Category Archives: organic

The end of Eco Friendly March


So my eco friendly March challenge is now over, but hopefully I will carry on with most of my challenges and it has certainly made me think a lot more about things every day.
I don’t feel like last week was so successful though, I did end up using the dryer twice and with our current shower, it was impossible to shut off the water in-between shampooing, as it would talk forever to get hot again, wasting the same amount of water. But it has definitely made me more conscious about things, like being conscious about what water appliances we will be installing in the new bathroom, the fact that we probably should have more than one set of beddings, so when washing, it doesn’t have to be dry before having to be put back on in the evening.
I have also started looking on all of the food packaging of what is recyclable, making sure I have recycled everything I could this week. But currently we have to bring our recyclables to our supermarket, that has a recycling area, so I went online to order new recycling bins from our council, where I found out that there is a lot of help with recycling in our area, so I have put it on the agenda for our next neighbour meeting and hopefully they will all be on board with a few recycling changes. 
And for energy I actually found, that we were already doing what we can in that area. Most of our light bulbs are energy saving ones and we are quite good at shutting of unnecessary lights and appliances. 


All of March as a whole I think has been quite enlighten for me, there were definitely areas I feel like I have improved on and I have become a lot more conscious about being eco friendly in every day life. But some of the things I will defiantly keep doing, is using my bike more and the car less. Within a very short time, I can already feel a big change in my energy and I have gotten back to actually like taking the bike.
I have also found it extremely easy to bring my own bags to the supermarket and on the days where I have forgotten to bring, I actually get annoyed with the plastic bags after putting the groceries away.
But the biggest change I think is going organic, even my husband has really gotten on board with it and we pretty much only buy organic now. Our favourite being organic strawberries, that just have so much more flavour despite not being in season and we have been having them raw every evening as an evening snack.
The only thing that I find quite strange (and a bit difficult with my height) is that most supermarkets put their organic on the top shelf. I mean wouldn’t it make more sense to have it on the middle shelf, as they are the products that go of the fastest, so from a business side, those would be the once you would want people to grab for, not put them up where people can’t reach them!


I have actually really enjoyed this month and I really hope I will be able to continue with most of my changes, as this has definitely been an educational month for me, where I feel like I have learned a lot. 


Mia
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The Organic Pharmacy Discovery Kit



Because I am doing Eco Friendly March, I wanted to try going all organic with skincare again. It has been around 14 years since I used all organic products and back then it was the Dr.Hauschka series. Despite not being that impressed then, I thought things must have changed in the last 14 years, and organic skincare products must have become a lot better since then, so gave them a go again.
I had heard quite a few people talk about The Organic Pharmacy and after looking on their website and seeing a Discovery/Travel kit, I decided to try that one out, as it gave me a chance to try out most of their products all at once.


It is quite an expensive Discovery set at £45, especially if you do the math, as product wise, you are actually paying £9 more for the products per ml all together. Plus the sizes of the products are a bit to small to really try out the products, as I am a very big believer in the 3 week rule when trying out products, but with these sizes there simply wouldn’t be enough for 3 weeks.


The Carrot Butter Cleanser, I found very difficult to wash off, it almost felt like trying to wipe off vaseline and it left to much residue for my skins liking. It only lasted me a week as well.
The Herbal Toner was wonderful and smelled really nice and fresh, I did find it a bit drying on my skin though.
The Antioxidant Face Gel, is probably the only one I would purchase again, as I really liked the way it absorbed into my skin and it had a really lovely citrusy smell but in a light and fresh way. I do however think there are a lot better antioxidants on the market that are far less expensive.
The Antioxidant Face Firming Serum I actually had to stop using after a week, as it was way to rich for my skin. It didn’t really get absorbed by my skin, just laid on top of my skin, making my skin feel very oily all day and clocking up my pores.
The Double Rose Rejuvenating Face Cream, this smelled lovely and was very nice when applying on the skin, but again, I feel like there are a lot better products on the market for that price.


I think a lot of the problems I have with organic products, is that they are just not formulated well enough to penetrate deep enough into the layers of the skin and to develop it so it does, would mean it would no longer be qualified as organic.


