extreme botany

Ten Things

extreme botany

Hello!  Good week?  I’m still on a high because this week my partner and I had a rare night out together.  Dinner, a comedy show and a live band.  It was perfect.  One of the things no-one warns you about becoming a parent is that you’ll spend more time socialising with other people, whilst the other parent stays at home to watch the kids.  It’s good to actually spend time out together, without the kids, to remind you why you like each other!

Anyway, that has been my week, how was yours?

And here are this week’s links:

1.  France gets it right again.  Can the rest of the world take note please.  Meanwhile Germany bans diesel.

2.  Can we recycle our way to zero waste?  A thought provoking read.

3.  This is such a lovely article – can one person make a difference?

4.  Like makeup?  Bad news then as beloved brand Nars is no longer cruelty free.

5.  I’ve been enjoying Russell Brand’s podcasts lately.  Yanis Varoufakis and George Monbiot were particularly interesting.

6.  Extreme botany (see top photo).  This was the most fascinating read into a  world I had no idea existed.  My career adviser at school certainly didn’t tell me about this!  I don’t know if I would have the guts to hang from a cliff or jump from a helicopter to take samples of near extinct plants., but a job where you are a proverbial James Bond of the plant world sounds incredible, and important.

7.  The women bringing solar empowerment to Nepal.

8.  Before the internet.  I loved this so much.

9.  The problem with life.  Yes!

10.  After the mint tea article I posted, one reader said she normally makes wine from her mint.  I was intrigued, so I have found a recipe for mint wine if anyone wants to give it a go?  If that’s too much hard work, I’ve found a recipe for mint citrus white wine sangria that’s much easier and quicker to concoct!

And some posts you might have missed:

The perfect tiny house.

A small house hack.

Zero waste crisps – made with potato peelings.

The chaos has commenced, and it’s school holidays here now, so I am taking a short break to do fun things with my kids.  Think beaches, sandcastles and ice-cream – weather permitting.  There will be no Ten Things next week, but come back in two weeks time for a return to regular posting!

Have a good one!


main image c/o Steve Perlman

Make Your Own Fabric Conditioner

I’ve got a really simple recipe for you today on how to make your own fabric conditioner.

You might be wondering why you need to make your own fabric conditioner, when it’s widely available in the shops.  And you might think you’re doing a good thing for your clothes when you reach for the fabric conditioner.  I don’t blame you.  Decades upon decades of marketing have convinced millions of us that fabric conditioner is a vital element of the laundry process, and there’s a whopping $12 billion global market for the product.

But, I’ve got a little secret for you: you really don’t need to use conventional fabric conditioner, and the eco friendly alternative to fabric conditioner I’m going to share at the end of this post costs just pennies per load but is more effective load per load at softening your clothes.

make your own fabric conditioner

First, here are four reasons to ditch fabric conditioner in favor of an effective eco-friendly alternative:

1. Fabric conditioner is terrible for some of your clothes and towels.

Fabric conditioner essentially applies a thin, waxy coating to your laundry, which has to be water-resistant in order to survive the washing process.  This waterproof coating makes your clothes feel softer but lessens their ability to properly absorb water and laundry detergent.  This means your clothes won’t respond as well to washing and will be more likely to lock in bad odors.

The chemical coating can also make your towels less absorbent over time and reduce the performance of sweat-resistant sportswear.  Fabric conditioner is also harsh on cotton or bamboo clothing, which normally absorbs light perspiration on its own.  As soon as fabric conditioner is introduced, that absorption is lost.

When used on clothing containing elastane and nylon (such as leggings, skinny jeans, and bras), fabric conditioner can leave a residue that dulls the item’s finish and attracts odor-causing bacteria.

2. Some conventional brands aren’t vegetarian or vegan.

Rather alarmingly, some fabric conditioner aren’t vegetarian- or vegan-friendly.  One ingredient found in certain brands is dihydrogenated tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride.  In simpler terms: animal fat.  This fat is extracted from suet — the fatty tissues around the kidneys of cattle and sheep.  Suddenly that bottle sitting in your laundry room doesn’t look quite as innocuous as it did at first.

3. It’s not great for us or the environment.

Fabric softeners often contain a cocktail of non renewable petroleum-based chemicals, which are not easily biodegradable.

A study by the University of Washington found that certain chemicals found in fabric conditioner are likely human carcinogens, developmental toxins and allergens that can contribute to eczema.  These chemicals included likely human carcinogens acetaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, developmental toxicants methyl ethyl ketone and chloromethane, and allergens like linalool,

Once these chemicals are washed down the drain they can become highly toxic to aquatic life too.

4. It’s bad for your washing machine and plumbing.

As many brands of fabric conditioner are petroleum-based and full of animal fat, they can clog up your washing machine (especially if it’s a front-loading one) and pipes.

Fabric conditioner can also encourage the growth of mold in your machine.  Due to its fat content, when fabric conditioner is exposed to air and moisture, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and mould.  And because of the design of most machines, it means that the water resistant softener is never quite washed out properly, leaving a residue that only encourages the growth of bacteria and black mould throughout your whole washing machine.  Which does not make for pleasant reading.

How to Make Your Own Fabric Conditioner

This homemade eco-friendly alternative to fabric conditioner is much better for you, your clothes, your washing machine and your environment. It’s perfect for people with sensitive skin, and it contains just two simple and inexpensive ingredients:

You will need:

500ml Glass bottle/jar
500ml White vinegar
30 drops Essential Oil of your choice


Fill your bottle/jar with vinegar, and add around 30 drops of essential oil to your vinegar

To Use:

Shake well before use.

At the stage when you are adding your laundry detergent to your machine, fill the fabric conditioner compartment of the drawer up to the line with the scented vinegar.  For a half load of washing, decrease the amount by half.


Using this mixture in place of fabric conditioner will give your laundry a delicate and clean aroma without a hint of vinegar — I promise!  If there is still a trace of vinegar on your wet clothes, be assured this will dissipate as the clothes dry.

My favorite oils to use for fabric conditioner are lemon and sweet orange for a zingy citrus aroma, but feel free to substitute depending on your preferences.  Alternatively, you can skip the oil for a scent-free conditioner.

Vinegar makes for a great natural fabric conditioner because it cuts through soapy residue and it won’t interfere with the absorbency of your laundry, making your clothes and towels last longer and smell better. Nor will it leave deposits in your washing machine or plumbing.  In fact, vinegar also cuts through grease so you’ll actually clean your machine every time you do a load of laundry.  Double win!


This article originally appeared on mindbodygreen