Dark Moon (vegan) Chocolate

Last year I was delighted to see that there would be a vegan market in Newbury. As this is the closest town for me and there are hardly any vegan things around, I of course went to check it out. It was fairly small, but I was happy to see some familiar faces. I got a hotdog and a yummy brownie and when I made another round I saw something that attracted me like magnet. Big balls of chocolate covered in nuts! I’ve never seen anything like this before and so I had a little chat with the owner to get to know the product. Even though I just bought a brownie, I couldn’t resist getting one of these (in my eyes) magic balls too. I’m so happy I did, because they are amazing!! Since then I ordered them for Xmas and my birthday, in different flavours. I can’t keep them from you and I would love you to try them and so I thought it was time to tell you about this lovely inspiring brand: Dark Moon Chocolate!

First of all I’d like to introduce you to the owner: Dan (35), who was born in Bristol, now lives in a lovely market town Frome, which has a bustling independent trader scene. He used to work as a Food Production Manager at a Farm shop. This seems a bit strange for a vegan, but he wasn’t vegan when he started working there. One day whilst he was stroking some of the cows in the barn (he always used to go and feed them with all the veg scraps from the kitchen) it made him think. He thought ‘I’d always been an animal lover and yet I was eating these beautiful creatures that deserved better’. From that moment he stopped eating animals. He’d always worked in the food industry which he fell into by pure accident and it just turns out that he really loved it. I’m happy he does, because what he does now, makes everyone happy. Time to ask him some questions!

What made you decide to start your own business and why chocolate?
I started it out of necessity, after having to leave my full-time employment because of health problems. I’ve suffered with arthritis and mechanical issues in my legs since I was 19 and had a bad flare-up in my ankle last summer. I had to leave, as it was predominantly an on your feet job. I chose chocolate because I’ve always enjoyed making chocolates and it’s always been my favourite sweet food. I can also sit down when making them, which helps me manage my bad ankle. It seems funny that about 6 months before starting Dark Moon, I made a passing comment to one of my staff members, that I’d love to just make chocolates. Strange how things turn out! I’m now fully self-employed, doing three separate part-time endeavours, the chocolate is the one that really keeps me going though. I’m also an artist and craftsman.

How did you come up with the name ‘Dark Moon Vegan’?
My star product is a sweet chocolate ‘scotch egg’. The non vegan version is a Cadburys Creme egg, wrapped in brownie. I just had to make it vegan. I make all the centres myself, so I can make loads of fabulous flavours. I wanted a name that referred to the chocolate in some way. I use dark chocolate and they also look a bit like a moon, so it kind of just made sense. When I searched for the name ‘Dark Moon Chocolate’ on instagram, someone else had already coined it, although the account looked old and was based in America. Just to be on the safe side, I chose ‘Dark Moon Vegan’. I trade under the banner of ‘Dark Moon Chocolate’ at markets though. It also means that I can have a really cool logo of a dark full moon!

How did you get yourself out there?
Despite all the hype around social media marketing and online presence, for me the best way to get myself out there was to actually physically do it. Meet my customers and spend time in the real world. It felt a bit like jumping into the unknown at first, booking markets and not knowing if I was going to sell much. I was actually astonished at how well the chocolates did. Off the back of that, my online sales are also really starting to grow.

What are the ingredients you like to use and where do you get them from?
My go to chocolate is a bitter sweet dark Belgian chocolate, it’s 54% and it’s really well balanced. Most people who aren’t fans of strong dark chocolate, usually like this one when they’ve given it a try. The company also re-invests directly back into the cocoa farmers to create a more sustainable approach to cocoa farming. I use a fair trade sugar and coconut oil, that my partner gets from her health store. I use a gluten-free buckwheat flour from a company located in the south-west. All my packaging is recyclable and I don’t use single use plastics. I have now ran out of the parcel tape I was using for online orders and will be using an eco-friendly paper tape for my online orders.

Where can people order your chocolate?
I currently do orders through social media and email, I’ll be developing a website to make things a little easier very soon. My email is darkmoon.frome@gmail.com and my Instagram and Facebook is @darkmoonvegan.

