Soap Nuts

We have begun using soap nuts for our laundry. For those who have never heard of them (about a fortnight ago I hadn’t either), they are a natural well nut/ berry type thing that grows in India (I don’t know if other countries do grow them but I’ve only heard of India), that when placed in 30 degrees Celsius water gives off Saponins (a natural surfactant), which produces a mild cleaning. To use in a washing machine, you put (depending on load) an average of about 3 shells (though they generally are split in half so 6 half shells) into a muslin type bag that is normally supplied with them (just like getting a ball to pour liquid detergent into is often supplied with the bottle it comes in) and put in with your laundry. Nothing else is required. Honest. We did a load of laundry that contained a pair of trousers Bambi had accidentally peed with just the soap nuts and they came out soft and smelling fresh, no urine smell at all. Bambi suffered with eczema when he was a baby and has flare-ups now and then and soap nuts are supposedly brilliant for those with eczema and allergies as they are a natural product, so that is an added bonus to using them.

The reasons we only used the soap nuts on their own were 1) to test out how good they were 2) you do not need fabric softener as soap nuts also have a natural softener in them and 3) although you can use essential oils if you wish a particular smell we didn’t have any the first time using the soap nuts. I ordered some essential oils online and so I did a laundry load yesterday of bed linen and used about 5 drops of lavender essential oil (would only have used 4 but Bambi was helping me pour bottle so ended up with 5) directly onto pillow case and the load came out with a lovely subtle lavender smell. Please note though it is advised not to put essential oils on materials as it may stain, but as this was an older pillowcase I didn’t mind but when I checked the pillowcase there was no stains.

The only problem we have found is keeping track of how many times the soap nuts have been used, as they can be re-used. One set of 3 shells will do 2 or 3 laundry load (depending on again size of load/ how soiled load is), and as I live with my parents, they may use them for a load and I may not know about it, therefore run the risk of using them too many times and not getting the Saponins out of them. Solution: create a tracker to well keep track of them! So that’s what I did, and am making it available to you too! I’ve designed it to be re-usable, so print it off and laminate it, then use a dry-erase marker to mark off. I’ve done the font colour in a traffic light system to help with alerting you to when the soap nuts need to be changed, because as I previously said they can be used 2 or 3 times depending on load.

Leave your comments to let me know what you think. Thanks for reading and downloading.

Soap nuts

Preview of soap nuts tracker

 

Click here to download

Note: You are free download as many copies as you like but please do not use for commercial gain.

My Favourite 5 Lush Products

***This post contains a review of a products which I am not receiving any financial benefit for and have not been given as freebies to produce a review, it is just my opinion.***

I did a post on the 5 most common reasons my dog barks and as I was doing that I decided to do a post on my favourite cosmetics shop –Lush.
I love their products so much. My mum can tell when I’ve had a bath, even if she has been out of the house as the whole house smells, well lush! I will be doing a countdown of my favourite 5 Lush products in this post. I also can confirm I have Lush’s permission to use the photos on their website of the products I’m going to mention.

Number 5: Sweetie Pie Shower Jelly

Sweetie Pie surrounded by ingredients that make it Sweetie Pie

Sweetie Pie surrounded by the ingredients that make it Sweetie Pie

I was introduced to this lovely product in April 2009, by a member of staff at the Covent Gardens store. I’m so glad I stumbled upon the Covent Gardens store when I was visiting London and was given a demonstration of Sweetie Pie Shower Jelly. It smells to me like black currants and very sweet. I love the shimmer you get when you use it and that you don’t have to use a lot to clean your body, especially if you use a sponge or body puff. The only problem I find with it is that it can be slippery to use if you don’t have a sponge or body puff.

Number 4: Vanilla Puff Dusting Powder

Vanilla Puff surrounded by vanilla pods

Vanilla Puff surrounded by vanilla pods

To be honest I’m not a big vanilla scent fan, but I do love using Vanilla Puff Dusting Powder. Lush include a vanilla pod in each bottle to keep the vanilla scent in the last drop as strong as the first time you use it. It contains talc which makes it good after a bath…a bit of a luxury talcum powder for adults! 🙂 I sometimes use it as a dry shampoo. I wouldn’t have thought of using it that way, it was a few of the girls who work in my nearest Lush shop, which is in Stirling, that told me it works great as a dry shampoo. I took their suggestion and am glad I did, just a little rubbed into the roots then brushed through and voila renewed hair.

