Five Ways I'm Reducing Plastic Waste

Happy 2019! (She says as we near the end of January!) I still can’t quite believe how quickly time seems to be flying, and that it was November that I last posted on the blog. While I didn't set myself any rigid resolutions as such (I decided not to this year), one of the few things I’ve been wanting to do is to commit to using less plastic and single use items. 

While I am by no means perfect and I still have more to do, I have found a few ways to make it easier to say no to picking up a single use cup, straws and 5p plastic bags, which I’ve shared below. I hope you find them useful!


Since spotting one in a local cafe a few years ago, I’ve always wanted my very own KeepCup. My best friend Paige kindly bought me one for Christmas a couple of years ago and, since then, it’s been a welcome addition to my handbag if I know I’m going somewhere where I’ll be likely to grab a drink on the go. I’m a sucker for minimal and natural styling so, with it’s black lid and cork band, this KeepCup is definitely perfect for me. That being said, if you’re into something a bit more bold and beautiful, they have a range of colours for you to create your very own design. 

Places like Starbucks and even independent cafes now offer a considerable discount for those bringing in their own cups, and some even refuse to serve takeaway options without a reusable cup at hand. Therefore, they’re not only a growing solution to one time use plastic takeaway cups, but a great way to cut down costs too.

NatraCare Organic Cotton

I was kindly gifted a selection of sanitary products from NatraCare and, since giving them a go, I won’t be turning back to traditional pads, which contain plastic and an array of chemicals. Their products are made from natural and certified organic cotton, and contain no additives, perfumes or plastics, making them also ideal for women who suffer from allergies and irritation.

This is as well as being a far more environmentally friendly option, as they are completely biodegradable and sustainably sourced. Better still, they’re vegetarian society approved, meaning no animals were harmed or tested on during their production. A definite win-win!

Lush Shampoo and Conditioner Bars 

It’s unsettling in the least to think how many plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner we throw away each month. I initially picked up a Lush shampoo bar and conditioner for our travels in Bruges last year, but since then, it’s become a long-term staple for my toiletries bag. 

While admittedly Lush isn’t the cheapest option, my first shampoo and conditioner bars lasted about five months after purchasing them in March, which says something, seeing as my hair is super thick. I use the Soak and Float bar, which smells incredible, but there are many different options to go for. I follow this with their Big solid conditioner bar for added moisture.

Lush also sell metal tins to keep your bars in, which makes keeping them fresh and travel friendly that much easier, too.

Bamboo Toothbrushes 

Typically, we should be changing our toothbrushes every three months to ensure they remain effective and free from harmful bacteria buildup. With this in mind, the average family household of four people throw away sixteen toothbrushes a year, which all end up in landfill. After attending a beach clean organised by Surfers Against Sewage last year, we picked up a couple of bamboo toothbrushes after vowing to find easy ways to minimise our combined plastic use at home.

Since then, we’ve been purchasing our usual Woobambo toothbrush from Timber, Ringwood. These toothbrushes are comprised of Moso Bamboo, which grows a metre a day without the need for fertiliser, which is biodegradable. Better still, Moso Bamboo is naturally antimicrobial, which minimises the amount of bacteria build up on your brush. That aside, they also look a lot nicer than typical plastic toothbrushes, which always helps!

Natural Net Bag*

While in Bruges last year, I picked up a natural net bag, which I thought would be useful (and look cute, I admit) for everyday groceries and fresh fruit purchases. Since then, it resides in my handbag, ready for those unexpected purchases. This way, I can easily say no to a 5p bag (which is set to increase to 10p by 2020), and avoid not only a frustrating abundance of plastic bags in the kitchen cupboard, but also my contribution to numerous plastic bags ending up in landfill. 

While I still have a long way to go, I feel like these are all steps in the right direction, and it’s true when they say that every little helps. My aim now is to find package free cleansers, the perfect loose leaf tea (as many tea bags in fact contain small pieces of plastic, yikes) and look into ways to creating natural and package free cosmetics to add to my makeup bag. I’m also keen to carry on keeping it vintage by using hand soaps in place of packaged shower gels.