Which chocolate is your personal favourite?
My favourite dark moon at the moment has to be ‘The Monkey’s Knickers’ (I ordered 2 of these the last time and they are my favourite too, they are AMAZING!). It’s a salted caramel centre wrapped in a peanut butter brownie then coated on more chocolate and roasted peanuts. It’s inspired by a very well known chocolate bar – the clue is in the weird name! 

What are your plans for the future when it comes to ‘Dark Moon Vegan’?
I’m really just looking to keep things small scale, I’m happy doing markets and fairs and selling online. To keep things interesting there will always be new flavours to try and occasional one off products.

Is there anything else you like people to know?
I have a chocolate problem. (I’m happy he does!! Haha..)

Will there be a special for Easter by any chance?
Of course, I’m in the process of doing a regular monthly subscription box, which will contain new flavours and products. For Easter I am making Vegan Creme Eggs, Caramel Eggs and Chocolate Orange Eggs. There will also be little mini creme eggs, keep your eyes open as these kind of items will be limited edition!

Now, are you excited yet? An amazing chocolate brand, with ridiculous flavours, you can order online, without any plastic packaging! It won’t get any better than this!

Dark Moon Vegan chocolate is my favourite for sure (esp ‘The Monkey’s Knickers’ ..just Wohw!) and I hope you’ll find out for yourself soon. They also make a lovely gift btw! I’d love to hear what you think of these chocolates if you decide to try them. Please let me know in the comments below or on Instagram! Thank you! X

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No Eggelette

Everything you eat, I can eat vegan. Yes, even an omelette! You really do not have to miss out on anything. Except of a bunch of cholesterol. Haha! I heard that you can make omelettes with chickpea flower and tofu and I often eat the chickpea omelette at Paradise Planetbased in London (so good!). So I did some experimenting in the kitchen and eventually created this recipe. It’s so delicious and it definitely hits the spot. It’s so much better than the regular egg omelettes as well. I like to eat mine with a simple salad and avocado. You can also add some (sriracha) mayo if you like. The recipe is for 2 people, so if you just want to just make one, make sure you only use half of all the ingredients. Or you can keep half the omelette batter in the fridge, to make it the next day. Yum!

NO EGGELETTE

Serves: 2

omelette 
1/2 cup PB milk
150 gr silken tofu
1/2 cup chickpea flour
2-3 tbs nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp garlic granules
1/4 tsp onion granules
1/2 tsp salt
pepper (to taste)
oil for frying

filling
1 tomato (chopped)
4 mushrooms (chopped)
2 babycorns (chopped)
1 spring onion (chopped)
2 handfuls of spinach
1 handful vegan cheese (grated, optional)
oil for frying

-Mix all the ingredients for the omelette in a kitchen machine until it’s a slightly runny paste.
-Heat the pan, with the oil of your choice, on a medium fire.
-When the pan is hot, pour half of the mixture in the pan and spread it out.
-Divide the cheese on top go the omelette and put the lid on the pan.
-Turn the fire down to a low and let it cook until it dried up and the bottom is slightly brown (3-5 min). Do the same thing with the other half of the mixture.
-In the meantime: Put some oil in a pan and fry all the ingredients for the filling (except the spinach) in a pan, for about 3 min.
-Add the spinach and mix it up until it shrunk.
-Carefully take the omelettes out of the pan and put it on a plate.
-Put the filling on top and fold the omelettes in half.

Did you know you can eat an omelette whilst eating a plant based diet? This recipe is really worth making! If you do, please show me yours on Instagram by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

0Waste #5: Cleaning

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘ – ‘0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps’ – ‘0Waste #3: On The Way Swaps‘ and ‘0Waste #4: Beauty Swaps‘, I’d now like to introduce you to some simple things everyone can do to produce less (chemical) waste whilst cleaning!

