Thursday, 1 December 2016

5 top eco-friendly gifts for women this Christmas

These eco-friendly gifts for women are my top picks, but I think it is always best to check with the person you want to buy a gift for if they would like it before you go shopping. It does take out the element of surprise, but it also takes out the element of waste. You know they will like what you buy if you ask them first!

If she is in the market for a new pair of sunglasses, she might like the these Woodzee sunglasses which have frames that are made out of wood. I got given a pair over a year ago that I chose because I liked the fact the frames weren't plastic and I also liked the ethos of the company. These glasses get noticed! I have had so many complements on them and people want to know why they are made out of wood. It is a great way to start a conversation about reducing plastic use. When they arrived they came with a note to say take good care of them because they are really fragile. Strangely they have actually lasted a lot longer than any other pair of sunglasses I have owned, because the note prompted me to be really careful with them. If I am out and about with them I always wear them on my head when the sun goes in - I never put them in my bag or down somewhere they could get squashed. At home I store them in a place I can see them so I know not to dump anything on top of them.

Give her a gift that will help her save money and looks good! I have recently been given one of these and I love it! The Ecoffee cup comes in loads of styles and designs, is lightweight, is plastic free and is made from bamboo. It is perfect for taking on a walk. The only downside is that it doesn't hold the heat in for that long because it is quite thin. I also have a similar ceramic travel coffee cup, which is great for long car journeys and keeps the heat in that bit longer, but is too heavy to take on a walk which the Ecoffee cup is better for.

Is she a gin fan? I'm not a big gin drinker, but I've noticed it is pretty popular these days, mainly after reading the brilliant and hilarious parenting blog Hurrah For Gin! There are some really great gin brands out there from an environmental perspective including Elephant Gin (15% of the profits go to charities to protect elephants) and Dodd's Gin which uses organic ingredients.

I love cork leather as it is a sustainable vegan alternative to plastic - as long as cork is stripped off the tree carefully it will grow back! I usually get hand me down hand bags but I wouldn't object if someone gave me this Cork Leather Handbag *. It looks great and is made by Portuguese artisans. You can also get a cork leather purse to match! The question is can you fit the gin and the reusable coffee cup in it?

This Eco Chic folding backpack is made by a company that says they have designed it with the environment in mind. It is made from 'rip-proof nylon' which is a type of plastic, but they have chosen it because they wanted a product that was long lasting and have backed that up with a 6 month guarantee. The thing I like about it is that it folds down into a little pouch, which is really convenient. I could see it being very useful for those times I decide to cycle to the shops and need a lightweight backpack to transport the stuff home again! Eco Chic also have a range of folding shopping bags which are a great replacement for single use plastic shopping bags!

Not sure what to buy for the men in your life? Check out my post on 6 top eco-friendly gifts for men this Christmas!

Coming next Monday: Look out for my upcoming blog post on 5 top eco-friendly experience gifts for families and couples this Christmas.

This blog post contains affiliate links. Buying stuff through the links won't cost you any extra and I will get a small commission, which will help to support the blog. Thanks!

* Please note that I don't have any knowledge of the source of the cork in the cork leather handbag shown and can't verify whether a sustainable source of cork was used in it's making or not.

Monday, 28 November 2016

6 top eco-friendly gifts for men this Christmas

If you want to give gifts to the men in your life this Christmas that show you care about them and the environment, then look no further! I've put together a list of 6 eco-minded gifts to choose from.

If he is a home owner that is into gadgets and money saving, he might like this gift that my husband is currently lusting after. The FLIR ONE is a thermal imaging camera that you can attach to your smart phone. Aside from making playing hide and seek a whole lot easier it also can be used to take thermal images of your home to find out where (if any) heat is escaping so that you can target the specific parts of your home that need extra insulation. This is particularly useful for the areas you can't see easily like in the wall cavities. Once you've identified and then plugged in the gaps you could potentially save pounds on your heating bills. It's not cheap coming in at around £199, but it is one of the more affordable thermal imaging options and you can spread the love around your friends and families homes too. Other uses for this camera include looking for water leaks, finding rodents hiding in your home, spotting nocturnal visitors in your garden like hedgehogs or to take night time entertainment on a camping trip to a whole new level! 

Does he love whisky?  Make it a sustainable bottle! There are a few to choose from. If you want organic whisky there is the Benromach Organic Single Malt Whisky 70 cl or Highgrove Gardens Organic Whisky. There are also some mainstream eco-friendly scottish whiskies  like Glenfiddich which are using up waste products from the whisky making process to provide energy to make the whisky!

Is he a vegan? This Boshiho® Mens Cork Wallet Bifold Slim Vegan Wallet Purse  is made from cork leather, which is such a great material and a brilliant alternative to plastic for vegans! I was given a cork leather purse a few years ago that I love. It has worn really well, feels soft to the touch and is a great use for cork. As long as the cork bark is stripped off the tree properly it will grow back, so not only is it vegan, it is also a sustainable* and renewable option!

