Green Washing: everything I use to do laundry.

Did you see what I did there?!!! I am the biggest fan of puns, but I’m really bad at thinking of them myself! I only make like 3 a year, so you better appreciate..

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I appreciate this picture looks very random with no context..

Anyway, I should’ve posted about this months ago, because it’s the simplest thing ever! My laundry routine is so simple I didn’t even think about writing about it haha. I basically use 3 products, none of which have to be replaced regularly.

Stain removal.

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(Source)

I’m a messy gal. I’m always spilling food on myself. I’m that person who manages to spill a drop of curry SLAP BANG on the white stripe of my t-shirt when it could’ve gone anywhere else! Whenever I do stain a piece of clothing, I dab or spray the area a little with water, then rub my Living Naturally stain remover stick over it and immediately put it in the washing machine. I bought this stick at least 3 years ago now, and it’s barely worn down at all! Gonna last me an absolute age, and it does the job wonderfully!

 

Microfibres.

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(Source)

I’ll admit I only learned about microfibres in the last few months, but it’s a bit of a bleak picture. Synthetic clothes shed small fibres into the waterways when we wash them.Β Microfibres make up 85% of human-made debris on shorelines around the world, so it’s a huge problem (read more here). One thing you can do to prevent microfibre pollution is to stop wearing clothes made from synthetic materials- which I’ve managed to do for the majority of my wardrobe- but if you do still have some, I’d recommend getting a Guppy Friend washing bag. What this bag does is collect the microfibres released! Every so often, collect up the fluff you see in the corners and pop them in the bin- done! the photo at the top is the fluff I took out of my guppy friend this week.

Detergent.

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As for what I actually use to wash my clothes, I opted for an Ecoegg. I’ve been using it for upwards of 3 years now, and it’s the literal best on soo many levels. It’s natural, fully recyclable, cheap and easy to use, (just pop it in the drum with your clothes) and requires very little maintenance. You can read my full review here for more details πŸ™‚

Drying.

Always always line dry! In the summer I hang my clothes up in the sun outside, but equally in the winter I drape my things over every radiator, rack and bannister I can find! Obviously this takes a little longer, but it’s better for your clothes and the environment.

 

That’s it! These swaps were so easy, it’s actually simpler to be eco-conscious than not! Thinking back to how I had to buy liquid tabs and fabric softener and chemical stain remover spray every month to keep my clothes clean, it feels like a world away from the effortless thang I’ve got going on right now!

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Patching holes.

I’ve written on darning as a method for mending holes in fabric before, (see here) but today I hadΒ  A LOT of fun with patches!

My beloved LUSH tote bag has accompanied me most days for over a year. It’s well-made, ethical, made of natural fibres and is best of all sturdy. Unlike the cotton totes I used to use, this one is considerably thicker, tougher and the straps can support a lot of weight. It even has a little pocket inside for your phone/keys (I mean, pockets are the real MVP in life aren’t they?!)

The only downside I’ve been able to think of, is that moths have taken such a liking to it. I’ve had a bit of an infestation recently (understatement) which has led to a number of holes appearing in my bag- some of them quite sizeable. In classic Lydia fashion, I assumed it was something else for a while.. Maybe the washing machine is chewing it up. Maybe I’m catching it on things or throwing it around or carrying heavy/sharp things in it too often. It had to get to the point where I was seeing moths everywhere before I put 2 and 2 together!

Anyway. So I was left with this chewed up bag, thinking what now? The whole reason I bought this bag was so that I could have a tote that would last for years as opposed to weeks or months like my old flimsy ones! I thought about replacing it and just being really careful with the new one.. Thankfully this morning I thought it can’t hurt to see if I can repair this one. Worse case scenario I do have to buy a new one. Can I just say I am SUPER pleased with how it turned out!

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I started out by cutting a square or rectangle out of some thick, sturdy cotton fabric big enough to cover the hole, with about half a centimetre to spare. I then zigzag stitched around the edge of the patch on my sewing machine. (I should’ve taken a picture of how they looked at this point, it wasn’t great..)

 

The bit that really sets it all off and makes it look quirky and beautiful is the sashiko stitching over the top. Sashiko is a japanese embroidery technique made up of a running stitch formed into geometric patterns and images. Search ‘sashiko embroidery’ on Pinterest or Google Images/Ecosia for inspiration. It’s a really great way to incorporate patches into garments without it looking scruffy. I went for the most basic version involving straight lines over and over, but crosses or a geometric pattern would also have looked cool!

