Friday, 23 July 2021

Great Eco Swaps you can make during Plastic Free July {Review with SaveMoneyCutCarbon}

  * AD - The items featured have been gifted for an honest review. *

*All thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own. *

I'm sure by now you already know that it is Plastic Free July, it has been all over social media and I have seen a whole lot being shared about huge steps like plastic free shopping lists that are spilling over with swaps. However being Plastic Free in any part of our life is almost always an initial higher outlay with the savings coming over time so it's not always possible to make huge changes in one go. That is why I am a firm believer that being eco-friendly can be something you do one small step at a time, because one small swap can have a very big impact. Which I think aligns with the accessibility of SaveMoneyCutCarbon and their products.

I feel like this month in particular our SaveMoneyCutCarbon was full of products that are all items perfect for the summer season and will see the most use over the next few weeks. Which of course makes them the perfect swaps to choose from during Plastic Free July. 

Inside our box we had:

As I said these small swaps can help cut down your plastic use in big ways, by choosing one swap to change during Plastic Free July you can find that it leads to you finding other swaps you can make. When we first started making better eco-friendly choices it began with reusable cups for coffee and drinks when we go out, we slowly added to our swaps list and now it's been around 4 years. In those 4 years we've tried many eco swaps and changes in our lives. Most have stuck and been loved even more than the products we left behind. 

What is Plastic Free July?

This is the question I have seen most on social media this month, the name seems to give the idea that we should ditch all plastic during the month of July. The problem is we live in a plastic centred world, almost every product is available as a plastic or with plastic packaging included. The reality is that Plastic Free July is a movement that wants to encourage people to reduce their plastic use. A whole month dedicated to raising awareness of how easy and how much better eco-friendly products can be. It is this ethos which I want to highlight with the products we have been sent from SaveMoneyCutCarbon this month.

Why should I try swapping something to be plastic free?

It's no secret that right now our whole world is drowning in plastic, quite literally. Studies have found plastic is now in our air which we breathe, microplastics are in our water, soil and even our food. It is a problem, one which is helping cause the environmental crisis we now find ourselves in. By cutting down our plastic use, less plastic products are used and that in turn tells big companies that they shouldn't make as many or hopefully at one point, any at all. This cut in single use plastic particularly will impact more than  microplastics not reaching our oceans, it reduces the carbon used to produce more and more over time. We need to be conscious of our own carbon footprints more than ever before and plastics push our carbon usage up with every use. As you can see above we have recently had a reduced plastic picnic, it only included two products with plastic packaging which are crisp packets and coconut roll snacks. This was thanks to many of our previous and current sustainable swaps including some from SaveMoneyCutCarbon! We ditched a whole bag of plastic waste by using alternatives which we can reuse over and over again. 

So where do I start?

Making the decision to ditch even just one single use plastic from your life is easier than you think. When you have decided to take part in Plastic Free July you can take a look at the products you use regularly, it can be anything from toothbrushes to anti-bacterial wipes or ditching plastic shopping bags for a reusable bag instead. 

I recommend choosing something you use in your daily life which you can easily swap for an alternative without having to change your habit of using that product itself. Of the products from our SaveMoneyCutCarbon July planet positive box I would say the best option to begin would be any of  the three Cheeky Panda products. 

Starting with the easiest switch which I think would be the Bamboo Kitchen Paper. We have all seen the ads of paper roll brands claiming they can absorb more than the others, ones which claim to do better for longer at cleaning up. However we never see the claim to be plastic free, better for the environment without compromising on absorbency. That is what you get with the Cheeky Panda Kitchen Paper, the quality and absorbency levels are better than other brands we have used, they come wrapped in a recyclable paper packaging which is better for the environment and ditches the usual plastic packaging, helping you to ditch a bit of your plastic waste without any effort at all. 

Another great swap for people who prefer to use wipes over kitchen paper is the Cheeky Panda bamboo anti-bacterial surface wipes and the handy wipes. We all get how easy it is to grab a wipe and clean up a surface, no added bottles needed, no additional cloths. However not everyone knows that wipes are generally made of up to 90% plastic! Each wipe contains plastic, the packaging is plastic and they are a single use product. This is not the case with Cheeky Panda wipes at all, they are made of sustainable bamboo and even come in biodegradable packaging. We have found these wipes to be super soft and they even smell fantastic so your not giving up any quality or convience by making this swap, your simply choosing better for the planet.

I particularly love the Cheeky Panda handy wipes which have made it into our summer grab and go bag, full of essentials we need out and about with three children during the summer. They make the perfect addition to allow me to quickly and effectively clean busy touch points or even tables when we stop outdoors or on public transport.

What if I don't use these products?

