Our past week was amazing. The final day of the week (that’s Sunday for us, if you’re wondering) in particular was incredibly fun. There weren’t any specific dinners or events throughout the week, so instead we’re talking about a few things that we’ve used repeatedly over the past month or so! Enjoy what is already our sixth weekly diary.
Relaxing bath time
When we first realized the apartment we were moving into had a bathtub, we visited a Lush store that same week. After settling down, we ran our first bath and plopped in a bright blue bath bomb. The tub was covered in gold glitter for days (which was quite festive, I must say).
Though Lush bath goodies can be bought without packaging, they’re not completely natural nor biodegradable. Additionally, the prices are quite high. A colorful bath experience might be fun from time to time, but paying 6 euros to sit in pink bubbles for 30 minutes isn’t possible for everyone.
Well, we found a great alternative that produces very little waste. We bought a variety of essential oils a while ago to do the laundry, and also needed it when we made toothpaste! We’ve currently got quite a variety: lavender, spearmint, geranium, orange and eucalyptus. The first and last are my favorite. Lavender is very relaxing, and eucalyptus is great if you have a cold. So I can’t recommend these enough for the months ahead! Simply add 8-10 drops when you’re running the bath and close the bathroom door. Within minutes it’ll feel like you’re in a spa!
The small glass bottles have a plastic lid, but a large-ish bottle (30ml) lasts for a very long time. I’m sure that somewhere, you can buy a liter bottle or refill small ones. We’ll have a look and tell you about it when we do find a fully plastic free option!
Preparing for colder weather
Deep in Autumn now, trees have dropped their colorful leaves. Our bike trips to work are more frequently accompanied by heavy wind and rain, and temperatures are slowly dropping. It was time to invest in some good, warm gear to keep us cozy on the road.
Two weeks ago, we both bought a pair of 6 inch Timberland’s. We both wore our worn-down shoes to the office until then, holes and all. Though Timberland products are expensive, they are made to last. Timberlands are sturdy, so they’re perfect to walk the dogs even on icy roads. And rain or wind won’t matter, the shoes are waterproof. Sustainability and ethics are at their core as well. You can even track the company’s responsibility goals online.
We also ordered sheepskin gloves to keep our hands warm on our way to work. We chose to go with Lambland, as they are located in the UK. The gloves are completely natural, even the color is added with vegetable dye. Though the material feels very soft on the exterior, it’s still surprisingly waterproof. Just last week it was pouring on my way home, but my hands stayed dry! 🙂
And this topic reminded me of a song by Zac Brown Band, called ‘Colder Weather’. If you haven’t heard of them yet, give it a listen!
He said I wanna see you again
But I’m stuck in colder weather
Maybe tomorrow will be better
Can I call you then?
Fully stocked fridge
On Thursday we received yet another colorful delivery from Green Earth Organics. When I arrived home from work, the new boxes were there waiting for me. It had an extra piece of paper asking us to leave out the delivery boxes next week. It asked whether we were aware that aside from being made of recycled card and paper, these boxes are reused up to 10 times. Yes, we knew! But we totally forgot to place the boxes outside that morning. We emailed the farm straight away to apologise. We were aware of it, and even have a spot in our bookcase dedicated for the folded boxes and paper bags. But that simply means we’ll have twice the amount of boxes saved for tomorrow’s delivery 😉
We spent €50.51 in total, and received the following products.
- Fennel, 300g
- Celery, 1pc
- Carrots, 700g
- Red Pepper, 1pc
- Yellow Pepper, 1pc
- Potatoes Floury, 2kg
- Potatoes Sweet, 400g
- Spinach, 150g
- Tomatoes Cherry Plum, Honeydrops, 250g
- Parsnips, 500g
- Mushrooms Chestnut, 200g
- Lettuce, 100g
- Garlic, 2pc
- Chili peppers, 4pc
- Ginger, 1pc
- Apples, 7 pc
- Pomegranate, 1pc
- Pears, 7 pc
- Oranges, 3pc
- Lemons, 1pc
- Kiwis, 3pc
- Grapes, 400g
Saturday market day
On our weekly trip to the market this week, we hoped to buy washing up liquid. I emptied and washed our 1 liter bottle of Sonnett earlier that morning and it was ready for a refill. And, if any of you are wondering whether biodegradable dish soap is concentrated and strong enough? It lasted exactly 4 months in our household of two people and two (raw fed) dogs. Sadly, Minimal Waste Grocery had just finished their massive container before we arrived. But that was alright, we were luckily able to get some on Sunday!
