I'm finding it partially very therapeutic and partially almost painful to read through old posts. Have only read the first few months of this blog for now. In many ways, I have come a long way since I started all this. But, in many other ways, I'm dismayed to have not come further and, in some cases, to have stayed exactly where i was or even gone backwards. I'm taking some small comfort from the fact that I am about to make a huge change (job - all very uncharted territory until I get a new one but getting closer to quitting day now). Today is my sister's second anniversary and it doesn't seem possible that it has been two years already. I still miss her just as much and go through periods where it doesn't seem possible to feel that much pain and keep going. But of course you do keep going and it passes on again until the next time I find myself thinking "must give A. a ring and tell her about that" or something similar.
At any rate, I do want to continue on with going through some of the old lists I printed to see where I was then and where I am now so here's an update (in red) on one very old list:
Chemical cleaning products at home - I decided when I wanted to switch to eco products that it would not be a good idea to simply flush away the products I already had and am still trying to use them up (a year later! I was always a sucker for special offers, didn't realise how much I of a stock I had built up). At this stage I think I'll try and give them away. - If I remember correctly I ended up trying to use up what I had and eventually, months, if not years later ended up bringing them to the recycling centre, which had a hazardous waste disposal section. These days I mostly use vinegar and bread soda, with a handful of eco products (toilet cleaner and washing-up liquid from Frosch, mostly, although I also mostly use vinegar and bicarb to clean the toilet with. I’ve lived here for seven years and think I’ve bought toilet cleaner twice or three times).
Shower gel/body lotions etc. - as above, I've been using up what I had. Nearly finished. - Well, a few months after this I gave up shampoo altogether. Nowadays the only one you’ll find in my place is the leftover bottle from when my brother came to visit. Handy to have something when visitors are looking because they’ve forgotten their own and/or only had hand luggage so didn’t bring many liquids. As for shower gel, well, I mostly use proper soap nowadays (will get to making my own soon, really I will). I do also have a Weleda lemon shower gel to use – just ‘cos sometimes it’s nice to have something different. And, again, if I have visitors, some don’t like to use soap. I had the body lotion thing sorted by starting to use the hemp oil and body butter from Innocent Oils but then Helen closed the company in order to focus more on her family. Still miss it and haven’t really found something good to replace it with. Mostly just grabbing stuff when I’m desperate. I currently have the following lying around. This is definitely one I need to work on.
Deodorant - tough one this. May use some holiday time to experiment with eco products - it took me years to find a "conventional" one that works for me. – I went all around the houses on this one. Used rock crystal for a long while, found it mostly great and then at some stage it just sort of seemed to stop working almost all the time and I was frequently quite stinky. Then I got a skin infection under one arm so I dumped the rock crystal (it wasn’t the cause of it but had to get rid of it in case there were any nasties lurking, better safe than sorry and all that). I switched to Weleda lemon deodorant and it was pretty good but not consistently so and for the most part, I’m back to just using a conventional one. I do still use the Weleda sometimes but mostly when I’m off work and it’s not such a big deal if I end up a bit smelly. The whole thing is a bit of a mystery to me really – no matter what I use, I will still have occasional days where within a couple of hours I stink. And other days are completely fine. It’s all a bit strange but I’m not inclined to spend the time monitoring my life/diet so closely that I’d be able to find any patterns. For the most part, I know that cleaning myself properly once a day is the best way to not smell unpleasant.
Toothpaste - need to replace soon and will try Kingfisher or similar brand. – I now use the Weleda ratanhia toothpaste. Tried a couple of the others but didn’t like them. Sometimes miss the minty-fresh feeling of your standard toothpaste but then when I use a standard one it seems so strong and you end up with so much foam in your mouth that I’m happy to go back to my Weleda.
