How to Style Your Garden Furniture for Seasonal Changes

Garden furniture deserves some thought and yet, we so often simply opt for what we see as a ‘bargain’. But it can be so much more than this, which is why you need this guide to making seasonal changes with your garden furniture!

A picture of garden furniture and decor.

It’s a long-standing joke in many gardening circles that we spend hundreds of a garden bench never to sit on it. The same goes for some of the more expensive pieces of garden furniture we opt for. We spend so much time keeping them covered and free from the effects of the weather that we rarely take the chance to use them.

But times are changing and with new technologies and manufacturing techniques, garden furniture is now truly all-weather. And so you can have the rattan cube garden furniture out in the garden to enjoy, whether it is bright sunshine or a cool spring evening.

Fabrics
As seasons change, we round up the garden furniture and hide it away, unsure whether the autumn rains will see it melt. But it won’t because there is a new fabric on the block that is making a huge difference.

A material used and developed for yachts is now used in garden furniture for soft furnishings. Fantastic at being able to withstand all kinds of weather, the only real enemy of sail fabric is the sun, more so when the fabric is crumpled, with rain and damp not allowed to evaporate. A wash down with warm soapy water and allow to dry – choose a breezy, warm day – and it’ll look as good as new.

Protective covers are an ideal investment, especially those that fit over the furniture exactly as this increases their protective abilities. But again, before you cover it for the winter months, make sure that the furniture is dry.

Design
Whether you hold summer garden parties for friends, family and neighbours or you consider your garden your own private sanctuary, there is no excuse not to style your garden – and that includes choosing the design of your garden furniture. When summer is in full swing, you will nothing more than a jug of your favourite summer cocktail and maybe the odd scatter cushion or two or your all-weather garden sofa. Come late summer or even early spring, add style and aplomb, as well as a hint of practicality with a few pretty and warm throws.

Warmth
An eco- friendly shortwave infrared electric outdoor heater is an ideal choice to warm your garden so that you can enjoy your garden longer into the evenings. Patio heaters are another option and a common sight in outdoor cafes and pubs. However, if you are concerned about environmental impact, you might need to take a look as to whether a patio heater, fuelled by canned gas, is the best option for you. Expensive to run, they are an investment that many, however, choose to make.

Materials
Waterproof fabrics make life so much easier when it comes to garden furniture but as well as the soft furnishings, you need to make sure you have the best in structural materials of outdoor chairs, tables and sofas.
There are only two real contenders:

Rattan
A natural material, most rattan is sourced and imported from sustainable sources. A thorny plant that grows fast and strikingly tall, its long fronds are allowed to dry naturally in the sun. They are then weaved together around a frame, made from wood or bamboo, or something a metal structure, to create fantastic stylish pieces for the garden.

Hardwood
There is no compensation for investing in hardwood tables and chairs as dining sets for the great outdoors. Cheaper imitations are made from softwood, the grain of which is much bigger and looser. This means that you can literally leave a dent in it with your thumbnail, the texture is so soft and malleable.

But, there is one issue with both: they don’t like the cold. Both materials come from hot climates and thus, water finding its way into the structure, which then freezes on a cold day or night is not good for structural integrity. Keep both covered if the winter months are icy or frosty.

Seasonal changes impact on your garden furniture but, choose the right material and take a little care over it every now and then, and you will have garden furniture that allows you to continue to enjoy your garden.

Rattan Direct understand that the garden is not just for summer and so, these fantastic seasonal changes are available from their online store. Connect with them on Twitter to remain ahead of the game @RattanDirectLtd

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Love Layla: Witty Birthday Cards, Gifts and Wrap (Review) 

Love Layla is a small independent retailer of greetings cards, gifts and wrapping paper for all occasions – with a difference. Their unique range is witty, cheeky and sometimes downright offensive… but all in good humour!

Love Layla greetings card, wrap and wine label for favourite child range.

I was kindly sent a sample selection of their range to review. I chose their ‘favourite child’ theme to feature because this is one of my personal particular faves; I think it works really well in a range of contexts. For example, Squiggle thinks it’s hilarious because the joke is that she is our only child! But it is also funny if you have siblings too of course, and even as an adult ‘child’ as well. It is very much my husband’s humour as a middle sibling to give his mum a ‘favourite child’ bottle of wine as a gift too.

