2018 is finally here and to be very frank, 2017 was a pretty shit year. I’m sure that I will write about it a fair few times over the next few months, but today I’m concerned with the way that I want my family to live our lives this year.
Every now and then, I mention that there is ill health in my family and that we have tried to cut out as many chemicals as possible and have switched to butchers meat and locally grown/sourced fruit and veg as a result. I bought soap that had no chemicals in it, shampoo and conditioner that had all natural ingredients, we use ecover products and I bought face oil that was all natural to replace my Nivea moisturizer. Of the above, the soap is ace, we’ve kept that and we will continue to use the ecover products. I tried the shampoo and conditioner for a month but, honestly, I have naturally oily hair and I was such a greaseball, even half an hour after I had washed and dried my hair, that it impacted really badly on my already shocking body image, so I went back to good old Aussie shampoo pretty quickly!! I loved the face oil, though, and will buy some more…once the Nivea face cream has run out, because I hate to waste it.
Alongside the need to cut out as many chemicals as possible has grown a sense of waste awareness. I’m going to admit that I have not watched the Blue Planet episodes concerning plastic, but I have been becoming increasingly more distressed at the state of the world that I am leaving to my child, both politically and physically. I am going to try and make as many small changes as possible to the way my little family lives in order to try and lessen the impact on the world around me. I’m aware that it is pretty futile, but it’s better to try than not, right? I’m also aware that I am fully acknowledging there are places I just won’t go. I joined a few ‘zero waste’ facebook groups recently and as brilliant as they are, I will never be using ‘family cloth’ as opposed to toilet roll. If you don’t know what that is, Google it. However, there are things that I can do.
Apart from being quite lazy and somewhat clueless, the other big stumbling block I know I am going to come across is money. I recently quit my job as a teacher so have to be quite careful with my money for the foreseeable future – I’m hoping that by living more accountably I will also stp spending so much money, if not save some.
Here are the things that I changed last year –
This felt like such a massive step to me – I only taught myself to cook eighteen months ago and I was absolutely convinced that to buy fresh, organic, local meat, fruit and veg would be astronomically expensive. It isn’t. If I compare my grocery bills from before the switch to now, I spend a whole lot less on the above three things than I ever used to, even though I swapped to shopping in Lidl and Aldi. I genuinely feel so much better about what we eat and what I feed my child now too. It also feels good not to bring home so much plastic in the form of packaging. The stumbling block here is that we are discovering food intolerances, so gluten free products for my son are expensive, even to cook from scratch. We are circling a dairy/milk intolerance as well, so all of a sudden I’m spending a fuck load of money on nut milk.
I recently bought a starter pack of reusable cloth sanitary towels and am trying them out for the first time at the moment (TMI???) and I am really impressed. They’re so comfortable, work much better than the disposables I’ve been using and appear to wash well. I bought mine from Earthwise Girl and I can see that I’m going to have to buy another pack, but even at roughly forty pounds for the two packs, I’m sure that they will pay for themselves after a year or two and I’ll never run out!
These are things that I want to try and address in 2018 –
I’m going to try really hard to not anything new. With a toddler that is constantly growing, I know I am going to find this difficult but I trialled buying from eBay in November and was pleasantly surprised, so I’m going to use this more and start scouring charity shops, both for me and my son. The caveat to this is that if I really want to buy something new, then I have to look at small businesses first, which is something else I really got into in 2017! So essentially, I will either be reusing secondhand clothes or buying things that have come from a traceable source.
Continuing with the food changes, my boyfriend built three massive planters and started a composter in 2017. We also have a fuck load of seeds and a water butt, so this year I want to finish these and start growing our own and composting. Aside from the obvious environmental benefits, I’m also hoping to save money this way. Similarly, I’m going to slowly incorporate more vegetarian meals. I’m not a massive meat fan anyway, but my partner is a very ‘meat and two veg’ kind of man.
Realistically, we’ve got another year at least in nappies so, although I’m really intimidated by the idea, I’m going to try and use cloth nappies, even if its just once or twice a week. I was horrified to hear that, although we have a nappy collection every week that we pay for and is separate to the waste bin collection, it still goes to landfill.
I do enjoy giving presents, but I felt really wasteful this year at Christmas, wrapping my childs presents in paper. I know it will be recycled, but I am going to keep fabric from outgrown clothes etc and use that and ribbon to wrap now I think. I’m also going to try harder to make presents.
This deserves a section of its own because I love books. My ultimate house would have a library… so no more buying books for me! ‘m going to join a library.
I am really going to put some effort into the above this year and come back to them every now and then to see if I’m making any progress or if they lead to other changes as well. I’ve never been fashionable, but I will try and keep the idea of second hand/small business shopping active on my Instagram by photographing the occasional flat lay!!