5 Subscription Services Good For You And The Environment

reduce reuse recycle

There are some subscription services I couldn’t do without… So I wanted to tell you which ones and why! It’s important to mention this post is not sponsored, my opinions are genuine and purely my own. It’s simply a great occasion to promote companies that make my life easier and contribute to help save the planet at the same time… What more could you ask for? All of these subscriptions are super convenient too: you can skip, pause, change your selected products at any time. You get all the benefits of a subscription without feeling tied in, you stay in control as they’ll remind you of your next order so you can’t forget.

Don’t take my word for it – Use my referral links for each service to get amazing discounts and try for yourself!

Abel & Cole – Organic food delivered to your door

abel & cole

Good for you

They have a huge range of sustainable, organic food and drink that you can choose to get delivered weekly. Every area has an allocated day of the week so you know when to expect your delivery. If you have allergens, they have a “free from” section where you can filter any dietary requirement. But their best service is probably their fruit & veg boxes. You can choose the right size for your household (small, medium or large), fruits only, vegs only, or even if you’d rather get local products only (the “all British veg box”). All these boxes are organic.

If you subscribe, you’ll receive seasonal fruits and/or veggies that will differ week to week, but you can log in and check what you will get. The “dislike list” is also useful to specify what item you don’t want to receive (personally, I don’t like mushrooms) and they’ll replace it with something else!

Worth mentioning their customer service is top notch. One day, I ordered some gnocchi that were not gluten-free. It was completely my fault, I misread the label online and bought the wrong item. I reached out to the team to find out if it was possible to send it back and get a refund. It was unfortunately not possible to send it back but they happily refunded it anyway, what a nice gesture!

Good for the environment

There are many reasons why they’re green. First of all, I love the fact that you keep the box and simply leave it in front of your door for the driver to collect on your next week’s delivery. You don’t have to recycle it, they reuse it again and again until it’s not usable anymore, before they recycle it. They also don’t use plastic, only compostable packaging. They partner with farmers and bakers with a strong commitment to ethically made food. No unpleasant chemicals.

New customer?

Click here to get £10 off your 1st and 3rd planet-friendly shop!

Huel – Complete food for busy lives

huel product range

Good for you

The first time I heard about them, I was not convinced about having a shake instead of a meal. Then I realised how clever the full concept was! This complete food provides you with all the carbs, protein, fibre, fat, vitamins and minerals you need. It has nothing to do with a diet shake or a simple protein powder because it’s real food with a balanced macro-split. They evolved a lot throughout the years and offer a wide range of protein bars, ready-to-drink shakes, powder as well as “hot and savoury” meals. I love the fact they consistently come up with new flavours too. And as you know exactly how many calories each product or scoop contains, it can also help with weight loss or weight management, as well as training for athletes.

My personal favourites? The black edition (more proteins and less carbs), salted caramel flavour, and all protein bars (especially the peanut butter one). Needless to say it saves me a lot of time when it comes to food planning! I have a Huel shake every day for lunch, no cooking required, I just prepare it the evening and keep it in the fridge for the next day. It’s so much healthier than a quick sandwich with a bag of crisps. It’s definitely a must-have for anyone with a busy life (but who doesn’t consider themselves “busy” nowadays?). Also, it’s great value. You save money as well as your time.

Good for the environment

All products have a long shelf life and contain sustainable ingredients. Huel is plant-based (vegan) and contains no animal products. Their mission is to create nutritionally complete food with minimal environmental impact. Their suppliers meet an internationally recognised sustainability standard and help them reduce their carbon footprint. To find out more, you can read their Sustainable Nutrition Report (2020). You’ll find plenty of super useful information in there about why we need to change the way we think about food.

New customer?

Click here to get £10 off your first order.

Mindful Chef – Easy-to-follow recipes for a healthy diet

mindful chef healthy diet

Good for you

I love the fact that everything is gluten & dairy-free with them, it’s the reason why I picked this box over other similar boxes. And all recipes are healthy, up to 650 calories a serving and well-balanced, no refined carbs like white pasta, bread or white rice. You can filter vegan or pescatarian options if you prefer, everyone would find something they like the look of. I owe them a lot as I learnt so much about vegan meals over the past few months!

For example, I wanted to cook with ingredients I had never tried before, such as tempeh, jackfruit, chickpea or even butternut squash. I never took any “adventurous” roads with my food before. But now I realise how much better everything tastes like when I learn how to cook myself. It’s almost like they helped me change my taste buds for good and taught me how to enjoy new flavours.

Their recipes are easy-to-follow, the quantity delivered is really good (sometimes there is even some leftover) and it’s great to avoid the hassle of shopping every single ingredient in the supermarket. You can subscribe for a weekly box or you can stick to just a one-off whenever convenient, there is no commitment. Last but not least, they often add a freebie in your parcel of a new product (always gluten & dairy-free) for you to try. There is literally nothing I don’t like about this service. Did I mention they have new recipes every week and you can order up to 8 weeks in advance?

Good for the environment

The fact that you don’t have to shop for each ingredient is already good for the planet: you get the exact quantity you need for each recipe. Zero food waste! To keep some ingredients cool, they use recycled denim insulation that you can keep and send them back for free, once you’ve accumulated enough.

Bonus and good to know: for every meal you buy, they donate a school meal to a child in poverty.

New customer?

Contact me so I can send you a code to get 25% off your first 4 boxes!

Who Gives A Crap – More than your average toilet paper

who gives a crap toilet paper

Good for you

Or should I say good for your bum? I discovered this brand for the first time when I was travelling in Australia, back in January 2020. I thought the marketing around this product was very clever. Then I realised it was a subscription model to make sure you never run out of toilet paper, how amazing! This is the type of thing you don’t really want to think about, you take it for granted… Until a worldwide pandemic happens and everyone rushes through supermarkets to make sure they have plenty of it. Well the good thing about it is they don’t use any inks, dyes or scents. And the price is right (you could find cheaper in a supermarket but the quality would be “crap”, excuse the pun), not to mention a roll lasts forever!

