Enjoy Fun in the Sun This Summer with Our Amazing Range of Outdoor Games!
For many of us, this year we’ll be saying bon voyage to the possibility of jetting off on our summer holidays, however, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the sunshine right here in the UK. Whether we pack up the tent and head over to the nearest campsite or just enjoy a spot of sunbathing in the back garden, it’s still possible to make the most of summer. One way to make the most of the sunshine is by getting everyone involved in some good old outdoor games - it’s a great way to engage the whole family and will also ensure that those of us who can’t sit still are kept occupied too. Whether you’re looking to keep the little ones occupied at the family barbeque or in search of a game everyone can play, we’ve got a fantastic range of products here at Original Organics - perfect for hours of fun in the sun! Today, we’re taking a look at our top picks.
Enjoy Fun in the Sun This Summer with Our Amazing Range of Outdoor Games!
Sustainability is a hot topic that has encouraged many of us to overhaul our lifestyles to help protect the environment. This includes how we care for our gardens because, when done properly, this practice can help nourish soil, create safe havens for vulnerable wildlife, and give plants the best possible chance of thriving.
While there are some sustainable changes that have an immediate effect, others may require time and patience. However, this is a small price to pay when such changes will have significant long-term environmental benefits. Here we look at some ways you can create a sustainable garden by reducing your carbon footprint, saving water and reusing products.
From the week commencing Monday 27th April, the Royal Horticultural Society’s annual National Gardening Week will see thousands of people around the country sharing their passion for gardening. As the nation’s biggest celebration of gardening, the RHS strives to raise awareness of the overwhelming benefits our beloved green spaces have on our lives while seeking to inspire more people, particularly the next generation of gardeners, to cultivate their very own passion for plants. The RHS’s message this year calls upon the UK to ‘keep gardening’ to look after their physical health and wellbeing.
Coming into 2020, many of us made resolutions to be more eco-aware and make environmentally friendly choices. If this was you, you may have started to make better choices by cutting out single use plastics, not creating as much food waste and installing a smart meter. You may now be ready for the next step and are looking for ways to up your eco game!
We have put together our top 5 products (in no particular order) that will help you live a more sustainable life this year and beyond:
As more of us adopt an eco-friendly way of living, sustainability is becoming an increasingly hot topic. The more we learn about how our lifestyle choices affect the environment, the more we want to change. It is also becoming easier to make these lifestyle adaptations from eating less meat to growing your own produce, and swapping harmful chemicals in products for sustainable alternatives.
However, it can be a struggle to find truly ethical and sustainable products because manufacturers don’t always explicitly name their ingredients, or use variations on ingredient names instead. We should be trying to use more natural alternatives, such as biodegradable wipes and washable cloths. But how do you identify which cosmetic companies are doing an honest job of making sure their work is good for the planet?
Using organic health and beauty products is an easy way to live a more sustainable and ethical life and, in addition to giving your conscience a boost, this commitment can make you look and feel better than ever. These products can have huge benefits to your beauty regimen, all while being totally chemical-free.
This is down to the presence of natural oils, which affect everything from hydration to inflammation, and can be found in body moisturisers, lip balms and more. So whether you want smooth, soft skin or long, luscious hair, here are ten natural oils you need to introduce to your beauty regime ASAP.
Read through our tips for surviving stress to help you become equipped to handle whatever life throws at you.
Ecotherapy is a cheap and amazing way of getting physical and mental exercise whilst meditating and creating. At its core, Ecotherapy is simply taking part in activities outdoors and can be prescribed by the NHS for mental health issues and stress. Watching your plants, fruit and veg flourish can give you a deep sense of wellbeing as the hard work you put in usually pays off. Nurturing a garden patch whilst being in peaceful outdoor surroundings is a popular therapy for a lot of mental health issues and serious stress problems which you can prescribe for yourself in your own back garden! Spending even a small amount of time outdoors walking or watching animals can settle the mind quickly and having something like a bird house or a bug hotel invites animals and insects to your back garden which means you needn’t go far to get a slice of nature. Taking some time out in your garden can prepare your mind for life’s stresses and the more you partake in this type of therapy, the better equipped you can be in the future.
Starting a garden project like composting or a Wormery is a daily activity that you can monitor and will help with gardening in the long run. Also, living more sustainably will help you to feel more at one with the Earth whilst doing good for the environment.
