I feel I should start this post with a brief description of my current situation and responsibilities so you know I’m not going to advise you do anything I haven’t done myself.
I live in a rented house in greater Manchester with my family; two teenagers, a dog and running a small business from home. I used to work part time in a sales job when I first started slow living so I’ve applied slow living during both of my occupations.
In 2016 I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I was prescribed antidepressants and attended counselling and therapy weekly appointments.
But it wasn’t enough for me. I’m a proactive person, which in reality means I was a control freak, liking things done a certain way, impulsive and eager.
I started scrolling through Dr Google (insert search engine of your choice here) and came across the concept of slow living.
I persevered through the Pinterest perfect images of white linen, cosy blankets, hot drinks in beige expensive mugs and open books to find the real blueprint of a slow life. (Feel free to online search or dive into the slow living movement on Pinterest if you wish, this blog is my definition.)
It’s here I’m pre-empting the “I haven’t got time to slow down” I was exactly the same…
So stick with me, there’s no shame here! However, I firmly believe that If I can do this, anyone can – as clique as it sounds… Let’s swap the word ‘slow’ for ‘simple’, if you’re still feeling a little resistant.
I realised I was on a treadmill of life, constantly moving, running, no rest, and not getting anywhere. I’m doing so much, why do I still feel lost?
It’s time to get off the treadmill and slow down.
I started spending my days with a slower approach. Sounds dreamy right? But this isn’t laying in bed with all the time in the world to drink a perfectly decorated latte as the beautiful sunshine beats through those white curtains.
This was about consuming less and living more.
Now I don’t mean consuming food, however the slow living movement did start with the slow food movement (I’m keeping this blog simple so google that in your own time) it’s the consumption of stuff, information, influence – areas of our lives that aren’t simple.
We’ve fallen into a culture where being busy equals success and you’re reduced to what you can do rather than who you are.
What you can produce and what can you consume. Slowing down, simplicity, sustainability and meaning have become a privilege. When in actual fact they are the fundamental parts of life and require nothing but self.
When I ask someone their simple pleasures, it’s never designer handbags, the latest craze in gadgets or being on the go all the time.
For example, my simplest pleasure is drinking a coffee in the morning while it’s still hot. I’m giving myself the gift of time. I achieve this very simply, making that my only focus.
Here’s my opinion on time, we do have time.
We spend hours on social media, watching TV and binging Netflix series. You do have time and I’m not suggesting any more than a few minutes for something much more beneficial to you than the latest Facebook posts or Instagram stories. It’s a fact, we waste time. It’s so easy to carve 5 minutes. Trust me. Now back to my coffee…..
I don’t scroll through my phone or watch TV, it’s me and that cup, and maybe a stare out of the window. During normal weekdays, I drink it while I have a conversation with my kids as they get ready for school, it can be done!
We don’t have to be entertained at all times.
We have become creatures of immediate gratification and everything being fast. You can order online for products the same day with the magic of technology. Faster isn’t always better.
I’m going to pop in here and say I am not a technology or smart phone hater. Not at all. I can lose myself in a TikTok as much as the next guy.
But it’s a huge part of our lives that has added to instant gratification, influence and mental illness. My social media has been constructed by me for me. It’s my space on the platform and I’ll share and comment on content that works for me. Inspiration, friends, humour, connection, positivity and my small eco friendly business.
Which then brings me onto over consumption of stuff.
I haven’t got a better word for it but I was an impulse buyer. That feeling of joy of buying something new. That joy didn’t last long and it wasn’t even real joy – it’s a rush of chemicals in the brain (if you google what retail therapy does to our brains you’ll be shocked). Although I haven’t watched it myself, simplicity has been made popular recently by Marie Kondo on Netflix, to not have anything that doesn’t bring you joy.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”William Morris
I am known in my family for being ruthless when doing a declutter, even before I was committed to sustainability.
Showcasing an array of products, clothes and ‘hauls’ have taken over social media becoming a trend that encourages more people to buy buy buy. Whether that’s cleaning products or cheap clothing (both of which I’m strongly against for a multitude of reasons) it encourages the viewer to go out and buy ‘stuff’ and share it. They wouldn’t even want it if there wasn’t 100s of 1000s of likes and comments.
Buying stuff has become entertainment.