Good for the environment

Not only they’re B Corp™ certified for the highest standards of social and environmental impact, they also help build toilets for people who need them. Not everyone is lucky enough to have access to toilets and it’s good to be reminded of that sometimes. They don’t use plastic in their packaging and they also sell forest-friendly tissues and paper towels, as well as reusable cloths. Their blog is funny and informative and is worth a read. They clearly care about the world (not just about toilet paper) and partnered with Oddbox whose aim is to reduce food waste. The more the merrier when it comes to eco-friendly brands!

New customer?

Click here to get £5 off your first order.

Smol – Eco-friendly and effective laundry capsules

smol laundry capsules

Good for you

I’ll focus on laundry capsules because it’s the only thing I have used myself. They also do dishwashing tablets, a fabric conditioner and various cleaning product sprays. I will definitely switch over to these at some point, once I’m done with what I already have. Their super concentrated laundry capsules come in either bio (green) or non-bio (blue) options. The latter is designed for those with sensitive skin. Just like toilet paper, you always need this product so it’s good to not have to think about it. Their subscription plan is super flexible, you can edit, pause or skip whenever you want (or simply cancel at anytime). I like the fact the packaging is very secure and fits the letterbox! Also it makes your clothes smell amazing… for a cheaper price than supermarket competitors.

Good for the environment

The environment is definitely at the centre of their attention and it’s great to know they’re using lower levels of added chemicals per wash. Their very clever packaging is obviously plastic-free, using sustainable materials that are 100% recyclable. It’s also vegan as doesn’t contain any animal derived ingredients (important point for me). All products are cruelty-free, only tested on towels!

New customer?

Click here to get a free trial. You’ll receive a box of 9 laundry capsules (you’ll just have to cover £1 for postage).

I got the essentials covered with these eco-friendly subscription services: food, toilet paper and laundry/cleaning products. What other services do you use yourself in your day-to-day life that have a positive impact on the planet?

Big Girl x

Why You Shouldn’t Wait Any Longer to Watch Seaspiracy

seaspiracy on netflix

Seaspiracy was released only 10 days ago at the time of writing and it’s currently the number 1 film on Netflix in the UK. Have you watched it yet? This new documentary has been produced by the same team behind Cowspiracy (2014), which was about the journey of an environmentalist investigating the destructive meat industry. This time, Seaspiracy looks at the environmental impact of fishing.

So far, I thought eating fish was more “acceptable” than meat and less harmful to the planet. But after watching this documentary, I now think it’s actually way worse. Our oceans are in danger, it’s too easy to close our eyes and ignore what’s happening under water because it’s less visible. If you’re scared to get shocking images stuck in your head forever (some are hard to stomach), then at least be aware of what’s happening in the world before fish end up on your plate.

Key facts from the documentary

Taken from the film itself, below are 8 shocking facts about our ocean:

  • 90% of the world’s large fish have been wiped out by fishing
  • Slavery in the seafood industry is reported in 47 countries (abuse and murder are common practise on these fishing vessels, it’s easy to make a body disappear in the ocean)
  • Governments give $35 billion to the fishing industry every year to keep plundering our seas (when only $30 billion is needed to solve world hunger)
  • 250,000 sea turtles are captured, injured or killed by the fishing industry every year in the United States (1,000 turtles die in plastic per year worldwide in comparison)
  • 46% of the Great Pacific garbage patch is comprised of fishing nets (which are far more dangerous for marine life than plastic straws because they’re designed to kill)
  • 300,000 dolphins, whales and porpoises are killed in fishing nets every year, along with 30,000 sharks per hour
  • Enough fishing line is set every day to wrap around the Earth 500 times
  • 3.9 billion acres of seafloor is deforested every year by trawling (in comparison, 25 million acres of forest is deforested every year on land)

I think one of the things that shocked me the most was the fact that there is so much focus on the negative impact of plastic straws, when it only represents 0.03% of plastic entering the ocean. It’s nothing compared to how the fishing industry harms sea life – and therefore our planet. 70% of macro plastic at sea comes from fishing gear.

How can we save the ocean?

On their website, they indicate 3 things we should do to help save the ocean:

  1. Shift to a plant-based diet
  2. Enforce no-catch marine reserves protecting 30% of our oceans by 2030
  3. End fishing subsidies (currently $35 billion per year)

Now I know for a fact it’s not easy to shift to a plant-based diet. But it’s not as difficult as it may seem either. It has to be a decision you feel comfortable with, but when you’re ready you’ll have plenty of resources available online. Seaspiracy created a plant-based meal planner to help you with the transition if you want to join the movement. You can set up your personalised journey there and also have access to many awesome fishless recipes!

Why cutting out seafood is best

Food labels don’t guarantee anything

Another shocking fact is that we simply cannot trust labels or certifications on food packaging. There is no way anyone can 100% guarantee they’re compliant. So when you see “certified sustainable seafood”, “responsibly farmed” or even “dolphin safe” for example, it doesn’t mean it’s actually the case. Because the audit that aims to verify the compliance of the requirements normally takes place once a year, it’s virtually impossible to monitor what’s happening on vessels once at sea. There aren’t people there regularly observing and some are bribed to turn a blind eye. Bearing that in mind, stopping eating fish is basically the only way to make sure you’re not contributing to the damages caused by fishing.

There is no such thing as “sustainable fishing”

Can we really believe large-scale extraction of wildlife could ever be “sustainable”? Commercial fishing drives many other species towards extinction. It’s important to remember that when you eat fish, it’s not only that fish that dies… It’s also the huge numbers of bycatch (i.e other fish and marine animals unintentionally caught and killed in the process). Sea turtles are threatened and endangered because of fishing – not because of climate change, ocean pollution or plastic. The population of sharks, whales, dolphins, seabirds etc, also declines because of the loss of fish. If that trend continues, we will have empty oceans within the next few decades. And if the ocean dies, we die.

It’s not humane in the slightest

First of all, it’s wrong to say fish can’t feel pain. They feel pain in a similar way that humans do. Fish are sentient beings, have a nervous system, memory capabilities, they can experience fear and concern… They can even have social lives and team up with other species to find food. One of the scenes in the documentary forced me to take a break, I was crying too much and couldn’t cope with the images. It was about the way they hunted whales in the Faroe Islands, to me it was quite clear they were clever enough to understand what was going on (the whales, not the humans… unfortunately).

What are the fish alternatives?

