Soap: Liquid or Solid?

There is an interesting article on the BBC today about the reasons some people prefer bars of soap to liquid soap or shower gel. The five reasons given in the article are:

1) It’s what people have always used.

2) Solid soap is more luxurious.

3) The feeling of scouring away the dirt in the shower (not quite sure what this means).

4) Less packaging is better for the planet.

5) Bottles are fiddly.

I would add the following as advantages to using bars of soap:

6) Bars of soap are often cheaper. I can buy a bar of pure soap for a lot less than I can buy ‘pure’ shower gel. Also, household soap can be used to make laundry liquid. Soap can even be used to wash your hair, with a bit of effort.

7) A little goes a long way! A bar of soap in the kitchen or cloakroom lasts a lot longer than liquid soap. This saves packaging, transportation and energy (because the more of a product there is, and the more quickly it is used up, the more energy is used in its manufacture and transportation).

 

8) Soap lathers up just as well as shower gel. I like to use a scrunchie in the shower – is that what they’re called? One of those things on the right -> If I wet the bar of soap, wet the scrunchie and then rub the soap on the scrunchie, it lathers up really well but uses up very little of the actual bar. I was given a pile of shower gel for Christmas which my son won at the school Christmas fair so I am steadily making my way through that, but once it’s gone I will happily return to using my bars of soap!

9) You can make your own soap very easily using ‘melt and pour‘ soap and you can customise it to whatever shape, scent and colour you prefer. This cuts down on packaging and transportation, and is probably the best option for those seeking to be more eco-friendly.

What do you think?

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All Aboard the Number Two

What a brilliant idea. That’ll get the job done. I was thinking only the other day how human waste is an unused, ever-renewable resource***. We must be able to utilise it more. Ingenious!

*** I really, really must get out more.

Hurrah for Public Transport (and Preparations for a Homemade Christmas)

There has not been so much blogging lately as I am snowed under trying to balance studying with sorting out our lovely new old house (if you know what I mean). An aged house such as ours has its own particular set of problems for any new inhabitants inheriting all the ‘quirks’ that the previous owners never fixed. But it’s fun o_O

I am also trying to make preparations for a make-do-and-mend, pre-loved, home made, Un-paving Paradise Christmas with all the family. I have already made a shawl, wrist-warmers, napkin rings and am onto the recycled cotton crocheted flannels (which will be wrapped with home made soaps and bath bombs) and pine cone decorations. Last year I made two pairs of these lovely slippers, and will also make a couple more pairs for friends and family for this year. It’s a simple, but very effective pattern. My middle child still wears them and loves the fact that they were created especially for her, which is as much the value of a home made gift as the gift itself 🙂

It being half-term here in this Lost Corner of Middleshire, we took the children to the National Space Centre. It’s a fantastic place. The planetarium alone is an amazing experience. A particular favourite was the ‘rocket’ in the cafe, which every so often would begin to rumble and emit vast quantities of dry ice lit by red lights, to much shrieking delight on behalf of the children stood underneath. Also, if you book online in advance, you get a free annual pass. Read more here.

We travelled by train and stayed overnight as it’s a long way away, which led to some interesting questions with regard to the eco credentials of train travel: why is it more environmentally-friendly to use the train, but costs more? Shouldn’t the fact that there are 100 people travelling in just one carriage be more economical for the traveller? Why, even when you have discounts such as the Friends and Family Railcard and you book weeks in advance, is rail travel in Britain so expensive?

Waste Less Live More-Discover It

It’s so much fun discovering new ways of doing things!
I think we just have to try to not take the burdens of the whole world on our shoulders and not worry about where we have got it wrong, but focus on the little changes that gradually add up to bigger changes. These then begin to influence those around us to make little changes for themselves. 🙂

My Make Do and Mend Year

Waste Less Live More Week has flown by.
Today is the last day, and it’s time to #Discover It.
Discover itDiscover new ways of doing old things-different ways of getting to the same place; different places to shop; different things to do with the kids…

I thought that as this blog came about from a year of Buying Nothing New, I would encourage you all to discover alternatives to buying thing new (I know I’m kind of preaching to the choir here, but maybe you might find a little nugget of inspiration!)

  • Discover alternative retail outlets: charity shops; auction houses; flea markets; vintage fairs; jumble sales; reclamation yards. These are all fab places for finding ‘new’ things. And don’t forget Freegle and Freecycle, as well as events like Swishing (clothes swapping) to pick up some totally ‘new’, totally free stuff
  • Discover how to make: once you can sew, or…

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Tackling Mount Washmore

I’m thinking of getting one of these

Ecoballs: simple, effective, eco-friendly and inexpensive

We have been attempting to save energy recently by hanging clothes up to dry instead of using a tumble dryer. Of course, this is nothing worthy of an Archimedes’ ‘eureka!’, but I have figured out that if I hang clothes in a certain way, they dry with far fewer creases and hence require little to no ironing and irons use an awful lot of energy (as well as being boring). My method uses lots of pegs, to ensure garments are drying as ‘flat’ as possible. I also have clothes hangers which I keep by the washing line so that anything that requires a hanger now goes straight on the hanger after drying and then directly into the wardrobe. I got this idea from one of FlyLady’s emails. We have two people in our house with bladder problems so we regularly have lots of washing. I do at least one load of laundry every day to stay on top of things, and I use ecoballs instead of laundry powder. This method saves time, money and electricity, so it’s win, win win!

The Italians have it right, but I doubt this would work in rainy, cold Brittania…

Two Weeks In…

Well we’ve been in our new house a fortnight and we’re s l o w l y getting sorted. We’ve had a quote for a new roof that would make you choke on your dinner, but thankfully the plumbing issues were (relatively) minor, as are the electrical problems. What can I say? In an old house these things are part of the ‘character’. Two weeks in and, despite there having been flooding nearby, we now have central heating, hot water and, as of a half hour ago, a brand new cooker! I like camping, but it wears a little thin trying to live the camping life in your home o_O Having said that, we have made good use of the bread-maker, slow cooker, microwave and halogen oven, skills which I’m sure will come in handy as we endeavour to lessen our energy consumption. After all, it’s a journey, not a race. The new cooker is A-rated for energy efficiency, has a double oven so we can choose the appropriate size to use and is British made, so not too bad on the environmental front (by which I mean it didn’t travel from China). We have dreams of solar panels, biomass stoves, growing our own fruit and veg, etc., but, for now… we’re ok. 

CAM00411

Our new sitting room

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Our house faces due East. Oh how lovely to be woken at 5am by the glorious sun rising over the horizon. So beautiful! This weekend temperatures are forecast as high as 32ºC here in the UK (or at least, they are in London – the rest of us may not be quite so hot). What the weather forecasters sometimes forget to mention is the humidity; our ‘green and pleasant land’ sweats like a steam room on hot days. On the radio the other day they passed on a tip from the Mediterranean. I’d already heard this before but you may not so I am sharing here. What our southern European cousins do is to close all windows and curtains (or shutters, I suppose) on the side where the sun is. For us this means closing the windows and keeping the curtains drawn at the front of the house in the morning, with those at the back of the house left open. As the day progresses, we open the windows at the front of the house and close windows and curtains at the back. We leave windows open all night and avoid going out in the middle of the day. We live at the top of a hill so there is always a good breeze. In terms of the environment, this is relevant for two reasons:

1) We’re going to have to get used to hotter days in the summer, and

2) This method lessens use of electric fans, which must use a lot of electricity on days like these!

 

On a postive note: that sun ‘don’t half get yer washing dry ever so quick!’, as my Nana used to say. Now that reminds me…