8 ways we can be more eco-friendly in the bathroom

8 ways to be more eco-friendly in the bathroom

One of my ongoing goals is to be more eco-friendly, which means buying products with less wasteful packaging, products that last longer, products that don’t harm the environment, or contain toxins.

I feel like more and more people are sharing similar goals of being more eco-friendly. Knowing where to start can be a bit overwhelming and baffling.

This blog post was first published last February and I’ve learned so much since then, so I wanted to update the post to share some more eco-friendly awesomeness with you.


Get rid of single use products

Rid your bathroom of face wipes, cotton pads and cotton balls, and replace them with long-lasting washable and reusable versions. If you’re feeling particularly crafty there are even tutorials for making your own face scrubbies.

I have a serious issue with plastic waste. It doesn’t degrade and it pollutes every inch of our planet; it litters forest trails, is destroying the ocean, and is in our drinking water. A photographer recently shared this saddening image of a seahorse holding onto a cotton bud. This should not be happening. 


Never buy a plastic toothbrush again

Every plastic toothbrush that has ever existed is still sitting there in landfill. That shiz has not biodegraded. Get yourself a wooden toothbrush; it’s exactly the same, only it won’t sit in landfill in and haunt the planet for years to come. If you’re looking for recommendations, we have used Hydrophil and Humble Brush



When I started this journey, toothpaste was perhaps the most bewildering thing for me. Why would toothpaste contain toxins? That did not compute for me.

A quick search online will produce more natural toothpastes, toothpowders and even recipes for making your own toothpastes and powders. As for personal recommendations, I really liked Ecodenta’s charcoal toothpaste. I’m currently trying out toothpowder from The Clay Cure. It’s definitely messier but I feel that it cleans my teeth just as well as toothpaste; whatever works best for you though.



Sanitary products

We’ve got to talk about it. I was surprised to learn that 60% of tampon users in the UK flush tampons down the toilet. This causes blockages in sewers and can lead to them ending up in rivers and oceans. On top of that, your “standard” tampons and sanitary towels contain a horrendous cocktail of chemicals, including bleach.

I don’t know about you, but I have never considered the need to stick a load of chemicals in my insides. No ta.

Luckily, there are eco-friendly alternatives such as fabric sanitary towels or menstrual cups. While the initial cost is probably more than you would spend on your period in two or three months, you will save money in the long run because you won’t have to repurchase each month.

If you’re too squeamish or grossed out by the thought of getting a bit too hands on or washing sanitary towels out, look for organic cotton products, with biodegradable packaging. And if you’ve been flushing your sanitary products, stop. Should you find yourself worrying about what to do in public toilets without bins, FabLittleBag’s* oxo-biodegradable bags are easy to use and are discreet so you can slip it in the bin outside the stall.


Eco-friendly & toxin-free skincare and cosmetics

If your Pinterest page is anything like mine, you don’t have to look hard to find recipes for DIY skincare and makeup.

Unfortunately, our skincare and cosmetic products can be bad for us and the environment due to the array of toxins inside them. I could write an entire blog post on the toxins in skincare and cosmetics (and maybe I will?); if you’re interested in learning more I highly recommend reading There’s Lead In Your Lipstick by Gill Deacon. It’s an eye-opening and seriously informative read that will change the way you look at the contents of your makeup drawer.

There’s good news though! You can make your own skincare and cosmetic products, there are so many recipes floating around the internet, and it’s really fun to make things yourself. There are also a load of companies who sell eco-friendly and people-friendly products. A few of my favourites are;

Toilet roll

Trying to buy eco-friendly toilet roll is one of the biggest headaches of my shopping trip. Primarily because everything seems to come wrapped in non-recyclable plastic packaging. Daz came home from the supermarket the other day and told me he’d spent ages squishing toilet roll packaging in Tesco trying to figure out which wrapping was recyclable. The Padawan is learning. 

Actually finding eco-friendly toilet paper isn’t that hard though, it’s the packaging that’s the issue. Look for recycled toilet roll with the FSC logo and paper made without dyes. Mindful Mum has a really good UK-specific guide for buying more eco-friendly toilet paper.


Eco-friendly cleaning products

I actually like cleaning, what I don’t like is the stench of cleaning products lingering in the back of my throat for hours, unnecessary harsh chemicals, and warning signs all over the bottles. You just don’t need it.