You might think it’s impossible to replace fish in your meals but the variety of cruelty-free options we have access to nowadays is quite impressive! When I decided to go vegan, salmon was the only thing I missed… It used to be my favourite food. My Japanese roots undoubtedly influence my food habits and I’m so happy to have found a way to prepare makis without fish (see below). So far, I’ve tried 2 brands: VBites and Loma Linda and now I can say I won’t miss salmon anymore… I lost my appetite for it anyway.

There are so many fish alternatives out there, I’m yet to try many more! Below are a few useful links to get you started:

Hopefully we will see more and more fish alternatives in the coming months or so, everywhere in the world… What’s your favourite alternative so far? If you haven’t tried any yet, would you give it a go?

Big Girl x

Global Warming & Climate Change: Is the Future Vegan?

protect nature and save the planet

Environmental topics have been discussed for centuries. Although it feels like it’s only started to become a popular discussion recently, not only from “hippy activists” but from everyone this time. Not sure if we really needed a worldwide pandemic to finally open our eyes, but it seems like it had an impact on people. My recent travels in Southeast Asia & the Pacific definitely contributed in my willingness to care more, it changed my mindset forever. Avoiding plastic and chemicals in products we use every day, recycling properly, prioritising walking over driving for short distances…etc. All of these actions are great and useful, but are they enough?

Current situation in 2021

Let’s start with a definition of two key terms. “Global warming” is due to human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere. Whereas “Climate change” refers to both human and naturally produced warming, as well as the effects it has on our planet. Now let’s move to what’s happening and what will happen if we don’t do anything. The planet has warmed by an average of nearly 1°C in the past century. Human activity is said to be the dominant influence on the environment, climate, and ecology. So far, these changes have already had drastic impacts on all life on Earth.

If we don’t do anything and the planet keeps warming up faster than the natural process, we will face disastrous consequences. It would mean floods or droughts on various areas, the destruction of rainforests, and even the extinction of many other species. This list is not exhaustive and the speed temperatures are rising is now faster than ever before. To some degree (no pun intended), climate change is a natural phenomenon. But global warming is man-made… Which also means we can do something about it. Do you want to know what your environmental footprint is? WWF will calculate it for you by taking this quick questionnaire.

isolated house on ice melting
Trust me, I wish it wasn’t true.

How our diet impacts the planet

Our diet plays a huge part in our carbon footprint. Food is responsible for a quarter of global emissions. And almost 60% of food emissions come from animal products. Beef has the biggest carbon footprint, by far. And the main issue is the amount of beef that the world currently demands. The global population getting richer only makes things worse. We are asking big agriculture for more meat than we can sustainably produce. In comparison, a portion of the highest-impact vegetable proteins emits less than the lowest-impact animal proteins…

Some figures about what we eat (provided by Friends of the Earth):

  • 14.5% of global climate changing gases are due to meat and dairy production (more than all forms of transport)
  • 50% of habitable land around the world is used to produce food
  • 45,000 early deaths could be prevented in the UK every year if we ate low meat diets
  • Over 10 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK annually
  • 8 billion animals are killed for meat every year in the UK

These figures are shocking. The fact that half of the world’s habitable land is used for agriculture should ring alarm bells. Basically, we need to buy less meat, milk, cheese and butter – but also eat more locally sourced seasonal food, and throw less of it away. Would you be prepared to change your diet for the planet?

What we can do about it

Eating more sustainable meat can already make a big difference. But less meat is nearly always better for your carbon footprint than sustainable meat. It is absolutely essential to reduce your meat consumption to curb climate change. Is going vegan the answer? The climate impact of plant-based foods is typically 10 to 50 times smaller than that of animal products. So of course a plant-based diet would drastically help reduce emissions. Switching to veganism (completely plant-based) would deliver the largest emissions savings, followed by vegetarianism (including eggs and dairy) – It’s no surprise. Bearing that in mind, you don’t have to go that far if you’re not willing to. To sum things up nicely:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Michael Pollan

The bottom line

For some people, completely cutting out meat and dairy is not an option. If that’s your case, thankfully there are plenty of other ways to contribute! For example:

  • Go flexitarian
  • Eat vegetarian one day a week
  • Ban meat from your breakfasts
  • Eat more whole and locally grown foods
  • Reduce food waste
  • Eat less junk food
  • Eat smaller portions

I previously shared 3 awesome tofu recipes if you’re willing to give plant proteins a go to help reduce your meat consumption. You could also just cut out beef from your diet. Switching to pork, cod, chicken or soya beans could drastically reduce CO2 emissions. But personally, I do think the future is vegan. It’s a matter of time before consumers force food industries to adapt to the new demands. Have you already taken a step in that direction?

Big Girl x

Honey: Health Benefits vs Negative Impact on Our Eco-System

Honey: Health Benefits vs Negative Impact on Our Eco-System

I absolutely love honey, it’s something I’ve always considered “natural” and healthy (if consumed with moderation, of course… like most things). Many years ago, I met a vegan guy who told me that honey was a no-go in their diet. I thought it made no sense… Bees produce honey anyway, right? It’s a very natural thing for them to do, so we might as well include it in our diet. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to explain to me the reasons why they didn’t consider it ethical. It’s only now that I’m wondering how I have stayed in the dark for so long. Information is key, so I finally tried to find out more on the matter. What are the health benefits and what impact does it have on the planet? Does it compensate? Shouldn’t we care?

Honey has health benefits

On top of its appealing golden texture and delicious taste, honey is good for many things. You would have to get a high-quality one to get the most of it though, as in not mixed with syrup – just be careful and read the label properly before buying it. Honey is rich in antioxidants and is a great alternative to sugar, or is “less bad” for diabetics. It can help reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure but also help to lower cholesterol. Honey can help with your throat when you catch a cold too (in your tea, as a form of a sweet you can find in the pharmacy, etc).

Note that the health benefits of honey are counterbalanced by the fact it’s very high in calories and sugar, so moderation is always key! Otherwise, it is known that honey is a good antibacterial and can treat burns, wounds and other conditions when applied directly to the skin.

Why honey is not vegan

People would often assume honey is vegan-friendly, but it’s not. I used to think it was purely because this product came from bees (insects do matter too, you know) and in my opinion, it was pushing the will to “defend nature” a bit too far and at the time I simply discarded the idea, shrugging my shoulders at it. I was convinced bees would produce honey for us anyway so what was the issue?