SOAP NUTS 
We all need to wash our clothes once in a while. We sweat, we spill and we get dirty in all sorts of ways. What laundry soap do you use? There is a ton of choice, but did you ever think about what will be best for the environment? I never did, until a few years ago. All the soap you use will go through the drain and most of the laundry soap contain horrible chemicals and are not biodegradable. This is why I use soap nuts. I once bought a bag from Ecozone and I’m still using that same bag and it’s still pretty full. It last for soooo long. I use 5-6 nuts per cycle and I use those same nuts at least 3-5 times. So imagine how much money it will save you as well. It’s super easy to use and it’s such a natural product. I love them!

SUPERMARKET CLEANING PRODUCTS 
If you don’t want to make your own cleaning products, then at least try to use natural products that won’t harm the environment and come in a recycle bottle (and make sure you do recycle them properly!). The 2 most popular brands are Method and Ecover. Method is my favourite out of these 2 as their products smell amazing. I do sometimes use the fabric softener from Ecover for my towels and bed sheets. Both brands are biodegradable though and are safe to use around children and animals. I’d still recommend making and using your own products whenever you can, but otherwise this is a good alternative.

SPONGES/CLOTHS
Most cloths are made out of plastic, you need to search a little if you want anything else. You can get cotton cloths, which are a good choice, but I also really like these. They are a combination between a cloth and a sponge. They are lovely to clean with (tables, surfaces, bathrooms, kitchens etc.) and the best thing of all, they are biodegradable. You’d probably think ‘but what about the plastic that they come in’? Guess what.. it’s biodegradable too (in municipal composting facilities). There are 5 cloths in 1 pack and each cloth can be used up to 300 times (as in, you can machine wash them for 300 times) and after that they can go into the compost. I like using these or I’d choose a cloth made out of organic cotton, hemp or bamboo.

MAKE YOUR OWN
It’s totally easy to make your own cleaning products. I will give you a recipe that is a nice all-rounder and you can use around the kitchen, bathroom, all services (be careful with granite, stone and some wooden services though!) and all other things you can think of. I use the peels from the lemons I use in the morning for my morning water and the ones I use for my salad dressing, this way I use them again in such a good way. If you don’t consume lemons regularly (you should though, hehe..), you can maybe make a nice lemonade and use those peels. Anyway.. First step: purchase a nice glass bottle with a spray option (brown glass) and then follow this recipe:

Makes: 500 ml

Ingredients:
-Peels of 6-8 lemons
-250 ml white vinegar
-Essential oils (optional)
-Fresh rosemary (optional)
-250 ml water (spring or pre-boiled)

-Weck jar (500 ml)
-Glass spray bottle (500 ml)

-Put the lemons in the weck jar (until it’s nicely full, you don’t need to stamp them in) and fill it up with the vinegar.
-Add a few drops of essential oil or include some fresh rosemary.
-Give it a little stir before closing the weck jar.
-Put it away in a dark and dry place and leave it for about 3 weeks.
-Use a fine colander to separate the water from the lemons/rosemary.
-Pour it into your spray bottle and fill it up with cold (spring or pre boiled) water.
-Clean, clean, clean!

What cleaning products are you using? Will you make your own? I’d love to hear how you get on. Please let me know in the comments below, by tagging me on instagram or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

Pancake Yay

Tuesday it’s national pancake day. A very important day if you’d ask me, haha! Pancakes are so goodddd.. and it doesn’t matter what time of the day you eat them. It’s totally acceptable to eat them for breakfast, for lunch or dinner and even as a snack or dessert! I realised though, that there is no pancake recipe on my blog yet. I don’t know how that happened, but shame on me. So here we go, a delicious, easy to make, basic pancake recipe. This way you can easily add things, so they will turn out exactly the way you like them. Add a pinch of cinnamon or a tbs of cacao powder. Eat them with fresh fruit, raisins and/or maple syrup or simply eat them with some jam (This is my Jam). I like my ones with cinnamon, blueberries and maple syrup. Such a good combination!

