Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Ageing and Appearances

Hello again my lovely loves,

It’s been a little while since I posted, but recently it’s been really hard to find motivation. I’ve been keeping my head down and trying to get through everything that’s been thrown at us; as a species, as Spoonies, and in my little family.

It’s been A Time.

But today I wanted to talk about something that’s been bothering me for a while, that I always thought people might find a bit silly or vain or ungrateful. But I think the pandemic has strangely put people in a place where they’re much more likely to understand.
And that’s my complicated feelings about ageing.

I never really thought I’d be someone who cared about it, or had time to think about it, but as I’ve found myself in circumstances that I never foresaw, I’ve been thinking in ways I wasn’t expecting.

There’s a large part of me that is grateful I’m here to be ageing. A lot of people never have that privilege, and my experiences with illness have only made that more clear to me.
But there still exists a part of me that hates it. And it’s not necessarily because of vanity or because I think my worth is based on my youth or appearance (although that’s a fun mindset to try and fight after years of societal conditioning), but for the simple reason I haven’t been living in the way I thought I would.

I hate seeing fine lines appearing, and grey hairs crop up, for the simple reason that I feel like I haven’t had the chance to earn them.
There’s a whole chunk of my twenties and thirties that I’ve mostly been absent from. I have the souvenirs but none of the memories that should go with them. I didn’t earn these creases living my life, I got them waiting to be well enough to have one.

Yes, things have improved slightly; I’m able to do a tiny bit more than I was two years ago, a year ago, six months ago. But they’re so tiny in the grand scheme of things that the difference is negligible from the outside.

And as proud as I am of myself for dealing with all of this so well, that’s still all time that I feel I’ve missed out on, and the frown lines just make it more obvious to me that I’ve had a lot to frown about.

It doesn’t help that I’ve always felt quite awkward in my own skin, but before I got sick I had just started feeling like I was coming into my own. 
I know a lot of people struggle with their appearance and body image, no matter how others perceive them, but I was getting there, you know? I was finally feeling comfortable with what I saw in the mirror. And then along came the Big Bad Tired so I couldn’t even enjoy it.

Being sick has also meant care in my appearance has taken a hit by necessity. 
I can’t shower everyday (or at all), I have to plan my wardrobe around what’s comfortable to nap in instead of what makes me feel good, I can’t style my hair how I want to (or basically at all), I can’t sit down everyday and take that fifteen calming minutes to do my makeup. I do makeup a few times a year now, and I miss it more than I ever thought I could.
It might seem bizarre to some people that I’m so bothered by it, but to me it was an essential part of self care that made me feel confident and put together and ready to face the world. 

I want so much to have that confidence back, and seeing the signs of time passing makes me frightened that I won’t. Or by the time I do I’ll be too old to go out and fully enjoy it.

This illness has shown me that however negative I felt about myself or my appearance before I got sick, I was wrong.
shone because I was happy and healthy. Because I was full of life. And when you have something that makes you feel dimmed by comparison, it's a strange grief. Anything that compounds that is more painful that it would otherwise be.

Now everyone’s been in and out of lockdown for nearly a year, dealing with things that make them just ever so slightly more aware of their own mortality, and there’s this hole of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wime where people missed out on so much.
Even then other people have been able to keep living in small ways; working, creating, and honestly I think more of my friends have had kids in the last year than the previous three combined. And I kind of love that, even though it stings on my own account. 
People are nothing if not resilient and, Christ, I love to see it.

But, despite being able to do more than us Spoonies, I’ve seen everyone struggle with the restrictions and it’s so, so familiar to me, that I thought maybe people would understand my feelings on this now.

Time is linear, and we all have to deal with it’s passing. But watching signs of that appear when you have no choice but to do anything but watch is horrifying. Terrifying. Heartbreaking.

And I just needed to say that.


Saturday, 31 October 2020

The Importance of Halloween

 Hello my lovely loves,

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post, and while this won’t be a long one, I wanted to share a few things I’ve been thinking about lately.

Someone online recently asked me how I deal with my illness anniversary, or Sickmas, because they kindly remembered it’s coming up. (It’s the 1st November for those that don’t know.)

It took me a while to respond to them, because I was doing what I do every year to cope. Working on my Halloween costume. Every year I throw myself into it, and although I’ve always done so, it’s taken on a little more importance in my life since I got sick.