Today, I know that was a common misconception that couldn’t be further away from the truth… Honey is something bees produce for themselves as a source of energy to survive during winter months, not for humans. But as the health benefits of honey are becoming common knowledge, the whole industry needs to meet increasing demands. It means that beekeepers, like any other businesses, will aim to increase their revenue and decrease their costs to maximise profit. How do they do that?

  • They specifically breed honey bees to increase productivity. This selective breeding narrows the population gene pool and increases susceptibility to disease. So, if you thought honey production was good for the environment, the diseases spread to the thousands of other pollinators we rely on would show otherwise.
  • When they remove honey from a hive, they replace it with a sugar substitute for the bees, who don’t even get the essential micro-nutrients of honey they produce for their survival.
  • They clip the wings of the Queen bees so they can’t leave the hive and produce a new colony elsewhere, as it would reduce their profit.
  • Post-harvest, it’s common to cull the hives to keep the costs down.

We’re basically using bees as our slaves to produce food that is not even meant for us. We’re disrupting our eco-system by artificially increasing production so we can steal away something that is not ours (and not even in a nice way). Veganism doesn’t just seek to exclude cruelty but also exploitation. Good news is there are several good alternatives to honey that are plant-based: date syrup, maple syrup, agave syrup, golden syrup, butterscotch syrup, etc.

Why bees are so important

We actually owe many thanks to these hard-working and under-appreciated insects! Some plants can rely only on the wind to pollinate but the big majority of them have to rely on animal pollinators such as bees, but also bats, moths, butterflies, hummingbirds, ants, and beetles. They need their help to produce fruits and seeds. If bees were to disappear, our food options would look much different. Do you want to know what would be missing? Foods that rely on bees include: apples, avocados, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, green onions, honeydew, kale, leeks, lemons, limes, mangos, onions, watermelons and zucchini (just to name a few!). At least a third of our food supply would no longer be available… In short, bees are easily amongst the most important insects to humans on Earth, and if they’re in danger, we have a big problem.

Further reading & Useful resources

So… Should we eat honey?

Whether you’ve decided to go vegan or not, honey stays a debatable topic that raises ethical questions. On my end, I’ve decided to finish the big pot of honey left in my cupboard and then replace it with maple syrup in the future. The rule is quite simple for me: if it’s an easy swap, then it’s definitely worth doing. What matters the most is to ask yourself the right questions, so you can be in a position to say that you know exactly WHY you’re choosing to consume this product – or not. Just remember that everything you buy is a vote for the industry which made it.

Would you replace honey with a vegan alternative?

Big Girl x

10 Easy Eco-Swaps I’ve Made in My Bathroom

There are a lot of things we can do to be more conscious of the environment, like recycling, turning the light off when not in the room, avoiding the car for short trips, etc. These are good actions that hopefully most people have already adopted, but how about the easy swaps we can all make in our home? Our consumption of plastic worldwide keeps increasing and that results in more and more pollution. Maybe another day I’ll write a post about how badly plastic affects human health as well as wildlife. In the meantime, I’ve tried some eco-friendly products and see how they compare with the usual products we can find in supermarkets, starting with my bathroom. Are they worth the swap? Let’s find out below:

Dental care

1. Toothpaste tablets

I tried: Toothpaste tablets (with fluoride) by EcoLiving
My review: I loved the idea of using tablets instead of the paste we’re used to, but I wasn’t sure how effective it would be. It feels a bit like you’re eating a mint at first, then it surprisingly foams once you start brushing with a wet toothbrush. If anything, it can sometimes feel like you haven’t got enough toothpaste in your mouth but that’s probably because a unique tablet forces you to consume no more than the right amount (we’re probably all guilty of putting too much toothpaste on our toothbrush). I really like this product and will 100% keep using it. Not to mention it’s super convenient to travel.
Why it’s good for you: I don’t think I got to the bottom of what’s best between toothpaste with fluoride and toothpaste without (both options are available anyway so you choose what you prefer). Apart from that, it’s great to know exactly how long it’s going to last. It’s as effective as a classic toothpaste and keeps your mouth fresh after use.
Why it’s good for the planet: You can keep the tin box and refill it every month or so, the refill bag is plant-based home compostable so you can recycle it easily. This product is vegan and plastic-free.

2. Mouthwash tablets

I tried: Mouthwash tablets by Georganics
My review: It’s also a great idea to use mouthwash with tablets but the inconvenience is you need a glass to dissolve it into water, and it takes a while. It’s good to start dissolving it while you’re flossing then brushing your teeth to give it enough time to be ready on time (you might forget about it if you have to wait another 3 minutes after you’ve finished your dental routine!). I was used to Listerine and the burning sensation associated to most mouthwashes that made me feel like it killed all bacteria (without distinction between the good and the bad ones). In comparison, these mouthwash tablets feel very gentle and don’t burn at all so it’s probably safer to use in the long term.
Why it’s good for you: Unlike mouthwashes which contain alcohol, these natural tablets help to restore a healthy pH balance to your mouth. Without being aggressive, they maintain good oral health and freshen your breath, a little bit like after you chew a spearmint gum!
Why it’s good for the planet: It’s PETA cruelty-free and vegan certified. The packaging is plastic-free, recyclable & biodegradable. The product itself is only made with pure, natural and organic ingredients, sourced as locally as possible.

3. Dental floss

I tried: Dental floss (vegan) by Bambaw
My review: It wouldn’t change much in your routine to use a vegan dental floss instead of any other similar products, so I’d say you might as well make the swap, it’s the easiest one! If there is a tiny difference, it’s the fact that the floss might be a little bit thicker than the ones I used before. I feel like it’s working better and is more efficient than others.
Why it’s good for you: On top of doing the job properly, it’s a very affordable product too compared to what you can find in supermarkets. It also has a refreshing peppermint touch. It’s a super easy eco-swap that won’t change your habits and you’ll do something good for the planet.
Why it’s good for the planet: This dental floss is made from bioplastic (corn starch), which is as strong as plastic but made from renewable resources and compostable in an industrial compost. You can keep and reuse the refillable dispenser, made of glass and stainless steel. Refills are packaged in a cardboard box.