To stave off stress issues, people need to get regular physical exercise, no matter how light. We can sometimes be quite sedentary in our personal lives which means we need to make this time for ourselves and keep active. When you reach a happy place while exercising, your body releases endorphins (the happy hormone) which when released frequently can help battle against cortisol and adrenaline. Gardening, digging and sweeping your patio can be productive ways to release these hormones regularly. Tidying your garden in Autumn can be quite physically strenuous, which means you will be getting exercise whilst also being productive.
Yoga & Meditation
Due to the digital age being in full swing, it has never been easier to learn yoga. There are so many free YouTube channels that help viewers take some time for themselves and relax. Yoga is a brilliant way of getting exercise (perfect if the weather isn’t good enough for a walk) and teaches you how to breathe in a relaxing way. It can also assist in physical issues which can cause stress such as sciatica, arthritis and high blood pressure. The great thing about watching online at home is that you can dip in and out whenever you choose and whenever you need it.
Meditation apps for your phone and tablet can be quite cheap and help with a range of stress-related problems such as insomnia and anxiety. Learning to think differently and deal with what life throws at you can be an invaluable skill that you can pass on to others. Lighting candles and surrounding yourself with beautiful smells can mean the environment you meditate in becomes calming and relaxing instantly.
Taking time for yourself whether it is in the garden or at home is a valuable part of dealing with stress. Exercise and being outdoors are the best ways of getting through a tough period but if you engage regularly, your body will become used to happy hormones being created which battle stress chemicals when they are released. We can be complex creatures but luckily a lot of research has been done to help us easily navigate through harder times. On National Stress Awareness Day, why not practise some of the tips we have outlined and build up your defences against those perceived or real threats.
Explore through our range of gardening and home products to help you relax and destress on Original Organics.
Wrapping & Gifts
A great many of us have started to swap wrapping paper for recyclable alternatives or reuse gift bags. If you’re struggling to find eco-alternatives to wrapping paper, why not use newspaper? You could purchase a few issues of a foreign language newspaper to add a luxe touch.
Head scarves from charity shops to wrap your presents are a great option and can look incredibly chic. If the recipient does not wear scarves or want to keep them, encourage them to gift the scarves on or you can reuse for wrapping other presents during the year.
Gifts baskets are another good alternative, you can wrap these in compostable cellophane for a hamper-esque feel. Shoe boxes with no lids are a cheaper alternative to wicker baskets, save them though the year and make ‘date night in’ boxes for couples with mini bottles of wine and chocolates. Or make ‘rainy day’ activity hampers for kids with colouring books and nibbles in.
Tote bags make a lovely gift and you can use one to pop your gifts in instead of a gift bag. You’d also be gifting sustainability on!
A lot of gifts are packaged in large plastic boxes which then have plastic sections inside to ensure the items look presentable and attractive. There are two issues with this, one is the extra use of plastic and the other is there is an added price to a packaged present. Savvy shoppers find the same items packaged separately for a smaller cost to their wallets and the earth. Also, make sure that gifts are packaged in recycled/recyclable/compostable materials. Our Health & Beauty and Candles & Diffusers ranges were handpicked for their ethical and natural ingredients and packaging.
Whilst many of us may have lost the art of making presents, instead of buying little stocking fillers such as biscuits, you could make some. You could also pop some bee-attracting seeds (coming soon to Original Organics) into a gift basket or stocking to encourage people to get out into their gardens.
Food & Drink
There is nothing like a feast with your nearest and dearest during the festive period, but many households are left with a large amount of waste. If you usually bag food waste up in your kitchen caddy for kerbside collection, you could start composting on a small scale to get into the swing of creating a rich fertiliser for spring time planting.
Cutting down on meat is an easy way to ensure you lower your carbon footprint. With an increase in Veganism in the UK, there are more options than the traditional nut roast around! You could swap one of your meat selections with a substitute easily found in most supermarkets. There are even vegan alternatives to salmon now, so give it a go!
If you’re not able to swap even a small portion of your consumption, source meat from a local butcher or buy organic produce. Butchers sometimes package meat in less plastic or can pop your purchase into a tub that you bring along. Butchers also mostly sell meat from local suppliers. Organic produce is a good way of making sure your food has a smaller carbon footprint due to better farming methods.
A few towns in the UK now have waste-free shops where customers take their own jars and Tupperware along to fill up with produce. Find out if you have one locally and stock up on some Christmas food this way. If there isn’t one near you, push this ethos into the supermarket by not using plastic bags for fruit & veg.
Decorations & Cards
The distance a card must travel, the materials used in their production and the fact that most are sent to landfill can mean greetings cards are not an eco-friendly option for wishing loved ones a happy holiday. Making e-cards is a great alternative and with so many free template companies on the internet, this could save the pennies too. For family or friends without access to the internet, you could craft your own and cut down on printing inks. Or make a keepsake/something edible so recipients do not feel the need to bin it once Christmas is over.
