Several years ago I thought it would be a good idea to try to be more eco friendly in some of my choices, particularly in relation to cleaning products. I tried a few of the leading eco brands and tried making up my own vinegar and lemon cleaning spray. It smelled bad. The cleaning products didn’t live up to my expectations. I suspect my heart wasn’t quite in it. I wanted to make better choices, but not if that meant using inferior products. This sounds quite sensible but then I got to thinking about it. It doesn’t make much sense at all. If one of our roles as humans is to look after the planet as best we can, and I think it is, it seems odd to prioritise bubbliness over not harming the environment. So why did I think like that? That’s not such an easy question to answer. Maybe it is to do with the fact that it is socially acceptable to use the same products as the majority and it is not socially acceptable to be slightly smelly or to not have such a clean house, or just to be slightly different. This is uncomfortable.

I’ve recently started to look more closely at the products I use personally and to think about making choices that are more environmentally and socially sound. After all, it also seems encumbant on us to try to avoid exploiting one another.

I’m also a fan of The Blue Planet. It’s socially more acceptable now to be a bit more conscious of those issues and to try alternatives. That has also driven the market so that there is more choice and the choices are of higher quality. So I can’t allow myself any sense of smugness. I’m just following the crowd. Still, this crowd seems like a better crowd to follow.

So the things I have discovered so far:

the friendly soap company who make lovely soap including shampoo bars. Made in Yorkshire with only nice things and using a cold process.

funky soap which actually I like even more. There’s more stuff in their shampoo bars, made in London but it’s all good stuff as far as I can tell. They also do a refillable moisturiser which I have just ordered. Once you’ve used it up you return the tin for a refill. Seems like a good plan, and without plastic.

The natural deoderant company which I’ve just ordered from. About 20 years ago Ben used to use a rock deoderant thing that I was never quite convinced by. This company make a deoderant balm out of nice things. Lots of good reviews so I’m hoping it’s nice.

And my most favourite discovery of the year Lucy and Yak which sells the best ever dungarees of which I am a great fan. Ben is holding me to my word when I said I’m not going to wear anything else, which seemed like a good excuse to buy three pairs. They are a small company that do the Living Wage thing, use hand woven fabrics and have just my favourite type of comfy clothes. Back to the theme again: first I like them, second they are ethical. Ah well, at least I’m honest.

Anyone made other fabulous discoveries?


Birch is wondering whether it would be fun to walk by himself. The big children walked quietly into their new classes for a taster morning at their new school, and we walked round a rather dingy three bed semi for rent, a bit like our old one but not so nice. We are in transition. We are always in transition, just sometimes it’s more obvious than others. This time last year we were making the change from a family of four plus cat to a family of five. The cat is currently on holiday but we hope he’ll come back and be our “plus cat” again. We miss him.

Maybe that’s the trickiest thing about times of transition. You don’t quite know what you’ll miss when the change comes, you also know you’ll never get there, which is to say that you never get to a place of no change, at least not this side of the Big Box.

It did feel like a lot was changing today. Myrtle was pleased to be in purple rather than green. She still seems so small but she set her chin purposefully and in she went. What a fantastic thing, to watch your children face a challenge and have what they need to take it on and come out the other side, smiling. They both had a good morning at their new school. Myrtle found a girl who shares her birthday so obviously they will be friends. I think it was harder for Red; he’s going into year five where the friendships are firmer and the new children will always feel new. He is one of three new starters in his class which may help, and the teachers didn’t put the new kids together which is a good sign. They felt welcome, and Red’s class had a discussion about a book we have at home (The Giving Tree) so he was well prepared.

I am so relieved and very thankful. They are going to be OK. It’ll get harder, but won’t ever seem quite so scary again. And they turned out to be resilient and courageous. It wasn’t too much. It won’t be for me either.

Still waiting on the land.