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Home and Garden

Home and Garden, Life & Style

Buying Non-Food Essentials During a Global Pandemic

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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, and 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, and 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, so I have taken a broad approach.

Face Mask

Face mask from Etsy

At present, face masks aren’t compulsory in the UK, but it could well go that way.

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, so 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, so 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, such as 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

Washable sanitary towels from Etsy

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 because 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

Soap from Etsy

I covered soap just the other week, but if there was ever an 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 items, 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.

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

DIY Cleaning Spray

diy cleaning spray

I have got a great winter scented DIY cleaning spray for you today, that I’ve been using to naturally clean my home.

February is always a difficult month, I find. The clocks go back in October, and from then on in it’s the cheery march to all the end of year festivities, twinkly lights and delicious food and all. January comes, and it feels like a bit of a reset. A quiet time to take stock, reflect and make plans for moving forward.

And then comes February. Pesky February. Far away from the festivities to make them seem like a long distant memory. And far enough from spring that it doesn’t feel like the mornings and early evenings will ever be anything but dark. I tend to find the worst of the winter weather seems to bite in February too. Right now, it’s snowing and we’ve just come through Storm Ciara. Hibernation until Spring always feels like a good idea round about now.

I’m trying to change my mindset on winter, and recently I read an article on the Norwegian secret to enjoying winter. It turns out Norwegians view their long dark winters as something to celebrate, so I’m trying to bring about some of that Norwegian attitude to Scotland.

I’ve started small – adapting an old favourite natural cleaning recipe to make my home smell like a forest in wintertime. I may not want to go out in the snow today, but at least I can pretend I am. It’s a start, right?!

Here’s my favourite DIY cleaning spray recipe with a winter twist, that can be whipped up in seconds:

DIY Cleaning Spray Recipe

You Will Need:

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A 500 ml spray bottle

500 ml cooled boiled water

2 teaspoons liquid castile soap (the citrus, eucalyptus or peppermint Dr Broners liquid castile soap works particularly well in this recipe, but any version is fine).

10 drops pine essential oil

10 drops cedarwood essential oil

Method

Add the two teaspoons of liquid castile soap to your empty bottle (a funnel may help), and the essential oils.

Next add the cooled boiled water, and add the spray top.

Shake gently, and you’re good to go!

Directions for Use

This DIY cleaning spray is a great multipurpose spray that can be used all around the house. Shake well before use to disperse the oils and away you go.

If using on wood I always recommend spraying the cloth and then wiping your surface to avoid over saturating your wood, as this could cause it to warp.

Safety First

Keep all homemade cleaning products and their raw ingredients (particularly essential oils) out of the reach of children and pets.

Wear gloves for cleaning if you have sensitive skin.

Some essential oils aren’t recommended for use around children, pets, or during pregnancy. I’m off the personal belief, that using essential oils in this highly diluted manner for a product that is not ingested or applied to the skin doesn’t pose a risk – certainly not more of a risk than using conventional cleaning products. However, I would encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions as to which, if any, oils are right for you.