Happy new year! 2019 is officially here. Instead of setting New Years Resolutions, this year I have decided to set a different focus per week. By doing this, I will give myself the opportunity to challenge myself, create new habits and try new things. Little steps work better for me. I feel a sense of achievement after a goal is accomplished which keeps me motivated to continue pursuing my goals.
For 2019 I want to keep on developing mentally and spiritually. I want to be more conscious of the present andchange some habits that don’t bring any value to my life. Week after week, I will share the goal that I am going to focus on. Hopefully, you will like to join me too. Let’s share our experiences and give each other tips on this journey to a more mindful life.
The Focus of the First Week of 2019 is: Cleaning
The first week of the year is going to be all about cleaning. A clean house is the best way to start a new year. It creates a pleasant ambiance which affects your mood. Making you feel happier, clutter-free and even more creative.
During this week, find one day of the week and clean all of the rooms. One by one. Organize, swipe the superficies with a wet towel, vacuum-clean, mop the floor and go to the next room. Take extra time in the bathroom to wash the walls of the shower. Also in the kitchen, clean the sink and the faucet.
Personally, I prefer to clean all the house in one day. But since I became a mother it has been a challenge to find the time to clean all at once. For me, it works better to clean the house divided by days. For this focus, the goal is to clean the house and maintaining it. Making cleaning the house once per week easier and quicker.
Christmas is just around the corner. This is the most joyous season filled with family, friends, and food. And let’s not forget about presents. If you want to make this Christmas year a more special, try giving an experience instead of a physical thing. The research proves it, experiences makes you happier than things. I have gathered some ideas for you. Here they are:
High-tea: Invite a friend to spend a couple of hours with you while eating the tastiest cakes, scones, and cookies.
Brunch: If the person you are giving the gift is not a sweets lover, going for brunch is a better option than high-tea. This gift is a great option to catch up and spend time together. My favorite brunch place in the city I live in is Het Lokaal.
Ice skating: Invite a friend or your group of friend for an ice skating afternoon. Grab your favorite scarf, gloves, and hat and enjoy the day in the ice.
Museum tickets for two: Get cultural and go to a museum with a friend.
Movie tickets for two: Is there a new movie coming out? Go watch it with your BFF. At the cinemas, you can grab some candy, popcorn and invite the drinks.
Bowling: Invite your family or group of friends to a bowling night.
Escape room: The best experience to see the personalities of your friends while having fun solving riddles.
Yoga/Dance/Sport passes for a month. Depending on the interests of your friend you can give a monthly pass to their favorite activity. It can be yoga, Zumba, CrossFit, hip hop etc.
Wellness day for two: Spend the day with your friend or partner relaxing in the sauna. Or chilling in the swimming pool.
Facial: A great gift to pamper someone you love. My favorite beauty salon is Frank and Olive.
Cooking classes: Take a class with a friend or partner and learn how to cook a different type of cuisine.
Musical classes for a month: Has your friend or partner wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument? Surprise them with a month of classes. Book the best piano teacher in Amersfoort here.
Photoshoot: Give your friends pictures they would like to hang in their living rooms. Starting at €50 you can book this talented photographer.
Food subscription box for a week: Give your friend a time-off from going to the supermarket by giving a meal box. Try for example the vegan box.
Second-hand shopping gift card: Give your friend a gift card to buy second-hand designers clothes. For example from The Next Closet. Choose your own amount, add a personal message and contribute to a more sustainable world. Order it here.
Everyone knows about Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon. A weekly box with recipes and the exact amount of ingredients you need. The vegan box has the same principle but they only make plant-based recipes.
This box is ideal for busy people who want to eat healthier and more plant-based, but do not have the time to find it all out for themselves. With the box in the house, you can immediately go into the kitchen and follow the recipes. Most of the recipes take between 30 and 40 minutes.
Last week I received my first box and I was positively surprised. The box arrived on a Tuesday night. That same day I received a message from PostNL with the time of delivery within a time window of one hour. In case you are not home, you can ask the postman to leave the box at one of your neighbors or even under the chair of the front garden.
Quickly I unpacked the bags and everything looked neat and fresh. The box contained three vegan recipes with the exact amount of ingredients for two people. Most of them were organic. And what I liked a lot, is that most ingredients are wrapped in paper. My box only had a few ingredients wrapped in plastic.
