We recommend!

I thought I would start 2020 on a positive note, so I asked my colleagues for their eco-recommendations. (For those of you who don’t know me in my other life as a cabaret performer, I work with a group called Fascinating Aïda and as we’re all working together right now, it seemed like a good idea to sound them out.

Me – Who gives a crap!

Splendid eco paper for the eco bottom!

I never believed I could get excited about loo roll, but 2019 saw a deep and profound change in me and all I can say is this bamboo marvel is the dog’s bollocks. It’s quite expensive – however, it is so densely rolled that each roll lasts MUCH longer than yer usual gubbins. We ordered 10 boxes back in March for all the family (3 households, 9 people) and we still haven’t had to order any replacements. Order 10 boxes and you get a a hefty discount.

Apart from anything else, this exemplary company donates 50% of its profits towards building toilets for people who don’t have them. Bravo!

If you’re wondering why you should stop using conventional loo roll, here is the gen in brief. It destroys forests. Ancient forests. Here‘s the longer piece which was my first blog. I’m sure you’ll be just as horrified as I was after doing the research.

Of course the downside of the discovery that bamboo can replace so much could lead to more deforestation for endless bamboo plantations, much like the palm oil plantations despoiling much of Indonesia etc. But we’re not there yet and so here’s my hurrah for Who Gives A Crap.

Me – Georganics toothpaste

It takes a few days to get used to this – it’s a bit odd and claggy. Colgate and their rivals have, after all, worked very hard to make their products deliciously irreplaceable. But their plastic tubes are the work of the devil and Georganics toothpaste comes in recyclable glass jars with metal lids! Better still, for peppermint haters (Adèle) there is an orange flavour for your oral delectation.

Top tip – if you’re ordering online, order in pairs. I ordered three, thinking I was being clever. The third arrived all lonely in a box perfectly sized for two…

LiveCoco Toothbrush Heads

Our Company Manager, Fiona McCulloch, recommends these, I can’t speak for them myself as I’ve gone over to bamboo toothbrushes, but they’re worth exploring. Yes, they are plastic, but the idea is that they last you three months and then you send them back to LiveCoco where they are properly recycled.


She also recommends the search engine, ECOSIA, which I use instead of Google. Ecosia is a remarkable German company that donates 80% of its profits to tree planting schemes, and to date it has planted very nearly 80 million trees worldwide. It’s also keen on privacy and doesn’t store your searches. Just click on the blue link and follow instructions – the search engine will be planted on your browser and every link buys a leaf or two.

Marvellous Ecosia
  • Note for my sister Anne who is pretty much fossilogue when it comes to computers, clicking on the link means when you see a word highlighted in blue, move the cursor (the little flashing black line) onto that word and click. It should open a window which brings you to the desired website.

Miss Liza Pulman recommends…

Produce bags

Produce bags are a great idea, so long as you remember to bring them to the supermarket, and so long as the supermarket sells loose veg, not in plastic bags. Where I live (an eco-wasteland) you wouldn’t find much use for them – mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli etc., all come with packaging of some kind but baby steps are better than no steps. You can put these bags straight into the fridge too.

Silicone sponges

Jaimondo (our Tour Manager) and I are very keen on these silicone sponges which last for ever and you can chuck into the dishwasher for regular cleaning. Silicone is not quite the miracle eco-product that some people claim, and we shouldn’t all be hurtling to use it in every situation but used judiciously, it’s pretty amazing. For more information on silicone, read this excellent and very thorough article from Life Without Plastic.

We have both gone over to bar shampoo – no plastic waste – and we’re both happy with it. Mine is from Lush. Jaimondo purchased his at the Health Food Store and when he got it home he was horrified to see it was from New Zealand, so he’ll be buying a bit more local next time. Ain’t that a great example of how easy it is to do the wrong thing when trying to do the right thing!

Just one more…

The world is finally beginning to wake up to the horrors of fast fashion. My pal Margaret Allen has written a fascinating piece about it on Medium which is worth a read. But life without the occasional new item of clothing is a bit dull and I am not entirely immune to the charms of shopping.

Enter Turtle Doves, an amazing company which makes new lamps for old, or rather, new garments from old. It takes secondhand cashmeres and makes new jumpers, throws, cardies, wraps, mitts, wrist-warmers etc. Absolutely beautiful and fun too.

I’ve gone one like this and at £89 I think it’s pretty good value. Warm as toast too!

Enough already

Dame Adèle says she has no special recommendations but we can attest that she has, in many ways, been living Secondhand September all year round for decades. I don’t believe she has purchased any new clothes since 1602, being an obsessive haunter of charity and thrift shops, and all her Christmas presents came from the Oxfam bookshop this year. All hail our very own Secondhand Rose!