So all in all I wasn’t a big fan and sort of wish I had spent my money on something else, as £45 is a lot of money for not even two weeks worth of products.


Mia
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Eco Friendly March, week three


Week 2 was all about trying to get better indoor climate, click Here to read why and how week one went. But since you can’t really tell that much of a difference after just one week, I will just explain what changes I have made.
First thing I wanted to figure out was the candles, the reason why I wanted to look into getting a better indoor climate in the first place, as I had bought a bag of tea lights that made my house smell like gasoline.
From what I have gathered after reading up on the subject, it is mainly paraffin based candles and lead core wicks, that are not that good for you. So I found some Organic plant oil based tealights online to try out, though I am not sure I will buy these again, as I didn’t realise they were made from palm oil when buying them. The only difference with these from the normal tea lights I buy, is that they don’t have as big a flame, but I think that is down to wick being a pure fiber wick. They do however last a lot longer than my regular tea lights, about 2 hours longer, so I suppose what they lack in brightness they make up for in burning time. I have noticed a small difference in that I am not as tired late in the evening, but since the weather has been so much nicer this week, it can also be down to the house being more aired out from the open windows on sunny days.


Another way I found while searching for ways to improve our indoor air, is house plants. NASA actually did studies on house plans improving air quality, to use on space stations, and are shown to remove toxins in the air from chemical cleaners, paint and more. Now reading this, as I am literally living in a house we are currently renovating, definitely made me think about our current indoor air. I then contacted a friend who owns a decorating company, as I know they often work with a lot of healthier paints, and she told me that normal paint will give out fumes for up to two years of painting the walls and 5-10 years if you are using stronger paints, like oil based. 
Now how many plants you should have per square foot seems to varies from article to article, but most are saying a 6-inch size plant pot per 100 square foot living area. Plus they should be placed in areas where you spend the most time in the house, in my case around the bed, desk and sofa.
I did however find it quite funny that looking at pictures of the best plants to improve indoor air, they where all plant that I associate with elderly people, as I remember all of my grandparents having these plant all over their house….just makes you think that they might have known a bit more than we do. I am not super keen on all of the plants for my personal style, but I did find a few that seems to work in our house and I will slowly be acquiring more and more, as I find the place for them around the house. Now lets just hope I can keep them alive!
Click Here to see a list of the 15 plants that improves indoor air.


The third thing I found I could change is cleaning products, as some cleaning products will give off fumes from ingredients that aren’t that good for you to breath in. 
Now we were already using some of these products, but have now changed out all of them with non toxic ones. I don’t really feel that there is a difference in efficiency, except for maybe the toilet cleaner, but I think it is just a case of using it more often than I am used to. My favourite is definitely the Method surface cleaner, that literally dissolves any mess in 30 seconds, but without any strong smell that can make you cough or be uncomfortable to breath in when using it. 



Week three:
This is going to be a difficult one I think, but for this week I am going to challenge my self to not use the car and use my bike for errand instead. My husband has just done a spring check on my bike, making sure the wheels are keeping air and that everything is oiled up, so no excuse not to use it now. 

Second thing is not to get plastic bags when doing my grocery shopping. Now I already do that when I remember, but I do forget to bring my reusable bags quite often, or I will just get a few things on my way back from a long walk, where I didn’t bring a bag. So to set myself the challenge to not use any plastic bags for a week, will hopefully get me into a habit of not forgetting to bring my own bags when doing the grocery shopping.

Mia
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Eco Friendly March, week two


The first week of Eco Friendly march has gone surprisingly well and buying organic and fair-trade has been easier than I thought. Read first eco friendly march post by clicking Here.
My first concerns with this was how much more I would use buying only organic and fair-trade when possible, but since we sort of have a weekly food budget, I found it quite easy to just cut back on a few other things making me not go over our budget.

