Recycle Less: International Box Day

This coming Sunday, the 19th of June is International Box Day! 

Yes, I use international holidays for post inspiration. There’s no shame in it, especially when high street (I think in American English the equivalent is something like main street shopping or mall shopping) shopping’s in decline and online shopping is becoming the number one way to shop. While I order online I’m kinda old skool shopping. I like shopping, I like looking and feeling clothes, smelling and trying cosmetics before I buy them. Clothes more so. Once I like a skincare product I’ll order it online as that’s usually only where I can get it. Vitamins, bras, birthday and Christmas presents to the UK I order online. Everything else I can get local or just go without. For food I like to look in person. Many brick and mortar retailers offer online sales and free returns in store, it’s just easier for me to shop 5 minutes down the road than wait a few days for delivery. Not to mention there’s more emissions involved with online order delivery and more waste. 

Shops have enough waste. For every piece of item on display just like when it arrives in a box ordered online is wrapped individually in plastic! I understand it’s to protect the item inside but please! I get so annoyed when I order items that still come with polystyrene packing cubes or pellets. Why?! I can’t reuse them and they just go into the recycle container to be recycled if they ever do.

Cardboard boxes, I can repurpose and reuse! Below are just few uses giving boxes an extra life. All they need sometimes is a wipe down to remove any dirt and they’re good to go. If you want to really make them feel clean, wipe down and air in the sun for a while:

Nice boxes can be cleaned and styled KonMari style into organisers for clothes, jewellery, stationery, trinkets, keepsakes, anything organisational. Shoes boxes and the jewellery box before the jewellery box are great for this. 

If I fits I sits. Cat logic for boxes! So many boxes can be cat forts, cat beds (great in the summer to help them cool and in the winter with a blanket to keep them warm), chew boxes, scratching boxes. Cats logic and imagination for boxes is endless.

Continue reading “Recycle Less: International Box Day”

Beauty Finds: Najel Aleppo Soap. Jasmine Aleppo Soap and Black Cumin Oil Aleppo Soap Review

Welcome to another Beauty Finds. This edition is Najel olive and bay laurel oils Aleppo Soap in both Jasmine and Black Cumin Oil respectively.

Najel Jasmine Aleppo Soap. Apologies if the writing is upside down

I knew about Marseille soap as I’ve been for about 6 months using it as my all purpose cleaning soap including the dishes! I didn’t know about Aleppo Soap so was super curious in Druni when I first saw Nazel products as a few soaps were a similar shape and colour as Marseille Soap. The Marseille soap I was using was marketed as an all purpose cleaner when these soaps were in a beauty shop. What was the difference?

Aleppo soap is traditionally made in Aleppo, Syria and is the ancestor to Marseille soap. Traditional Aleppo soap is 100% natural and contains no chemicals or animal fats, protected by Syrian law and must be made inside Aleppo or just outside of Aleppo. Just like how Spanish champagne can only be called cava as for champagne to be champagne it can only be manufactured in the Champagne region of France. Being ancestor to Marseille soap, it’s very similar to Marseille soap in that it also uses olive oil. Aleppo soap in addition contains bay laurel oil. Both giving the soap it’s rich green colour. There are several companies still in operation after the Syrian civil war, Najel being on of them. The headquarters are based in Lyon, France however all Aleppo soap sold via Najel is made in Syria since 1895 by the Al Najjar family. 20 years ago the soap was brought to Europe by marriage of the founding Najel owners. Catherine, a law student met Manar, a Syrian doctor and the rest is history via a father in law. Catherine’s father was amazing by Manar’s family soap making business and convinced Manar to export it to Europe. While the brand has expanded out of soap with many products now made in France, the Aleppo soap is still traditionally made in Syria. More information about Najel here

Skip a paragraph for the review or read on for my beauty requirement! 

