How to use those ickle bits of soap and other helpful tips

Spending too much time on pinterest has really got me into looking at how I can reuse so much of what I would normally consider rubbish. If you follow me on Twitter you would have seen the t-shirt bracelet fiasco (I had so much fun!)

So in very much the same vain as those super crazy-organised eco peeps on Pinterest here are some great ways to make sure you are getting everything you can out of the stuff you buy from us:

soapnut soap from living naturallyUsing up all those little soap bits:

After using our gorgeous soapnut soaps and shampoos and you have a nice little collection of soapy bits, put them all into a small muslin bag. When you take your next shower or bath you will have a ready-made exfoliating mit complete with soap.

Another great use for those muslin bags for soap with bits:

living naturally coconutty shampoo barMe personally I love my luxurious soapnut soap with bits and my OJ without. But if you prefer it to be smooth the whole way, then here’s another little tip. With our Coconutty Shampoo Bar, put it into a muslin bag before you start soaping up that wonderful lather. Just put the bar in the bag, pull the drawstrings so it doesn’t slip out, and wet bag thoroughly and rub. Once it is all lathered up rub on hair, wash, rinse, condition and go!

What about my left over soapnut shells?

If you are like me and constantly wondering if you can get anymore soap out of the soapnut shells once you have used them then wonder no more. Simply put them in a blender with some water and you will see that even when they are exhausted from laundry they still have quite a bit of soap left in them. Then use this soapy mixture to either top up your foaming handwash pump bottles (thoroughly strain this liquid so no bits clog up your pump) or pour over your veg in your garden to keep them pest free!

And finally … A really great tip on another way to use our biodegradable stain remover!

How about your own home-made stain removal spray? Simply grate some of our biodegradable stain remover stick and put it into a spray bottle with hot water (hot enough to melt the stick). The quantities are one tablespoon of grated stain remover stick to one cup (250ml) of boiling water. When you want to use it, simply shake and spray. Full recipe details here.

Have fun with all my tips .. now back to pinterest!

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We’ve had a facelift and we are finally ready for our close up Mr DeMille!


It has been a busy time at Soapnuts HQ and we’ve been a little quiet. We have been so busy transforming ourselves and working on new products and we wanted to give you guys a little taster!

Our new brand is inspired by our ethos of keeping clean without making the planet dirty! Living Naturally Soapnuts are not only certified organic, vegan, biodegradable and hypoallergenic , but they are also chemical & especially phosphate free! So when your waste water enters the water system and goes back out into the environment, you can be sure that no fragile ecosystems are being harmed. We wouldn’t any of our froggy or fishy friends to be harmed and have been long-running supporters of the LOVE YOUR LAKES campaign.

We want everyone to benefit from using soapnuts, including our soapnut collectors! Our soapnuts are collected by local families and farmers who are able to have a better quality of life because they get a fair wage and also get taught a trade as well.

We want to make sure we are doing all we can to reduce landfill and so our new packaging is 100% recyclable! And because you don’t need to use any additional softener, you will be  saving twice the space in landfill!

But that’s not all! If you haven’t been using them for more than just your laundry, we have included a handy soapnut liquid recipe so you can make your own chemical free cleaner or organic pesticide.

Our new look packaging will be out in March so keep an eye out! We will also be launching our new-look website in March so make sure you don’t miss a thing! Keep up to date …

Save the frogs and use soapnuts!

Save The Frogs Use Soapnuts!

Save The Frogs Use Soapnuts!

One of our new soapnut users asked a question about whether the surfactants in soapnuts affect amphibian skin, I was sure it didn’t but needed some science to back it up…and I found some 🙂

How do synthetic surfactants kill frogs?

Synthetic surfactants and all the other harmful chemicals in normal laundry detergent are really destructive to natural aquasystems and can cause eutrophication. Now there is also some awareness of certain chemical / synthetic surfactants actually doing more than just causing an overgrowth of algae. Some chemical surfactants have been shown to actually break down the abdominal skin of frogs. The list of these surfactants are (worst ones at the top):

cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB)
sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
sodium—linear alkyl benzene sulfonate (LAS, C12)
sodium alkylethoxy sulfate (Neodol 25-3EOS, AES)
nonionic Neodol 25-7EO

Source: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/ba-1980-0188.ch026 *

What’s the alternative?

Now, the surfactants in soapnut extract (liquid made from the shells) are:

“…glycosides of hydrophobic alcohols that provide surface activity and form soap-like, foaming solutions in water. Saponins occur in many plants and in some animal products.”

They are actually linked to naturally occuring sugars like natural glucose and fructose. So there you go, soapnut saponins are a little bit like soapy sugar…but please don’t eat it! Now go and buy some and help save the frogs!