Hair products

4. Shampoo bar

I tried: Shampoo bar (mango) by Superfly Soap
My review: I’ve been warned about the transition period when you swap from traditional liquid shampoos to shampoo bars, but I actually thought it was really easy to use! I was a bit worried it wouldn’t foam enough or that I wouldn’t feel like I was washing my hair properly, but it’s working wonders. I suppose your hair type could influence how easy the transition will be for you. I love the fact that my hair feels drier than usual (they usually get oily easily), keeping a subtle “waxy” feeling on the touch that is actually quite nice. Some people advice to use apple cider vinegar to remove all residue but I didn’t feel I needed to. Using a shampoo bar also decreases the frequency I wash my hair. Finally, I always thought getting water in my eyes was the reason they got red after washing my hair but it turns out it was more likely to be my previous shampoo! There are so many chemicals in traditional mainstream shampoos, I threw mine away immediately when I realised my new shampoo stopped my eyes from being irritated.
Why it’s good for you: Traditional shampoos in plastic bottles strip away the natural oil production of your hair with too many chemicals within the ingredients. Stopping the use of these nasty products will allow your hair to produce its own natural oil again and it will eventually feel softer and more manageable. Plus a shampoo bar seems to last forever (I have yet to find out how long exactly as I’ve only just started using it last month). It’s available in a lot of exciting fragrance options, according to your hair type: normal to dry (mango, orange spice, coconut, avocado & banana or unscented) or normal to oily (lemongrass).
Why it’s good for the planet: For a start, there is no plastic there. It’s vegan-friendly and free of nasties such as SLS, palm oil, and of course cruelty-free. It uses a cold process method that excludes the animal fats that are traditionally used.

5. Conditioner bar

I tried: Conditioner bar (mango) by Superfly Soap
My review: First impression: it smells amazing! I don’t like the taste of mango but I’ve always loved the smell of this fruit, which I think is even better with the conditioner bar (this is fine because that’s what you use last). I find this product quite difficult to use though, it doesn’t foam and it’s hard to tell if you’ve put enough on your hair. I don’t feel it detangles my hair either, so I probably need to keep using it and see how it improves over time.
Why it’s good for you: The size is smaller than the shampoo bar (40g vs 100g) and the shape is also different (round vs rectangular) so there’s no way you can get confused between the two! You have matching fragrance options available too: mango, orange, coconut, banana, lemongrass or unscented.
Why it’s good for the planet: Same as above.

6. Shampoo & Body wash bar

I tried: Beauty kubes (unisex) shampoo & body wash by Eve of St Agnes
My review: I’ve heard a lot about this product so I was really keen to try but I personally didn’t think it was as good as the shampoo bar. The texture is way different, it falls apart under water so you can crush it very easily. It’s probably meant to be that way though, as a full “kube” is recommended per use. I suppose it could be a great alternative if a shampoo bar is not right for you and it’s also super convenient to carry if you’re travelling somewhere.
Why it’s good for you: There are 27 “beauty kubes” in the box and it’s suitable for all sexes. You can use it for both hair and body, which is always convenient. The fragrance is super nice: an infusion of lemongrass, bergamot, cedarwood and sweet orange essential oils. You can also buy it as a sample / travel size of 3 cubes.
Why it’s good for the planet: It’s vegan, cruelty-free and doesn’t contain any nasties: no palm oil, sulphate or silicone. The packaging is 100% plastic-free & plant-based, the home compostable film is derived from the cellulose of wood pulp.

Face & Makeup

7. Facial soap

I tried: Facial soap salvia green (vegan, for oily skin) by Amorphous Soaps
My review: This is another easy swap to make in your bathroom, it works just like a soap you would use to wash your hands but for your face. It doesn’t smell as good as fruity fragrances but I picked salvia green because of my skin type. The soap makes my skin drier, to a point I need to moisturise afterwards so I would say it works quite well! But maybe I should have picked the soap for combined skin (rhassoul rose) instead.
Why it’s good for you: These soaps are handmade and formulated with especially selected ingredients for different skin types, using an unique essential oil combination to soothe and nourish your skin. Salvia green is suitable for vegans but the other fragrances are not, because they use honey within the ingredients.
Why it’s good for the planet: It’s obviously plastic-free, the packaging and labels are made from recycled brown paper. The soap is also free of palm oil. Only salvia green is vegan-friendly.

8. Reusable make-up remover pads

I tried: Bamboo reusable make-up face pads by Bambaw
My review: I thought it would be great to have reusable make-up remover pads instead of buying cotton pads or wipes, but the truth is I didn’t have the occasion to try them out just yet… It’s been lockdown for a long time and no need to apply make-up in the first place (not that I wear much of it usually anyway…). I’m very excited by this product though. There are 2 different types of pads: one for sensitive areas and one for cleaning more tenacious products. What I like about it is the cotton laundry bag provided with it, it allows you to clean them all together in the washing machine once used. More information on this product in their manual.
Why it’s good for you: Despite the fact that you won’t have to constantly buy new cotton pads? Classic cotton pads lint very easily, which could be annoying, and they’re also chemically treated to make them soft and white. At least this product doesn’t involve any harmful chemicals.
Why it’s good for the planet: Cotton shouldn’t be used only once: it takes 20,000 litres of water to produce just 1 kg of cotton and requires 16% of all insecticides in the world. On the other hand, bamboo is considered the world’s most renewable material, absorbing 5 times more carbon dioxide and producing 35% more oxygen than trees. These pads use only 20% cotton and up to 80% bamboo viscose.


9. Crystal deodorant

I tried: Potassium Alum Crystal Deo Stick by Biork
My review: I was already convinced by this product as I’ve been using myself a crystal deodorant using potassium alum too (from Salt of the Earth). But it’s the fiancé I was trying to convince with this product! It’s quite expensive but I wasn’t taking too much risk by buying it. Potassium alum is a mineral compound made up of potassium and alum crystals, which means it’s a completely natural deodorant. I think it’s important to be careful with the type of product we use on this sensitive area of our body. My partner is now very happy to use it instead of classic deodorants available in supermarkets, which means you can trust the fact it’s working well (he’s not the most inclined to any type of change usually!). You basically just have to wet the product and glide it gently right after your shower. Then just let it dry for a few seconds and you’re covered.
Why it’s good for you: It’s completely natural so you know it doesn’t contain any alcohol or harmful chemical ingredients. It lasts forever… Just remember to dry the stick after use to preserve it even longer. It’s hypoallergenic so perfect for sensitive skin, and fragrance-free.
Why it’s good for the planet: Vegan and cruelty-free (which I suppose go together), it doesn’t include any aluminium chlorides and is 100% natural. The container is made of cork, which is a renewable resource, recommended by nature conservation associations. Given how long it lasts, you won’t need to buy another one for a very long time!

