Wellness Soulpreneurs and Flower Crowns

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Saturday was toe-tappingly, heart-warmingly, soul-squeezingly awesome.

It was the launch of the Perth Wellness Soulpreneurs meet-ups. Basically, a whole bunch of really inspiring women who are all working and blogging about wellness in Perth decided to get their butts together and watch the magic happen. And happen it did.

This get-together was organised by the effervescent Jacqueline who (along with Annette from Wellness WA) is going to be launching a Perth-based cold-press juice delivery company Pure Glow Cleanse –Hallelujah!

Photo courtesy of Vegan Sparkles

Photo courtesy of Vegan Sparkles

Our morning started with a private class of Vinyasa Yoga which was taught by two very passionate and nurturing Yogini’s Donna and Kate from The Yoga Vine. There were plenty of bend-backs, downward dogs and Donna-asana’s to be had. I felt SO invigorated and I was not the only one to comment afterwards that it had inspired me to get back to the mat. Kate then gently guided us into an extended meditation. It was so lovely (and dare I say a little poignant?) to practice being still in the middle of the bustling city.

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After we had namaste’d it out, Fiona Ferreira from Left of Centre Therapies took the stage. The softly spoken Reiki Healer explained her work and love of crystals with the most touching of speeches followed by a quick Q+A. One thing that really resonated with me was when Fiona explained that we are all born with an empty back pack and through our lives we fill it with all of our good and bad experiences. Healing is taking the bad baggage out. Just lovely.

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By that stage the Cocobella coconut water could not keep us satiated and the pack made our way to The Green House for food, tea and chats. I had food envy over every single person’s plate – even my own! Can that even happen? I say ‘Yay’. Special mention has to be made to the Baharat Cauliflower which will feature heavily in my dreams for the next millennia.

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Then – my favourite part of the day. Actually… favourite bit out of most days ever. We moved to a tiny patch of grass that was surrounded by busy shopping malls and towered over by cold skyscrapers. The super-gorgeous Jacinta from Cintism then led us in a flower crown tutorial. The (by now) 7 of us were like kids. From fits of giggles to excited squee’s and then looooong concentrated silences we all made the most stunning floral headpieces – each piece speaking volumes about the makers personality. I have two hen-nights to organise and I am so excited to have found Jacinta’s workshops for them; flower crowns trump cheesy devil horns a million times over!

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One thing I did notice though was how many people didn’t. Seven girls in the middle of the city with about 15 big bunches of flowers laughing and making crowns and most people had their noses down and were rushing through life. I’m not saying that everyone should have been showering us with attention buuut… flowers are damn pretty and a lot of people didn’t seem to notice. And I can guarantee that a year ago if I had walked past on my way to work or an appointment I wouldn’t have noticed either. It inspired me to make a renewed commitment to being present. Instead of constantly focusing on the destination – whether that is an upcoming event, a personal goal or just an actual physical location – I am going to stop and enjoy the goddamn footpath. Enjoy the process, marvel at what’s happening around you, acknowledge when you stub your toe but try not to swear too much and keep moving forward as slowly or fast as you like.

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An amazing day in every way – I am so excited for next month’s gathering. Here are some happy snaps from the day…

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Want to get to know the inspiring women I shared my day with? Of course you do!

Anna – Lifes Shiny Pretty Things

Annette – Wellness WA // Pure Glow Cleanse

Bex – Vegan Sparkles

Claire – This is Lifeblood

Elizabeth – Life with Elizabeth Rose

Fiona  – Left of Centre Therapies

Jacinta – Cintism

Jacqueline – Pure Glow Cleanse

Jia Ne – Jia Ne Teo

Karen – Conscious Cravings

Kavesha – Wellness WA Contributor

Vanessa – learn.grow.heal

5 Steps to an Eco Easter!

Easter has always confused the hell out of me. One second i’m eating pancakes, the next my school principal is rubbing soot on my forehead, then I am told not to eat anything and then BAM I am sniffing out anything that has cocoa in it and gorging on said item! What a strange holiday it is. It is Lucy’s first Easter and it has definitely made me consider how I will bring her up to think of Easter. I have decided that it will be the same as Christmas – a time where family comes together. What it will not be about is the merciless destruction of all over-packaged, sugar-based food stuffs within a 10 kilometer vicinity. She’s already perky enough without the sugar thank you very much!!!

