If you want some ideas on how you can start living an even greener, cleaner life this new year, perhaps this list will help. I’ve written down all the best green discoveries I made during 2009 (or earlier) and hopefully some of the actions will help or inspire you! Any more tips or suggestions would be welcome as I love learning about ways to tread more lightly and kindly on the planet. Thank you!
- Start the day the organic way. I love organic weetabix (Doves Farm Organic’s Whole Wheat Cereal Biscuits) and organic oat milk.
- If you prefer to whip up a smoothie or juice at breakfast time, why not try using a glass straw from Glass Dharma?
- Enjoy a healthy morning drink of hot water, one tsp of organic apple cider vinegar and one tsp of organic honey (and reuse tea cup throughout the day to save washing).
- To conserve water, I only fill the jug with as much water as I need.
- I also turn the tap off when brushing my teeth and washing my hands.
- I constantly praise the power of the coconut. Organic and fair trade coconut oil is truly pure and makes an excellent moisturiser for the face and body (its also great as an eye make up remover).
- I won’t lie, finding an organic and natural shampoo that worked as well as a mainstream, popular shampoo has been challenging. The one that has impressed me the most has been Green People’s Intensive Repair Shampoo.
- I haven’t used a conditioner for ages, preferring instead to massage my scalp and locks with coconut or almond oil with lavender before washing the oils out with shampoo.
- I’ve switched from a body wash to a bar of soap to save on excess plastic packaging. I love Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Orange Organic Bar Soap made with sustainably sourced palm oil.
- I brush my teeth with Preserve’s toothbrush made in the USA from recycled plastic. I favour organic and natural toothpastes from Green People or Weleda.
- Keep your makeup pretty but natural. My cosmetic staples include Lavera mascara, All The Better To Kiss You With Lip Balm in Chai Mandarin, Perfect Organics’ Lip and Cheek Shimmer in London, Borlind Eyeliner and Intelligent Nutrients Aromatic Spray in Awaken.
- For clothing, I shop at vintage stores, eco boutiques or online eco stores and sites such as Etsy. I don’t actually shop too much as I try to be creative with the clothes I already own.
- I’ve been chuffed with the vintage fashion I’ve found at my local Oxfam store and places such as It’s A Wrap in LA. I’ve picked up great scarves, cardigans, jackets, dresses and shoes that are unique and were sold at bargain prices!
- Whether I’m shopping for groceries or clothes, I proudly and stubbornly use my reusable bags.
- Instead of a plastic or aluminium water boter, try reusing a glass bottle.
- Keep your home and yourself healthy by spritzing a bottle of water filled with eucalyptus essential oil around the house, bedrooms, bathrooms and on television remotes and door handles.
- Steam inhalations with eucalyptus essential oil also keep me healthy during winter (as well as spoonfuls of honey and salt water gargles).
- Reuse glass jars for storing food in your fridge and freezer.
- Bless bicarbonate of soda! It can clean your house, whiten teeth, remove tea stains from cups and can even be used as a deodorant.
- Deal with aches and pains with essential oils and apple cider vinegar. For headaches try rubbing lavender onto the temples neat and for stomach cramps during that time of the month, try lavender and sweet almond oil. Peppermint oil mixed with any base oil is also great for any other tummy trouble. Apple cider vinegar can be swiped over aching muscles to ease discomfort.
- Peppermint oil can also be sprinkled on organic cotton wool and left around the kitchen or house to keep mice and the like away.
- Hang a mesh bag in your closet filled with fresh rosemary or broken cinnamon sticks to keep moths away. Lavender sprinkled organic cotton wool also helps.
- Do your laundry on the lowest temperature and try using soap nuts. Add a splash of vinegar for a natural fabric softener and remember to try and dry your clothes naturally.
- Dust the house with e-cloths.
- Try using olive oil on wooden furniture. I love how it makes everything look so polished and shiny.
- Inspiring website discoveries over the past few months have included Kind Over Matter, Jason Mraz’s Freshness Factor Five Thousand and Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Life.