PANCAKE YAY

Makes: 12 mini pancakes

1 cup flour
1 tbs (coconut) sugar
1/2 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup oat milk
oil for baking

-Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
-Add anything you like (cinnamon, cacao powder, raisins, fruit..) and mix it in as well.
-Slowly add the oat milk and mix until you have a nice smooth batter.
-Heat some oil in a frying pan on a medium-high fire.
-When the oil is hot, carefully put some batter in the pan with a big spoon (depending on your pan, you can bake 3-4 at the same time).
-When the pancakes are (almost) dry on the top, you can flip them over. They are ready when they have a nice golden colour.
-Do this until the batter is finished.

Did you know it was this easy to make pancakes vegan? And you will be surprised how nice and fluffy they will be. The perfect pancake for any time of the day! Will you make these on pancake day? Don’t forget to share it with me. You can do this by tagging me on instagram or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

BOOK: The Inner Life of Animals by Peter Wohlleben

What if we could understand animals (better)? For example, what if we knew how they think, what they are capable of and how they survive and evolved in this world? There are many studies when it comes to understanding animals and ‘their language’. Peter Wohlleben was kind enough to translate this into a book: ‘The Inner Life Of Animals – Surprising Observations of a Hidden World’. He runs an environmentally friendly woodland in Germany after working for the forest commission for 20 years. Peter has a lot of animals himself, like dogs, horses and goats. Because he is out in the open a lot, mainly forest land, he is also surrounded by a lot of wild animals. He speaks a lot from his own experience, but then reflects on the behaviour found in the studies he mentions. This way it’s easy to understand and imagine.

Though Peter isn’t vegan himself, he almost writes like he is one. For example, he writes: “When people reject acknowledging too much in the way of emotions in animals, I have the vague feeling that there’s a bit of fear that human beings could lose their special status. Even worse, it would become much more difficult to exploit animals. Every meal eaten or leather jacket worn would trigger moral considerations that would spoil their enjoyment.”. Personally I find it a little strange that he understands animals so well and he can see it this clear, but then he can still exploit them himself. This is actually the only thing I think is such a shame, but other than that, I think this is an amazing book. Especially for people who are vegan for the animals or want to understand animals better. It’s fascinating how the animal world works. Some things will sound familiar to you, but others are so surprising and you can’t help but feeling compassionate and understanding even towards things you wouldn’t think you would.

Something I really like is that the chapters in the book are very short (mostly only a few pages long). This makes it very easy to read. All the subjects (different emotions, feelings etc.) are divided in different chapters. This makes it an easy read and a nice book to just pick up once in a while, instead of reading it from cover to cover at once.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who is curious about how animals see this world. Besides it’s eye-opening, it’s also entertaining. I really enjoyed reading this book myself. If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here. Peter Wohlleben is also the author of the internationally best seller ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’. I haven’t read this book, but I’ve heard good things about it though.

Have you read this book or would you like to read this book after reading my review? I would love to know what you think of this book and if you have the same or a totally different opinion from my one. Please let me know in the comments below or contact me via Instagram. Thank you! X

VE(GAN)RY DUTCH

When I was a child, we went to my grandparents every Sunday. My grandma always had a big pan of vegetable soup ready for lunch and I always liked it a lot. I just love vegetables and I love soup. But one of the main reasons I loved it, is because in the soup she always put little meatballs, made by herself, out of mince meat. I was always happy to have a lot. Obviously I don’t like that anymore, but if there is a way to make the little balls vegan, then why not right? A while ago I saw a very nice Dutch blogger (@wateetjedanwel), making the little meatballs out of a vegan mince meat. The brand she used, we don’t have in the UK, but we do have something similar from ‘The Meatless Farm Co’. So I thought I give it a go. I experimented a little to make it taste like my grandma’s and I think I came pretty close. I love this soup so much. It’s just so good! It serves 6-8 people, but I ate the whole pan in 2,5 days, all  by myself.. haha! If you can’t do this (and it’s very understandable if you can’t), you can freeze it too or share with your family and friends. It’s a great family recipe!