So that’s enough to set you on your way, if you weren’t there already. I said I would include a picture of my Christmas tree (tinsel free) so here it is.

I did a rather annoying vignette thingy with the picture and now I wish I hadn’t but I can’t be bothered to go back and re-edit.

And finally…

I wish you all a very peaceful and fruitful New Year. May 2020 bring harmony and hope. Please continue to follow this blog, and to share it with friends and foes alike. Thanks to Katya Austin on Unsplash for the photo of the thumb in foliage up top. And here is Miss Maris Piper Desirée Boulangère Keane O’Neill seeing in the new year with a bath.

24 thoughts on “We recommend!

  1. I’m with Dame Adele. Just stop buying effing crap you don’t need!

    I actually needed a new pair of slippers and was delighted to get some this Christmas.

    I also received a number of Amazon vouchers.

    For want of something better to do, I visited the Amazon website and was inundated with ads for stuff (crap) ‘that might be of interest to me’. None of it was.

    The only thing I will spend the vouchers on is Kindle books and a new iPad charger wire thingy. That will keep me going until next year.


  2. Happy new year Dilly and thanks for the blog

    I’ve taken to unwrapping my plasticated veg. Once I’ve paid for them and leaving the debris as a problem for the supermarket.

    Not sure if it does any good apart from making me feel smug, but I hope it makes them think a little.


    • It’s occurred to me more than once that if I was the organising type, it might be effective to organise an Unwrap Day, mobilising thousands of shoppers to stop and unwrap everything that has unnecessary wrapping before leaving the supermarket.


      • Yeah. I’m not a great organiser either. Maybe someone out there?……


  3. Bravo!! Excellent recommendations. I’d like to say – oh, hell, I will say – that I might be the only mother in America who gave her (grown) children toilet paper for christmas. They each got a plastic-free box of 48 rolls of Who Gives a Crap. They also got subscriptions to Cleancult, a Puerto Rico-based company that makes non toxic cleaning products with refills that come in cardboard cartons. They have a cute website: https://www.cleancult.com


    • Just had a gander at Cleancult, they look pretty damn brilliant. Sadly not available in the UK yet, but I’m sure they will be. Happy New Year meanwhile… and in answer to your other messages, yes, the comments all have to be approved, it’s the way the blog was set up to start with and it means I definitely reply to them all because they come as emails to start with. SO you didn’t mess up!


    • Oooh, wild boar poo… that sounds delightfully stinky, Piper is deeply jealous, she only gets the option of fox/dog/chicken poo. Oh, and horse and donkey poo too. She’s quite spoilt really.


  4. Excellent advice Dillie, thank-you. Another company with an ethical attitude to fashion is Rapanui based on the Isle of Wight; they will also recycle stuff you’ve worn out and make new. And, a friend of mine makes an excellent handmade shampoo soap up here in Norfolk. I’ve been using it for a year and wouldn’t now use anything else. It’s organic and contains no palm oil, I’m sure a sample could be arranged in exchange for honest feedback. Happy New Year and may all your blogpieces fall on open ears!


      • My friend is currently in the process of doing her website so it’s not yet fully functioning. I’ll send you a link via a message to your DK Official FB page. She’s been making soap for years but has only recently begun to start selling it as it has to have some kind of certification (without testing!) to ensure the ingredients aren’t going burn thorough your skin. She’s got a kind of ‘sharing is caring’ ethos and for each bar she sells, she donates one to a local food bank.


  5. Where the hell is my comment on your blog??!!! Perhaps it is being moderated, but I’ll be pissed with myself if I messed it up! But bravo, and I thought you might like to know that I gave my children 48 rolls of Who gives a crap for christmas! They weren’t in the least bit surprised!

    Hope you had a good xmas and NY. I had friends staying for two weeks, with their 3 year old, so it was busy and delightful. Also, I haven’t had a drink yet this year. Good start yeah.




  6. We too are recent converts to Who Gives a Crap? Superb stuff! Their boxed tissues are excellent too, far better than Kleenex et al and no plastic in sight. My other most recent eco friendly discovery is Method cleaning products. Their lavender cleaning spray does its work, smells fab, and with a reusable cloth is a much better option than the Dettol wipes I was formerly addicted to! The bottles and sprayers are, of course, still plastic, but at least recycled plastic. Happy new year!


  7. What is wrong with a good old fashioned book made from PAPER from soft wood trees? Who needs a plastic Kindle? It was wonderful to see you the other day, the cake was perfect. I hope that Memphis was not too harrowing for either of you – silly thing to say, it must have been. The mistletoe is about to be in the post. xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Couldn’t agree more about books. Memphis was sad but also joyous, he had so many friends who welcomed us and were incredibly generous and hospitable. Came back to find that the cake had mostly been eaten, phew. Look forward to the mistletoe. It was great to see you. xxxx


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