Reusable Cotton bud

10. The last swab

I tried: LastSwab Basic (peach) by LastObject
My review: I’ve been looking for such a product for ages and this is the one everyone was talking about so I had to give it a go. The case provided is cute and super convenient, allowing you to protect it and carry it around if needed. It was smaller than I expected but it’s quite solid. There are plenty of colours available so everyone can have their own within the family. After use, you simply have to clean it with soap and water and put it back in its case. I feel like it actually cleans way better than traditional one-use only cotton buds.
Why it’s good for you: It’s easy to make things worse with a normal cotton bud by adding extra cotton strands in your ears… A reusable one is not only more efficient but also more practical.
Why it’s good for the planet: The swab ends are TPE, the rod is plastic, and the case is PLA which is made of corn and is biodegradable. It’s so durable that it is meant to replace thousands of single-use cotton swabs!

Among these 10 products, there is nothing I regret trying… I fully intend to keep using them so I would say these eco-swaps were definitely worth it! I think starting with the bathroom was probably the easiest for me, although there are still many things I can still swap in our home. It’s not as straight forward as simply buying these products in a classic supermarket, it requires a little more research and a specialised online shop (preferably based in your country) to order them from. But if it’s good for you and the planet, why wouldn’t we all give it a try?

Big Girl x

Christmas Tips to Have a Festive Season That Won’t Cost the Earth (literally)

It’s that period of the year when most of us consume more than usual. Maybe we could expect this Christmas to be even more shameless than usual because of what we’ve all been through with the pandemic. It’s not yet behind us but we all deserve to indulge ourselves at the end of the year, right? It feels like a legitimate reward for surviving 2020 so far. It would be great to do this without harming the planet too much though, especially if it doesn’t represent too much of a hassle. After all, Christmas is about sharing and we all have to share the same planet (at least until they find another planet we can move into… but I wouldn’t count on it too much personally).


In the UK, people are allowed to mix with 2 other households during 5 days (23rd-27th December). Chances are many will travel long distances to meet with their family and friends. Taking the plane is one of the largest carbon impacts an individual can have, so if possible it’s always better to avoid it. Sharing a car would lower the carbon footprint for each passenger and create less traffic on the roads. And if you can’t meet with everyone at the same time because of COVID restrictions this year, there is also the possibility to video chat!

Christmas food

I know it’s hard and not in line with Christmas indulgence habits, but try and estimate food portions more appropriately. Don’t over cater if there is a good chance it’s going to end up in the bin. I know it’s tradition but do you really need all these Brussel sprouts on the table (who really likes them anyway…)? Don’t forget that beef and cheese have a very high carbon footprint, so if you can think of a better alternative, go for it instead. Make sure you use leftovers after Christmas, share them around if there’s too much to eat (hence why it’s a good idea to prepare the right amount of food beforehand).


Cooking that big turkey requires the oven switched on for hours… Which is an excellent opportunity to turn the heating off as the oven will warm up the home nicely. No one wants to wear their festive Christmas jumpers if it’s too warm inside anyway! Choose LED lights for your illuminations as they can be used for years to come.

Christmas gifts

When it comes to giving, you want to do things right. Below are a few ideas on how to make someone happy, buy smart and preserve the planet at the same time:

  • If you’re clueless what to buy, it’s a good idea to ask what they need
  • Don’t buy anything that is unnecessary or will not be used
  • Opt for gifts that are made locally and close to home
  • Think of activities or experiences like a nature day out, a cooking class, etc
  • If you’re looking for electrical equipment (such as TV, fridge, etc), pick the most energy efficient
  • Do your shopping online, it will save you a trip and reduce your emissions from travel
  • Use recyclable wrapping paper, or make your own with old newspapers, magazines, etc
This year I’m using naturally degradable craft paper to wrap my presents, before putting them under the tree (I have my little elf to help me out, as you can see).

Of course you might receive gifts that are really not good for the planet because they’re full of plastic or contain harmful ingredients, especially products for the bathroom. You can’t educate everyone on the matter and it might ruin Christmas spirit to tell them off for that mistake. Just be thankful it comes from good intentions and if you’re not happy with it, why not give them away to charity? You could also re-gift them to someone who would enjoy it more than you (no one will know unless you tell).

Christmas tree

Finally, there is also the debate: real vs fake Christmas tree. Opinions differ but no matter what you go for, there are many ways to make it more sustainable. Basically, a real tree is better for the planet but you’ll have to recycle it properly. A fake tree is also an acceptable option, as long as you’re planning to make it last at least 10 years (so pick a good quality one!).

What action(s) are you taking this year to be more environmentally friendly?

Big Girl x

Christmas Debate For The Environment: Real or Artificial Tree?

real or artificial tree for christmas

I remember walking down a residential street in London after Christmas, 2 years ago. It was full of pine trees left on the pavement, waiting to be collected… Not only was it annoying for pedestrians, but it really looked like a long tree cemetery. I imagined them talking to each other: “Oh you’ve been chopped too? Now they’re getting rid of us like a vulgar piece of rubbish”. Ok, I know it’s weird to imagine trees speaking… But they used to be living things after all. I think it’s cruel to cut them just for a few weeks. For that reason, I’ve always preferred a fake tree for Christmas. But now I’m starting to wonder if it is indeed the right choice for the planet. What if fake trees are actually worse for the environment? I have gone through the pros & cons for both options below.

Should I buy a real tree for Christmas?

Buying a real tree would allow me to have different decoration styles at home if I ever fancy a change. Maybe I’ll go for a different size, shape and/or type of tree each year for example. It smells good too. It makes me feel like I’m bringing nature inside and that is not something a fake tree can provide. And maybe it’s actually good for the planet, because if people didn’t buy them, farmers wouldn’t plant them! Pine trees take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen during the 8-12 years it takes to grow to a reasonable height, which is cleaning the air and helping slow climate change. But then, what do I do with it once Christmas is over? I’m sure I can recycle it, somewhere, somehow… but it seems like a hassle. Also, I can’t help but thinking it’s not right to remove these trees from their roots.