SUGAR!!! Nom nom.. no!

SUGAR!!! Nom nom.. no!

So I started thinking about all the ways we could reduce our Easter impact while staying healthy at the same time…

1. Sustainable Good Friday Fish

If you are a fish eater make sure you choose an ecologically sustainable breed of fish for your Good Friday Feast. The Australian Marine Conservancy has a brilliant website that tells you exactly which breeds are best – see the list here. If you are not from Australia though the Marine Stewardship Council provides global information on sustainable seafood – see their list here.

2. Make Your Own Chocolate

Itty bitty eggs all wrapped in unrecyclable tin foil… every eco-minded individuals worst nightmare. By making your own chocolate you can completely avoid the packaging as well as making them a hell of a lot healthier. In this recipe I made raw Fruit and Nut Chocolate in a slab but you could easily pour it into a chocolate mold for a more traditional feel!

You could also try these AHMAZING Raw Easter Eggs from one of my favorite foodie ladies Adele (aka Vegie Head)…

Image and recipe courtesy from www.vegiehead.com

Image and recipe courtesy from http://www.vegiehead.com

3. Always Buy Fair Trade

It can be really hard to walk past beautiful brightly-coloured eggs that are so perfectly designed to catch your kids eyes. But it is important to remember that a lot of those eggs are produced in terrible conditions by children… just like yours. See the list of companies here that are doing the right thing and using certified Fair Trade cocoa. But if you are out and about and have forgotten the list, then make sure you look out for the FTA (Fair Trade Australia) logo…

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4. Opt out of the traditional Easter Egg Hunt

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I loved Easter Egg hunts as a child. In fact, I still love ’em. I went to my brothers house last Easter and I had to be reminded that I was helping my nephew find eggs… not competing with him. But it does occur to me that it can be a glorified form of littering really? Running around and scattering bits of candy wrapped in non-biodegradable packaging around the garden. I am sure there is a percentage that get forgotten or that some poor animal finds first. BUT this doesn’t mean you need to forgo the hunt altogether. Why not try these ideas:

  • There are loads of funky reusable ‘eggs’ around which you can open and put in healthy treats. I haven’t found an Australian manufacturer yet but these ‘Eco Eggs’ are made from a non-toxic plant-based plastic that are fully compostable! (Although I’m not sure why you would chuck ’em… they would last for many many Easters). There are also gorgeous wooden eggs (see here) which you could paint and decorate with the kids.
  • I have never been to an op-shop and not seen a whole stack of wicker baskets for $2 each. No need for new! If that’s not the case wherever you are though, check out this gorgeous upcycled jumper basket…

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  • You could make your own eggs! There are plenty of gorgeous options from these little felt eggs (from the very creative One Inch World) or you could even make old greeting card boxes like these (from yours truly!) to hide treats in.
  • Instead of hiding eggs you could instead hide some gorgeous hand-painted rocks (hear me out!) and at the end of the hunt treat them like coupons. The children can come up to a ‘treat’ bar and exchange rock creatures for their treat of choice!

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5. Avoid Palm Oil

Both Woolworths and Coles home brands of hot cross buns contain palm oil.