Number 3: Ickle Baby Bot Bath Bomb

Ickle Baby Bot
I know it’s designed for kids but I don’t care as I have loved this one for a long time. I remember when it was a baby’s face instead of a robot! I tend to break it in half to make it go further and that makes it feasible to be an everyday bath bomb. I used it in the bath once for Bambi and Cinderella, and Bambi giggled with glee watching the robot disappear turning the bath blue and Cinderella was awe-struck at it too.

Number 2: Rose Queen/ Tisty Tosty Bath Bombs

The Rose Queen

The Rose Queen

The Tisty Tosty

The Tisty Tosty

I’ve put these together as to me they are very similar. If I’m a bit strapped for cash I opt for Rose Queen but I’ve got a bit to splurge I love Tisty Tosty. Rose Queen has a mixture of flowers in it and Tisty Tosty has roses in it, then they float around the bath giving a feeling of luxury and gorgeous rose scents fill the bathroom. (If I remember right Rose Queen has a rose in its flower mixture too but don’t quote me!)

Number 1: Honey I Washed The Kids Soap

Honey I Washed The Kids

Honey I Washed The Kids

Honey I Washed The Kids surrounded by the ingredients that make it Honey I Washed The Kids

My ultimate favorite and no this isn’t a sequel to the 80’s and 90’s film series, it is a wonderful soap! If I could only have one Lush product for some reason (like being stranded on a desert island scenario) it would be Honey I Washed The Kids. I love the smell, a toffee, honey, caramel smell that envelops you the minute water hits the soap. For the rest of the day I sniff my hands to recapture that scent. It is so moreish and I admit I have been tempted to eat it on more than one occasion as it smells delicious. That would certainly bring a whole new meaning to wash your mouth out with soap – lol. In fact when I stumbled upon the Covent Gardens store, if I remember rightly the reason I went in was because of my love of Honey I Washed The Kids Soap and wanted some, so I owe my love of Sweetie Pie Shower Jelly to Honey I Washed The Kids Soap.

Those are my top 5 but some others that didn’t make it into the top 5 but I still love are Brazened Honey Face Mask, Jumping Juniper Solid Shampoo, Rock Star Soap, Pop In The Bath Bubble Bar, Creamy Candy Bubble Bar and Figs And Leaves Soap. Another product I loved to bits but was discontinued is Coconut Deodorant Powder.

Top Tips: use Figs And Leaves Soap as an exfoliating soap! I also love that if you bring back 5 black pots you get a free face mask, which I use to try the different ones but my favorite face mask is still Brazened Honey Face Mask.

In the spirit of honesty I also feel I should mention the products that unfortunately I haven’t loved. Remember this is just my opinion, you may like them and that’s great. Teo Deodorant and Toothy Tabs – why? Well the Teo Deodorant was great at first but the more I used it, it began to irritate my skin. Toothy Tabs I want to love but all the samples in store I tried just didn’t taste nice, now I know it’s meant to be toothpaste and taste isn’t number 1 priority but still if you can’t stand the taste of something in your mouth, are you really going to put it in your mouth? (To the Lush employees out there reading this, make one that tastes okay and I’ll be happy to purchase. I accidentally swallowed some of Mint Julips Lip Scrub once and loved how it tasted to me of mint chocolate, so if you could perhaps make a Toothy Tab to taste just like Mint Julips Lip Scrub I’d buy it).

Have you tried Lush before? What’s your favourite products? If you haven’t tried their products before have I inspired you to try one? I’ve been in store many times and I’ve ordered online before and their service is fabulous, but if you haven’t tried their products before I’d recommend visiting a store first to find out which products you like then use the online service to order more of the products you liked. After all the internet doesn’t have a button you can click to get a smell. Leave your comments below and thanks for reading, I’ve now got to go wash my hands as I want to enjoy the Lush aromas!

