Shampoo-free hair care

I’ve ditched commercial shampoo and conditioner and jumped on the bicarb and vinegar bandwagon.

It’s been about three months now and I can’t see a reason to change: it’s cheap, effective, reduces plastic waste, and most importantly it doesn’t contain all the heavy chemicals in regular shampoos and conditioners, so it’s better for you and the environment.

Lots of people are writing about it, like this one, this one and this one, with different ratios and formulas, but you can be quite relaxed about it.  This is roughly what I do:

In one clean, used bottle mix about 1 part bicarb with 4 parts water.  This is your “shampoo”.

Then in another bottle, mix the same ratio of vinegar and water.  This is your conditioning rinse.

Shake well before use and apply them as you would shampoo and conditioner.

Et voila!


The Grand Tour

It was a last minute decision to fly to Europe, but an opportunity arose and we took it.  Beyond catching up with family in the UK, our itinerary for Europe is still very sketchy so this will be quite an adventure.

Our first port of call was London with two whole days to fill.  We based ourselves in a studio, just a stones throw from romantic St Pancras Station and the London Underground.  For me the Underground, with all those unusual English place names like Elephant and Castle, and the more familiar Paddington and Baker Street, has a childhood nostalgia from British stories I grew up with, not to mention endless games of monopoly.

First stop was London Bridge to visit the Tate Modern, but by happy accident a road detour took us to Borough Markets and we were immediately flanked on all sides by people milling through food stalls piled high with cheese and bread and all manner of local produce.  Being lunch time, we joined a queue for toasted cheese sandwiches.  Unless you’ve tasted one for youself, you won’t believe this was the best toasted cheese sandwich I’ve every had!  Two slices of sourdough, overflowing with grated cheddar and a sprinkling of spring onion, toasted golden brown and piping hot – delicious!

So too, the Tate was a feast for the eyes: Dzanza, Picabia, Chapman Bros, Ernst, Gorky Raushenberg, Hockney, Klee…  I could go on.

Sunday was market day, walking from Spittlefields, through Brick Lane and up to Colombia Street Flower Markets and back again.  The colour and the smells and the crowds all added to the atmosphere and I was quite pleased the vintage scarf and Welsh wool/bamboo yarn I found that day.  (Incidently, James was wearing the jumper I knitted for him.  If it weren’t for that, I might have been jealous of the ladies at the wool stall who were seriously checking out my handiwork!)

And then it was off to Nottingham.

Manly Markets

On the third Saturday of the month, Manly Village Public School holds a market day.  I think it’s one of the nicest markets in Sydney because it’s not too big and has a wonderful array of goods at old-fashioned prices, with lots of colour and soul.  There is so much to see I can spend a whole morning browsing through preloved clothes, crafts, plants and quirky bric-a-brac.

I did a round of the stalls, soaking up the sunshine and atmosphere, and came home with a skirt, a pot of lemongrass, and a whole heap of pictures.


Natalie hosted a swap party at the weekend.  Swaps are a great way to declutter and recirculate unwanted gear, and you could go home with a new outfit or something useful at no cost at all.  Anything left over can be donated to an op shop and nothing ends up at the tip.

So we arrived on the day with bags of clothes, trinkets and household items and were treated to a colourful afternoon tea on the lawn, before heading inside to inspect the goods.  Folks are always a little reserved at first, but soon get into the spirit.

For the meagre offerings I made, I think I did quite well!

The Bokashi Project: Part 1

I’m a big fan of composting.  It diverts waste from landfill, reduces greenhouse gas and is nature’s way of recycling waste into nutrient rich food for the garden.

I’ve been lucky in previous rentals to have a communal compost bin in the back yard somewhere, but there’s nowhere suitable at my new unit.  Even a healthy compost bin attracts a few bugs and no one really wants that outside their window.  Nor would the body corporate look too kindly on a worm farm in the azalea garden.  So I started thinking about bokashi and indoor composting.

I’d heard enough about bokashi buckets to know commercial kits are overpriced but I figured I could make my own with a couple of buckets and a drill.  I was searching online to see if anyone had tried this when I came across “Swedish buckets” on Jenny’s very knowledgeable bokashi blog.  She says all you need is a bucket with a snug lid, newspaper and bokashi bran (aka EM or effective microorganisms).  What could be easier?

Ideally I was after used buckets but ended up buying a new one from my local independent hardware store.  This particular style will do the job, however the lid tough to peel off so I wouldn’t recommend it.  I’ve since thrifted a nappy bucket via Freecycle so I’ll see how that one works too.

The challenge will be what to do once the buckets are full and ready to take outside as the contents need to break down in the soil before you can use it, but I’m looking forward to seeing the results.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had acquired 2 litres of free worm tea.  It’s not that significant in itself, but I received this liquid gold through my local Freecycle group.

Freecycle for the unacquainted is a web network made up of thousands of groups around the world with the aim of keeping “good stuff out of landfill” – or anything else people might be giving away or looking for.  It’s free to join and every gift, given or received, is free.

So you can imagine I was pretty happy when a kind soul replied to my “wanted” post for worm tea to nourish my new herb garden.  Better than anything you can buy in the shops.