Consumers (a yucky name for you and me) are definitely wising up these days. It is so nice to that the tribe of people that give a shit is growing and that people are starting to speak up about unacceptable corporate behavior! Better yet… they are boycotting it. Coles and Woolworths have both used Palm Oil in their homebrand Hot Cross Buns this year. They have (rightfully so) copped some flak for this nasty inclusion (if you want to know more about Palm Oil I have written a blog post all about why it is so nasty – see it here). Don’t condone their use by buying these products, why not make your own instead. Total eco babe Alison (from Relauncher) posted this recipe for Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns. I am trying it out tomorrow!

Image and recipe from http://www.relauncher.com.au

Or if you are getting into the raw swing of things you can try my recipe for Raw Cross Buns here

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Happy Easter!

What are you doing to make sure your Easter stays eco? Would love to hear from you in the comments.

My Journey to Wellness

illustration by Olive on Blonde

illustration by Olive on Blonde

I have been on a truly amazing journey of self discovery over the past year. About this time last year I was working full time, partying a lot (code for “drinking too much”) and while I has really good intentions about health I wasn’t really walking the walk. Skip forward I am now a mother to an absolutely gorgeous 3 month old girl and she has given me such motivation to be truly healthy. And now that I am actually doing it right it is amazing how good I am feeling. I heard a quote once that said something along the lines of “most of us go through lives unaware of how amazing our bodies are designed to feel”. I am starting to realise this is true. My new interest in wellness is changing my life and, therefore, also changing my blog and career path! I thought I would share some of the discoveries and decisions I have made…

New Career Path

I am a jack of all trades, master of none. It is actually an in-joke that my close friends and family direct at me at virtually every meet up. I have started studies in Journalism, Architecture, Graphic Design and Sustainable Development but not completed any of those degrees. But… I don’t regret any of it! I have learnt a lot and loved every bit of those studies but they have not made my heart sing and grabbed my passion by the proverbial balls. It was then I realised that there has been one recurring interest and challenge since I was a teenager – Nutrition. Since my teenage years I have had a completely tortured relationship with my body and confidence: I have spoken previously on this blog about my struggles with anxiety (see here). And while I am still wading through a lot of those issues (with the help of the Wellness Warrior… read on) I am getting better every day. So the bizarre little cocktail of my past experiences, how I used to feel, how I feel now and the people that have helped me have motivated me to change my course… and I ended up here.

I will be commencing studies with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to start my career as a health and wellness coach! This is a college that boasts such luminaries as Jessica Ainscough (The Wellness Warrior), Sarah Wilson (of I Quit Sugar fame among other things) and OF COURSE raw food guru David Wolfe. Beyond that one of my all time favorite bloggers and friends Vegan Sparkles will be completing the course also. I am so excited about this new direction and for once feel completely confident that it is the right choice for me. As I move along with my studies and keep going with my own journey I will blog about all the new things I learn. I am still going to be very focused on sustainability and DIY but with the added focus of wellness… in all seriousness they go hand in hand anyway!

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The Lifestyle Transformation Guide

This has been the vehicle I have used to change my life. I always talk about Jess (she was one of my Wonderful Women of Wellness in this last post) and the amazing work she does on her website The Wellness Warrior and have also mentioned that I was lucky enough to win a Lifestyle Transformation Health Scholarship. The Lifestyle Transformation Guide is a 12 step course that leads you to your dream life. There are no deadlines and you work your way through at your own pace – though an end date is recommended. My end date is April 13 (not so coincidentally my 27th birthday)!

Photo courtesy of www.wellnesswarrior.com.au

I will go into this in more detail in another blog post but the crux of it is practicing a serious amount of self-love as shifting your priorities so that your health sits above everything else. I have learnt the power of affirmations, believing in myself, setting your day up to achieve your goals and truly healthy eating. Before starting the LTG I used to eat well but still had unbelievably unhealthy habits. For example, I would still think of bad food as a treat, I still grappled with a bit of an eating disorder which I have never been able to quite crush and if I had a stressful day I would drown it in wine. I never really thought I could get rid of these down right shitty habits but slowly and surely they are melting away. It is feeling amazing. As part of the course you are also granted access to a private Facebook group where all of Jess’ scholars can share ideas, milestones, setbacks and everything else in between – it is an amazing support network. Not to mention the coaching calls from Jess. If you are struggling with anything in your life or even if you are not but just want to feel better then I sincerely recommend signing up for the course!

