The Cleanest All Purpose Bathroom Cleaner!

 Flojo’s Easy Detox Tip #2

Confession: I used to avoid cleaning our bathroom… I would regularly give it a good wipe round with an e-cloth; but the deep cleaning? I’d avoid it like the plague. But hear me out! Every bathroom cleaning spray I tried, even the “eco” products, triggered a mild asthmatic episode. My poor lungs were struggling with the assault of toxic chemical combinations. But asthma or not everyone’s going to get a lungful of stuff you really don’t want to breathe in from commercial cleaning products. Have you got a minute right now? Go have a look on the labels.

That’s not really acceptable is it?

But then, neither is having a grubby bathroom so I was really chuffed when I read that white vinegar mixed with water makes a perfectly fine cleaning spray. White vinegar doesn’t appear to be an easy product to obtain in the UK but I bought 4 x 5 litre bottles* from Amazon for just over £12.00 and I figure those should do me for about a year (I’ll list some more uses in other tips!). I’ve just been diluting the vinegar with tap water at a roughly 1:3 ratio.

You can add essential oils if you like but I haven’t invested in any yet. I’m thinking some rosemary might be nice here.

It works on all your bathroom surfaces from the bath, sink and toilet to any shelves, windows, glass screening or shower curtains you have. You can just spray on and wipe off but if you’ve got some serious soap and limescale scum going on in your bathtub then a sprinkle of bicarbonate of soda and a smidgen of elbow grease should do the job nicely. Then spray with your vinegar mix and buff to a shine.

A shiny clean bathroom, happy lungs and an end to multiple garishly branded plastic bottles assaulting my eyes. For a 500ml bottle that’s cost me around 10p I reckon that’s an all round winner! Who’s going to give it a go?

*Simon is taking the used plastic bottles to school to be re-used.

Further reading:

A mommypotamus recipe: DIY Citrus Splash All-Purpose Cleaner

Don’t think. Do. 

Don’t think. Do. 

My friend over at HuntGatherSquatCarry posted a great reminder recently about getting outside and doing stuff at this time of year. I love a winter walk, it’s one of my favourite things to do. And yet I had declined to leave the house at all this weekend in favour of vegetating on the sofa in a pre-menstrual stupor. I woke up this morning feeling really rather bleugh. So, with this being my last free day before Christmas, I gave myself a stern talking to, which is why I unexpectedly found myself walking up to the woods with some great podcasts downloaded and, remembered only just in time, a front door key.

A spontaneous walk can teach you so many things.

1. Remember your waterproofs. Or don’t.

 Remember the saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes”? Well it’s 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) today and rain was correctly forecast. I left the house in a vest (tank) top, leggings and a thin hoodie. Half an hour into my walk, as heavy drizzle set in, I decided I was an idiot. An hour in I realised I was actually perfectly comfortable, I hadn’t done my hair or make up yet anyway; and had all the more reason to enjoy a hot shower when I got home.

2. Leave the headphones at home.

 I nearly missed squirrels scampering along these branches, a wide range of birds foraging, singing and socialising; and that wonderful contradictory feel of both stillness and business you get in a wood. Luckily I realised this in time and, once unplugged, made a point of regularly stopping and appreciating what each sense was telling me in a way that I didn’t have time to do when I was training a couple of months ago.

3. Minimalist shoes rock.

 Yes, If I’d thought about it beforehand, wellies would have been fat more suitable. But they would not have helped me climb on logs, jump over brambles, use my core to balance while I negotiated boggy sections of path or run through an exposed section of track in the pouring rain.

4. Nature wees are fun.

 So I forgot to go to the loo before I left home. Remember how, as a kid you could and would wee anywhere? We, well, us women anyway, forget this. Why? It’s a kinda fun thing to do! And it’s a great squatting exercise, so bonus points!

5. You don’t need to stick to the beaten track.

 I’m a girl who likes rules. I only cross roads when the green man says to, and I worry about which side of the pavement (sidewalk) to walk when someone is coming the opposite way (I figure the person walking in the same direction as the traffic should be furthest away from the road unless it means an elderly person, child or buggy is going to end up next to the traffic – is that just me?) so, as you might imagine I naturally stay on the path at all times. Except that today I deliberately snuck off sometimes (such a badass, whatever next?!) and, believe it or not, behind these trees was a wardrobe full of fur coats! *

6. Look up once in a while.

 I can’t remember the last time I deliberately stuck my tongue out to taste the raindrops! Can you?

