My Zero Waste Haul (with Eco Friendly Bundle Giveaway)

As part of Plastic Free July, I have been making more effort to find new ways to reduce waste in our home. We have been on a journey to consciously gradually reduce our waste, and especially plastic, for a while now anyway but there will always be more action we can take! So I walked around the house, and looked at our current waste and recycling, to come up with an action plan. Then I did some online shopping for zero waste essentials! Here are some of my purchases:

Bamboo Cloths

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I purchased these Cheeky Wipes reusable cloths through Amazon* for multiple purposes. They come in a pack of 25 in five different colours (£17), which is handy for keeping separate cloths for own their different uses/ remembering who they belong to!

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I was disappointed that they arrived in plastic wrapping! However, aside from that I am pleased with them; they are a nice size and wash well.

Bamboo Toothbrush

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I needed a new toothbrush so it seemed the perfect time to opt for a more sustainable alternative than the usual plastic toothbrush! This lovely bamboo toothbrush (RRP £2.75) was kindly sent to me directly from Save Some Green, along with one to giveaway as part of my mini eco bundle too! (See below to enter). It even comes in eco friendly packaging, very impressed!

Coconut Scrub Pads

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Again, the Safix scrub pad (RRP £2.70) was kindly received from Save Some Green and is a super environmentally friendly alternative to usual versions. It is biodegradable and compostable so zero waste.

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Resuable Water Bottle

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Hubby bought this water bottle from a local store recently, which can also be purchased through Amazon: Brita Fill & Go Water Bottle* (£12.37). However, I also know that the Clean Kanteen water bottle (£30) comes highly recommended and is made from stainless steel, so that would have been even better still! 

Food Wraps and Zip Bag

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green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, reusables, food wrap

I purchased this Planet Wise zip bag (£5.95) and Abeego food wraps (£14.95) from Babipur. They are really easy to wipe clean and a very handy alternative to cling film!

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Babipur have also kindly offered these two fab items as a prize for one lucky winner. You can enter via instagram below:

***GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED. WINNER ANNOUNCED IN COMMENTS. THANKS ALL FOR TAKING PART.*** As part of #PlasticFreeJuly I purchased this Planet Wise zip sandwich bag and Abeego wraps, which are so useful 💚 I have now teamed up with @Babipur for one lucky instagrammer to win their very own awesome reusable eco essentials! 😊👍 Prize: Planet Wise zip sandwich bag (caribou bloom design) and a pack of 2 large Abeego wraps. To enter: All you need to do to enter is like this photo, follow me and @Babipur here on IG then tag a friend in comments! T&Cs: Winner will be drawn at random after the closing date. Ends 11.59pm on 12th August 2017. UK residents only (sorry everyone else!) Prize is kindly offered and dispatched by Babipur. Good luck! (My own items are pictured, but prize is the same).

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Reusable Straws

I have already written about my fab straw purchases from Eco Straws, plus it is not too late to enter my giveaway to win a set of bamboo straws too! 
Last but not least…

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Save Some Green have sent me this awesome mini eco bundle for one lucky winner to win! Enter via rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition closes 20th August 2017. Open to UK residents only. Other T&Cs apply. 

5 Ways Gardens Benefit Your Health 

Although most gardeners have long known it, the science confirms it – gardening is good for your health!

And so with scientific data on our side, the time has come to reveal what an hour or two, or a whole afternoon, does to your health; physical, mental and emotional.

rattan direct garden benefits

Gardening reduces stress and anxiety

It’s probably a combination of fresh air, enjoying the sun when it shines and also caring for tender plants and shrubs that make gardening such a great antidote to modern life. Stressful jobs, full social lives and everything we have to deal with can lead to blood pressure rising and a state of stress settling in.

Whilst a little stress may be a good thing, too much has a negative impact on the body; both our physical and mental health. Depression is also an ailment that society is no longer treating as taboo, and studies have also shown that gardening can be part of the solution to managing depression.

The solution is clear for all to see; spending a little time in the garden; either weeding, planting new plants or simply mowing the lawn, will help to lower stress and anxiety levels and benefit your mental health.

Decreases risk of diabetes and heart disease

Who’d have thought it?! Spending time in the garden being active is part of the solution to keeping heart attacks and diabetes at bay.

Of course, keen gardeners have known for some time that gardening can be heavy work. Just think of all the weight you sometimes shift about; the digging and forking over the allotment, the hoeing, the plants and the weeding. Even a brisk mow of the lawn can work up a sweat once a week. Keeping your cardiac system in great shape and your weight in check is done by a variety of means but the best exercise is one that leaves you slightly out of breath and raises your pulse rate a little – and heaving heavy sacks of compost, mowing the lawn, cutting the hedges and so on can all do that!

