Saturday, April 22

Body Shop - mini haul and packaging review

As part of my minimising efforts and trying to simplify my lifestyle (which is a pretty big ask by the way as I am a hoarder, Disney collector and all round materialist) I've been looking at how I can reduce my use of platics and purchase 'greener' products.

Regretably, my lifestyle right now does not afford enough time for me to start making my own cosmetics and toiletries, but as a compromise I've been researching ethical manufacturers and the packaging they use.

Body Shop is somewhere I remember as ticking the boxes on my current research and, after a read through of their details on line, I popped to my local store for some ethical retail therapy.  Zero carbon footprint from me, tick.

My main target was hair care products as I have recently run out of my favourite shampoo and it's been discountinued.   

A quick chat with the sales assistant confirmed my suspicions that they no longer take back bottles to re-use, instead they are widely recyclable.  Better than nothing, but my understanding is that most recycled plastic is turned into non-recycleble items, so not the ideal I was looking for.

The banana shampoo I remember was still there, but my online research showed it contained ingredients 2 of my children are allergic to so I thought I wouldn't have that one sitting in my bathroom.  As there wasn't as much choice of hair products as I remember,  I thought I would give their Rainforest range a try.  The reviews online for this weren't great, so I just bought the travel sizes to test, with an extra shower gel as they were a 3 for2 offer. 

Whilst I was there I took advantage of a few other sale and offer items.  

This glass file could remove my need for disposable emery boards and hopefully its plastic case will last a good long time.  However, the need for an outer celophane covering was totally unnecessary in my opinion.

I also bought a couple of face products in handy travel sizes, but after I got home realised they are #5 recycling which isn't offered here (we only have plastics #1 to #3) so they won't be repeat purchases.

Lastly, I loved the scent of this candle which was vastly reduced as it is leftover Christmas stock.

It's in a glass jar that I can upcycle at home and carboard packaging that I can recycle, perfect?  Not quite, it has a plastic protector inside that keeps the wax surface nice and the wick undamaged.  This could easily have been done by manufacturing an extra foldover flap into the cardboard package design.

Final verdict on Body Shop packaging - unimpressed, could do better.  Product reviews to follow.

Kate 

Wednesday, April 19

Capsule work wardrobe

I've started to thin down the family's vast amount of clothes in a, once and for all, attempt to live with less.  The aims being to have far less that needs washing and organising and so free up more of my precious time.  Also, without really planning it, we have ended up joining the tiny house movement.  Instead of fighting it, I've decided to embrace it.  More on that another time.

Unfortunately, the vast piles of washing still need to be done to enable us to donate all the surplus and so the machine is still whirring away in the background as I type.
The first cut was fairly easy as there was plenty of unworn, just in case items that can go straight to donate and lots of very worn, too small items that can go to the rag man. 

Looking at the principles of how my days are spent, a typical week has 3 days at work with an occasional call in for a 4th day.  Here's what I ended up with.

A pair of black trousers that can be worn everyday.  They sponge out and dry easily overnight if there are any spills (I work with children!)  A fleece for warmth and a light loose fit jacket for summer.

I have 3 tops:

2 of these from Gap in navy and grey.  They are really soft and wash well.

A loose fit long top/tunic from Fat Face in this fish material.

The floral tunic (on top of the pile) is one that I've worn a lot but won't be including in my everyday wardrobe.  I'll keep it tucked away to use if I have to work on a 4th day and may replace with a nicer one when I clear out more.

Somewhere there are some linen crop trousers from Marks and Spencer that I wear on unbearably hot days (lets face it, there will be few occasions when they are needed!)  I can keep them tucked away with top #4.

That's all, it can go through in one wash at the end of my working week and have plenty of time to be dry ready for the next week.

That leaves 4 days a week to fill for my everyday wardrobe.  Plus some event and holiday wear.  I'm on to that next.

Kate

Thursday, April 13

Capsule wardrobe revelation

It all started when the central heating broke over the winter.  It's too old to be fixed and so we resorted to using plug in heaters to tide us over.  One of the consequences of this was the inability to get our washing dry.
Without realising it the whole family slowly worked our way through all the clothes we had until the washing baskets were over flowing and the wardrobes were empty.  With the minimal washing I could get dry I concentrated on the essentials - work clothes, school uniform, underwear etc.  

