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Home and Garden

Home and Garden, Life & Style

Buying Non-Food Essentials During a Global Pandemic

This post on buying non-food essentials contains affiliate links

Today I’m sharing a little Etsy love. In case you’ve not heard of Etsy, it’s an online marketplace for independent sellers. Right now times are tough for their independent sellers, many of whom are one-woman businesses. Therefore I want to support them and their #StandWithSmall campaign in this time of crisis. Etsy extended a huge amount of love and support to me last year when I went through some bad times. Therefore, devoting some space to them at this time feels like the very least I can do to show my gratitude for that.

Also, shopping for what we need right now is tough. Reports of online shopping companies are circulating where staff may not be adequately protected from risk – see exhibit A, exhibit B, and exhibit C.

When we can afford it, buying the non-food essentials we need that we can’t get locally from smaller sellers, such as independent Etsy sellers, feels like a safer option. These independent sellers may be more able to practice social distancing. And by the very nature of their business, are more likely to be one-person operations. And more than ever, independent sellers need our support.

It goes without saying, the term ‘essentials’ will vary from person to person. There’s no one size fits all approach. What might not be essential to you may be essential to someone else. Therefore, I have taken a broad approach to these non-food essentials.

Face Mask – A Non-Food Essential

reusable face mask - a non-food essential
Face mask from Etsy

At present, face masks aren’t compulsory in the UK, but it could well go that way. I’m no fortune teller, but I would say a face mask could well become one of the most important non-food essentials you could buy.

Owing to PPE shortages, medical-grade face masks should be reserved for NHS staff and care workers only. Other professional types of face masks are in short supply. Therefore, for the general public, a fabric face mask is the best option. I have heard that pocket type masks, where you can either insert a charcoal filter, or failing that, an additional fabric layer into the pocket can provide an additional layer of safety. Therefore, this double pocket washable face mask from Etsy may help, provided you follow instructions on how to use a mask safely.

It’s important to bear in mind that just because you’re wearing a mask, it doesn’t grant you immunity or will protect you completely. From what I understand, the masks are more to help asymptomatic people spreading COVID-19 before they are aware they are carriers of the disease, rather than to stop people contracting the disease. There are also a lot of other measures to stop the transmission of COVID-19 beyond wearing a mask. These include frequent hand washing, staying at home, social distancing, and self-isolating if you or anyone in your household develops symptoms that are just as important to follow too.

Washable Sanitary Towels

reusable sanitary towels - a non-food essential for those who menstruate
Washable sanitary towels from Etsy

If you menstruate, then sanitary protection is very much a non-food essential. We’re all trying to head to the shops as little as possible, and that, my friend, is the beauty of reusable sanitary products. No need to pop to the shop when you run out of towels. You can just pop on the washing machine instead. My favourites are these ones, from LilahPads.

If you’ve been worried about trying reusable period products due to leakage, then lockdown could be a great time to try them out.

Make-Up Remover Pads

Make-up Remover Pads from Etsy

Rather than using disposable make-up wipes, again, now is a great time to try out washable make-up pads. These ones from Artichaut Creations come in fun patterns, and can be used time and time again.

Reusable Kitchen Roll

Reusable kitchen roll from Etsy

Back in March, you couldn’t get hold of kitchen roll in the supermarkets for love nor money. I don’t use kitchen roll, so I wasn’t affected by this, so if you want to be shielded from future shortages then reusable is definitely the way to go. This reusable set, again from Artichaut Creations looks lovely.

Soap – A Non-Food Essential

bar of soap in a cardboard box - a non-food essential for any household
Soap from Etsy

I covered soap just the other week, but if there was ever a non-food essential right now then it’s soap. Soap Daze sells some lovely vegan and palm-oil free and cruelty-free soaps, like the cedarwood and grapefruit bar pictured above, that I really rate.

Shampoo

Shampoo bar from Etsy

Looking to ditch the shampoo and conditioner bottles clogging up your shower? You could try switching to this 2 in 1 solid shampoo bar. This one has no transition phase and doesn’t need an acid rinse after shampooing, as some bars do.

The Multi-Tasker

Argan Oil from Etsy

Looking for something to condition your hair, remove your make-up, moisturise your face and moisturise your hands? Argan Oil, like this one from Conscious Skincare, can do all of these things brilliantly.

Conscious Skincare’s products have been fully approved by the Vegetarian Society, PETA, carry the Leaping Bunny cruelty-free logo, and their products are vegan-friendly too.

In terms of keeping sellers safe, if you’re not in a rush for your non-food essentials, then you can pop a note to the seller when you check out on Etsy, telling them to only post the item to you when it is safe to do so, or that you are happy to wait if they are only doing a weekly trip to the post office.

Children, Families, Garden, Home and Garden

Gardening With Kids: Tips & Ideas To Encourage Green Fingers

Want to help develop your kids’ love of nature, and their green fingers?  Here are some easy tips and ideas for gardening with kids, to get your children into growing their own fruit, vegetables and herbs.