VE(GAN)RY DUTCH

serves: 6-8 

soup
-2L vegetable stock
-1 can chopped tomatoes
-1 big onion (chopped)
-2 cups broccoli (chopped)
-2 cups cauliflower (chopped)
-2 cups carrots (chopped)
-2 cups green cabbage (chopped)
-1 cup leek (chopped)
-1 cup celery (chopped)
-1 tbs olive oil
-big handful fresh parsley (chopped)
-2 tbs nutritional yeast
-2 cloves of garlic (minced)
-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
-salt/pepper (to taste)

little meatless balls
-1 pack vegan mince meat (the meatless farm co)
-1 clove garlic (minced)
-1/4 tsp smoked paprika
-1/4 tsp onion granules
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-1/4 tsp salt

-Put the onions and garlic in a big soup pan with the oil and fry for about 3 min.
-Add all the vegetables and fry it all together for about 5 min. Keep mixing regularly.
-Pour the vegetable stock over the vegetables, add the chopped tomatoes and let it come to boil.
-In the meantime prepare the little meatless balls:
-Put the mince meat in a bowl and add the spices. Mix it very well, using your hands.
-Roll little balls out of the mixture (about 2-3 cm).
-Add the nutritional yeast and the smoked paprika to the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
-When the soup is simmering, add the meatless balls and the parsley and let the soup simmer for another 10-15 min.

Will you make this soup? You won’t be disappointed when you do. Please show me your results on Instagram, by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. I’ll give you a shoutout when you do. Thank you! X

Thirty

It is true.. I’m 30 now! I still can’t believe it. It’s not like I can’t handle it, it’s more that I just can’t believe that I’m on this earth for 30 years already. Time flies. It makes me feel grateful to have reached this beautiful age, but I’m also living in a midlife crisis for the past 10 years already, haha! I always start overthinking it all and start panicking about everything I didn’t do yet in my life. I’ve got so many plans and there is just so little time. Now and again I just need a reality check though and I do realise I’ve done so much to be grateful for: I saved a pig (very important), started a blog a few years ago, converted a van (+ living in it) and I’m almost finished my nutritionist course. These are 3 things that I really really wanted to do in my life and were all on my bucket list. I can only imagine that, because I’ve done these things, life can only get better. Anyway, I thought it definitely deserved a cake and so I made a double cake for my 30th, with a nice filling in the middle. It’s an easy recipe, but all together it takes bit of time though, because of the cooling dow process. I hope you will love it though, just as much as I do (I’m actually having a piece whilst typing this.. YUM!).

THIRTY

serves: 10-12

cake
2 cups self raising flour
1,5 cup brown sugar
6 tbs cacao powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups yogurt
1 cup sunflower oil
4 tbs maple syrup
splash of milk
oil for greasing

filling
10 medjool dates (soaked)
10 biscoff biscuits
3 tbs coconut milk

buttercream
500 gr butter
1 cup icing sugar
3 tbs cacao powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

decoration
-1 tbs desiccated coconut
-2 tbs freeze dried rasp/strawberries
-1 tbs Biscoff crumbs

2 cake tins (same size)

-Preheat the oven at 180 C.
-Mix all the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl: yogurt, sunflower oil, maple syrup.
-Mix all the dry ingredients together as well: flour, sugar, cacao powder, cinnamon baking powder.
-Gradually mix in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and add a splash of milk to make it more runny.
-Grease 2 cake tins and divide the mixture in 2, before putting them in the oven for about 30-35 min.
-In the meantime make the filling: put all the ingredients in a kitchen machine and blend until smooth.
-Take the cakes out of the oven and let them cool down completely.
-In the meantime make the buttercream: put all the ingredients in a kitchen machine and blend until smooth.
-Put the filling on one of the cakes and put the other cake on top.
-Cover the whole cake with buttercream, decorate it and put the cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

How do you deal with your age? Do you find it hard to get older or can you also be grateful about it? I hope you will celebrate though and maybe even by making this delicious cake. If you do, please tag me on Instagram, so I can give you a shoutout. Thank you! X

Honest Heart

What is better than a caramel covered heart? Well, I guess that would be a heart that truly cares about your heart. Isn’t that where love is all about?! Caring for each other. Real, honest love. Valentine’s Day is nice and all, but it’s also quite commercial. Make sure that the day of love isn’t ending in something superficial, but show the people you love how much you really care about them. You can start with making them this caramel heart. Hehe.. A pure honest heart, because there aren’t any bad ingredients in here. All healthy and good for you. In fact, the first ingredient you will see, are chickpeas! Sending you lots of love from me to you!