Love Layla greetings cards, wine label and wrapping paper.

The wrapping paper is very thick, absolutely brilliant quality. It costs £4.25 for one A1 size sheet (841mm x 594mm). You can purchase the ‘From Your Favourite Child’ wrap here.

I managed to mess up putting the wine label on slightly, as you can see in the picture. I swear I hadn’t been drinking it before putting the label on, I was just getting distracted by my own favourite child, Squiggle! I can assure everyone though, it is easy to stick on as long as you actually have one moment to concentrate! The wine labels are £2.50 each.

Love Layla also have a funny 2018 calendar, available in both wall and desktop versions, which is now heavily discounted at only £4.50. So grab yourself a bargain!

Love Layla 2018 calendar. January page.

All prices include postage and packaging, i.e. delivery is free, which is fantastic! They post to UK only, and dispatch next working day by first class Royal Mail.

All in all, fab selection and great service!

*Disclosure: I was sent items to write a paid review but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Fun Ways to Get Active and In Better Shape

Getting in shape is one of those tasks that people feel the need to do, but they don’t really expect to get any enjoyment out of it. However, maybe getting active and improving the health of your body doesn’t need to be a complete headache for you. There are plenty of things you can do to have fun when you’re trying to get in shape! So read on to find out how you can have fun and get fit at the same time…

Fun Ways to Get Active and In Better Shape title on background image of people dancing.

Play Some Ultimate Frisbee

Frisbee isn’t just for kids, so you need to get that notion out of your mind right away. There are so many reasons why you should play ultimate frisbee if you never have before, but the prime reason is the amount of fun you get out of it. As well as that, you’ll find it really works your body out and helps you to get in shape if done consistently.

Take Boxing Lessons

Boxing doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with violence. Boxing lessons and training involve all kinds of things, and you don’t even have to take any punches if you don’t want to. Punching bags, skipping fast and working on your agility are just some of the things you’ll do, and they’ll definitely help you to get in shape. At least give them a try and see how it goes for you.

People practising boxing skills

Invest in a Trampoline and Bounce

Bouncing on a trampoline is never not fun, so it’s something that you should definitely look to do in your own garden. Simple find a rectangle trampoline that fits your garden and leaves you with enough space to do whatever else you plan to do in your garden. Just bouncing on a trampoline works a lot of the muscles in your body and gives you a decent cardiovascular workout.

Learn How to Dance

Dancing is usually viewed as a social activity, but it’s just as valid as a form of exercise. If you learn how to dance, you’ll be getting active a lot. You’ll be in better physical condition in no time at all. And at the same time, you’ll be experiencing all the joy and fun that comes with dancing.

Take Some Swings in a Batting Cage

You don’t have to be a baseball player to understand the joy of getting into a batting cage and take some swings at the ball as it flies towards you. In fact, it’s a great stress relief technique. You use up a lot of energy and burn a lot of calories when you’re taking swing after swing at the ball, so it should definitely help you to get in shape!

Who ever said getting in better shape had to be a drag? As the above ideas demonstrate, there are plenty of fun and entertaining ways for you to get active and get in better shape. When you’re enjoying what you’re doing, you will be more likely to stick at it too.

*This is a collaborative post.

4 Eco Garden Hacks That Will Have You Seeing Green

Saving the planet often revolves around the house, particularly the interior. Homeowners want to know how to recycle, reduce energy usage, and get on Mother Nature’s good side. Well, one way to show her you care is to take the fight outdoors. An average property has a garden, and it needs to be as green as the rest of the house. No, not just in colour but in practicality too! A garden may seem self-sufficient, but it needs lots of support if it is going to an eco-friendly haven. And you can provide plenty by reading the following tips. These are the four hacks to keep in mind…

4 Eco Garden Hacks That Will Have You Seeing Green title on faded background image

Attract Wildlife

One way to tell if the garden is environmentally-friendly is to check on the plants and flowers. Both produce oxygen and reduce the levels of CO2 in the air. So, with more in the vicinity, your home will suffer from less air pollution. It can be hard to keep plants alive, especially in the winter. However, the key, aside from shelter, is to attract wildlife. Everyone knows about bees and pollination yet forget about ladybirds and lacewings and the food chain. Pests like greenflies will eat vegetation, but predators eat pests and prevent the destruction of plants.

