which will easily fit in a handbag. You fill the spray bottle with tap-water and add a tablet, which quickly dissolves, a similar process to my daily routine with mouthwash tablets.

There is no information on the bottle regarding the ingredients of the tablets, but the website advises that the contents are eco-friendly too. Apparently a cloth is also included with the product, but as I didn’t receive one, I am unable to comment on what it is made of.

Frugal & Green eco-friendly lens cleaner

The current retail price is €24.99 which is approximately £22 , but there will be a 33% Early Bird discount on Kickstarter. That is amazing value when you consider it will last about 5 years! Frugal & Green estimate the price to be about 10 times cheaper than plastic alternatives.

Frugal & Green eco-friendly lens cleaner

My glasses get so greasy, that lens cleaner is something I tend to use at least once every day. I’ve never ever tried single-use lens wipes, but I am still concerned about my current brand of lens cleaner bottle being non-recyclable. I hate it when I have to throw something in the rubbish bin as I’m a firm believer in the mantra Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Refurbish, Repair, Regift, Rehome, Repurpose, Recycle, Replant, Rot. So a refillable durable glass bottle ticks all the boxes for me.

Frugal & Green eco-friendly lens cleaner

And this lens cleaner is suitable for other types of lenses as well as your spectacles, like cameras and binoculars. I also tried it out on my phone screen, laptop and some dvds and cds and found it great for all those too. That might be a particular bonus for those who only wear glasses occasionally and are thinking, do I really need a 5 year supply of lens cleaner? Yes I’m thinking back to when I wore contact lenses, before varifocals became a necessity for me.

I was also pleased to observe that sustainability had been considered with regards to the packaging. The glass bottles had been wrapped in old newspaper and the accompanying note looked like it was written on recycled paper.

All in all an easy way to help try to save the future of the planet, which regular readers of my blog will be aware is very important to me, from my series of posts on reducing waste.

I discovered this brand via the Ethical Influencers network. And as I mentioned at the beginning of my blog post, their lens cleaner will be launching on Kickstarter next month. You may sign up to their newsletter to be notified of the product launch here.

I highly recommend this product. Plus I’ll be back with a giveaway after the Kickstarter launch.

And I’d love to hear your top tips for eco-friendly bathroom swaps you have made.

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Foxes & Angels Greetings Cards review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product that I received for free.  All opinions are my own.

It is always a delight when I receive a nice card with a lovely personal message, so I like to give similar to my family and close friends, either making the cards myself or taking great care choosing ones to purchase. The key criteria for me is that cards should be environmentally friendly, so I was very happy to discover Foxes & Angels, who offered to send me a free pack of cards to review. As times are tough for small businesses right now, I said that 2 cards would be sufficient.

Foxes & Angels Greetings Cards

The cards are beautifully illustrated by Besheer Abbaro, a descendant of Sir Edwin Lutyens the architect, using techniques of lino prints, drawing and painting. I am always in awe of people who can craft such lovely designs. Besheer is very talented like my brother-in-law, who does traditional wood block printing.

It was particularly poignant to receive the Alexandra Palace scene, as that is one of the venues where my mum used to exhibit and teach at craft shows. She used to make so many different types of cards – cross-stitch, iris folding, quilling, tea bag folding to name but a few. I’m sure I got my own love of craft from her.

Foxes & Angels Alexandra Place Christmas Card

These cards are blank inside and measure approximately 18cm by 13cm, so lots of space for your message. The cards are printed on good quality FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) certified card, as they have been unable to source suitable recycled card to showcase the lovely images but they are still pursuing this. And the envelopes are brown kraft recycled paper. They offer a choice of protective recycled cellophane bags which are made from corn starch or small paper card clasps when you purchase online. The clasps are a peelable label. Alternatively you may opt for neither. I was pleased to see that the external postal packaging also looked recycled and noted the use of paper tape. Their website states that they are always seeking to reduce their carbon footprint where possible.

Foxes & Angels Christmas Card

As well as Christmas cards, the range encompasses birthday, new baby, new home, thinking of you, music exam and everyday cards.