HONEST HEART

serves: 6-8

Cake
1 can chickpeas (drained)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup of maple syrup
6 soft medjool dates
Splash of milk
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
4 tbs cacao powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Caramel Topping
10 medjool dates
1/4 maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Dried (or fresh) berries (optional)

-Preheat the oven to 180C.
-Mix all the wet ingredients in a food processor until a smooth paste: peanut butter, maple syrup, dates and a splash of milk.
-Add all the dry ingredients to the paste: almond flour, coconut, cacao powder, baking soda and the salt. Blend until you have a sticky dough.
-Put the the dough onto the baking tray and shape it into a heart (2-3 cm thick). Put the tray in the oven for about 20-25 min.
-Mix the ingredients for the caramel sauce in a food processor until a smooth sauce.
-Let the heart cool down and put the caramel sauce on top. Decorate with fresh or dried fruit.

Are you celebrating Valentine’s Day? Are you celebrating with your lover or with all the people you love? Whatever you do, spread the love!! I’d love to see your creations of this Honest Heart. Please show me on Instagram, by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

0Waste #4: Beauty Swaps

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘ – ‘0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps’ and ‘0Waste #3: On The Way Swaps‘ I’d now like to introduce you to some simple things everyone can do to produce less waste in the bathroom!

LINERS/PADS 
One of the last things I struggled with, was liners. I like to use the ultra thin liners from ‘Bodyform’. I absolutely love them! But apart from that they obviously aren’t zero waste or plastic free for that matter, to make things worse, they are also individually wrapped. And using one every day, quickly adds up. So I tried to find a good reusable liner for a while, but they are all so thick and wearing them with lace thongs (only underwear I wear) is just not comfortable. I did find these ones that are quite thin (could be even thinner and maybe a little smaller) and I find them usable. I still don’t love them, but at least it will keep me from using disposable ones. All tips on this subject are welcome! Talking about periods, you can also buy proper pads that are very absorbent, in case you don’t like to use cups. They feel a lot more comfortable than the disposable pads too. Just look on Etsy for example, there are soooo many and loads of different colours and designs.

MENSTRUAL CUPS
Let’s talk about the menstrual cup again. I wrote about these before and they definitely belong on the list with products for living a more waste free life. Also, I’m still a big fan. More and more woman started to use a cup and that is so positive. They are  simply perfect when you decide to live a (more) zero waste lifestyle. I’m using my one for almost 2 years and my cup still looks like it’s new. I have 2 cups actually, the Organicup and my most used one, the Lunette. In case you’re not using one yet, but you are curious, in the articles I explain exactly what they are and how to use them. Please learn about them and aim to use one. It might sound weird and you might have to practice a little at first, but it is soooo worth it. Trust me!

FACIAL CLEANSING 
Me and my face. It’s like the skin on my face lives her own life. I have break-outs since I can remember and even though I kinda accepted it, I always try to find the best way to care for my skin. I tried sooo many things, but something I’m sticking to for a while now, is using simple facial cloths and this little brush I found in a shop called ‘Søstrene Grenes’. I accidentally bumped into this shop when visiting The Hague. I always wash my face with the tea tree oil soap from ‘Faith In Nature’ and 1-2 a week I use the brush (or cloth). It works like a gentle scrub. My skin is reacting well and I love that it’s waste free. The little brush is made out of some sort of silicone, but it’s super durable and I think it will last me a life time really. I’m very happy I found something like this. Works a treat!

