Recently I wrote an article for the Lifestyle Channel website, it was Top 5 eco-friendly products for your Spring clean. One of the products in my list was ENJO, and it happened to be the only one I’d not used myself, but having heard such great things about it – and it being completely chemical free – I felt it deserved a place on the list.
ENJO contacted me after seeing the article and asked if I’d like to try their products. I was excited as like I said before, I’d heard such rave reviews about them.
Back in January as a family, we set out to Buy nothing New for a year. This included all clothing and shoes, kitchen items, toys for the kids, books, house items such as towels, sheets etc.
We have ‘I feel’ done pretty well. We managed a trip to the UK without buying anything new – apart from the tickets! and we’ve now had all of our Birthdays and managed to get some great finds for gift.
However we have had a few little fails! We ended up buying 2 new toys for the kids, and I feel pretty horrible about it to be completely honest!
We’ve had problems getting the kids to go to sleep on their own, for a while now. So we set up a ‘Brave Chart’ for them, so when they went to sleep without us next to them, they’d get a sticker, and once they got 5 stickers they’d get a small toy! It’s been working on and off, but not as well as we’d hoped – a change of tacked might be in order.
Anyway, we knew with ‘buying nothing new’ you have to be prepared and think well in advance. We’d look on Gumtree and eBay, Buy Sell Swap and Charity shops for toys, and 9 times out of 10 would find something. However there have been two occasions where my husband and I, haven’t realised how close the kids were to ‘toy time’, and weren’t able to find anything in time. On one occasion the kids had to wait 5 days – and that was just too unfair for our liking, when they had tried really hard. Yes Yes I know I’m trying very hard to justify myself.
We’ve definitely learnt a lesson though, and that’s too buy a few things at the same time – I got from eBay a ‘My Little Pony’ car and about 7 mini Ponies. So I gave the car and 1 Pony to Pixie one time and then 3 Ponies the next etc.
Both my husband and I are looking forward to Christmas, as it will be a bit of a challenge! I’ll keep you up to date with how things go, but fingers crossed for no more slip ups!
I’m pretty sure I’m safe in saying most people use hand soap, right? I guess there might be some complete purest out there – This recipe however I think would go down well with Greenpeace. It’s extremely eco-friendly and biodegradable, so what goes down your drain pipe is now no longer a problem. To get a good quality Organic and eco-friendly hand soap can be a little expensive, so I looked into how easy it would be to make my own, and I found that it was actually really very easy!
This recipe makes 4 litres so you shouldn’t have to make more for a little while. It’s great to give away as a present, you have so much of it, it seem like the polite thing to do!
All you need is –
1 bar of Castle soap, I use Dr Bronners – Castle soap is environmentally friendly as it’s made from plant oils, it’s free from artificial foaming agent, harsh cleansers, chemical anti bacterial agent and much more. It’s also a biodegradable product.
4 litres of distilled or boiled water – The reason for the water being distilled or boiled, is to make sure any bacteria in the water are killed off.
Essential oil of your choice , I chose Tea tree – Tea tree, lemon and Peppermint are all anti bacterial. Geranium, Jasmine and Lavender and great for more sensitive skin.
Dispenser bottle and storage bottles – I washed out the last shop bought soap bottle I had and now use that.
Directions – This is extremely simple, grate the soap (I used the food processor but you could use a hand-held one). In a large pan heat up the water and then add the soap to dissolve it. Add the oil/s you have chosen, you are making a large amount of soap so I’d use around 15/20 drops. Take the soap off the heat and let it sit and cool over night. By morning your soap will have thickened up nicely. You can then transfer into your bottles.
At the beginning of the year we as a family set out to buy nothing new for the year ahead of us. Not just to save money, although that did play a big part, but also to learn a lesson on how much we actually consume, and that 90% of it isn’t actually necessary.
The first month which was January I actually found very easy. But I put that down to the fact that we’d just hard Christmas and spending money wasn’t high up on my list. I’ve never been one for January sales so that wasn’t there to tempt me either. Then February came around and our challenge was well and truly up and running. We were travelling to the UK at the end of the month for 3 weeks. It was summer here in Australia and winter in the UK, so I needed to find winter clothes for the kids, also suitcases, mini cases for the kids on the plane filled with things to entertain them.
I realised I probably should have started looking for things in January, as I was cutting it a little fine on somethings. But I’m pleased to say I found everything that I needed. When it came to the kids clothes, I borrowed from friends and found bits on Gumtree and eBay. We borrowed suitcases from friends and found on Gumtree these amazing mini cases for the kids called Trunki’s, they were an absolute life saver in the airports, I would recommend them to anyone travelling with small children.
As for the toys to entertain them while on the plane, we got a few colouring books and new pens, some Blu tack as it keeps them entertained for hours! I had a few little toys that we decided not to give them at Christmas, as they didn’t need anymore. So I feel we did pretty well.