… Or should I buy a fake tree instead?

Most artificial trees are made of plastic and manufactured in China, so it’s actually not the best option for the planet because its contribution to global warming is much higher than a real local tree (if it’s then recycled properly). They sell really nice looking ones though, real trees don’t always look better. And they’ll probably be cheaper in the long term depending on their quality. Not to mention it will save me from doing tree shopping every Christmas. I’ll already have it at home ready to be unpacked and reused. Of course they don’t smell as good as a real tree but at least they don’t lose their needles (my 2 cats would definitely spread them everywhere). But then, keeping it means I need to store it and it takes quite some space…

I opted for an artificial tree myself a few years ago. It comes with artificial snow, fake pine cones, fake berries and LED lights all around (really convenient!). It has 3 parts that are super easy to assemble or dissemble, it takes less space that way. But according to the Carbon Trust, we will have to reuse it at least 10 years to have a lower environmental impact than that of a real tree. Challenge accepted. Below our (fake) Christmas tree and our (very real) cats wearing their Christmas jumpers, proudly for one, reluctantly for the other…

my cats wearing their jumper in front of our christmas tree

The bottom line: what’s the better choice?

I mean, the lowest carbon footprint would be to ditch the tradition and not having a tree at all… But it doesn’t really feel like Christmas if there’s no pine tree, does it? Below is my conclusion on the matter:

If you opt for a real tree:

  • Look up where the tree is coming from before you buy it (although it seems there is no need to worry so much about deforestation anymore as most of them come from a horticultural crop and aren’t felled from pre-existing forests).
  • Buy local so your money helps providing employment in the agricultural sector, it will have a lower carbon footprint too because less transport is needed.
  • Find out beforehand how to recycle it so it can be turned into compost – does your local council offer a Christmas tree collection service for example?
  • If you have space in your garden or on your balcony, why don’t you keep it as a permanent tree? (You would need to buy a potted tree with roots in that case).

If you opt for a fake tree:

  • Keep using it and make it last as long as possible!
  • When it’s time to replace it, consider other options like a real tree or decorating existing plants you may already have at home.

What did you go for? Did this post make you change your mind about your decision?

Big Girl x

How Can We Have a Positive Impact on the Environment?

Let’s face it, we’re in this situation partly because we haven’t taken care of our planet well enough so far. Our environment and the current pandemic are strongly linked together and it’s more important than ever to act before it’s too late. I know this is just another post on the matter but the more people talking about it the better.

How can we help the planet as individuals?

I’m not going to talk about what the Government should do, they’re often too slow to react and I believe individuals can make a huge difference already. It’s a matter of making the right decision when you do have a choice that doesn’t really affect your life. It’s about bearing in mind that your actions do have an impact and making small changes in your routine is definitely worth it! It has more impact for the planet if everyone changes their lifestyle a little rather than a minority taking drastic measures.

“In a world of more than seven billion people, each of us is a drop in the bucket. But with enough drops, we can fill any bucket.”

David Suzuki

Use your car less

Ask yourself if you could you walk instead, or take your bike. Otherwise public transport would still be a better option, if you can. Maybe you could commit to use your car only during the weekend for example? There is also the possibility to drive an electric car rather than one using petrol or diesel. On our end, we don’t have a car anymore and most of the time, we don’t miss it. When we do need a car, we hire just for a day or two.

Eat less meat

It’s not about becoming vegetarian or vegan (unless you really want to!) but at least limit your consumption of meat, especially beef and lamb. You can read this interesting article talking about how beef is way more damaging to the planet than white meat for example. Dairy is not great either, personally I’ve replaced cow’s milk with plant-based milk in my diet (it’s also more digestible and better for your health so it’s a win-win).

Shop less often

Everything we buy has a carbon footprint. You could shop more “green”, but sometimes it’s even better to just shop less (and live more – to save the planet). Think about reusing things a bit more for example, like selling rather than throwing away, buying second hand rather than new.

Use more reusable accessories

We have a tendency to buy some things out of habits or tradition without even thinking of the impact it can have on the planet. Some things are easy to change though, for example: use silicon lids instead of cling film, a reusable coffee cup instead of a disposable one, metal straws instead of plastic ones, tissue paper instead of wrapping paper etc.

Talk more about it

Don’t underestimate the impact of your words on your friends and family, or even colleagues. Maybe you’ll inspire someone else? When you make a sustainable-oriented decision, other people around you do too because we influence each other.

Sometimes you just can’t avoid that car trip, really crave for that steak or forgot to bring your reusable cup to the office. It’s fine, you can always compensate with a green initiative! Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Donate to an environmental charity (here are a few options)
  • Recycle items for DIY or give old objects a second life
  • Plant a tree if you have a garden
  • Opt for sustainable energy in your home (solar panels, low carbon heating options etc)
  • Volunteer to be part of a green charity
  • Educate yourself more by reading about 30 Ways to Be More Eco Friendly in 2020

What small changes have you already made in your habits?

Big Girl x

The Great Barrier Reef Is Shrinking… It’s Time to Act

In January this year I’ve been lucky enough to see the Great Barrier Reef during my trip in Australia. I could have snorkelled there but I wasn’t comfortable under water and I was worried about hurting the fragile coral. So I did a scenic flight instead and saw it from above. It was probably the best way to appreciate how big this natural wonder of the world is. It stretches over 2,300 km!

I took this picture from the scenic flight tour, you can see the famous “Heart Reef” on the right. How beautiful is this?

David Attenborough talks about the impact of climate change on sea life in his movie A Life on Our Planet (hope you’ve watched it by now) and this is pretty alarming. The world’s largest reef system has lost half of its coral since 1995. They provide habitat for fish and other marine life, so if coral disappears it means sea life also disappears. Too much stress on these corals drives them to “bleach”, meaning they lose their algae which normally gives them their colour.

“We used to think the Great Barrier Reef is protected by its sheer size – but our results show that even the world’s largest and relatively well-protected reef system is increasingly compromised and in decline.”