NAIL FILE
There are many types of files, metal ones, paper or plastic disposable ones and glass ones. I personally never used the disposable ones, but they are popular though. I always used the metal ones, but they do have a plastic bit on them. I still have a few and I still use them, because even though they have some plastic, they do last ages, years and years really. A few years ago, my mum gave me this glass nail file and I love it. It files really well. It’s actually my best file. The only problem is that, because it’s quite thick, it’s hard to do the sides and little corners of your nails. It’s very gentle on your nails though and that is the main reason I love using it.

BODY BRUSH
Who doesn’t have a plastic (puff) sponge to use under the shower? I used to have lots of them. After a while they go bad and I threw them away to get a new one. They made my skin feel nice and soft and so I never gave it much thought. About 1-2 years ago I stopped using them, because I didn’t want to be responsible for that much waste and so I looked for an alternative. I tried different things and I now have a wooden brush with cactus bristles. I really like it. The bristles are quite hard, but I personally like that. If you have a sensitive skin, you might want to use something softer. When I bought it, I didn’t realise that the bristles are stuck in a little layer of plastic though. Such a shame. Eventually, when this one is not usable anymore, I have to look for something that has no plastic at all. Tips are welcome!

COTTON PADS
Some girls and woman like to use wipes or cotton pads to take their make up off. Especially their eye make up. I never use them, but when you do like to use them, did you know that you can buy reusable pads? There are nice soft ones in lots of colours and designs. Look on Etsy for example and invest in a nice set. This way, you will not only create less waste, but it will also safe you money, because you can use reusable pads for so much longer. Make sure you get nice soft ones, made out of organic cotton or bamboo for example.

TOOTHBRUSH 
Who uses a toothbrush?! Haha.. I’d be surprised if you say ‘not me’. But who’s still using a plastic toothbrush? I’m sure the answers of this last question are not all the same. Many people are still using plastic toothbrushes, even though they are one of the most used plastics in the world. There are so many brands that will sell you a nice toothbrush made out of bamboo though, whereby all the materials are natural, even the bristles. Please go for this option, as it will make such a big difference. I use the ‘Humble Brush‘ toothbrush and I’m very happy with this brand. I personally really like the look of them as well, especially the ones with the black bristles. There are all sorts of colours though, even multi coloured ones. Pick your colour and brush away.

WOODEN COMB
This is one of my most loved zero waste, plastic free items. My wooden comb! I have long hair and so I need something to untangle it once in a while. Luckily my hair doesn’t tangle easily and so I only brush my hair 2-3 times a week. Before I got my wooden comb, I used to always use a plastic hairbrush. I didn’t know any better. Until, about a year ago, I read something about the use of a wooden comb. Apparently this is much better for your hair as well. Wooden combs are more gentle and it doesn’t tend to break your hair as fast. My comb I simply got from Amazon as I couldn’t find a nice one anywhere else (I’m so picky). It’s beautiful! It has a nice grip, I love the colour, size and the little carvings. The teeth of the comb are perfect as well. They aren’t too big or too small, they’re not too close together or too far apart. I feel very lucky to have found it.

COTTON BUDS 
Something I also struggled finding a replacement for, are cotton buds. I love using cotton buds. It feels so nice in my ears, haha! But the little plastic sticks are the worst! So even though I still have some left from the last time I bought them (they never seem to finish), I hate using them now. About a year ago I tried to research for a replacement. There are bamboo ones (Humble Brush sells these as well), but I also found a metal one. I know it sounds a little scary and uncomfortable and I did have to get used to it a bit as well. Once you start using it though, it’s actually ok. It’s a little different, but just as satisfying as the ones you’re used to. I like my metal one now, because it will last forever and so I won’t be creating any waste when it comes to looking after my ears.

SAFETY RAZOR 
I actually, basically do not shave. I’m very much against the whole ‘girls need to shave’ rule. I never shave my legs or my arm pits, but I do shave my bikini line area though. Just to make it look neat, especially when I’m actually in my bikini. I think it’s ok to look after yourself in that way. You can make yourself presentable in public places when it comes to intimate areas like this, but without going over the top. At the moment I’m actually still using my plastic razor, simply because it doesn’t need replacement yet. But as soon as it does, I will invest in a nice safety razor. The one on the picture is from my sister-in-law, who is very happy with hers. Did you invest in one yet?