In addition to their own online shop, the cards are also sold via a selection of independent retailers. I think it would be useful to the consumers who purchase the cards via these other stockists, if there were some indication that the bags are biodegradable cellophane and more importantly, how to dispose of them. Perhaps this information could be incorporated onto the reverse of the cards.

It would also be great to see more information on the website regarding estimates of how long the biodegradable recycled cellophane bags take to degrade and whether they are suitable for home or industrial composting.

Foxes & Angels Christmas Card

The pricing of the cards is excellent value, currently most of the range is priced at £2.75 each or packs of 6 for £11. Checkout process is simple.

Do take a look at the range to see all the other great designs. They have a great vintage retro look. And thankfully no pesky glitter or foil embellishments in sight.

Foxes & Angels greetings cards

Foxes & Angels greetings cards

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a selection of both winter and their new spring season greetings cards courtesy of Foxes & Angels to one lucky winner. A lovely prize.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I think Stag At Night is my favourite and I’d love to hear which card design you like best.

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AD Britmums #ACEit Challenge or has she gone conkers?

Disclosure. This post is an entry for the #ACEit Challenge, sponsored by ACE. Get ideas on how to wash whites, treat stains and laundry like a boss with tips from the ACE site!
This post mentions a product I received for free. All opinions are my own. This post is classed as an advert because of the requirement to include the #ACEit hashtag.

Britmums recently challenged bloggers to take part in the #ACEit Challenge for brighter whites when trying the new ACE Ultra for Whites. I was in two minds whether to take part in this challenge or not, especially since it is in a plastic bottle. Regular followers of my blog will know that I am trying to reduce plastic. Pity it isn’t a powder rather than a liquid, as the last ACE product I reviewed, ACE for Colours Powder came in a plastic-free fully recyclable carton.

ACE Ultra for Whites

However I have to admit that my whites have been starting to look rather off-white since I swapped regular detergent for more eco-friendly alternatives, like soap nuts or homemade from horse chestnuts (conkers). Don’t get me wrong, my laundry is clean, but not bright white. I know you can’t expect a natural product to give the same results that bleach does, so perhaps this would be the answer, an occasional helpful boost from ACE.

So I signed up and received a free 1L bottle of ACE Ultra for Whites.

#ACEit Challenge

Now onto the actual washing test. There were my eldest son’s school shirts complete with very bad underarm stains and greyish grimy collars, plus off-white socks and undies, along with a very grey floor cloth. Unfortunately only a very small load, as ACE Ultra for Whites should only be used on totally white items. Again from an eco point of view, I prefer to do a full load which would normally include cream coloured bedding and towels too plus clothes which are part white, part coloured.

#ACEit Challenge

The instructions on the bottle suggested 4 possible alternative methods of use as follows, (along with household cleaning instructions for your sinks, etc too) …

  1. Fill your CL bleach compartment with the product. (My washing machine doesn’t have a CL compartment.)
  2. Fill your fabric conditioner compartment with the product, if you’re not planning to use fabric conditioner.
  3. Pour product directly in during a pre-wash cycle.
  4. Soak by hand in 10L of water to 150ml of product, for 20-30 minutes before rinsing and washing as usual.

#ACEit Challenge

I decided to opt for method 4, but I have to say I didn’t see much difference after the 30 minutes, but I assumed that perhaps I had over-diluted it, as I had just guessed how much to fill the sink. I didn’t actually measure the 10 litres of water. Also there was no indication of what temperature the water should be, so I had opted for warm, which may have been wrong too.

#ACEit Challenge

Since I still needed to wash the clothes, I tried again, this time using method 2. A much better success. Everything did look bright white. However ACE didn’t work its full magic on the underarm stains. They were better but still yellowish. The most remarkable change was on the floor cloth. It actually was white again.

#ACEit Challenge

About ACE Ultra:

  • It’s specifically formulated to help brighten dull whites.
  • It’s gentle on delicate clothes.
  • It tackles germs and odours, including viruses. That means not only do your clothes smell cleaner, they actually are cleaner – something even more important in the current climate.
  • It’s concentrated, making it among the most affordable ways to keep white clothes looking bright!
  • It’s available in Morrison’s.
  • NOTE: ACE Ultra includes bleach.
  • ACE Ultra for Whites should only be used on totally white items.