Plant Companions

The plot of soil in the backyard is a fantastic place to grow fruits and vegetables. And, this allows you to keep the shopping bill down as you don’t need to buy as much from the supermarket. Sadly, the UK isn’t a great place to grow food because of the weather. Even in the summer the rain and wind can be too strong for fragile seedlings. The answer is to plant companions to aid growth.Tall plants, for example, provide shade and protection from the elements. As long as they aren’t competitive, they won’t take away water or nutrients either.

Maintain Furniture

Every garden has a table and chairs combo, as well as a swing or a bench platform. These pieces are pretty and practical, particularly when BBQ season comes back around. Of course, caring for your garden furniture is essential because they are susceptible to breakage. Metal items are the worst because they rust in the rain, and the brown stuff can erode away at the steel. The only way to prevent this is to add a galvaniser and place a cover on the top. Softwood also needs protection in the form of a stain to stop rot and discolouring. Hardwood is durable thanks to natural oils.

Start A Compost Heap

Maintaining a green garden can be an expensive and inorganic procedure. After all, you need to buy everything from fertiliser to pesticides and mulch. Well, the truth is you don’t because a compost heap will take care of growth. All you have to do is break down the garden’s natural waste in a bin and add it to the soil. Not only is it cheap, but compost is twice as effective as regular fertilisers.

Bee pollinating flower

Whether you are looking to save money or the planet, there are plenty of options. What are your favourites?

*This is a collaborative post.

3 Questions That Make For a Better, Cleaner Wardrobe

We’ve all been there. You open the door to your closet and it’s a mess. Closets seem to always become the place we store everything we love and hate at the same time. They always have the top you can’t live without, while also containing some items you hope never see the light of day. Cleaning and organizing our wardrobes is a task that can always seem daunting, which is why it rarely gets done.

When we start to ask ourselves some tough questions about where our clothes come from and how they were made, the choices of what to keep and what to donate can be much easier than you think. Today I wanted to bring you some hard and fast rules you can use to get the job done. As a bonus, you’ll feel better about yourself and the environment as well.

Go through each piece of clothing you own and ask the following questions…

3 Questions That Make For a Better, Cleaner Wardrobe

Was it ethically made?

It’s easy to overlook the true cost of some of our clothing in regards to the physical labor that goes into making it. Unfortunately, with the rise in globalization came an increase in child labor and exploited adults in the fashion industry. Take a look into some of the brands you own and find out if they are using ethical labor to produce them. There are a lot of tools out there made specifically to help you research various brands and their manufacturing practices. If you find out something nasty about a brand, ditch their clothes! You’ll make some room and will no longer support their actions as a brand.

Is it made from sustainable material?

It’s no secret that the production of the clothes we love has a pretty big impact on the environment. Cotton alone  consumes 25% of the world’s insecticides and 10% of all the pesticides! Now more than ever it’s important to support brands that ensure their materials come from sustainable sources. Sustainable clothing materials include soy, hemp, bamboo, PET plastic, and organic cotton. Pact is a great example of an up-and-coming clothing brand that uses only organic cotton to help cut down on the use of chemicals in the environment. Bonus: they’re GOTS certified, which means their clothes are also ethically made.

If you are on the fence about keeping something, take a look at what the item is made out of. If you like it, and it’s made from natural, recycled or upcycled fibers – keep it. But if you’re not sure, and it’s not made from something sustainable, ditch it!

Does this piece bring me joy?

Sounds simple right? But how often do we ask ourselves that question about the clothes we wear? It won’t have a major impact on the environment or teach any unethical brands a lesson, but it will help you ensure that every time you open your closet, you’ll come away with something that makes you feel great. This method of organization was pioneered by Marie Kondo with her now famous “KonMari” method of organizing. This way of thinking teaches us to cherish the things that matter, and get rid of the things in our lives that don’t. If you tackle your closet in this way, you’ll be amazed by the impact it can have on your well-being.