As I feel I’m starting a rant and going on with myself I’m going to publish a part 2 of What is Slow Living focussing on the grind culture, work and commitments.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to be notified when part 2 is available, comment with us on social media to continue the conversation.
Love, Light and Green Vibes,
We spoke to co-founders Faye, Jake and their canine companion bee saving assistant Leo to tell us all about the story of how Beevive came about and the amazing things they do to save the bees!
We were on holiday in Cornwall and while out exploring we discovered an exhausted bee. Eager to help this little bee we carefully picked up our new friend, and with no flowers nearby we started our search for sugar and water. We found a café keen to help and mixed a sugar water solution onto a spoon. After a few sips our little bee friend was buzzing to fly away!
Bees are dangerously in decline despite being critical to human survival. They transport pollen between crops and flowers, pollinating more than 90 crops that humans enjoy daily such as nuts, fruits and vegetables. So we wanted to help and make sure everyone could help a tired bee in need.
The Bee Revival keyring is the perfect emergency solution for when you see a tired and exhausted bee so they can go on and continue their important jobs for our planet. With a strong aluminium shell, it contains a special ambrosia® bee food syrup. The bottle can be refilled with instructions of how to do so included in the kit.
We’ve visited schools, workplaces, and hosted workshops to spread the word about how we can all save the bees. Our product range has grown and our social media is packed with photos and videos from around the world using the Bee Revival Kit. We also host our VIB wall on our website for those amazing people going above and beyond to save the bees! So don’t forget to upload photos and videos of you using your bee revival kit and you could be in with a chance of being on a VIB wall and receiving an exclusive hexagonal VIB badge!
Don’t forget to follow Beevive on social media:
This months theme is Kitchen Swaps – I’ve listened to the Between Green community and found where most of your waste comes from and a majority agreed it was in the kitchen from food packaging, food waste and kitchen roll.
Bread is bought by 99.8% of UK households equating to 11 million loaves sold EVERYDAY – that’s a lot of bread and a lot of bread packaging.
In this months box we are including a reusable bread bag to not only keep your bread fresher for longer but also reduce the amount of packaging in your home!
Take your bread bag to the local supermarket or bakery and ask for the loaf/bread items to be placed in your own bag and say no to pre packaged rolls, loaves and pastries.
We will also be including a recipe card so you can make your own bread loaf in the oven or in a bread maker machine.
We love Eco Coach House so much we want to include them again this month! Last month we sent their eco-friendly plastic free scrubber sponges which have had amazing reviews so far!! I was lucky enough to try their reusable kitchen roll and I’m obsessed!
Pretty and colourful designs and super absorbent! Everything you want from kitchen roll!
Not only are we reducing waste going into our bin, there is no plastic packaging and were saving so much money each month not buying kitchen roll!
You’re sure to love these kitchen rolls as much as I do and I cant wait to see pictures of them brightening up your kitchen countertops.
It’s time to rock your recycling with these handy labels to separate your paper, glass and compost. Made from 10 year exterior grade vinyl they are super long lasting and suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
Separating your trash has never been simpler!
No one wants to faff around with the lid on glass milk bottles! These reusable lids are about to change your life!
You’ll receive 2 lids; we use one for milk and one for juice that is delivered to our door from the local milkman. They are reusable, dishwasher safe and 100% recyclable. They are airtight which keeps your milk/juice fresher for longer and prevents strong odours being absorbed by the content of the bottle.
Remember you can pause, skip, cancel at ANY time logging into your own account you have full control!
If you look at the label of a liquid soap you’ll find the first and main ingredient is water, why are we paying for water that is readily available in our homes. Soap bars last much longer than liquid soap bottles and you’re not spending money on unwanted plastic polluting packaging.
Similar to soap bars, you’ll find the first and main ingredient is water. Shampoo bars last much longer and you’re getting pure product for your money not chemicals, colours and fragrances.
Martin Lewis says most of the water we use in the home is heated, washing dishes, showers, baths, etc. Take shorter showers, and use a washing up bowl washing dishes only 1-2 times a day dependant on what works for you and your home.
If a family of four reduced their shower time by just one minute, they could save:
On the back of that, turn down your washing machine thermostat. Our eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets work perfectly in cooler temperatures.
Switching to 30°C would cut £13 off of this, while 20°C will cut £24.