If you live in the UK, you might well remember Kim & Aggie’s How Clean Is Your House and their obsession with baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice, and that’s because it works. A quick search on Pinterest for DIY bathroom cleaners will give you plenty of inspiration and recipes.

I’m yet to actually make my own cleaning products because I can buy eco-friendly cleaning products fairly easily. The two cleaning brands we use in our house at Method and Ecover. You can find both in Tesco and Asda (I think I’ve seen them in Sainsburys too) and they work just as well as the ones full of harsh chemicals.


Use less energy and water in the bathroom

Most new toilets are low-flow. You can also install low-flow showerheads, cut down on the time spent in the shower, turn the tap off when you’re not using it, switch to LED lightbulbs, and fix any drips.


Have you got any tips for being more eco friendly in the bathroom?

*PR sample – this does not affect or sway my opinion because I cannot be bought! (This was from the original post in 2016.)




Trying out Antipodes – are their products worth the hype?

Antipodes Rejoice Moisturiser, Reincarnation Exfoliator, Divine Facial Oil & Dragon Fruit Lipstick

I have known about Antipodes for years; I think I remember seeing some of their products pop up in one of Estee Lalonde’s empties videos (I love those). I was always so tempted but the price put me off.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not rolling around on a bed of cash or recreating the bath scene from the Look What You Made Me Do video with all my jewels. Since beginning to learn more about ethical and toxin-free products, I am happy to pay more for high quality, organic, ethically sourced ingredients and products.


Why did I buy from Antipodes?

I thought it would be interesting to include a section on why I think Antipodes meet my ethical and sustainable requirements.


Antipodes Reincarnation Facial Exfoliator

£20.99 for 75ml on LoveLula

I’m about to rattle on a fair bit about how good Antipodes products smell throughout this blog post but this exfoliator smells the best. It has a lovely orange scent which reminds me of those gummy Vitamin C “sweets” I used to have as a kid; it’s kinda making me crave them.

Reincarnation uses jojoba beads for exfoliation which makes it quite a gentle exfoliator; I saw another blogger refer to it more as a polish and I think that’s a pretty good comparison. I use it every morning and use a harsher scrub or exfoliating mask once a week and it’s kept my dry skin at bay pretty well. Combined with having a good moisturiser for the first time in a while and my skin is looking better than it ever has.

You really don’t need to use a lot; the old “pea sized amount” is appropriate here. I’ve had this tube for a little over a month now and have used it almost every day and there’s loads left. I think this will easily last me five or six months.


Antipodes Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream & Divine Face Oil

£12.00 for mini versions of both on LoveLula

I’ve heard great things about the Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream so it was nice to be able to test a mini version because my skin can be so fussy when it comes to heavier moisturisers.

This smells delicious and is definitely a heavier moisturiser than Rejoice. It’s not too heavy at all, sinks in quickly, and doesn’t leave any kind of greasy feeling on your skin. I’ve been enjoying using it as a night cream and have found that it is really helping to hydrate my skin. Personally, I don’t think I will repurchase the Vanilla Pod cream because I am on a serious ‘try to be as vegan as I can be’ campaign at the moment, and I just don’t need to rub things with animal products on my face. When I’m out of this I think I’m going to try out their Immortal moisturiser with SPF 15.

The Divine Face Oil was the biggest surprise of this little lot for me. I know that oil absorbs oil, which is great, but I have really struggled to find a face oil that I like. And by that I mean one that sinks in quickly and doesn’t make you look like someone cooked a full English breakfast on your face. To my surprise, the face oil did just that and I’ve already repurchased a full size bottle.


Antipodes Rejoice Light Day Cream

Free on an offer, usually £25.99 on LoveLula

I could barely believe my timing when I saw LoveLula were offering a full size day cream as a freebie when you purchased two or more Antipodes products. Again, I can’t justify buying a full price item only for my skin to be angry with it, so it was nice to get to try out two Antipodes moisturisers for a fraction of the full size price.

The Rejoice day cream is, as the name suggests, very light (lighter than Vanilla Pod) but it doesn’t skimp on hydration at all. It sinks in quickly without leaving any kind of greasy or tacky feeling, and smells delicious. If you’re concerned about the price, a little bit goes a very long way. You just need the old “pea sized amount” and you should find that is plenty to leave your face feeling all kinds of fresh and moisturised.


