Lush Haul – Zero Waste Toiletries

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I visited Lush yesterday to stock up on toiletries, in advance of my holiday in a few weeks. Lush is great, as you can buy most toiletries packaging free. Above you can see (anti-clockwise from the giant henna block in the bottom left); Caca Marron Henna Hair Dye Block, Handy Gurugu Handcream, The Sunblock, Each Peach (and Two’s a Pair) Massage Bar and Coalface Solid Bar Soap (just about visible on the black bag).

I love their henna, I never wanted to dye my hair but I am slowly going grey (the curse of having dark hair) and in my mid-thirties, it’s got to the point where I really don’t like it being so visible. These henna bars are a little bit of effort, but I love that they are all natural. They are well worth the effort and really do make your greys sparkle brighter, as they take the colour slightly differently and look like highlights.

The hand cream comes in a little black pot, but these are made from 100% recycled plastic. Lush has a closed loop system and you take your pots back to store for recycling. They take them back to the manufacturer and round and round they go! The plastic manufacturer is also down here in Poole, right next to the factories that make the lovely Lush products. I tried their solid hand cream, but it wasn’t rich enough for me and far, far too greasy.

I don’t fully understand why they wrap the sunblock in plastic, but currently they do. I suspect it’s because it’s prone to melting – I had this experience once. But I’d still rather buy it sans-packaging and put it into a little tin for travel, like I do with their solid shampoos and conditioners. (EDIT: I wrote to Lush and they tell me that their sunblock is more prone to melting than other solid products. However, the good news is that the “plastic wrap is a cellulose plastic, which is a bio-plastic made from things like vegetable fats. It can be popped in with your compost and should begin to biodegrade within a week or so“). My husband swears this is the best sun-care product he has ever used. He has pale skin that burns very easily, but this offers fabulous protection. You simply shower it on in the morning and it’s SPF 30. You can also cut off a little bit and carry it with you in a tin, to top up. We also carry their ‘Powdered Sunshine’ which is fabulous and non-greasy, a little powder that you apply like talc. I even mix it with my face powder, to up my daily protection.

The massage bars are great for travel and completely sans-packaging. You just rub them over your skin to moisturise and it’s as simple as that. Coal-face is a godsend for my oily skin and it doubles as an exfoliator, as it contains little pieces of coal to gently scrub. I love it more than any face wash I’ve ever tried. Combine these items with our solid shampoo and conditioners bars and we’re set to go! We can’t imagine ever going back to plastic-wrapped, unethical toiletries.

All in all, I love supporting a local retailer, employing (mostly) local people (more on that perhaps another time) all these products are made 5 miles from my house – though ironically I have to travel a couple of miles further on just to buy them! I took all old paper bags and re-used them all. I had to prompt the staff member a couple of times, but they obliged. They sell some items by weight, and they always weigh them without the packaging. They can even cut products to your requirements, like with my piece of coalface soap.

Things that have gone this week- 14 & 15

My decluttering has slowed with good reason, so I will probably only post these updates periodically from now one. Still – 3 months of solid decluttering is pretty good going. I’d in-fact say I’ve completed 7 months of decluttering – since I started before Christmas! I just only started documenting the process 3 months ago.

In the past 2 weeks, I have away a room-sized piece of carpet that had been taken up and a room’s worth of carpet underlay. I sold a craft kit on eBay and I took a big bag of stuff to a charity shop. It contained a food serving tray that I was given when I set up home. I’d never used it and I had to wonder why I’d kept it all these years. It was the old ‘it might be useful’ approach!

We were given an UGLY soft toy monster by some relatives who stayed in May. I know I should’ve photographed it for fun. I smiled gratefully, accepted it and promptly put it in a bag to go to charity as soon as they left! Actually, my husband says we should keep these kinds of gifts; since people made them for us. I just bag ’em up and he never misses them, since we neither have need for them nor find them attractive to have around – I basically don’t see the problem.

I also gave away a pair of slippers a family members had asked us to keep here, for when they come to stay. The most ridiculous part was, they only ever came here once a year AND they never wore the slippers! I bet they won’t even know they are gone, on their next visit.

I also gave away several books I’d finished reading which is progress for me – as I always used to hold on to everything I’d ever read, pretty much. I gave away a large clip frame and mount, along with some more mounting board that I think I’d literally had for 20 years and never used! We paid to have our pictures professionally framed and they look great. Sure, there are ways to save money but learning to picture frame isn’t one for me. I was too scared of doing a crap job and paying someone else – meant the job actually got done and done well.

Do you have any decluttering stories to share? Do post in the comments 🙂

Things that have gone this week – 12 & 13

I’m late again in posting, as I have slowed down the pace of my decluttering. Partly due to the temperatures in excess of 30 degrees Celsius – it’s just too hot to do anything much!

I have managed to sell one item on eBay each week, both blouses. The only other thing that’s gone is a tonne of weeds from the garden! Hence my lack of blogging, I’ve been trying to get outside more and enjoy summer.

  1. Vintage Laura Ashley silk blouse
  2. M&S pink cotton blouse

Stay tuned, as I aim to be posting more!

Things that have gone this week – 10 & 11

Wow, time flies – especially when you have visitors. I apologise that I missed a week, so I’ll stick the 2 posts together. As we’ve had people staying with us, I did not want to clutter up my space with more items waiting to go and so it really did slow down to almost nothing. I only sold 2 items on eBay, but that’s OK because I haven’t had time to list any more. I took a small bag of items to a charity shop just to get them out the way, I seem to recall it was a mix of books, clothing and household bric-a-brac.