The biggest brand of dishwasher tablets costs £11 (16p per wash) make your own dishwasher tablets in a few minutes with a few natural products averaging at 60p for 20 tablets – use 3p per wash and no chemicals!
Using most of the same ingredients so reducing clutter under the sink! 70p makes a jar of 40-50 uses. The most popular toilet cleaner in the UK can set you back £2.15 but even cheaper cleaners at £1 you can still save money and reduce toxins in your bathroom.
Powder carpet fresheners range from £1.76 all the way to £10 on the market. All you need is bicarbonate of soda (about 20p worth) and a drop or two of essential oils. With each essential oil bottles holding 240 drops you can have a drop of lemon or lavender for less than a penny!
Used for seconds then in the bin… literally throwing money away! The biggest brand in the UK is an average of £3.25 per roll! Choosing to reuse old towels, cloths and clothes rags for kitchen roll costs you nothing and can be reused over and over with a wash between uses.
If you want something a little prettier take a look at these reusable kitchen rolls from The EcoCoachHouse – you’ll be saving money and waste in no time!
Remember: Used kitchen roll cant be put into your paper recycling bin
Unplug your appliances that aren’t in use. Leaving them on standby can use as much energy as being turned on. Don’t unplug your fridge and freezer obviously but those gaming consoles and coffee machines that hardly get used, unplug them!
Even if you swap just one day a week meat free, basing your meals around vegetables, beans and pulses is a great way to save money and reduce meat/fish consumption.
Take a look at my favourite vegetarian meal Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese that costs pennies to make and feeds a family of 4.
“I’m on 10 percent!” Stop the rush to find a charger! Close apps you’re not using, use a power saving mode in your settings, turn down the brightness and take time in the day to switch to airplane mode to enjoy a social media break and reduce battery usage.
Luckily in England rainwater is (normally) readily available! Get some tubs, cups jars and jugs outside to collect rainwater for watering plants, house cleaning, cooking and even bathing!
Cleaning might not be the top of your list but its about to become easier and greener than ever!
Take a look at the contents in our April Subscription Box from Between Green!
Evie Blue is the new fun and easy way to clean your home that is good for you and good for the planet!
Each sachet contains a biodegradable soluble powder you dissolve into water reusing a bottle you have at home reducing the use of plastic. They contain no harmful chemicals so your home and the environment are toxin free.
Each starter box contains 12 refills including Sanitary (perfect for bathrooms), Floor Cleaner, Interior, Sanitizer and Kitchen cleaner.
Say HELLO to your new cleaning buddy!
Sarah over at The Eco Coach House makes every single one of these double sided sponges by hand in her family owned coach house in Dorset.
With it’s hessian scrubbing side and cotton waffle on the other side, it will work on any task from kitchen to bathroom, windows to floors and everywhere in between!
There’s not a single sign of plastic unlike those awful green and yellow sponges that are made entirely of plastic releasing microplastics into our waterways with every use.
These high-quality eco-friendly sponges will last lots longer than most sponges on the market and can be thrown in the washing machine or even the top drawer of your dishwasher between uses.
The materials are all 100% compostable so at the end of its life it can be thrown into your compost bin and out of landfill.
This wonder product will transform your home allowing you to make so many of your household products in minutes.
See our blog for loads of ways to use bicarbonate of soda around the home.
You can also watch the video of making your own dishwasher tablets HERE
Need tough but natural cleaning solutions? You need citric acid! It’s perfect for removing rust and limescale as well as all these uses:
Mix the bicarbonate of soda and citric acid in a glass bowl
Gradually add a drop of essential oil at a time to the mixture, stirring thoroughly until the essential oils are combined.
Put the entire mixture into a glass jar with a handy scoop or wooden spoon
Flush your toilet to remove any waste including tissue
Sprinkle the powder mixture around the bowl using the spoon/scoop
Use the toilet brush to scrub around the bowl and under the rim.
Spray white vinegar into bowl allowing the mixture to ‘fizz’ and leave for 30 mins (preferably over night)
Flush again leaving a clean and fresh smelling toilet and bathroom
Did you know the brand favourite of washing up liquid contains crude oil?
Ditch the chemicals, water and plastic bottle when washing your dishes with a solid washing up block from LoofCo.
Enjoy the fresh lime scent of this palm oil free washing up bar that are simple to use and biodegradable.
