As a result of TEDxBrighton I started to look at reducing the amount of plastic in my life. I’ve started with body care. Here’s what I’ve tried so far. Most of what I’ve tried so far have been solid products. I’m not opposed to glass jars and metal pots, I just haven’t found many options. And I’ve found it quite hard to locate things that I can try out in a store, so I’ve relied on Etsy quite a bit. This kind of product tends to be quite heavy, and so postage becomes quite expensive. I’ve tried to list them chronologically within the sections.
I use body lotions every day after my shower. I don’t like them to be too scented as I like to apply perfume to create the scent I carry around with me all day. Unscented or barely scented plastic packaging free lotions seem to be a little bit hard to come across. I store my lotions in a metal tin in my bathroom cabinet. This cabinet sits half a metre or so above a radiator. This means that if the products have too low a melting point, they can stop being solid quite quickly.
- Lush’s solid charity pot lotion - lovely consistency but too scented for me
- Ellie’s Farm Shop solid lotion bar featuring beeswax, sweet almond oil & coconut oil in both unscented and sandalwood - quite a solid bar, felt a bit sticky. The sandalwood scented one was subtle and lovely
- Aromatic Holistic UK’s Avocado & Coconut Lotion Bar with Activated Charcoal - gently fragranced, good consistency, melted in the pot where I was storing it which meant it got used up pretty quickly. Would buy again if making another order from Aromatic Holistic UK (see shampoos and conditioners below)
- Lush’s Scrubee - sort of body lotion, sort of scrub. This is an in shower option suggested by one of the ladies in my local Lush when I was lamenting the lack of a low fragranced body lotion option. I love this product. It leaves my skin feeling moisturised and smooth and doesn’t have a lingering scent that competes with any perfume. But, it doesn’t last very long and so is quite an expensive option. This is what I’m using at the moment but am about to order one of these via Etsy and so will report on that next time I do a round-up.
Shampoo and Conditioner
My conditioner ran out before my shampoo, so I’ve had a bit longer using a solid conditioner. That said, I’ve only used one kind so far.
- Aromatic Holistic UK’s Hair Conditioner Bars Duo Pack - I bought these as I wanted to sample some solid conditioner and these were small and relatively cheap. And when I bought these, I also bought one of the body lotion bars as well (see above) to make postage cheaper. I love Etsy. But when buying things like this the postage costs as much as, or more than, the product. I liked this conditioner. It seemed to last well and work well and left my hair with a good shine.
- Aromatic Holistic UK’s Conditioner Bar Rosemary/Nettle which I got in the ‘Extra volume’ style. I’ve been using this for a while now, and I like it. As I mention above the postage is expensive, so I might try a Lush product next as I can walk to the store. I keep this in a metal tin in my shower so that it doesn’t all wash down the drain. Once I’ve used it I take it out of the shower with the lid off so that it can retain its solidness.
- Aromatic Holistic UK’s Shampoo Bar Rosemary/Nettle - I’m using this at the moment. It seems to be working well and lasting well. As with the conditioner I’m storing it in a tin and allowing it to dry and retain its solidness.
- I tried a standard solid soap that I had in a cupboard, and while it did the job of keeping me clean, it did leave a soapy scummy residue in my shower. So not ideal.
- Lush had some solid shower gel options at Christmas time. So I bought a couple (Sugar Plum fairy (for me) and Electoplasm (for him)). When we revisited the local store last week, we discovered that they only had a couple in stock right now. So we bought American Cream as this was the most appealing fragrance to both of us. These are good. And fun. They provide a decent amount of foam. Are soft. Don’t dry my skin out. Don’t leave soapy scum behind them. The electoplasm version did leave bright trails of yellow behind it tho!
So that’s where I’ve got to. Richard suggested I write a post of what I’ve tried and what I thought of them. For me as much as anybody else. So far none of the products I’ve tried are less-good than their plastic bottle packaged equivalents. None have been thrown away. I’ve used them all until they were done. My biggest problem to date has been accessibility and the ability to try before I buy. If you’ve got suggestions for things I should try, please feel free to leave me a comment.
Last year I read 90 books. They weren’t all ‘worthy’ - whatever your definition of ‘worthy’ is but some of them had some interesting thoughts that I wanted to come back to. So I made notes and stored quotes. But, there’s a snag, I don’t tend to revisit such quotes. And that seems like a bit of a shame. I did make up a notebook containing selected thoughts and exercises from the Self Compassion book, but that was all.
I often tend to have a Christmas project. In recent years it has been craft related - crocheted blankets, scarves, that kind of thing. But this year I decided to make myself a ‘quote a day’ diary for the year ahead. I’d found a beautiful diary in WH Smiths which was a page per day style with beautiful paper in it so decided that would be my starting point.
The next step was collecting quotes and thoughts. So I raided my positivity jug and picked some favourite moments out of there. I looked at the various tweets I’d made using the hashtag #smallpleasure and chose some of those. And then I went through all the quotes I’d stored elsewhere. I ended up with about 100 more than I needed which was brilliant as it meant that I could revisit my selection and remove ones that maybe weren’t as relevant.
Once I had 365 quotes, I printed them all out, sat down with a metal ruler, a craft knife, a cutting mat and a Pritt stick and got to work. I’d underestimated quite how much extra depth glueing in additional pieces of paper were going to add to the diary. Note to self: if I do this again, reconsider the paper and glue thing - it was time-consuming!
So, here I am, day 17 of the year, and I have read them every day so far. My routine is that I read it first thing in the morning and, if it makes me think of something, or feel something, I write my thoughts and feelings below the quote.
I love that this is a self-curated list of quotes based on things I’ve read, thought about and found relevant. I like that there is space for me to make notes. I think, already, that may be a quote a day is ambitious and that maybe another time I’d go for a quote a week. I feel with a weekly quote I could get a few different perspectives on it depending on how my week was playing out. I like to think I’d still consider it every morning, and maybe write a bit about it every day as well, but I feel that perhaps I’d be able to give it some further thought, and carry it around with me a bit more. I’ll have to see how I feel about it towards the end of the year I guess!
Back in October, I wrote about having swapped my daily gratitude daily journalling into a gratitude jug. This jug still sits on my shelf. I still write notes and add them to the jug. But I’ve noticed that the kind of things that I write on the pieces of paper have broadened somewhat. As well as recording moments of gratitude, I’ve recorded things that made me smile, things that people have said or done, or even things that I want to claim as small victories. In fact, anything that I thought would be of benefit for the future me to read when she felt a bit flat, or under the weather, or was struggling.
Towards the end of last year, I read The Self-Care Project: How to let go of frazzle and make time for you and there, amongst a section on things to do to help yourself, was a paragraph entitled “Start a positivity jar”. It describes having a positivity jar as being evidence against negative thoughts. And suggests that I could “Read them over when a dose of sunshine is needed.” It suggests that it could include “the kind things that people have done, the kind things we have done, the glimmers of hope in an otherwise dark time, our wins.”
And, somewhat inadvertently, that’s exactly what I’ve done. As ever, it’s a work in progress and is just one of many tools in my tool kit. But while it helps, and is a thing that even brings pleasure in its own right, it gets to stay, even if it has had a slight name change.