#plasticfree April

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I was appalled to hear yesterday about Sainsbury’s adding even more plastic packaging, you can read more about it here and here.  Has no one ever told Sainsbury’s that may be they should consider giving advice on washing hands after touching raw meat instead of adding to the #plasticpollution problem?

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Did you watch the One Show last night, about #plasticpollution? I do hope that the Sainsbuy’s board and share holders were watching (as well as all the supermarkets and shops)! Ok, rant over. This month i have got into more of a routine and helped enormously with the discovery of Source Bulk Foods, Odd Box and a couple of amazing butchers, groucery shopping has become easier.  Source have risotto rice, popcorn, baking powder, organic sugar, sweets and so much more, if you’re in London it is so worth a visit.  This month I switched to their shampoo and conditioner refill, so delighted to have found it there.  Also trialed a facial cleanser bar and found it too drying for my face, a friend suggested Neals Yard  – so will head there for ideas.  Any suggestions?  I liked the Made for Life balm, although prefer a facial cream wash – Liz Earle’s cleanse and polish is my all time go to and sadly that’s in double plastic and not refillable.

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Georganics on Etsy, they have toothpaste, mouthwash & natural floss as well as bamboo toothbrushes.  As soon as my toothpaste is finished will try, they also have coconut oil pulling, has anyone tried this?  Sounds intriguing.

 
Finally, while pottering around my favorite garden centre with my youngest nephew, we kept seeing plastic pots and decided to try growing things from seeds.  I recently bought a fabulous new magazine called The Flower Patch, in there they show how to make origami seed pots.  Fun to make and great at recycling old newspapers, my garden in super small and I don’t need loads – the loo roll and egg box ideas in the clip above are great too.

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Tilly and the Buttons: Stretch!

At the Knitting and Stitching show we met Tilly and T loved her new book Stretch!, so we bought a copy that Tilly so kindly signed it.  T chose the Stella hoodie and while we were browsing around the show found some fabulous super cuddly teddy bear fabric at Higgs & Higgs.  It’s not a jersey as such, although does have a stretch to it.

The pattern pieces for each project are on separate sheets and easy to trace off, I traced the largest size as T’s favorite hoodie that must be around 7 years old is super oversize and great instead of a dressing gown.  One extra feature she asked for was teddy bear ears!

The construction was very straight forward and a super quick make, I used my overlocker for most of the construction and only top-stitched the hood front for the cord and hem.  The hem has a pointed detail to match the original hoodie and is about 6 inches longer than the patter.  So loved making this and T is delighted, only shy about being pictured wearing it.  I have plans to make the Joni dress next, when I can find the right fabric and I know Tilly is having a pop-up shop tomorrow – so will try to go along if I can.

Love the new book and am sure it will help cure me of my fear of stretch fabrics, have had a couple of disasters over the years and I’m sure it was just down to the fabric I used.  So if you’d like to start sewing with stretch, its a perfect book and great also just for all the patterns!

#plasticfree March

Thought I’d give an update on my #plasticfree challenge.  Still enjoying our OddBox weekly delivery and after a few hick-ups with Milk & More when they launched their  new website found them to be super reliable.

This month saw the launch of PG tipps compostable packaging and completely plastic free tea.  Was so delighted that they launch this so quickly and ahead of the other companies who seem to have such unrealistic long-term plans, PG are also launching plastic free teabags later this year.  If you’re not a fan of PG, or looking for loose plastic free herbal teas, head to The Source bulk foods in Chiswick.

I was visiting friends a couple of weeks ago and popped in for a quick look and went back with a shopping list, jars and bags on Saturday.  So much choice from lentils to spices, shampoo to balsamic.   Lots of herbal teas as well as regular tea, flours from regular organic strong bread flour to more unusual flours that can be hard to find.  So we now are stocked up with organic sugar that is impossible to find not wrapped in plastic, peppermint tea and lots more.  It carries a larger range of goods than Hetu and if you can get to West London is a fantastic option.  Also just across the road is a branch of Borough Wines with 6 wines on tap and next door to the source was a wonderful natural and organic butcher.  Chiswick is so lucky!  Finally I managed to find pine resin at Baldwins and decided to experiment.