I have my fingers crossed for good weather this weekend.  You see, I’d really like to get out into the garden with my daughter and start growing some vegetables with her.  It’s never too early to start showing children where the food we eat comes from.  I’m also desperately hoping that growing her own vegetables will help stave off that common toddler hatred of anything vegetable-based!

I’ve put a lot of prepping into creating a kid-friendly garden, so here are my top tips when it comes to gardening with children.

What Can I Grow In A Garden For Kids?

Image of kids gardening with blue text box that says gardening basics for kids to encourage green fingers.

If you’re as keen as I am to get out in your garden and do some gardening, then first things first, you might be wondering what the best fruit and vegetables are to grow with kids? The good news is that there are lots of things to grow with kids.

Fruit and vegetables-wise, it’s best to grow produce that is both easy to sow and grow, and that will grow quickly once you’ve planted the seeds. You really do need to see shoots quickly to keep their interest!

My favourite vegetables to grow with kids are fast-sprouting veggies like lettuce, radishes, carrots, and peas, which are easy and fun to grow.

Other things to consider are:

  • what fruit and vegetables will they realistically eat. Courgettes are quick and easy to grow, but will your kid even entertain the idea of eating a courgette?
  • fruit and vegetables that you can eat directly after picking are good choices. A lot of fun in growing your own is the picking and the eating. Having to cook something before eating it can take away some of the joy of growing for kids. Peas and strawberries are always a treat to grow, and fun to pick. And they’re even more fun to eat straight from the plant on a warm summer day!
  • are there things that you grow in your garden that will give you a continual crop for minimum effort and maximum reward? Soft fruits, like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc, will all continue to fruit throughout their growing season. This means your kid can go out into the garden and pick fruit on a regular basis.g
  • If you’ve got a small garden or if you rent, then consider what can easily be grown in containers. Potatoes are easy to grow in containers, and it’s always great fun harvesting your potatoes as it’s quite a muddy job!

What About Flowers When Gardening With Kids?

Of course, you don’t just have to grow fruit and vegetables. Flowers-wise, sweet peas and sunflowers and fun and fast to grow. You can even have a sunflower growing competition.

Use wooden lolly sticks to write each kid’s name on them. After you’ve planted the sunflower seeds, pop the sticks in the ground so they know which sunflower belongs to which person. Then have a competition to see who can grow the tallest. I would grow your sunflowers near a fence or wall for a bit of support, but if that’s not possible you may need some canes to help support them as they grow taller and taller.

Butterfly and bee-friendly plants are also fun to plant and grow when gardening with kids. Especially as kids get the thrill of spotting visitors to their garden.

I have some raised beds to make planting easy for my little ‘un. However, you could also use tubs or trugs, or even just dedicate a small area of your garden for planting.

Useful Tools When Gardening With Kids

Although you don’t need any fancy gear to get out into the garden with your kids (in fact, the older the clothes the better!), there are a few useful tools that make gardening with kids a little easier.  

Here are a few things I have my eye on that would be great for gardening with kids:

From clockwise:

gardening with kids equipment

Kids Metal Watering Can* (£9.89) – from eBay. I haven’t met a kid yet that doesn’t love watering plants.  Invest in a mini watering can for little ones and make a certain area of the garden their patch for keeping well watered. This metal watering can is recyclable with metal waste at the end of its life, meaning it won’t go to landfill, like plastic watering cans which are non-recyclable.

Bug Hotel* (£18.99) – from Not On The High Street. A bug hotel attracts bees, ladybirds, lacewings, and other minibeasts to your garden. This helps to naturally eradicate any hungry aphids that might want to eat your precious vegetables, and will also pollinate your vegetables too.  Children will adore looking for ladybirds and other minibeasts.  And a top tip. You don’t need to buy a bug hotel. Instead, you can also create your own bug hotel by leaving an area of the garden wild and unweeded, with logs and stones piled up.

Kids hand tools* (£16.95)  – from Not On The High Street. Investing in a set of kid’s hand tools makes gardening easier to manage for small hands. These ones are made from FSC approved wood and metal.

Kids Gardening Gloves* (£3.39) – from eBay. These will help protect little hands from thorns and other garden nasties, as well as helping to make clean-up time a little easier!

What If You Don’t Have A Garden?

Even if you don’t have a garden, there are plenty of things you can grow in window boxes and on your windowsill.  

Fresh herbs are quick, simple, and cheap to grow. This is a useful resource for growing herbs with kids.  

Chilli plants work well indoors, as do avocados (which are a lot of fun to watch growing). And there are always old favourites like cress and mustard, which are fun to grow in eggshells. These only take a few days to grow and can be eaten in sandwiches or in salads.  

I also heartily recommend growing snow pea shoots. They’re lots of fun to grow and grow really quickly.

Another fun thing to grow with kids is vegetables from food scraps food. Certain vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, onions, and garlic will regrow from the bits that you would normally throw away. It will blow your kid’s mind!

If you have any advice on gardening with kids or other suggestions of what to grow then do let me know in the comment below!