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Featured, Green things, Shampoo Free, Thrifty

Ten Shampoo Alternatives for healthy, shiny and clean hair

29 March, 2016

Updated post: I have now been using 100% natural shampoo alternatives for over four years. My hair is stronger, shinier and healthier than it has ever been! I hope you enjoy this post featuring (still) my favourite No Poo shampoo substitutes. I am pretty surprised that the ingredients I fell in love with at the very beginning of my shampoo free journey have remained my favourites. For the last couple of years I have been working as a columnist for Cosmopolitan, writing up beauty experiments, and I also published a bestselling book all about how to give up shampoo which you can grab here.
Amazon Price- $5.56 My Price- $3.56 (2)

At a mere $5.20 or £3.40 (purchase in your own currency) it is a SNIP – less than a bottle of swanky shampoo. But unlike your shampoo it comes with a full refund if you don’t like it!

At the start of this year I began an experiment with my hair.  The purist in me was tired of putting toxins into my body, the spendthrift in me was weary of pouring so much money away on these toxins and the optimist in me was persuaded by our bodies ability to cope without reliance on products! I was in a wash-every-other-day-routine and was a slave to dry-shampoo. I knew there had to be a better way.

Enter the No Poo way of life!

In a typically extreme move  I totally gave up shampoo and have in the last 10 months put everything from a homemade nettle brew to mustard powder on my hair! It has gone quite wrong at times but ultimately my hair is a million times more healthy, voluminous, and grows much faster. Plus I can go away for weeks at a time and need nothing for my hair but a good bristle brush. This really appeals to my hopes of living more simply and with less impact on this beautiful earth (even though I am rubbish at this in lots of ways.)

Here are TEN options for shampoo alternatives I have played with- and sometimes made a lot of mess with! Most are the BEE’S KNEE’s for me and the rest are the dog’s whatchya’s for others…

One- Water! Oh groan, I know, I’m sorry.  What kind of an shampoo alternative is this?! I hear you cry. The best, truly. It took me 9 months to realise it was all my hair needed – and now it has been one month since anything has been on my hair at all. The key is in the massage and the brush. As you soak your hair, get your fingers stuck in, pushing away at your scalp and any particularly grease-o bits. I do a five minute massage every five days.

I also brush my hair each night with my trusty boar bristle brush. I use Kent Brushes who have an amazing ethical record. They’ve been making boar bristle brushes since 1777 and can HIGHLY recommend either the barrel brush, which I inherited from my Nana and LOVE. The Moroccan Oil and Christophe Robin brushes here are pure boar bristle too – they are pricey but consider it an investment in natural beauty that will last your lifetime! (Those are affiliate links, they ship globally for free!) More info here about what the best boar bristle brush for you might be.

My hair is thick and voluminous and does whatever I want it to do. Whooppiiee for H20!! I have to say that some water is kinder to hair than others! Sometimes the chemicals or the limescale in the water of city residents can be a little unkind. Make sure you use lots of lovely natural homemade conditioners every so often, and if after a little while it becomes clear that your water isn’t nice enough consider getting a shower filter or just committing to one of these other shampoo alternatives below.

Two- Bicarbonate of Soda/ Baking Soda. This gets your hair SQUEAKY clean. Every ten days or so I put one teaspoon in a cup of water and dissolve it, chuck it on my hair mid shower and wash it straight out. The only reason it isn’t number one is because it isn’t free and I’m a cheapskate. Using bicarbonate of soda regularly and often, and using too much of it will damage your hair more than shampoo. (Please read this ultimate guide to using bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda on your hair! It is a much needed step but you can have too much of a good thing.) My hair gets a bit bicarb weary after too many times in a row, brittle and waxy and needs a bit of Number Three Action:

Three- Egg. I use the whole egg, whisked in a cup. I pour over my head and massage in. I leave for a few minutes and rinse well.  It leaves my hair SO clean and SO soft and shiny. However, the water must be cool! I have had a couple of scrambled disasters venturing into too warm territory…. Here is some info about how an egg works and how to apply egg on hair effectively.