I love the thought of caring so much about your things that when they are damaged you add something beautiful to them and keep going! Happy mending, friends πŸ™‚

Low waste bathroom tips.

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If you’re looking for ways to streamline your toiletry collection and reduce the amount of plastic in your bathroom, this might be a good place to start…

Use what you have

The first step is the least exciting (sorry). There’s no point getting all excited about replacing your toiletries when you have drawers and shelves of unused bottles still. If you can palm them off to someone else who will use them- by all means do it. Otherwise, you might as well use them up…

Solids

Solid products are the answer to everything when it comes to wasting less toiletries! Wash your hands and body with a bar of soap, that’s the easiest one. Solid versions exist of shampoo, deodorant, body cream… It lasts longer and is better value for money because you’re not being sold the diluted version in water. Also, solid products don’t need to be contained in plastic containers- it’s honestly a win-win; convenient and planet-saving! LUSH is a great place to go for solid deodorant, soap, shampoo and shower gel, but you can find soap loose or in cardboard/paper at supermarkets and small independent shops, health food stores etc.

Cut down

There’s nothing more earth-friendly than not buying it in the first place. When I first started out on the eco road I tried to replace all the products I used to use with greener versions- which is still a valid effort by the way- before I realised that it was less of a headache on all accounts to just ditch as many products as I could. I always found applying body cream and shampooing my hair to be a faff anyway, so when I found out you can do without them I honestly jumped for joy! The freedom of not having to spend time and money on shampoo, cream and other toiletries makes it pretty much guaranteed that I won’t slip back into unsustainable practices- it would mean applying so much more effort (something I’m clearly not about!)

The less you have, the less you have to maintain, replace and spend time applying/using regularly. Sometimes I love my lazy ways πŸ™‚

Every little helps

No, I’m not telling you to shop at a certain supermarket, I’m saying don’t underestimate the tiny decisions you make. Running the tap for an extra few seconds than you need to equals A LOT of water! So whether you’re brushing your teeth, washing your hands, or having a shower- every time you decide to turn the water off when you don’t need it, you get a (figurative) medal!

Do your research

There are so many great blogs and Youtube channels dedicated to reducing waste. Search ‘zero waste’, ‘green’ or ‘eco’ followed by the item your looking for (menstrual products, razors, deodorant etc.) and you’ll find a range of options. The great thing is that this way you’ll get a better idea of what you want because others have already tried it and they can tell you the pros and cons.

LUSH ‘Eyes Right’ mascara.

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Hello all!

(Iknowit’sbeenagesbutlifehappensdoyouforgiveme?yesgreatgood)

This post is mainly to ease me back into blogging, so excuse the lack of anything substantial to say.

You’ll know I’ve written about my mascara several times before, (I wrote a review here, and showed my minimalist make up collection here) so there’s not really much else to say other than the fact that I still use it. For where I’m at right now in my life and the options available to me, it’s the best solution. It’s small, doesn’t irritate my eyes, (which my one attempt at homemade mascara did) it’s easy to wipe away when I inevitably smudge my eyelid…

One thing I haven’t shared before are good photos of what you can achieve with good application of this mascara. I finally have a decent camera so I thought I’d upload some…

 

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See you soon with an actual post πŸ˜›

Minimalist February | Shoe collection.

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Following on from my previous post on my simplified wardrobe, here’s the last piece of the puzzle: shoes! I know I only have 6 pairs of shoes so I probably should’ve realised this earlier, but getting them all together to take pictures was the first time I realised that they’re all monochrome/grey except for the wellies! I remember as a teenager, my shoes were almost exclusively grey. I had an aversion to black (look at me now, teenage me!) and white poses the problem of always looking dirty, (which I’ve now largely embraced) whereas grey was the perfect balance. It goes with everything, which is probably why I subconsciously decided it would be my colour scheme for shoes. I know many minimalists apply this to their entire wardrobe, but I couldn’t do that myself. I need a bit more variety than that. But for shoes it works perfectly.

I will point out that while these shoes are perfect for 99% percent of my activities, I do borrow the odd pair of my mum’s for certain occasions such as weddings, interviews, or random days when I just feel like a change. Like I said, it is quite rare, and if we weren’t similar sizes I’d just make do with mine, but ain’t nothin’ wrong with sharing it around sometimes!