Swatch of Antipodes Dragon Fruit Pink Lipstick

Antipodes Lipstick Dragon Fruit Pink

£19.99 for 4g on LoveLula

Since going cruelty free, I have been on the hunt for a dupe for my much loved Chatter Box by Mac, and I hadn’t really spotted anything which came close until I stumbled across Dragon Fruit Pink. Not only is Dragon Fruit cruelty free but it’s also toxin free, so I guess you could eat it if you really wanted.

The bullet is a slightly different shape to most lipsticks and I think this lends itself to easier application. It isn’t a creme kinda formula, like Mac’s Chatterbox, it’s a little bit drier but it does go on easily and doesn’t feel thick or drying on my lips. I’ve also being eyeing up this lipstick in shade Piha Beach Tangerine too.

In terms of lasting power, it does a pretty good job of lasting through eating and drinking. Like most lipsticks, and to my dismay, it won’t last all day long. That said, it’s really not going to disappear after a couple of hours of wearing it. I’ve found that it wears and fades evenly as well so it looks nice and it doesn’t look like it’s fading.

Applied as it is, straight onto your lips, it’s a lovely vibrant pink colour. I’ve been toning it down for work by applying some lip balm first to give a bit of colour that I can get away with.

I think it’s fairly clear to see from my fangirling that I do think Antipodes are worth the hype. I’m also very happy because I discovered a RealFoods store near us and it sells Antipodes; I don’t even need to order it online.

Have you ever tried Antipodes before? What did you think?


Two weeks of living in Edinburgh | 7 things I’ve learned

The view of Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat

Today marks two weeks since we moved up to Edinburgh and it still doesn’t feel entirely real; it feels like we’re on the laziest holiday ever and might return to our “old lives” at some point.

It’s been just over four months since we found out we were moving up to Edinburgh and it has gone so fast. Thankfully the move, sorting out a flat, and getting jobs went very smoothly. Both of us have just started work but I don’t think it’s going to feel like this is our actual life until we settle into a work and university routine.

I was expecting to come up here and end up writing a really deep or meaningful post about what it’s like to move 270 miles away from the place you lived your entire life but I can’t. At the moment, it just hasn’t sunk in yet, so instead I’m going to talk about some of the things I’ve learned since being up here.


There is so much going on & to see

Neither of us are big city people, but I don’t feel like Edinburgh is a big city; geographically, sure it is, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming or stressful. I think the old buildings make it feel a little cosier and less imposing too.

We arrived at the end of the Fringe Festival and managed to see Thrones! The Musical Parody which had us all in stitches – GoT fans, if you ever have chance, see it. We spent a couple of days walking around the city and making mental lists of the museums and exhibits we want to see, and record stores we need to keep out of because money.


Bands don’t play Edinburgh

WHY?! Why don’t bands play big venues in Edinburgh? I have three gigs booked over the next few months and they are all in Glasgow.

Buses are cheap as

Where we used to live, public transport was a bit of a nightmare and was pretty impractical the majority of the time. Around here, it’s easier to hop on a bus than to try and drive around and park in the city; buses are £1.60. ONE. POUND. SIXTY. Damn, that is cheap.

Is it really sad that I’m excited about that?


Damn, Scotland is beautiful

Edinburgh is a beautiful city itself, and wherever you seem to look you can see mountains in the distance and you can be up in those mountains in no time at all. Last weekend, Daz and I took a drive around the Highlands and I was reminded of how stunning Scotland is. And, in case you’d missed it, Scotland has just been voted the most beautiful country in the world, and Canada came in second – can you believe that? Am I going to end up in love with Scotland more than Canada? Perish the thought.


We can’t understand everyone – and they can’t understand us

You never think you have an accent until you’re surrounded by people with completely different accents. A chap came out from OpenReach to sort our internet out last week and when he started talking fast we were not entirely sure what he was saying.

On the other hand, people haven’t always been able to understand us either. We went out for dinner last week and I ordered macaroni cheese but ended up with a beef burger…


Veggie haggis might become 70% of my diet

I’ve tried vegetarian haggis before (it’s delicious) but now I’m living here and I can buy it in Tesco I’m becoming a little bit obsessed with it. Most restaurants or cafes you go to have some kind of veggie haggis on the menu too; it is a delightful change from the standard tomato sauce and pasta.