From the recipes, I started with the gyros from the brand Vleesch Noch Visch. Normally, I don’t eat much meat replacements. But this gyros I will definitely like to eat again. The tzatziki made the dish very tasty. This recipe was the easiest of the box to make. The next recipe was a yellow curry with crispy cauliflower. Curries are one of my favorite dishes. With this recipe, I learned how to make it different from how I normally cook it. The crispy cauliflower was a nice touch. I will use it for wraps or tacos as well.
The last recipe of the box was the one I was, in the first place, the less enthusiastic about. But this one surprised me the most: Pearl couscous with roasted pumpkin and cranberries. This was absolutely my personal favorite of the box. I never tasted a dish like this before.
The vegan box is a great initiative to help people that want to start with a vegan lifestyle but don’t know how. The meals are well balanced with grains, protein, and vegetables. I hope you get inspired and give a try to the vegan box. For more information check https://veganbox.nl
Scrolling down the sustainable webshop http://www.watmooi.nl I found the Danish brand: b.young. B.young is not per se sustainable, but they are making a change and started a line called b.fair. The intention is that in the future all of the b.young items will be sustainable and ethically made. B.fair is all about responsible production, sustainable materials, minimizing waste and exploiting new opportunities to reduce any negative impact that the production might have. As well as fair and ethical working conditions. B.fair’s suppliers are carefully selected to ensure they share the same values on business ethics, rights, and fair working conditions. They continuously monitor the factories with regular visits and inspections, focused on improving the health and safety of the employees involved. For their pieces, they use organic and BCI cotton, lyocell, recycled wool, and recycled polyester. For the packaging, labels, hangtags, and bags they use recycled materials.
On these series of pictures, I am wearing the b.fair black Fiorella blouse. The pictures were made in The Netherlands by Marisa Elisa Photography.
What I´m wearing:
Blouse // b.fair via www.watmooi.nl (Use my code ‘Alisson’ to get 10% discount)
Pants jacket // Second-hand
Bag from vegan leather // Denise Roobol
Shoes // Ehtletic
Use my code ‘Alisson’ to get 10% discount on the whole collection of www.watmooi.nl
Christmas is just around the corner. This is the most joyous season filled with family, friends, and food. And let’s not forget about presents. Shopping for presents can be a hard job. Even harder if you want to give something ethically made, organic, vegan and that it’s actually worth to have. To make the search easier, I have gathered some gifts ideas for you. From most affordable to most expensive here they are:
Zero waste goodies
From bamboo straws to naked soaps. The webshop bag-again.nl has a wide assortment for a zero-waste start. Prices start from €3,95 Soaps from Dr. Bronner’s
Fair trade, organic, cruelty-free, vegan and SLS-free soaps. The pure Castile soaps are made from vegetable oils and do not contain any synthetic detergent.
Shop at Holland and Barret or online at biggreensmile.nl Prices start from €4,50
Beauty products from Weleda
All of the products are made with organic ingredients. Are free of synthetic compounds or toxic chemicals. Instead, they use flowers, fruits, roots extracts, minerals, and essential oils.
Shop at Holland and Barret, Ekoplaza, Natuurwinkel or online at biggreensmile.nl Prices start from €4,99
Bamboo charcoal sponge from Benecos The products of Benecos are made from natural ingredients. Are free from paraffin, parabens, silicones, PEG, synthetic color, synthetic fragrance, and synthetic preservatives. This 100% vegetable Konjac sponge Bamboo Charcoal with mineral-rich charcoal powder cleans the pores to remove blackheads and dirt.
Shop online at the webshop solobiomooi.nl Price €7,99
Socks from Qnoop.
Ethically made in Portugal from organic cotton. Each pair has a button and a loop so you don’t miss again your socks after doing the laundry.
Shop them online at Qnoop’s website or check their points of sale. Prices start from €9,95
Beauty tea from Cedar + Stone
This tea is also a good product to add to the bath. It contains herbs that help to strengthen the hair and nails. The tea mix is all made with natural ingredients. It has no additives or caffeine.
Shop online at the webshop nourishednederland.com Price €12,- Giftset from Lush Lush makes fresh, handmade and cruelty-free cosmetics. They have a lot of vegan products and also a lot of package-free products.
Shop at Lush’s website or on one of their shops. Prices from €12,50
Jewelry from A Beautiful Story Necklaces, armbands, and earrings ethically made in Nepal.
Shop online at watmooi.nl (Use my code ‘Alisson’ for 10% discount, or check A Beautiful Story’s points of sale.