Not everyone uses kitchen paper or wipes in their homes or daily lives, if you don't then that is great! There are still some really good swaps you can make to cut down your plastic use, one we used right from the start of our plastic free journey is reusable shopping bags! The Kind Bag reusable compact bag is just perfect for keeping with you in your car, handbag or near your front door. By keeping the bag handy you will be more likely to remember to grab it when your off out. The extra great thing about Kind Bag's is that the brand use recycled plastic to make up their bags, this means your not only saving plastic from being used at shops but your also stopping plastic waste going to landfill and reaching our oceans. Two wins from one small and handy swap, perfect!

Another big area of plastic waste in most households is cling film, I find that particularly in summer I see many people using cling film since taking packed lunches on days out becomes more normal. The same is said at BBQ's and of course the warmer days mean we eat later or less than during colder months. SaveMoneyCutCarbon have two products which are the perfect swap to help you ditch the cling film this summer, the first is one we already love and shared lots about earlier this year. That is Stasher Bag's, we have recently used them on a picnic to help ditch the plastic waste we created on our day out. 

The other is a product that I simply love the name of, it sums up how I wish I could tell people to be more plastic free and that is Non Plastic Beach's Boll**ks to cling film which are silicone food covers. They come in a pack of 6 sizes. These silicone covers are perfect for cups, pots, small plates and so much more. We used them on our picnic to cover over a small glass pot we reuse after eating the cheesecake it contained along with a bowl that contained some pasta. We also used both to bring back food that wasn't eat which meant we could put it in our compost bin instead of the already full bins at the park.  

There is one final product which came in our Planet Positive box from SaveMoneyCutCarbon which I can honestly say I had never thought too much about, natural sustainable firelighters from Fire Up. Now we don't have a fire, fire pit or even a BBQ so we are actually passing this pack onto a friend who is always looking for better eco products too. However I wanted to share how little thought I have ever put into what we use to light BBQ's or create a fire, many people use firelighters but I have never had a conversation about if they are sustainable or even natural. In fact I haven't even seen either mentioned on packaging before. Making the choice to use a sustainable and natural product over the readily available products we see commonly used will always impact the earth. 

So what is the benefit of using Fire Up natural sustainable firelighters? 
  • There is no petroleum
  • Fossil fuel free
  • Non toxic
  • They can be used indoors and outdoors
  • No added chemicals 
  • Made with FSC certified wood mix
  • No plastic
  • Have a low odour
  • They are compostable 
  • They are safe to cook food with
  • Carbon Neutral (they produce no carbon emissions)  

We have loved all of this months swaps without question, in fact there hasn't been one that we have found difficult to use or that we haven't used regularly. Which is why I feel they would all make the perfect summer swaps for anyone who uses these products regardless of if they have made eco-friendly swaps before or if this is their first experience through Plastic Free July. 

I would love to know if you have made any swaps this month? 
Or if your now planning to make a swap which of these products would make a great swap in your life?

Monday, 21 June 2021

Find your green fingers this summer with the help of SaveMoneyCutCarbon

 * AD - The items featured have been gifted for an honest review. *

*All thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own. *

The last few years having plants have been so in trend and if your anything like me when it comes to gardening then your probably feeling pretty left behind. I don't have green fingers, at all in fact this year I have caused 2 succulents to wither up! However I am determined (and nagged by my children) to grow something beautiful and add some green into our lives. 

Which I had never expected to come in the form of a package from SaveMoneyCutCarbon. Here we are and I'm sure your wondering how they can can help you find your green fingers even if your terrible with plants like me. The answer is found in the SaveMoneyCutCarbon's Garden & Outdoors section on their site, in the form of Seedbom's.

What is a Seedbom? 

A Seedbom is a sustainable way to plant flowers in your garden that is not only great for the environment but so easy even children can get involved in the fun! The Seedbom is made up of a compostable, starch based outer shell which comes with a cardboard sleeve with all the directions you need wrapped around it and plug top which is stuck on. The plug is easily removed to access the area inside the Seedbom where the seeds and organic compost is stored. Since the Seedbom is compostable the whole shell will degrade away and leave only beautiful flowers growing. 

There is a whole range of Seedbom's available to brighten your garden with coloured flowers that attract different kinds of animals or even some inspired by children's story books. As you can see we got the Pollinator Power Seedbomb Gift Set which includes four of the Seedbom's which are Pollinator Beebom, Urban Bomber, Featherbom and the Butterflybom.

How do you use Seedbom's?

The process of using a Seedbom is super easy, the hardest part was deciding which two out of the four we wanted to plant! To get started you remove the outer cardboard sleeve, give the Seedbom a really good shake, pop off the little plug by removing the sticker tabs and taking it out. Then you need to soak it, for 5 minutes without letting the seeds escape. Just hold the Seedbom in water until its soft on both the inside and outside. 

The final step is to pull open your Seedbom and place it down on your soil. Ideally you should do this on the ground soil or in a round pot. We wanted to use these planters that we already had so I simply broke the Seedbom into some smaller pieces and spread them along the planter to give it all the space the plants need to bloom. 