Eco fashion, ethical clothing, sustainable fashion clothing. Lady wearing a comfy jumper.

I hope these questions help you get your closet organized. I think the ethical and environmental impact of our clothing should play a huge role when deciding what to keep, and what to purchase for that matter. And of course, never settle for anything that doesn’t make you happy!

*This is a guest post.

Staging Your Home for Agent Photoshoots: Ten Simple Tips

In case you decided to sell your home and move on, you want to get your house sold as soon as possible. The first step of getting people through the door is making sure that the photos created by your agent or their photographer show the best features of the property. Leave the technical details to the experts, but make sure you stage your home in a way that the photos help you sell it.

Get the Lighting Right

For a good photo, you will need to have enough natural light. Look at the weather forecast, and schedule your appointment for a day when the sun is likely to shine. Make sure that the photographer turns up when you get the sun shining through the front windows, as this way your home will appear to be lighter and larger on the pictures. You might also want to check with the photographer whether or not they need some lights on or off, to make the most out of your pictures. Get Gorgeous Ready Made Curtains | Montgomery designs to control the light in every room and create a matching style before the photos are taken. The more natural light you can use, the better your home will look on the brochure.

Declutter

If you have an office in the corner of the living room, it is time to hide the computer and the files. Make sure that your potential buyers or tenants can see plenty of empty space on the photo and put their imagination into work, thinking about arranging their own furniture. If you have old unsightly items in the house, it might be time to pay a visit to the local recycling centre or the charity shop. Don’t display old personal mugs in the kitchen either, and consider removing your kids’ paintings from the fridge temporarily too. Create a sterile and fresh look for the brochure, without your footsteps being visible on the images.

Get Rid of Personal Items

You don’t want your letters, certificates, diploma, or anything else displayed on the walls that gives out too much about you. People generally make judgments about the homeowner, and you don’t want people to know your true identity, unless they are signing the agreement. Keep your own and your children’s information safe. Not all people who will turn up on viewings or look at photos are potential buyers. Some of them are simply other homeowners looking for ideas or comparing your home to theirs. Stay out of the pictures as much as you can.

Absolutely No Pet Beds

Most buyers and potential tenants are discouraged by seeing a dog bed or a cat tree in the middle of the picture. Even if they are animal lovers, displaying these items can look unprofessional for them. If someone has pet hair allergies, they will simply not turn up, even if you clean your home thoroughly before viewings. Try to make all the reminders of current residents disappear before the pictures are taken, including the four-legged family members.

Tidy Up Your Kitchen

Stock image. Uncluttered spotless kitchen.

You will need to make your kitchen look organized and new. If you have to, move some of your small electricals into the garage or the garden shed to make your kitchen look bigger, do so. If you display your utensils and cups on the counter, and have a knife stand, you can move it somewhere else while the photos are being taken. Don’t move your larger appliances, such as your fridge, microwave, kettle, and toaster, but make sure that you are not giving the images the impression that the cupboards are not large enough to hold everything.

Clean and Empty Your Bathroom

Make your tiles in the kitchen and bathroom shiny, and remove any mats, blinds, and personal items. Your potential buyers or tenants would like to see the house in the state they will move in, and the fewer items you have on display the bigger your rooms will look. Get rid of the towels and the bathrobes, along with the cosmetic products, toothpaste, and toothbrush, so you can show the bathroom as an empty canvas. Pay attention to the grouts, as they can go grey or black in the bathroom, and if this shows in the pictures, your potential buyers will assume you have a mould problem and will not consider booking a viewing.

Take Furniture Away

In case you have too much furniture, your rooms will look smaller than they really are. Anything that looks out of place should be stored in the garage, or even in a self storage facility until the viewings are over, and you can get moving. Anything that is too old or looks tired can be removed. Even if you got an armchair from your grandmother and you don’t want to part from it, you can still relocate it temporarily. Look through the colour scheme of each room and search for items that don’t look right. Keep the design simple, and don’t distract your potential buyers or tenants by too many details, as this will make it harder for them to think clearly about their plans and future interior design.