BEAUTY PRODUCTS 
I can’t stress this enough: Use natural beauty products! Not only for the planet, but also for yourself. No one likes the idea of putting chemicals on their skin, but weird enough, many people do it every day. Swap your chemical products in plastic packaging for natural (biodegradable) products with plastic free (or at least recyclable) packaging. There are many brands nowadays that offer nice products. I love using tooth tabs (look at the pic of the toothbrush) for example. Are you using these yet? I’d still love to learn about this subject a little more though, so tips are very welcome.

I hope this was helpful and will motivate you to swap (some) things in your every day  beauty routine. Do you have more tips or more things you can change/swap in the bathroom, please let me know in the comments or contact me via Instagram (@planetmanel). Thank you! X

0Waste #3: On The Way Swaps

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘ and ‘0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps‘, I’d now like to introduce you to some simple things everyone can do to produce less waste on the way!

STRAWS
Everyone knows they are the worst! Avoid plastic straw at all cost. They are the reason many turtles and other wildlife die. It’s so not necessary. If you really want to have a straw for a smoothie for example, choose reusable straws. There are many types: metal, glass, bamboo, silicone. I have silicone ones myself and I love them. I don’t think I’d choose them again (I bought them about 3 years ago) as they’re not recyclable, but I must say that they are great quality. I love the feel of it on my lips in comparison with the harder materials. Invest in a good (set of) straw(s) and make sure you always have on in your handbag if you like to use straws on the way. I’d go for metal ones if I’d choose again now.

CUTLERY
You can of course carry around a set of your kitchen cutlery around and that is totally fine. This is helpful whenever you want to buy something from a market stall or from the supermarket that requires cutlery. Though I invested in a travel spoon and fork (in one), made out of titanium. One side is a fork and the other side is a spoon. I totally love it! I keep it in my handbag and it has been super useful. It’s easy to clean and light + small to carry around. There are also complete travel sets including a full set of cutlery (made of metal or bamboo) and a straw. I think it’s a personal choice and also I think different people have different needs. Do a little research and find out what will work best for you.

TRAVEL CUP
I used to always drink my tea (sometimes every day, shame on me!) in a take away cup. So much waste! And then I’m especially talking about the lids. All plastic! So a few years ago I bought myself a travel cup. I saw it and fell in love with it, so I didn’t mind investing in it at all. My one is just so pretty. I bought my one at Starbucks and it’s in my favourite pink colour. I don’t drink coffee (yuk!), but I use my one for tea, so I’m very happy with a medium size. There are so many brands selling travel cups though and as a coffee drinker you might want a smaller one. So go and explore the options. A great thing about getting your coffee/tea in your own cup is that in many coffee shops you actually get a (often 25p) discount. Yay!

WATER BOTTLE
An easy one! Using a reusable water bottle. Luckily many people are using one already. Are you as well? If not, please invest in a nice water bottle. I used to have a Bobble Bottle. I had many to be honest, because of heavy use they broke after a while. I love them, because they make water taste sooo much better. Especially here in the UK, because I think the water here tastes like swimming pool water. The downside is that they are made out of plastic and when they only last for about half a year, I was creating plastic waste. So I bought a metal one instead and dealt with the taste (I now add pieces of ginger and lemon to mask the flavour and it’s so much better!). I totally loved the bottle, but after a few weeks the water started to taste like metal, because inside the bottle it started to oxidate. What made me buy the HIP bottle, which I totally love, but is also a plastic one. This one will for sure last very long, because when I drink it keeps the shape. It’s also recyclable, but I do love to get a metal one again when I’m in need for a new one, as I think they are most durable. So tips are welcome!

I hope this was helpful and will motivate you to swap (some) things in your every day life. Do you have more tips or more things you can change/swap on the way, please let me know in the comments or contact me via Instagram (@planetmanel). Thank you! X