It allows me the opportunity not only to be someone else for a little while, but to revel in my favourite kind of creative problem solving. I enjoy it so much, and that’s crucial.

It’s not just Halloween, but pretty much the entire end of the year from my housebound anniversary in September to New Year that I struggle. And during that period I find the little parts of those times that I’ve always loved, that I can still do, and I try to make sure they’re in my life in some small way. 
Taking those tiny little moments and polishing them until they shine. So I can take them out and look at them when I need them most.

It doesn’t entirely block out all the things I can’t do, or the sad times. I make room for those too. I think it’s important to let yourself feel those moments, because they’re real, and honest and deserve to be listened to. All of you deserves to be listened to, even the sad parts.

People say you should focus on the positives, and I do that. I try to list to myself all the things I’ve done or enjoyed in the year, and all the (achievable) goals for the next, but there has to be time for the losses as well. Anything else is just a pretty lie.

When it comes to my costume, it took so much work and planning. I knew I'd be dressing as Crowley from Good Omens last year when me and my friend Nick (who dressed as Aziraphale) discussed it first and I’ve been slowly gathering everything since then. Working on it bit by bit throughout the year.

Even after all that planning it still nearly didn’t happen because I had a run in with a ventilation needle just over a week before and had to be taken to the minor injuries unit. 

(Ventilation needles are used for wig making and are shaped like tiny fish hooks, so once it was in my finger I couldn’t get it out on my own.)
We were there less than an hour but even with ear plugs, ear defenders, an eye mask and lying prone in my wheelchair the world was just so LOUD and so BRIGHT.

I stayed in bed for days after and although I’ve been as careful as possible since then, I knew I was playing with fire to carry on despite feeling terrible.
It’s a testament to how careful I’ve been, and how far I’ve come I was able to do the photoshoot at all.

Despite all that, I was in bed by half 3 of the day of shooting. And even before that - by about 12.30 - my legs were like rubber. I've been going downstairs on my bum because they’re just not stable at the moment.

I’m not saying this to be all WOE IS ME, but to point out the realities of doing these things.
I would love to cosplay more often, but it honestly isn’t possible, at least not now. I’m never in these costumes for more than a couple of hours and going places in them would be out of the question. 

But I love doing them. And that’s incredibly important, especially now.

So even if I’m stuck in bed for days then it’s worth it for those moments when I get to see all my work come to fruition and strut around like a badass. 

Well, more like saunter vaguely like a badass, as the case may be.


Sunday, 20 September 2020

Introducing Persephone

 Hello my lovely loves,

A fun one for you today - I have someone to introduce to you...

Because let's face it, if you don't dress in faux leather and do an Easy Rider parody, did you even get an electric wheelchair? Or is it a Never-ending Story III spoof? At this point, I don't even know anymore.

Thanks to Mum and David who agreed to be part of this and went ALL OUT. You can't really see it on the video but Mum has "love" and "hope" on her knuckles.

What a badass.

This took a few goes to film, and plenty of rests in between, and the thing I'm most annoyed about is that when I got tired and Mum had to take over the dual control of Seph I didn't think to record the hilarity that was her attempting to steer for the first time.

It was really important to me to have Persephone home before the 25th September because that’s basically my 6 year anniversary of being housebound, and I didn’t want to go through ANOTHER one feeling so trapped. Particularly knowing that I was so close to having a little bit more freedom. It would just be an extra slap in the face.
I actually bought Seph in January, but due to Covid halting alterations to the garden to house her, it’s taken this long to get her home.

I know this isn’t going to stop me being housebound, but it will give me the tools I need to improve that little bit more, and have that extra freedom and independence I’ve been missing so long.
Being pushed lying down with your legs raised makes you feel very vulnerable, a little bit like being wheeled through the world prepared for a hospital exam, so this will really help my confidence.

Thanks to everyone who made Persephone possible. Steve from the Kings Lynn Mobility Centre for matching me with a chair, and keeping her in storage while we got everything prepared.
Uncle John and Auntie Tina, who laid the foundations for the new shed and the paving to get her in.
The shed company for giving a bespoke door wide enough for Persephone’s magnificence.
Jim for doing the shed wiring to charge her (despite having been horribly stung by wasps the day before - mate, what were you thinking??).
People who gave money towards me getting Seph in the first place, including my Hairy Frogmother.
And of course Mum and David who have been there every step of the way, painting and laying vinyl floor and being willing to change their home to accommodate the new chair.
You’re amazing and I’m so grateful.