Do you have any more useful plastic free tips? Leave them in the comments below!

*Lady cat not included!


Pumpkin Picking at Sopley Farm

Last weekend, I finally went pumpkin picking for the first time. As someone who loves autumn and considers it her favourite time of year, I'm surprised that I have yet to partake in this lovely seasonal activity. However, I feel like I've made up for lost time!

Along with his parents, sister, niece and nephews, Kieran and I paid a visit to Sopley Farm to seek out the best pumpkins that we could find. I have to say, it was super cute to see Kieran's niece and nephew, Olivia and Charlie, get so excited about choosing their very own pumpkins amongst a sea of orange. 

Isaac certainly looked at home in his very own pumpkin patch (and yes, this might just be one of my favourite photos that I've taken for my blog!)

After much deliberation, I finally chose my first pumpkin, which was slightly misshapen and not as round as the others. For some reason, this pumpkin felt like it belonged to me. I can just picture it with carved out stars and a crescent moon, or even a Virgo constellation, which would look lovely with a tea light in for added effect.

After a while, we spotted another pumpkin, which was slightly rounder, as well as a mini pumpkin that was tinged with green. I seem to be drawn to the more unusual, it seems!

After shamelessly posing for a few photos, we admired our haul and headed to the store to pay for our pumpkins, which were priced according to size. I can't wait to spend an autumnal evening carving pumpkins with candles and a Halloween film or two. Also, did someone say pumpkin soup?


The Body Shop Event with Bournemouth Bloggers

A couple of weekends ago, I was kindly invited to an event at The Body Shop, Bournemouth with Bournemouth Bloggers to browse their existing and new autumnal ranges. While there, we were also treated to mini makeovers, as well as skincare demonstrations and consultations… and a glass of prosecco or two! 

The products that immediately caught my (and many other bloggers!) eye was the Vanilla Pumpkin Hand Cream and body butter, which smelt incredible and like an autumnal dream. I’m not ashamed to say that the hand cream found it’s way into my basket as I wandered around the store, which will be perfect for keeping my hands moisturised during the looming colder months.

On the night, we were given a generous 30% off everything in store, which meant I felt less guilty about also treating myself to the Indian Night Jasmine fragrance mist, which I’ve had my eye on for quite some time. 

I also spied a beautiful berry matte lipstick in the shade Mauritius Dahlia which has become a strong contender for my favourite red. It’s not drying like many matte lipsticks I’ve used before. While it’s definitely a deeper shade than a traditional red, it’s not too dark, which is good for me, as I find a few berry lipsticks can wash me out. 

Last but not least, I picked up a Guarana and coffee Energising Moisturiser for Kieran to try, as he’s a self confessed coffee addict and has been using the same one for years, so I figured now was an ideal time to branch out a little. It definitely got the seal of approval, which was confirmed after he questioned it’s whereabouts one morning when I forgot to put it back after stealing it for a flatlay photo!

I had the loveliest evening catching up with a few familiar faces, as well as meeting some new bloggers from the area too. I also picked up a beauty points card for their Love Your Body Club, meaning that every time I make a purchase (which will be often, lets be honest), I'll earn 10 points for every £1 I spend. When I hit 500 points, I'll then have £5 to spend in store.

We were also kindly gifted to an absolutely amazing goodie bag, which included a full sized Tahitian Tiare Bath and Shower Oil-in-Gel body wash and samples of their Spa of the World range, as well as a beautiful makeup bag with their “Forever Against Animal Testing” slogan. That I can definitely get on board with!


An Overnight Stay at New Forest Glamping

A few weeks ago, as a birthday treat and way to celebrate finishing his Countryside Management course at Sparsholt College, Kieran and I decided to spend the night in our favourite place in a lovely little shepherd’s hut. New Forest Glamping, which is located in the beautiful village of Bransgore in the New Forest, offers visitors the chance to go off grid - but with a little luxury too. 

