Tag

plastic free

Food & Drink, Life & Style

After the best reusable coffee cup? I’ve found it!

hydro flask review uk

hydro flask review uk

I have been on the hunt for the very best reusable coffee cup, and I’m happy to say I’ve finally found the one.

You see, I have quite a prolific tea habit.  Coffee, less so, but tea, gosh, give me all the tea.  I never like to be too far from a hot beverage, and my bog standard reusable coffee cup wasn’t quite cutting the mustard for me.

My issues with the standard reusable cups were twofold.  Firstly, when I’m out and about I’m normally pushing a buggy, which means I can’t carry a reusable coffee cup.  I have tried to balance it in the buggy basket but that only resulted in spilt tea.  And while you shouldn’t cry over spilt milk, you should definitely cry over spilt tea.

The other times I want to use my reusable coffee cup are for the bus commute to and from work.  I don’t have time for a cup of tea before I leave the house, so I like to use my commute to drink tea and read the news on my phone.  The problem is I’m normally fumbling in my purse to find change for the bus, or trying to find my ticket, and having one hand out of action whilst holding the cup wasn’t ideal either.

What I wanted was something like a flask, that could be sealed up and chucked in my bag without fear of spillage, but was easy to drink on the bus.  Drinking tea out of a flask cup on the bus isn’t ideal and prone to spillage if the bus starts or stops suddenly.

After intense internet searching, I didn’t think such an invention existed.  Then, randomly one day, I came across the Hydro Flask – a reusable coffee cup that promised to not leak when sealed up.  After reading a little about it I bought one as a treat to myself in the hope that it would solve all of my tea based problems.

best reusable coffee cup uk

I have been using my Hydro Flask for a month now and I’m ready to say hand on heart that it is the best reusable coffee cup out there, by a mile.

I have tossed it around my bag for a month on all kinds of adventures and have had zero leaks! Bus trip to make?  I pop it in my bag and have two hands-free to get on the bus with ease.  Off to the park with my little ones?  I pop it in my bag and off we go with the buggy.  Car journey to make?  I pop it in my bag and don’t have to worry about it spilling when we hit a bumpy road.

It keeps drinks piping hot for hours.  So hot, in fact, that I have to make my tea or coffee and leave it to cool for 5 minutes or so before decanting it into the Hydro Flask otherwise it’s scalding hot and undrinkable for a good couple of hours, which, yes, I did learn the hard way.

The Hydro Flask is also great at keeping cold drinks cold.  This means I don’t have to carry about a separate reusable coffee cup and water bottle – saving my back and freeing up precious space in my already bulging mum bag.

What I love most about the Hydro Flask is that when you screw the cap back on it doesn’t cause the liquid to displace if you’ve been a bit overzealous and happened to fill it up a bit too much.

It’s also easier to clean than a traditional flask – no fiddly components – just a solid lid – so it’s not prone to fusty odours that flasks can be prone to.  As I say, best reusable coffee cup ever!

My only criticism is that the body of the cup does not get hot, so you don’t get that comforting warm feeling you get when holding a cup of hot tea, but then if it did then it wouldn’t keep the tea or coffee warm, so I guess you can’t have it all.

You can buy the Hydro Flask in varying sizes – from a small 12 oz, a medium 16 oz, to the large 20 oz, which rather handily are the standard coffee shop sizes.  I plumped for the medium – the large felt a little too large, even for my liking.

Even with the medium, it’s got a nice wide mouth and so far I’ve found that coffee shops are happy to fill it, so I’ve been making sure to get my reusable cup discount!  With my tea habit, my cup will pay for itself in no time!

If you’re also after the best reusable coffee cup too, then I’ve found the Hydro Flask online on Amazon or Cotswold Outdoor if you’d prefer to avoid Amazon.

In case you’re curious, I paid full price for my Hydro Flask and am just sharing the love of this rather fortuitous find that has vastly improved my tea drinking on the go!

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

Washing & Cleansing The Eco-Friendly Way

eco friendly bathing products

I’ve fielded a lot of queries lately about my washing and cleaning routine and if I can recommend eco-friendly replacements for much-loved bathing products.

I thought I would share what we are doing right now – not by way of saying that what we are doing is perfect – but in the interests of satisfying reader curiosity!

Shower

We have switched from using liquid shower gel in plastic bottles for a plain old bar of soap.  I thought I would miss shower gel but actually, I am quite enjoying using bar soap.  I have found both Faith In Nature soap and Suma soap unpackaged at my closest health food store for little more than a pound a bar so it’s a fairly economical switch.  If you want something a bit more luxurious then I really like Marie’s Artisan Soaps.

When it comes to scrubbing I just use a plain old flannel.  It’s not fancy but it does the job effectively.

