House and home, Zero waste

Norwex Laundry Detergent Review

In an effort to reduce the chemicals in our home and to continue to reduce my eco footprint when it comes to clothing I purchased the Norwex Laundry Detergent powder.   (You can read about No New Clothes 2019 which is my other challenge to reduce my eco footprint when it comes to clothing)

The product costs £22.99 for 1 kg which seems mental when a generic laundry powder costs around £4 – £5 for a 2.4kg box.  However Norwex claims this powder will do 66 to 100 loads of washing vs the 40 loads a generic powder offers.  When my powder arrived and I opened it I was honestly shocked at how little powder it was telling me to use!

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As you can see the dose of Norwex is a fraction of the size of my last dose of Surf (Please note, I did also use less of the Surf than recommended as I hate product residue).  If I do the math, Surf expect me to use 65g of washing powder per wash while Norwex only expect me to use as little at 10g per wash!

Having seen that if you clear out the gunk from your washing machine drawer (you know the gunk I mean!) your drawer should stay clean as Norwex leaves zero residue, I gave my drawer a good soak.  I used some sodium bicarbonate, white vinegar and warm water to clean it up before using the powder.  The gunk in your drawer is made up of the fillers in our washing powder and softeners – as Norwex don’t use fillers, the idea is your washer will stay sparkly clean.

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My first load was a typical one filled with loads of the kids clothes and some tea towels.  I whacked them in and added the minuscule amount of powder and put my washer on for a daily wash cycle at 40 degrees.  When it came out it all smelt very plain, there was as they said no smell.  A bit of a head bender to get used to but I moved everything into the dryer and an hour later inspected everything as I folded the items away.

Honestly, I was expecting it not to be quite as good as my old one and I would have been happy if it was good but not quite as good at the old one.  The Norwex powder held it’s own and surprised me, everything was clean and ready to be put away.

I do pretty much a load a day and have been using it for about 2 weeks.  So far it has cleaned everything I have thrown at it as well as my previous laundry powder, winner!

I have seen that some people add essential oils into the powder if you desire a fragrance to your clothes.  I’m not sure I am that bothered about the lack of smell and as a family we are happy enough to continue using it as is.

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If you like the science then here is a photo of the ingredients.  It makes for very quick reading with only 3 ingredients.

The info they give on the website are that it:

 

  • Requires just a fraction of the amount of most typical store brands
  • Using less means you save money—one compact bag washes up to 100 loads in an HE machine and up to 66 laundry loads in a conventional machine.
  • Dissolves quickly and starts working immediately
  • Works well in all water temperatures
  • Effective in hard water
  • Contains environmentally friendly water softeners
  • Non-toxic, with biodegradable ingredients
  • Suitable for septic tanks

I’m not sure it saves me any money tbh, at the maximum suggestion of 100 washes a bag that would mean each wash costs me 22.9p while a store bought one at £5 offering a maximum of 40 washes costs me 12.5p per wash (or half that for me as I never used the full recommended measure).  It is however cheaper than other environmentally kind products like Ecover which works out around 28p per wash.  I would estimate using Norwex is probably costing me double, however as I REALLY want to do the right thing when it comes to being kinder to the environment and minimising the use of harsh chemicals in the home I will likely stick with this and repurchase in a few months when I have used this bag up.

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My order also came with a sample of the Laundry Liquid.  This tiny little 4ml sample is the amount required for a load of washing!  Nuts right? I mean it’s not even a full teaspoon but I don’t doubt it will work amazingly!  Also if you’re wondering about my gunk free drawer… it’s still 100% sparkling!

I purchased my product from @TheHomelyHaven

 

 

 

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Zero waste

2019 – A year of no new clothes!

I know I’m not alone in using the new year as an instigator for new challenges and changes in life.  It’s just one of those moments that sets us on edge to encourage us to implement some of the changes we deep down already wanted to make right?

2019 is no different, I have things I want to do and if I am honest, things I have wanted to do for a long time so this year I am pulling my finger out and working down my list.

My first change that people will be able to follow me undertaking is #NoNewClothes2019.  It is what it says on the tin, I will be purchasing no new clothes for the whole of 2019.  I can of course purchase 2nd hand, borrow and exchange clothes with friends.

2018 saw me go into a charity shop to buy clothes for myself for the first time ever!  I was inspired by @StyleTheMother over on Instagram (co-creator of the popular hashtag #choosereused ) and I was beyond pleased with the gems I have found.  It got me pondering if I could do this long term and I am pretty certain I blooming well can.

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A lot of people would take on this challenge with the idea of saving money but my main drive is to reduce my eco foot print when it comes to clothes.  If you haven’t watched the Stacey Dooley documentary on fast fashion then I completely recommend you give it a watch sometime.  It will change the way you look at the fashion industry and perhaps inspire you to reduce the amount of shopping you do for fast fashion.  I hope it inspires you to shop smarter, shop for better quality and make the most of using what is in your wardrobe.  It should still be on BBC online, you can also check out this article on how too much poor quality fast fashion is being donated to charity shops and due to the low quality is unable to be sold.  That isn’t to say you would find Primark clothes in charity shops or ebay, you will, but think of the amount going to landfill!

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So far I really haven’t ventured far for second hand clothes.  I’ve checked a few of my local charity shops and bought the odd item that’s caught my eye.  It’s a change to how I normally shop.  I’ve never been a huge consumer of fast fashion as a general rule, however I buy clothes when I NEED them and when I say need, I mean I probably need them right now or in the next day or two so I impulse buy stuff I don’t love but that “will do”.  This new way of shopping has a much different pace.  It means I go into the charity shops in town once every week or two and just browse.  If I love something I buy it because I can’t exactly go home to think about it and call back (although saying that, I did actually not buy a jacket and regretted it.  I was over the moon when I went back the next week and it was still there and I was able to buy it).  That’s not to say I’m buying lots of stuff, I’m not but the stuff I am buying I genuinely am loving and using often.

It’s brought a change to my attitude of clothes.  I would normally hold onto clothes for many years “just in case”.  In case I lose weight, in case I put weight on, in case I need a nice dress, in case it comes back into fashion etc. You get me right? Lots of us have this same mentality of keeping things just in case.  I’ve now started to think it makes more sense to let go.  It makes me feel less burdened by the amount of stuff in my house, the lack of space in my wardrobe and the guilt of these items going unloved and unused for so long.  It also gives me opportunity to keep items for my wardrobe that I fully love.

I am pleased to say I am not alone on my journey.  After posting my desire to undertake this challenge the beautiful @Ethical.Annie said she would like to join me and I reckon together we will smash this and hopefully drag a few of you along on the journey with us.  While I will post updates on my challenge here, you are more likely to see regular updates on my story mode over on @cruelty_free_emmy so please head over and give me a follow and feel free to join us by using the #NoNewClothes2019 .  Here’s to a year of wearing clothes I love without it costing the earth… literally!

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beauty, Skincare

Zero Waste Beauty Swaps For 2019

I have spent years honing my skills on knowing when a product is cruelty free and which brands I need to avoid.  Often I get asked why I bother trying to live a cruelty free life and the truth is I would find it much harder to deal with not trying to.  “But isn’t it hard?” they ask and I quite simply reply with a smile and say “no”.  It’s never hard when it’s something you truly believe in.  We are so fortunate to live in a time when we can check if our products are cruelty free quickly and easily using our laptop or phone, but what I did however find tricky was navigating the world of zero waste beauty products.

The zero waste movement is rapidly growing, between Sir David Attenborough educating us all with his message that we need to reduce our plastics and the popularity of the topic on social media, we are now more than ever aware of the fact that we need to take personal accountability for our actions when it comes to plastic.  While it is an incredibly useful substance, there is no doubt it is overused, but where do we start?  I mean how often do you walk into a supermarket and see unpackaged soap or solid shower gel?  What about package free body lotion or cleansers?

Most of the beauty products we buy today come heavily packaged and we have come accustom to using such a wide range of products that the idea of going zero waste can seem really daunting.  Nobody wants to give up the products they now deem essential but the great news is alternatives do exist out there and I want to share with you my top tips on where to start making your beauty routine more zero waste.  These simple swaps will not only reduce the plastic in your beauty routine without giving any products up, they are intelligent swaps that will also save you money in the long run too.

Shampoo bars – Costing £7.50, one of these will last around 80 washes and can be easily found in Lush

shampoo bars

A Safety Razor – This might seem old school and it’s likely your granddad had one but these razors only require you to replace the blades rather than disposing of the razor. It’s easiest to buy the razor online for £20+ but you can get replacement blades in most larger chemists.

Safety Razor

A Mooncup – This is a clever little thing to replace tampons and reduce the wastage created dealing with periods to almost zero, costing around £22.

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A Massage bar – Made with solid cocoa butter, this is not only a solid body lotion but pick the right one and you can even use them to remove your make-up! Lush retail them starting from £4.95.

A Solid Cleanser – You can of course use a block of soap, there are many out there great for washing your face but I love these cocoa butter based cleansers.  They melt away make-up and leave your skin feeling soft and hyrdrated.  These cost £4.95 in Lush

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Washable make-up pads – A bamboo or cotton cloth, perfect to remove your makeup daily without cotton pads or make-up wipes.  Just wash with your towels and you can use them over and over.  You can purchase from Etsy for as little t £2.99 for 5.  I picked up a set of 12 on Amazon for £7.99

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Whether you try one of these tips or all of them, here’s to our small steps making big changes while maintaining our love of beauty in 2019.

 

beauty, Happiness

Beauty | Top 5 Tips For Beautiful Skin

Beauty tips don’t always have to cost money, some of lifes greatest beauty tricks are virtually free.

1 – Drink water.

It baffles me how many people don’t realise how important this actually is.  Or that drinking tea and coffee does NOT count as drinking water.  In fact, drinking tea and coffee will dehydrate your skin due to the caffeine.

2 – Get a good nights sleep.

This one is lost on me.  I love a good sleep but honestly my kids and the dog have a tag team system going where at least one of them must wake me up in the middle of the night, every night.  If however you are blessed with the fortune of nobody waking you up, take advantage of it.  Head to bed early rather than watching TV and get a really good rest.  Not only will you feel better for it but your skin appearance will look better too.

3 – Eat a good range of fruit and veg.

Another one we all know but don’t always listen to.  Eating a good range of fruit and veg will help keep your skin glowing and foods rich in vitamin C will help fight against the signs of aging with their antioxidant properties.

4 – Relaxation.

Do you love yoga or meditation?  I LOVE yoga.  Ever notice how much more relaxed your face is when you feel relaxed?  Frowning and tensing our face up will without doubt speed up those crinkles in our skin so it stands to reason that if we can avoid frowning and feeling stressed that it will show on our skin.  Why not make some time to check out Yoga with Adriene on Youtube, she has a wide range of videos to suit the time you have available

5 – Avoid sun damage.

How often do you wear sunscreen?  Are you the sort to wear it all summer? Or perhaps just on holiday?  What if I said you should wear it EVERY day!  The reality is that the sun causes a good portion of the damage to our skin and protecting ourselves against it is important all year around and not just on the super hot days.  Even though we won’t burn when out for a 20 minute walk in the autumn, the damage will still accumulate over time.  Check out this blog on sunscreen for more info and ideas on the best cruelty free sunscreens.  You should also check out @the.derm.nurse for some great advice on sun damage.

beauty

A job audition with Benefit

This post is one from my old blog that still seems popular.  I was at the time under the impression that they were a cruelty free company and would not apply to work for them now knowing they aren’t.

For the benefit (get it?)  of those wondering what a trial for a company like Benefit is like I am reposting this blog.

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The phone interview was very brief, I would say no more than 10 minutes and it was very basic questions like “Why do you want to work for us?”, “What do you know about the Debenhams brand”, “Tell me about a time when you have gone above and beyond for a customer” etc.

They called me back a whole 9 minutes after the phone interview to invite me to the audition.  I know from reading other blogs that they aren’t always so quick and I guess it would depend on where the Benefit store you applied for is based i.e. in Boots, Debenhams or elsewhere.

I was advised to arrive early and to wear all black and so that is exactly what I did.  I also started to Google for any information that might help me get the job!  There were a few blogs and they were very useful although some were a few years old.  I decided I would blog my experience of the audition process to help any other applicants out there feel a little more at ease with the process they would be going through.

When I arrived 4 other girls were already waiting at the stand.  Through chatting while we waited we discovered who had applied for what store and what their current/last job was.  At this point I realised 2 already worked at other make-up counters in the store (YSL and Dior) and a third was a make-up artist currently out of work as the last store she was working for had closed.  There was also one no show.

The area manager brought us all up to a training room where we spent approximately 90 minutes learning about traffic stopping, some products and an application routine to use to demonstrate the products to potential customers.

With the traffic stopping she showed us how she would stop people and what she would say.  She then went on to go over peoples reasons to not want to try make-up on from “I don’t have much time” to “I have the children with me” and “I have sensitive skin”.  Having read up on the audition process online I expected 4 items that lots of people mentioned but we actually were given 6.

  • It’s Potent
  • Porefessional
  • You Rebel (in 2 shades)
  • Benetint
  • High Beam
  • They’re Real

The manager wanted to bring a member of her sales team up to demo the make-up process but as she was busy I volunteered to let her do it on me.  We learned a few facts about each item to talk about while applying them to customers e.g. that It’s Potent contains vitamins A and E and that the skin around the eye area is actually 40% thinner than the rest of the face.  She also showed us how to apply it and told us the importance of using the disposable applicators (which if you study beauty you know why it is important but as it is not a requirement to have a make-up background to do the job I guess that is why they go into these details).

Once she was done showing us how she would do it we took time to do it on each other in pairs.  This was a good time to repeat and go over what it was we needed to know for the floor.  My partner and I actually quizzed each other a little on each product asking what its features and benefits were.

When she felt we were ready she advised us we would be going to the shop floor and should we feel uncomfortable and like the job was not one we would enjoy we could stop our audition and leave at any point but equally they would stop us if they felt we were not what they were looking for.  After this we were all taken down to the shop floor and advised we had 45 minutes to an hour to go out and traffic stop.  We could pick whichever item we wanted to bring with us to use to demonstrate and encourage the shoppers over to the stand.

I started with Porefessional while most of the others went for They’re Real as it came with a laminate sheet showing the full effect of the mascara.  I managed to get a shopper over to the stand very quickly as I spotted a girl from my class at a till with her mum.  She kindly agreed to come with me to the stand to help my “bums on seats” figure.  I did the routine on her while one of the girls who worked on the stand took her mum to another seat and showed her some items too.  Although I knew she wouldn’t be buying anything just having her sit down built my confidence up to go out to find the next person.

All in all I had 6 people come over to the counter with me.  I reffered 2 of these onto the counter staff as I suggested one would benefit from a brow powder (we could not demo or sell anything we had not been trained in and so had to pass them on) and the second wanted a full coverage foundation rather than a tinted moisturiser.  Although I passed 2 clients on both went on to purchase items and I also sold a mascara to one of the other shoppers who sat with me.

After what felt like it could have been an hour I went to ask how long we had left and was advised that it was time for my interview as I had passed the audition process.  Yeay me.  I was also advised that 3 of the other 4 had been sent home and thus only 2 of us would be having the interview.

The interview was very similar to the phone interview with a few extra questions such as what pay I would be hoping for and did I feel the job would be one I could do on a day to day basis (it is).

They advised that I would hear back by Monday at the latest but hopefully by today.  Needless to say I have not heard from them today but as I have read that they can take their time with letting candidates know either way I am not too shocked.

I am hopeful that when I do hear from them it will be good news but if I am turned down at least it is because I was beaten by a girl who already works for Dior and that I got further than the MUA and the girl who works for YSL.

Since I was invited to the interview I have been asking myself “Do I really want the job?”  Well yes, it should pay better than I receive at the moment and there is also commission.  The contract hours are also more than I have with my current employer and they are aware I am going to resume my studies and happy to work around them come September.  It was also give me a great opportunity to be applying make-up to people on a regular basis.  So here’s keeping everything crossed that they call me on Monday with some good news and of course I will keep you updated on which way the axe fell

 

*update* I didn’t get the job.  A small blessing as this was the time when I started working as an assistant manager with Lush!

 

beauty, make-up

Who does it better – Tarte vs Revolution

Sometimes people tell me there are dupes of my favorite products out there and I roll my eyes because they just aren’t the same.  They might do the same thing and look similar but the effect or quality is compromised.

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I am a huge love of Tarte and their Shape Tape.  I not only love the concealor, I also love their foundation and it is my go to combo if I am going somewhere nice.  They are not however cheap, at £22 for the concealor and £33 for the foundation that is a fairly pricey combo to use for every day wear.  Step in Revolution.

My ears started to prick up when Georgie was talking about this concealer on the regular and so I decided for £4 I would give it a go.  It could after all be the perfect cheaper alternative to wear to work and it is easily picked up in Superdrug whereas I have to order Tarte online.

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So who does it better you ask?  Well, I decided to put them to the test.  Below you will see me with no concealer on, I do still have some mascara and brow pencil on but I have removed the rest to best show you the difference.  It’s safe to say my eyes really do need help to brighten them up because with 3 kids and an early start every day for work, sleep is not my friend.

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The next photos are me wearing concealer.

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The applicators are similar, however the consistency of the Revolution is definitely oilier than the Tarte.

Effect wise, they both have great shade range and offer similar coverage with Tarte slightly in the lead with better coverage and drying slightly more matte.

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If they both cost the same amount I would say that Tarte was the superior formula because it is, however when you realise you could buy 5 of the Revolution vs the Tarte you can’t really fault revolution for being slightly behind on the quality front.