These eco-friendly soap bars are plastic-free and zero-waste without all the waste and excess packaging of washing up soap bottles.
They’re designed to be non-toxic and palm oil free using organic coconut oil instead to cut through grease and dirt with ease.
They’re free from SLS and Parabens and use vegan ingredients without losing any effectiveness.
Not only can they be used for washing up, they can also be used for handwashing clothes giving them versatility throughout the house.
Avoiding hazardous substances in laundry detergent is essential as you look for ways to improve the health of your household.
The majority of laundry products you see on the shelves contain a chemical concoction of potential harm to people, pets, and the environment. Chemicals such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (Nonoxynol, NPEs) are known to cause harm to eyes, skin, lungs and damage to other internal organs that can be fatal with prolonged use.
After discovering studies of top-selling laundry and air-freshening products finding that they emitted dozens of toxic and hazardous chemicals (which weren’t listed on the label!) I switched my laundry routine to be greener.
Forget big bottles of bright blue/green/pink/purple liquids and plastic boxes of liquid tablets, I made the switch to Laundry Detergent sheets.
The first big plus for me was the amount of space I was saving! Bottles and boxes taking up space under the sink is now a thing of the past! No bigger than a large letter envelope, they fit under my sink perfectly!
Unlike commercial laundry detergents, laundry detergent sheets contain no harsh chemicals! Made with plant-based ingredients, these sheets are biodegradable and dissolve completely in your washing machine with no optical brighteners or dyes.
Fragrance is an umbrella term that includes so many unknown chemicals as companies aren’t required by law to list what exactly ‘fragrance’ in their product means. Added fragrance also give you the sense of an item being ‘clean’ without improving the efficiency of the detergent in anyway. These laundry sheets are proud to contain 100% natural fragrance using essential oils and plant extracts. You can choose unscented but my personal favourite is the fresh linen scent.
Saving the planet one load at a time, these sheets are Plastic-Free! The packaging is fully recyclable paper reducing plastic waste while simplifying storage and transport. With so much less to transport around, and no plastic jug (with the main ingredient being water), laundry detergent sheets help you lighten your load on the environment saving transportation fuel and CO2 from shipping products around the country and the world.
With a lower water and carbon footprint, our laundry detergent sheets offer a more sustainable alternative to traditional liquid detergents and pods.
They are super easy to use and mess free, simply add into the load with your clothes! For smaller loads you can tear the strip in half.
Looking for a fabric softener you can see images of babies, bunnies and anything to insinuate soft and delicate, but this couldn’t be any further from the truth!
Fabric softeners and dryer sheets are not required by law to list all their ingredients on the label so here’s a list of what you could find:
Together these chemicals can cause a host of health problems including respiratory problems, central nervous system problems, eye irritation, dizziness, headaches and nausea.
Also, just to let you know several of these ingredients are on the EPA’s hazardous waste list.
So, when you take a long sniff of your fresh laundry you are probably inhaling a cocktail of toxic chemicals. Not to mention what is being absorbed through yours and your family’s skin when wearing your clothes.
Swap your chemical filled plastic bottles for this greener and cheaper alternative – white vinegar!
Vinegar is mildly acidic and this acid helps to soften fabric fibres as well as remove odours and prevent scents that may be caused by mildew in your washing machine.
The vinegar helps remove any detergent and soil that is clinging to fabric clothes feeling soft and clean.
I add a drop of essential oils to my white vinegar for an amazing natural toxic-free scent boost!
Pour white vinegar into a glass bottle or jar that holds around 500ml then one drop of lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint and lemon to the white vinegar. Secure the lid and shake, then its ready to use!
Now, your clothes are clean, its ready to dry. Whether you use a tumble dryer, air dryer or get that perfect day’s weather to hang on the line, there’s an eco-friendly way of doing it.
If you’re choosing to air dry forget plastic pegs and make the switch to sustainable wooden pegs. If you’re sick of plastic pegs snapping and breaking choose pegs made of FSC® certified beech wood and a durable steel spring. These pegs are packaged in a recycled and recyclable cardboard box making them 100% plastic free.
Obviously, air drying is the most eco-friendly option, but we are not always blessed with the driest weather or temperatures in the UK. To reduce your tumble dryer impact, add some wool balls to the dryer drum. Available in most shops and supermarkets, these wool balls will reduce drying time and reduce wrinkles on your clothes – less ironing – yay! Using wool balls mean you can also use a lower drying temperature which will help maintain the quality of your garments.