6. One of the best things about adventures is coming home again.

 I got wet, muddy, scratched and cold. I was reminded that I need to get back to training because, rather than it being a hardship, it makes me feel happy and alive. And during the last, rather boring, bit of walk (I live maybe half a km on the other side of those trees, but along a road and past some architecturally bland houses) I was able to look forward to that shower I mentioned earlier, some homemade, organic broth and a cuddle with a purring cat. Thank goodness I remembered my key!

*its possible that this only existed in my imagination. But it didn’t make me any less excited!


Defining Detox

When I put Flojo’s Easy Detox together (workshops and online coaching) a few years ago I believed detox to be the process of releasing toxicity at cellular level and enabling this rubbish to leave the body in an orderly fashion: quietly and calmly (much as you should leave a building during a fire); thus allowing the body to work more efficiently.

Over the past year I’ve revised my opinion. I now see effective detoxing as the release and removal of anything and everything that doesn’t enrich your life. Call it detox, call it de-cluttering, call it healing, call it minimalism. If it doesn’t contribute to your well-being physically, mentally or emotionally, it’s time to acknowledge it and wave a firm but polite goodbye. In a few years I hope to re-start a detox programme with this approach at its fore.

I am joyfully celebrating my 43rd birthday today with a new sense of direction and purpose. Yippee!! Armed with advice from the likes of Mark Sisson (Primal Blueprint), Katy Bowman (Move your DNA), David Perlmutter (Brain Maker), Daniel Vitalis (the ReWild Yourself podcasts), James Wallman (Stuffocation), Bea Johnson (Zero Waste Home), Marie Kondo (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying) and countless other inspirational writers and educators I am now on a mission.

Firstly I’m setting out to clear all the stuff I don’t need from my home, whether it’s unnecessary chemicals, single use plastics or just stuff accumulated for sentimental or lazy reasons. All of these send my subconscious the false message that I need these props to thrive and survive. I don’t. It’s just unnecessary ballast. I’m also aiming to further reduce food that doesn’t serve to nourish me and my hardworking microbiome. And, perhaps most importantly, I’m actively looking to banish fears that hold me back from experiencing a long life rich in experience. That’s a lot of stuff to get rid of!

What do I want in my life to replace all this rubbish? I want to be free. Free to travel, socialise, learn new things and just, well, do stuff whether with friends, family or by myself. We’ve kept various rescue rabbits over the last few years. Not in a hutch, although there was one left open for the rare occasion they chose to take shelter from the rain, but wild and running free in the garden. They dug burrows, ate fresh grass and practised a spectacular type of bunny parkour at twilight. I can’t understand why anyone would keep rabbits cooped up with just a few hours in a run daily for entertainment. But we humans increasingly create our own hutches and limit our “run time,” and then we wonder why we’ve lost our zest for life.

This year I had my Success Story published on Marks Daily Apple, completed a Wolf Run, donated an estimated 50 large carrier bags of belongings to charity, ditched conventional toothpaste, moisturiser, suncream and haircare; swapped all my home-cleaning products for environmentally friendly ones, learnt to embrace cold showers, a lower set thermostat and one less pillow; noticed a significant reduction in binge eating and saw the back of self-loathing, depression and anxiety! What a start to my seventh seven year cycle! It’s like camping in the wild and seeing the sun rise while sipping hot, fresh coffee. I’ve got a glorious day ahead of opportunities and possibilities at my disposal and I want to make the most of them. All I need to do is decide which direction to head off in.

The only thing is, I think this blog needs a new direction too and I’m not sure which way to take it. Or if it will just decide its own route and destination. Hmm. Any thoughts? Should I document my progress? Give you authoritative sounding bulletpoints on what’s working for me (Five Easy Tips to…)? Outline and review specific diet and exercise approaches I’m taking? Go back to just writing down recipes? Or just continue to haphazardly ramble on and on, elaborating on my own philosophies and random streams of consciousness…? Drop me a line please! Your input is much appreciated!