Brazened Honey Face Mask

Brazened Honey Face Mask

Jumping Juniper Solid Shampoo

Jumping Juniper Solid Shampoo

Rockstar Soap

Rockstar Soap

Pop In The Bath Bubble Bar

Pop In The Bath Bubble Bar

Creamy Candy Bubble Bar

Creamy Candy Bubble Bar


Figs and Leaves Soap

Figs And Leaves Soap

Top 5 reasons my dog barks

***This post contains a review of a product which I am not receiving any financial benefit for and have not been given as a freebie to produce a review, it is just my opinion.***

So I was thinking of doing a top 5 list but would never wish to post on a topic I don’t know about as I wish to be truthful. One thing I do know about is Max, my West Highland White Terrier. A common, well should I call it past-time with him is barking therefore I decided to tell you the 5 most common reasons he barks. That said trust me when I say with westies sometimes a reason isn’t even required, they just like their voice to be heard… I often feel bad for our neighbours having to putting up with him.

Reason 1: The Postman
Oh yes, the most widely known arch-enemy of dogs – the postman, in fact any delivery man Max hates with a vengeance.

Max: I must tell them don’t ever put anything in my letterbox again!

Reason 2: People or Animals Going Past “His Territory”
Max must bark each time at anyone or any animal to let them know each time this is his home.

Max: How dare that person get out their car, walk past my house to get to their own home! How dare a bird fly by my garden! How dare a dog owner bring another dog for a walk near my home… I must bark to let them know this is my home!

Reason 3: The Vacuum
Carpets need to be vacuumed to be kept clean, that is reasonable right? Not in Max’s head. This is another arch-enemy and it must be barked at and attacked.

Max: Oh no that thing has started up again going over and over the carpet I love to roll on and put my scent all over. I only just got the scent back and that thing is taking it away. I’m going bark at it and pounce on it and hold on to it for dear life to stop it.

Reason 4: Loud Noises
Max must bark each time a loud noise happens near his home. From the poor neighbour trying to mow her lawn or the men that come to pick up the rubbish/ recycling every week or to the noise that can annoy me too of late night revellers loudly shouting in the street.

Max: That woman is out there making that awful noise again with that big machine on her grass, I must bark to tell her stop! Those men are back this week chucking those bags into that huge noisy machine, I must bark to tell them to stop it and not come back. I’m trying to sleep and those people are making noise and am going to let them know I’m sleeping and to be quiet by barking!

Reason 5: Friendly Play
Max sometimes barks when we are playing all different types of games with him but this is a friendly type of bark. The most common game he barks in is what we call “chase me, chase me”, which is just like it sounds. Max *loves* to be chased around the house and play games like hide and seek and he will bark until you chase him or bark at you until you come out of your hiding place. Bambi loves playing “chase me, chase me” with Max but often prefers Max to run after him. Max is glad somebody wants to play with him and therefore happily chases Bambi around the house.

Max: If I bark then they’ll know I’m ready to play. I want them to chase me so I’ll bark until they come running after me.

What most of the reasons above for barking and those not mentioned are based upon is nervousness. Max has been an anxious and nervous dog from the minute I got him. He backs away from adults when they come to him, hence why he barks at them to stop them coming to him in the first place. Though with most kids he is fine including Bambi and Cinderella and let’s them come near him.

A product that significantly helps to keep him calm and less nervous is DAP, which stands for dog appeasing pheromone. A quick explanation of how it works is that when a dog gives birth, she produces a pheromone for her puppies that keeps them relaxed and calm. Scientists have managed to synthetically reproduce this pheromone which can help dog owners as no matter the age of the dog the pheromone is able to relax the dog. DAP is especially recommend for times that are unsettling for dogs like when you first bring home the puppy, moving house, bringing a new addition into the home(like another pet or a baby) and at times when fireworks are known to be going off. You can find out more here. I’ve been using the plug-in diffuser in the hallway for a few years now and when we do have it on (I sometimes forget to get a refill so he can go without it for sometime until I do get the refill) his behaviour improves. Max is often less stressed and more laid back and my ears get a break from the barking. The plug-in diffuser lasts for about a month but as the pheromone is undetectable to humans you don’t have to worry that there will be a weird smell in your home.

Do you have a dog that loves to bark? What common reasons is it for your dog? Or are you fortunate enough to have a quiet dog? Have you tried DAP or a similar product? Or are you glad your dog-free therefore bark-free? Or are you dog-free but desperately want a dog even though it could mean a lot of barks? Leave your comments below, and hope you enjoyed reading. Follow if you wish 🙂 .