This point also ties in with the previous point of lowering stress and anxiety too, which is a common cause of heart attacks. Physical and mental health are linked so taking care of your overall wellbeing is essential.

It makes you happy!

There is increasing evidence that the amount spent outside directly correlates with several health and behavioural problems. This is why many specialist schools and educational settings that deal with emotional and behavioural difficulties in children are spending more time out of the classroom, and enjoying settings such as Forest Schools and the like. Of course, it is not the only answer to dealing with behavioural difficulties, depression and feeling fed up but it goes a long way to lift your mood and spirits.

This doesn’t mean you have to work when you are in the garden, either. Why not take half an hour to sit, listen to the sounds of nature around you, the birds sing, admire the flowers, the buzzing bees and other insects that you probably haven’t noticed until now? You could invest in rattan garden furniture, sit back and spend some time in your own green space, no matter how big or small it is, and disconnect from your busy life. Try it for half an hour and see what it feels like.

A tool to stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s?

It has been noted that Alzheimer’s and dementia are the two biggest health issues that will impact on our nation in the coming years. Slowly, the science and medical world are peeling back the layers of these people-robbing illnesses, extending our understanding of both issues. The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that various physical activities cut the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in half – and one of the activities that was recognised was gardening. For those suffering from dementia, it has been found that garden-centred therapy is one of the most powerful in reaching and connecting with people.

It helps you sleep better

Finally, maybe it is something to do with all the activity, the fresh air and the mental stimulation of being immersed in nature, plus the reduced stress and anxiety, but being proactive in your garden helps you sleep better. And of course good night sleep is essential for health and wellbeing too!

Gardening is not just about pretty flowers and tasty vegetables. It is an opportunity to enjoy being outdoors, switch off from modern life and enjoy everything that nature has to offer. Along with their customers, Rattan Direct have long known that the garden has magical powers to relax and de-stress the human mind, body and soul. And now the science concurs.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

A Look into The Middle East Water Shortage

Currently, the whole world is facing possible future water shortages. However, the water demand in the Middle East has soared greatly along with the rise in population and urbanisation. The geographic distribution of the water resources across the Middle East is highly uneven, which is also a concern. Over 80% of the region is desert and receives little or no rainfall at all. Recent occurrences of erratic rainfall and then prolonged drought periods have added a whole new dimension to the problem, most likely because of climate change.

The demand for fresh water in the Middle East has continued to increase at a rapid pace. In order to deal with fresh water management challenges in this region, we should try and bring a balance to both water supply and demand.

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Ground water supplies

Lots of areas in the Middle East have a higher water demand compared to the natural recharge of groundwater reservoirs. Ground water quality has also deteriorated due to an influx of saline water from laterally surrounding areas, excessive use of fertilisers and local sewage.

With many countries approaching the limit of water resource development and others reeling under severe supply shortages, the problem of water scarcity is turning into a crisis. Industry experts are of the opinion that policy reforms are required to address demand issues, while addressing supply problems require practicing integrated water resource management.

Wastewater recycling

From an economic and environmental standpoint, wastewater reclamation and reuse makes good sense. It can reduce or eliminate health and environmental hazards associated with effluent discharges. At the same time, it generates an alternative resource and thereby prevents immediate investment in costly water supply schemes (storage, transfer or desalination plants).

Many private sector residential projects and townships too have set-up wastewater treatment plants, in some cases even with tertiary treatment. At the same time, to address the issue of low demand for treated wastewater, several alternative uses are being considered. Jordan and Tunisia’s experience in wastewater reuse suggests application of treated sewage effluent (TSE) for agriculture, forestry and ground water recharge.

Besides this, in the last few years the water demand for non drinking applications such as landscaping, golf courses, district cooling, construction work, etc… has gone up significantly, thereby providing alternative avenues for wastewater reuse. Initiatives are required on behalf of the local authorities to bring in the necessary changes in regulation, redraft guidelines and open up these areas for use of reclaimed wastewater.

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Supply and demand

Over the last five decades, supply augmentation has been the central approach to deal with water scarcity. Countries with considerable surface water resources, such as Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Morocco have focused on building water conveyance and storage structures.

Jordan’s Disi water conveyance project involves a 325-km pipeline being built through the Jordanian desert to Abu Alanda and Dabuk reservoirs. While in the present context, the importance of measures for water demand management and wastewater reclamation and reuse cannot be understated, these may not be sufficient to plug the demand-supply gap. Although  Jordan has wastewater reuse rates as high as 80%, they have adopted highly efficient irrigation technologies (drip irrigation). Jordan’s Disi water conveyance project is one such attempt.

Water is the source of life and the most precious of commodities. You can help by giving to a water charity that gives access to water sanitation and saves lives. One of the biggest challenges that face areas suffering from poverty, famine or drought is the lack of access to clean water for drinking and sanitation purposes. Water is fundamental to life yet even today millions of people, particularly those living in third world countries, have little to no access to it.