Four- Soapnuts. These are a natural cleaner and work incredibly well. My hair is like silk after- certainly the closest to shampoo I have found. I heat them in water on the stove for 10 minutes, whiz them with my hand blender and use the liquid. I am too lazy to make this my Go To alternative, but use it if my hair has become filthy. Buy them here and use them for cleaning a million and one things! Buy them from my affiliate chums, Ethical Superstore. They come in a 1 kilo pack and are a real bargain – over 300 washes in there!

Five– Rhassoul Clay. This is LOVELY stuff. For skin and hair.  It is one of the better shampoo alternatives out there as it not only cleans but also conditions. I make a paste with two spoonfuls and boiling water. Once cool I smooth it into hair, after a few minutes I brush it through hair and rinse off. It is truly divine but a little on the expensive side for my thrifty self. (But doesn’t come close to the expense of good shampoo.)Shampoo alternatives for healthy hair

Six- Henna. This is one of the more colourful shampoo alternatives, something to suit those who like to play around with their hair. This is my once-every-six-weeks deep treatment! I mix up about ten spoons of it with hot water to make a paste. Once cool I apply it all over and leave it for two hours. (Epic I know, I use a plastic bag and grips to keep it all in place.) It needs a SERIOUS rinse, and a good brush, but my hair after is brighter, cleaner, softer.

Seven- Tea. This relies very much on the massage bit too, and the result is the same as water except you get a nice smell! Some people swear that the different aspects of the tea change your hair – chamomile adding a special softness and lightness to blonde hair, for example. My favourite is to take some lemonbalm leaves and make a tea out of it. A little video here of that happening and an explanation of my motto “If you can’t eat it, don’t wash your hair with it!” ….

Eight- Lemon. Lemon has some seriously potent anti-bacterial properties and can work as a lightener for people wanting to be blonder.  Squeeze a whole lemon into a cup of water and pour over your head mid shower. Rinse well, unless you have hard water in which case you might want to leave on. Not recommended for greasy hair.

Nine- Tea Tree Oil. Full of incredible properties! Add tea tree oil to the bicarb paste, the lemon or the water only wash to turn them into very effective anti dandruff shampoos. Tea tree oil is perfect for people with scalp issues. In fact, one person I am VERY close to but who shalt remain nameless has had a life-long scalp issue fixed by dabbing on a couple of drops of tea tree oil to the problem areas.

Ten- Rye Flour. Rye flour is fast becoming the star of the No Poo movement, the Bieber of all the shampoo alternatives! it has just the right mixture of saponins and exfoliating properties to make it super kind and cleaning on your hair. I wish i could say “Stick it on” but once again it is a little more complicated – mainly, you need to sieve it first! This video will give you the big HOW TO for rye flour.

A note on conditioner- Half of these, everyone apart from the rye flour, the clay and the egg and the lemon need a rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar. I use a splash in half a cup of water and throw it over the ends of my hair, leave for a few minutes then rinse out. It’s a WINNER.

The biggest lesson in all of this is to not give up  and be a brave old soul – often different hair just needs different proportions of things.

For the ultimate guide to giving up shampoo check out my bestselling book –  a shed load of advice and recipes for alternatives to shampoo and conditioners and styling products can be found here.
Happy Hair No Poo Book


Craftiness, Green things, Thrifty

Homemade Beeswax Wraps

13 January, 2016

Here is my favourite little craft of the last few years – homemade beeswax wraps.

You know what I hate? Cling Film. (Here in NZ they call it Glad Wrap. As if that horrible cloying stuff has ever made a soul glad!!)

I partly hate it because it hates me – cling film started it when it refused to ever stick to itself so all my sandwiches look as if they are wrapped in scraggly, flappy bits of plastic. Oh wait! That *is* what cling film is!

It is the stuff that our great – great – great – great – great- grandchildren will discover on their archeological digs and think, with baffled expressions on their faces, scanning the barren, scorched land around them, “THIS was the reason for the demise of our beautiful earth! My great – great- great- great- great- Nana was a total plonker!” They will write articles in the National Geographic about how we used up the world’s most precious resource wrapping up old bits of cheese.