Make-up - I don't wear much so will stick with what I already have and think more about it if/when I need new stuff. – I dumped almost all of my make-up before moving to Germany. Kept lip-liners and eyeliners but pared them well. Also kept a few lipsticks that I’d never actually used (bought multiples trying to get a good match for when I was a bridesmaid for my sister’s wedding). About four years ago, when I first started seriously thinking about getting a new job, I got a few basic bits again (and got a few as a christmas present that year, too). But given the price of make-up these days and the fact that I still almost never wear any, I’m not really putting any thought into this one. I wear a very small amount for choir performances but just eye make-up and lipstick. The less I have used over the years on my skin, the more sensitive it seems to have gotten and I’d rather not aggravate it by slapping on foundation and multiple layers of whatever it is you slap on these days. In fact, I think the last time I wore full make-up was for my sister’s wedding (in 2006).
Face wipes - so convenient. Have been reducing use but can't quite give them up yet. – Have totally given these up. Well, I say totally but I do have a small travel pack that comes into service on those rare occasions (i.e. choir performances) when I need to remove make-up. Or just to freshen up between performing and heading out to celebrate all night long. But, I’ve acquired a couple more small Tupperware containers and started knitting my own cotton facecloths so just need to be a bit more organised in bringing a pre-soaked face cloth with me when needed. MFin3 also had a good idea that I might try out. Although if I buy the stuff to make those I'll have to make mega amounts to give to people as presents, I think - otherwise I could end up with more bottles hanging around for years.
Sanitary towels - have used organic ones before and they're okay, need to try and get them more often but they are more expensive. – Well, long-time readers will know that I first switched to washable pads (love!) and then finally, a few years ago, to the Mooncup (love!!!). Won’t ever go back to disposables and will try and encourage anyone who cares to listen to consider switching to non-disposable options. Actually, just looking at that old post again, Liz from Pocket Farm suggested the Diva Cup to me - that was the first time I had ever heard about it (and I actually thought she was sending me to a joke website at first).
Petrol - until I can afford a hybrid/runs on vegetable oil type car the only thing I can do about this is minimise my use of the car. Already use bus for to and from work. Must get fit enough to use bike. – Got rid of the car a few months before I left Ireland and don’t have one here at all. Have a monthly ticket for public transport, got a second-hand bike and am a member of several car-sharing programs (and even so haven’t driven a car here for more than two years). May someday need to get a car again, especially if I manage to end up living in the country or a small town but for now it’s just not necessary.
Philadelphia light - a Weight Watcher's necessity. I have a serious weight problem but eating more fresh food and less processed food will help a lot. There are certain products that are very useful in making low-fat meals and this is one of them. – And how very far I’ve come since writing this. Still very overweight but have learned so many new dishes and, more to the point, have changed my eating habits quite a bit so that what I do cook involves far more vegetables. And if I do use something like cream cheese it’s more often a full-fat version from a local farmer but using less of it. My use of processed foods has gone way down.
Colour catchers - can't afford to keep buying new white underwear. – Still use these. Feels like I really should find out what exactly they’re made of, do they decompose harmlessly and so on. But, as long as I’m only washing for one I think I’m going to continue needing these because I don’t feel like starting to only wear one colour clothes for the rest of my life. Actually, a quick google leads me to conflicting information. The company claims they're environmentally friendly (because of less washing mostly, I think) and that they're fully biodegradable. Comments from various other people online claim to want to stay away from them. However, without any actual information to back up their actions, I think I'll stick with them for now. I generally use one a week for the two or three small loads I might wash.
Clothes - don't buy many and because of my size don't have much choice anyway. When I lose weight I would also like to start looking at buying more organically. – Same here as well. I try to avoid buying clothes at all and when I really have to, can’t really afford to do anything but buy cheap (which in my size means C&A or M&S Mode, and occasionally on a trip back to Ireland Marks & Spencer (although they don’t do long in my size anymore so that’s less and less until I lose enough weight to get back into sizes that do have long versions) or Evans). Actually am reaching a stage of badly needing to get some new work clothes but hopefully the weightloss will continue this time and in a few months I’ll start fitting into other stuff I already have again.