Although we may believe that real Christmas trees make a smaller impact on the environment because they are natural, it is not true. The space needed to grow these just to then be cut down means it can be quite wasteful. A faux tree used year on year could be better so stick to what you have. Also, checking for an FSC stamp on trees means your tree is a better for the environment. You could also grow your own tree in a pot during the year and bring indoors during the festive period for display, thus saving money and the Earth.
There are so many amazing and cheap ways to make sure you have a sustainable and eco-friendly Christmas. It can be relatively easy to swap a few things and cut down your carbon footprint during this time of feasting and gifting. No traditions need changing, it is a simple case of reduce, reuse, recycle.
To find out how you can live and garden more sustainably, explore through our full range on Original Organics.
Explore through our festive range and pick up a gift for an avid gardener (or yourself!). Stop by our amazing range of Christmas decorations and lights to make sure your home is merry & bright
Whilst some of us may be fearful that this extra charge is unaffordable, others simply do not like the added bill. Luckily, this collection is an ‘opt-in’ recycling service which means your garden waste will not be picked up if you do not wish to pay, but this means those of us with fallen leaves, grass and hedge trimmings have no way of disposing of it all. There is a way to properly dispose of your garden waste without paying charges, going to the local dump or leaving a pile to rot in your garden.
Dead/dying leaves can become one of the best composts for your garden, and autumn is full of falling leaves in your garden! Using a dedicated leafmould composter can be advantageous as having mesh sides built in allows the leaves to become aerated and decompose quicker. This rich compost can be created in 6-8 months and can be used as potting compost as well as a rich soil enhancer. Imagine starting this project in October/November and having a fantastic compost by May/June when you really need it. Just make sure you shred your leaves first and scatter with water if you need leafmould in a shorter time.
If you want to know more, we have a fantastic article that explains exactly how to make the perfect leafmould compost on the News & Blogs section on Original Organics.
In autumn, we rarely cut our lawns but into the spring and summer months, this chore can mount up waste. If you regularly cut your lawn and do not have a long lawn very often, grass clippings can be left to decompose and enrich the soil underneath without the need for collecting and composting. If you need to collect lawn clippings, you can compost this down to create a brilliant enricher. Any domestic herbicides that have been used on your grass will accelerate the composting process and will not harm fruit and veg when eventually used to help them grow. Although, herbicides used on an industrial level on golf courses, football pitches and farms are possibly dangerous to use on plants, so it is best to avoid composting this sort of grass if it has been treated. You can use this grass as a mulch under non-fruit bearing trees and hedges.
When putting grass into a composter, it is best to toss the clippings around as a thick layer of grass will slow down the composting process and will make your compost very wet. If you use a hot composter, you can add shredded leaves to the mix and cut down the time needed to create garden fertiliser.
Tree Branches & Hedge Trimmings
Every so often we need to trim our trees, even in autumn/winter, which can cause an issue if you are deciding to not have your garden waste picked up by the council as it can be hard to dispose of a material this tough. If you cut branches and hedge trimmings you can turn these into mulch to keep soil underneath damp through the hotter months. Alternatively, you can add these cuttings into your compost bin and mix it in with the rest of your garden waste.
Tree branches can also be used as a refuge for wildlife during the harsher months. When stacked properly, bugs, hedgehogs and other creatures can use this space to hibernate or live away from the snow and ice.
Some branches and hedge trimmings can be saved and used in fire-pits, chimeneas and stoves in the summer or in the autumn to create a cosy area in the garden, or smoking areas in pubs and restaurants. Add these to proper wood fuel and relax while listening to the crackling of the fire, just make sure the wood is dry before you add it in.
Composting may be the easiest and most sustainable way to dispose of your garden waste but creating a mulch for the summer months is just as important. Avid gardeners and novices alike spend some of the autumn/winter period preparing for the summer months as any work done now means your yield will be more fruitful and you can rest easy knowing you have saved yourself money on buying compost and not paying for the waste pick-up.
For our full range and more on how to garden sustainably, visit Original Organics.
The winter in the UK can become quite difficult for small animals to cope with and their preparation in the autumn can make or break the coming months. With dwindling numbers of hazel dormice, bats, hedgehogs and badgers in the UK due to environmental and man-made issues, we need to help these creatures survive whether they are hibernating or simply trying to survive the winter. Every creature has its own set of needs and it is best to understand if the animals visiting your garden hibernate or not.