Crumbs, didn’t know I was such a hater. Feel much better for that.

You’ll be pleased (because I was sounding like it was giving me high blood pressure, eh?) to know I discovered an alternative to Cling Film. It is an eco, recycled, reuseable version made with bees wax and fabric. Introducing homemade beeswax wraps!
homemade beeswax wraps

All you need for these homemade beeswax wraps is some scraps of fabric and beeswax. (Buy beeswax from either your local farmers market, your local honey bee place or here at iherb – ships globally) I did six different sizes ranging from 30cm x 30cm to 15cm x 15 cm. I wanted some large enough to go over baking dishes to then go in the fridge and I wanted some I could sew into little snack packs.

How to make homemade beeswax wraps

1- Cut your fabric (ideally with pinking shears so it doesn’t fray) You can cut afterwards as well – it doesn’t fray then as it has been waxed.

2- Shave on a small amount of bees wax – sprinkle this as evenly as possible over the whole thing. Work sparingly as a little goes a long way.

3- Place on to some tin foil in a medium- hot oven for 5 or so minutes, until wax has melted. 190°C would be good.

4- Bring it out and look at it in the light. You should be able to see any patches without wax on- sprinkle a bit on those areas and pop back in oven.

5- TADA! Done! You can use these beeswax wraps  in replace of cling film and you can wash and dry it and use it again!
beeswax wraps

How to use your homemade beeswax wraps

Use your beeswax wraps as you would tinfoil or cling film (or glad wrap)- wrap up your sandwiches! If you fold the wrap around a simple shape and place in a lunchbox it will hold together. but if you are gonna chuck it straight in your bag you will need to secure with string. (Like the old days of brown paper bagged lunches tied with string!)

You can also use it to cover plates or bowls – again use a string or rubber band to hold it in place over the dish.

Turn your beeswax wraps into beeswax pockets:

I took two of my homemade beeswax wraps and folded them in half and sewed a seam down the side. I left one side open so snacks could be popped in. It can then be folded over and secured with a band or a clip. PERFECT.

How to make homemade beeswax wraps

After use simply wipe down your beeswax wraps and dry them well. You can use a mid eco dishwashing liquid on them too. Store them in a clean place were they are unlikely to get dust on them. After a lot of use they will stop holding their shape and might look a little scummy, with creases. I suggest to whipping up some more.

I am in love with this easy, peasy alternative to cling film and will never again wrangle with that nasty stuff and the great-grandkids won’t be calling ME the plonker. Yay homemade beeswax wraps!
beeswax wraps homemade food wrap
PS – Post includes my affiliate link for iherb – buy all your organic and wellness good with my link and it helps me out too!


Handmade Christmas Decorations – 22 unique festive crafts to do at home

3 December, 2015

Christmas in the UK happens to you whether you like it or not. Here in NZ, it’s up to you. On your own shoulders. Sure, you might see the odd surfing Santa in the corner of shop somewhere, but mostly you just think “Where are his reindeers?” not “Woo! Christmas!”

If you want to feel festive you have to step it up.

Which perhaps explains why for the last week or so I have been playing Christmas carols and crafting up decorations in every spare moment, while my kiwi husband bashes his head on the baubles and mutters about having to bash his head on baubles for a whole twelfth of a year.

(To be fair, I didn’t mean it to be forehead-height. I think my bauble garland drooped a little.)

One of my most festive childhood memories is of getting out the plaster of paris and pouring it into the nativity scene moulds and then dying them with tea bags to creative a beautiful antique style decoration. Why we made them so often, I’ll never know – did we break them, every single Christmas? Or did my mum just revel in this one crafty thing she did every year? Did we have boxes and boxes of plaster of paris Marys and Josephs hiding away in the corners of our house?

Who knows, but the legacy is that I love making Christmas decorations. Some have lasted years already and others disappear altogether… sometimes discovered in the Toy Chest a few months later. Halos askew.