I add a drop of each of the essential oils listed above on my wool dryer balls for even more scent boost! Just add one drop of each; lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, tea tree and peppermint for tumble dryer freshness without the need for wasteful tumble dryer sheets.
Those little sheets can contain volatile organic compounds like butane and acetaldehyde, which can cause respiratory irritation. They also contain quaternary ammonium compounds, some of which are linked to conditions such as asthma.
Eliminating dryer sheets and liquid fabric softeners with damaging elements from your home will contribute towards effectively improving your indoor air quality.
Isn’t it time we said NO to chemicals and YES to natural cleaners that work effectively, save the planet, save money and save yourself from chemical inducing health issues?
I’d love to see you over on my social media platforms where I share all my favourite top tips, expose more big brands and show you how easy it is to be eco-friendly no matter who, what, where, why or when!
Sign up now and never miss a box again!
This months box theme is International Women’s Day so look out for the best eco friendly products made by fabulous females coming through your letterbox!
Let me introduce you to the wonderful women contributing to this months box and their inspirational stories of wanting to make the world a better place for us all!
With over 10 years domestic cleaning experience at Mrs Sparkle, Nicky identified a need for natural and eco-friendly cleaning products at an affordable price for all.
Since changing to natural, eco friendly cleaning I can honestly say that these things have disappeared, along with the extreme tiredness that seem to hit me every afternoon. It really is better to go natural.
Nicky developed her own brand of cleaning products range including kitchen, bathroom, glass and my personal favourite; lemon, rosemary and cinnamon bark toilet cleaner.
Seeing the impact of single use plastics, Charlotte came up with a simple mission – to create a convenient alternative to single-use plastic straws.
How could I use my 15 years of manufacturing experience to make being green that little bit easier?
While some companies have their eco friendly products made in China, The Silicone Straw Company manufacture their straws here in the UK ensuring sustainability for the environment and local economy.
Inspired by a calling to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle & a true passion for formulating skincare, Nicole set out on a quest to develop high quality natural products that don’t compromise on performance to make the transition to sustainable skin/haircare a no-brainer.
I wanted to create an experience through ECOnsider for healthier skin, body & mind. I took my inspiration from nature, which is reflected in the choice of ingredients, scent and colour of my products.
ECOnsider offers a range of thoroughly researched, handcrafted, high quality, accredited, natural & organic products made with minimal environmental impact.
Lucy is the creator of Save My Knickers – the period product we’ve all been waiting for! Starting in her kitchen in 2019, experimenting with lots of pairs of knickers, she found a natural stain remover tough enough for blood stains.
I have irregular and often heavy periods so blood stains have always been part of my life. I was so fed up of blood stains ruining my underwear, pyjamas and bedding.
Lucy works in the NHS as a children’s physiotherapist so starting her own business was completely new to her, but Lucy and Save My Knickers has gone on to win awards and be featured in many magazines.
Meet Ash, the founder of Dandelion Weatherstone CIC. From personal experience of a traumatic birth experience, Ash realised there was no suitable underwear available to aid healing and reduce pain from surgery such as C-sections.
I knew that I passionately wanted to not only financially help the neonatal team that saved my daughters life, but also provide funky anti-bacterial knickers.
£1 from every subscription box in March has been donated to sponsor a pair of knickers to a vulnerable person in need of vegan, antibacterial, C-section, post surgery, painful period knickers.
Forget what you know about newspapers, The Eco News is here to tell positive stories from around the globe. Editions are sent out every quarter with seasonal news, inspiration and support for small businesses.
We want to voice how people can be more sustainable, how you can make small changes to make a difference.
The Eco News was at COP26 in Glasgow and a kids edition is also available with eco-friendly games, puzzles, crafts and education.
Timea created Meaningful Mornings Ltd to demystify the idea of morning routines and show what’s possible with making a few simple changes to your schedule.
Everything in life is possible with a strong coffee and a solid morning routine!
Timea has included an amazing discount on her online course made for anyone who wants to feel happier, more fulfilled, healthier and have more energy throughout the day.
I think you’ll agree this box is packed full with inspiration and the perfect way to celebrate International Women’s Day 2022!
Get all this through your letterbox for
£20 including UK P&P