Wednesday, 12 August 2020

The Momentary Check-In of Standby Hedgehog

Hello my lovely loves,

It's been a while since I've posted, but I wanted to let you know that I'm still here!

I do try and post once a month, but as you've probably noticed, between health problems, Covid, and various worrying things in the world I've decided to take the advice I give everyone else on this blog and just... be kind to myself.

I've needed a break from social media, and a break from deadlines (self-imposed as they might be), because right now? The world is a lot. And I can't take that on top of my dealing with my health.

If that's the case with you too, then embrace it.

Let's have a holiday.

Keep safe. And speak to you soon.


Wednesday, 22 April 2020

A Housebound Eco Guide: Part Four


Hello my loves loves!

We're here for the fourth and final instalment in this Housebound Eco guide. If you're still reading, then I salute you.
Today we'll be looking at an eco wardrobe, keeping your house insulated, eco-electrics, and online options to make the world a better place.


Upcycle old clothes

If you’ve got something a bit old or out-of-date, is there any way you could give it a new look instead of chucking it? 
I’ve done this with a couple of old t-shirts by changing the neckline, and I like them so much better than I did and I didn’t need to replace anything.
Saved money, and landfill, and gave myself a low key project to keep myself occupied when I had the energy.

Clothing Swap

Instead of chucking old and buying new clothes, maybe see if any similar sized friends have anything they don’t want anymore that you do. New clothes for free? Yes, please.

Donate or sell old clothes

Anything that’s in a decent condition you could either donate to charity or have a go at selling online. I’ve made a bit of cash with some of my old shoes and dresses this way, and we could all do with a bit more of that.

Make cleaning rags

For those pieces that are too far gone to sell or donate, you can still use them by cutting them into rags for cleaning. If you’re a dab hand at sewing you can use old items to test patterns and make mock ups.


Using handkerchieves might seem a bit old fashioned, but they’re a much, much greener alternative to tissues. Use, and then stick them in the washing machine. And, if you have some fabric from old clothes you’re not using anymore, you can make them yourself!

Originally I was a bit grossed out by the concept, but I found some lovely vintage ones online and I really like using them. Anything that makes me feel like I’m a romantic heroine in a dramatic novel.

Plus my stepdad’s been using them since I can remember and he barely gets ill so it can’t be that unhygienic.

I’ve got a lot of different cotton quilting fabrics in my craft stash from where I’ve got excited about different patterns, so I’ll be making some for myself in the future, as well as some for gifts.

Buy second hand

Just as donating your clothes to second hand shops is great, so is buying second hand. You can get some great steals this way, and I’ve been using this option to slowly complete my mission of having shoes in every colour of the rainbow. There’s also so many option for this online now that it’s possible even for house or bedbound people. Win.

As well as the classic Ebay, there are places like Vinted or Preloved, where individuals can list their items.

Oxfam have their own online shop now, and there’s also Re-Fashion, which hosts items raising money for multiple charities.

If you want something super fancy, then Micolet have some really high-end brands second-hand and much, much cheaper.

Carbon Offset

Even if you don’t go second hand, you can still look out for online retailers that offset their carbon emissions to be as green as possible. Etsy have started doing this so hopefully other brands will follow.

Wyatt and Jack

Wyatt and Jack use old beach toys and inflatables to make new items, like bags, pouches and even earrings. Not only can you buy something great, but you can also donate your old and broken inflatables or deck chairs to them to make new and beautiful objects from. 


Draft excluder

A simple but effective way to keep in the warm air is using draft excluders by your doors. Do they look like something your nan had 90% of the time? Yes. Do most of the things us Spoonies end up using look like that anyway? Also yes.

And look! This one looks like a dog!

Double glazing

If you have the means, double (or even triple) glazing is a brilliant way to keep more heat in your home. The air between the layers of glass stops the heat from escaping, newer frames can eliminate gaps that create drafts, and the pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance… it helps sound proofing. So if you live on a busy street or the kids next door are making your noise sensitivity go haywire, then double glazing can be a lifesaver.