My husband didn't see the point of a reusable coffee cup until I bought him one a few years ago and now he finds it very useful for long journeys with early starts. Most single use coffee cups are not fully recyclable and as I'm sure you all know even if they were that isn't the answer to all our problems. Cut the problem at the source by getting him a stylish and eco-friendly reusable coffee cup like this bamboo coffee cup from Ecoffee. If he regularly buys a coffee on his way to work it will save him money too! 

If he is a full on signed up member of the zero waste movement, but hasn't quite got around to sorting out his shaving routine yet, then this safety razor shaving kit
might be just the thing. It does come in packaging, but it will save packaging and waste in the long run. The safety razors come with spare razors and the bloc d'alun is a very old way of soothing razor burn!

Are you after something that is seasonal and sustainable? Socks never fail to come in useful and these ones are Christmassy to boot. The socks in this Klaus Christmas Gift Box by Braintree are made from bamboo viscose and organic cotton with a small amount of elastane. I have yet to find entirely plastic free socks and even bamboo viscose has it's problems, so for an even more sustainable option you could go for Mohair socks from

If you aren't sure what to get the ladies in your life for Christmas check out my 5 top eco-friendly gifts for women!

This blog post contains affiliate links. Buying stuff through the links won't cost you any extra and I will get a small commission, which will help to support the blog. Thanks!

* Please note that I don't have any knowledge of the source of the cork in the cork leather wallet shown and can't verify whether a sustainable source of cork was used in it's making or not.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

4 ways the sharing economy could help you make some extra cash to help pay for Christmas!

Christmas doesn't need to break the bank, there are loads of ways to make it affordable, but there are times when you might want to spend a bit extra. The minute you put the word organic in your shopping list, the price goes through the roof. Sustainable gifts can be pricey and if you are visiting family and friends that aren't local, costs can spiral. Last year the Mirror said that the cost of Christmas had 'pushed up to 87% of adults into debt and nearly half of those will still be in the red at the end of 2016'.  Getting into debt over Christmas is not a good idea especially if you are still recovering from last year! It is so much better to save up the money first and if you are running out of time and options for that, another alternative is to try and make a bit of extra cash in the run up to Christmas! 

Easy Car Club: Rent out your car when you are not using it! EasyCar club lets you list your car for free on their website for potential punters to rent out. I thought about doing this and to be honest didn't get very far, but I don't live in the right area. I think this would probably work best in city centres where lots of people can rely on public transport most of the time and only want occasional access to a car. If you are away over Christmas and won't need your car, it might be the perfect time to rent your car to someone who wants to rent one to go and visit their friends and relatives!

Uber:  Become a taxi driver in your spare time. Uber allows people to book your services virtually and handles the rates and takes payment as well. We took our first Uber ride a few weeks ago. We were pretty impressed with the service and it was cheaper than getting a traditional taxi.

Just Park: Rent out your parking space! If you have a parking space or garage near a station, a popular beach, or in a city centre that you aren't using, you could make some money renting it out. Garages aren't just for parking in - we actually rent out part of our garage for long term storage, which is such little work for a bit of regular money coming in.

Airbnb: Rent out your spare room! We rent our spare room to students on and off throughout the year and I prefer having someone in it to not because when we don't have student it just ends up being filled with junk and tidying it is another thing to add to the to do list. Make sure you are comfortable with whoever you are renting to before you do (ask for more info, check passports if needed) and also make sure you comply with any relevant legislation like having a gas safety certification and reporting any earnings which are taxable.

So what are you waiting for? Make your assets like an underused car, parking space, garage or a spare room start working for you, pay their keep and help you avoid getting into debt this Christmas!

This blog post contains affiliate links. It won't cost you any extra to use the links, but I will get a small commission if you use them which will help to support the blog. Thanks!

Monday, 21 November 2016

6 easy ways to reduce your heating bill!

As temperatures plummet, heating bills rise and it is a big worry for many. But fear not there are lots of things you can do to make keeping the heat in and the cold out more affordable and here are 6 of them!

  1. Switch energy suppliers - uSwitch can help you compare prices and potentially save money on your bills. If you would prefer a renewable tariff you can compare against companies like Good Energy on there too.
  2. If you have a cold drafty chimney and a fireplace that isn't being used then stick a chimney balloon up it! They are reasonably priced and help to stop the heat escaping up your chimney. Make sure you take the chimney balloon out before lighting a fire though! 
  3. A lot of heat is lost through windows and adding some thermal curtains can really make a difference!
  4. Shutting doors is a simple thing to do and it helps to retain the heat in a warm room.
  5. To keep even more heat in a room after shutting the door put a draught excluder along the bottom of the door.
  6. Getting cold at night time - time to change that duvet! A duvet with a thick tog rating will make so much difference and will keep you snug and warm all night long!
You don't have to spend a fortune on heat saving products  - I have bought most of our curtains from charity shops, making a draught excluder could be a fun project and we made our own DIY chimney balloon. Sometimes though it is a good idea to make an investment in a good quality product that will last a long time and will save you money in the long run.

What do you do to keep your warm in winter and to keep the heating bills down?

Coming soon: Look out for my post next Monday on 6 top eco-friendly gifts for the men in your life this Christmas!  

This blog post contains affiliate links and anything you buy through them will help to support the blog as I will get a small commission. Thanks!