Archive for the ‘ Housekeeping ’ Category

Have you seen my shampoo??

Let’s play a game of Spot the Similarity… Can you see it yet?


You have to look quite closely… Got it yet? Yes, they all carry the Cruelty-Free International logo (or leaping bunny, as I call it).

Why have I showed you this picture? Well, it’s to show (UK people mostly) that it’s really easy to buy cruelty-free. In fact, you might even be buying products without realising. You might recognise some of the brands there. Here’s a picture of them all facing the correct way:



This is the little fella you should be looking for.

So, as you can probably gather, this is my bathroom. And these are the products Ben and I use every day. Looks pretty normal doesn’t it? Let’s do some name-dropping. There’s Sainsbury’s, Autograph by M&S, Co-operative and Superdrug. There are also a couple of names you might not have seen before — Bulldog and Faith in Nature. The former is actually sold in Sainsbury’s and the latter is often found in the health food shops like Holland and Barrett. What about when it’s time to clean the bathroom? Well, if you’re on a super tight budget, I’d head over to somewhere like QD stores or ASDA, more recently, and pick up an armful of Astonish products. They’re often only £1.00 a go and we’re quite impressed with their efficacy. I wrote a post about Astonish a few years back. You can read it here.

Anyway, I thought you might like a little peep into a cruelty-free bathroom.


Make Do & Mend….With Kindness!

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed that I’ve been experimenting with sewing recently. I’ve always enjoyed doing little bits of sewing here and there, but have never had the patience to sit and make something from scratch.

Ben had gone away for a few days to see his dad and I couldn’t go because of work, so I was home alone for a few days. And I’d not long been to see my grandparents who’d given my mother and I two sacks of old bedlinen, so there it all sat, in the corner… Calling me to cut it all up and make it in to something!

I didn’t have a sewing machine, just a small box of needles and cottons, but I made a very basic (and crappy) little bag. It wasn’t hemmed, nothing was straight, and I hadn’t followed any instructions to make it!

In the light of the next morning, I saw how rubbish my first attempt had been, so I decided to look up an easy to do bag. I came across Martha Stewart’s website and found ‘A Sleeper Of A Bag’ which was made from a pillowcase.

Ok, this is my "pillowcase bag". Acceptable to use ... on Twitpic

I spent the afternoon cutting this 70’s style pillowcase up, hemming it by hand and sewing it all back together. It took me an age to stitch each hem, but it was, I feel, totally worth it! It’s not a great fabric to use as a handbag, as I feel it’s a bit outdated, but I think it would work as a shopping bag.

The next thing I thought was “I don’t want a shopping bag, I want a handbag!!” So I rifled through MY bedlinen and found a more suitable pillowcase. I took more care this time, (and I also had a small sewing machine to use) making sure the hems were all straight and I even lined it using an old sheet I’d cut up. Having a machine made everything so much easier (when it worked right) and the bag was put together in no time.

By this time BePillowcase bag MK2... fully lined and stitched with a sewing ... on Twitpicn was home, and had pointed out that if I was to use it as a handbag, it would need to be more secure. I fashioned a small pocket with a button and a larger central one with two buttons from the old sheet. They went on the inside to hide things like my purse / phone / keys etc. They’re a little bit rough around the edges, but they work. And considering I made them from nothing but a sheet, I’m quite impressed!!

Anyway, the reason I’m putting this on my blog is to:

a) Encourage people to re-use / recycle their old stuff.

b) Learn something new, like sewing!

And the most important one…Which is why I was searching for a new bag…

c) Encourage people to give up leather goods.

After I’d turned veggie, I felt so guilty when I looked at my handbag and purse. I felt I was totally contradicting myself by using leather but I didn’t have enough spare cash to go out and buy myself a new handbag. So hey – presto! Make your own!! I even managed to find a beautiful cruelty-free purse the other day for a tenner, so I’m 99.9% there! (Just the trainers to go now).

So go forth and SEW!

P.S I’m going to donate my old bag and purse to charity so that it isn’t put to waste.

Have a…Compassionate Christmas!