It’s nice having a smaller place

One of the biggest things I was worried about was downsizing. We moved from a good sized two-bed terrace to a two-bed flat. While I’m still trying not to walk into the corners of the bed when I walk around it, it’s nice to have a more compact space. Truth be told, we didn’t need all the space we had before and cleaning is easier and faster – go, lazy me!

What did you learn when you moved to a new place?


How to survive your third year of university

Organisation tips to help you survive the final year of your undergraduate degree

Before I started my third year of university, I heard from two former students who had just finished the same course. They had two completely different opinions about the final year; “it’s really easy if you keep on top of stuff” and “it was horrible, I was so stressed, and it was really hard.”

I was determined not to be the latter and I wasn’t particularly, apart from that one time our lecturer told us we should have been laying our assignment out differently eight hours before deadline, when I was at work all that night too. Great. I survived relatively unscathed and came out with a first class honours, so I can share a thing or two about keeping on top of things in your third year. I’m not saying it was a walk in the park but my third year was easier and a lot less stressful than it was for some students on my course.

This post is almost a year in the making because I started it at the beginning of my third year as a “quit dicking about” note to myself. I’ve split it into two sections; a “general” and “project / dissertation” section since not all courses involve final year projects.

General third year survival tips

Be prepared

The Lion King, be prepared

You’re a third year university student; you tell yourself every semester that you’re going to be more prepared. In fact, you’ve been saying it since you were in year 4. Well, third year is the time you actually do it and stop lying to yourself about it.

Whether you prefer paper planners or online ones, take some time each week or every day (whatever works for you), to review what you need to do this week, when things are due, what classes are on, and what you can start on now. If you like printouts take a peek at these three polka dot timetables.

I know that sometimes it’s actually quite daunting to look at what you’ve got to do, especially if you know you have a lot to do, but it’s better to know what mountain you’ve got to climb this week, right? It also means you can avoid saying horrifying things like, “we’ve got an assignment due next week?”


Assume that at least one person in group work is going to do nothing

Again, you’re a third year; the idea that there is one person in your group who you didn’t know was even on the course and / or isn’t going to do any work is nothing new. Assume that at least one person is bone idle and is more than happy to coast through their degree based on other people’s work and plan that in to your timeline.

Ideally, you and the rest of your group want to plan to be finished at least a week before the deadline in case you have to re-write something that’s been copied and pasted from Wikipedia, or if you need to pick up their slack. It’s ok, you can slate them in the peer review later; though we all know they will still get the same grade as you…I’m not bitter, honest.

How to survive your third year of university

Break it down

Something I found really useful was breaking down my assignments into smaller tasks. That way, I could trick myself into starting and finishing assignments early because I would think, “ok, I have a couple of hours, I can start doing some research on this specific thing,” rather than “ok, I have a couple of hours and need to start this assignment.” Being able to tick little tasks off was quite motivating because it looked like I was making progress faster and I think it definitely kept me on target, instead of feeling overwhelmed.

I found some of the printouts on The Organised Student really helpful for breaking assignments down, and making sure I was hitting all of the assessment criteria. Take some time to look at your assignment brief and write down exactly what you need to do to finish it and get the grade you’re after, and remember to be specific.

Don’t just say, “do research,” be specific, so for my dissertation one of my tasks looked like “research how long decomposition fluids affect soil.” It seems like more work but believe me when I tell you that the extra time planning will make things easier for you and might even help boost your grades.


Give yourself some time off

At the start of third year, our course leader told us to prepare “not to sleep or do anything fun during second semester.” That sounded pretty dull to me; I like sleep and doing things I like. No dissertation is going to get in the way of that!

We have all spent hours and hours working on something, only to find that it’s a load of rubbish when you come back to it with a clear head. Or, you end up feeling mentally exhausted and say things like, “I don’t even care what grade I get, I’m just glad to have handed it in,” and you know in your heart that you haven’t given 100%.

Studying all day long without breaks is not beneficial to you or your grades; take breaks, unwind, recharge, and go back to studying refreshed and focused.