Surprisingly it was the smallest member of the family (Branston Pickle) who was the most annoyed about this and so to keep the peace I targeted one set of clothes (joggers, t-shirt and jumper) to be washed and dried in time for Saturday morning and then worn for the whole weekend (barring mishaps!)  One set in the wash and one set on is how he has existed for over 3 months and that's where the revelation happened.  What if the whole family managed their wardrobes like this?

The finer weather is here and I'm washing up to 3 loads a day on catch-up and the little voices have changed from "I've got no clean clothes" to "Where am I supposed to put all this clean stuff?"

I think it was Messy Minimalist that I recall saying your washing basket should be no bigger than one load of washing and I can definitely see why!

The capsule wardrobe for each member of the family is taking shape.  I'm basing it on how many days a week spent at work/school versus how many days off each person gets.  For the boys in the household it will be a straight 5/2 split.  For us girls our lives are a little different and will take a bit more consideration.  I will need to take into account holidays (irrespective of whether they are spent at home or away) and any club/sports wear.  

I'm only packing away the excess clothes to begin with, after I've removed any worn out and unwanted items.  We can then 'shop' from it for different items and see how often it's needed, if at all?
And so the experiment begins.

Kate

Tuesday, August 9

Creative Chemistry 103 - Day 1 part #1

I've dug out the long neglected craft supplies and tried 2 new techniques from Tim Holtz's Creative Chemistry 103, day 1.

I'm quite excited because they are both new to me and straight away I love them.  Note - both should have involved grid blocks which I don't have, but are already on order!!

Distress highlight stamping 

Distress off-set stamping (Paula Cheney you are a genius)

Love, love, this one and am totally inspired to try it with lots of different stamps.  If you want to know the techniques you will need to sign up for the course(s) at Online Card Classes

More good things to come.

Kate 

Creative Chemistry 103

Returned from a camping trip and on a major catch-up to complete Creative Chemistry 103 by the end of the week.   Now where did I put those manilla tags????

Kate

Friday, April 8

Travel Planner Revelation part #3

Well not exactly a revelation, but little me was quite excited by this discovery.  I'd been looking at full size travellers notebooks, the long thin sort, and thinking about how I might set one up.  I like the look of the new version from Websters Pages with pockets and slots in it, but they aren't available yet and I was growing impatient!

A quick search on the Internet showed up lots of possibilities and then started showing results for travel wallets, the sort of thing you carry you documents and tickets in, well I have one of those.

It's a very old one from Quicksilver and Travelers Times had the inserts to fit, including a vertical planner, be still me heart.

So now I have a big wallet of travel goodness to play with on my next long trip (which sadly may not be until later in the year.)  I've put some washi tape onto little thread holders, added some clips and slotted in my minimalist note book plus the April sticker kit from Sea Salt and Paper.

I've covered the planner with some Amy Tangerine paper and used the bear sticker to co-ordinate with the Paperchase mini book.  I did buy a plain book in the tall thin size which I can swap out if the mini book is full by the time I need to use it.

There's room for plenty more and all contained nicely in a zip up wallet. Along with this I will take a big bag of goodies.  My supplies are currently in a Victoria Green bag I found at Debenhams similar to this one, but I may look for something that opens out a little more.  Included in it will be pens, sketch pencils, watercolours, a small water colour paper pad and mini ideas book, as well as extra washi and stickers I'm sure.
 

There you have my travel planners all set up.  You can find part#1 the minimalist here and part #2 with weekend version here.

Kate

Wednesday, April 6

Travel Planner set-up part #2

Carrying on with the set-up of my travel planners - see part #1 here for my minimalist set-up.


Planner #2 is for short breaks where weight of kit is less of an issue, but you still don't want to be taking the kitchen sink with you.

I ordered some inserts from Travelers Times on Etsy to fit inside my passport sized Lyra and Co fabric cover. 

I've been decorating them with old scrapbook papers and new stickers from the Sea Salt and Paper April kit.

The text has been stamped using Wendy Vecchi Archival inks and old stamps mainly from Pink Paislee.

A planner combined with a notebook allows me to make a few notes related to each day and then expand on anything when and where I have time in the blank page book.

I would take a small pencil case with this containing washi, stickers, twine and pens, whatever I have room for.

I've started setting up inside the planner for my 1st weekend trip in May.  The cute little hedgehog clip was also from Travelers Times.

Of all my travel planner set-ups this is the one that I'm going to be heading out of the door with 1st.  I'll take some pictures to show what I took with it, although it will still be quite minimal as I will be camping!

Kate