First I tried the recipe i saw most online, using the same weight of wax to resin with a few drops of jojoba oil.  The equal parts was super sticky and not all that pleasant to touch.  After a few tries I melted beeswax with half the weight of resin and then painted my prewashed fabric using a silicon brush.  I found this was so much easier and they work brilliantly, they are stickier than just beeswax and more like ‘cling film’.  Will have another play and use pinking shears to give the fabric a pretty look rather than overlocking I used for mine and will give as gifts.  Enjoyed the 2 YouTube videos below with one how to make wraps and another on how to make sandwich pouches:

this is not a sponsored post, all views are my own.

establishing habits and routines

I have been trying to carry on with my #plasticfreeJanuary and when items need replacing have sought plastic free when i can.  I had tried BioD and wanted to see how well other brands worked.  While searching came across Mangle & Wringer, natural, non toxic cleaning remedy. The bathroom balm is brilliant, easy to use, works so well and not a spray in sight.  The laundry powder and bleach made washing whites simple and the natural bleech can be used all over the house.  The items were well packaged and plastic free, just delighted and will carry on using this.

I’ve also making the change from pump liquid soap to bars of natural soap, the bars i found are from Baileys Home and Garden in Ross-on-Wye.  Really lovely soap and have no packaging, making them a fabulous zero waste purchase.  My second delivery of Who gives a crap arrived and is a brilliant plastic free product, although the box is huge!  Gradually finding new products, cotton floor cloths to replace old well-worn microfiber cloths (Baileys Home and Garden).  Labour and Wait also have a good range of natural cleaning products.  And with all this cleaning my poor hands need a little care and pampering, found a plastic free intensive shea butter cream at L’Occitane.

If you have any plastic free tips, do share!

I have bought all these products and this is not a sponsored post.

All views are my own.

Tea and crafting with friends

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Last week I sent a few hours with friends and other ladies learning how to paper cut at Tea & Crafting in Covent Garden.  There was lots of tea and coffee and cupcakes galore to keep us going and a great treacher who showed us the basics and then helped us along the way.

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The crafting space is lovely, with walls full of makes, from giant arm knitting to tiny strawberry pompoms.  I did manage to finish my cut, using on of the templates provided and so enjoyed the process.

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I’m certainly going to try paper cutting again, practice will help my technique, below is what one of my friends made – all hand drawn and no template used!

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I need to work on my technique and going to use some Etsy templates I have found, there are some truely amazing artists there who sell paper cutting templates and also artist who sell there fabulous original works.

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This month has been super busy work wise and I haven managed to do any sewing for myself, just a little knitting in the evenings.  With the first huge project this year I have used 2 downloadable PDF patterns from Black Snail Patterns, I don’t usually make up PDF’s as a rule, but these shapes were perfect starting point shape wise.  They worked out in the end, although I did give up on the instructions completely with one pattern – sometimes things just get lost in translation.  I also choose 2 other pattern companies I have never used before, Folkwear and Sense & Sensibility I bought via a brilliant pattern company called Habithat.  These patterns were brilliant and thoroughly recommend them, below are 2 sneak peeks of a s&s blouse and a hack of a Folkwear during construction.

I’ve had to do a lot of research for this project and dived into Downton Abbey on DVD as well as books and searching for original clothes from WW1.  The costumes on Downtown were wonderful and it has been a joy to watch again.  I visited the Imperial War Museum for the first time and spent a day looking at the collections and in the research library, the V&A collection was also a huge inspiration and a place I love to spend time.

images: top Downton Abbey,

bottom row from the left V&A collection, Downton Abbey & vintage photograph.