Next stop is conquering stillness and this is bound to be my biggest hurdle yet. Can’t wait.

It's all about visualising your perfect self!illustration by Olive on Blonde

It’s all about visualising your perfect self!
illustration by Olive on Blonde

New Diet

As part of the course I am not only retraining my mind but also my taste buds  I have adapted to a life free of gluten, most grains (I very occasionally have a bit of rice or Quinoa), refined sugar, caffeine (apart from the amount found in raw cacao) and anything packaged at all. My big challenge started yesterday and that is cutting out my 2 glasses of wine every evening. I realised that I have been eating this amazing alkaline diet that is free of preservatives and additives and then dosing up on an acidic glass of nasties every evening. It is going to be difficult as wine is my way of coping with my anxiety (not so healthy) so I am under no illusion that this will be my hardest task yet.

I have switched to an all organic diet. I previously would incorporate a lot of organic foods but not entirely: I always found the cost prohibitive (especially now on a single income). But having a baby changed it all because I want to ensure that she only ever consumes organic food (within reason – I will let her experience the wonder that is a choc-dipped soft serve icecream one day!). I seem to managed to get the formula down for how to live organically within fairly tight budgetary constraints. (I will blog about this this week!).

Exercise

illustration by Olive on Blonde

illustration by Olive on Blonde

Starting to exercise again after a year off and with a new post baby body to get used to was terrifying. But if I didn’t throw myself in the deep end it was going to keep getting scarier. So I have signed up for a 2 month intense training program which ends in a 10km obstacle race. *GULP*. Throw in some calming yoga and I am definitely moving again.

New Health Habits

It is funny that embracing organic produce and raw foods is considered an ‘alternative lifestyle’. You often hear it in the media being described as ‘extreme’ but could anything make more sense? Ancient practices are often scoffed at these days – remember this Pete Evans fiasco regarding activating his almonds? I would have been one of those people a year or two again. Eating clay in the morning? Pull the other one. But I guess I should not have judged it before trying. I will blog about these new habits in further details but some of the quirky new habits I incorporate in my life include;

  • Dry Body Brushing – every morning I use this Ayurvedic cleansing method to kickstart my bodies system from the outside.
  • Oil Pulling – borrowing from Ayurveda again I also practice this cleansing method every morning.
  • Activating my food – Nuts, seeds and the occasional grain gets activated. (See my post about activating foods here).
  • Meditation – I am still practicing this… it is very hard. Who would have thought that just concentrating on your breath could be so difficult?
  • Affirmations – sometimes if you say something enough (even if you don’t believe it at first) you can change your own mind. Case in point saying into the mirror “You are beautiful and I love you”. Sounds insane… but try it first.
  • Gratitude journal – Write something that you are grateful for every day. This can turn your worst day around when you realise how lucky you are. I have a Gratitude Jar and I also write one on behalf of my daughter (its a nice way to remember her milestones i.e. “I am grateful that I learned how to laugh today!”)

More on those ‘crazy’ ideas later.

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Onward and Upward!

So I hope that wasn’t too boring or self-indulgent. I just wanted to share my revelations and also mention where I am going with my life. I am so excited and can’t wait to blog all the way along.

What about you? Have you made any major changes in your life? Any crazy, quirky health habits? 

Super Simple Clothes Washing Powder

OK… my darling baby has just gone down for what is meant to be her second nap of the day (who am I kidding?) which means we have approximately 12.36 minutes to get this post out! I’ve painted red stripes down each of my arms because apparently that makes you go faster.