Similarly to the wardrobe this is my winter collection, but it’s almost identical to the summer one, except that I wear the boots a lot less and add a pair of sandals and flip flops into the mix.

key: (e)= ethically made (v)= vegan

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BOOTS:

  1. HUNTER wellies in red (e)(v)– new (1+ year ago)
  2. TOPSHOP suede heeled boots in black – new (4+ years ago) (similar)
  3. Wills Vegan Shoes dock boots in grey (e)(v)– new (<1 year ago)

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SHOES:

  1. Dr. Martens 3-eyelet shoe in black (e)– new (8+ years ago!)
  2. Superga classic shoe in white (v)– new (<1 year ago)
  3. Vivo Barefoot running shoe in black (e)(v)– new (<1 year ago)

Minimalist February | Simplified wardrobe pt 2.

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If you thought the stuff on my rail was literally all I wore, then you’re either as gullible as me (read: very) or optimistic. Those are what I wear on a daily basis, but there is a vital part of the picture missing.

Say hello to the cheeky chest of drawers. It homes all the things that can’t be or shouldn’t be hung up! Let me take you through it all…

  1. Underwear + swimwear: 4x bras, 1x sports bra, 3x vests, 3x tights, 10x socks, 5x various sports socks, 2x slipper socks, 7x knickers, 1x bikini, 1x swimming costume
  2. packing cubes + smart stuff: 6x packing cubes, 1x formal dress, 1x formal shirt, 1x formal trousers
  3. Sportswear: 3x shorts, 3x joggers/leggings, 1x jumper, 1x softshell jacket, 6x quidditch jerseys, 2x running tops, 2x base layers
  4. 1x spare set of bedding, 1x spare towel, 1x spare set of pyjamas
  5. Seasonal stuff: summer clothes (to be revealed later on this year), Christmas jumper

That’s it, not super interesting, but I know it’s always intriguing for me to see other people’s set ups (partly out of nosiness, partly because it’s useful to compare their approaches in order to work out your own). As always, numbers don’t matter, and it’s useless to strive for a number or hold yourself to someone else’s standards; I just put the quantities of everything for transparency’s sake πŸ™‚ Have a good day!

Minimalist February | Every day make-up

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Hello friends! This is gonna be a smug post (sorry not sorry) because I’m so happy with my teeny weeny make up collection! Disclaimer: I’m not a big make up person anymore. Some days I go completely without, some days I just whack a bit of lippie or eyeliner on; I rarely use all of it at the same time. So that helps massively.

It suits where I’m at right now, basically. When my last mascara ran out, I thought maybe I wouldn’t replace it; it’s my least-used product, and seems a waste to spend money and resources on something I don’t use very much. But I have found that on the odd day when I do want it, I really want it, and nothing else really does the job. Maybe one day I’ll stop using it, but for now it’s there. At least the little LUSH bottle means it matches all my other mini things, and comes in glass πŸ™‚

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In a soap dish for perspective πŸ™‚

Let me take you through my collection…

  1. LUSH ‘The Kiss’ lip balm – My brother gave me this for my birthday 2 years ago actually! Initially I wasn’t too keen on it; being quite militantly anti-plastic at the time, and not thinking I suited bright lips, I used it rarely- if at all- until a few months ago. For whatever reason, it has now become an essential! It’s really nice and moisturising, and adds a subtle but noticeable colour to my lips, I’m sold πŸ™‚ When this runs out I reckon I’ll buy a lip tint that comes in a tin or see if I can refill this container with a homemade concoction.
  2. LUSH ‘Eyes Right’ mascara – This is my second bottle of this particular mascara. My first lasted about a year, (see my review here) then I tried my hand at making my own out of activated charcoal and other ingredients to reuse the bottle (see here). In the end, it irritated my eyes, and didn’t last nearly as long as the LUSH one, so for now it’s the best option for me. It took me a while to get used to the consistency and short brush, but I’m not into heavy mascara anyway, so this one is perfect πŸ™‚
  3. Eyebrow powder and brush – In order to whittle my collection down, I removed one shade of a cheap eyeshadow palette into a tin to use as eyebrow powder. It was pretty much all I was using that palette for, so it makes so much more sense to now only have to use this tiny tin. When it runs out, (which will likely be in a few months) I can either refill the tin with bulk cacao powder which is basically the same colour, or purchase this eyeshadow refill pan which has the benefit of being compacted so that it’s not so easily wasted by putting too much on my brush. By the way, the brush is from Eco tools, gifted to me by my mum and cut in half by me πŸ™‚ (similiar here)
  4. LUSH ‘Lust’ solid perfume – I think I bought this perfume about a year and a half ago and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! It’s the perfect scent for me: heady, a bit like incense; sweet, but not sickly. Some days I just rub a bit on my neck, others I go a bit nuts a rub it behind each ear, on my wrists, behind my knees, in the crooks if my elbows- What can I say, I’m obsessed! Despite my ridiculous usage, it’s still only about a quarter depleted! The only annoying thing is that for some reason LUSH have decided to change their packaging for this and gone for a smaller glass jar with a plastic lid. Literally have no idea what was wrong with the tin…
  5. Eyeliner pencil – I got this eyeliner pencil in a chemist a long while ago. Like years ago. I used to be more of a liquid eyeliner fan because it’s more precise, but I used to keep a pencil for smudging purposes (priorities haha). Since trying to be more eco-friendly, I’ve ditched the plastic liquid eyeliner pens and made do with just a pencil. But I’ve learned that if you keep it sharp and practise, you can get a neat, thin line. Also when I occasionally want it to look more gel or liquid-like, I only need to hold a lighter a few centimetres away from the end and it softens enough to get a bolder look! (see the ‘2-in-1 eyeliner’ section of this post) Boom. Multifunctional.