- Amazing vegan food discoveries during 2009 included Booja Booja Hazelnut Truffles and Ice Creams, Plamil’s Organic Orange Chocolate, Zest’s Vegan Pesto and Mexican Sauce (for super quick and easy dinners) and dessert treats from The Living Food Kitchen(I could write a song about the deliciousness of their Goji Berry Christmas Pudding and Chocolate Mousse).
- I love to finish the day, English granny style with a cup of Pukka tea. I absolutely love the Protect tea made with organic jasmine green tea and cardamom.
How sweet are these limited edition tea cup candles? Filled with fresh cut roses and soy wax, you can enjoy the beautiful rose fragrance and the fact they are environmentally friendly. Soy wax is non-toxic, biodegradable, made from renewable and sustainable resources and just to be even more king of the candle world, soy wax burns ‘up to 50%’ longer than paraffin wax. Corfe Candles’ vintage bone china tea cup comes with matching side plate and will ‘glow through the china as it burns down’ so you can savour the last drop of soy.
Corfe Candles hand make their gorgeous and inventive collection of candles in Dorset, always keeping the environment in mind. There are also Soy Scented Votives available in delicious fragrances such as Banana Nut Bread, Vanilla Hazelnut Mocha and Peppermint. I can’t wait to try the Mediterranean Fig or Orange Clove ones. These candles just may be the way to overindulge without going up a dress size!
Corfe Candles offer a bespoke design service and deliver internationally.
I was so excited to find these beautiful glass straws and food storage containers. I’m not a fan of storing lovely, homemade meals in plastic containers as you hear so many frightening stories about plastic leaching toxins into your food. Not good!
The straws will come in handy now for summer too. You can enjoy delicious iced teas and smoothies with a pretty glass straw. You can even take one to work or to picnics (in a hemp or bamboo case) so you can say no to plastic when out and about. Straws are also great for protecting teeth from stains that can come from copious iced tea and coffee drinking (or sugar from fruit juice smoothies). Not only are these glass products reusable but don’t you think glass is just a lot more civilised and prettier than plastic?
Glass Straws from GlassDharma – Made in the USA
David Leonhardt, the creator of GlassDharma straws mentions that ‘as of March 2008, McDonald’s serves an average of 52 million meals per day (per their website)’ and asks us to consider how many of those customers were handed a disposable plastic straw! Opt for the reusable and safer alternative with GlassDharma and choose from three different straw styles and accessories that are all handmade in the USA. They are strong and durable (dishwasher safe) as they are made from borosilicate glass. GlassDharma even offer a ‘Lifetime Guarantee Against Breakage’ and can repair or replace a broken straw.
There are three different straw styles to choose from:
Simple Elegance (opening image) – from $6 or a set of four with brush is $27
Decorative Dots – from $7
Beautiful Bends (pictured above) – from $8
Bamboo Hard Case
Store your glass straw in either the Hemp Soft Sleeve or Bamboo Hard Case (from $9).
Visit Glass Dharma to learn more or visit their online shop to purchase their products.
Glass Food Storage Containers – Made in the USA
I think these glass containers are wonderful and clearly many other people do too as they are all on back order at Free Market Organics until June 30, 2009. But that’s not long to wait and definitely worth it! Store your organic and seasonal delicacies in containers of various shapes and sizes from Anchor Hocking (‘made fairly in the USA’).
Various sizes available
2 cup – from $9.95 or four – $34
5 cup – $12.95
12 cup – $15.95
Small set of three – $32.50
Large set of three – $36
DIY Cake Stand
You can send several of your favorite plates to Teacup Candles and they will transform them into a beautiful cake stand for you!
Made in Britain.
Available at Not On The High Street – £20
Vintage School House Cookie Jar
Every good kitchen should have a cookie jar. Cute, comical and vintage, if possible. I love this 1970s one from Babylon Sisters (Etsy) – $36.
