Did you guys get down to London VegFest this weekend?

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It has been a busy few months at HQ. We have been busy formulating, packing, updating, expanding … basically gearing up to world domination 🙂 There is so much news to tell you, which we will be sharing with you in the next few weeks, but first …

This weekend the #OrangeFrog held a stand at London Veg Fest, and it was awesome! For those of you who don’t know VegFest, it is basically a festival that celebrates all things vegan and vegetarian. There are loads of talks about vegetarian and vegan lifestyle, vegan food, vegan clothing, vegan chocolate, vegan bodybuilders, vegan cupcakes, vegan sword-swallowers and did we mention loads of yummy vegan food!

The great thing about VegFest is you get to meet loads of new people, especially the charities that hold stalls at the event. One of the great charities we met are called Save The Harlan Beagles . They are campaigning against Harlan UK which breeds beagles for animal testing ONLY. Saying it is horrific is not even touching it! In 2011 The Sunday Times ran an expose with a former Harlan employee, where he exposed what life is like for these poor animals. To read more visit their website and please support their work!

Our other neighbours were the Wild Futures charity. They campaign to help end the suffering of thousands of primates in the UK by working towards ensuring that the UK primate pet trade is made illegal. Check out their campaign and sign their petition.

We met Metala at Vegan Faces UK, who had some lovely vegan hypoallergenic face paints for kids as well as loads of lovely make-up. Alan Sugar loves her stuff and we can see why! Other great stand holders were Buddha Beauty , Animal Aid , Teen VGN , Razzle Dazzle Ice Cream , Mimi’s Miracles , Nakd , Trina’s Delicacies , too many to mention!

It was an awesome day and we met some of our lovely regular customers, catch up with mates, and bought loads of food, which are all featured on our facebook album. If you didn’t get to visit us this time round, come and see us at our next event on the 19th October 2013 at the LABL Fair in Liverpool.

Till next time!

Soapnut Laundry With Soda Crystals … when you know better, do better

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou. And who am I to argue with this great woman?

For many years now Living Naturally have been selling bicarbonate of soda as a very effective laundry boost to remove stains. Bicarbonate of soda is natural, doesn’t pollute and cleans extremely well, not to mention all of its other uses. But now we’ve found something better: Soda Crystals!

sodacrystalsThe old fashioned way to get your clothes clean and sparkling.

Soda Crystals have been around for generations, and before the invention of modern washing powder, were one of the most popular laundry products around, renowned for their ability to cut through tough stains and dirt on grubby clothes. They can be used to:

  • Shift organic stains from clothes by using as an in-wash additive. Simply add a tablespoon of Soda Crystals to the normal detergent.
  • Remove tough stains from clothes by using as a pre-soak. Make a strong solution of Soda Crystals and warm water and soak garment for 1 hour before washing normally.
  • Save money! Soda Crystals soften water in the washing machine meaning less detergent is needed.
  • Prolong the life of your washing machine by preventing limescale build up.

Soda crystals are not only a great laundry boost, but they can be used for a lot more …

cleaningjewellerySilverware and Jewellery: To put the shine back into silverware with ease, make a solution of 1 cup of Soda Crystals to a pint of very hot water and soak for 5-15 minutes in a bowl lined with aluminium foil. The tarnish will simply melt away. Rinse off and buff. Soak delicate jewellery in a regular solution. Soft stones such as Opals should not be cleaned using Soda Crystals.

Kitchen and wheelie bins: Clean out waste bins with a regular solution to keep them clean and odourless.

cleaningcarpetsCarpets: Soda Crystals are ideal for removing red wine, grass, ink and other stains. First sprinkle some dry crystals onto the stain. Then dab (rather than rub) upholstery with a mild solution to get rid of stains. Finally dab with a warm moist cloth. Over-wetting may leave a water mark. Test for colour fastness on an inconspicuous area first.

Drains: Because Soda Crystals dissolve grease, they’re great for unblocking sinks, drains, wastepipes and waste disposal units. Use a strong solution to flush drains regularly to keep them grease-free.

Living Naturally Starter Packs and Soapnut Sample Packs will now contain soda crystals. To find out more on how to use with soapnut laundry and to buy visit: http://www.soapnuts.co.uk

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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!

Soap and water and common sense are all you need!

Natural handmade soap from Living Naturally

“Soap and water and common sense are the best disinfectants.” William Osler, Physician

You all have the water and the common sense, now let me tell you why you need our 100% natural handmade soapnut  soaps in your life!

Over here at Soapnuts HQ I have been extremely busy creating a whole new range of lush soapnut soaps that are 100% natural & handmade and are compeltely free of SLSs, parabens and other horrible toxins that you might find in commercially produced bars.