Plastic double glazing

If you’ve not got the budget for double glazing, or are renting a property without double glazing, then a great alternative is plastic double glazing film.
This film can be stuck around your windows and then heated with a hair dryer to create a tight seal.
I have both fond and harrowing memories associated with this because we used it heavily in our student housing.
When putting it over the bathroom window I pushed against the frame to ensure a good seal and the entire window frame shifted in the wall as if the window would fall out of the house. It was not a very nice place.
That said, the plastic double glazing film really did make a difference. Even with this stuff on all the windows we spent several months a year huddled together on the sofa covered in dressing gowns, hot water bottles and duvets - I dread to think what it would have been like without it!

Here's some from Wickes, and some from Amazon.

Wall and Roof Insulation

The final types of insulation are roof and cavity wall insulation. Most new builds will have some form of this already, but if yours doesn’t it really makes a difference to your energy bills.
We’ve had both types fitted and we’ve saved so much money on heating. Although, unfortunately we did it just before the government started offering grants to certain groups of people. Curses!

To find out if you’re eligible for help getting with insulation, head here

Wall insulation can also help provide some form of soundproofing. We didn’t get any in the wall joining us and next door and I’m genuinely considering saving up and paying for it myself just so I don’t have to hear their terrible music choices when I’m trying to rest.

Eco-energy provider

There are now various energy providers that work being eco-friendly into their business plans. If that’s something you’re interested in here are a few! You can even add a check box for eco-friendly services when comparing providers on Money Supermarket.

According to their website Bulb is the UK largest green energy supplier. Their electricity is 100% renewable and 10% of their gas is, with the rest being offset with carbon reduction projects they support. Their motto is “Simpler, Cheaper, Greener”. Customer service is available via phone, live chat and email.

Again, Octopus boast 100% green electricity, and they don’t lock you in a contract. Their customer service is also offered over email and social media as well as phone, which is nice for accessibility, and they’re apparently the UK’s largest investor in solar energy.
According to their website they’re listed as a recommended energy provider by Which from 2018-2020.

Ecotricity are the UK’s longest running green energy firm, and offer 100% green electricity. They don’t currently offer 100% green gas, but again, anything not green is offset with carbon reduction schemes. They’re also in the midst of expanding to make their gas carbon neutral with biogas made from grass.
They have Pay As You Go options as well as tariffs, so that could be handy for people on metres.

Perhaps one day we’ll all be able to afford solar panels on the roof, but this is a great start if not.


Remote control plugs

I found these amazing remote control plugs online that allow you to turn things on and off easily. It’s a good idea to turn items off at the wall to avoid charging things unnecessarily and using “standby energy”, where appliances draw electricity in standby mode.
While the general advice is to unplug things all together (or turn the plug off at the wall), sometimes that isn’t feasible if you have a disability, either because you’re not mobile or flexible enough, or you don’t have the energy to do it.

Remote control plug sockets take the mobility and energy issues away and greatly reduce the power you might be using. You can even set a daily alarm to remind you to turn off the sockets before you go to bed.

Power strip with switch

Similarly to the remote control plugs, a power strip with individual socket switches will allow you to control how much power is being used by the items plugged into it. I don’t have to energy to keep unplugging and plugging things, but this allows me to have my various chargers ready for use, and all I have to do is complete the circuit and turn on the socket.

Most power strips like this will include lights for each individual socket, so you can be sure that a. You’ve remember to turn it on, and b. You’ve turned on the correct socket.

Energy saving lightbulbs 

A fairly obvious (and common) one, but worth reiterating. And much cheaper than they used to be!

Use rechargeable batteries

Both disposable batteries and rechargeable batteries can be difficult to dispose of or recycle correctly in the UK - you usually have to drop them off at specific locations in your area, but the benefit of rechargeable batteries is two-fold.

One, they save you money. Although the outlay is more to begin with, the fact you’re able to just keep filling up the batteries and reusing them means you end up buying few fewer batteries in the long run, so it works out pretty cost effective.
Two, the fact you’re disposing of fewer batteries (or sending fewer to recycling plants) means you avoid sending so many batteries to landfill. Win, win.

Feel free to do your own research online about the best ones for you. I have some Duracell ones, but I’ve heard great things about Panasonic Eneloop batteries.


Unsubscribe from unnecessary catalogues, god knows they like to send them constantly, and go paperless paperless for your bills and bank statements. 
Lots of places also offer to email you receipts instead of printing one for you; not only will you save paper, but you’re much less likely to lose an important receipt if it’s in your email inbox!

When it comes to reading you can try Ebooks or buy your books second hand, saving money and paper. You could also join a book swap group and, of course, there’s always the library.
If you’re housebound or are unable to make it to your local library, try and find out if mobile library service operates in your area.

