We Believe

I’m not perfect

Today has been a bit of a mixed bag of a day with my journey to Zero waste. On one hand I feel like I’ve accomplished loads without spending anything. On the other hand my lack of funds seems to have caused waste too. 

Start with the positives:

  • I grated my off cuts of handmade soap to use as dish soap
  • I made a Birthday cake as a gift from scratch with little waste in packaging
  • I rebatched an ‘ugly’ handmade soap to hopefully end up something pretty I can gift to people.
  • I froze excess vegetables 
  • I prepped my own oven chips
  • Made homemade washing soda (not 100% what I’m going to use it for yet, but I’ve seen a few recipes)
  • Collated a list of cleaning/stain removal recipes (so I have an way reference point)

But! I needed to go to the supermarket for Icing Sugar and chocolate toppings for my cake, and milk for Mr M. But! As always, I check the reduced section for anything we need/will definitely use and picked up a few things. Unfortunately most of those things came in plastic packaging! 

  • Grapes
  • Raspberries 
  • Half cucumber (I got 3 because at 15p each they were cheaper than getting 1 full one and B is enjoying it at the minute)
  • Tomatoes

The net from the cucumber I will keep and use to make a homemade ‘scrubbie’/pan scrubber. The tubs from the grapes and raspberries, I may have some seedlings I can start in them. So they will at least get a bit of extra life. 

Plus, since they were in the reduced section I like to think I at least saved the food from landfill!

But I’m ok with this. I am on a Journey, and it isn’t a race, we do the best we can with what we have available. And today, although there are negatives towards reducing my waste, there’s more positives.


Zero waste packed lunch

Finally got chance to use my new sandwich wrap from OnTheGoDesigns! I was so impressed with how well made it is when I received it! 

It arrived in a mailing envelope wrapped in some recycled cellophane. When I spoke to the owner about this she was more than happy to accommodate less packaging and even considered rethinking it completely so it wasn’t plastic. Although, still quite impressed it was recycled not new. 

The beach theme is lovely and definitely gives a nice summery feeling! And made me feel a bit nicer in today’s cold, drizzly, wet weather.

With little planning (and even less in the fridge) I quickly gathered my zero waste lunch before heading to the Market with B, my sister and her baby boy. 

It was the first time I had planned to go out over lunch in months, giving me the chance to use my sandwich wrap. And it worked perfectly! I actually prefer it to cling film, and not just because it avoids waste, but my sandwich seemed to come out of my bag still intact unlike with cling film! I was very impressed. 

My sister loved the idea too! And was very interested in one for herself.

The material inside is a lovely soft wipable fabric and cleans a treat, I simply wiped it ready to re-use, but know I can throw it in the wash if it becomes particularly messy!

I look forward to using it again and definitely want more for the future as we intend on going on more daytrips in the summer when these will come in very handy!

And to top my day off I got my first discount for using a reusable cup in a coffee shop! Go Costa!

Free crates!

Ok they are only small but they are crates and still give the look everyone is after! And I can’t believe I didn’t think of this earlier! 

I took a trip to the garden centre today to see if they had anything I could use to stand some pots on to create a little height on my drive, walking through I saw a sign for bulbs, fill a bag for £4. Being new to gardening it sounded like a good deal coz it was mix and match. They were in crates on shelves and I didn’t think much of it until I came back round towards the till after finding very little (and certainly not cheap) and a lightbulb switched on! 

Crates! They’re in crates! They would look awesome in the garden! And on the drive! I wonder if they get sent back to the suppliers or binned. The thought of them being binned did upset me a little but it also meant that I could have some for FREE if they were being binned! 

So when I got to the till I asked the cashier, who wasn’t sure so asked someone in high vis (I’m assuming she sorted deliveries and knew more about what happened behind the scenes) and I was in luck! They get binned! So I asked for 4. I figured I’d see what I can do with these then can come back for more if I feel I’d like more. 

The result:

The empty looking pot actually has Cala lillies in that my mum gave to me out of her garden, they just haven’t got very tall yet so you can’t see them. I have 2 more to find a home for in the garden now and I may get a few more and stack them higher and grow strawberries out of them too! 

As a side not I may email the suppliers myself and see if they could offer a scheme to pick up the empty crates when they drop off full ones though to see less of them wasted. 

But until this happens get down to your local garden centres and ask for the bulb crates! And anything else you spot too! 

Add in the comments anything you found useful for the garden that was otherwise going to be binned, I love to hear all your ideas and freebies!