Now you just have to water it and keep it in a place with direct sunlight for around 6 weeks. We planted ours about 3 weeks ago now and we have been so pleased to see them growing! In fact I noticed just this morning that we have tiny little white buds shooting up on one of our planters now. The children are all so excited to see what grows from our Seedbom's.

Why should I use a Seedbom?

It is still the perfect time of year to plant Seedbom's to bloom in late summer and with SaveMoneyCutCarbon you can get them delivered right to your door ready for you to plant in your garden. They are great for those who struggle to find their green fingers, don't find gardening easy or for a nice summer project with your children. 

I really loved that all of my children could get involved, even the 2 year old! We learnt about plants, why flowers are so important for insects and so much more just by spending time planting our Seedbom's. They are currently asking questions about the buds, how they will grow into flowers and what we think they might smell like. Which are all big important new experiences which will help them understand and look after the world around them as they grow.

Friday, 18 June 2021

How to cut down your waste by changing up your laundry routine

 * AD - The items featured have been gifted for an honest review. *

*All thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own. *

There's nothing that brings that same kind of joy as getting your washing out on the line in the summer time is there? 

I personally love being able to hang the washing outside on warm days and filling the garden up with the smells of fresh laundry. It makes me feel good, knowing that just by hanging out the washing it is helping the planet in a small way. It's a shame that the summer is so short here in the UK and even then there are many wet days mixed into summer too. 

Which is why I am really excited to share ways that you can cut down on the carbon emissions created by doing your laundry with the help of SaveMoneyCutCarbon.  If you have been around recently then you will know that this year I am working with SaveMoneyCutCarbon to show you ways to cut down on your carbon emissions , save money and be much more eco-friendly in your everyday life. This month is no different and I'm focusing on laundry with the change of three products. Yes just three products which are all part of the ecoegg range. 

What is ecoegg?

ecoegg is a brand which has created an eco-friendly laundry solution with products that do everything from cleaning your washing machine using their detox tablets, washing your clothes with the ecoegg Laundry Egg and even helping dry your clothes faster with the ecoegg Dryer Eggs

All of the products in the ecoegg range contains no harsh chemicals and is kind to your skin, perfect for families and those who suffer with sensitive skin. The use of minerals helps to remove the need for chemicals to get your clothing clean. 

The whole range of ecoegg's innovative laundry products is available on SaveMoneyCutCarbon in the various scents including Fresh Linen, Spring Blossom and Fragrance Free. All of the refill products for the laundry egg as well as the washing machine cleaner are available as part of the Regular, Reliable Delivery service I talked about last month too. 

What is an ecoegg Washing Machine Detox Tablet?

When you use any washing products in your washing machine they start to build up and stay inside the machine itself. The ecoegg Washing Machine Detox Tablets break down that build up and help to keep your machine working in tip top condition. It is recommended that you clean your machine using a detox tablet before you start using an ecoegg Laundry Egg as this will give you the best results. 

Using the detox tablet is really easy and chemical free! You just pop the tablet into your empty machine and run your 90 degrees cycle. Once done you can get started using your ecoegg Laundry Egg. It really is that simple! You should also remember to run this cycle once a month to get the best out of your machine. 

Top Tip: Set a monthly reminder on your phones calendar to tell you to detox the machine. I find if I set this wash before bed to start at 4am our machine is ready to go first thing and smells amazing. 

What is an ecoegg Laundry Egg?

An ecoegg Laundry Egg is a small innovative egg shaped device which is specifically made to hold small pellets that clean your clothes without the need for additional plastics like most washing machine products come in. The small mineral pellets are made up of two different minerals and a small amount of washing detergent to help give your clothes a gentle clean. The egg is refillable, it unlocks to let you replace the pellets inside when they are used up. Each refill gives you 50 wash loads worth of detergent.

The ecoegg Laundry Egg has been UK Allergy approved and since it contains no nasty chemicals its perfect for even sensitive skin types. This means you won't need to have various types of laundry products for the different members of your family. One ecoegg can be used for the whole family. 

How does an ecoegg Laundry Egg benefit me?

Now I know that your questioning why should you switch to an ecoegg Laundry Egg right? The truth is there are a few reasons, one of the biggest ones in terms of helping the environment is cutting down the amount of plastic you use. Normally laundry products come bundled up in plastic bottles or tubs. You have at least two depending on your laundry liquid and the fabric softener you use. That means you are throwing away up to 40 plastic containers every year! That's quite a number, even if your recycling those it's still 40 new plastics created every year just to hold your laundry products. The ecoegg Laundry Egg refills come in 100% recyclable, features vegetable based inks for all the image and writing on the packaging and it has been FSC certified. 

You will save money! That in itself is a pretty great reason, by using your ecoegg Laundry Egg you will reduce your price per wash to just 14p and when it comes time to refill you will reduce that even further to 10p per wash. What is not to love about that?