Green web

The physical world isn’t the only place where you can be greener, eco-friendly hosting and search engines now exist online, so if you’re looking to make changes there then here are some options.


Kuala boast 100% green powered hosting, and have environmental policies that aim to reduce waste, encourage recycling and avoid unnecessary travel. Apparently many of their workers work from home, so I’m hoping that means they’re a pretty disabled friendly brand.
They offer shared hosting, business hosting, Wordpress hosting and reseller hosting options, as well as domains.

For further research on green hosting options check out this article from Tech Radar.

Search Engines 

Ecosia is a search engine that uses the revenue generated by ads to plant trees around this world, so every search goes to literally making the world greener. They’ve also created a solar energy plant to help power their searches.

Contact brands

If there’s something you love that isn’t eco friendly... tell the brand. They have a lot of customers to gain with the political climate, and companies are always looking for ways to have better selling points than others.
If enough people say they want eco-friendly versions of their products then there’s a real chance for change.

I’m hoping to convince Sure that they should come out with eco-friendly reusable deodorant packaging. I want the product, but I don’t want to use the plastic!

Try not to fly in Aeroplanes

Aw man, would you look at that? I did it! I guess being housebound for five years has its perks!

Seriously though, the chances of us actually getting to go somewhere are already ridiculously slim, that this is one you’re going to have to decide on your own.
Using aeroplanes are bad for the environment, there’s no doubt about that, but we also don’t have the flexibility of able-bodied people to take different options of travel. 
For some of us, going by train, or boat, or car might actually be more suitable to their condition, in which case… brilliant! But to others using a plane might be the only option of getting to a place without worsening your condition. 

If you do have to take a flight there are organisations that allow you to offset your carbon emissions by donating to various projects, like planting more trees in the amazon rainforest, or helping with hydroelectric power in Chile and wastewater treatments in Thailand.
Here’s just one of the options, but there’s plenty more to choose from with just a quick internet search!

Larger Scale Change

If you're keen to look into more ways to help with climate change beyond individual lifestyle changes you can check out this great YouTube video on the subject. It's quite long but it's very thorough and explains things very well.


The last thing I want to leave you with is that I hope you can try not to worry too much. I know that it can be really stressful to hear about climate change and feel like you can never do enough.

If you're reading this you clearly care a lot, but it's ok that you can't do everything. It's not the sort of thing that any one person can fix; the only thing anyone can really do is alter things in their small corner.
If you're disabled or chronically ill, especially if you're house or bed bound, then that corner will naturally be smaller than other peoples. That's ok.

I hope this guide can help guard you against those hopeless feeling, and empower you to feel like you can do something, no matter how small.

Sending love, my lovelies.



Wednesday, 15 April 2020

A Housebound Eco Guide: Part Three


Hello my lovely loves!

We're back to the bathroom for deodorant, ear care, nail care, medical kits, and menstrual products!

Natural deodorant options

I really wish regular deodorant companies would just make their packaging eco-friendly. I wouldn’t mind having cardboard, or even refilling a reusable applicator myself.
So many of the green deodorants smell quite strong, which I struggle with, or come in pots which is just really awkward to apply.
I have managed to find a couple that are better on this front though…

£6.99. Coconut oil and arrowroot formula. Also available with scents like lemon and rosemary if you’d prefer.
I did try this one but it seemed to irritated my under arms. I’ll probably give this another go, but do be aware if you have underarms prone to irritation. I do like that this one comes in cardboard packaging and is shaped like a normal stick deodorant.

£5.50 for 165g. 
Potassium alum crystal deodorant. Works by preventing odour from bacteria. Wet the stone to apply.

£4.99 for 120g
Natural mineral salt that is completely unperfumed, and according to reviews lasts up to a year.
Do be a little bit careful with this one, some people complaining for crystal becoming loose in packaging and falling out. I do have this one and while it’s come loose, is hasn’t outright fallen out.
My main gripe with this is that I just don’t like deodorants that require me to wait for them to dry and prefer a stick. If that doesn’t bother you then it might be worth a try!

Face cleansing
Something I wasn’t aware of for a really long time is that regular wet wipes aren’t biodegradable and in fact contain a lot of plastic. Here are some other options!