Thanks for reading!

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My make up in its natural habitat (the pink candy stripe bag)

5 Things this Monday.

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As it’s Minimalist February on my blog, why not have a themed 5 Things this Monday! Here are 5 things I’ve read recently on the topic of having less…

  1. I myself have an attachment to books. But I recently had a purge of my personal collection, only keeping a select few, as well as ones I haven’t read yet (which is waaay too many!) I love this post though, because it explains so simply and perfectly, that the joy of books isn’t in their ownership. Give it a read, I know you want to!
  2. The Ethical Unicorn’s first post on materialism and her discovery of the impact of having so much stuff. It’s so refreshing and relateable to hear someone who’s just unpacking the ‘unwritten rules’ that life throws at us.
  3. The writer of Near-O Waste shares the ways her life has been simplified since minimalism. Yeah it means that she makes little changes that move her away from the zero waste ideal, but it’s all about having perspective, and not beating yourself up. Striving for zero waste can be a faff, and stressful. But if you can minimise that with a compromise, then that’s great.
  4. Next up, is a Youtube channel I discovered recently. Ashlynne Eaton has a really sweet personality and I love her humble style. The focus of her channel is minimalism and intentional living, which is a nice term that encompasses all sorts of causes such as environmentalism and ethical shopping. Her videos are not too heavy, but still inspiring and entertaining- I’m obsessed πŸ™‚
  5. Finally, why not another Youtube channel! The Minimalist Ninja is quite a different channel. She has been a minimalist for 4+ years, and so she has an awful lot of experience and advice. She breaks things down into bitesize topics and is very sincere and considered when it comes to why she decides to do things which I like.

Hopefully that’ll keep you going until my next post πŸ˜‰ See you soon!

Minimalist February | Simplified wardrobe pt 1.

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When bored of the word ‘minimalist’ or sick of the clichΓ© connotations, I’ve noticed bloggers like to go for ‘simple’ or ‘simplified’. Today I am all of those bloggers (fight me!) I’m at once grateful and resentful of labels like ‘zero waster’ and ‘minimalist’ and ‘vegan’. They obviously represent decisions and lifestyles that I am proud of, and it means you can search these terms and find like-minded people to inspire you. On the other side of the coin, labels come with stereotypes, expectations and criticisms. Sometimes you also get caught up in being that stereotype or label, rather than caring about the root issues. But anyway..

The point I was trying to make before I got sidetracked, was that it makes a lot more sense to me to use ‘simplified’ in this case. Because that’s what minimalism means to me. Having less clothes makes everything simpler. It has never been easier to choose what to wear, I have never loved my clothes more, and this is also probably my comfiest wardrobe to date! I used to have clothes I loved, was indifferent to and hated- all in the same place! I had items that I bought cos they looked great on other people, items that would’ve been great in another colour, or a teeny bit longer, or looser (so basically exactly what they weren’t). It’s taken over 2 years of mistakes and learning to realise what I value in a wardrobe and stick to it. And I know the journey is not over, but I like to think I’ll only be making small changes a few times a year from now on.