Upon arrival, host Darren greeted us at the gate and gave us an overview of the hut and its facilities, and gave us our keys. Offering guests stunning views of the grounds, which is home to an array of wonderful wildlife such as horses, rabbits and chickens, as well as a range of amenities such as a fully fitted bathroom, wood burner, bed and even expresso maker for Kieran’s much needed coffees, it didn’t take long for us to fall in love with it. 

The shepherd's hut also includes a fridge, cutlery, hob and oven, which doubles up as a microwave, as well as a barbecue for those summer evenings on the deck.

After settling in (and of course, making myself a cuppa!), we decided to make the most of our location by taking a short bike ride into Burley for dinner. While we drive into the forest on a regular basis, nothing quite beats taking in the views without a car window slightly obscuring the view and getting some fresh air at the same time too.

We deliberated for a while about whether to head to The White Buck, which is one of our favourite spots or give The Queens Head a try, which we regularly pass on our trips into Burley. I’m so glad we decided on The Queens Head pub, which is situated in the centre of town, as here I tried their vegan burger, which is without a doubt my favourite so far! The warm weather definitely called for a cold cider, with Kieran opting for his usual ale. Another lovely spot to add to our favourites!

After cycling back, we decided to set up the bed, which was relatively straightforward. The bed was incredibly comfy and was a welcome retreat after our bike ride. We decided to spend our evening relaxing with music on the included Bose mini sound system and researching some wedding entertainment ideas using the free wi-fi, and I'm excited that we managed to find a few options which are strong contenders!

The next morning, both Kieran and I woke up feeling refreshed and totally content in our surroundings. Check out was at 11am, so Kieran and I decided to head to The Cider Pantry for breakfast, where we discovered that they make the most amazing apple and ginger juice - perfect for a hot summer's day! They also did a hearty vegan breakfast, which was ideal fuel for our walk in nearby Rhinefield.

While we only stayed for the evening, we’re eager to head back soon. I can just imagine waking up on a crisp autumn or winter morning, starting up the wood burner and cosying up to take in the beautiful view!



DIY Natural and Cruelty-Free Beard Oil

A couple of years ago, Kieran and I decided that, to save money and add a more personal touch to Christmas, we'd make our own gifts. Being the handsome bearded man that he is, I figured I'd give making beard oil a go, as he was running low of his usual supplies. Since then, he's asked me to make two more batches, which is both reassuring and flattering to know my present went down so well! 

If you're struggling for ideas about what to get your fellow bearded partner, friend or relative, why not give it a go? It's oddly satisfying to know you've created something special and useful by hand, as well as skipping those nasty chemicals you sometimes find in shop bought products. All of the oils listed below are from Akoma Skincare, who are certified vegan and USDA organic.

What you'll need:

Amber Pipette Bottle (Amazon)
Organic Jojoba Oil
Vitamin E Oil
Cedarwood Essential Oil
Pine Essential Oil

Starting with your amber pipette bottle at the ready, pour your jojoba oil about 3/4 of the way to the top. Known for both its cleansing and nourishing properties, jojoba oil is non-comedogenic and non-allergenic, meaning it won't block pores, nor cause skin irritation. 

Next, pour in your vitamin E oil so that you're nearly at the top of your bottle. Make sure to leave enough room for your pipette! Vitamin E contains a variety of essential antioxidant properties that helps with both the repair and strengthening of the hair, therefore making it less prone to damage.

You'll want it so that your beard oil isn't too thin, or too thick either. I think the above ratio gives quite a nice consistency, which Kieran seems to have no issues with either! 

Now for the fun part. I usually start by adding the cedwarwood essential oil for a woodsy base. It's all dependant on how strong you like it, and it varies from time to time, but I usually add 20 drops. I'll then put the pipette topper back on and give the mixture a shake.

Pine can be particularly overwhelming, so you'll want to go easy with this. I usually add roughly about 10 drops, just to make sure I don't drown out the cedarwood. 
Give the bottle another good shake to combine the mixture. 