I have a few requirements when it comes to beauty products: cruelty free, natural, clean, vegan better. I do my best to avoid nasty ingredients such as SLSs, parabens, PEGs, silicones, etc. Petrochemicals are the sneakiest with so many derivatives and aliases. I also avoid palm oil and it’s derivatives as I prefer orangutans. Coconut oil marketed as the good oil I’m also cutting down on as it can be just a damaging crop as palm oil. If I do get products containing palm or coconut oil I try to get organic or sustainably sourced. With make up it’s a little harder so I go for cruelty free brands. I prefer products with less plastic and thankfully more brands are aware consumers don’t want unnecessary plastic (or governments are telling them less plastic). My skin type’s oily sensitive, acne prone and now wrinkles. I know nothing stops those lines, but if I can delay them then….

I came across Najel Aleppo Soap last year in Druni. Druni has a great range of lesser known bio and organic European skin care brands. I’m always on the lookout for solid body soap to try that’s plastic free. As mentioned early I use Marseille soap for washing the dishes, hand washing, general cleaning and while it can be used for body and hair too, the idea of using the same soap for everything, kinda grosses me out a little. I’m sure it’ll clean well and be fine! I have noticed however it does dry my hands out if I’m not using washing up gloves so the I’m probably good not using as a body and shampoo soap. 

I was curious as to what Aleppo Soap was. Is the war in Syria still on going? Who buy purchasing would I be contributing to? Would I be contributing to those who’ve lost everything and are trying to rebuild their lives? By purchasing I’d be helping the country get back on its feet. Those were the initial thoughts before purchasing. I believe in democracy that’s all I’m saying. 

All Aleppo Soap must be made with non food olive oil, bay laurel oil, caustic for saponification of oils and water, made in the traditional way of a hot process in a cauldron and made within or just outside of Aleppo. The soap’s made from November to March then left to dry for at least 9 months!

I initially tried the organic Jasmine soap first. Druni here. This is because I prefer to buy solid soap that isn’t wrapped in plastic. A peak into the box revealed it’s paper wrapped. The rest of the Najel soaps available were wrapped in plastic. Sadly however under the paper it is wrapped in plastic. 

Beautifully wrapped and a little plastic. A paper sticker would be more environmentally friendly
Continue reading “Beauty Finds: Najel Aleppo Soap. Jasmine Aleppo Soap and Black Cumin Oil Aleppo Soap Review”

Recycle Less: Little Ways and Tips To Help Save Water On Energy Bills and Help The Environment

Sometimes you don’t realise how much you take something for granted until it’s gone. Like when the water pump in my building fails and left without water for an afternoon. 

‘Agua no potable’. Non drinking water

That means no flushing the toilet, no washing hands, no drinking water, no cups of tea, no washing up, not even boiling a pan of water to cook vegetables. Just a feeling of feeling dirty, how much you rely on water out a tap on demand and to be honestly helpless. Now for those just in case afternoons which have only happened 3 times in the last few years, I have a 6 litre water bottle just in case stored away. I should probably learn how to filter water too as a survivalist. Those moments of not having any water make you think about how you’d survive without water or electricity if you didn’t have clean water skills or knowing how to build fires to cook and be warm or even a generator. I wouldn’t survive long!

However I’m always trying to save on water. More so for the environment. The water bill followed. That’s risen so much in the last few months as energy costs have soared in Europe. I don’t even want to talk about the electricity bill. I’m using the same amount of electricity yet it’s approx €63 more a month. Now I for sure unplug the toaster and kettle when not in use.

The past few years I’ve been using the following tips that have now become second nature. They do save, yet it doesn’t help the hot water takes so long to come through!:

When shampooing and conditioning my hair I turn off the shower. This saves quite a lot of water. Yes, might be chilly in the winter but honestly you get used to it.

When cleansing my face in the shower I again turn off the shower while applying cleanser. 

Shaving my legs, again you guessed it I turn off the shower! 

Turn off the tap/faucet while brushing teeth. 

Turn off the tap while washing hands. It doesn’t need to be on the whole hand washing sequence. I know however with older turn/compression taps as opposed to lever taps this is tricker to impossible.

Continue reading “Recycle Less: Little Ways and Tips To Help Save Water On Energy Bills and Help The Environment”

Beauty Finds: Hair Care Bars Part 2

Welcome to another Beauty Finds: Hair Care Bars Part 2! As some you may know I’m trying to reduce my plastic consumption. I’ve always said beauty products after food are the the hardest plastic area for me to reduce. Thankfully with hair care, it’s getting easier to go plastic free with solid shampoo and conditioner bars! However just like their liquid counterparts it takes many frogs to find the right ones.

I’ve found some bars might contain too much sulphate that make my fine hair go crazy frizzy. Nobody wants that! I also feel sometimes the ingredients are a little more concentrated being in a bar. Just like with all my beauty products I always go for cruelty free products, vegan a bonus. I prefer natural clean products and try to avoid nasty ingredients such as parabens, petrochemical ingredients and its derivatives, SLS etc. I avoid palm oil if I can as I prefer orangutangs. I’m not perfect, some nasty ingredients slip through as I sped read the label, or it’s a derivatives or an alias I’m not familiar with. With make up I opt for cruelty free, clean as possible ingredients however it’s harder with make up than skincare to avoid the crap free ingredients. My skin type is oily, combo, sensitive, acne and needs all the help it can get with anti aging. My hair type is fine, gets greasy quickly and is prone to damage even though I don’t colour it or use any heat treatments on it. I often get OWay rebuilding treatment

One thing I have noticed with solid shampoo and conditioners is the price. It’s a lot kinder to the bank balance. Depending on the size they also last longer. This I find interesting as many natural liquid shampoos and conditioners cost almost 3-5 times or more the price of a bar.

Solito Herbal Solid Shampoo. Neutral For All Hair Types 

This did what it said, neutral for all hair types. I was sad when it had it’s last lather. It kept my hair happy and shiny in 3 countries with 3 different climates. It left it feeing clean, happy, a little shiny. It’s scent didn’t really smell, it lathered nicely, it was a great everyday shampoo. I would repeat buy however:

It contains propylene glycol, petrochemical derived. I’ll admit I over looked it at the time as the previous solid shampoo bars made my hair a little crazy Continue reading “Beauty Finds: Hair Care Bars Part 2”

Recycle Less Update: Updated Finds

Welcome back to another Recycle Less Update! Some items may have been featured in previous Recycle Less Updates however below are improved finds. As some long time readers know I’ve been on a journey for a few years to reduce the amount of plastic I consume and stuff in general. It’s not easy and any plastic free finds, eco environmental finds I find, I share!

Since starting being more conscious buying less plastic I’m actually buying less as well. Double whammy! When you see plastic everywhere you realise just how much there is, sometimes despair now it’s here it’s never going to go away. I’m not anti plastic everything. It has valuable use when used right. I try to avoid unnecessary plastic whenever I can. Food and beauty items are still my number one plastic hurdles. Whenever I can grocery shopping I use cotton produce bags (I even take them on holiday!), go for skincare without nasty ingredients (since starting being plastic freer, it’s evolved in avoiding petroleum plastics and it’s derivatives in skincare, food), do my best to find the plastic free alternatives. I’m no angel, shoes are plastic as I’m vegan too. For example I didn’t know shoe glue can contain animal gelatine for the bonding. What’s that got to do about being plastic free? Sometimes you have to compromise, give and take and do the best you can caring as much you can for the environment. 

Kaiapuni Eco Dental Floss and Refills

Previously I was compromising with a silk floss. It came in a glass container however being silk and me being vegan I was never happy about it. But it was better than nylon or ‘plastic’ floss. Even since I saw a photo of a seal with floss wrapped around its neck cutting into its flesh, I’ve been anti plastic floss. An Amazon recommendation was Kaiapuni floss £5.99 plus shipping. A corn based floss making it 100% biodegradable and clumsy friendly container being metal. Refills are cheap, £6.99 for 2 Continue reading “Recycle Less Update: Updated Finds”