So yes I can see some plus points from ACE Ultra, but I think on the whole, it is not the product for me. Instead can anyone point me in the direction of an eco-friendly answer for brighter whites please, if such a thing exists?

Horse Chestnuts for laundry

And for those of you still wondering, how on earth do I use conkers for my laundry, let me point you here to The Watercress Queen who I have to thank for this environmentally friendly idea. I tried this out last Autumn and I still have over 4 big jars left, so no need to collect any this season. Plus not only is it eco, but it is very cost effective too, saving all the money you would have spent on detergent. I made a couple of variations to the original method, one being I dried the pieces of conker spread out on trays in the airing cupboard for about a week. And secondly I only do two soaks rather than three. I can highly recommend you try this idea out, but if you do, please remember to plant some of the conkers you collect.

Soap Nuts for laundry

Before trying this, I had bought a large bag of soap nuts shells, which work on the same principle. However I am a bigger fan of using conkers because they are grown locally so have a minimal carbon footprint in comparison. Also subsequent to buying the soap nuts, I read that the export market has driven the price up so locals who have been using them for generations can no longer afford them, which is so wrong and needs addressing. I do also use the soap nuts in the dishwasher although I haven’t dared try conkers, since they are poisonous.

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Have you heard of Tŷ Môr saving the planet one wipe at a time?

Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product that I helped to crowdfund.  All opinions are my own.

You never appreciate what you have until it’s gone. Toilet paper is a good example.

I am passionate about the environment and sustainability, so whenever I see a Crowdfunder for a small business in this area, I do my best to support them. Tŷ Môr was one that caught my eye last year. They are a natural fibre toilet paper which is 100% environmentally friendly made by ShearWater Eco™. (The website is currently being updated, but should be available within a couple of weeks).

Tŷ Môr natural toilet paper

I had to wait a while to receive the 48 rolls that I crowdfunded, due to technical issues that needed resolving in their supply chain, but they did supply smaller quantities in the interim. However I now have a cupboard full of environmentally friendly toilet paper. This many rolls are going to last a while. And no plastic in sight, just like how I remember we used to be able to purchase loo roll.

The Tŷ Môr toilet paper is tree less, plastic free, 30m per roll, is a natural colour with no bleaching agents, no dyes, no harmful chemicals and no BPA. It is 100% biodegradable, recyclable, and carbon positive. And it is made from sustainably sourced, fast-growing plant fibre materials such as rattan, bamboo, hemp and sisal. No trees at all. In fact, planting bamboo has been proven to be great for rejuvenating poor soil.

ShearWater Eco™ have recently received a grant from the Development Bank of Wales to invest in their dream of growing and manufacturing their toilet paper in the UK. Currently it is shipped from overseas.

Unless you’ve gone the whole hog to use washable cloths instead, toilet paper is an essential that we all need to buy regularly. So it makes perfect sense to choose the most environmentally friendly type possible. Do you really need white or coloured toilet paper? Stop and think about this, it doesn’t grow white or coloured. Bleach or dye must have been used. Even some of the other supposedly eco brands are not quite as eco as they claim.

Plus it is priced very competitively, especially as they are not charging VAT at present, so currently £24.99 for 48 rolls. And for those of you, who don’t have room to store 48 loo rolls, it also comes in packs of 4, 9 or 16. They are expanding their stockists but you can buy it directly from their online store. It would be fabulous to see these products in my local zero waste store, so I’ve let Tŷ Môr know the contact details. Plus they even sell gift cards. What a good gift idea for the person who has everything!

Also I have an offer to pass on to my readers – 10% off your order at Tŷ Môr with discount code: W935IZYJOFMY.

Ty Mor natural toilet paper

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition courtesy of ShearWater Eco™ to giveaway a pack of 4 toilet rolls each to 2 lucky winners.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your top tips for an eco swap.