Well December is fast approaching and so is Christmas. I have been very good this year and have started my shopping early. I don’t often wander into town any more and I don’t think I like the idea of fighting my way through the shops on Christmas Eve (which is probably what Ben will do). This is will be my first cruelty-free Christmas and it got me a little excited because I wouldn’t be buying the same old stuff.

As we now boycott the large corporations such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble etc that would mean no Dove gift boxes, no Gucci fragrances and absolutely no tacky make-up sets for my relatives. Instead I needed to think outside the box. I wandered around town and started spotting the smaller shops that I’d never seen before. In the shadow of Boots and Debenhams the little quirky shops caught my attention. One shop you may have heard of is Evolution. A small heavily scented haven of loveliness! I wandered in for the first time in awe of all the lovely colours and smells. I came away with an armful of gifts and only spent about £15.00 . I also found some lovely gifts in Lakeland, M&S and FatFace.  I was a little disappointed that a gift I bought from FatFace had a small leather ‘brand label’ on it. I would like to see them use a less unethical way to show off their brand name, but apart from that it’s a nice place to buy clothes etc.

So, are you now wondering how do you have a compassionate Christmas?

  • If you’re buying cosmetics / body care products choose brands that carry the ‘Leaping Bunny’ logo. It means that those products have not been tested on animals and are BUAV approved. It’s so easy to buy cruelty-free now. Go to Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and even your local Co-op for toiletries…. Christmas or not!


  • If you’re buying clothes, you could shop at New Look. They got a fairly high rating in my Ethical Consumer Magazine. Failing that buy from the smaller shops or vegan online shops. Synthetic leather appears no different to real leather these days. Don’t forget silk should be a no-no when doing cruelty-free gifts.


  • Buy a real tree or rent one out for Christmas! (Guilty secret – I haven’t done either of these as I bought my artificial tree only two years ago….! Whoops. ) When you’ve got your tree, decorate it with handmade decs; if you’ve got kids you could spend a day decorating the tree with paper frills and hang up some good old-fashioned paper-chains.


  • Swap ‘traditional turkey’ for a meat-free alternative. I read in a magazine the other day that we eat on average  7,000 calories on Christmas Day!! Why not make a veggie roulade or have a veggie roast from Quorn or Linda McCartney. We often have a Quorn roast for our ‘Sunday Dinner’ (often not on a Sunday!) and it’s never dry, it tastes lovely and cooks in under an hour! Why spend hours in the kitchen stuffing a dead animal (that was probably reared in horrible conditions) with herbs when you could shove all your veggies AND your roast in the oven and spend the day with your family?


So there’s a few tips to get you started. I hope you all do at least one of the above to make your Christmas a little kinder this year 🙂


P.S Don’t forget to get your companion animals a little something special this year!


Astonish-ing Products

On a recent trip to BuyRights in Hadleigh I wandered into the household section, only to find myself face-to-face with an aisle of Astonish products. Previous to my boycott, I had assumed Astonish was some cruddy little brand that you might use in an emergency in place of the ‘proper’ brands. Well, I’m ashamed of my assumptions; Astonish is a family run British brand that has been going for 35 years. From what I have seen they appear to have a strong policy on ethics: They carry the leaping bunny logo (BUAV Approved) and are approved by the Vegetarian Society.

I had a little tub of their Oven & Cookware Cleaning Paste knocking around in my cupboard from when I desperately tried to clean my oven. I don’t remember the paste working at the time, but I suspect it may have been overwhelmed by the 1/2 inch of burnt cheese/sauce/oil/fat/general crap that covered the inside of my oven (Yes, I’m ashamed). So it was put away in the cupboard, never to see the light of day again. Until… I had given up my Cillit Bang and had nothing to de-scale my kitchen sink. Having little faith that it would do anything I began to scrub… To my amazement I began to see the surface of my  sink for the first time in a long time! Hooray!

Yesterday Ben told me he was going to clean the shower. This was another part of my house I had given up on (I sound really dirty/untidy don’t I?) I mean, the general cleaning was okay, but again… Limescale had invaded. My shower enclosure was opaque with it. I had tried everything previously ( including nearly killing myself with Cillit Bang while I sprayed vigorously with the shower door shut) but it didn’t seem to budge.