Add Plants

Plants make your house look homely, and they are portable, so people looking at your property’s brochure will not think that they are going to take their space away. Adding a bit of greenery makes the pictures seem brighter and friendlier. Have a flower bouquet displayed in the window and decorate your mantelpiece with small green plants, such as cactuses. Anything that is small and has a decorative value can be a positive addition to the picture, and anything that looks out of place, too big, or old should go. As a general rule, try to have one plant in each room; either by the window, the sideboard, or the table.

Move Your Lamps

You might want to move your temporary lights and lamps when you have your picture taken for a better lighting solution. You need to consult with your agent or photographer about the optimum locations. You might be asked to move the bedside lights away, so the room looks larger. Bedroom sizes matter for potential buyers, so you have to do anything you can to make the space appear larger. You will also have to potentially change the direction of your spotlights in the kitchen and the landing, depending on where your photographer is taking the pictures from.

Make the Beds

Stock image. Tidy bedroom with made bed.

There is nothing more disappointing for potential buyers than a messy bed. You will need to make your bedroom look as if it was a hotel room designed to impress visitors. Get rid of hair, cat hair, and don’t leave any clothes out. Open the curtains and make them look symmetrical, allow natural light to enter. Leave some soft furnishing in the room, to make it look comfortable and cosy.

In Summary…

The secret to staging your home for the sales or rental brochure is to know and understand your target market. Talk to your agent or research the market to make sure you are not focusing on the wrong audience. Remove unnecessary clutter from the house, as less is more. Add some greenery and light, and do the spring cleaning. Take your personality out of the house, and allow your potential buyers to imagine their own designs in your space. Focus on soft furnishing, and make your home look bigger by removing furniture. Make sure that you don’t leave any sign of pets in the house when your photographer turns up.

* This is a collaborative post.

PalmistryHD: Review of Palm Reading and Horoscope App

Are you a fan of reading your horoscope or do you think it’s a load of nonsense? What about other forms of fortune telling? I have to say, I am abit of a sceptic about such things!

Don’t get me wrong, I am very spiritual and believe that our universe has amazing mystical powers. I also realise that humans only use a small percentage of our brains, so we do not even begin to fulfill the potential of what we could achieve with our minds. Therefore, I firmly believe that some individuals are capable of things that others aren’t – or, more accurately, are more tuned into certain abilities that we all possess but do not access – such as telepathy and psychic awareness for example, as well as the more basic sixth sense that comes from a strong intuition. But I feel that some types of fortune telling, such as horoscopes, are just too generalised and gimicky.

However, I do find the whole subject fascinating. And I am definitely open- minded and curious about it all. So when I found out about the new PalmistryHD app I must admit I was quite intrigued and wanted to give it a try!

The app can be downloaded on both IOS and android. It does a basic palm reading for free and for a charge of £11.99 it can go into more detail. It also has a daily horoscope section too.

Screenshot of Palmistry HD app showing palm reading and daily horoscope options.

I tried out the free palmistry feature of the app (android version). It was very quick and easy to use, it literally only took a few seconds. The instructions were very straightforward and easy to follow too.

A screenshot of the palm reading app

I found the results an interesting read. I think some of the reading rang quite true but I do also remain somewhat cynical to be honest, as I suspect that perhaps alot of things stated are vague and general enough that they can be interpreted in whatever context the reader chooses and can relate it to. Here is a short excerpt from my personal palm reading…

Screenshot of an excerpt from my personal palm reading results.

I have only tried out the app on myself and, to be honest, I do also wonder how unique my reading is. In other words, if a handful of people tested all it out, would we all get entirely different results? I don’t know the answer to this but I would be keen to find out. However, the app is abit of fun and some people might find it insightful potentially. Why not download the free version of the app and decide for yourself!