For some other ideas on how to save the frogs visit www.savethefrogs.com

* Source Report:
Bioelectrochemistry: Ions, Surfaces, Membranes
Chapter 26, pp 445–459
Chapter DOI: 10.1021/ba-1980-0188.ch026
Advances in Chemistry, Vol. 188
ISBN13: 9780841204737eISBN: 9780841223707
Publication Date (Print): June 01, 1980
Copyright © 1980 AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY
 

Have you got FOMO? Here is some stuff you missed at UK AWARE…

UK AWARE 2011

UK AWARE - Mar 25th / 26th 2011

For all those with a fear of missing out…Living Naturally Soapnuts were at UK AWARE this weekend…and WOW was I tired after the show! It was a great show, we got to meet lots of similarly-minded people, some loyal customers like Dani and we learned lots of new stuff! Also we got to showcase some of our new products like our Soapnut Powder and our Natural Stain Remover Bar, which were very poular! Here are some of my show highlights…

Hubcap Creatures

Hubcap Creatures

Hubcap Creatures

Opposite us was this fantastic guy who made the most amazingly intricate Hubcap Creatures. Hubcap creatures are made entirely from re-cycled materials. All the hubcaps are found, usually on the side of the road, and therefore bear the scars of their previous lives in the form of scratches and abrasions. I believe these marks add texture and history to the creatures they decorate, and so choose not to fill, overpaint or alter them in any way. Ptolemy says…”My fish try to say things about our wasteful society and about our prejudices towards value. Hopefully they will encourage people to reconsider before they discard something which apparently has no purpose.”

BPA Free Water Bottles!

A Fine Choice BPA Free Stainless Steel Bottles

A Fine Choice BPA Free Stainless Steel Bottles

Now anyone following me on Twitter knows I am always tweeting about Bisphenol-A and how it leaches from plastic bottles and is so bad for your health. BPA is a compound which is used to make polycarbonate plastic. BPA was banned by the European Commission and cannot be used in baby bottles in the European Union. The commission cited fears that the compound could affect development and immune response in young children.

So I was very happy to be standing next to A Fine Choice at the show. AFC (not Arsenal) is run by Daniela Schaffrik, who helped me pick out my very own Green Bottle. If you know anything about BPA and are looking for an eco long-lasting bottle for your kids to go to school or for yourselves that won’t affect your health then check A Fine Choice out! They also have a fundraising idea for schools…The Green Bottle™ Fundraising will help you raise money for schools and charities through the sale of our eco-friendly products with a 20% cashback.

Defend the animals!

Animal Defenders International

Animal Defenders International

We also got to meet Eti & Krystal at Animal Defenders International. This is a fantastic charity campaigning for animals all around the world. I learned some horrific things about soft leather and how they get it (they beat the animals until the skin becomes puffy then they skin them…ugh!) I also learned about animal abuse by individual farmers as well as circus organisers…get educated peeps!

Doug Disposal Anyone?

Doug Disposal @ Disposal Know How

Doug Disposal @ Disposal Know How

Does anyone know Doug Disposal? There is a great site called Disposal Know How and they were at the show too! This is a site you need to bookmark if you are 100% committed to recycling. Fantastic site about recycling everything…even the new energy efficient light bulbs! Top Tip…please recycle these light bulbs as they contain toxic mercury and will eventually pollute our water if you just dump them in your normal rubbish. Heavy metals like mercury can lead to txicity in the brain…Alzheimers…Autism…I’m just saying…

The guys on the stand were also giving away ‘Eat Well, Waste Less – An A-Z guide to using leftovers’…Free book from Kensington & Chelsea Council…Nice!

Eco Chic!

Ecosheek Organic Cotton Bags

Ecosheek Organic Cotton Bags

And finally I managed to pick up a lovely very chic shopper bag from sarah at EcoSheek Bag Company. The bags are great and not expensive, and Sarah does wholesale for all those wondering…great gifts, picnic bags, laptop cases (saw these very sophis!) etc. EcoSheek designs and makes high quality bespoke organic bags while actively developing and suporting sustainable, ethical supply chain solutions.

We also saw our friends at Fill Your Pants, who were sharing a stand with other real nappy peeps: Cheeks and Cherries, Nappy Ever After, Hush-A Bye-Baby and Coverdry.

Had a great show, and if you didn’t go never mind go and check these guys out anyway:)

Starting An Allotment

allotment gardening

Organic garden produce

Having an allotment is not an easy undertaking, but it is well worth it! And most importantly it is a huge step in helping the environment and providing cheaper organic food for you and your family. During National Allotment Week which is run by the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Limited, allotments are promoted as a great way of pursuing and living a healthy lifestyle. If you are still not convinced keep reading…

Reasons for having an allotment plot.