A-HA! I grabbed my pot of Oven and Cookware cleaner and we started scrubbing – Yes, now we can see through our shower enclosure! Marvellous. Now I don’t feel so guilty every time I look at the shower!

So faced with all these products in BuyRight, I bought a limescale remover (for kettles and irons), a cream cleaner (like Cif), a carpet shampoo and a tub of Oxy-Cleaner (like Vanish’s) for stains etc. I’ll be going back, too. We hadn’t found a replacement tablet for our dishwasher but Astonish have these in their range.

I’m really pleased that there’s a whole range of BUAV approved household products out there that are easily obtainable. And I’m pretty sure that Wilkinson’s also sell Astonish products as I bought my (miracle!) Oven paste from there.

To sum up:  Don’t judge a book by its cover…!

590 Words on Dish Soaps…?

So as you probably know, I’ve gone veggie (See my Living Veggie blog) and have hopefully spared a few lives in the process. I did contemplate veganism as I feel so opposed to the dairy industry’s lack of respect towards its livestock (and badgers!) but I really don’t feel ready for that yet. I have drastically cut my milk consumption and am mostly using soya milk instead which is rather nice… Anyway – enough of vegetarianism and veganism! That’s for my other blog!

What news do I have? Well, I’m glad to see that Sainsburys will now be carrying the BUAV logo on its toiletries and cosmetics. Apparently rolling them out over the year, but I’ve yet to see any products yet. We do our weekly shop there as we feel it’s the most ‘responsible’ / ‘ethical’ supermarket out there. And after seeing a letter from ASDA to a concerned customer about their full backing of the proposed badger cull, I shall not be giving them any more of my money! I don’t know what Sainsbury’s stance on this subject is (maybe I should ask them?) but seeing they are a BUAV approved company now, I couldn’t imagine them backing it. But back to the subject. I do hope that they follow Co-op’s lead and get their household products BUAV approved. Ben and I struggled for about two weeks after running out of washing up liquid (bought from Co-op). We’d been to both shops in our area to find that neither had their own brand liquid, so we went to Sainsburys hoping maybe to find a Method one. Nope. Very disappointingly, I think there were three brands. Half an aisle – used by three brands! Fairy, some random brand like Daisy and their own. So I ended up having to order a Method Dish Soap online. I adore Method products; they’re stylish, kind, they smell great and they work! The one I ordered was Clementine and it’s lovely. You can also get cucumber, but I’m not a fan of them! And that’s the only criticism of Sainsbury’s – get in some more dish soap lines!!

I had a bit of a breakthrough yesterday too; I have found something (at last!) that almost gets through the dratted limescale on my stainless steel sink. I found a tub of Astonish Oven & Cookware Cleaner lurking in the cupboard. After giving up my beloved Cillit Bang I haven’t been able to find a replacement for it, but this seems to cut through the worst. It’s a paste cleaner and if you put a bit of elbow grease into it, it does do the job. I even had to use it in my (rather neglected and limescaled) en-suite (my lovely method bathroom cleaners couldn’t even touch it…should I be admitting that??). But I’m relieved I have something to use at last!

On the beauty front, Marks & Spencer are great! Ben and I went into town the other day to run some errands and ended up in there. I needed some new shower gel as my gorgeous Lush Flying Fox one had run out. Going into their cosmetics section, we found an array of different shower gels  – all at £1.00! Being as tight as I am I gladly picked one up (only one, mind!). They have a big range of toiletries and  even have a range of perfumes and aftershaves (BUAV approved) some of which I will purchasing on payday, as I’ve missed wearing a scent.

So to sum up…Well done Sainsburys and M&S, get stuffed ASDA!

We’re nearly squeaky clean!