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. 

Star in the Night Sky #30DaysWild

In the early hours of yesterday morning, around 3am, I stood in the garden and looked up at the night sky. There was a bright light flashing, at first I thought it was a plane. After watching for several minutes though, it was definitely not moving and I realised it must be a star. But it was genuinely – by a million fold – the brightest, twinkliest, most magical looking star that I have ever seen. It made every other star in the sky look practically invisible because it shone so bright and twinkled so much. I know that this probably sounds silly, but honestly I cannot emphasise enough how mesmerising it was. 

I tried to get a decent shot of it but it just doesn’t even in the slightest tiniest way begin to do it even a miniscule amount of justice. You can only just see it as a small white dot in between the trees (to the left in the photo above, in the very middle of the photo below).

I started thinking; I wonder how many other people have ever looked up at the night sky and spotted that same star? I wonder if they had the same thoughts as me? I wonder if anyone else is out there looking up at it right now, this same moment? Truly amazing when you think about it. The universe is so huge, and we are all just a small dot in comparison. Yet everything is connected. And each one of us has an impact and can make a difference. Incredible.

The Secret is in the Soil: The Importance Of Healthy Soil

We don’t give much thought to the soil under our feet but without it, we wouldn’t have food on our plates. It takes a lifetime to create the ideal soil conditions for plants and crops to grow, but no time at all to destroy it. For every plant to thrive, it needs nutrients. And these are found in the soil. With the right nutrients in perfect balance, a plant or tree thrives.

Healthy Soil = Healthy Planet

So how is Soil Made? And why do we need to keep adding organic matter and other nutrients to get the best from it? Does it mystify you as to why soil in one part of the garden is fine and dust-like but in another part, heavy and dense?

The soil is made from the earth’s crusts and its deposits being ground to a finer powder over thousands of years. The type of soil created, depends on the deposits that created it. The quality of soil also depends on how much life is in the soil. Worms, for example, are essential to mixing the soil as well as aerating it. Other soil-borne life forms are important too. Soil needs plenty of nutrients and water to offer the best growing medium, an increasing problem in a world with an increasing number of mouths to feed.

Do you know how to look after soil?

From adding organic matter to understanding the type of soil and what will grow best, this infographic has it all. Find out more and truly understand the ground beneath your feet. 

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*Disclosure: This post has been written in collaboration with Rattan Direct. 

Why We All Need To Stop Sucking and Go Topless (For Our Oceans)

Firstly, yes this is still a family blog! So, what am I talking about? The answer is the environment and our oceans of course! More to the point, this post is about all the single-use plastics that get dumped into the environment every single day – polluting our oceans and harming our wildlife – and what we can do about it. 

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Lonely Whale Foundation recently launched their Strawless Ocean campaign asking everyone to pledge to #StopSucking by refusing plastic straws and either go straw-free or use more sustainable alternatives. Between Brits and the US, we use 550 million plastic straws every single day. Each single-use plastic straw takes 200 years to break down into tiny toxic particles. Alot end up in the ocean. That is a huge amount of plastic pollution.

Share the video and pledge to ditch plastic straws!

Another great charity, 5Gyres, have also launched a campaign to address the use of disposable cups. Ideally the best thing to do is to take a reusable cup with you to cafes and coffee shops. However, if you don’t have a reusable cup available (and why not? There is no excuse – lots of places sell them!) then at least go topless, so that is one less piece of waste!

Did you know in the UK only one in 400 coffee cups are recycled? It is too difficult to separate their plastic coating and cardboard to recycle the card. Yet, as reported by Telegraph, half of people believe their disposable coffee cups are being recycled all or most of the time. As many as 2.5 billion paper coffee cups are thrown away in the UK each year – again, that is ALOT of waste. Invest in a resuable cup and remember to take it with you as a small commitment to protecting our oceans, and our planet.

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If you would also like other ideas about actions you can take, check out Clean Seas to see what others are up to and join in with their existing campaigns – or start one of your own! 

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Squiggle doing a quick beach clean-up during our last visit.

Happy World Oceans Day!

#WorldEnvironmentDay – I’m #WithNature

#WorldEnvironmentDay #WithNature

For my own favourite nature spot, I was torn between green and blue, so eventually decided I simply had to choose photos of both! 

The first photo is a local park that is one of my very favourite nature spots, largely just because I spend alot of time here. The tree in the photo is straight up one of my absolute favourite subjects to photo because it is so photogenic- it always comes out looking so magical!

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Highfield Park

The second picture was taken at Donna Nook in Lincolnshire last November for our annual visit during pupping season. Whilst not recent, or the best photo ever, it is one of my most favourite spots on earth for feeling truly connected with nature and wildlife. It is an amazing experience.