Here is a YouTube video that explains more about how palmistry works:

What do you think about it? I would love to hear your opinions!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Five Fabulous Reasons To Go Skiing

I have a confession. I am 38 and have never been skiing. It was never high on my list of my priorities to be honest. (Although I suspect this might be because my parents tried to convince me I wouldn’t like it when I was growing up, due to the expense!) However, Squiggle has asked me several times to go skiing and it has got me thinking… am I missing out? More to the point, I don’t want her to miss out; surely I should provide her with the opportunity to try it out if she desires? So I asked some friends and fellow bloggers why they love skiing and what the benefits are. And it would appear there are several great reasons to go skiing…

5 fabulous reasons to go skiing title with beautiful scenic picture of skiing underneath.

THE VIEWS!!!!

This has to be at the top of the list. It was an almost unanimous response from everyone who was asked what they love most about skiing. And I can understand why. You only have to google the word skiing to see a whole mass of phenomenal scenic photos. Who could resist those glorious picturesque views?

“The views are incredible, the air is so incredibly fresh, the sound of skis on fresh powdery snow is one of a kind and I love how skiing makes you feel so free and exhilarated!” ~ Hello Baby Blog

It’s An All- Inclusive Sport

I am sure we all know why doing any sport is good for us and carries a range of benefits; certainly I have written before about why sports are so important. Skiing however, as a sport has its own unique benefits. As Blissful Domestication points out, it is a sport you can take part in just once a year and still improve on!

It is also good for SEND children (and adults), as Tickets, Passports, Kids explains: “I believe it’s rather sensory… I believe the snow takes the edge off the sounds he hears, plus the helmet makes everything quieter. I believe he hears the world so loudly, that the snow makes it easier for him to hear. Plus, it’s not a team sport.” Indeed, I can see exactly why it might be so beneficial for some autistic people for these reasons.

As I read and speak to people about it more, I do notice that whilst skiing and other snow sports might not seem like obviously the most SEND-friendly sport to take part in by nature, in reality it is quite advanced in its level of awareness and is therefore very accomodating; alot of effort has been made to make adjustments and adapt the sport to meet a wide range of needs and disabilities. (This is a generalisation of course, as with anything, individual’s experiences will vary greatly).

In summary, skiing is an inclusive sport that is suitable for all ages and abilities. Awesome!

Skiier skiing down mountain slope with beautiful scenic snow mountains in background.

The Recreational Side of Skiing

Another popular reason to go skiing is actually not about the activity itself; people often value the recreational aspect of it just as much. Cosy evenings in together, sharing a bottle of wine whilst surrounded by breathtaking views or enjoying a hot chocolate in the open air – there is far more to skiing than just… skiing! It is even a good opportunity to make new friends too!

Travel Opportunities

Having a passion for skiing also then sparks the desire to travel to ski resorts in beautiful new locations that you might otherwise not have a chance to visit. Travelling for a specific purpose, such as skiing, offers a great incentive to get saving for the next trip!

Life is an Adventure

Last but not least, skiing is an adventure! Discovering new places, trying new activities, exploring new locations… it is all part of the wonder and excitement of living life to the full! And there is no better reason to give it a try than that!

A close up picture of a skiier skiing on snow

Things To Consider

Skiing can be expensive but even if you can’t afford to go to a fancy ski resort, there are lots of indoor snow centres around where you can still take part in the activity on real snow. Some people like to try it out or have a few lessons before their first ski trip, so it might be worth checking if there is one near you. Of course, there are still dry ski slopes around too as another alternative. I hear some people say this doesn’t quite compare to skiing on real snow, which I can imagine is very true. But it is another option nonetheless.

In most places there is equipment available to hire. But even if it doesn’t become a serious hobby, you will still need some essentials in order to be dressed for the weather, so of course you will need to invest in the right gear! If you are looking to buy ski clothes and accessories, Simply Hike have a lovely range of ski wear and accessories, including some gorgeous womens ski jackets. Don’t forget those googles too!

A lady (blogger Kiki Blah Blah) standing outside in the snow in her ski outfit.
Kiki Blah Blah

Happy skiing!

Thanks to The Money Whisperer, All About A Mummy, Pink Pear Bear, Kiki Blah Blah and Truly Madly Kids for your helpful insights and contributions to this post.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Eco- Friendly Periods: What’s So Amazing About Menstrual Cups? A Guest Post by Jackie Bolen

Here’s something that I have some serious regret about…

Not knowing about menstrual cups until I was in my early 30’s. I’m not sure how I didn’t figure it out until then. Maybe I wasn’t hanging around the eco-friendly crowd, or maybe it was that menstrual cups weren’t so popular back then. Whatever it was, I’m happy that I did eventually hear about them from a friend of mine. I went out and immediately bought a Diva Cup, and have been using it ever since.