My laundry cupboard

My laundry cupboard

In my last post about Greening Your Cleaning (see it here) I mentioned that I hadn’t found a good clothes washing solution yet. Well HUZZAH! I have for the past week been using a different blend and it has been awesome. I do some pretty heavy duty washing – I am using cloth nappies only! – and they come out as clean as ever. Best yet this is such a sensitive mix which is perfect for the soft little bum that is going to be wearing the garments.

What You Need

Ingredients

  • 1 bar (50 – 80g) vegetable-based soap (AKA Castile Soap)
  • 1 cup Washing Soda (could be substituted with bicarb soda)
  • 1 cup Borax
  • Optional: 10 – 20 drops Essential Oil

Equipment

  • Blender

Method

  1. Chop your soap into smaller chunks and put into blender
  2. Add borax, washing soda and essential oil (if you are using it) and blend into a fine powder.
  3. I used 10 drops of tea tree oil and 5 drops of lavender oil for anti-fungal, anti-viral properties… as well as just a nice bit of smell!
  4. Store in sterile jar. For an upcycled scoop you could use an old milk lid, or save one from your old laundry powder (which you will no longer need ever again!)

See I wasn’t lying… SO EASY. Use 1 tablespoon in a full wash load.

Enjoy.

 

DIY Valentines Gift Ideas That Love The Planet Too!

I love love. Which is why I love Valentines Day. Some would argue that ‘Hallmark’ holidays are consumerist and I guess that can be true… but it doesn’t have to be. That’s the great thing about the eco-creativity movement; you can take any idea and paint it green. So how about making sure your Valentines Gifts are just as nice to the planet as they are to your loved one. Here is some inspiration…

(click the pictures to go through to the links!)

Sweet Green Eats

Your standard box of chocolates is unhealthy for everyone involved: unhealthy sugars and fats to clog your arteries and lots of unnecessary packaging to clog our waterways. So why not get creative and try these healthy romantic alternatives…

Box of Healthy Love Cookies

Don’t go buy a new gift box… you could use an old shoe box or maybe an upcycled cereal box?

And here is a healthy flourless cookie to make from one of my favorite food bloggers Delighted Momma.

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Heart Shaped Carrots

Float these healthy hearts in soup or mix them through a salad!

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Healthy Lunch Box Surprise

You could make the tags from old manila folders or wallets. A cute surprise for kids.

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A Healthy Hearty Dessert

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Upcycled Gifts

I don’t think anything says I love you like a handmade gift!

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

GORGEOUS. Plantable paper seed hearts! Imagine filling these with herb seeds. Flavoring their dishes with love! (I am sorry for that… it was really cheesy).

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Scrap Fabric Sweetheart Frame

A lovely thing to sit on your loved ones desk to remind them that they are still your sweetheart…

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Recycled Wood String Art

I am in love with this!!! Imagine using wood from an old pallet and some old shed scraps…

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A Love Note Poster

Something gorgeous for your loved one to stick up at their desk, made from an old book page.

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“Remember, I Love You’s”

An upcycled jar + some scrap fabrics = Cutest gift ever.

Hide these love hearts in secret places for your loved ones to find!

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The Alternative Bouquet

A bunch of flowers may be pretty but did you know they are often imported from other countries – often developing nations that are using precious resources to grow flowers instead of food! You can read more about that in my post here but in the meantime, how about rethinking the bouquet and  going for a more sustainable bunch of goodies.

Upcycled Magazine Flowers 

I made these flowers out of old magazines…

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A Bouquet of Buttons

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Felt Roses

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Cranberry Roses, anyone?

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The Living Bouquet 

What could be better than a bouquet that is 100% natural and lasts forever! Why not get a pot plant. My favourite would have to me the Chain of Hearts. Long vines of heart shaped flowers… divine.

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Eco Decorations

What a lovely way to make someone feel loved! Surprises are amazing… imagine walking in a house decorated with some of these things?

Love Heart Garland

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Wreath From Old Greeting Cards 

This would be the perfect way to use up all those old red Christmas cards!!!