(Toy Chest is a grand name for that huge basket into which I shovel everything that looks messy when I hear a car pulling up. I always leave the bright kids xylophone on the top as a disguise. Now you know my secrets.)

Christmas decorations tend to be hugely expensive (unless you buy them in the January sales, which is a winner of an idea, but GOOD LUCK finding them again once the next Christmas comes round!!) which is a huge motivator for us thrifty peeps to get the glue gun out.

But sometimes it isn’t quite as easy as Pinterest makes it look. Hey, we’ve all cried at the Pinterest Fails Buzzfeed, and some of us have even made it on there. *blushes*

One of my most popular Pinterest boards is my “Handmade Christmas” one – featuring hundreds of ideas for handmade presents and decorations, with a huge focus on upcycling or thrifty materials. I’ve been through my board this week and have chosen what I think are the best Christmas Decorations to make.

I wanted to choose some of the easiest ones for you, but ones that are super beaut. These are alternative Christmas decorations; thrifty, simple and sustainable.Alternative and sustainable Christmas Decorations

Gold Dipped Nature

Nature is so in folks, truly. Christmas 2015 looks like it is being done by fairy folk in the local woods. And why not, I say? Mega cheapo, isn’t it, pulling in the twigs and leaves and things? Hehehe.

Dipping leaves, shells, bark, anything you can find and then threading it through with cotton must be the easiest natural Christmas decoration you can make. Christmas Decorations to make

Decorated Branch

The Owl and the Accordion here show how to do Christmas in a bright, modern way with not a bit of gold or maroon in sight! I love the simple idea of decorating a branch with beads and thread and then hanging homemade paper shapes on them. Serious inspo.Christmas Decorations to make

Homemade Clay Birds

I first dabbled with homemade china-like clay several years ago, and it continues to be one of my most favourite homemade substances to work with. It can be left plain, because it has such a delicate, beautiful look, or it can be decoupaged using old books or pretty paper. See the How To here. Handmade-DIY-ClayOrnaments-682x1024

DIY Arrow Christmas Decorations

If I had to pick my number one favourite christmas decoration from Pinterest it would be these arrows, originally from the lovely Thoughts From Alice but featured on the equally delish blog Yellow Bliss Road. Our yurt is pretty much going to be Arrow Central this Christmas, no doubt about it. Head over to yellow Bliss road for the How to. Christmas Decorations to make - the simplest and best!

Christmas Paper Cuts

I looooove the look of paper cuts and love HPMQ’s super simple tealight paper house. She shows off some other paper cut inspo too – like this mega winter scene.

Handmade Christmas Decorations to make

Christmas Stained Glass Biscuits

I was so inspired by Actually Mummy’s stained glass window biscuits. Such an incredible idea – they look amazing and can double up as Christmas eats or Christmas gifts. A triple whammy of homemade goodness! See her how to and recipe here. Alternatively you can keep them unwrapped, like this picture, but HAVE A GREAT TIME MAKING THEM LAST MORE THAN AN HOUR harrhahahaha. Christmas Decorations to make

Christmas Sun Catcher

I love how magical this Christmas sun catcher would be for children to create and watch. Such a simple idea with loads of potential.
Handmade Christmas Crafts
Paper Christmas Tree

I made a couple of these hand made Christmas trees last year, using old sexist books I had bought with this specific craft in mind. (Yes, I am clearly making sure you don’t tell me off for crafting with a book!) There is a super detailed (and funny) how to here on Wills Casa. Recyled and Handmade Christmas Decorations to make

Here Mummy Barrow pulls it off with just a simple mag AND managed to get a star on top? It is the perfect, quick, recycled craft.

Cinnamon Sticks Christmas Decoration

These Cinnamon Sticks tree decs are, like, basically the easiest thing to make – but they look so effective and make Christmas happen through your nostrils.

25 Christmas Decorations to makePlus, when made into a table decoration it becomes my most pinned image from my Handmade Christmas Decorations to Make board….