This week, we bought the following organic produce:
- Wholemeal flour
- Dried black beans
- Whole grain penne pasta
- Chia seeds
- Raw cocoa powder
- Dried thyme
Jordy has been looking after our new pet for two weeks now. It’s nameless still, but a huge part of our lives 😉 It’s his sourdough starter! He spent weeks watching countless YouTube videos and reading several blog posts about the topic. But eventually he realized that nobody agrees on what (not) to do when it comes to sourdough baking.
Well, he went for it and on Sunday, he baked his first loaf! He baked two actually. The first time, our oven was set on ‘grill’ and the bread wasn’t fully cooked through. He started another dough in the morning and baked it that evening. And wow, it was delicious, and it looked amazing as you can see! If you have any recommendations with regards to sourdough starters and bread baking, all tips and tricks are very much appreciated!
Zero Waste Christmas Festival
After eating the crunchy slices of our first half-baked bread, it was time to pack our bags. We had a very exciting day ahead of us. A few weeks ago we signed up to volunteer for the Zero Waste Christmas Festival here in Dublin. On Sunday, it was finally time to meet all the other volunteers and help out in the Swap Shop. But our shift didn’t start until 3pm, so we had plenty of time to visit the market stalls.
The first thing we did was refill our empty dish soap bottle. Sonnett, the brand we have been using for a year, was present at the event. Their products are made in Germany however, and we wanted to buy closer to home. This brought us to Lilly’s Eco Clean, a brand to which we’d been introduced a few weeks earlier during our first visit to Minimal Waste Grocery.
We had a long and warming talk with Titta, the woman who runs the company all by herself. She kindly gifted us a bottle of degreaser to put to the test. It was not plastic free, so we had a little think together. We did not own a spray bottle yet! This one was partially made of recycled plastic, filled with a product we could really use. Our kitchen still has about 25 layers of grease left from the previous tenants. So, we said yes! You will be hearing more about Titta and Lilly’s Eco Clean very soon, so stay tuned 🙂
Tea, shampoo, and other waste free products
We bought three jars of tea from Filter and Brew. We brought our own clean jars to fill with tea, but found out that they didn’t do refills at the festival. But we had already fallen in love with the amazing flavors they had to offer, though the jars had plastic lids. They’re far from single use however, and we’ll refill them with new tea at their store once we run out!
Having nearly finished our Lamazuna shampoo bar (which we absolutely loved), we were on the hunt for a new brand to try. Jenny, the owner at Minimal Waste Grocery where we buy our dry produce, raved about Three Hills Soap. We checked out their products online and saw that their shampoo bars came in a metal tin. Now usually, that’s fine. Aluminum is recyclable. But we don’t need a tin, and buying one every time we need a new shampoo seemed a bit wasteful. Curious about the company, we talked to the owners at the Zero Waste Festival. Turns out, several clients had wondered about package free bars and they listened! Behind them were boxes of unpackaged bars. So, Jenny, we’re ready to be amazed 😉
At two other shops, we bought almonds and chickpeas because Jenny had run out on Saturday before we arrived. And we also finally found natural firelighters packaged in paper. Just in time to light up a fire for that colder weather.
The Swap Shop was located in the far left corner of the venue. It didn’t particularly stand out, but throughout the day it was continuously the most crowded area. In the morning, three volunteers bought a number of clothing items. Other than that, the stand was empty.
By the time we started our shift, there were no hangers left to use and the tables were overflowing with jeans, skirts, tops and pyjamas. It looked as though half of Dublin walked in and gifted their belongings. There were stacks of books, Christmas decorations, and at least 50 pairs of shoes. Every few minutes a person would hand us new items and leave with one or two pieces that previous people had left for them to rummage through.
What we were most shocked by was the amount of items brought in with their labels still attached. Half of them seemed to come from Primark (or Penneys, as we call it in Ireland). Colorful Christmas hats and flimsy crop tops were among them. Items that are cute and only cost a few euros. These items I actually expected to see. The other half were expensive, high quality items. That was more of a surprise.
If you thought these occasions solely included low quality hand-me-downs, think again. Most items we saw were lovely, and I even brought home a cotton top myself. Niomi Smart recently announced her ‘Smart Swap’ parties. Keep an eye out for them if you’re based around London!
Have you ever visited a Swap Shop before? What did you bring, and what did you take home?