What is an ecoegg Dryer Egg?

As with the other two ecoegg products the Dryer Egg by ecoegg is designed to help cut your carbon use. It does this in a very different way to the ecoegg Laundry Egg, instead of replacing plastic the dryer eggs do two jobs, firstly the two eggs act together to help dry your clothes faster which reduces that electricity used. 

They ecoegg Dryer Eggs also have an inner tube which acts as a replacement for dryer sheets which helps remove the need for disposable sheets that have a single use life span. There are two scents available which are the Spring Blossom and Fresh Laundry to match the scents for the ecoegg Laundry Egg.  

Our Experiences

When our box for the month arrived from SaveMoneyCutCarbon I was impressed with how well packaged everything was, just like every other month the contents had been secured with recyclable paper padding all the products so they don't bang around in the box during transit. When our boxes arrive my children love getting their hands on this paper and drawing on it with ink pens before we recycle it.

The first product we used from this months box was actually not included in this post, it will be featured in a post of it's own next Monday, which is the SeedBoms you can see in the photo above. Once we planted those I got started on detoxing our machine ready for using the ecoegg Laundry Egg. It was so simple and I already have my reminder set for the next detox clean in just over a weeks time! I really liked that the machine didn't have a particular scent afterwards, it just smelt clean and fresh rather than the musty smell it develops after a few weeks of use. I particularly liked that I could just add the detox tablet and press start, perfect for when your a busy parent like me.

Once the machine was prepped I got our ecoegg Laundry egg ready to go, I opened the egg up and filled it with the mineral pellets before simply popping it into the machine. So far we have enjoyed using the laundry egg, I had heard some bad reviews on this before but I was happy to find our washing does clean quite well. There have been a few exceptions when it comes to the childrens clothes, some marks don't get removed in a single wash, which isn't ideal however it is more stubborn marks from playing or in particular food dropping on their clothes and when we are washing those items I will do a full wash with a stain remover and our leftover washing product from before. Even with this change of product once in a while I am confident that we can ditch so much plastic using the ecoegg Laundry egg. I also love the Spring Blossom scent. It's my favourite!

I have mostly struggled to remember to dry out the laundry egg after we finish using the machine but I a getting better at that everyday. It's just getting used to the habit of removing it and setting it to the side with the washing.

I personally have loved using the ecoegg Dryer Eggs most out of the three products, our dryer turns off when it detects the clothes are dry no matter which cycle it is on. With the dryer eggs that happens much sooner and the added scent fills the room with spring blossom, just perfect at this time of year! I have not found any down side to using the dryer eggs and I know they are saving us money on the electric our tumble dryer is using so it's a win, win, win situation! I think I would recommend the Dryer Eggs the most, however we have enjoyed all the products and I will continue to use all of the ecoegg range as our go to washing products.

Why should I ditch my normal washing machine products?

There are many reasons why simply changing to ecoegg products can help you: 

  • Remove chemicals from your laundry cycle
  • Reducing the amount of plastic waste
  • Reduces drying time 
  • Is kind to your skin
  • Reusable products
  • Increases your machines effectiveness
  • Saves you money
  • Can wash at low temperatures

 Thanks to SavemoneyCutCarbon you can also set your refills up to arrive when you need them without having to remember to order them and you get the products delivered right to your door. 

You can purchase the ecoegg Laundry Egg for £8.55 with the refills at £4.53 each, the ecoegg Washing Machine Detox Tablets for £3 for a pack of 6 and finally the ecoegg Dryer Eggs for £9.99 with the refills at £5.95 each.  I have linked the specific frageranced products in the images above. However the whole range can be accessed on the laundry section on SaveMoneyCutCarbon.

Which of the three ecoegg products do you think you'd like the most?

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Five easy DIY at home birthday photo shoot ideas

{This post contains previously gifted items which have been indicated with a *.}

{I was under no obligation to include the items and all thoughts/ opinions are my own.} 

We have just  celebrated Scarlet's birthday and after the various lockdowns of the last year we will have celebrated 4 birthday's including both of Avery's without friends and family. While everyone has enjoyed their birthdays at home, we like many families have had to adjust plans. With three children at home life was quite the juggling act and special events like birthdays increased the pressure. Which is why we still wanted to do fun photo shoots at home, especially when it came to birthday's. We needed to adjust how much time we had to prepare and plan shoots that would work well while juggling everything else too. 

I thought I'd share some ideas on photoshoots we have done both before and during the lockdowns over the last year. I knew that each would need to have a low cost, varying levels of effort and time available to put in and most of all they needed to be something that was fun for everyone involved. A really big factor when children are involved!

 After a bit of thinking I have five very different photo shoot ideas which will all create their own unique photos, while helping you create fun memories with your children at the same time.  