So does revolution count as a quality dupe?  I would say yes, it offers great value for money and a very similar effect, in fact I guarantee if I went to work with one eye done with each nobody would notice!

I will still keep both in my collection, Tarte really is my true love, however the Revolution is likely to become my every day choice due to the price.

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Have you tried both? Who do you think does it better?

Emmy x

Christmas, Seasonal Beauty

Cruelty Free Advent Calendars for 2018

Beauty based advent calendars have become ever more popular in the last few years and brands are not disappointing with their offerings for those of us looking Cruelty Free and/or vegan options this year.

It’s always advisable to buy early as many of the best beauty advent calendars will sell out early and I am desperately trying to work out which one I should go for this year.  I have compiled a top 10 – perhaps you can help me pick!

 


1. Elemis (£150 with £347 of contents)


I was super excited to see this one advertised in early September.  It’s an online exclusive and packed full of amazing travel size products as well as a full size Marine Cream.  If you enjoy quality skincare then this could be the one calling to you provided you are happy going big budget and having a veggie friendly option (It may be vegan but you would need to double check the individual ingredients).

Elemis


2 – Revolution (£120 – contains £149 of product)


At the time of writing, this calendar is reduced to £80 on the Superdrug website, further incentive to buy early.  If you love going out over the festive period and going glam with your make-up then this calendar will have you sorted.  More make-up than you could shake a stick at and a wide variety of products to work your way through.

Revolution


3. Make Up Revolution (£50)


As with the last one, this one is currently reduced to £30 on the Superdrug Website.  Again it is packed full of make-up.  Less in the way of palettes but still lots of variety for the cost.

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4. 12 Days of Liz Earle (£80)


Okay, so not strictly a full advent calendar but Liz Earle is another cruelty free skincare brand I love.  At £80 it is much less than the Elemis one, though with half the products it’s arguably no better value, just kinder to the pocket in the short term.

My top tip would be if you are holding off on buying just yet, watch out for the Boots extra points events because you could end up getting £10+ back in points with this purchase.  This is another veggie friendly company but some products contain honey and beeswax so please double check if buying for a vegan.

 

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5. Superdrug Bloom 12 Days Perfume Advent Calendar (£24)


VEGAN ALERT – this one is for you.  Bloom perfumes are all vegan friendly and this was such a popular advent calendar last year that I couldn’t not put it on this years list.  This contains 12 x 8ml bottles and offers you the chance to try a good variety of their range.  Perfect if you enjoy trying lots of different fragrances or like to wear different scents to fit different moods.

At the time of writing, this too is half price and retailing for £12

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6. Bloom 25 days Candle Advent Calendar (£24)


Oh I am a big lover of a scented candle, are you?  If so then this boy is the one for you.  There are 6 different scents with 4 tea lights in each scent.  There is also a tea light holder (I assume on day one?) to pop them all into.  Without a doubt a great way to keep your house smelling magical over the Christmas season.  It’s vegan friendly and reduced to £12 at the moment, I will definitely be grabbing one of these!

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7. The Body Shop (£45, £65 and £99)


Every year The Body Shop knock it out of the park with a choice of 3 advent calendars to suit a variety of pockets and are veggie friendly.  Each one is worth around double the value you pay and the come filled with delightful goodies (most in mini sizes) to give you the chance to pamper yourself and try loads of new products.

TBS


8. Bare Minerals, Out of this World (£79 worth £281)


This is without a doubt amazing value for money.  Bare Minerals have opted for minis to let us try as many products as possible while keeping the price relatively low.  People who use Bare Minerals in my experience normally swear by the whole range, so this could be a great gift if you have a Bare Minerals lover in your house.

Bare Minerals


9. Charlotte Tilbury, Magic Beauty Universe (£150)


Charlotte Tilbury always make their packaging look magical and this one follows that trend.  This one isn’t available until October 4th and after the success of last years Naughty and Nice Magic Box I would put money on it selling out very quickly so please put it in the diary if you want this one!

I haven’t seen a list of contents yet but it will certainly be a very luxurious mixture of treats to indulge yourself on the run up to Christmas.

Charlotte tilbury


10. Hotel Chocolat, The Dark Chocolate Advent Calendar (£12.50)


Okay, if you REALLY want chocolate then who am I to argue.  Hotel Chocolat have this cracking dark chocolate one available that is vegan friendly to let you count down the days munching your way through chocolate penguins, snowmen and Christmas trees.  Winner!

Hotel Chocolat

 

So hit me, have any of these caught your eye?  Or any tips of what cruelty free delights you are planning to go for this Christmas?

Emmy x