Reusable cotton pads 
Instead of using and disposing of cotton pads everyday, you can buy reusable ones from fabric that you just stick in the wash! It saves a massive amount of money in the long run, and you can find really lovely ones with cool patterns too.
I’m not going to list any on here, simply because there are so many, but just as a start you can try to narrow down what texture you want. Do you want more of a towel feel? Or a smoother fabric texture. Once you’ve decided that you can go from there.

If you’re feeling crafty you can even make them from old clothes.

Muslin cloths
If you’re in the market for something even thinner you can go for muslin cloths. These can be used to remove makeup or cleanse with and are gently exfoliating due to the texture.

Ren have some for £4.50 in 100% cotton for two.

Face Halo
£17.95 for three reusable pads.
For makeup removal I use Face Halos. These are similar to the reusable cotton pads, but made from a specifically designed microfibre that removes makeup with only water.
They make a great alternative to makeup remover wipes, especially if you have chemical sensitivities towards cleansers.
Just rub away stains with soap and water after using and then pop in the washing machine for a thorough clean when needed.

Biodegradable wet wipes
If you can’t get to the sink to say goodbye to wet wipes, then there are biodegradable options, for face and body.

£3.65 for 20 wipes. (Often on offer)

£3.29 for 25 wipes. (Often on offer)

£2.19 for 12. (It makes me laugh when products are awkwardly called “intimate”. I suppose crotch cloths wouldn’t have the same delicate ring.)

£2.99 for 64 bamboo wipes. If it’s suitable for babies, then it’s probably fine for us sensitive lot.

£8.49 for 32.
A bit on the pricey side but these are specifically to use instead of showering and so boast that they don’t leave residue. I’ve had a fellow sufferer recommend them for that too, so if wipes put you off because of that then maybe this is a good shout.

Ear Cleaning

Most of us won’t even think about this when doing an order online, but a lot of cotton buds use plastic stems, and that builds up pretty quickly. Instead you could try…

Paper or bamboo stemmed cotton buds
Most supermarkets do these if you keep an eye out but you can also find some here:

£2.49 for 100

£2.45 for  approx 200

Metal ear picks/scoops

Now I have some of these and I love them, but they are essentially tiny metal spoons that you poke in your ears. BE CAREFUL. If you have tremors or fall down a lot then maybe don’t put metal sticks in your ears where you can jab yourself really easily.
That said, they do give a really good clean and are completely reusable and easy to sanitise.

These are from amazon and are £8.99 for a set but you can shop around. 

Toilet paper and Tissues

You thought I was done with toilets when I started in on the loo brush, didn’t you? Oh no, my friend. Even recycled toilet paper exists and I’m here to show you. Aren’t you so glad you read this post?
This isn’t something we’ve added into our household yet, mainly because I don’t do the household shopping, but… one day!

£2.15 for 4 rolls. 

This brand name though. I want to buy everything from them just because they’re clearly my people. They do tissues, loo roll and paper towels all from recycled paper and 50% of their profits go to making toilets for those in need. And their packaging is amazing. Can you tell I’m a fan? One day I'll buy all the things. I have bought a couple of boxes of tissues which were pretty reasonable at £1.50 a box.
£24 for 24 rolls. £36 for 48 rolls.

Nail Care

Glass nail files
Glass nail files not only last much, much longer than your usual emery boards, but they work much faster, so you use less energy getting rid of any splits or breakages. They’re also meant to be much healthier for your nails, so that’s a win all round.

Trim cotton pads
When removing nail polish I like to cut my cotton pads into quarters. I can then get all my nail varnish off with just two cotton pads instead of four or five. (I reuse a couple of pieces for the last two nails.)
This works in conjunction with...

Nail clips
Using smaller pieces of cotton pads soaked in nail polish remover is much easier when you have nail clips, and it allows you to clip each quarter to your nail and just lie back and rest while it eats away at the polish. No more scrubbing, and a lot of saved energy.

Reusable Polish Pads
If you don’t want to use disposable cotton pads at all you can also find reusable bamboo ones at Tabitha Eve. It's £4.50 for 5 but you have to remember to rinse while wet, so if that’s going to be tricky to do (or remember) maybe give that one a miss.

Peelable Base Coat

You can avoid the chemicals, waste and work of taking off nail polish by using a reelable base coat. These are usually water based, and form a coating on the nail that allows you to peel any nail varnish you use from the nail. A bit like how you used to peel PVA from your hands in school.