The thing I found had the biggest price difference is Chicken, we actually used 7 pounds more on chicken this week. Where as with beef there wasn’t that big of a difference in price than what we normally buy and there was a deal on diced beef this week, so we actually ended up saving money on that one.
The area I was really surprised by after gathering up the difference, was vegetables, where we actually only ended up using around 5 more than buying non organic vegetables and that is including all the vegetables we use for making juice and smoothies. Some things, like bottled tomatoes actually ended up being cheaper if you got the organic brand and some things didn’t even have that big of a price difference, like spinach that was only £0.10 more and is on the list of the fruit and veg you should eat organic, click Here to read more about about that.
Things I had a hard time finding was organic frozen berries, only place I found them was Whole Foods, but it doesn’t actually say organic on the packaging, but googling organic frozen berries the same brand comes up, so still a bit confused about that one.
The way we make our food budget work, was to buy less expensive meat and some days have a vegetarian dinner or have things like eggs that are a cheaper than meat as our protein at meals. Plus using up all your groceries and not waisting has also helped with the budget.


For the not waisting part I also think it went really well and only thing that got waisted was a tiny bit of spinach and kale that had gone bad over night.
Some food preparation that I was already doing, just meant a bit of re-thinking, because normally I was buying things to make them specifically instead of waiting until I had over ripe bananas or apples, for frozen bananas and apple sauce. We eat a lot of bananas at our house but they do have a tendency to become overly ripe over night, so when ever they do, I peel, cut into pieces and freeze. Great for healthy banana milk shake or in smoothies.
With apples that are past the eating stage, I just peel, cut into smaller pieces and cook with a bit of apple juice. When cooked and starting go mushy, then just blend, pour into small containers and freeze. Great for baking, in deserts or in yoghurt for breakfast, just take out of freezer a few hours before use to thaw.
But the best way of using up vegetables, I actually came up with one evening, while only having a few things in the fridge and didn’t want to go to the shops, was pasta sauce with vegetables. I only had a few mushrooms that was starting to go soft and a courgette that was a bit bruised, but together with some tomato passata in a jar, a bit of garlic and chilli, this made a really yummy tomato sauce. I think pretty much any vegetable will do, so a great way to use up vegetables. You can also blend it if you are not a big chunky vegetable fan, have kids who are just not vegetable fans in general or just make and freeze for a lazy day when you don’t feel like cooking. 


All in all I think this week was a success and I found it very enlightening, especially with which supermarkets that are best when buying organic, which in my case was Tesco Ekstra and the worst actually being my local Waitrose, that doesn’t have that many organic vegetables as I would have thought they would.
But it has definitely made me want to continue buying as much organic (preferably UK grown) as I can and I am even currently looking into getting an organic vegetable box subscription. Not only because buying organic doesn’t cost as much as I thought, but I have also found that the products have a lot more flavours and smell, than regular fruit and vegetables, so all around a convert.


Week two:
So for the next challenge I am going to set myself, is going to be to get a better indoor climate. Recently I kept being able to smell a gass/petroleum smell in the evening and after three days, I figured out that it was coming from our tea lights. When googling it, it turns out regular candles aren’t that good for your indoor climate. But this google search also led me to a some other articles on indoor climate, so for this week, I will reed up on what I can do to improve my indoor climate and try some of them out.


So stay tuned for next week if you want to know how I got on.
Mia
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Eco Friendly March, week one


As I wrote about, in a post last month, click to read Here, I am going to try and be a bit more eco friendly in the month of March.
So for my first week of challenging myself to be a bit more eco friendly, I am going to:

  • Buying organic and fairtrade
  • No food wastage 

Buying organic is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I used to be quite good at buying organic, but for some reason I don’t do it as much any more. But organic is not only good for the environment and the people growing them, but they are also a lot better for me as you won’t be getting all the chemicals from spraying, but they are also suppose to have a lot more nutrients in them.
Fair trade because it is just better for the people of the world.
And no food wastage, because I am a bit tired of find fruit and veg that have gone past eating stage and end up throwing it out. Firstly because I have paid good money for it and second because there are just being waisted way to much food on the planet every year.


So for this week I am going to buy organic and fair-trade groceries when possible and to calculate how much more it has cost me that week to do it. 
And I will come up with solutions to cut food wasting.


Stay tuned for my update next Monday 
Mia
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