Christmas Wreaths

Gosh, if you think you have understood the potential of a Christmas Wreath in your life so far, you have not typed in homemade Christmas Wreath into Pinterest. By Golly.

So here’s your super awesome traditional Christmas Wreath, with dried orange slices. It’s a beauty. Simple and lush.

But then, hello? What’s this? A rag rug version from Missie Lizzie – feel like Ramona could really get behind the concept.

And this? A Christmas wreath made out of old books? What in the blazes? Christmas is really here folks. (Do check out Betty’s lovely blog, from whence this photo cameth.)Simple unique Christmas Decorations to make

Or a heart style one, made of TWIGS. Oh yeah! Now we’re cooking with gas!

And a, a, a CROCHET ONE? Yeah! I said it! A Crochet Christmas Wreath. It’s legendary. I can’t even crochet but I’m so excited.

And then, just to get back to practical, because I’m clearly dreaming about ever being able to make a crochet wreath, here is a really excellent tutorial here using an official Christmas Wreath frame thingy (no wrangling with coathangers here. I’ve only just got my eyes still in my head as a result of my own dodgy DIY wreath making…

Speaking of which…. here is my own wreath – made of clay hearts stamped with a doily. Um. And a very vicious coat hanger. Heaps of Christmas Decorations to make

Peg Doll Nativity

I spied this Peg Doll Nativity Christmas Decoration on Pinterest and was super inspired by it. I love the simplicity of it. This photo is from an Etsy maker, but I also loved the child focused peg doll nativity from my friend Becky and her little girl – read how they went about it here.
So many amazing Christmas decorations to make here!

Homemade Dough Christmas Decorations

Love these salt dough decorations from Joy – it is a real pleasure when a child can make something from scratch, without the parent feeling the need to step in constantly to make sure it looks Pinterest worthy, harhahahaha.

I made a cinnamon version a couple of years ago and, sweet Star of Bethlehem, they were the business. I used my handy bird cookie stamper and made a garland. But it is the smell, rather than the look, which makes them Last Level. The most simple and beautiful Christmas Decorations to make

Walnut Reindeers

Nature is also easily turned into Christmas characters! Hark! A walnut reindeer decoration! Red Ted Art is such a genius at making things out of nuts and stuff like that. Heaps of amazing Christmas Decorations to make!

Gold Dipped Twig Stars

As a little extra bonus here is a video of my latest simple Christmas Craft for Channel Mum – featuring Ramona and Juno obvs, because they are glitter ADDICTS I tell you.

That’s it for now. It is, after all, only the 4th of December! I wouldn’t want to go overboard with Christmas or anything…

*wanders off in a glitter coma*

PS- Check out more sustainable Christmas decorations to make on my Pinterest Board.

Green things

Thrifty and lovely Borage Face Mask Vlog

28 March, 2015

Just a quick one to point you in the direction of my new favourite thing via two different medium (CRUMBS! I must really bladdy lave it.)

‘Cos I did a wee experiment (by this I mean “little” in Scottish, as opposed to experimenting with wee.. although, frankly, I have read good things about that) with BORAGE and it was super duper SCRUMPTIOUS.

It is an annual herb, a gristly, thistly plant with a stunning, dainty flower. It used to be cultivated in many a garden but these days it is more commonly grown accidently, as a weed, rampant along train tracks and wastelands.

It has traditionally been a staple soup ingredient in many European countries – that is kind of obvious from its name, I think. Borage Soup. Served up by warty caricatures in Roald Dahl’s stories…

I’m on a mission to rebrand this weedy herb- to add some glamour to it. The incredible properties of borage are fit for more than sweaty bowls of soup. (Woah, actually, don’t mean to be a downer about soup. Soup rocks. I just feel a bit dubious about borage soup. What can I say, I must be very phonetically sensitive.)

Read the rest here on Cosmo.Homemade Borage Face Mask - before and after
(There WAS a difference honest – this photo was taken twenty minutes apart … I recognise there are lighting difference, however – BLAME THE SUN harrrhahahaha)

And, I recorded this marvellous experiment for my exciting new Youtube Channel

Do come on over and subscri–hiiiiiibe!