I hope to be able to show photographs of the collection I made, the actors start rehearsing next week and I can’t wait to see them in action.

 

#plasticdetox | what I learnt in January

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I thought I’d round-up on January’s plastic detox and what I’ve found easiest to do and what I am planning to keep doing.

Plastic in tea bags was a major shock, always thinking they were biodegradable and finding out we had been drinking tea infused with PVC was shocking.  I have been trying various loose teas including herbal and will keep on with this, Brew Tea is delicious.  At home the charcoal filter is working well and I’m going to continue using these.  Finding plastic free fruit and vegetables at a good price was trickier in a supermarket,  OddBox has been brilliant and also seen our meals change as we use the different vegetables that arrive.  Switching to a milkman was the quickest and easiest swap of all, we now have milk and juice delivered in glass bottles. Milk & More is online and so easy to use.  I’ve also been baking our own bread on Sunday’s and find it relaxing kneading/bashing the dough, also have no plastic waste – so win all round.  In the kitchen I’ve also started using a compost bin (luckily our council has a curbside collection) and this has cut down the amount I place in the general rubbish, also noticed our recycling bin is a lot less – so gradually making headway there.  I have to use bin bags and have switched to a biodegradable version from Baldwins.

Flora, Poppy & Lurpak have all had their food changed and they don’t seem to mind, Lurpak took the change from pouches to tin’s trickier.  And I guess like most pet owners we are nothing but slaves to their total happiness.  The dogs love the Lily’s Kitchen and even though I thought the cost was high, have worked out that buying direct with a huge bag, makes the cost the same if not a little less than their original food – just this is plastic free and compostable.  As a result of the changes with pet food I have been shopping in Asda, the tinned cat food is so much cheaper there.  Noticed they have quite a few loose vegetables and herbs, more than Waitrose & Sainsbury’s. If I buy something that does have plastic wrapping I fold it up and send it back to the chief executive with a polite letter asking them to consider using biodegradable packaging.  Not had a reply as yet.  Find this method easier than dumping the plastic bags at the till and may have more of an impact with the decision makers rather than the poor cashier who doesn’t have any say on how things are run.

Plastic free cleaning has been a curve, not keen on the vinegar & water smell.  I have switched to Bio D and plan to use refills of the washing up liquid and the laundry powder works really well, as with all the Bio D, they contain no harmful ingredients and are Cruelty Free.  In terms of bathroom cleaning I haven’t swapped anything as my regular cleaner lasts a long time (bathroom Method), have stopped buying bleach for the loo and planning on experimenting with loo bombs.  Think the box of Who gives a crap loo roll will keep us going for months and definitely recommend it.

Bathroom cupboard wise things have been changing slowly, after my cleanser ran out last week switched from a plastic pump to a glass pot with metal lid and its lovely.  Different as it’s a balm not a wash, I use home-made muslin cloths to remove and definitely recommend this.  Also switched my moisturizer  close to the beginning of January from plastic pot to glass pot, although it does have a plastic lid.  If only Waitrose would consider putting the baby bottom butter in a glass pot!  Using an amazing bamboo toothbrush with compostable bristles and it is doing really well, I found this at Hetu.  Finally switched from a plastic razor to Edwin Jagger British made metal razor that uses old-fashioned razor blades, looking into the recycling of the blades.  Switching from liquid soap has not happened as yet, I use large bottles and the solid soap I’ve tried from lush hasn’t been all that great.  Will start switching and experimenting, Dr Bronner liquid soap was recommended to me, although this again comes in plastic bottles.  Shampoo & conditioner has been an ongoing challenge, one suggestion from Kate Arnell from Eco-Boost was to buy a bottle of shampoo from her hairdresser and they then refill there on – great idea if your hairdresser will do that.  Will keep on the search, so far all none plastic options from Lush have failed on my hair.