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Donna Nook

The final photo was taken a few days ago at Southend-on-Sea. I didn’t feel that I could possibly post about my favourite nature spots without listening to my #BlueMind and therefore including the beach that we visit most regularly! This isn’t my favourite capture of it if I am perfectly honest, there are more striking photos of it on my blog photo gallery, but this is the most recent so I stuck with that!

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Southend-on-Sea

Where is your favourite nature spot? Share it today to be part of World Environment Day!

Sunset Walk – #30DaysWild

For my challenge yesterday, I went for a walk at sunset. I didn’t go far; I simply walked up and down my street infact – admiring the beautiful flowers in a neighbour’s front garden, enjoying the wild flowers growing along the verge, looking up at the sky and feeling the rain on my skin. However, the absolute highlight was actually before I started my walk; the gorgeous sky view from my garden that I stood and watched for a few minutes as it turned redder. Stunning.

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Living Life Our Way, 30 Days Wild, The Wildlife Trusts, sunset, skyline, scenic view, landscape, photography, environment, #30DaysWild, #LivingLifeWild, campaign, outdoors, get outside, evening walk
#30DaysWild #LivingLifeWild

30 Days Wild: The Fun Begins! (Linky in Post)

Woohoo, day one of 30 Days Wild! Who is excited? I am, can you tell?!

Throughout June I will posting regularly about our wild adventures and activities, and I look forward to reading what others are doing too. Below is the linky, as promised – feel free to include any posts you wrote from last year’s 30 Days Wild challenge in this week’s linky too… Let’s all share our ideas and help to inspire each other further!

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So today, day one of the challenge, for me is about connection. After all, that is what this challenge is really about; connecting to the natural world around us. And I feel that an essential part of this is connecting with each other too; through discussing ideas and actions, sharing inspiration and mutual interests, working together to protect our wildlife… that is an important part of the challenge. Hence my linky idea! Feel free to drop me a comment or find me on social media to say hi too, I would love to connect with as many like-minded people as possible! 

Today is also about reflection for me as well; as we are right at the beginning of this year’s challenge, I will be spending time today (in the garden!) looking back over my 30 Days Wild posts from last year and thinking about the journey that the challenge took us on. I will reflect on what we learned, how we felt and, moving forward, what I hope to get from it this time.

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Last but not least, I would also like to share with you another challenge that is also happening this month: Plastic Challenge by Marine Conservation Society. I am sharing it here because the purpose of this campaign is about protecting our oceans and the rest of our natural environment; therefore it fits in perfectly with 30 Days Wild and could be done as part of that. Even though we have been on our own plastic-free journey for sometime, I have signed up for this challenge too, which I will write more about during the month.

Anyway, here is the linky… I look forward to reading your posts. And remember to tell all your friends about it too!


 #30DaysWild #LivingLifeWild 

Fun Family Activities To Celebrate Earth Day

​Today is Earth Day. So here are some lovely ways you can celebrate, either today  or any other (because really, everyday should be Earth Day anyway!) 

  • Nature art. There are lots of fun nature art activities that you can do as a family. One that is particularly great for Earth Day is to collect some large pebbles, arrange them in a solid circle, then paint them with a map of the world (I decided to add a peace sign too!)

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  • Make an Earth Pom Pom. Check out this super cute creative activity over on Monkey and Mouse!
  • Sign up to Global Guardian Project to get their monthly digital multi-media resource (learning capsule) full of stunning pictures, useful information, inspirational ideas and activities, and wonderful facts about the amazing world that we live in, and how we can care for it. This month the focus is on Israel. Use my affiliate code LIVINGLIFEOURWAY to get 10% discount off subscriptions. (Usual price $14.99 per month). This discount code can also be used for their new special edition National Parks capsule too.

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  • Go on a nature walk. Use all your senses to explore the natural environment around you. Stop for a few moments, be still and listen. What do you hear? What do you see? What can you smell? Touch the bark of a tree, go barefoot on the grass. Take it all in and connect with our earth.

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    • Make a paper mache globe. This project takes several days but is lots of messy creative fun! Head on over to The Crafty Classroom to for a detailed tutorial.
    • Give the earth a helping hand. Do something that helps protect our environment. Small changes can have a BIG impact. Maybe a 5 minute litter pick in your local park? Find ways to reduce energy consumption in your home? Pledge to say ‘no thanks’ to plastic straws with your drink? Or perhaps buy yourself a reusable cup rather than using disposable coffee shops ones? You could even try to give up single-use plastics completely! The possibilities are endless and remember, every small change helps. Other ideas can be found on my previous Make A Splash blog post.  

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    What are you doing for Earth Day? Tell me in comments, I look forward to reading about it!