Prices from €12,96
Erasable books from Greenstory
The notebooks you can customize with different clickable pages and add-ons. They have a monthly planner page, to-do page, bullet journal page and more. Plan, wish, draw, create, and erase what you no longer need.
Shop online at ourgreenstory.com Price starts from €13,50 Nail polish from OZN
This is a vegan and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional nail polish.
OZN uses alternative solvents and compounds that are biodegradable, do not damage your health and do not pollute the environment.
Shop them at OZN’s website or via kenkoshop.nl Price starts from €14,90
Boro MiniBaby goods 100% plant-based baby products colored with plants and roots. They sell blankets, linens, bibs, muslin swaddles and more. All made in Amsterdam.
Shop them online at boromini.com/shop Prices start from €14,95
Aromatherapy box from Tisserand
Pure Essential Oils and aromatherapy products. You can get a set for sleep, travel survival, daily essentials, feel-good essentials, peaceful night, de-stress and energize.
Shop it online at the webshop biggreensmile.nl Price starts from €15,50
Pure, natural & organic matcha green tea.
Shop it online at kenkoshop.nl Price starts from €15,95
Charcoal face mask from Sukin
Sukin is a skincare brand from Australia. The products are made from natural ingredients. Are cruelty-free, sulfates and paraben-free. Sukin is 100% Carbon Neutral and the packagings are recyclable. The face mask contains bamboo charcoal as the key ingredient. The skin is left moisturized and nourished by avocado, coconut and rosehip Oils.
Shop them at Holland and Barret or online at biggreensmile.nl Price €15,95
Giftsets from Naif
The skin care products of Naif are made with natural ingredients such as flaxseed oil, avocado oil, and tomato extract. The brand started in 2013 as a baby skin care brand. Now the brand has expanded and also makes products for women.
Shop at the Etos, Holland, and Barret, or online at biggreensmile.nl Prices start from €17,95
Raw Halo chocolate gift box
Raw chocolate. Vegan, made with natural and organic ingredients. Sweetened with coconut sugar.
Shop it online at kenkoshop.nl Price €21,50
Boho beauty box
Bo.ho is an eco-friendly French makeup brand. The products are made from natural ingredients, are cruelty-free, vegan and organic. All of the packagings are recyclable.
This gift set includes an eyeliner, a mascara, and a red nail polish.
Shop it online at the webshop solobiomooi.nl Price €22,95 Book: This Is A Good Guide by Marieke Eyskoot
This book is filled with practical tips about sustainable fashion, beauty, food, baby products, home, work, and leisure. You will find the right addresses, beautiful brands, inspiring insights, surprising facts, and useful solutions. The book is in Dutch and in English.
You can buy it online at bol.com, at a bookstore or at a concept store. Price €24,-
Hammam towel from Happy Towels
These towels are made of bamboo or organic cotton and are ethically made in Turkey.
Shop online at happytowels.nl Prices start from €25,-
Kenko essentials gift box
Kenko is a Dutch multibrand online shop. They sell only eco-friendly products. They put up together a gift box with different products. Perfect to try out new organic brands.
Shop it online at kenkoshop.nl Price €29.99 I hope this guide helps you to find a gift for this season. But remember that the most sustainable option is to give nothing. There are other options like giving things that you own and don’t use anymore. Or books that you read and don’t need to keep. Another gift you can give is to donate to a cause in the name of the person. And lastly, you can give someone an experience. Going to the cinemas together, go for a snack, go to the woods. Those kinds of experiences are very valuable. Time spend with a dear person is the best present. (If you ask me)
Congratulations for wanting to start a sustainable wardrobe. The first thing you need to know is that it will take some time before you have a wardrobe that is 100% sustainable. But don’t be discouraged. You have taken already a good step. The following tips will help you to achieve a sustainable wardrobe:
Start by unsubscribing from all the newsletters from fast fashion brands. They make it really good to make you feel that you need to buy the newest trends.
Do a closet detox. Organize your closet by taking every single item out and place them on your bed or the floor. Take one by one the items back in the closet. Before you do it, ask yourself the following questions about each item:
Does it still fit?
Have I worn it in the last 12 months?
Would I wear it again?
Do I love the way it looks on me?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then put the items back to your closet, if the answer is no, put them aside and start making two piles:
To donate: If the clothes are too worn out or need to be fixed.
To sell: If the clothes are still in a good state to give it a second round.