 If you have any tips at all, or products you’ve found that work for you, do get in touch!  Anyone found an eco pair of tights?

If you’d like to try Who gives a crap plastic free loo roll – here’s a code to get £5 off https://www.talkable.com/x/jeecau

This post was not sponsered and all views my own.

Make Nine challenge for 2018

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I read about the #2018MakeNine via Rochelle over at Lucky Lucille.  If you want to see what others have picked use the hashtag #2018makenine over on on instagram.  Below are my 9 pattern choices.

Project 1, Vogue 9103 summer dress.  This dress has some nice fitting details, is easy to make and there for once fitting it done quick to make.  I am thinking view C or F as they are a good midi length.

Project 2, McCalls 6600.  A simple shirt-waister style that will be great for spring or autumn, thinking a light weight corduroy or dutch wax fabric.

Project 3, the ultimate pencil skirt.  I love this super easy and fast skirt, perfect all year round depending on the fabric.  My thoughts are heading spring/summer in a jersey, so would be a great everyday basic.

Project 4, the box shirt. A super simple shape and perfect to wear with the pencil skirt or jeans, excellent every day basic for spring, summer & autumn.

Project 5, the holiday shirt & top.  Another Maker’s Atelier pattern, again super easy to wear and would cover spring, summer & autumn.

Project 6, simplicity 8014.  A shirt dress that made me think of Kirstie Allsopp and Samantha Sung, although a little more streamlined around the waist.  Again this has good options for wearing all year round, depending on the fabric I use.

Project 7, the Nell shirt.  I have been wanting to make this shirt and even have the fabric ready!  A dear friend gave me around 5 metres of a very beautiful white window pane cotton shirting.  This would be lovely for spring, although a perfect all year staple.

Project 8, simplicity 1059.  Thinking about what I need in my wardrobe, I need a couple of more formal dresses and thought this would be lovely in a silk.

Project 9, simplicity 8013.  Again this is another evening dress, have seen a few versions made and adored Marcy Harriell version.

I don’t have a fabric stash to raid, so will be buying fabrics as I go along.  Have a rough order to work though, the maker’s atelier patterns and a shirt dress I’d like to have done by June for my holiday.  One more dressy dress for May.  I’ll be posting my progress here and over in instagram with the #2018makenine and I’m @cloth_scissors_thread

plastic detox week 4

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Great news announced on 16th January, that Iceland will be going plastic free on their own brand frozen foods by 2023.  With my plastic challenge this month, I realised frozen peas and other frozen vegetables will be a no-no, Nigella’s pea & pesto soup is a winter soup staple as its so quick and warming.  This prompted me to email the major supermarkets a few weeks ago about their single use plastic packaging in their freezer department and what their plans were, a few responded.

Tesco response was ” Regarding your enquiry, I have had a response from our Business Support Team.  They have informed me of that what we have been doing at Tesco is moving more and more of our frozen bags to pure polyethylene, which we will recycle at front of our larger stores with carrier bags. This is a service that local authorities do not offer, but shows our commitment to recyclable materials.  We have more being converted during 2018 and the next thing we need to get right is the use of the correct on pack logo. Hopefully our customers will see this change soon  I hope this helps.”  I have followed up with another email asking if they would consider paper in the light of Iceland’s announcement and have as yet to receive a response.

Sainsburys response to my initial email was  “I’ve spoken with our communications team who have advised of the following in regards to the following regarding our packages.  A trial using home compostable packaging was launched on our So Organics range. This was successful however any of our customers which didn’t have the ability to compost at home were still in the same situation they had previously been and were having to bin their plastic bags and trays. Also during the trial we saw feedback that in some cases it was taking a long time for the plastics to break down in the compost heaps where they were during drier or colder months.  At this time a lot of other brands and retailers we using bio plastics for some of their packaging.  Bio plastics look the same as oil based plastics it was leading to high levels of confusion and contamination from customers where there was plastic bottle recycling streams in place.    Due to this, currently there are no products in our range which come in biodegradable plastics, however I have passed your feedback on to our Resource Management team so they can look further into developing new packaging for our products.”  Then after the Iceland’s announcement, I asked if they would consider following Iceland and this email arrived “Thanks for getting back in touch with us recently regarding your query on our plastic packaging. I’m sorry you have some concerns on this.  In regards to your question about whether our frozen products will be plastic free, we would be unable to answer this at the minute.