Find your place / yes, you can study in bed

I really struggle to get much done sat at a desk; I find it too uncomfortable. My little study fort is on the sofa, so I can sit back comfortably, and when I’m there I can get loads done. If you stick me at a desk, I’ve probably got 30 minutes in me before I’m uncomfortable and trying to find an excuse to get up, like a three year old that doesn’t want to stay in bed.

Study wherever you feel the most comfortable and productive. And if that means studying in bed, do it.


Planning & organisation to help you survive your third year of university

Bribe yourself

By now you should know what you can bribe yourself to get work done with. Whatever it is, do it. What works well for me is doing an hour of work for an hour of doing something I want to do. That way I know I can get work done ahead of time (because it’s pretty hard to leave it to the last minute doing it that way) without feeling really stressed or mentally drained by it.

Just make sure you keep yourself in check though. Set a timer on your phone and don’t let one hour of playing games turn into two days of obsessively playing LEGO Jurassic Park…I speak from experience.


Accept help

I think it would be incredibly difficult to get through the final year of your course without any help. If someone offers to cook dinner while you’re furiously typing away, say yes. If a friend offers to read something over, let them because they might spot something glaringly obvious that you’ve missed, and sometimes a new perspective can involve new suggestions. If your university offers tutorials or workshops on how to revise efficiently, how to write scientifically, or how to write up your dissertation, go to them.


Get competitive

Feeling a touch unmotivated? Get competitive with your friends. My friend, Sophie, and I had a little dessert-based competition for each of our exams; whoever got the highest grade got dessert brought for them by the other. That is honestly what kept me revising over the Christmas break and even when I was on holiday in Iceland. It also got me off Youtube or pulled me out of Pinterest rabbit holes and got me back on task so many times. Friendly competition works.


Do not give up

We had a period of about six weeks between handing our dissertation in and our final exams. During that period, a lot of people’s enthusiasm went MIA. Somehow, it seemed hard to keep motivated knowing we were almost at the finish line; I think the dissertation took a lot more out of us than we expected.

If you’re sitting there, wondering whether to revise or do something else, revise. You might honestly feel like you can’t be bothered or you’re so tired of university work right now, but don’t give up now. Once you’re finished, you will soon forget about feeling lethargic and will be proud of yourself. And if you do give up, you might have to resit exams or entire modules, and that’s just dragging things out further.

Do not give up and end up wishing you had tried harder when you see your results, it’s not worth it.


How to survive your third year project / dissertation

See your project / dissertation supervisor regularly

My project supervisor once joked that he quite looked forward to my daily emails and only sounded mildly sarcastic about it. If you want to get a good mark on your project / dissertation (whatever your university calls it) you best get to know your supervisor.

I met with my supervisor at least once a week and it was a really good way for me to keep myself on track. I knew that if he’d been too busy to get back to my emails, he could answer any questions I had in our meetings. It was a good way for me to learn more because we discussed things, fell down little rabbit holes, problem solved, and he pointed me in the right direction a lot. It also meant I couldn’t be lazy with my project because I’d want to get things done before our next meeting.

I have heard some horror stories from people on my course who had supervisors that weren’t that useful at all or who were impossible to book meetings with. I hit the jackpot and had a great supervisor. I did go through the list of projects and rule out lecturers I thought / knew would be hard to work with, so do that if you can. 


Organisation tips to help you survive the final year of your undergraduate degree

Contemporaneous notes!

As a forensic science student, contemporaneous notes were drilled into us from day one. Though, I’ll admit I didn’t really do it until I learned the hard way during write-ups in my second year when I had no idea what my random comments in my lab book meant. Never in my life have I wished so hard that time travel was real than when I was reading those notes. 

Get a notebook you can use to write down all your thoughts, questions, results, notes from meetings, or anything to do with your project. Planning what you need to ask and find out, and writing a detailed answer about why will be really helpful when you come to writing up.


Start writing up from day one

Throughout the whole of my project, I had a working document that I regularly updated with my experimental, references I’d found, ideas for the discussion, and my introduction underwent many transformations as my understanding of my project improved.

If you start writing up right at the beginning, it will make your life a lot easier. I’m not saying you need to finish your introduction or literature review in the first week, but if you write down why you’re doing it, your hypothesis, and how you’re going to do it, that’s some groundwork laid already.