I am going to start with the simplest and work my way up to the most complicated, which will need the most time and effort put in before the shoot however all the shoots will need the same shooting and some clean up too. 

Confetti Birthday Photo Shoot 

The first and simplest birthday photo shoot is a confetti shoot. The only thing you will need other than your phone or camera is some confetti, you can use normal confetti, eco confetti, flowers (try to just use the heads or short stems if you do this) or coloured paper in various shapes. We just used confetti which my children loved throwing up in the air and watching it rain down around them. I sourced the confetti from Poundland's wedding section which got me 6 bags for £1. We took the photos in a corner of our Livingroom with a cream wall as our backdrop. 

If you are doing this shoot with smaller children you or another adult could throw the confetti how you want. Another idea would be if you fill a plain open umbrella with it and let them tip it up above their heads. 

Balloon Arch Photo Shoot

While this sounds like I am suggesting you stand under a balloon arch and take photos, I assure you it's not. Right now Balloon arches are making a big impact for birthday parties and they are beautiful to look at but they can be a great photo shoot too. Once the birthday is over the balloon arch is often disposed of, before you do that take the arch down and have fun with it before you throw it all away. You can purchase many kinds of balloon arches online and in stores. Ours is from Home Bargains but Amazon have a huge range available which I have link to. 

We created a whole host of photos with ours at a recent birthday. We attached it to the wall above my bed to create a hot air balloon look and each of my children held a string and we took photos of them laying on the bed under the blanket. 

Another idea could be to have older children stand against the wall with the arch creating a loop around their head/ upper body. Having an arm reaching out through the arch loop gives a cool effect as does making faces in the centre. My eldest son, Dylan loved this set up the most and had so much fun taking the photo above.

The final way to use a balloon arch in a photoshoot is to lay them on the floor or on a bed around your child to create a huge circle. Let them bounce and play with the balloons and take all the photos you like. Play hide and seek, let them push the balloons up, take some off and throw them around. Have fun and take as many photos as you like. The simple nature of this option makes it perfect for smaller children but do remember not to leave your child unsupervised at any time during this balloon shoot.

This particular shoot will involve a lot of movement so I suggest taking more photos and just continuing to take them until the end. Some will end up blurry but there will be plenty that perfectly capture the fun. 

Crepe Streamer Photo Shoot 

Just like above there is more than one way to do this shoot. The first part however will be choosing a colour scheme, we went with a rainbow theme and purchased this pack of Rainbow Crepe paper streamers on Amazon. There are however plenty of other colour schemes available too. 

Once you are ready you can set up the streamers to be at the opening of an alcove or to hang down from the ceiling. Be sure to set the streamers up across a piece of rope or twine that can attach to the wall to be just a bit taller than your child or just skimming the floor. If you need to use the ceiling you can use string and frog tape to hang down to the right height and attach your streamers to that instead of directly on the ceiling. 

The idea is to create a curtain of streamers that your child can walk through, play hide and seek in, wear wings and pretend to be a fairy or twirl around the strands. The colourful curtain effect will give a unique setting and works well if you don't have a great background to use since you are effectively creating your own. My daughter loved twirling around and playing between the streamers in this shoot. Which you can see in all of the photos, it was fun, interactive and easy to set up. Which is just what we wanted.

Another idea you could use the streamers with would be to have them attached around a large umbrella. Create a full coverage will streamers attached to the under edges, this gives you a full circle for your child to hide inside. With the umbrella they will have more freedom and this would be a great outdoor shoot provided the weather was good. They could twirl, run, jump and move the umbrella around to have many different effects. Remember to cut the streamers to be the right height for your child for this method. 

Mirror Sticker Photo Shoot*

I had never considered how fun mirror play can be for a photoshoot with children. I recently worked with Parli and Co on our Instagram over Dylan's birthday. They had gifted us some reusable mirror and window stickers that are perfect birthday decorations. We mostly used them to create fun mirror photo opportunities. 

Now to create this shoot you will need a good sized mirror, preferably one which can sit against a piece of furniture or a wall and give you a flat surface on one side to make it very stable. If you don't have a mirror available you could also use windows and take the photos from the opposite side to your child, I would suggest a sheet or similar background behind them for this shoot.

You can get a set of Parli and Co window stickers. (We used two packs of their Mini Birthday Sticker Set which are £10 each.) They have many themed packs including flowers, bunting, weather and more so the choices aren't limited. Once you have set the stickers up on the mirror or window you can let your child have fun. They can make funny faces, match up the the various pieces, hold their hands up like they are holding the balloons or other props and so much more. There are so many possibilities for this shoot depending on the set you choose. 

As an extra plus the stickers are all reusable so they can be stored away for the next birthday, event or photoshoot to used again and again. They make for great decorations that don't have to be thrown out. so far we have had two birthday's using them and I know they will be a staple in the future too. 