Fair Trade Recycled Rice Bag Pot
These adorable pots can be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen but I think they look cute for planting your favourite herbs. Handmade in Cambodia, fair trade certified by AAC (The Artisans Association of Cambodia).
Available at Not On The High Street – £5.75
Recycled Glass Pitcher
Serve your filtered water or luscious iced teas in this lovely pitcher that is handmade in Spain.
Available at the Natural Collection – £15.95
Booja Booja Vegan Truffles
For a little chocolate decadence, try the hazelnut crunch flavour. They’re the perfect after dinner treat! Handmade in Norfolk (click link below for vegan ingredient list). Available in health food stores or online at sites such as Riverford – £4.99
I had to include one of our aprons in this foodie gift guide. I know I’m biased but they really are lovely to wear and cook in. Each one is handmade in London using the best remnant fabrics.
Available at GreenLashesFashion (Etsy) – $25 (approx. £16)
Second Hand Cookbooks
You can find oodles of good second hand books at Oxfam, either online or in-store. Why not gather a selection of rare and lesser known cookbooks for your gift and stick to a theme such as Italian, Vegetarian, Seasonal or Baking.
Good Housekeeping: The Cook’s Year – available at Oxfam (£3.99)
This is how I picked up a lot of my takeaway meals when I was traveling through the States and New Zealand. I wanted to avoid using disposable plastic food containers, cutlery and carry bags for obvious environmental reasons but also because of health concerns about plastic leaching into food.
Anytime I ordered a meal, I would just hand over my stainless steel tiffin box and ask if I could have my food stored in there (BTW, that’s a lovely Thai meal in the photo). I thought I’d look somewhat dorky but restaurant staff were always so accommodating.
Taking your own reusable containers and cutlery is easy and reduces so much unnecessary plastic packaging. If you can try and do small things such as this, it will make a huge difference.
Here are some fabulous green gift ideas for your mum this Mother’s Day.
Two elegant vegan shoe labels that will definitely impress your mum are Charmone and Sui Generis by Beyond Skin. Even if your mum hasn’t worn vegan shoes before, one look at these stylish designs and soon Jimmy Choo will become Jimmy Who?
Charmone’s Cinnamon Bordeaux Shoes (pictured above).
Also available in black.
Made in Italy.
Purchase online for US$249 at Charmone.
Beautiful & Ethical Jewellry
Buying a stunning pair of earrings or sparkly ring with eco credentials couldn’t be easier thanks to designers and companies such as Made, Avasarah and Kirsten Muenster.
Made’s jewellery range is unique and truly gorgeous with affordable prices. As a company Made operate on a ‘trade not aid’ ethos which involves supporting disadvantaged communities through training local artisans in East Africa.
Nicole Fahri Collection – Pippa Small Glass Stone Bracelet (pictured above)
Purchase online at Made for £65.
Eye catching pieces from a San Francisco designer who utilises beautiful recycled materials.
Visit this jewellery site to quickly locate pretty earrings and pendants by your specific ethics (British made, recycled materials, ethically sourced and mined or supporting charity).
Organic Beauty Treatments
Many women enjoy a luxurious facial or stress relieving massage, so to make the experience even better, make sure the beauty treatment is organic. Book an organic treat for your mum at either Content in Marylebone or the Organic Pharmacy (various UK locations).
Content won ‘Best Facial’ by Wallpaper Magazine this year so let your mum experience a Dr Alkaitis Skin Food Facial to see what all the fuss is about! She can also have an organic Suki or Pai facial, massage or manicure and pedicure.
Organic Pharmacy Treatments
The decadent Rose Crystal Lymphatic Facial, organic manicures, pedicures and massages will provide a truly healthy dose of pampering for your mum!
If you want to introduce your mum to some luxurious organic skincare ranges why not try Dr Alkaitis or the Organic Pharmacy.
Dr Alkaitis Organic Eye Cream.
