Welcome to this month's installment of Eco-Living, where we take small steps together to make a big difference for our planet.
As the halfway point of winter, February gives us a chance to have a little fun, make some sweet gifts and bask in the hope of spring - all before the growing season starts in March and we are busy bees planning, sowing, tending and emerging from winters embrace.
This month we will be sharing a new eco substitute idea.
Alternatives to the usual Valentines Day cards that you AND your loved ones will enjoy.
Some delicious self-care activities and we’ll wrap the month up with a few ideas on how to nurture and love yourself.
Welcome to the month in which we celebrate love. OH! There is so much to love is there not?
February whispers to us like a lover with its earlier sunrises and later sunsets. Full of promises for brighter, warmer days when our faces will be kissed by the sun. Spring is not yet here but there are little gifts to keep us smiling and hoping. Snowdrops are making way for early daffodils, hyacinths on windowsills herald it with heady perfumes.
The new year has commenced and we are finally through the 'year' that is January.
Time for a Hanky Panky
Ok ok, you got me. I am not suggesting new and interesting ways to stay warm this month I am actually going to be suggesting an eco-friendly alternative to that wad of tissue paper up your sleeve or in your pocket (or maybe they are in a lovely designer box upon your coffee table ;-)
Though February is the month of love it is also the month many of us are still fighting residual sniffles and snuffles. And germs, so many germs. This is an eco-swap that the numbers really need to be run on due to the hot washes needed but, for now, we are running with it.
Remember this eco friendly lifestyle is just about doing what you can, when you can, one step at a time. We are in this together!
It's time to get cute and kitschy or responsible and gentlemanly (or all of them) with the reintroduction of the handkerchief!
Maybe you have fond memories of your granddads white, pressed hanky being lovingly handed to you after a bump. Or your grandmother’s lace hanky in her handbag, beautifully embroidered and smelling of her perfume?
Maybe you don’t and you really are about to try something new.
Some stores still sell men’s hankies or search out some vintage ones in your local stores.
Better yet, let’s learn how to make some so that we can run some up at any occasion!
What you will need:
12” x 12” (30cm x 30cm) cotton - wonderful if you can find a lovely soft, used, clean sheet
Cotton thread to match material/compliment material
Needle or Sewing machine
Any embellishment you may like to add
What to do:
Starting in the middle of one side of the fabric, stitch all around the 4 sides.
You can do this by hand or with the sewing machine.
Iron the edges for a lovely finish.
Add the embellishment to a corner, maybe you can embroider an initial and make them for gifts. Whatever you add to the hanky make sure it won’t scratch your nose! I remember using some particularly starched lace once and my poor nose bore the consequences.
Wash in the week’s hot wash for great, eco-friendly hygiene.
These come in very ‘handy’ in the summer months too, especially the pretty ones to ‘mop your brow’ on a hot summer day.
Plant some Love
Valentine’s day is traditionally known for sending and receiving cards. As we are taking steps into living a more conscious life I am finding much joy in the ‘slow magic of making’, writing, mailing and receiving ‘snail mail’.
There are so many incredible options now for cards printed on recycled paper with environmentally safe inks. My favourite by far is the new-to-me cards that are either printed on seed paper or have a piece of seed paper in them.
I have a plan to work on making seed paper with the kids but have not investigated it enough yet.
I can’t wait to plant these after Valentine’s day and watch them grow. As we say in our house -
“Love looks like something”
-with these cards it looks like loving some bees, the air you breathe and the planet you stand on.
Another practical gift to send with the card for your Valentine or Galentine are our compostable phone covers made from wheat fibers and love. (The sweet bonus is that 10% is gifted back with each purchase.)
Sweet Self-Care Sunday
Since this month’s focus is all about love, why not take an hour or two and spend it entirely on yourself! Better yet, start a routine that you plan on continuing for the rest of the year. Let me introduce you to the magic ingredient of our life - Slow Sundays.
What I love the most about conscious living is the intentional slowing down of life and the intentional doing of things that enrich our home and family life. We have started to reserve Sunday afternoons to being together in the same room and pottering about on some projects together, making yummy baked goods for the rest of the week and drying fruit for the kids’ snacks.
We’ ll take turns at having long soaking baths or unhurried showers. Luxurious purely because there is no clock watching. There is time.
I have great plans to introduce homemade face packs, sugar scrubs, and bath salts into these Sunday afternoons. I'll share a fave one here:
OH SUGAR! Scrub
What you’ll need:
White or Brown sugar
Your fave carrier oil (I like to use coconut oil for this one)
Your fave essential oil ( this is ours https://www.amazon.co.uk/Now-Foods-Peace-Harmony-Essential/dp/B00GQVA8ZO/ref=pd_aw_sbs_121_5/258-6371155-8451341?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00GQVA8ZO&pd_rd_r=f7e6308d-552c-41ee-8f4a-24f2a0b676bc&pd_rd_w=mVdOe&pd_rd_wg=sfYLz&pf_rd_p=0208d703-a674-4413-8899-c3889837d212&pf_rd_r=T4PYP1AQYC5C3Z9W3MJV&psc=1&refRID=T4PYP1AQYC5C3Z9W3MJV)
How to make it:
Mix together a half cup of sugar and half a cup of coconut oil. Add in a few drops of your essential oil. Mix well.
Slip into a lovely warm bath, massaging yourself with this sugar scrub.
You will be delighted how soft and smooth your skin is afterward. Just be careful as you climb out of the tub!
This also makes a wonderful gift for a special someone in your life. With very few ingredients and no chemicals, we are well on the way to making sustainable, enjoyable choices in our everyday lives.
Winter’s for Winners
I find that living consciously means to be continually looking at how I am living and adjusting if need be. For a few years now our family has been coming up with a word that most represents what we want to do in the next year. A word that brings focus to our days, weeks and months.
I once heard someone say that having ideas is easy, it is the ‘good thinking” that requires action and can take a lot of work.
This idea intrigued me. “Good thinking” for us as a family and as individuals has looked like writing down personal goals for the year and creating an adaptable plan to give those goals ‘legs’.
It means that we are not just living in a stream of consciousness but are making choices to shape and define our lives.
To start doing this spend some time thinking upon a word that best describes your personal hopes for the year.
Ours has been “Build”.
Once you have decided upon a word create a sentence around it that make s it into a goal (or goals) for the year e.g “ We will build up our confidence in what we do by learning and doing. We will build up our knowledge. We will build up our business by applying these skills. We will build up quality family time by planning ahead and setting aside Sunday afternoons.
After you have done this You have your “why’ for the year.
Your core motivation for what you do with your time and money.
When armed with your own Why you are well on your way to being a winner - arising out of winter with a fire in your belly and purpose in your heart.
That sums up this month’s ideas and inspirations for living an eco-friendly (ish) lifestyle. I hope you found a few ways to fill February full of love! Just know, you’ve got this, stay warm, spring is coming next month.
Be sure to follow the blog to read more of the Loam & Lore monthly posts on How to Live Consciously for lots of new ideas, month by month.