Tell your family, friends & anyone who will listen about it

I found that my family and friends (and even some of the customers at work) were really interested in what my project was about, and they would regularly ask me how it was going. Discussing and explaining my project to non-scientists was really helpful for me because they raised questions that I hadn’t thought of, and it meant I really got to know the topic well to be able to explain it to them. If you’re a fellow science student, you know that you can sometimes blag explaining something if you can hide behind scientific words but you really need to understand the topic if you’re explaining it to someone who doesn’t know much about it.

An additional bonus was that they kept me motivated because they wanted to know how it was going, and I felt bad when I had to say things weren’t going great or I’d not made much progress.


Get to know the lab techs / whoever is helping you

My project was based in a lab that was understaffed meaning the lab technicians were often a lot busier than they wanted to be. That said, they would always go out of their way to help students as much as they could. Obviously, they were not going to do work for you, but they would show you how to use machinery, help you find things, take you to restricted areas, get equipment if it was already in use.

For me, the lab technicians were godsends and not once did they make me feel stupid about asking what I thought was a stupid question, such as “how do I calibrate a pH meter?”. They were busy and stressed, I was busy and stressed, and it was good to talk and joke about that, and get to know them a little bit. Plus, we all know that people will go further out of their way to help people who are nice to them / they like.


To conclude, your third year requires you to actually start being organised and keeping yourself in check; but it’s also about being kind to yourself to prevent being so stressed you want to rip your own hair out, stick your fingers in your eyes, and hide under your bed. You’ve come this far, you’ll survive your third year, graduate, and feel proud of yourself, and you should do.


If you’re heading into your third year, I wanna know what you’re studying! Feel free to share any tips & ask questions in the comments.


How to survive your third year of university; organisation & survival tips








Girl In Awe Blog Refresh & Tips for refreshing your blog

Four tips for refreshing your blog

Like every other blog (or so it seems) at the moment, the time has come for Girl In Awe to have a little refresh and update.

There aren’t any major changes here, just a shiny new theme and I’m refocusing my content a little more. I began planning this refresh a few weeks ago and September always feels like the perfect time to start fresh. After we’d settled in to our new home (more on that later this week) I turned my attention back to blogging and felt like I needed to refresh Girl In Awe before I could begin posting again.

My aim is to post at least twice a week between Tuesday and Thursday, and hopefully three times if I have time. I’m refocusing my content a little, so this is what you can expect:

  • Travel; you know the drill – I fangirl about Canada, and some other places
  • Lifestyle; my life, minimalism, books, university / organisation tips
  • Ethical and sustainable living; zero waste, environmental issues, and ethical issues, how tos, and guides

One of the biggest changes you’re going to notice is the introduction of environmental posts. I will be starting my masters the week after next and as I learn more about our environment and how we affect it, I know I will be wanting to write about what we can do to limit the impact we have on the environment.

I’m feeling really excited and enthusiastic about Girl In Awe and I can’t wait to get back at it.


4 tips for refreshing your blog

Every blog needs a refresh and an update occasionally, so here are a few tips to help you get the best out of your blog refresh or rebrand.

Before we get into my tips, I highly recommend reading ‘The First Three Steps to Branding Your Business‘ on Small Talk Social. The entire thing won’t directly apply to blogging, but you can take the overall themes and advice when auditing your blog and this is a step you really need to do. Do not do it in your head, because it isn’t quite the same. Take the time to sit down with a pen and piece of paper, or a document on your laptop / tablet / whatever; I promise, it will benefit your blog, direction and motivation so much.

What do you like or not like about your blog at the moment?

What is it that you feel is holding your blog back at the moment? Is there anything you can’t do with your platform or theme? What do you enjoy as a blog reader that you want to be able to do with your blog? Do you want to stop posting about a certain topic? Do you want to begin posting about a certain topic?

Perform a content audit

What content is performing well? Is there a particular type of blog posts that are receiving lots of comments or views? And, how do you think about that; do you enjoy posting that type of content? Remember that this is your blog after all and there’s no point working on something you don’t really enjoy just because it gets a lot of engagement? Learn from your popular content and think about what you can take from that when you’re creating new content.

Is it time to update some content?

Some content is evergreen and will keep forever, but some posts don’t age as well. In addition to that, you might also learn something new about a topic and have something else to say about it. Have a look through your archives and identify any blog posts that could do with an update – this is especially important for content that is getting a lot of views.