A Closet detox will help you to clearly see what are the clothes that you have and like to wear. Make sure you keep only clothes that you actually wear.
The next time that you need to buy something new, try first to go to a second-hand shop. Or to a vintage shop. When buying something new ask yourself questions before buying it like, ‘How often will I wear this?’
Buy clothes that will last, and avoid any piece that looks like it’s going to pill or brake after a few washes. Check the stitching and material for quality issues.
Take better care of your clothes. The way you treat your clothes has a bigger effect on the environment than their production. Wash your clothes if it’s really necessary. Taking better care of your clothes increases their lifespan.
Let your clothes dry naturally. The drying machine wastes a lot of energy and money.
Make your clothes live longer. When your favorite piece break, get it to the tailor and ask if the piece can be fixed. Many textiles can be recycled or reused, and clothing in good condition should be donated or go to someone else.
Last summer during my stay in Mallorca I discovered the sustainable Spanish brand Thinking Mu. They sell clothes and accessories for man and woman. For their pieces, they use natural organic fabrics like hemp, cotton, merino wool, cashmere, banana fibers (made from banana leaves) and chrome-free leather. They also use recycled polyester from plastic bottles. By this, the brand helps to keep the oceans clean and the marine life to thrive.
Most of Thinking Mu pieces are ethically made in India. They have a long-term relationship with the same garment workers, ensure fair labor practices and offer safe working conditions. The knit collection is produced by a team in Barcelona at a factory that is specialized in knit and it is one of the leaders in the Spanish business.
Not only Thinking Mu make their products in an ethical way with sustainable materials, but they also make them look fun with unique prints and embroidery.
On these series of pictures, I am wearing the ‘Jersey Las Vegans Flock’. The pictures were made by Marisa Elisa Photography.
There’s not a single Thinking MU product which isn’t socially and economically fair and environmentally responsible.
Every fabric has a story about sustainability and fair-trade to tell.
What I´m wearing:
Jersey // Thinking Mu (organic cotton – fair-trade)
Pants // Second-hand from a charity shop
Shoes // Second-hand from a swap party
Bag // Denise Roobol
One of the biggest challenges of the fashion industry today is its impact on the environment. From chemicals used in fabric dyes to microfibers in the ocean, there’s a lot to be done if we would like to preserve our planet. In this blog, we are going to talk about a possible solution for some of these challenges: hemp!
First, we’ll dive in for a little bit of history about hemp and after that, we’ll compare it to the most used materials in clothing: cotton and polyester. To get your first question out of the way: no, you can’t get high if you tried to smoke clothes made from hemp since it’s the non-smokable version of cannabis.
The history of hemp in a nutshell
What a lot of people don’t know is that the use of hemp as a crop dates back at least 8000 years. The first application of hemp was in the making of cordage for pots. Back then they already knew the immense strength that hemp offers. The other main applications of hemp, such as textiles and food came up around 4000BC in China. Imagine that for a second: hemp clothing was there before the pyramids of Egypt!
Another interesting fact is that the first pieces of paper were also made from hemp around 100BC in, again, China. This rich history of China with hemp is probably also the reason why around 80% of all the hemp textiles still come from China right now.
Fast forward to the 19th century. Hemp was doing just fine and was still widely used as a source of food, textile, paper, ropes, and sails. Most of the ships that were discovering the planet needed tons of hemp for their sails and ropes, which made hemp a very popular crop for farmers to grow.
So what happened to hemp? Well … industrialization happened. It made other materials like cotton, wood and later plastics a lot cheaper to process, which is one of the reasons hemp lost its industrial throne. Also, the US thought it’d be wise to criminalize cannabis (and thus hemp), so it became unviable for farmers to grow it.
Luckily, we humans got smarter and smarter, and now we realize that hemp is actually a great natural source for clothing, food, homes etc. Countries are allowing hemp to be grown again (jay!)
“Why is it that good?” you may ask. Well, let’s compare it to polyester and cotton to get an idea.
Hemp vs polyester
Polyester is mainly used because it is strong, cheap and can be made in all different kinds of garments. The disadvantages though are that it needs a lot of energy (high CO2 emissions) to be created and that it releases microfibers when washed. These microfibers account for up to 30% of all plastic pollution in the water, they are then eaten by fish and end up on our plate. Well done humans!
While polyester requires little water in the production process, it emits around 60% more CO2 in production than hemp. Hemp also doesn’t release any harmful microfibers when washed, so there’s a lot of reason why at least some polyester should be replaced by hemp.