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KIND2 you, KIND2 the planet

Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Saving the planet doesn’t have to mean bad hair! I recently discovered the natural plastic-free haircare brand KIND2 via the Ethical Influencers network. KIND2 is a small, independent, ethical haircare company founded by Sue Campbell, because she wanted to make a difference for the planet.

plasticfree KIND2 shampoo bars

I received a KIND2 shampoo bar and a conditioner bar free to review. There are two shampoo bars in the range and I chose to test out the sensitive one as my scalp is very prone to dandruff. Their other shampoo bar is a hydrating one, so targeted at dry, curly and coloured hair.

Dispatch was quick and the packaging was also plastic free, even down to using paper tape. I hate trying to remove sellotape prior to recycling so thumbs up for that.

plasticfree KIND2 shampoo bars

KIND2 products are vegan and free from plastic, soap, sulphates, silicones and parabens. They are made in the UK, supporting local industry and lowering their carbon footprint. Plus you’ll see on their website, that all their bars have won awards.

Now I started using shampoo bars over 18 months ago, but I have to say it has been rather hit and miss as to which ones I like and those I don’t. I particularly hate it when one leaves a residue  in my hair which won’t rinse out and then causes extra tangles when combing.

plasticfree KIND2 shampoo bars

However this is my first time using a conditioner bar. Initially I still had open bottles of conditioner left to use up when I first made the swap to shampoo bars. I did donate any unopened bottles to The Hygiene Bank but no point in throwing away what you already have. And since then, I have been making my own homemade zero waste apple cider vinegar from apple scraps as a hair rinse. Something else that I must get round to writing a blog post about.

So putting the KIND2 bars to the test. I made sure my hair was fully wet first, before wetting the shampoo bar and rubbing it into my roots and through my hair. It lathered reasonably well, but note we do have soft water here, so I can’t comment on how it would be in hard water. My hair is thick, but I found it easy to wash through and it rinsed out well too without leaving residue. No need for a second wash.

plasticfree KIND2 shampoo bars

I then followed it up with the same procedure using the conditioner bar. This smelt lovely with a subtle aroma, whilst the shampoo bar was fragrance free. I was able to easily comb my hair afterwards with no tangles. And as it was a lovely summer’s day, I went out to the garden and allowed my hair to dry naturally. The result was soft and shiny, so I am very pleased.

I am sold on these products and not just because they are plastic free, including the box. I am putting it down to them also being soap free. Read this interesting article about pH balance on their website.

I found I could easily go well over a week between hair washes, with my hair still looking clean and glossy, which was unheard of before I swapped to shampoo bars. The box indicates that one 80g shampoo bar equates to two 250ml bottles, which should be around 60 washes. So great value for money as well as for the environment at £12.50 for a bar. Similarly the conditioner bar should last for 80 washes. Wow that is just 1g per wash.

plasticfree KIND2 shampoo bars

These numbers do depend on you allowing the bars to dry out between washes. When I first swapped to a shampoo bar, I didn’t have a spare soap dish for it, so to keep it dry, I took a Heath Robinson approach. I put elastic bands round the bottom half of a travel soap holder which I already had and balanced the shampoo bar on this. This works fine, but I do love the look of all the sustainable soap dishes that KIND2 also sell. They have ceramic, enamel and wood soap dishes available.

plasticfree KIND2 shampoo bars

And just to let the gents know that the box says that the shampoo bar is great as a beard wash too. Also the ingredients in KIND2 shampoo bars and conditioner bars should be gentle enough for children of 5 years and over. So suitable for all the family.

Regular readers of my blog will be aware from my series of posts on reducing waste that I am doing my best to reduce my use of plastic. So KIND2 scores full marks from me on this front and I am more than happy to recommend this brand. If you haven’t tried a shampoo bar yet, then give it a whirl. Plus if you sign up to the KIND2 newsletter, you’ll get a 10% discount off your first order, along with other special offers.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition courtesy of KIND2 to giveaway a shampoo bar and a conditioner bar to one lucky winner.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what is your favourite product from KIND2 or your suggestions for additions to the range. And how about sharing your top tips for eco-friendly bathroom swaps you have made.

The only thing now for me still to sort out is a post-lockdown hair cut. However I’ve heard several non-eco friendly tales of disposable towels and gowns. So I am torn between wanting a haircut, but not with lots of single use plastic involved. What has anyone else’s experience been?

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