I feel like I live my life in the grey area. Nothing is ever black or white to me – even Marmite, which you supposedly either love or hate, leaves me fairly indifferent; “It’s OK when I’m in the mood – I wouldn’t spit it out” I always shrug.
So are you really surprised that I’m quite indifferent to shopping? Some days I hate it; mainly when it’s raining or cold, when I don’t have enough time to get everything I want or need, when I need to get something for someone but I have no idea what, when I don’t have much money, and when I am on Oxford Street. Oh, and when I need to buy jeans – I know exactly what jeans fit and suit me, but I feel soulless buying from a high-street chain and I don’t know any suitable ethical alternatives. Obviously, when the above is not applicable, I love it.
These days I probably prefer shopping online simply because I have a greater range of ethical goods at my fingertips, and more ease of price and quality comparison. Sadly – though a bonus for me – you often get a better level of customer service and human interaction ordering off independent company websites than you do buying in person from a high-street store.
If you’ll forgive me for saying so, I’ve gotten pretty good at online shopping. I’m quite comfortable with my ability to spot a good deal, and I’ve become adept at grouping online errands together to benefit from things like bulk discounts, one-off promotions, and free shipping. Now that I’ve got all of that under my belt, I’ve raised the bar by setting myself the previously unwritten challenge of only buying ethical items from ethical companies, where possible.
As you may be aware, Ben and I are shortly moving to Kingston into a little place of our own. We won’t have to heat a whole house, power a gigantic TV for housemates to watch all day, fuel a bodybuilder’s cooking habits, or foot the bill for their lack of dishwashing efficiency. The good news is that saving money usually helps save the planet (unless we’re talking funding research into renewable energy rather than burning up fossil fuels, but I’m not quite there yet), and it means I won’t end up feeling like I am living in an Ikea catalogue. Not that I would mind too much if I were.
Previously, I have written about gift ideas, but this time, you’ll have to excuse me for being purely selfish. Ignoring various high-speed blenders that I plan to treat myself to at some point in the distant future, here are some of the goodies that have caught my eye recently:
Note: This post contains some affiliate links, which just means that should you click on the link and make a purchase, I get a small commission. It doesn’t cost you any extra, nor am I bound to recommend these products. I only recommend the things I like.
Nkuku Recycled Glass Storage Jar – I know, technically the array of old jam jars, chutney jars, pasta sauce jars, and so on that I am currently using to store grains and pulses (not to mention about half a dozen protein shakers currently housing porridge oats) are perfectly adequate and equally eco-friendly, but I long to have a beautiful and uniform set of jars like these. If you haven’t been hoarding jars for months like I have, please treat yourself to these for me!
Grow Your Own Oyster Mushrooms Book Kit – I love oyster mushrooms but they’re so much more expensive. I’d also love to start a little herb garden, but we don’t have space for full-grown vegetable production. With this, all I need is the space of a paperback book!
Solar Mate Secure – I basically want solar-powered everything, though I question how useful it is in the UK. While there are plenty of other devices I could list, a good place to start would be this solar-powered security lighting. After the burglary, we really want to invest in some motion-sensor lighting, but I don’t want it to take a chunk out of our electricity bills – this is perfect.
Vektra Vacuum Eco Kettle – I chain-drink tea, and I like my tea very hot. But the main problem is that as I wander off while the kettle boils, I forget whether I have actually boiled it or not. It just makes sense to have a kettle that stays warmer for longer, and when it looks as sleek and bright as the Vektra, why hold back any longer? They have 3 series now, but I’d be happy with the humble first series as I’m not sure what the difference is… only question is, what colour?!
Bambu Salad Bowl – I always think I can get away with making salad in my serving bowl, but it’s just tedious having to toss so carefully so I don’t throw salad all over the counters. Until I start making more salad though, I see this being a fruit bowl, which I need more than a salad bowl (as I can just make salad in my serving bowl…).
FlutePro Desk – This is brilliant! A desk made entirely from recyclable cardboard! It looks so sleek and stylish, with a cable management system, but they promise it is sturdy and ready to last at least 3 years under heavy use – and it comes in three bright and perky colours.
Bokashi Composter 18L – My family have always composted, and ever since I moved away and lived in an array of student houses and London flats I haven’t been able to get used to throwing perfectly good food waste in the bin along with plastic items and the likes. I’d be perfectly happy to make my own compost, but for less than £30 why not get something that does it all indoors and keeps it odour-free?
Bowl Overs – Part of the reason I never leave leftovers is that it’s too much hassle to transfer food into a plastic container, particularly as I am likely to go back and pick at it in 15 minutes, or we have no cling film in the house (or I can’t be bothered to roll out a piece of cling film). I hate buying cling film as it’s a silly expense, and I know I’m just buying more plastic to throw away. These are a brilliant idea and probably something I actually will invest in.
Lexon Bamboo Dolmen Clock Radio – When I was younger, I used to go to sleep listening to music and wake up listening to the radio. I hate waking up at the best of times, but starting the day with a violent high-pitched beep just makes my heart rate soar and everything above my ribcage tense up. I’d love to have a radio alarm clock again – technically a CD/MP3 player alarm would be better, but I don’t have an MP3 player or many CDs anymore – and this one is stylish yet the bamboo brings a touch of softness to the room.
Smart Solar Moroccan Lantern String Lights – We have a little stairway that leads down to our flat, how lovely it would be to light the way with these solar lanterns! I have a real thing for fairy lights but I phased them out because of how much energy they use in a fairly pointless – if incredibly peace-inducing – way. It would be a gamble on how much sun we actually see this summer, but one that could pay off in a big way.
Of course, the main priorities will be useful things like dehumidifiers, draught excluders, energy-saving lightbulbs along with bright reflective lampshades, and window alarms, but those aren’t nearly as fun to shop for or write about!