  • Fresh Air. Being out in all of the elements may (eventually) lead to a great sense of peace.
  • Community.You will make new friends, share ideas and possibly even crops. For the most part, having an allotment inevitably means that you will become a part of a community with a common goal.
  • Keeping Fit. Working on your own allotment whilst growing great food will give you a superb general work out.
  • Organic Food for very little. If you practice organic growing techniques on your allotment, then your food will be healthier and tastier without having to pay a premium.
  • Helping the environment.Having an allotment is also a way of doing your bit for the environment. When you buy food at your local supermarket, how ‘local‘ is it? A lot of goods may have been shipped or flown from far flung places around the globe. Hideous chemicals may have been used to control pests and disease whilst growing your foods, causing the negative impact to the surrounding environment. At least when you grow your own vegetables, you know where it has come from and what it contains.
  • Cheap Food!A pack of onion seeds for 25 pence, could mean a crop of about 300 onions!

Below are some great tips from the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Limited on how to start your own allotment.

allotment communityObtaining a Plot: Most allotments are run by your local council therefore firstly you should contact them for a list of sites within your area and to obtain details of availability or waiting lists, rent, etc. Some sites are privately owned and administered and your local library may be able to assist you in their location, although sometimes the best way to locate them is by speaking to local businesses, neighbours, to point you in their direction.
Rent levels vary from county to county and can range from ÂŁ1 to ÂŁ70, however the national average is approximately ÂŁ25. The amount of rent charged usually depends on what facilities are available i.e. water/water butts; car-parking; security fencing. Visit several suitable sites and speak to people on the site to ascertain if they have any problems with vandalism, trespassers, etc. If the site is well-tenanted and appears lively then this can be a good sign. Many sites have formed active associations which offer their members a trading hut, members hut, hold regular meetings, allotment competitions, fund-raising events, etc. and therefore is an excellent way to meet new people and be part of your local community.

What Tools?:It is essential that you have a spade, fork, hoe – and don’t forget your watering can. It is also useful to have a fork and hand trowel. It is worthwhile investing in good quality tools as these can last a lifetime and save you money in the long run. However if you don’t want to invest too much at the beginning it is worthwhile checking out the second-hand shops or car boot sales for a bargain.

Check your tenancy agreement to see if you are allowed to have a shed as this can save you a lot of time and effort transporting your tools back and forth.

allotment harvestWhat To Grow?:Grow crops which you, your family and friends enjoy eating before getting too adventurous. Crops to begin with are early potatoes, peas, salads, onions, and beetroot. Also try beans, broccoli, cabbage, and for fun pumpkins and squashes.

Check your Soil Type:It is important to know your soil type as this will make your time on the plot easier therefore you should carry out a pH test to ascertain if the soil is alkaline or acid. If your soil is on the acid side apply garden lime before planting out brassicas as they prefer the soil slightly alkaline. The test will also provide you with the levels of important nutrients such as potash and phosphate. If low, increase by adding plenty of organic matter or by using balanced fertilisers (which also includes nitrogen). If high, only add nitrogen which is lost quickly from the soil. It is only necessary to test the soil every 3-4 years.

With sandy soil it is much easier to clear weeds as it is easier to work with, however it requires considerable organic matter and therefore may take a while to improve. Clay soil holds water and nutrients well but may take a bit of work to get it into a condition which is easier to work with.

Crop Rotation:By adopting a rotation system you will help prevent soil-borne diseases building up as you are not growing the same crop on the same piece of ground each year. It also helps to make best use of the nutrients in the soil. A four year rotation is advised however there are no set rules on how you should divide your plot – it will depend on what you like to eat and what you can grow.

A simple plan is as follows:
1. Potatoes
2. Peas/beans
3. Brassicas
4. Onions/roots

Anything that doesn’t fit into these groups can be fitted into any area. The next year, rotate the groups either way – however always move them in the same direction

what to grow in an allotmentImportant!
• It is a tenant’s duty under the Allotment Acts that the plot remains in a good state of cultivation and free of weeds and to keep your boundary hedges cut and trimmed.
• Check the conditions of your tenancy agreement – you may be required to obtain permission before erecting any shed/greenhouse, if you wish to mulch with old carpets, light bonfires, etc.

Other Tips
• Protect new plants with bottle cloches (2 litre bottles can be cut to suit)
• Raise plants in pots then plant out sturdy plants
• Grow varieties which have resistance to disease
• Keep a note of what you have planted and where as labels don’t always stay put in windy weather! This can also help you with planning for the following year
• Hoeing in dry weather ensures the weeds will die
• Start a compost bin immediately and recycle as much organic matter as possible
• Use a water butt to collect rain water off the shed
• Grow annual and perennial flowers as these attract pest-eating insects and are important if you are organic gardening—they also look good in a vase!

For more information please visit: National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Limited