Birthday Cake Smash Photo Shoot

This final photo shoot idea is the most complex, has the most elements and is probably the most expensive in terms of everything you will need. I had to of course include a cake smash photo shoot in this post. It's an iconic photoshoot idea we all know of when it comes to a child's birthday. They are most commonly considered for a first birthday but there is no reason why older children can't also enjoy all the fun.

The most obvious need here will be for a cake, we baked our cake together with box cake mix, we used three tiers and made up a pink buttercream to dirty ice the whole cake. You can however just buy your cake if you prefer, choose the style you want. Remember to buy any additional props you want like a cake topper, flowers, large candle etc. You will also need a cake stand for your cake, we used a small glass cake stand I already owned but you can pick these up for a few pounds. 

Another purchase that I suggest with the shoot is a paper roll, we used a children's roll of drawing paper from Ikea. You can lay this down on the floor and tape it to keep it in place, this can also be repeated on the wall to create the backdrop, although you an use a sheet or just the wall if you want. As you can see I also had confetti balloons in the background too. You can have anything you like there, fake or real flowers, birthday banners or you could have helium balloons which can float behind your child. These all create different effects depending on what you combine together.

Set everything for this shoot up first, get everything ready and also consider if you want to run a bath, this will get messy! Get your child dressed and sitting where you want before you introduce the cake, take one or two test shots with a toy being played with to make sure your happy with where everything is. Bring the cake in and just let them do what they want with it, take photos and enjoy their discovery of it all. 

Let them have fun until you can see that they are done, losing interest or they don't want to eat anymore. Get them all cleaned up before you try to clean the area, believe me this way will result in less mess! If you used the paper on the floor you can simply roll the mess up in the paper (minus the cake stand, remaining cake and props) and throw it away.

Which of the five photo shoot ideas is your favourite?

Monday, 14 June 2021

Birthday celebrations {Our Ordinary Moments}

 I don't share Our Ordinary Moments every week, some weeks I don't take many photos at all. Then other weeks I take hundreds. I'm not going to get in the habit of trying to take photos just for this weekly post as I want this to be more of a way to look back on our normal, everyday lives, documenting the good times and the slow weeks too. 

This week however has been a big week! This last weekend Scarlet turned 4. I'm in shock that she's grown so much and been here with us for 4 whole years. 

We have spent the week preparing everything for the big day, long evening spent wrapping presents, planning food, shopping, baking cake, getting her birthday photo shot all set up done for this year! Which I'll be sharing more about later in the week. We needed everything to be done so that the weekend could be spent enjoying her day together. 

She was so happy to have us all around her and joining in her excitement throughout the whole day. Every moment from present opening to playing hide and seek involved smiles and fun. 

She fell in love with her two new dolls that are from the Design a Friend range. She has had tea parties, danced, changed their clothes and they even had to join in our movie night! You can see her with the SiSi doll above.

This week I have also realized that each of the three children are at a unique year, Dylan is 8, Scarlet is half his age at 4 and Avery is half of her age at 2! This will only ever happen this year but it somehow makes me feel like they are all growing up so, so fast! 

How do you normally celebrate birthdays in your house?
Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Get to grips with eco-friendly cleaning all year round with SaveMoneyCutCarbon's Home Club

 * AD - The items featured have been gifted for an honest review. *

*All thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own. *

Since it is now spring time, we've all got our gloves on and are getting on with the usual spring cleaning or preparing for more people to visit with lockdowns ending. Either way it all adds up to getting a whole lot more cleaning done. Which is why this months box from SaveMoneyCutCarbon includes eco friendly alternatives to some of the cleaning products you use all the time. All of the products in this box are from the kitchen section on SaveMoneyCutCarbon.

What was inside our box:

  • Four pack of rainbow ecoLiving Compostable Sponge Cloths   -   £4.00
  • Three pack of ecoLiving steel scourers   -   £2.85
  • One roll of ecoegg  Reusable Bamboo towels   -   £7.05
  • An  ecoLiving Dish Brush with removable head    -   £5.45
  • An EcoCoconut Multipurpose Bottle Brush   -   £4.45
  • Two pack of EcoCoconut Biodegradable Scourers    -   £3.55
  • One OceanSaver Anti-Bac Starter Kit   -    £2.50
  • Five OceanSaver EcoDrop refills; Kitchen, Glass, Bathroom, Multi-purpose and All purpose floor cleaner.   -    £1.50 each
While all of these products are available for everyone to purchase on SaveMoneyCutCarbon at the prices above, customers who are part of the Home Club will get added benefits which includes getting products at lower prices and the perks don't just stop there either!

What are the benefits of being a SaveMoneyCutCarbon Home Club member?

There are more than a few benefits to being a Home Club member. You will be able to get all the products on their site at a lower price thanks to their Home Club Price Promise. This means that all the products on the site are available to members at the lowest prices around. If you find a product cheaper then SaveMoneyCutarbon will refund you the difference, that is how confident they are that will get the best prices available from them! Take the OceanSaver EcoDrops refills above for example they cost £1.50 on but if you are a Home Club member you will save 20% and only pay £1.20.