Hemp vs cotton
When we compare regular cotton to hemp, it’s easy to see what the environmental benefits are. Hemp needs around 75% less water and 33% less land when compared to cotton. On a global scale, this could mean billions of liters of fresh water saved each year and more land available for other purposes. Also, in contrast to cotton, hemp does not need any pesticides or insecticides to grow, so that’s a win-win-win for hemp. (Organic cotton doesn’t use any either, but that usually requires more land and water than conventional cotton). The only real disadvantage that hemp has over cotton, is that it wrinkles more and is a bit rougher. A full list of the (dis)advantages that hemp has can be found here: https://alissonsimmonds.com/2018/08/21/natural-fabrics-101/
So why is it so hard to find nice clothing made from hemp, when it has so many benefits? The main reasons are that currently, it is more expensive to create clothing out of hemp when you compare it to cotton or polyester, and since there’s not that much demand, there are also a lot of technological steps to be made until it can compete completely with cotton or polyester.
This guest blog post was written by Erik de Groot. Co-Founder of the natural athletic apparel Iron Roots.
Sustainable fashion can be defined as clothing, shoes, and accessories that are manufactured taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects.
This implies continuous work to improve all stages of the product’s lifecycle from design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing, and final sale. To use, reuse, repair, remake and recycling of the product and its components.
Fair or Ethical Fashion is clothing that is made taking into account the wealth being of the garment workers. It covers a range of issues such as working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, fair wages, improvement of the worker’s quality of life, sustainable production, the environment, and animal welfare.
Slow fashion advocates the principle of producing fewer new items. And only produce items of good quality, in a clean environment, and fairness for both consumers and producers. Slow fashion also means, to stick with what you have for a long time. Some elements of the slow fashion philosophy include: buying vintage clothes, redesigning old clothes, shopping from smaller producers, making clothes and accessories at home and buying garments that last longer.
Vegan fashion is clothing and accessories made from cruelty-free sources. Where no animal products were used in making the garments and gear, and no animal was harmed. Vegan fashion doesn’t use any leather, wool, feathers, silk or fur. Instead, the clothes are made from fabrics such as cotton, linen or hemp. Manmade materials such as polyester, acrylic or nylon. And innovative materials like pinatex made from pineapple leaves or mycoworks made from mushroom skin.
Organic fashion is clothing made from materials grown in compliance with organic agricultural standards. The production ensures that there is no use of pesticides in the growing process. Organic fashion takes care of the health and land of the farmers. Organic clothing may be composed of cotton, jute, silk, ramie, or wool.
Minimalist fashion is a lifestyle that implies to have as little as possible. Minimalists stick to a limited color palette. Mostly monochromatic. The wardrobe consists of low-key but timeless pieces that work every day, no matter what’s fashionable at the time. This promotes less consumption.
I hope you understand now all about sustainable fashion. Is there anything you would like me to research and explain to you? Let me know in the comments below.
Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful but exhausting jobs as a mom. It requires physical and emotional strength. In order to be more successful at the job, the best is if you are in peace. Breastfeeding gives moms a chance to sit down and relax. The first months are very beautiful. You keep on wondering how lucky you are to be able to feed your baby by putting it on your breast. As time passes it might get a little tiring and the wondering stops been a good motivation to keep it up. In order to make the breastfeeding sessions more fun, there are some things you can do. You can bond with your baby, write down your to-do list or just have some time for yourself.
Here are some things you can do while breastfeeding:
Talk or sing to your baby. You can invent a song if you don’t remember any lyrics.
Listen to your favorite music and sing if you feel like it.
Read a book. In silence or out loud. Remember that your baby loves to hear your voice.
Listen to audiobooks.
Meditate. An easy app to this is ‘Headspace’.
Eat a snack. Nuts, crackers, yogurt, peanut butter, and jelly sandwiches. Grab an easy snack that you can eat with one hand. Now that you have the time :).
Bond with the family. If the close family is visiting you, you can feed your baby in front of them. ( Only if you feel comfortable) That way you get to interact with them and your baby will hear and get used to their voices.
Catch up with your friends and family. Send them messages to keep up the relationship.
Watch your favorite series.
Write down your thoughts in a diary.
Write down your blessings.
Rest with your baby.
Each month is getting easier but it never stops being challenging. How is it for you? What do you like to do while you are breastfeeding?
Let me know in the comments below.