Zero waste food shop

Oh I was so excited when I received me new grocery bacha from DoYourBit! (Bonus they’re UK based too!) 

Having something I could get my veg in without plastic bags or paper bags that ripped or just having them loose in the bag (which wasn’t as much of a pain as I thought it might be) 

Organic cotton simple drawstring bags for my food 😊 and below my almost zero waste shop

I still can’t find cucumber without the plastic wrap! Even at my geengrocers! Oh yeah and the sticker on my apple

But it still all looks so much fresher and tastier! Not to mention bigger than supermarket stuff!

The bags are perfect and feel so durable and well made! I love the simplicity of them and the fact it’s local organic cotton at such an affordable price is amazing! I definitely recommend these! ❤️ 

Soaping success!

We decided to make soap as Mothers Day presents at Guides so I did a couple of practices in between my first attempt and running the session with Guides.

Making soap with 24 girls age 10-14 was tricky and took a lot of planning! But we did it! And this is the result:

I know they’re not Pinterest worthy but me and my Guide group are proud of them! 

72 bars of soap! Split evenly between lavender and chamomile, honey and oat and chocolate orange!

Disposable lent

Having been brought up in a catholic school, I was always expected to give something up for Lent to remember the 40days Jesus spent in the desert. 
The last couple of years I’ve been pretty lazy with it since it’s always something superficial that is given up (well that I hear of anyway): chocolate, crisps, fizzy drinks. Things you enjoy but can live without anyway.
So instead this year I’ve been looking at giving up something that might make a difference to our world now! (Yes I know it’s late but I don’t intend on giving it up just for lent and you could try anytime too) 

We live in a world of convenience and disposable products not really thinking about where the products go after it has been disposed of. And the reality is disturbing if you do a little digging.
Make a difference to your world and future, try giving up one of these things you probably take for granted and make a small step to improve our planets future:

  • Plastic straws– try a metal or Bamboo one like these from Amazon. Every straw ever made still exists now sat in landfill 
  • Disposable nappies– speak to your local nappy library about hiring a cloth kit to try they’re surprisingly easy
  • Disposable cutlery– bring this bamboo set with you. I like this one as it comes with a case.
  • Take out coffee cups– bring a reusable cup (some coffee shops even offer a discount to use your own cup) 
  • Plastic carrier bags– get a strong cotton/jute bag which you can normally get from your local supermarket or even pound stores.
  • Packaged fruit and vegetables– most stores offer loose produce, it’s usually cheaper too, or check for a farmers market or greengrocer nearby and you could always pack in these produce bags if you want to keep things separate.
  • Bottled water– filters are a great option, take it in a metal sports bottle or any reusable bottle you have in your cupboard (guess what, you’ll save some money here too)
  • Switch to soap bars in paper packaging rather than liquid soap. I’ve gone 1 step further and delved into the world of Cold Process soap making, but that’s another story.(shampoo is also available in bars)
  • Cling film- keep hold of a few empty pasta sauce jars and put leftovers in them, it lasts longer too or use this wax wrap instead
  • Ziplock/ Sandwich bags– pack sandwiches in one of these compact sandwich wraps or metal containers
  • Make-up wipes– how about using these Reusable make-up wipes from Earthwise Girls. If you’re handy with a sewing machine you could make your own too.
  • Dish sponges– I never liked them but my husband does. I like the look of crocheted un-sponges on etsy. Otherwise you could use a cotton cloth or a loofa slice which is compostable.

This year is the first year I realised how much of an impact our disposable lives have on the planet. And after many years superficially being concerned about the planet but lacking the knowledge/motivation to do anything about it, I have reacently been very conscious of what I buy/use/consume day to day, avoiding plastic (since every price of plastic ever made still exists and will not just disappear)and switching to natural products without chemicals. It was actually easier than I thought too. 

It doesn’t have to be expensive or Pinterest worthy to look at, mine certainly isn’t. Most of my swaps have been upcycled or just ditched all together and I realised I didn’t actually need them in the first place. 

It also doesn’t have to be done all at once. I’ve been gradually reducing my waste over the last 12 months, each time I run out of something I’ve replaced with something more sustainable. 

I’m by no means at ‘zero waste’ and still wonder how obtainable that goal is, but what is obtainable is you making 1 change to your lifestyle which will make a big impact on our planets future.

DIY learning tower

B was always wanting to be in my arms while I was cooking/cleaning or anything else in the kitchen for that matter.