Terry Hughes, Professor of Marine Biology

You may think that the Planet warming up by only 1°C is not much… But according to an IPCC special report, 90% of the world’s corals would be wiped out if it reaches 1.5°C by the end of this century. How do we stop this path of destruction?

The Government can always put in place new measures to try and save the planet but it is not going to be enough… I personally believe the biggest part has to come from individuals. It’s the general mindset that needs to change. This is a list of ideas of what we can all do:

  • Buy less meat, milk, cheese and butter
  • Buy more locally sourced seasonal food
  • Throw less food away
  • Walk or cycle when possible, instead of taking the car
  • Prioritise trains and buses instead of planes
  • Use video conferences instead of business travels
  • Make sure our home is well insulated

There are so many ways to contribute, I found a very good article from another blog here for example: 22 Ways to Save the Planet in 2020. On my end, I completely banned cow milk at home or products made with it. Various milk alternatives are so much better anyway that it makes it easy to replace. I reduced my consumption of red meat to once or twice a month only and prioritise fish more. I cook fresh products, from a farm or market whenever I can, and don’t throw anything away (it’s easier when you know what portion you need!). I include plant-based meals in my diet like Huel once a day. Since we moved in London, we don’t own a car anymore. This is not much but if it doesn’t represent a big sacrifice it should be done!

“You might say you don’t have control over land use, but you do have control over what you eat and that determines land use.”

Doctor Debra Roberts, IPCC Co-Chair

What is your way to contribute in this battle to stop hurting the planet?

Big Girl x

Even Mobile Games Join the Fight to Save the Planet

Even mobile games join the fight to help save the planet

I remember when I used to play Angry Birds 10 years ago when it was still new. But then I got my first full-time job and I realised I spent too much time playing games so I removed them from my phone. It stayed that way for many years… Until lockdown happened earlier this year and I remembered how I used to fly these famous birds to destroy these nasty pigs. The game is now even better than it was before. But what if I told you that Angry Birds (among others) can also help save the planet??

“There’s something like three billion people with mobile phones and half of them are gamers. As an industry, we have a massive reach in comparison to other entertainment mediums. We feel like there is an opportunity and increasingly an imperative for us to do something.”

John Earner, Co-Founder of Space Ape

“Play for the Planet”, it’s pretty catchy. How does it work though? It’s not that easy to see the link between mobile games and environment… Well, if you consider that the video games industry is the fastest growing in the world, it would be a shame not to use its reach for a good cause! It’s becoming urgent to act now for the planet, so the biggest names in the gaming industry are acting together to create real-world impact via their most popular games. Now they’re on a mission to create environmental themes and raise awareness by gamifying real topics!

“We’re excited to see the gaming industry throw its weight behind global efforts to reverse the climate crisis. The climate emergency needs all hands on deck. In reaching out to 250 million gamers, we hope to inspire audiences to take climate action.”

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme

I didn’t realise Angry Birds was so invested in saving the planet until I noticed that event on my screen a few days ago – All players from the entire world having to pop as many pigs as possible to reach the goal of 6,500,000,000 (it gives you an idea on how popular this game is). I thought the initiative was absolutely brilliant so I had to share it with you. The link when you tap to find out more is Plant for the Planet.

angry birds for the planet

It turns out Angry Birds has been fighting against climate change for many years already! I’m still unsure how I missed previous campaigns such as Angry Birds Friends: Champions for Earth (“Angry Birds get angry about climate change”) back in 2005. This makes me feel more hopeful about our future, it’s the youngest generations that we need to educate about the impact of global warming and it’s mostly for them that we need to save our planet. This is definitely a great step in the right direction.

So… How many pigs have you popped so far?

Big Girl x

David Attenborough’s Message: A life On Our Planet

A life on our planet

I’ve been waiting for this documentary to be released for a while… It finally got available on Netflix yesterday! As a nature lover, I couldn’t wait any longer to watch it. I’ll tell you why you should watch it too. David Attenborough‘s life is fascinating. He was born at the right moment to be able to travel the world like never before, see the world like never before, show images like never before… But he also witnessed how humans started to destroy the planet, leaving less and less space for wildlife to sustain.

A man’s lifetime

This documentary shows how the planet evolved during his lifetime, what it could become if we don’t act now, but also how we can make changes to save it. It’s a reality check, an eye-opener and it doesn’t sugar-coat anything. It brings tears on your face, shows images that are not for the faint-hearted so you won’t be able to ignore what’s happening anymore. Everyone needs to see this, changes won’t happen overnight but our future looks pretty grim if we don’t act.

“This film is my witness statement, and my vision for the future. The story of how we came to make this, our greatest mistake, and how, if we act now, we can yet make it right.”

David Attenborough

It’s not a pretty picture

From the moment Attenborough was born until now, the population of our planet has almost quadrupled, while the space left to wildlife has been halved. “We’re replacing the wild with the tame.”, he says. The atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen considerably. The temperature on Earth has increased by 1 degree, which resulted in a loss of 40% of the sea ice we used to have in Antarctica. The evidence is in front of us.

“Our planet is headed for disaster. We need to learn how to live with nature, rather than against it.”

David Attenborough

Endangered species

If you don’t have Netflix, the documentary Extinction: The Facts is also available on BBC player and is quite similar in the way that it also explores how this crisis of biodiversity has consequences for us all. We gathered the family (which includes me, my partner and our 2 cats) in front of our 65 inch TV to watch it together. Our oldest cat didn’t seem so bothered (as you would expect from a cat) but our 6 months old kitten was more than intrigued… Especially when they showed images of the poor koala trying to escape from the burning forest (see picture below). In this documentary, Attenborough suggests the global warming impact caused by humans makes us more prone to pandemics. We are disrupting our biodiversity.

luna in front of extinctions bbc documentary

It got personal

It’s particularly emotional for me as I was there when Australia had a “dark summer”. I’ve seen fires starting out of the blue just because of scorching temperatures, I’ve been to the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie and witnessed the damages on wildlife. I’ve also seen the grey sky lingering over Sydney and breathed what was probably not the best air I’ve ever breathed… It’s always a lot scarier when it’s in front of you because you can’t pretend the media exaggerates things. It is very real.

So… Have you watched it yet? Who else needs to watch it?

Big Girl x