Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished – Lau Tsu
This is a quote that I remind myself of pretty regularly these days. At the moment, I have two days a week in which to work and I have so much I would like to achieve with them, and I often find myself wondering at the end of the day, ‘What have I achieved today? Am I getting anywhere?’ And yes, I am. Every step is a step closer to where I want to be.
The same can be said for greener living. I know that so many of us would like to live a more sustainable lifestyle, yet there are so many different aspects that could be improved on, in every area of our lives. From our diets, personal care and beauty products, cleaning, our homes, gardening, and any area you can think of! It’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed by that, so what I am trying to do, is take little steps wherever I can to live a ‘greener’ life.
Chemical Free Cleaning
I love making my own personal care products – have a look at my ‘natural remedies’ section for some of my recipes – but my cleaning cupboard left a lot to be desired, with bottles of bleach, chemical filled household cleaners and laundry detergents. To make a start in this area, I’ve made up my own household cleaning spray using essential oils. My favourite blend to use is called ‘Thieves’ by Young Living which is a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary, which I mixed with witch hazel and water in a spray bottle for an all purpose cleaning spray.
Since then, I’ve discovered Thieves household cleaner, which you simply dilute with water in your spray bottle in the same way, or it can be used neat in areas that need more, such as in the bathroom. It smells amazing, so unlike chemical cleaners.
Another lovely blend by Young Living is their ‘Purification’ blend, which contains citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, meleuca, lavender and myrtle. This is brilliant to diffuse whilst cleaning, or add a few drops onto the filter of your vacuum cleaner.
If you don’t have either of these blends, another great disinfectant to try is simply 50 ml of eucalyptus oil mixed with a litre of water and kept in a spray bottle. This is great for attacking grease and rust too.
Then of course, there is baking soda and vinegar. Vinegar makes a great glass cleaner, and is wonderful for removing limescale deposits from your toilet or shower screen. Baking soda is good for removing stains from a kitchen surface by applying with a damp sponge and wiping away. It is also great for neutralising nasty smells in your bin or fridge. To help remove fresh stains from clothes, you can try immediately applying carbonated water to the stain – the carbonation in the water bubbles up the stain and the salts keep the colour from sticking.
You can sign up for a Young Living account to try out their products here
Avoid Plastic Wrap
Plastic wrap, or cling film, is a staple in most kitchens for covering up cakes, and wrapping up sandwiches. Aluminium foil can be recycled and is a greener alternative, but it does use a lot of resources to produce. So, where possible, I just use tea towels to cover up dishes of leftover food for example, before putting them in the fridge. I’m also quite taken with this natural linen bread bag from Home of Juniper, which would be great for keeping homemade bread rather than wrapping it in plastic to keep it fresh!
Also, why not try wrapping your sandwiches in paper bags or wrap to cut down on your use of plastic, and using baking paper instead of kitchen foil where you can.
Use wooden utensils
I was thinking about the utensils that I use in my kitchen, and the majority of them are metal, or plastic weaning spoons. Neither of these are a particularly environmentally friendly option, especially the plastic spoons, so I am trying to move to wooden utensils where I can.
These handmade wooden spoons are also from Home of Juniper, who also have a great selection of wooden boards and other utensils, and even wooden bowls.
I also love these bamboo weaning spoons, which I think would be a good alternative.
Reusable baby wipes
I often worry about the impact I have on the environment by the number of nappies and wipes I throw away every single day – having two young children who are both in nappies. I’ll admit I feel like a very imperfect parent because I couldn’t get on with cloth nappies, I did try, but found the ones I used almost always leaked, which resulted in needing to wash even more clothes and bedding as well as nappies. However if you’re keen to use cloth nappies, I would of course really encourage you to try, as so many parents use them successfully!
One thing I do still use is reusable baby wipes, which I think are a wonderful idea. Cheeky Wipes sell reusable wipe kits, which come with a ‘clean box’ where you keep your wipes in a solution of water and a few drops of essential oils, and a ‘mucky box’ with a laundry bag liner, where you throw the used wipes in before taking the whole bag out to go in the washing machine before starting again. Much more environmentally friendly than disposable wipes, and another fantastic way to use essential oils!
If you didn’t want to buy a kit, you could try making your own wipes quite easily using flannel face cloths, and put into a close-able tub with water and a few drops of lavender oil.
Similarly, you could also try reusable cloth sanitary protection (CSP) or even reusable toilet paper!
Plant a wildflower meadow
Ok, so we might not all have our own meadow that we can fill with wildflowers, but any patch you may have will do! I wrote in my last post about red poppies about how I made my un-used vegetable patch into a little wildflower patch, but you could even do the same in a pot.
Choose a bee friendly flower mix, and not only will it look beautiful but also help the environment by keeping the bees happy. Wildflower seeds are again available from Home of Juniper who also give 10% of each sale to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
Whilst talking about gardening, I read recently a tip that if you cover a terracotta pot in yoghurt, it will encourage lichen to grow, giving it a beautiful aged look. I’m yet to try this out!
I hope this post has given you some inspiration, I feel so much better knowing that I’m making small changes where I can, although I still have a long way to go!
You can get 15% off your order and free shipping at www.homeofjuniper.co.uk until the end of August 2017 with the code ‘sparkle15’
This post was inspired by 1001 little ways to save our planet by Esme Floyd.