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An Ambient Centerpiece

Use natural twine and love hearts made from magazines or book pages.

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A Heart Plaque Made from Spools

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Hopefully that gets you inspired to get creative this Valentines Day! And who says gifts should just be for your partner… spread the love far and wide. This world needs as many good vibes as it can get!

Happy Valentines Day from Me!

Olive’s Guide to Greening Your Cleaning!

My Dad is wonderful and quirky and funny and one of my absolute best friends in the world and we can quite happily while away many hours chatting, mucking about or just generally pottering. However there is one department where our rivalry is fierce and unyielding (until recently anyway)… Cleaning.

Me and my Farsher

Me and my Farsher enjoying a beverage!

A bit of background information to set the scene: my Dad is an absolute clean freak – he enjoys it and he is bloody good at it. He has a daughter (hello!) whose school reports always had two words in common – ‘bubbly’ and more to the point… ‘messy’. His nickname for her has always been Stinkbug. But it seems that this little Stinkbug has grown wings because she has developed her own little range of DIY cleaning products so effective that even my Papa Bear has endorsed them. And best bit? They are all much better for the health of the environment and your house than your standard bleach and fragrance laden concoctions.

If they can pass Dad’s test then they must be good so I wanted to share them with you all and explain how I go about my eco cleaning.

Essential Ingredients

My laundry cupboard

My laundry cupboard

Once you have these ingredients in your house there will be no mess you can’t annihilate. Your homemade products will be strong I assure you, but it is also worth noting that they may need a little extra elbow grease. The reason is that they aren’t full of toxic chemicals – a compromise I can handle! I think of it as a few extra muscles I’m toning.

  • Borax
  • Vinegar – White, Apple Cider or DIY Citrus (recipe link included in Standards section)
  • Bicarb Soda
  • Soda Crystals
  • Washing Soda
  • Lemons
  • Eucalyptus Oil – antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and deodoriser
  • Lavendar Oil – smells so pretty!
  • Other essential oils – Tea Tree, Lemon, any that take your fancy!!!
  • A good quality eco-dishwashing detergent
My DIY Citrus Vinegar

My DIY Citrus Vinegar

Important things to keep in mind;

  • Even though these are much more natural than your standard products they can still be harmful so always wear gloves and keep away from kids.
  • Washing Soda is not good for aluminium and will remove wax polish!
  • Vinegar makes marble cloudy.
  • Essential oils can be potent and some are dangerous to pregnant women, children or pets – ALWAYS CHECK THE BOTTLE.

Upcycled Cleaning Equipment

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Newspapers – Best stuff for plastic free bins and cleaning glass!

Spray Bottles – If you have cleaning products in spray bottles, keep those spray bottles and refill with your own solutions. However if you don’t have any go and buy them from a hardware (Bunnings has them) or homewares store.

Jar Shaker – In my “Olive’s Clean Everything Solution” (see under Standards section) I use a shaker. Now if you want you can go buy one or you can just get a jar with a tin lid and punch some holes into the top with a knife or hammer and nail.  Put the Bicarb into the jar, lid on and shake away!

Socks and Pantyhose – Isn’t it funny that you always seem to only lose one sock out of the pair! In my case it is less losing, more having them stolen…

Meet Allen.

Meet Allen.

Either way, keep your widowed socks and torn pantyhose. These are perfect tap cleaners and door knob buffers!!!

Toothbrushes – Keep all your old ones. They are great for scrubbing hard to reach places or delicate ornaments.

Old T-shirts and Sheets – Keep any fabric that can’t be given to an opshop for use as an old rag. When we had floorboards I used to elastic band them to my broom to make a swiffer mop for dust… worked a charm.

Old Towels – Cut these into small squares, overlock the edges and you, my friend, have the hardiest cleaning cloth in the business!

Standards

Citrus Vinegar, I LOVE YOU!

Citrus Vinegar, I LOVE YOU!

Citrus Vinegar

Citrus vinegar is unbelievably easy to make. All it takes is discarded citrus peel and vinegar. See my post on that here… I use it on everything

All-Purpose Cleaner

I use this for all counters and surfaces except my chopping boards (see what I do with chopping board below)

  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1 teaspoon liquid detergent
  • 1 teaspoon Borax
  • ¼ Cup Vinegar (Citrus Vinegar if available)
  • 10 – 20 drops of Essential Oils (Eucalyptus is good for the kitchen as it keeps away ants and cockroaches and smells nice too!)

Mix into a spray bottle. Shake before each use.

Olive’s Clean Everything Solution

Sprinkle Bicarb soda onto surface. Spray with vinegar until you hear fizz. Wipe off with rag/sponge. VOILA.

Window or Mirror Cleaner

  • 1 Cup White Vinegar (Citrus vinegar if you have it)
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 3 Cups Water

OR if you don’t like the smell of vinegar…

  • 1 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Vinegar (Citrus vinegar if you have it)
  • 3 Cups Water

Mix vinegar and lemon juice with water. Pour into a used spray bottle. Spray onto window/mirror and scrub with newspaper (don’t use paper towels – they will streak!)

Floor Cleaner

Two thirds hot water, one third vinegar. That’s it.

I (of course) like to use citrus vinegar for this but white is perfectly fine. If you have darker floors you can use apple cider. Apple Cider does taint floors slightly though so if you have white tiles don’t try it.

Kitchen

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I wipe down my main kitchen counter with the all purpose cleaner from above, but I also have a large wooden chopping board. I like to use a different cleaner for this as the All Purpose Cleaner contains Borax which is not meant to be ingested. I use the following mix …

Kitchen Counter Cleaner

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon liquid detergent
  • 10 drops Eucalyptus Oil

Mix into a spray bottle. Shake before each use.

If after using that you still have some stubborn smells hanging around (think onion, fish) I use this super simple mix to clean my chopping board which does so without tainting the food…

Chopping Board Cleaner

  • Tip a bit of washing soda onto a cloth or sponge and scrub the chopping board

Dishwashing Liquid/Dishwasher Tablets

Similar to clothes washing, I have not yet invented a washing powder or liquid that works to my liking. I have tried 1 Cup borax + 1 Cup baking soda + ½ Cup salt but sadly no luck – although others I have spoken to love this mix.

I also find the detergents from stores very useful as I often add a teaspoon or two to my mixes and they go an awfully long way! So (same as laundry) I use Eco Store, Ecover or Earth’s Choice – links and information about these companies in the Laundry section of this post.

Cleaning greasy pots and pans

Washing soda is the ultimate grease killer which makes it perfect for washing pots and pans.

  • Dampen your sponge and sprinkle washing soda onto it (quite liberally)
  • Scrub the greasy pan with the sponge
  • Rinse and wash as usual

Hardcore Greased up pan or BBQ

  • Make a paste from washing soda and water (2:1)
  • Apple the paste directly to the greasy area
  • Allow to sit for 30 mins then wash

Microwave Cleaner

  • Slice up a lemon and place in a microwave safe bowl of water
  • Zap in Microwave for 5 – 10 minutes
  • Use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe the inside. The mess will wipe off really easily!

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My Hugh Jackman Oven Cleaner

Why Hugh Jackman you say? Take a walk with me…

Normal oven cleaners are extremely harsh and toxic like… hmm… I don’t know … a Wolverine!!! And even though a big dangerous Wolverine hunk with knives coming out his fists surely gets the job done it’s nice to also have a more sensitive side that when it comes down to it won’t hurt you… like the Drover. Wolverine (tough) + Drover (sensitive) = Hugh Jackman Oven Cleaner! And there you have it people, an insight into the slightly disturbed brain of Olive. Anyway –

  • 1 ½ cup baking soda
  • ¼ cup white vinegar (you can also use apple cider vinegar)
  • Water
  • Optional: 4 drops essential oil (you can use any scent you like)

Mix all the ingredients together to form a paste. Paint the paste onto the oven stains (I use a pastry brush but you could use an old paint brush!). Let it sit for at least 4 hours (aim for 6) and it will foam up. Then wash with a cloth and warm water. AMAZING! I haven’t met a mess it hasn’t fixed yet.

Cleaning Silverware

  • Line a container with aluminium foil
  • Fill the container with 1 cup Soda Crystals and a litre of boiling water
  • Submerge silverware and soak for 15 minutes. If the silverware is tarnished it will literally melt away. Rinse off
  • Buff… buff like David Hasselhoff damnammit!

Stovetops and Burners

  • Fill your kitchen sink with warm water and add ½ cup of washing soda
  • Place the greasy burner into the water and allow to soak for about 30 minutes
  • Remove the burner and rinse off any residue
  • Wash as per normal (with soap and water)
  • While doing this why not grab that exhaust fan down and do it in the same sink (I always used to get told off about my exhaust fan during home inspections… seriously, who notices that?)

Really Stubborn Stove Stains (also good for BBQ’s)

  • Sprinkle washing soda directly onto greasy areas of the stovetop
  • Use a damp sponge to scrub the mucky area
  • Rinse with a rag and warm water

Laundry

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Sadly I have not yet made a good DIY clothes washing liquid or powder… I will keep experimenting until I get there. There are some pretty good alternatives on the market though, not to mention some simple tips and tricks to reduce your impact…

Clothes Washing Powder/Liquid

I have 3 brands that I really trust… unfortunately it can be difficult to get my faves at the major supermarkets but I think they are starting to stock them nowadays. Here they are in order of fave.

Eco Store – Read their eco credentials here but in short: super concentrated so you don’t have to use much, not tested on animals, in recycled packaging. BOOM. They also do beauty products. (See the Eco Store website here)

Ecover – Made from natural, sustainable plant-based ingredients and with huge consideration put into their to have less impact on aquatic life. (See the Ecover website here)

NOTE: Keep an eye out for places that offer a refill service with these products! I keep my containers (or you can take your own) and refill them straight from a bulk container at either PAWS (Northbridge) or Manna Wholefoods (Fremantle).

Earths Choice – This is the most accessible option and what I consider my emergency cleaner. If I can’t get to an eco store (there aren’t many where I live) then I can always find this at the supermarket. Products are all free of phosphate, dye, bleach, ammonia and aggressive enzymes. (See the Natures Organics website here)

Olive’s Natural Clothes Washing Tips

Brighter whitesAdd 1 Cup of lemon juice to your regular wash OR soak clothes in hot water and 1 cup of lemon juice overnight then wash as normal. Dry them in the sun for added bright!!!

Darker darksPour two cups of strong black tea into your wash load during the rinse cycle to restore dark colours.(Obviously if you have any light clothes in this wash they will get stained!)

Prevent fading – Turning clothes inside out before washing helps prevent fading

Getting grease out of clothesAbsorb as much grease from fabric my dabbing (not rubbing) with a rag. Mix 4 Tablespoons of washing soda with ½ Cup of warm water in a bowl to form a paste then rub the paste into grease stains (wear gloves!). Wash as normal (add ½ cup to washing machine for particularly hardy stains). Check your item of material to see that grease is gone before drying (otherwise the heat may set it) and if some remains… repeat the process.

Use Less DetergentI add ½ cup of Soda Crystals to my washes which not only softens the water but also help to break down really nasty stains. It also means I can reduce the amount of detergent to the manufacturer’s instructions for soft water.

Wow! I am sure I have forgotten one of my solutions. If I have or you need any advice then please let me know in the comments. I’d also love to if you have any green cleaning solutions to share.

Happy Green Cleaning!