The best one I’ve found is UNT 'Ready for Take off’ which is £8.50 on Rainbow Connection. 

One of my favourite YouTubers, Cristine at Simply Nailogical also makes one, but I haven’t been able to afford to buy it from Canada. She has, however, made a video of tips to stop the nail polish peeling off too soon when you’re wearing a peel off base coat.

Non-toxic Nail polish

If it’s the polish itself that worries you, here are some great options that don’t contain toxins found in regular nail polish.

Toxin free nail brand. I’ve bought from these guys before not even knowing that their polish is toxin-free because it’s all stunning. Not cheap but goes on like a dream with bottle from anywhere from £11-15 (keep an eye out for sales though, they happen fairly regularly and you can snap up stuff for a fiver). I have a metallic red from them that only needs one coat to be perfect. ONE. COAT.
They’re also expanding into makeup
For some reason I can only find their US website, but their stuff is available on 3rd party websites like Nail Polish Direct or Look Fantastic.

Another brand that is from the US but that is available in the UK. Toxic ingredients have been removed from their formulas, so you can feel more comfortable using them. I’ve not used them personally so I can’t tell you about the quality but they’ve been going for years and have over 400 colours so I’m willing to bet they’re alright.

Something slightly different, this brand works with a peelable nail polish formula boasting no odour, therefore eliminating the need for nail polish removers all together.
I have used these (I won some in a competition!) and they are good, but as a crafty person I found it a little difficult to keep them on my fingers. Although that may be the overwhelming urge to peel them off as soon as they’re on. So. Satisfying.
Available in the US but it would appear they’re only available in the UK via Amazon. Limited shades in the UK but many more if you’re in the US or Canada.


Not much in the way of stuff for the medical cabinet, and honestly, most of us have enough stuff to sink a battle ship on that front anyway but…

Pot of pills vs blister pack

Most of us don’t have much of a choice on this one, especially with the amount of pills we end up taking, but if you have a choice between a blister pack and a pot, the pot is more recyclable.
If you have more difficulty opening pots though, then it is totally fine to skip this tip. Health first.

Biodegradable plasters

£6.95 for 25. Silicone and latex free.

Green Period Products

Before we get into this section I just want to reiterate that the point of this post is to do things that you feel capable of doing, not for you to make things difficult for yourself.
In my experience, eco-friendly priori products are great, but they’re also much more high maintenance, which isn’t ideal if you’re disabled or chronically ill.

If you can’t get out of bed easily, it’s going to be much more difficult to check your biodegradable pad is holding up a few times a day. Also, some things aren’t going to perform as well when you have to lie down 90% of the time.

For that reason, I want to make it clear that a. It’s ok if you can’t manage things in this section, and b. That it’s ok to mix these things in with less green options.

Currently, I use my mainstream, less-green period products for my first two days, when all I can do is lie in bed and grumble, and switch to eco products when things become a bit easier for me to handle, and my energy is at a slightly higher level.
Hopefully over time I’ll be able to find more and more things that work for me so I can slowly use the plastic heavy options less and less.

Menstrual Cups

I’ve not tried a menstrual cup yet, because to be honest I’m not sure how something that relies on a seal would hold up when I’m horizontal most of the time.
If you’re a bed bound or housebound person and you’ve tried them, give us a shout in the comment and let us know how you got on.

The pro is fairly obvious on this one, because you only need to buy one, and it will last for years.
The con is that it needs to be washed between insertions (and boiled regularly) so if you’re not up to cleaning things then this might not be for you.
You can however get a menstrual cup steamer, that means you don't have to sterilise it manually (although it will need washing by hand, obviously). Apparently you can also buy a baby bottle steamer for this as it can be cheaper.

There also has been some discussion over whether improper removal of menstrual cups can lead to issues later, like prolapse, but there haven't been any official studies done as yet, and even those discussing it mention it's the improper use that's the problem.
Provided you make sure the seal created by the cup is properly broken before removal and don't push the cup out yourself it should be fine.
(I was wondering whether to add this in at all but as it's been discussed in the medical community it felt remiss not to at least mention it so you could research it further and form your own opinion on the legitimacy of those claims.)

If you want to one a try then here are some brands.

Here’s a handy guide on how to choose which cup is right for you from Earthwise Girls. 