The final step? Give your freshly created oil to your bearded companion! Kieran usually applies it by squeezing some of the oil onto his hands, before rubbing them together and running it through his beard.

Do you make beard oil for yourself or a loved one? If so, what ingredients and essential oil combinations do you use?



New Forest Exploring Guide

It's no secret that I have a slight appreciation for the New Forest, Hampshire, and get asked quite often for recommendations on where to visit. I figured a New Forest exploring guide would make for quite an interesting blog post, should you be visiting the area or just fancy having a gander at where I spend the majority of my free time. 

This obviously isn't an extensive guide, as the New Forest occupies over 571 km², but here's a few of my favourite spots that I feel like you shouldn't miss. If you've got any recommendations yourself, leave them in the comments section below, as I'd love to discover somewhere new in my favourite forest!


It won't be surprising to some that I've put Burley right at the top of my list (Kieran and I love it so much that we'll be getting married at Burley Manor in 2019!).

The front entrance to Burley Manor

Burley Manor's beautiful conservatory restaurant, which offers stunning views of the front grounds

If you're into your history, Burley is renowned as being home to self styled white witch Sybil Leeks in the 1950's and has an appropriately titled gift shop, Coven of Witches, that cater to all of your spellbinding needs. It's my go to for crystals and incense sticks!

The White Buck, Burley; the perfect retreat after a day of exploring
Stunning walks and interesting history aside, it's home to my favourite pub, The White Buck which, with its cosy heritage atmosphere, is a must after your outdoor excursions.

Rhinefield Ornamental Drive

Rhienfield Ornamental Drive, which is situated between Brockenhurst and the A35, is another firm favourite of both Kieran and I. Rhinefield is home to the tallest and oldest Douglas firs and redwoods in the New Forest, and is a beautiful spot to visit whatever the weather. I think one of my favourite walks was here in the pouring rain, wrapped up in waterproofs and wellies, with two overly excited pups!

We usually park up in Blackwater car park for the Tall Trees Trail, which takes you on a stroll under some amazing conifers planted as far back as 1859. The arboretum, which is home to a selection of trees from across the globe, is a nature lovers dream. We were lucky enough to come close to a stag crossing a path and making its way into the trees here not too long ago... I'll forever regret not bringing my camera along! 

Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary

If you're a deer lover like me, or you weren't lucky enough to catch sight of the herd that relax outside on the grounds outside of Burley Manor, then Bolderwood is one to add to your exploring list. 

With a purpose built viewing platform, which overlooks a large meadow, this lovely spot is the perfect place to see some of its cute residents. As well as the viewing platform, there's also a selection of picnic benches, bbq stands and walks to make the most of your visit. I'll always fondly remember Bolderwood as being the place where I sprained my lateral collateral ligament (on my 25th birthday, of all days) after jumping down from the world's smallest tree stump. Graceful as ever!

New Forest Wildlife Park

Not too long ago, Kieran treated me to a trip to the New Forest Wildlife Park, as I had never been before. Shortly after we took his niece and nephew along for a second visit! This amazing wildlife park, which contributes towards the conservation of endangered animals and works closely with the RSPCA, is perfect for families and animal lovers alike. With a resident lynx called Munchkin, bisons, deer and wolves, as well as a cafe, gift shop and picnic tables, there's plenty to see and do to keep everyone, from little (and big) kids alike, occupied.

Aldridge Hill Camp Site

We stayed at Aldridge Hill the night before the New Forest Fairy Festival in August of this year, but would happily make a return visit just for the camping itself. With stunning views of the woodland, this camp site is a must for those after a more remote camping experience. 

There are no on site facilities, meaning you need to bring along your own portable toilet and shower tent, but that added to the charm of going completely out in the sticks... especially with a herd of horses contentedly grazing a stones throw away. We booked our trip with Camping in the Forest, who offer numerous camping sites with different facilities.

Have I missed out your favourite spot in my New Forest exploring guide? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!