This little ‘gardeners' friend’ eats snails, slugs and other insects that disturb our plant beds but now hedgehogs are an endangered animal, they really need our help. Where best to start than by thoroughly checking gardens, underneath sheds and decking so any animals that have chosen these spots for sleeping are left alone. Don’t forget to let everyone in the household know so they are aware of them. Do this check soon so you do not have a sleeping hedgehog in a dangerous place as these animals should not be moved once they have started hibernating. If you find a hibernating hedgehog that needs to be moved, call the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890 801 for professional advice. If you have noticed one trying to make a nest, why not install a hedgehog house for its whole family to come and go as they please. Cover it in leaves to keep the warmth in and encourage them to live there by popping some specialist hedgehog food in.
There are four types of squirrel living in the UK today; red, black, brown and grey and although some see these as pests, red squirrels' numbers are dwindling and due to rapid building of housing areas with no trees and high fences, squirrels are finding places to live harder to come by and so the colder months are tougher for them to get through. In fact, the Red Squirrel Survival Trust say that these beautiful creatures will be extinct in a decade if we do not help them.
Squirrels store their food during the autumn months so they can access these reserves during the winter, check if any visit your garden during this period and try to not disturb their stores. They sometimes visit bird houses to collect food so make sure yours is well stocked with nuts and seeds for both birds and squirrels to dip into.
Squirrels do not hibernate but can sleep for up to 20 hours a day after a few hours of activity in the early morning (not unlike cats). This is why it may seem that squirrels are absent in the colder seasons but their survival depends on how they cope with winter.
During autumn and winter the UK plays host to some species of bird who migrate to our shores for different foods and climates. Some of us are lucky enough to have a garden that bursts back into life again as soon as this migration has ended, but some gardens are not equipped to handle visitors. If you want to set up a long-term goal of looking after birds, you can plant hedges in place of man-made fences and plant berry producing bushes and fruits so you can provide homes and sustenance. In years to come your garden will become a haven for feathered friends and other creatures such as dormice and hedgehogs.
For short term solutions, putting out the right bird food and providing suitable homes for them will encourage life in your garden. Placing a bird bath for fresh drinking water and cleaning will contribute to their stay. If you are short on space, some decorative water butts have planter tops that can be utilised as a bird bath during the colder months if you prefer to us the top to house flowers and plants during the spring/summer period. If you already have a bird bath and bird houses, don’t forget to clean them out to make room for the new season of visitors. Check both once a week for movement and to stock up.
If you start to see more activity in your garden, if may be worth documenting who is visiting for the RSPB Big Garden Watch in January. Get familiar with the breeds and use their handy ‘identify a bird’ guide, too.
Badgers & Foxes
Whilst some may not see the visitation of a fox or a badger as ‘lucky’, they are protected animals that require help and shelter if you have enough space. As the nights draw in, it is best to drive with caution especially on country roads and pop your high beams on at every opportunity to warn them away from the streets. If you find an injured animal, it is best to get in touch with the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 and do not try to help them yourself as they can become upset and bite you if they are in pain. The same response is needed if you find a badger or fox cub and have not seen an adult for 24 hours. If you see a large animal that has sadly died on the side of the road, do contact your local authority as many do not report crashes involving animals.
Badgers do not hibernate but are nocturnal so winter can be especially harsh for them. Largely, they create their dens in the edges of woods and moorlands so it is very rare that a set would use a garden as a home but if you live near a known badger area, you can leave fruit or dried dog food out for them in harsher months. This may also discourage them from hunting small animals such as hedgehogs. Badgers are under threat in the UK, if you would like to help, visit the Badger Trust and get involved.
Urban and rural foxes also do not hibernate but can become slightly less active during snow and cold rain. If you have foxes tipping over your bins and scavenging for food regularly, it is because there is a shortage of supplies in the local area. It is also worth noting that if they get hold of the processed foods that humans eat, they can become addicted and continue to visit you! Urban foxes are braver but rural foxes are also known to scavenge when desperate neither are aggressive but are inquisitive. Help them to not cause a ruckus in your garden by leaving out tinned dog food, fruit and raw meat. If they feel they can take the food away to cache, they will be less likely to visit again. To learn more about foxes, why not visit the National Fox Welfare Society?
Winter can become very difficult for all animals in the UK, especially with unpredictable temperatures and recent years littered with extended snow storms that many resident creatures are not geared up for. There is a lot we can do to help them by setting up a sanctuary for wildlife in your garden or outdoor space and they can settle and survive.
Explore our full range of gardening and wildlife preservation tools at Original Organics.