Reusable Tampon applicators

If you’re a tampon user then you can get a reusable applicator to cut down on plastic use. You can also use these with…

Organic and Biodegradable tampons, sanitary towels, and liners

Whether you prefer tampons, sanitary pads or liners, there’s a whole host of companies that make biodegradable options so you can have the comfort without the plastic.

I’m experimenting with different pad brands at the most and I’ll likely give a more in depth review another time. Until then the only thing I’d say is err on the side of caution and go for a more absorbent pad than you’d otherwise use, and place them further forward than you otherwise would.

Selling tampons, pads, liners and menstrual cups, Totm are a sustainable brand with everything, from bright packaging to product being biodegradable. They also give a percentage of their products to charities such as Binti International and Endometriosis UK.
Liners, from £3.25 for 28
Tampons, from £2.95 for 14
Pads, from £3.30 for 9

Callaly offer fully biodegradable tampons, liners, and pads, but also a fourth product that they've developed: a tampliner. The tampliner is a hybrid product that combines a tampon with an attached liner to help provide extra protection when you feel you need it without doubling up on products (and creating more waste).
You can also build your own box and mix and match your products to suit you.
Liners, from £6 for 24
Tampons from £7.20 for 24
Pads from from £8 for 16
Tampliners from £8 for 16

Vegan, and organic, Natracare offer liners, pads of all kinds, tampons, and maternity pads. They seem to be one of the more easily accessible eco-brands. I’m not entirely sure their packaging is biodegradable, I couldn’t find whether or not it’s plastic.
Liners, £1.79 for 30
Tampons £2.59 for 20
Pads, £2.49 for 12
Maternity Pads, £2.59 for 10

Grace & Green
Another brand that supports various NGOs around the world working against period poverty. Natural, 100% organic, sleek and simple biodegradable packaging. 
Liners, £4.85 for 24
Tampons, £4.29 for 18
Pads, £4.85 for 10

Flo have a fun brand look and give 5% of their profits to charities to end both period poverty and FGM. Vegan, cruelty-free, organic and biodegradable, they also offer packs of varying absorbencies of products, so you can change what you’re using based on the heaviness of your flow.
Liners £2.20 for 24
Tampons £2.99 for 16
Pads £2.99 for 15

Tsuno is an Australian brand, that gives a whopping 50% of their profits to charities that focus on empowering women, education and menstrual support.
Again, organic and biodegradable, and their packaging features various artist’s work (which I obviously love).
Liners, £2.69 for 20
Tampons, £3.29 for 16
Pads, £2,95 for 10

Eco by Naty
Naty seems to focus on nappies and baby wipes, but they do period products as well. Pads and liners are over 95% biodegradable, and tampons 100%. 
Liners, £2.57 for 32
Tampons, £3,99 for 16
Pads, £2.57 for 13

Fabric sanitary towels and liners

There are loads of brands around that do reusable cloth pads and liners, so you might want to do your own research, just because some have awesome patterns, some have awesome stats, and you need to decide what’s the most important to you.
Also what you don’t want.
I, for one, draw the line at a brand called “Honour Your Flow”. I’m much more likely to buy from a brand called “Give me chocolate or give me death”, because I do not feel like anything is being honoured when I can barely move for two to three days a month and that name would more accurately cover my experience.

These ones have pictures of Trump’s face on them, I kid you not. I can’t tell if that’s hilarious or the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen.

These ones however, have hot dogs on them which is straight up amazing. 

Pack of three £12.50-13.50 depending on the vendor.
I’ve got some of these and they’re really handy, especially if you’re not entirely sure when you’re going to start so you don’t want to break out the big guns yet.

Pack of three £18.99 depending on the venue. 

Cheeky wipes do a range of different reusable pads and liners in various fabrics from £3.30 for a single pad.

Cheeky Wipes also do their own version of…

Period Pants

For those who wish to go without any added bulk, or want extra protection when wearing another period product, you can also try period pants. These, as the name suggests, are pants with an added layer of absorbent padding in the gusset. (There’s a pleasant word for us all. Gusset.)
They come in a variety of styles, colour, and most importantly, levels of absorption.
This is one where you really have to do your own research to find a good match, but here are someplace to start.

Like with the reusable liners and pads they do require washing, so if you’re not up to that, or don’t have anyone available (or willing) to do it for you then this might not be the option for you. If you do, make sure you soak or rinse them in cold water before washing.

For the fourth and final instalment we'll be looking at an eco wardrobe, keeping your house insulated, eco-electrics, and online options to make the world a better place.