Watrose,  had no answer and yesterday I received this email “Whilst I can see that my colleague Martin is currently waiting to hear back from one of our colleagues regarding your query relating to our frozen vegetables packaging, I felt it important to share with you our plastic packaging response in the meantime.   Reducing our impact on the environment is really important to us and we know it is to our customers too.  We share your concern about the use of plastics, so we’ve committed to making all our own-label packaging widely recyclable (using the widely recycled logo), reusable, or home compostable by 2025.  Much of our fruit and vegetable flexible plastic packaging (including the small bags to put items in) can be recycled along with carrier bags at a recycling point at the front of our shops, and we label these packs to encourage this. The contents of the recycling point are then baled and recycled. The fruit and vegetable offer includes pre-packed goods and a selection of loose products.  Earlier this year we launched our support for the Marine Conservation Society’s beach and river cleans across England – these focus on cleaning up plastic and other litter from our environment, which directly benefits marine wildlife.  Waitrose is fully committed to using packaging materials which least impact the environment. For several years we have worked with our suppliers to develop and trial alternative packaging materials.  We still have concerns about a complete conversion to these alternatives until we can fully assess the impact of these materials on product quality and can be assured that the right facilities are available to enable our customers to safely compost them.  The availability of fit for purpose home compostable material is technically limited and the composting waste stream is still very much in its infancy.  Our current policy is that only home compostable packaging that meets the requirements of the OK Compost Home standard should be used where there is no established recycling stream. We will continue to review our policy and we will extend compostable materials to other ranges once we are satisfied that suitable treatment facilities are available to our customers. We believe that there are challenges associated with home composting i.e. volumes that can be dealt with this way and the optimum conditions needed to ensure effective composting. For this reason, we believe it is important to ensure that industrial composting facilities are also made more widely available to consumers.  We are working with our suppliers and packaging manufacturers to develop and source alternative materials to plastic and our dedication to this is ongoing.

Thought it best to copy & paste the responses in full, I didn’t know about Waitrose’s recycling point at the front of store and will look out for this at my local store.  I’ve hears people removing all the plastic packaging at the till and that others collect the packaging and then post it back to the head office of the stores with a note.  This is my prefered route, far less confrontational and more lightly to have a response.

Bamboo Charcoal Water Filters

I have filtered my water with a brita filter for years and in our old home had a built-in Brita filter on the kitchen tap.  The jug filters are plastic and we used 12 a year, while the jugs are recyclable and last a long time, the filter cartridge is not recyclable in my area.  After looking into water filter methods, I found bamboo charcoal pictured above. They improve the taste of the water and the bamboo comes packed in a natural compostable pouch.  Boobalou is an interesting website, with some great plastic alternatives and when ordering you can opt for recycled packaging and also plastic free packaging.

Plastic free breakfasts have been more of a challenge, my daughter’s regular cereals are mostly in a plastic bag, inside a cardboard box.  So we have switched to Flanhavan’s oats as they come wrapped in paper, not plastic as the stores own (much cheaper) plastic wrapped versions (found Lidl have own brand porridge oats in paper).  I’ve been trying out different over night oats flavors, below is an Ella’s kitchen version (click on the photo).overnight oats

If anyone has more plastic free cereal idea’s would be great to hear.  Still haven’t found a good alternative to my almond milk, I use Alpro unroasted & unsweetened almond milk and sometimes Rude Healths.  Both these brands use Italian almonds, after reading about the US almond production and bee health.  I have discovered London Nut Mylk when I visited Hetu, although they sell out so quickly have never managed to try.