Ben and I have been researching the net for a while now, searching for our cruelty free household and cosmetics stuff. Well, we’ve pretty much succeeded in our goal there. I think 99% of our bathroom things are now animal friendly. I went to M&S and had a spend up on make-up and then I went to Pure Nuff Stuff and had another spend up on soaps….And then I went to Co-op….and didn’t have a spend up! I was so impressed – I needed a new shampoo because my Lush solid bar was [unfortunately] making my hair greasy. So I drove to the little Co-op in the next village where I found tCo-operative Toothpasteheir most basic shampoo (BUAV approved) – it was under a pound! Then to top it off I bought their toothpaste… 70p! Wow.  I am incredibly tight with money and believe that anything over £4.00 is expensive (it’s a hereditary thing).  But believe it or not, the shampoo is actually quite nice (it’ll do for me – it was under a pound!!) and the toothpaste is really nice.

The thing I was most pleased about changing was my make-up. Most people are aware that “make-up” is tested on animals. I was quite worried about changing, as I really did love the Boots No7 range. I’d been using it since I was about 18 and even though it’s expensive (it WAS more than £4.00…) I did indulge myself. BUT…It isn’t approved so out it went! I went to Marks and bought myself some foundation, a mascara, a duo eye shadow and an eye liner. It came to about £30 with a few other bits and pieces. I know that sounds a lot, but I’ve bought it now, and replenishing bits every month or so is going to be something like five or six quid.

Being a former purchaser of Boots No7 products I was used to beautiful packaging and sumptuous names, but M&S make-up just says what it is – no faffing. It’s a bit plain to look at and doesn’t make you think – ‘wow – I need that, it looks lovely!’ – but then that’s just me being a marketing dream. The products themselves are pretty good; the foundation is alright – it feels quite oily when I put it on but after that I don’t notice it. It seems to stay on all day; I have a tendency to rub my face when I’m tired (so that’s all the time) and I don’t look like death when I get home, so that’s good. I’d give it an 8/10. The  eyeshadow is really nice. It’s a duo, so light and dark brown are my colours. 9/10 for that. Eye liner. Now – I bought a pencil eyeliner to start with. It was nice: very easy to apply, stayed on most of the day, BUT… make one little mistake on your eye and you will not be able to get rid of it! It’s like permanent marker! And one morning I needed to sharpen it – bad idea. My pencil sharpener is now clogged up with eye liner… So I’d give that a 5/10. I bought a liquid liner the other day though, and that is great. Dries really quickly and the applicator is long so you can see what you’re doing. 9/10 for that. Onto the mascara…well, I’m very fussy with that anyway. I have rubbish eyelashes and need lots of oomph to make me look like I’m 23 and not 43. This didn’t live up to expectations. My lashes seemed to flop after about 2 hours. I give it 3/10. All in all, the products are pretty good. It’s all about trial and error with stuff like that, so I’m sure I’ll find something to suit my awful eyelashes.

I bought a face wash and a hair & body bar from Pure Nuff Stuff a few weeks ago. I found a page on their website which listed ‘The Dirty Dozen’. All the nasty chemicals that go into our cosmetics. Nasty. I’d heard good things about Pure Nuff Stuff, so decided to try their Moisturewash. Ben wasn’t getting on with my M&S creamy face wash, and I found this. It contains no SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) which is the thing that makes products foam. According to a lot of people SLS is bad for your health as the molecules are small enough to penetrate the skin. Eurgh! I bet if you look on your shampoo, soap…anything that foams – it will have SLS at the top of its ingredients list. Mine do. Anyway, that’s a topic for another day… So my moisturewash arrived along with the hair & body bar. The latter does what it says it does. Not heavily perfumed, all natural ingredients… lovely. The moisturewash – well. It’s really nice. And it takes my make-up off better than commercial ones. My skin does feel a little tight afterwards, but hey. Well done PNS! I shall be purchasing again soon.

All in all pretty good products. See it’s not that hard to change, is it?










L-R Co-op shampoo, Co-op deodorant, M&S moisturiser, M&S eye pencil, M&S mascara, M&S liquid liner, M&S foundation, M&S facewash, M&S eyeshadow duo, Pure Nuff Stuff moisturewash, Lush Flying Fox shower gel, M&S lime shower gel. At the front on the left is (the remains of)  Lush shampoo bar and on the right is Pure Nuff Stuff body and hair bar.