When we were in the UK we didn’t buy anything that wasn’t needed like food, fuel etc. However I did buy a few little things from my favourite shops in Glastonbury, but that was just a few packets of incense and some massage oil, not that I could of gotten them second-hand anyway.
We had the kid’s birthday when we were in the UK too, we knew we didn’t have the space in our bags to bring presents over for them, but even if we had been here in Australia we would of done the same – I made them both super hero caps from fabric I found at the charity shops.
We are feeling so empowered by this choice we’ve made, it’s shown us how much we used to buy that was just not needed, or not thought about. I actually enjoy thinking ahead and working out what we might need, it’s mainly for the kids really. It’s getting colder here, so i’m looking for fleece pj onesies for both – I have found two from Pixie but still on the hunt for Bertie – And Doona/Duvet for their cots.
We haven’t had to buy each others birthday presents yet, or come up against any massive challenges so far! But I’m loving the ride and will keep you all posted.
So we’re at the start of a new year, most of us have good intentions on how we’re going to make this year the ‘best‘ yet! I’ve learnt from past experiences though – giving yourself too much to ‘work on’ tends to disappoint. So this year we’re keeping it simple, well kind of!
For 2015 my husband and I have made a pact not to buy anything new! Now this might seem a little confusing/insane to some, when I say ‘nothing new’, I don’t mean not buying ‘anything’, I just mean brand new fresh out the box items.
Firstly there has to be some rules, yes we can buy food (obviously), underwear, toiletries, and so forth. But any clothes, shoes, toys, books, household furniture, bed sheets, towels – you get the picture – we will buy secondhand from places like Ebay, Gumtree, Garage sales, Charity shops, and ‘Buy Sell Swap’ on Facebook, or we’ll get them for free from Freecycle.
There are a few reasons for our decision, and not all are about being eco. We want to save money for a house but with prices just going up and up here in Australia, we need to look at every way possible to help us create our dream, so that means looking at the bigger picture.
Another MASSIVE reason is the environmental and ethical impact new products have on the planet, and the people who make them. Yes, just us not buying new for a year (maybe longer) will only make a slight fraction of an impact, but more and more people are becoming aware of the environmental and ethical side of consumption – This can have a domino affect, and we’re hoping to start one off ourselves.
The worlds clothing and textile industry is massive and in 2010 it reached almost $2,560 Trillion!!! Just to put 1 Trillion into perspective – to spend $1 Trillion in a lifetime, you’d have to spend $20 Billion a DAY!
Human and animal cruelty has played a part in the fashion industry warehouses – people are paid very badly in most cases, and work incredibly long hours. The toxic chemicals used to spray crops like cotton, or the dyes used in the factories are causing wide-spread health problems. Animals are treated in a disgraceful way, and these are not just for the obvious items like Fur coats, but for leather shoes, belts etc.
‘Fast fashion’ this is your regular high street brand, low-cost clothing that is designed to fall apart – It literally is! Each season different trends are brought out that make us feel like this is what we should be wearing. We are drowning in the advertisement of beautiful woman and men selling a life that just isn’t realistic or true. But we buy it!
I’ve never been someone who has followed trends as such, and I’ve had some questionable styles in my time. When I was younger I’d trawl through charity shops to find something a bit different, I’d swap clothes with friends, and sometimes i’d even attempt to make my own – this mostly ended up with a serious wardrobe malfunction mid night out, but I wanted to look different. In reality not many people are unique with their style, but I thought I was back then. As I’ve grown up I’ve still kept my alternative way of dressing, just slightly toned down.
I was a strange mix of Gwen Stefani and Tank girl in the 90’s!
‘Slow fashion‘ is the way forward I think if you’re going to buy new clothes. It looks at the bigger picture, designers work with the families who make the clothes, they’re very much looked after and paid a decent wage. It’s a fantastic ethical way to build relationships within the fashion industry, it’s not a ‘them and us’ mentality but a Community.
The Slow fashion community is a growing one, and I was lucky enough to review some clothes from a fantastic label Nacido and I also did an interview with the designers/founders of the label. (Click through here – Nacido, Interview). Here are some other beautiful Slow fashion brands – a.d.o, Dobbin, Patagonia, Melissa, High tea with Mrs Woo, People Tree.
SO our years challenge has been set for ourselves and we’re really excited, sure we’ll come up against tricky situations, but we have to remember the bigger picture (as I keep telling myself!!), and why we are doing it. Having this goal in our lives has already stopped us buying a few things that weren’t really needed!
I’ve read up for a while about ‘not buying new’, it’s been fascinating following people on social media and watching their journey. I’ve been following Katie from Sustainability in Style for a while now, her passion and drive to live this way of life has been very inspiring to me.
I’ve also been following Hattie from Free our Kids, a UK mum who’s been bringing up her 2 year old son for free for a year!
A great website I’ve been checking out lately is Buy Nothing New, they have some great advice on there.
I’ll be writing posts about our progress throughout the year so keep an eye out.