There are a number of ways you can handle re-publishing blog posts, as outlined in this Moz blog post; grab a cuppa and have a read (or listen, I love Whiteboard Friday videos) and decide which option is best for you.

So what?

When I used to work in marketing, my boss would always ask “so what?” What does your blog mean to you? What do you want out of it? Why do you do it? Blogging is something we do because we enjoy it; of course that isn’t to say that it’s never hard or exhausting, but your blog is about you, your interests and your readers.

What have you been up to lately?

Pin me

Four tips for refreshing and updating your blog





DIY mid-century hairpin nightstand – for those who cannot DIY

DIY midcentury hairpin leg nightstand

My forte is not DIY or building furniture. My forte is eating cake, stroking cats and dogs, and crying about not living in Canada, it is not building furniture; and yet I somehow built two hairpin nightstands.

Honestly, my DIY skills are woeful. I am better suited to providing refreshments, unless you want me to have to reassemble a TV stand three times because I keep putting bits the wrong way round (that happened once).

I fell down a Pinterest hole one day while looking for bedroom inspiration and saw a mid-century hairpin nightstand that I fell in love with. When I did some research I found some beautiful ones on Etsy, but I can't justify well over £100 for someone to stick our phones, books, and TV remote. I skulked back to Pinterest and ended up finding a tutorial for a hairpin nightstand which looked doable even with my poor DIY skills.

Luckily, my Mum was having a clearout and was getting rid of a big piece of wood that she'd used as a desk top. It was in perfect condition and was exactly the right size to make two matching nightstands; winner! I'm so pleased with how they turned out. I had this vision in my head of what they would look like and I didn't really think they would live up to it, but they surpassed it.

If I can make hairpin nightstands, anyone can, trust me. It required a handful of skills and the guidance of my Mum, who I swear can do pretty much anything (I would not be surprised if she told me she was secretly an astronaut).

Old piece of wood from a desk

Waxing the wood

Materials & cost

  • Wood: free (140cm x 57cm, which made two nightstands 45cm wide, 25cm deep, and 15cm tall)
  • Legs: £66 for 2 x sets of 4 black hairpin legs 35.5cm/14inches tall from The Hairpin Leg Co. on eBay (they appear to be more expensive on their own website for some reason.)
  • Wax: Colron medium oak wax - £14.99
  • Corner braces: 16 for £15.34
  • Screws: this will depend on the thickness of your wood and whether or not your legs come with screws. My legs did, but they were a a couple of mm too long for my wood, so I had to buy more screws. I used 32 screws for attaching the legs and 32 screws for attaching the brackets.
  • If you don't already have a saw, sandpaper, and a screwdriver, you will need those too.

All in all, I spent about £120 on the materials and tools for two nightstands. No, that isn't super cheap but it is cheaper than paying over £150 per nightstand. Plus, I have tools for any future DIY endeavors...and the wax will be used again to polish the nightstands. And honestly, the feeling of walking into a room and seeing something you made sitting there is priceless. The biggest cost by far were the legs, which you might be able to save some money if you shop around but I didn't see anything much cheaper.

Two mid-century hairpin nightstands DIY tutorial

Hairpin nightstand tutorial

Hairpin nightstand tutorial

  • Decide how big you want your stands to be and the best way to cut the pieces of wood from the wood you've got. Ours are 45cm wide, 25cm deep and 15cm high, which is perfectly big enough to put things on and for our cat to sleep inside...
  • Mark out your pieces and saw them out.
  • Sand the edges until they're smooth. If you're re-using wood like I was, you might need to sand off any marks or old wax.
  • If you need to remove any old wax use some turpentine in a well-ventilated area; it might smell nice, but y'all don't need to get high off it.
  • Decide which pieces will be top pieces, bottom pieces, and which way you want the side pieces; this probably isn't a big issue if you're using new wood, but it's important if you're re-using wood that might have scratches, holes, or marks on it.
  • Apply whatever wax, varnish or paint you want; or leave it plain.
  • Mark out where you want to place your corner braces; we marked ours 6cm from the front and back edges to make sure the corner brace screws didn't get in the way of the leg screws.
  • Attach the corner braces; if you have a small screwdriver this will be really easy because you'll have no problems attaching the top. If you don't, it is a little trickier, but it is doable.
  • Mark out where you want the legs to go and screw them in.
  • Put your table in your bedroom and drool over how beautiful and Pinterest-worthy it looks.
  • Put the kettle on, have a cup of something hot and eat cake, you've earned it.