Craftiness, Thrifty

DIY Jar Lids with Straws – for parties, or just your fun life

9 March, 2015

What on earth do you call these things? Huh? DIY Jars with Lids and Holes that you Drink Milkshake out of with Straws Container Things.DIY Jar Lids with Straws - chalkboard paint makes them a fun party accessory

All I know is that I saw them in the swanky gift shop for actual real money and I thought WHAT? I’ll Just push a screwdriver through my own jar lid, thanks very much! Trends, eh?

So I went home and did just that. Because I’m not going to lie to you, sometimes I do get over run with a deep need to MAKE IT ALL! (I was crying with laughter at this Shake It Off Parody– y’seen it?)

But then I thought I’d go Next Level and make some homemade chalkboard paint with my cool neon colours so that then you can write a message about your cocktail or smoothie, or just your initial so no one else slobbers on your mojito’s straw, and EEK LOOK HA! THEY ARE FU-HUNKKKKY. (Hey, I know people don’t really say funky that much but sometimes, when faced with your homemade neon pink straw and lid on your jar thing, it just pops out.)DIY Jar Lids with Straws - chalkboard paint makes them a fun party accessory

They’d make such a fun party extra, but they are also clearly brilliant for everyday with the kiddos… they stop the berry-smoothie-with-sneaky-kale-goodness slopping all over. Plus, when your life is just one big party, these accessories just seem to fit, y’know?

*massively tired face only parents of small children are really capable of* DIY Jar Lids with Straws - chalkboard paint makes them a fun party accessory


Take a selection of jars and lids – those posh jam ones are nice to look at
Choose a drill bit the same size as your straws
Put your lid on a block of old wood and make a hole
Either leave them gold/ plaid or paint them with homemade chalkboard paint
(I actually didn’t have tile grout so used a spoon of plaster of paris and it works just as well.)
You will need two coats and you need to wait a day for it to be completely set.
Hold a milkshake party.DIY Jar Lids with Straws - chalkboard paint makes them a fun party accessory

Super easy to make, and a fun quick DIY you can bust out when you have the Make It All itch. Those paper straws are a bit of a have though- they go soggy after a while in the drink. Because WHO MAKES STRAWS OUT OF PAPER?! So just use your usual, ideally re-usable straws, but doll them up with a swatch of washi tape.

Lucy, singing loudly, and proudly handing out milkshakes, and also sort of trying to pop and lock at the same time: My milkshakes bring all the kids to the yard! *song fades as the realisation that its probably a bit inappropriate dawns*

DIY, Featured, Finding things

You won’t BELIEVE what she upcycled this breadbin into

12 January, 2015

Harhahahaha. Everytime I write a blog post I have the sensationalist Upworthy title spring into my head first. I couldn’t resist actually leaving this one in because, for real, how else can you make a post about a bread bin sound read-able?

And, LOOK! It IS pretty cool, c’mon. It is a well easy way to make small storage to niftily fit into the corners of your kitchen/ bathroom/ bedroom. And it is super thrifty too as every single charity shop in the whole world has about 17 billion old bread bins for sale, along with the breadmaking machines and the Mr Bean VHSs. Oracles of the nineties, reminding us of an era of scrunchies and homemade velvet chokers. (In fact, heck, I’m going to link up, for the first time in FOREVER (argghhh so. much. Frozen.) with Magpie Monday.

Upcycled breadbin

We began by screwing them in- we have three with space in between for pretty teapots.

Upcycled breadbin

Anyone else all about the neon at the moment? SO good. With grey? So, So, SO GOOD.

Upcycle your breadbin

I cut a triangle out of a potato to make some stamps for the side… a bit wibblywobbly, but that way it gives rise to the conversation about how perfect potatos are for stamping.

Handy and stylish upcycled breadbin

Done any upcycling lately?


PS – I am on Youtube now! Come and see our Off Grid Yurt Living videos: