Yesterday marked the start of National Tree Week, launching the winter tree-planting season. Thousands of people across the country will be getting together to plant about a million new trees. If you want to get involved, you can find out more here, or see the The Tree Council’s events map here.
I’m a bit fascinated by The Tree Council, to be honest. It sounds too Lord of the Rings for words. I so want it to consist entirely of representatives from the major tree species in the UK, a bit like the Ents, talking really slowly about the issues facing UK trees today.
I don’t need an excuse to celebrate trees. They are so incredible. So I trawled back through our photos to find pictures that would help show just how wonderful and varied they are.
As ever, all photos courtesy of The Man With The Camera who fortunately likes to look at the trees as much as I do. Even if it’s through a lens.
Photo(s): ©Natural Beauty Cabinet. Please do not reproduce without permission.
With NaturalBeautyCabinet still to reach its six month anniversary, I’m relatively new to blogging. I learn things on an almost daily basis. Over the last few days, I’ve followed the news about the riots that began in Londonand radiated out to blight cities across the UK. I’ve talked about it when out with friends and at home. News discussion programmes have been my soundtrack on the commute to and from work and I’ve been thankful for the circumstances that mean my home, community, family and friends have been safe and physically unaffected.
But the whole experience presented me with an unexpected dilemma. I have a blog, a twitter account and a facebook page. I am engaged with social media. I have followed the discussion going on out there and I’ve been taken aback at how it’s made me feel about my blog. It’s really hard not to feel the pressure to be seen to comment. In the online discussion, it sometimes feels like commenting = caring. And if you continue to waffle on about health, wellbeing and beauty in the face of this overwhelming event then you are at best vapid and at worst disengaged and heartless.
I felt there was a need for this post but not because the world needs to hear my opinions on the riots or indeed any other major event. I have my opinions and I’ve felt the same anger and sadness as everyone else. I love that sites like twitter have mobilised people to help rebuild their shattered neighbourhoods but I do get so wound up by the ocean of opinions out there. Some are pithy, thought-provoking and well-informed. Others are knee-jerk, inflammatory and ignorant. No one person provides the answers. I certainly don’t. I’m sure people in the affected communities are more grateful for those wonderful people who turned up with their brooms than the army of people commenting in cyberspace.
I wanted to write this today to clarify my blog’s aims. Kind of like my line in the sand. I read some blogs because of the insightful slant the writers put on world events (for a great example of this see Tania Kindersley’s blog ‘Backwards in High Heels’– it’s in my blog roll. She always manages to combine emotion, heart and intelligence in her response to both the big and the small things. I find reading her words can feel like taking a great lungful of fresh air). Neither my blog nor my writing exist in a vacuum because I don’t live in a bubble. I live in the real world where I’m affected by current events every minute of the day. But I didn’t start the blog to be a vehicle for my political opinions. I’m more than happy to include details of my life, thoughts and attitudes when they are relevant to the content of my posts. When they aren’t, I’m going to continue keeping them in the non-cyber part of my life. Sorry to go off topic – but thanks for sticking with me!
The 5th June was World Environment Day, which I missed entirely and failed to document in a timely way on the blog. So as penance, I’m belatedly drawing your attention to it, along with some ideas about how to be green in your beauty routine.
If you’re anything like me, time and money are precious commodities and I’m usually looking for ways to save one or the other. It’s also important to me to try and minimise what I throw away, and to avoid wasting products and materials unnecessarily. My routine certainly isn’t whiter than white (or should that be greener than green?!) but I try, and I reckon that’s all we can do.
Hope the following ideas give you food for thought on how to save time, money or unnecessary wastage. As ever, I’d love to know what you think and whether you have any ‘green tips’.
- Try and minimise wastage by using muslin cloths or cotton flannels to cleanse your face, as these can be washed and reused, rather than disposables like cotton wool. I don’t never use cotton wool, but I do try and keep it to a minimum. Plus a face cloth will have a gentle exfoliating effect so you should find your skin benefits from the switch.
- If you’re short of time, wear your face mask while taking a bath or shower. As long as you keep the water off your face, the steam from the hot water will open your pores and encourage the mask to penetrate deeper to maximise the benefits. A mask should, in an ideal world, be a time-heavy, pampering routine but if you don’t have time to lie with cucumber slices over your eyes for half an hour, at least your skin will benefit from a 5-minute blast of goodness.
- If you end up buying a moisturiser that doesn’t work for you, don’t chuck it away. Most products can be used in more than one way. A rich moisturiser will work as a cleanser. Just massage in a thicker layer and remove with a muslin cloth or cotton flannel soaked in hand-hot water.
- Similarly, make-up products are almost all multipurpose. Eyebrow pencils can double as eyeliners; some eyeshadows can be used as blushers or highlighters if the colour is right. Lipsticks can be used to add a bit of colour to your cheeks and lip balm can be used to create a ‘wet-look’ eye effect.
- If you don’t have the time or funds for a facial, try applying your facial cleanser, oil or moisturiser with a 5-minute mini-massage routine. Using your fingertips, massage up your cheeks in small circles; stroke gently from the centre of your forehead outwards; and, using your fingertips, press gently outwards along your browbone, just above your eyebrows, from your nose to the outer corners of your eyes. Do this twice a day as part of your normal routine and your skin will love you. There’s lots of great advice on Liz Earle’s website, including this home facial routine including massage:
- When you’re buying beauty products, look for packaging that can be easily recycled. Glass bottles can be recycled but this isn’t always a practical option in the bathroom. More and more councils now have plastic recycling facilities. Look for the little triangle made of arrows on the packaging – it should have a number in the centre. If this number is 1, 2 or 3, it’s made of a type of plastic that’s widely recycled in the UK. Most beauty products will be in category 2. Numbers 4, 5, 6 and 7 are best avoided, if possible, as they can’t currently be recycled.
- Some companies will accept empties at stores to recycle on your behalf. Some even offer an incentive for you to do so. Neal’s Yard used to offer 10p per blue bottle returned to a NYR store. If anyone can confirm whether they still do this, do let me know.
- Empower yourself. There’s so much choice out there, even if you’re narrowing your options to the greener beauty brands. Investigate the policies of the companies you’re buying from. All good, green brands should have a clear philosophy and should make information about their recycling, shipping, ingredients and manufacturing policies easily available on their website. If you don’t like a company’s environmental philosophy, or you’re not sure they even have one(!), exercise your consumer power and don’t buy from them.
- Squeeze every last drop out of your products. If it’s in a pump bottle with a detachable lid, make sure you unscrew it after the pump stops working and check what’s inside. I’ve found a good inch of product left in bottles like this. You can then either bash it out, or dilute with a little water to turn a thicker cream into a lighter lotion or decant into a mister for a moisturising spray. If it’s in a tube, you can buy a handy device to help you get every scrap out. Here’s an example I found on Amazon, in the shape of a fish!