I do regret all those wasted year though. Imagine how much money I could have saved, and how much trash I could have not thrown out?

I’m going to share with you what’s so amazing about menstrual cups, and offer some advice if you’d like to make the switch yourself.

Eco- Friendly Periods: What's So Amazing About Mooncups? Image of 4 confident womens silhouettes against a sunset background.

More Money in the Bank at the End of the Month

I’m sure you know this already, but disposable pads and tampons are expensive! I know that I always feel a bit of sticker shock every single time I walk down that aisle at the drugstore. According to the Huffington Post, people spend an average of 13 pounds a month on feminine hygiene products. That’s a lot, especially considering that it’s an expense we incur every single month for around 40 years.

In the UK, tampons and sanitary towels are taxed at a rate of 5%. This has changed a few times during the last 40 years, but it’s currently at the lowest rate possible. It’s still too much.

Although menstrual cups cost around 20 pounds, they can last for years with proper care and cleaning. The best news is that you’ll recoup your costs in only a couple of months, when compared to disposable pads or tampons.

Less Waste Going to the Landfill

Estimates vary, but it’s thought that the average person uses between 11,000 and 16,000 tampons during their lifetime, resulting in 100-200 kg of waste from sanitary products. A portion of this waste is plastic which is not biodegradable. Although tampons and pads are not a big part of the larger waste problem, this is waste that can be avoided by making the switch to a menstrual cup.

Menstrual cups generally last for 5-10 years, so over a lifetime, a person will need only 4-8 of them. This is significantly less waste than thousands of pads and tampons. And there’s more good news—depending on where you live, menstrual cups can often be recycled.

Reduce your Exposure to Chemicals

Pads and tampons often contain trace amounts of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Manufacturing companies aren’t exactly upfront about what’s in their products, and legislators have been slow to require this. Although there are no long-term studies about what effects these chemicals have, it’s thought that exposure to them might be linked to things as serious as cancer.

I hope that governments will pass legislation that requires companies to disclose what’s in pads or tampons, and/or companies will work to eliminate these harmful things. In the meantime, it makes sense to use a menstrual cup instead.

As long as you get a top-quality cup (avoid the cheap ones from China), it’s made from medical grade silicone that is safe to use inside your body. It will not leak chemicals into your bloodstream and you’ll be able to have a safer period experience.

No Risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome

To date, there has been one reported case of Toxic Shock Syndrome that resulted from using a menstrual cup. With tampons, there are thousands of cases every year. Menstrual cups are not without risks, but it seem that the risk of this very serious condition is far lower than when using tampons.

Ready to Make the Switch?

Are you ready to have a cheaper, safer, and more environmentally friendly period? Then it’s time to consider choosing menstrual cups instead of disposable pads or tampons.

If you live in the UK, an excellent place to start is the MoonCup. It’s a company based in Brighton that makes one of the most popular menstrual cups in the world. MoonCup has been around for years, and people that try the cup really seem to love it.

You can buy the MoonCup directly from the cup for around 20 pounds, and shipping is free in the UK. Check it out here: MoonCup’s Website.

Image of hand holding mooncup with box and bag also in photo. Photo by Dylan and Me.Image Credit: Dylan and Me

Author Bio

Jackie Bolen is a tree-hugging, friend of the Earth who can usually be found on top of a mountain, paddling the rivers, or drinking coffee around Vancouver, Canada. She hopes that one day, a menstrual cup will be found in the hands of every single menstruating person in the world. This has the potential to make it a much better place.

*This is a guest post.