When she was 14 months I discovered Learning towers. Coming up to Christmas I couldn’t find the money for one of these so I kept searching for an alternative or a way to do it myself when I spotted one on that looked exactly like a kitchen step I had seen in IKEA with a frame added to the top! 

I felt like a bit daft for not thinking of this sooner if I’m honest. So knowing I had some wood to create the frame in my under stairs cupboard we bought this step from IKEA with the intention of building it and making the frame the same day or at least only a few days later. 

But Christmas got in the way and building the frame kept being put off and put off after we had already built the step, luckily B seemed quite steady on it.

At 18 months she fell off! 😱 the guilt was awful! How did I let this happen! So the project got put to the top of the priority list!

From this:

Measure and cut the wood to fit. I did 3 For the bottom as like a kick bar so little feet didn’t slip off, 3 for the top to create a waist height banister and 4 ‘legs’ at the height of the work tip from the top of the step. I’ll admit I didn’t use a tape and marked the cut points leaning against the step. But if you want a neater finish, measure!

First I added the kick board to 3 sides leaving the side with the step open, of course B wanted to help:

Then I added the legs. 

But I missed the picture with all the legs because I had a meltdown moment with B 😢

And finally the top rails

At this point you could paint it bright colours and wax or varnish it to seal it and I will update once I’ve done this too 😊

Soap-A Science not an art!

As part of my efforts to reduce my waste and after reading about so many people using white vinegar as a cleaning product I decided to give it a try after we had all been ill. At 18 months old B can’t tell me she is going to be sick nor get to the toilet/a bowl to be sick in, so inevitably we ended up with vomit on most things 🤢while we were ill I cleaned it up to a bare minimum standard, once I recovered I got out my white vinegar that I had been soaking orange peel in  (it is supposed to gain a citrus smell from it) whacked it in a spray bottle diluted 50/50 with water and set to work!

 Although I could smell the citrus a bit, the smell was definitely still vinegar and Mr M came in saying it stunk! I knew the smell would dissipate and remove odours too, but he was sceptical in the first place and the smell put him off even further.

So I went back to the drawing board and stumbled upon Castile soap and soap making. I did a lot of reading and at first I was only grasping the basics of it and was feeling like it would be too complicated, until I found this blog by Oh, The Things We’ll Make which I found simplified it brilliantly for me. A simple base model to start off with that was super cheap too! 

I gathered my ingredients once B was asleep and began making. I felt like I was doing a little science experiment (you know one of those your teacher gave you knowing it wouldn’t really go wrong with some simple instructions and safety precautions) but in reality I treated it a bit more like an art.

I measured everything exactly, but I didn’t measure the temperature when I put them together and didn’t have a stick blender, I used an electric whisk thinking it would surely do the same. I also realised my caustic soda (lye) had clumps in it when I measured which could mean it was retaining some moisture already which puts my ratios out! 

My result. I mixed for 20 mins (double what most bloggers/soap makers say it usually takes) and it was still like a liquid, no sign of trace. So I left it a little while and went back to it and whisked some more, still nothing! 

My conclusion: if it feels like science treat it like science!

However, I think I have saved it by putting it in the slow cooker/crockpot after some advice on forums. I am yet to test it as it is still curing, but when I cleaned the slow cooker I only added water and the soap residue did create a lather/foam so I am hopeful! 

No-poo FAQ

So after admitting to a friends and family about not using commercial shampoo, I got a few questions which I think you may find the answers useful or your friends and family may ask you too.

Is it not more expensive?

No. Most things you have in your house anyway, plus you will be washing your hair less so that will make it even cheaper. Bicarbonate of soda can be expensive bought in the supermarket but it can be bought in bulk bags/packs much cheaper

Doesn’t your hair smell?

Not more than normally washing with commercial shampoo, you just don’t have added fragrance. You can add fragrance to your routine a number of ways if you wish.

Does it work?

Yes. It can take a little experimentation to find what works best, but I am yet to find someone who it doesn’t work for unless it it due to impatience.

Has your hair dried out because you haven’t used conditioner?

No, the sebum my hair produces rehydrates my hair making it soft and shiny. I also use natural products to ‘condition’ my hair.

What about dandruff?

There are methods you can use if you find you have dandruff. Although, a lot of the time it is actually just a dry scalp that needs a bit of extra conditioning and is easy to fix.

Does your hair not get knotty and tangled?

Personally no. Some people’s hair is more prone to tangles than others whether they use commercial shampoo or not. Again, there are things you can use to avoid/ease the tangles without commercial products.

I will add more questions as they come up, feel free to ask in the comments too

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