Research scientist, Dr Alkaitis has produced a range of ‘living’ skincare products with ingredients so pure they are edible (although it’s best to use on the skin obviously). Perhaps start with the eye cream which is apparently Giselle Bundchen’s favourite!
Organic Pharmacy Carrot Butter Cleanser
The Organic Pharmacy provide luxurious Soil Association certified products that are readily available on the high street or online. With no artificial preservatives, colourants, fragrances or petrochemicals, you can rest assured the organic skincare and makeup products you purchase for your mum will be kind to her skin and will be of the highest quality.
Organic Dressing Gown
We all need a sumptuous dressing gown or bath robe and the fact Piccalilly’s dusty rose gown is certified organic and fair trade makes it even more appealing.
Organic Fair Trade Cotton
Made in India (SA8000)
Also available in a natural colour (more colours coming soon), one size fits all
By Nature £39
Organic Food and Wine
Where to start, chocolate, wine or tea? I’ll let you decide and just draw your attention to the delicious offerings from the following organic gourmet companies every girl should have on speed dial.
Send an Animated E-Card
Pay £6.25 for a year’s membership and you can send as many e-cards as you like during that year! Think of all the money you spend on paper cards throughout a year. E-cards are the way to go and will save many trees in the process. Visit the Jacqui Lawson site to preview the animated cards.
I have some great little eco products to share with you today that will help greenify your kitchen. Even if you frequent your kitchen as often as a vegan visits McDonalds, you may still find these products interesting. Recycled glass cake boards, tea towels, aprons and oven mits in organic fabrics (hold your excitement girls – there’s more!), mango wood salad servers, recycled paper lunch bags and fair trade rubber gloves! Move over Nigella, we have hemp oven mits and aprons and weren’t not afraid to use them!
Made in Spain
100% recycled glass
Perfect for presenting your homemade or store bought cakes (I won’t tell). Also great as a cheese board which I believe should feature one of the following cheeses: soft, hard, mature and stinky (sounds like I’m describing the judging panel on American Idol).
Eco Centric – £25
Mokimoe ‘Mirra’ Tea Towel
Made in the UK
Organic cotton, hemp and water based inks
This ‘almost too pretty to use’ tea towel is handmade and designed in the UK and available in either a cork or ink colour (shown above).
The Natural Store
Mango Wood Salad Servers
Fair trade made in North India
Mango wood, oiled with linseed oil
These salad servers are made from mango wood, a renewable timber that is often discarded after bearing fruit. So now the mango tree can give us delicious fruit and the utensils to eat it with! Mango salad anyone?
The Amnesty Shop – £4.50
Organic Hemp Apron
Made in Romania (sweatshop free) by Ecolution
42% hemp and 58% flax
Aprons. Perfect for the messy cook, the cautious cook and the pseudo cook that needs to strategically hang one in their kitchen to give the impression that much whisking, sieving and flambe-ing takes place in there! Available in 6 colours such as natural, orange and sage.
Downbound UK – £12.25
Recycled Paper Lunch Bags
Made in Ireland
Recycled Greaseproof Paper
If you take your lunch to work but wonder about what is the best eco friendly way to wrap up your sandwich or vegan cake (I know I’ve lost many a nights sleep pondering this), here is a good option. Say goodbye to gladwrap and go all ‘1950’s’ by using recycled paper lunch bags instead!
Currently sold out but worth noting for a future purchase perhaps.
The Amnesty Shop – £3.25 for box of 50
Fair Trade Rubber Gloves
Made in the UK
Fair trade natural rubber latex, cotton flock lining
Sold out (before they are even on sale) but another product to remember for those times when you need to do some hardcore cleaning. Purchasing these fair trade rubber gloves will help support farmers of the Firstlight project in Sri Lanka.
Traidcraft – £1.10
Organic Hemp Oven Mits
Made in Romania (sweatshop free) by Ecolution
100% organic hemp which is biodegradable
Stay safe in the kitchen with this great pair of organic hemp oven mits which are available in brown, green, indigo or natural.
Downbound UK – £11.75