Here’s a run down of what’s in my winter wardrobe. This is what simple looks like to me:

key: (e)= ethically made (v)= vegan (n)= natural fibres

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TOPS:

  1. GAP Stripy breton (v)(n)– secondhand
  2. The White T-shirt Co. body top in black (e)(v)(n)– new
  3. The White T-shirt Co. body top in grey (e)(v)(n)– new
  4. Uniqlo linen shirt in black (v)(n)– secondhand (similar)
  5. WHISTLES blouse in yellow/orange (v)– secondhand
  6. Levi’s sweatshirt in grey (e)(v)– secondhand
  7. Vintage cardigan in cream (e)(n)– secondhand (similar)
  8. HOBBS cardigan in red (e)(n)– secondhand

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BOTTOMS:

  1. Levi’s 505c jeans (e)(n)– new (from an outlet store) (similar)
  2. COS wool skirt in plum (n)– secondhand (similar)
  3. Vintage tartan shorts in green (n)– secondhand, shortened by me (similar- before alteration, after alteration)

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ALL-IN-ONES:

  1. Urban Outfitters floaty dress in dark grey/multicoloured (v)– new (5 years ago)
  2. Ralph Lauren shirt dress in light blue (v)(n)– secondhand (similar)
  3. Lucy & Yak corduroy dungarees in moss green (e)(v)(n)– new
  4. Finisterre jumper dress in grey (e)(v)(n)– new
  5. Thought denim pinafore in dark blue (e)(v)– new

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COATS/JACKETS:

  1. TOPMAN overcoat in navy blue – secondhand (similar)
  2. RAINS rubber raincoat in green (e)(v)– secondhand

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ACCESSORIES:

  1. Matt & Nat Elle bag in chili (e)(v)– new
  2. LUSH fighting animal testing tote bag in black (e)(v)(n)– new
  3. RAINS msn bag in black (e)(v)– secondhand
  4. Patagonia gloves in blue (e)(v)– new
  5. Jack Wills tartan scarf in blue (n)– new
  6. Local artisan blanket scarf (e)(n)– new
  7. knitted headband in blue (e)(v)(n)– handmade by me (similar)

Minimalist February | Pitfalls and misconceptions about minimalism.

If you haven’t guessed from the title of this post, I’m going to be posting with a focus on minimalism this month. And where better to start than by defining the term! (can you tell I’ve been a student for too long? Killer essay starter right there..) You probably have an idea about what minimalism is by now. I don’t blame you, it gets bandied about a fair bit these days. Here are 3 misconceptions about minimalism and 3 pitfalls that people can fall into when trying to achieve it.

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Misconceptions:

  1. You’re not allowed to have a lot of stuff– minimalism means different things to different people. Yes, it generally means having less items overall than the average person, but if you really like shoes and all of your pairs make you happy- keep them! Ditto books or Star Wars memorabilia (I don’t know what you’re into!)
  2. You have to like white EVERYTHING– it seems that when you search online for minimalist interiors, the vast majority look very similar: white walls, neutral/white furniture etc. I think the reason is that it attracts light, and highlights the lack of objects which is enjoyable for a lot of people. However, this is just a general preference, and by no means is the right or the only way to do things.
  3. Minimalism relates only to possessions- I have to admit I’m finding the slightly less tangible side of minimalism quite tricky, so you lucky people get to watch me struggle with that this month! But you can apply minimalism to technology, your diary, cooking… Practically anything. It’s about paring it down to only what you need, only what makes you happy. More on this later πŸ˜‰

Pitfalls:

  1. Racing to the finish line– by this I mean trying to clear out your belongings in one fell swoop. Yes, some people find that this is the way to go, and prefer to just have it over with, but I am of the opinion that it can’t hurt to take a little time. This is because sometimes when you’re too hasty to chuck things away, you might find you’re making way harsher decisions than you need to in order to achieve your desired amount of belongings. This could lead to disposing of an item you actually cherish, or the dramatic increase in space in your home- both of which can cause you to want to buy more to fill the emotional or physical void. As far as I’m concerned, it can’t hurt to take your time. If you declutter a space, then a week later you’re still not satisfied with it then by all means work on it again.
  2. Focusing on numbers– you’ll find a lot of blog posts and videos out there entitled ‘my 30 item closet’ or ‘this man lives with only 102 belongings!’ and it’s easy to get fixated on the numbers, thinking they are obviously doing it better than you. But you know what? Fore some people it works, and that is their ideal amount. Others need more and there’s nothing wrong with that. I would recommend focusing on how much is ideal for you, regardless of what anyone else is doing.
  3. Not addressing your emotions- Items are inevitably going to make us sentimental, and thinking we can plough through regardless is unrealistic. For me at least, shopping is emotional. I do it when I’m bored or feeling low. Keeping things makes me feel safe, and sometimes it represents a time or person in my life I care about. It’s not as simple as getting rid of things. Sometimes you need to deal with some baggage first (yay.) But it all leads to a place of being more in touch and in control of your emotions (genuine yay!)

Stay tuned for more minimalism this month. Thanks for reading!