DIY hairpin leg nightstand

All in all, it took my Mum and I about six hours to finish two nightstands. The longest part was prepping and waxing the wood; screwing it all together and attaching the legs probably took about an hour. If it's nice outside, you could easily finish this project off in a day and go to bed with a beautiful hairpin nightstand next to your bed the same night. It was seriously easy and it's so satisfying to 1) get to use up something which was going to landfill otherwise and 2) to see something you've made getting put to use in your own home.

Have you ever made any furniture?

Fancy making your own hairpin nightstand? Pin me for later!

DIY hairpin leg nightstand tutorial


Living healthily & ethically should not be a privilege

Fresh cherries on a fruit stand at Granville Island, Vancouver
Since the start of 2017, I have been making a conscious effort to live more consciously and ethically. The two biggest things I have discovered since then are; 1) it feels overwhelming a.f, 2) it’s expensive. The first one is understandable but the second is not ok.

If you live in a modern country, you can walk into any town or city and find pretty much anything you want or need. Try doing that when you’re trying to only buy ethical, cruelty free, animal product free, and horrible chemical free products. It is hard. Luckily, my town has a Holland & Barrett, so at least I don’t have to buy my toothpaste online. I couldn’t even find a wooden toothbrush in any physical stores in my town. You can buy plastic toothbrushes in every shape and colour imaginable, but you want an eco-friendly alternative? Sorry, no chance.

Isn’t it ridiculous that it’s so hard to find highstreet stores that pay their workers fair wages and don’t damage the environment?

Some supermarkets in my area sell some Ecover and Method products (environmentally friendly cleaning), they sell soil association approved organic fruit, and handmade soap in zero waste packaging. But, they are more expensive than their commercial or non-organic counterparts.

There are good reasons for that, though:

  • Companies are not just using cheap chemicals or materials, they’re using more expensive, organic ingredients.
  • These products might take more man hours.
  • People are being paid fairly.

Those are all huge positives, until it comes down to the customers wallet. You can want to support all the ethical companies in the world but being able to do it isn’t always possible. Not everyone can justify an extra quid or two on every ethical item they buy, because that quickly adds up and eats away at your budget.

Surprisingly, shopping more ethically for clothing was the easiest part for me. Ethical clothing is vastly more expensive than highstreet garments and that truly demonstrates the problem with fast fashion. You don’t have to actually buy from ethical clothing companies to shop more ethically because there are plenty of second hand options available if you give yourself time to plan and search for what you need. But you can’t do that with your food shop, cosmetics or hygiene products.

This doesn’t just come down to me, or you, wanting to make an ethical choice, it’s also about our health. Organic, pesticide free fruit and vegetables are more expensive than non-organic produce. As I’ve already said, that’s because of the time and skill needed but being able to provide a healthy diet for our families should not be a privilege.

I’m not really sure what the solution is, but I do know that living ethically, healthily, and consciously should be available for everyone regardless of their budget.

The world has changed a lot since our grandparents were kids. While the technological age makes us more connected globally, I think it has made us disconnected locally; life seems to run at a faster pace and less thought is given to our communities and environment. In an ideal world, we could adopt a slower lifestyle, learn to make some of our own clothes, make our own cleaning products, and only buy from local farmers and growers. Unfortunately, that’s not possible for the majority of people.

I’m fairly certain that the solution to this problem is a huge overhaul in society but how likely is that? When your own government have to be forced by courts to do something about pollution problems in the capital city and publish a half assed, weak response that passes the responsibility, how does that kind of change happen? The public can have their say all they want but if the government don’t care then nothing will change. We need to encourage the people in power to make a change because it is unlikely to happen otherwise.

Maybe I am being unnecessarily pessimistic, but when you hear that climate change isn’t in your prime ministers top list of things to focus on, it’s easy to be disheartened. What does it matter if you or I change our habits if the government don’t care (about a lot of things concering most people)?

What on earth have we done to get to the point where living ethically, fairly, and healthily is a privilege?