Children Are Our Future: Setting Them Up For Success

As parents, our number one goal in life is to raise happy and healthy children with a bright future. We want to know that we’re doing everything we can to do what’s best for them, and once you have a child this little person is suddenly the most important thing in your life, you value it above your own. But knowing what we need to do to make sure we’re setting our children up for success can be a struggle, after all, no one knows what the future holds. However with that being said, there are a few things we can do that will always benefit our kids in later years, regardless of the direction they go in. Here are some ideas…

Children Are Our Future: Setting Them Up For Success title with black and white image of child sat on adult's knee in a living room reading a book.

Teach Them The Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle

We’re in the midst of an obesity epidemic. The leading cause of death in the third world is heart disease, which for the most part is preventable with a healthy lifestyle. Therefore teaching our children about the importance of health and setting a good example for healthy habits is crucial. Keep processed food, sweets and junk out of the house as much as possible, and try to avoid using them as treats or rewards, as this teaches children a bad mindset towards these things.

Cook healthy and delicious meals at home- include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and other fresh raw nutricious ingredients. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration for family friendly meals, and if you’re pushed for time you could try batch cooking at weekends. That way you have access to lots of frozen, healthy meals you cooked yourself and are far less likely to buy something convenient yet unhealthy and expensive. Also, numerous studies have shown that families that eat together raise happier and more balanced children, who tend to be slimmer and healthier. So if you currently feed the children and adults in your house separately it’s worth making a change.

Exercise is also very important, kids are naturally energetic so it shouldn’t be difficult for them to get in the hour of moderate to vigorous activity they need a day. The trick is to make it fun, avoid it feeling like a chore. You could go on family hikes or bike rides together at the weekend. Or take them swimming, trampolining or to a class they enjoy, such as dance or martial arts. Even hire a bouncy castle or buy a large trampoline for your back garden and they’re sure to have hours of fun activity with very little input needed from you. Getting into these healthy habits and seeing exercise as something that’s fun and enjoyable is something that will most definitely set them up for future success.

Think About Finances

Starting out as a young adult can be difficult. It’s more of a struggle to get onto the property market now than it ever was- and it’s set to get worse. By planning for your child’s future, you can give them an advantage once they’re older. Some money towards a mortgage deposit could help them onto the property ladder which might have otherwise been impossible for them. You could either put money into a savings account, or make a smart investment such as buying some property. A studio apartment or small flat wouldn’t be too expensive, you could then put away the money you earn from it each month into savings for your child. When they’re older, they could even live in it while they get established with their career or attend a local college or university. This would save on fees for halls or renting a student house, but still give them the independence they will be craving at that age.

Keep Them Curious

Children are naturally curious about the world, and keeping this magic alive is what will give them a great capacity to learn and do well in their education. Take them to galleries and museums, go on woodland walks with fun worksheets from Pinterest where you tick off the things you see. Take them rock pool fishing and teach them about the creatures they catch, go to the farm or zoo and tell them all about the animals. Learning doesn’t have to happen in a classroom or with books, keeping kids curious and giving them a thirst for knowledge is a fantastic way to set them up later in life. With a passion to learn they’re more likely to do well in future, and a good education paves the way for gaining the skills they need to later on enjoy satisfying career that they love.

Read to your kids often, sing songs, make up stories together. Do puzzles, teach them how to bake or sew. It’s all new, fun and exciting for kids and you help them to develop passions and hobbies that can help them meet new friends and develop their skills.

Photo of a happy laughing family having a water fight with buckets of water

Encourage Them To Be Empathetic

Empathy, being able to see things from another person’s perspective and feel genuine emotions towards them seems like the most human thing in the world. However this is not a trait we are born with, those who grow up without learning how to empathise don’t show it later on, their brains do not develop in the same way. Being empathetic, sensitive and able to understand the emotions of others helps people to develop meaningful friendships and later on relationships- it helps them to become a good person.

Encourage empathy by praising empathetic behaviour, avoiding anger and encouraging kids to talk about their feelings. Being able to label your own feelings as a child is very useful, as when others speak about how they feel the child is able to understand what it means and feels like.

One option for teaching kids empathy is to take them volunteering. Feeding the homeless, helping out at a children’s hospital, volunteering at an animal shelter or at a care home can all allow them to experience different emotions of others, and learn how it feels good to help. Growing up in touch with their emotions as well as being able to perceive others will allow them to create meaningful and lasting bonds with others.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.