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I found a zero waste community shop, reccomended to me by a lady in Baldwin’s called Fareshare, its has bulk options and organic produce.  Lots of pulses, peanut butter and vegan options.  Last monday evening I attended a talk on sustainability at Daylesford Organic Pimlico shop, the panel included Kate Arnell from ECO BOOST and Hermione Taylor from DO NATION, nutritionist Rhaya Jordan and Environmental Scientist Tim Field.  It brought up many interesting topics including zero waste, plastic soup pollution, organic v industrial farming and ways to cut down and make our lives more sustainable. Here is a link to the notes from the talk.  The main points I got were, reduce, reuse, recycle and eat seasonally if possible.  Eat organic and reduce the amount of meat we eat and when we do, buy grass-fed, naturally reared and maybe becoming a weekday vegitarian.  When I craft or look for fabrics to make clothes I do look at the fabric composition, but it has become more and more of an issue for me – not to buy fabrics that contain plastics.  Use what I have at home, but when replacing items only to have natural fibres.  I know it becomes a mindfield and working full time myself sometimes finding time to find everything can be tricky, having the dog foodBrew teaveg boxand milk delivery helps.  Some companies also deliver meat & dairy items, such as Riverford.

If you’ve been cutting down on plastic this month, how have you found it?  What have been the best alternative things you’ve found?  Any tips you can pass on?

Plastic Detox week 3

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This week has been a little easier, getting in to the swing of things.  A lovely friend gave me a stainless steel straw she found at Lakeland, planning on making a little pouch for it so I can take it around in my handbag.  I managed to find a bamboo toothbrush at Hetu, has nylon4 bristles that do biodegrade.  It’s proved to be a better toothbrush than the bamboo version I had from Waitrose last year.

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I am lucky not to live very far from Borough Market, the butcher and fish monger there both wrapped my purchases in paper – happy not to use plastic.  I also found Borough Wines, they have a great selection of wines, including sulphate free natural wines and have a refillable bottle.  I’m no wine connoisseur and enjoyed the rose, another great place for sulphate free wines is The Organic Wine Club and they have a brilliant selection, including some excerlent prosecco and one amazing sparkling red.   My local farmer’s market was another good source of plastic free foods, the olive seller was happy for me to take my own pots.  The Old Post Office bakery also have a stall there and their sourdough bread is great, again wrapped in paper, although I have been making bread every week now for quite some time.  Started off ok ish with the odd heavy disaster and now the bread works out well, so no need to buy bread wrapped in plastic.

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I discovered an interesting shop called Baldwins in Elephant & Castle, I managed to find Bio-D laundry powder (plastic free) and Laundry Bleech (plastic free).  A friend also discovered a place in East Dulwich that sells BioD refills, if your interested in trying it and not in SE London their website has a map of places to buy and also refill.  Speaking of refills, if you carry a bottle of water and want to stop and top up, there is now an app to help you find a place.

clifford James handkerchiefs

Last week I ordered a dozen mens white handkerchiefs, so I could always have 1 or 2 in my bag and no need for plastic wrapped ‘pocket tissues’.  Mens handkerchiefs are larger and much more useful than the dainty ladies versions, although do search ebay for super cute vintage children handkies!

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Finally, hair care.  Lush have a solid shampoo, it works although can be rather harsh as it does contain sodium lauryl sulfate,  still searching for a good hydrating conditioned.  The lush solid I tried was terrible in terms or ease of use and it just didn’t work for my hair or on my dog (she is a cavalier king charles with long ears that need conditioning).  Next I tried a conditioning treatment and that also failed, if anyone has any good recommendations for conditioner do please let me know.  As a disclaimer, my hair is highlighted and does need a good conditioner to stop it looking and feeling like straw.