While we're talking about lower prices, you will also get early access to any special offers or hot deals which will help to save you even more money.

I think my personal favourite perk is that Home Club members get Priority dispatch, I am always leaving ordering to the very last minute I can. Knowing that if I forget to order until late at night I will go right up to the top of the dispatch list for the next day gives me a little piece of mind. 

You will also be rewarded for all your purchases through SaveMoneyCutCarbon as a Home Club member, this is with Planet Points. Making purchases will earn you points which can later be used to save money when you purchase other products from the site. 

The final and probably the biggest benefit from being a Home Club member, (at least for me) is getting access to the Regular, Reliable Delivery service. 

What is the Regular, Reliable Delivery Service from SaveMoneyCutCarbon ?

 Changing over to more eco-friendly products doesn't always mean you don't need to repurchase them. There are plenty of times when an eco-friendly product will run out and that is especially true when it comes to cleaning products. Let's face it they just can't be expected to last forever! Which is why some of the cleaning products we have been sent like the OceanSaver EcoDrop refills and the removable heads for the ecoLiving Dish Brush are included in SaveMoneyCutCarbon's Regular Reliable Delivery Service.

The Regular, Reliable Delivery is a subscription service available to Home Club members. You can choose any of the products on SaveMoneyCutCarbon which have the purple Regular, Reliable Delivery icon. Using the drop down menu on these products lets you select which delivery intervals you want, after that SaveMoneyCutCarbon will send you out your products so you don't need to run out! It's such a great idea. 

The whole process is customisable, you can have one regular delivery set up to arrive at your chosen intervals with several products inside to cover everything you need in one delivery. You are also able to set up several Regular, Reliable Delivery slots to meet your needs.

You won't even need to keep track, as another feature of the Regular, Reliable Delivery service is that you will get an email reminder one week before dispatch of the next box. This lets you know that another delivery will be coming but it also means that you have a chance to change or postpone the delivery if you don't need new products yet or you need to add something in. All of which can be done at anytime as well as cancelling, there is no minimum commitment period for the service.

Home Club Benefits the planet too!

When it comes to SaveMoneyCutCarbon's Home Club the benefits extend beyond just you. Home Club helps you to do better for the planet, by choosing to have regular deliveries of eco-friendly products you use regularly will cut down your carbon footprint. That is for several reasons, the products themselves have used less carbon to produce, are made from less carbon or no carbon and your getting one delivery instead of potentially more.


Another benefit for the planet is that you are reducing waste, even by just swapping to one of the products I featured in this post you are cutting down on the amount your throwing away. I'll use the Ecoegg Reusable Bamboo Towels as the example, one month ago we use 2-3 rolls of kitchen paper every week and this week we have used half a roll which was only because I forgot to put the wash load on and the reusable towels needed washed and dried! That means we have stopped 1.5 to 2.5 rolls going into the bin in every week, imagine how many rolls we'd thrown away last year alone! 

The even better news is that all these perks are available right now to all Home Club members on SaveMoneyCutCarbon and joining costs just £4.99 per month. It's such a small amount for so many perks and costs less than a decent cup of coffee. 

Which Home Club benefit do you think you'd benefit most from? 

I think for me it would have to be the priority dispatch, I'm just so forgetful and usually order all the stuff I need to late at night when I've laid down in bed! Anyone else remember everything the second you try to sleep?

Monday, 24 May 2021

How to create your own celestial clay wall decor {DIY Project}

 This year I really wanted to start finding my creative streak again. I enjoy the feeling of starting a project, getting my hands on the whole process and having a finished product. Towards the end of last year I found several celestial style clay wall hangings and I knew I wanted to create my own for our bedroom. I had a few ideas but in particular I wanted something with the various stages of the moons cycle.

I decided I wanted to create several wall hangings ranging in size and shapes for our bedroom that followed a celestial theme but would work together to create one piece that would hang on the wall over our bed. I knew that I wanted to use air dry clay to create the piece and I had a firm idea in my mind to get me started. The piece would be three different sized garlands to hang in a set. 

To create the garlands you will need:

  • Air Dry Clay 
  • Acrylic Paint in your choice of colours
  • Paint brush 
  • Circle & Star cutters or templates
  • Rolling pin
  • large lolly pop sticks
  • Nice, string thread, twine or similar cord
  • Ruler
  • Water
  • Nails or Command hooks

The first step will be to create a plan for what you want your set to look like. Sit down with a piece of paper and a pencil, start with the garland that will be the smallest first. You can create the shapes you like or you can just follow the same design I created.