  1. Brand new M&S Bra
  2. Brand new Bagpuss Cross Stitch Kit

I found these items lurking in my cupboards, brand new with the tags on. I decided I was not going to use them and I put them up for sale. After our visitors had left, we ended up with a whole bunch of food items that they bought and didn’t eat. They were kind of random items, like herbs, condiments, strong blue cheese and health food items that we would never choose to purchase or eat. So I offered them on Freecycle and someone gladly came to take them. Amazing what you can give away! Until next time…..I’m not even sure if I will have sold any more by then, but I have some more items waiting to be given away.

Things that have gone this week – 9

This week has ended up being a bit of a blur and I turned another year older. But, I am still getting rid of things!

Things I sold:

  1. A black 1950s style, net petticoat which never actually suited any of my dresses as it was too short and too full.
  2. Two vintage floral tea dresses (1 pictured), but they were the same style – too tight on me.
  3. Another pair of shoes! (Hangs head in shame!) This time a pair of vintage style Clarks T-Bar shoes.

This week I sold 4 items on eBay and I took a small bag to charity, containing a book, a dress and a board game. All of the items sold were purchased second hand for a few pounds and I ended up turning a nice little profit on these. But must try harder not to buy more! The petticoat was picked up for £4, brand new with tags and sold for £20 – still with tags on. The dresses cost £6 each and sold for £20 together. The shoes were picked up for £3, barely worn and sold for £10.

Stay tuned for hopefully another post next week!

I got rid of 15 pairs of shoes!

I don’t feel proud about that title, let me tell you. But I have continued my serious declutter. I am certain that I still own more than 15 further pairs of shoes and that number also needs to decrease. However, this is a MASSIVE step forwards for me and it’s truly been enlightening – look at all these shoes I had and there was absolutely no way I could use them all. Let’s just say that these 15 pairs that have gone are the ones that have had the least use, or even that I no longer wore at all. I don’t have pictures of them all, as I only started saving my images recently. Here is just a fraction:

I calculate that I have put £157.45 (gross figure) back in my pocket. Considering that only 2 of the pairs I had owned from brand new (and both of those were bought at around 70% off), I calculate that I am in profit despite my careless ownership. None of the other pairs cost more than £10 second-hand and most a lot less! However, that is not an excuse for me to go and buy more!

It might be optimistic, but I hope that I can one day get down to around 6 pairs of shoes. I’m envisaging:

  1. Knee high boots
  2. Ankle boots
  3. Trainers
  4. Sandals
  5. Work shoes
  6. Smart shoes

And really that would be more than enough! But I will admit that I have a slight weakness for shoes, probably more than anything else. Still, I can try.

Things that have gone this week – 8

Wow, just when I think I’m going to slow down with the declutter, it picks up again! As usual, I got carried away and forgot to photograph everything that went. Never-mind, that’s not important- it’s more important that these things are no longer part of my life and space. I sold 5 items of clothing on eBay and then I gave away lots of things (see list below). I have now almost hit £1,500 of items sold (totalling 109 items to date!)

Rather than sending our used carpet to landfill, we were lucky enough to find someone who wanted it via the Freecycle network. I would also have tried allotment owners and pet shelters, before landfilling it. We acquired horrible terracotta orange carpets in all our bedrooms when we moved in. It was a vile colour (in my opinion) and stained in places. However for someone, it proved better than having no flooring at all and I’m glad that it could be re-used. In turn, we re-used the beige carpet we removed from our lounge diner to carpet 2 of the 3 bedrooms, with a bit left over incase we ever want to do the porch or small toilet.

We also sent our used stamps to help a charity. It really is amazing what can be re-used. I found some leaf grabbers in the garage, that I’d picked up at a car boot for £1 a few years ago. Now we live in a house without trees, so it was time for someone else to use them. I was finally ready to admit that I was not going to teach myself anymore guitar than I had done 5 years ago and I let it go to someone else wanting to learn, via Freecycle. I freecycled  2 pairs of tights that were huge on me, to someone wanting to make a fancy dress outfit! I found an old picture that hadn’t been up on the walls for about 5 years which I freecycled. Finally, I also sent a free gift that came with my watch to someone who could use and enjoy it, after it had been stuffed down the side of a cupboard for a couple of years.

  1. Bustier
  2. Coast Party Dress
  3. Laura Ashley Gypsy Skirt
  4. Frock & Frill Beaded Top
  5. White Stuff Reversible Skirt
  6. Roll of carpet taken up from office
  7. Roll of carpet taken up from bedroom (Both rolls of carpet went to someone in need of carpet, via Freecycle)
  8. Leaf grabbers (Given away on Freecycle)
  9. A5 envelope of used stamps (Given away via Freecycle to help a charity)
  10. Free gift of 4 nail varnishes that came with a watch I bought a couple of years ago (given away on Freecycle)
  11. 2 pairs of black tights that were meant to be one size, but came up to my armpits!!! (Went to a man for a fancy dress costume!)
  12. Guitar & music book (Freecycled)
  13. Puffin picture (Freecycled)

Who knows what next week will hold? Why don’t you join me for Week 9 of my decluttering adventures.