Next time you swing by Sainsburys or Asda check out the soap aisle … if it doesn’t say ‘soap’ then think twice about picking it up. Usually those bars are syndet bars – that’s synthetic detergent bars to you and me. They contain ingredients that can cause irritation to your skin but also pollutes our water systems. Now some manufacturers have got wise to the tide turning on these artifically created bars, so they have now created combo bars that include a very small amount of natural ingredients. Just enough so theycan talk about it in the advertising 🙂

At Soapnuts HQ our soaps are:

  • Made with Love 🙂
  • Made with 100% natural vegetable oils
  • Made with organic ingredients
  • Most of our soaps are Vegan (some contain milk or honey)
  • Most of our soaps are palm oil free (or they use certified sustainable plam oil)
  • None of our soaps contain any SLSs, parabens, petrochemicals, artificial colours, fragrances or preservatives.

Still need convincing? Give them a go! The results are in and they are good! Here are some customer reviews:

“I started using the chamomile & olive soap and found that my dermatitis on my hands was disappearing! I have changed nothing else, so thank you v. much!” Halla

“I bought it as a present for my uncle who has ezcema over his body, he loves it so much and won’t use anything else now!” Nicki

All of our soaps are gentle enough for even the most sensitive skins, and if you don’t know which one to try, we have coveniently put together a sample pack of 10 ofour best selling soaps for you to try. So now there is no excuse 🙂

Try our soaps for yourself

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 …

Sustainable Palm Oil? Is it really ok?

Twitter seems to be alive because of the noise palm oil is making. So I wanted to break down the issue. Is it really sustainable? Should we still be using plam oil?

The problem with palm oil?

The problem is not with palm oil itself, but is actually with the way the palm oil is produced. In West Africa, palm oil has been used for centuries as a cooking oil with no problem at all. The problem is that with the discovery of how amazingly well palm oil grows in the Far East, and that it is a very useful and cheap ingredient in commercial food production, palm oil is now in huge demand. Palm oil is now the most produced and traded oil, and now accounts for at least 75% of all the vegetable oil traded internationally.

The biggest use of the world’s palm oil is in food production, and at least one in ten products on supermarket shelves contain palm oil. Approximately six percent of the global supply is used in the cosmetic industry and palm oil is also increasingly being used as a fuel source.

This demand for plam oil is fueling deforestation in countries like Indonesia, forcing the indigenous people off their land and pushing animals like orangutans, elephants and tigers to the brink of extinction. The deforestation is so horrendous that Indonesia’s forests could be gone by 2015. Another huge impact on the environment is the amount of C02 emissions that are released when forests and peat land are destroyed to make way for these plantations.

So Let’s Stop Using It?

Well if it was only that simple. Unfortunately the palm oil production is a huge part of the economy of the countries that produce it like Malaysia and Indonesia. And as well as big businesses, there are also smallholders who produce a minimal amount of palm oil and rely on it to help support their families. The Rountable on Sustainable Palm Oil RSPO member and founders WWF have been campaigning about the fact the buyers (from companies right down to consumers) should insist on the buying and using of only sustinable plam oil. But what is not being talked about are the deals that go on alongside these campaigns that continues unsustainable/unethical plam oil production, so as a consumer what do we do?

Take Action

As a consumer this is what you can do:

  1. Be aware of the issue
  2. Add your voice to the campaign on palm oil
  3. Buy Responsibly

What are we doing about it?

We only stock and/or make products that have RSPO certified palm oil or use alternatives to palm oil. And we have clear label ingredients so you know what you are buying.

Would you like a Grant to make a woodland for your farm?

The rise in fossil fuel prices has also helped a rise in firewood prices recently. This has largely been helped by an increasing number of folk turning to firewood as a source of heating and this trend is likely to continue in the future. Planting your own woodland can secure your own supply of fuel as well as providing another source of income. The benefits don’t stop there. New woodlands can provide shelter to stock and buildings as well helping to stabilise soil and mitigate the effects of flooding.

Obviously your best land needs to be reserved for agricultural production, but a well designed woodland can suit the needs of your farm without compromising its viability.

Grants of up to £3800/ha are available as well as Farm Woodland Payments which can be claimed for 15 years. These can be claimed on top of Single Farm Payments. The money doesn’t stop there! A growing number of companies are keen to offset their carbon emissions and are always on the look out for Woodland Creation projects that they can help fund.

If you would like to know more about the grants available for planting new woodlands, you could attend one of three planned open days (see below) on farms that have already taken the plunge. The farm owners will be on hand so you can talk directly to them about the “pro’s and con’s”

Peter Fox from the Forestry Commission will be on hand to explain the grants, demonstrate good practice and explain different establishment techniques. A free lunch is also provided. If you would like to attend, please contact him on 07768 142942 or peter.fox@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

 

Dates

23rd  August – Marron Leys Farm, Rowrah (meet at the Stork Hotel)

24th August – Wampool Grange, Kirkbride, Wigton

30th August – Colby Laithes Farm, Appleby

 

For details of other grants that may be of interest please check out the Green Grants section of our website http://www.nurturelakeland.org/green-grants/green-grants.html

Or get in touch with Sarah Caley from Nurture Lakeland: sarah@nurturelakeland.org