I wanted the smallest size garland to have the moon phases in a small scale, the full moon in the middle would hang lowest with each phase having a matching height either side. My second garland would have stars of three different sizes in three sets with the stars hanging rom biggest to smallest with  matching height for the biggest, a shorter height for the medium and an even shorter height for the smallest. The final garland would have another set of moon phases that are bigger, thicker and more polished with rounded out edges. This garland would hold the moon phases side by side instead of hanging below the garland. 

Once You have a plan on how you want your finished set to look you need to get started on softening up your clay by rolling it round and using the heat in your hands to make they clay more malleable. When your happy with the clay you need to roll out your clay to a nice even size. I used 1 lolly pop stick to get the right height for the small moon phases and the stars. However I stacked and taped 3 sticks together to get the right height for y larger moon phases. 

In your design you will know how many of each shape is needed. To create one set of moon phases you need 4 full circles. Once you have all four, set one to the side as your full moon. Cut the next circle in half with a ruler to get your half moon phases. The final two pieces will be your crescent and gibbous phases, using the circular cutter or template place it on the circle with enough space to create the crescent moon shape you want. The end result will be one full set of moon phases. Repeat this step for the other set. 

Remember to also cut out your star shapes in their different sizes. I used a set of three small cutters to create my stars. I wanted to have three of each for a total of 9. 

After each piece had been cut out I used a straw to make a hole in all the pieces where I would want them to hang. The small moon phases and the stars had this at the top of each shape while the bigger set had one on each side of the moon phases. This is where you will add the thread or twine to create the garland. I also smoothed out the sides of all the pieces by using my finger dipped in water. You can then round the edges out to create a more cohesive shape like my larger moon phases by working the smoothing over each side until your happy, I only did this on one side but you can create this on both side of the piece if you want.

Allow all the pieces to dry on a flat surface for around two days. After a day go back and turn the pieces over so the back can also dry. As they dry you will see they clay go from a light grey to a white. The whole piece will be entirely white when dry and will be hard. When your pieces are completely dry you can move on to the next step.

Now is the time to paint everything, I wanted to stick to a metallic theme to mimic the moon shining so I went with a silver and gold acrylic paints. You can choose whichever colours you like, match it to your other d├ęcor in the space it will go or perhaps you want a boho look, which you could use more neutral colours for. I used just one coat on each moon and two coats on the stars for an even coverage. Remember to allow each to dry and to paint the backs too.

When it comes to the assembly it is probably the most technical part of the project so I will lay out each of the garlands assembly as one paragraph. I used my Gutermann Metallic thread in gold and silver to create the garlands. I wanted something thin but still noticeable and it fit the metallic theme well. However you can  use whichever thread or cord you like. 

The smallest garland was made by putting all the clay moon phases onto the tread in the right order. Once everything was on I tied small loop on the end which will be used to hang the piece up. Working from that end you will have all the pieces attached to the thread with one end tied off and the other still on the spool. Work your way along starting with the waxing moon closest to the tied off side, leave enough space to be the hanging part of the garland and enough again for the cresent to hang down a shot distance. Tie a knot right above where the crescent moon now sits. Then gather the thread above the moon phase to where you had wanted the hanging distance to start, tie another knot and you will have made the first hanging crescent. Move over 2-3cms and again add how much distance you want the next phase to hang down ensuring it is lower than the previous one. Repeat this step for the remaining phase and the full moon. To do the final stages you will want to match the length each phase hangs at with the ones you already created. I simply folded the piece in half and matched each up before I tied the thread off at the end. 

The medium garland with stars did follow a similar motion, I added on all the star pieces in the right order they would hang with three sets of large, medium and small. Once attached I tied the end and followed the pattern. This time I wanted the large stars to hang longest, the medium to be a smaller height and the small to be the smallest height with a 3-5cms in between each star. I used the same technique from the smaller garland by tying off the various heights to get the hanging star effect. 

For the final garland I used several lengths of thread, each doubled over and then tied once it had been looped through the two moon phases I was joining together. This created a large loop in which both pieces joined together, I then hid the tied off piece behind the moon phase. Repeat this until each phase is connected. To finish this garland you need to a long loop attached to each end moon phase so that this can be hung up. You can tie a smaller loop on each end if you like, it makes it easier to hang up. 

All that is left is to hang the piece! I used small nails which I added to our wall but you can use the command hooks if you'd prefer not to or if you are renting. Start hanging with the smallest which is easier to centre on the wall or in my case, above our bed. You can then add the other two below with however much space between as you like.

I am really pleased with my finished result and I enjoyed working with the clay. Now as you can see our bedroom wall is currently grey however I will be changing that to a dark blue or black colour sometime in the future which will make the piece pop so much more! 

I already have a few other celestial themed clay ideas I want to create for our bedroom. I have since created another star garland, in a rainbow colour scheme for Scarlet's all above her bed. It is very fun and perfect for a child's room.

Where would you hang a Celestial Clay Wall Hanging in your home and what colour scheme would you go with? 


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