If you want to be a bit fancier, there are a few different options that aren’t heavy on the plastic.  Natural ramie shower puffs are a natural alternative to those nylon/plastic shower puff things.  They are made from natural fibres for a biodegradable clean.  Alternatively, you can buy little bamboo bags that you pop your bar of soap into for a bit of an upgrade from a flannel.

You can even buy soap pebbles, which are bars of soap wrapped in a felted wool cover.  I bought one out of curiosity and have regretted that purchase ever since.  I’ve personally found it makes for a really unpleasant showering experience.  I’m using it up because I don’t want it to go to waste but it’s safe to say I would not repurchase.

Bath

eco friendly bathing products

My kids love a good bubble bath.  Trying to find a less plastic version has been difficult, and the best solution I have found is from Lush.  Lush sell solid bubble bath bars, and my kids current favourite is this packaging free bubble spinner – a solid bubble bath bar that spins around under the tap as it releases soap.  Let it spin round under the tap for 1 minute, and then dry it off and store it away for next time.  One spinner lasts for up to 10 baths, and the wooden bit can just go in our fire or the composter once it’s finished.

The ingredients aren’t perfect, but when you’re walking a fine line between trying to live a little more lightly, keeping your kids happy and not spending a fortune then this wins for us.  My kids, who aren’t always on board with reducing waste, adore this bubble bath, so it’s a keeper.

Hair

Since the start of the year, we have been on a mission to switch to a solid shampoo bar.  This has proved to be tricky as not all of them perform how we would like, and some I’ve found have been very expensive.

So far we tried a Soapnuts one that I picked up for £6 that is SLS free, but sadly none of us got on with it.  It left our hair greasy (even the kids) and with what felt like a nasty residue in our hair.  Let’s also just say it doesn’t have the nicest of scents.  It has since been relegated to use a soap for washing our body as I’m keen not to waste it but even then it isn’t my favourite to use.

I have struggled to find other shampoo bars that have good reviews and are effective and affordable.  I have heard good reviews of this one but it’s £11 a bar, and with four heads to wash on a regular basis it’s not going to happen!

As such, we are currently using Lush solid shampoo bars.  We have tried a few different ones but so far Montalbano has been our favourite.  One bar lasts the four of us around a month and costs £6.50 a pop.  It lathers up really well and does a great job of cleaning our hair, but, boy, I wish they would remove the slice of dried lemon from the bar!  Towards the end of the bar, you end up with bits of lemon pip and pith in your hair, which isn’t the best!

My hair requires conditioner otherwise it becomes a dry tangled mess, so I have also been using Lush’s solid conditioner bar, which smells divine and does the job.  It took me a little while to get used to it – it can be hard to gauge exactly how much conditioner you are using – but now that I’m more accustomed to it I am really enjoying using it.

Again, in both the shampoo and conditioner bars the ingredients aren’t perfect, but for us, the choice has been a more affordable packaging free product that works and everyone is happy to use, or switching back to shampoo and conditioner in plastic bottles.   We’ve made a compromise here, but are still on the lookout for an affordable and effective shampoo bar so if you have found one then do let me know!

Perhaps the most sustainable option would be to stop washing our hair.   There are many advocates of this no hair washing movement, which is called the No Poo method.   I know – what a name – talk about selling it to you!  I’m not ready to make that leap yet.  Call it a hunch, but I don’t think this one would go down that well with the rest of my family either!  One for the future, maybe…!

Face

A few of the questions I’ve fielded lately are on how I wash and cleanse my face and remove makeup.

My routine is really simple.  It’s probably as simple as it gets – all I do is use a bar of soap (the one from the shower – no need for a separate bar of soap) and a flannel and that’s the full extent of my face washing/makeup removal/cleansing routine.  The flannel acts as a gentle exfoliant, removing the need for a separate exfoliant, and it removes all traces of makeup.

I’ve been using this method for year upon year and haven’t found anything better.  Even beauty expert Sali Hughes swears by the flannel so I know I am on to something good.  I keep a stack of them in my bathroom cupboard, use a fresh one each day, and then chuck it in the washing machine in the evening.  Simple, quick, cheap and effective.  What’s not to love?

If you are after something more like a cotton wool pad then you can try this reusable cotton wool pad pattern.

Sink

handsoap recipe

I keep a bar of soap beside my kitchen sink for handwashing.  I tried this in the bathroom too, but what I found was that my kids aren’t keen to use bar soap.  The other thing I’ve found with bar soap by the bathroom sink is that even in a soap dish the soap sits in a puddle all day.  This makes for a soggy soap that isn’t pleasant to use.  Instead, I make my own liquid hand soap – delicious scented grapefruit and ginger foaming hand soap – pictured above, that you can find the recipe to in Fresh Clean Home on page 90.

Making hand soap sounds like a time-consuming and difficult process, but the reality is it takes approximately 5 seconds to make, and just a handful of easily sourced ingredients!  There is nothing more involved than mixing a few liquids together!

If you have any other questions or have any recommendations for what’s working for you then do let me know – I’d love to hear!