Big love to you from me! X

On Hippies, Fitting In and Marketing

I was raised in Bristol, UK in the 70s and 80s. More specifically, an area of Bristol called Montpelier; an area reknowned for muesli eating, 2CV driving, politically correct artists, social workers and teachers. Bohemian Montpelier was edged by areas such as the more gentile St Andrews (home of Massive Attack), St Paul’s of the infamous 80s race riots; the culturally diverse Easton with its high rise council blocks; and St Werburghs with its barefoot, dreadlocked anti-establishmentists. Bristol was nothing if not a collection of segregated communities! So by the time I hit my teenage years, a time of both identifying and identifying with a social group, I’d been exposed to a good range of choices. I picked what I knew. Vegetarian food, hennaed hair and essential oils. I supported anti-vivisection charities, experimented with Veganism, voraciously read feminist literature and sat in friends kitchens drinking herbal teas while listening to jazz.

To a certain extent I stuck with a version of this right through my 20s too. But in my head searching out health food shops, organic cosmetics and niche music now fitted in ok alongside the lure of mass produced cheap clothing, CDs and fast food. I was all about the balance! To tell the truth, I was never really comfortable with some of the more commercial hoardings but I didn’t want to be a hippie any more. I wanted to be taken seriously. I’d had enough of the sideways glances and condescending comments during my student days when I’d been the proud owner of many a charity shop bargain to go with my beautifully multicoloured hair and tiny, shiny nose-ring. This was the 90s and the image of being a hippie was syonomous with being on a tangent with society: unwashed, jobless and smoking questionable herbs. UK culture was about money, money and more money. I was pretty broke but wanted to appear otherwise . My bank overdraft supported expensive organic haircare and a slew of niche supplements in a continually failed attempt to create that sleek glossiness that the magazines touted as the epitome of hip-ness.

I’d like to gloss over my thirties! Suffice to say, while I dished up as many organic, dairy free-and gluten free meals as I could for my small daughters, the purchase of Eco-cleaning products and cosmetics was quickly phased out on a teacher’s salary! While we spiralled into increasing debt I clawed at any opportunity to maintain a nice, inoffensive “normality” for my family, paranoid that my girls would otherwise suffer the “weirdo hippie” label I was trying to leave behind, particularly as we are currently living in a village that is as suburban as it is rural. There’s rules here – fitting in is expected. What a waste! My beautiful bundles of awesomeness have supreme confidence in their identities. They have little fear of being unique. They are unphased by their friends larger houses, foreign holidays and non-challenging meals!

Bear with me. I’m sure I had a point to make but it’s dancing away from me, just out of reach. I’ll catch it in a minute!

In the last year I have immersed myself in books, podcasts and blogs by an amazing crowd of experts and enthusiasts. Mark Sisson, Daniel Vitalis, Katy Bowman, Dave Asprey, Abel James, Erwan le Corre… The list increases by the week as they introduce me to yet more inspirational pioneers. These guys are the bomb! And I have been inspired to give up what does not actually contribute to my well-being despite the marketing claims: whole grains, agave syrup, corrective trainers (hell, shoes!), sunscreen, whitening toothpaste, anti-perspirant and anti-wrinkle cream.

I kick myself. I, who prides myself on a healthy level of cynicism for any product that is marketed as a must-have, have allowed myself to be totally suckered in to the very area of consumerism that I used to avoid like the plague. Anti-bacterial wipes, a Wii (I’d been persuaded that it was cruel to deny the girls this essential box of tricks), hair-colourant. My all consuming anxiety issues meant that I was fearful of showing my colours; anything that made me different. Anything that made me a target.

Stress creates a biological response state designed to help you to survive. If you can’t fight or flight, hide. It’s life or death here in the 21st century. Marketers know this. They can push any old crap on you if they know your weak points. Wear this perfume so that you can attract a mate, reproduce and not die alone. Shave your legs so that you aren’t shunned from your community and so face iminent death. Use this face-cream to stop you getting old and, therefore, nearer to death. Take this cold remedy or you’ll sneeze and die. You get the picture!

So, finally, here is my point! I had shunned hippiedom in order to survive. I had let marketing, both commercial and societal, maintain my fragile, consumerist state of being. So what allowed me to begin letting go of stuff? I think it’s a chicken and egg situation. The health pioneers that I mentioned above gave me the information I needed to become strong and healthy. To become a balanced being that is increasingly less in need of stuff to feel good.

But how did I know that these awesome health practitioners were giving me the right tools? What made me take those initial leaps of faith in giving up those products and aspirations that I was clinging on to? Well, these guys are the modern-day hippies. Shunning the teachings and trappings of economically biased health practices and commercially led political bias they trailblaze their way across time zones and class systems. Whether sport stars, entrepreneurs, scientists or anthropologists their message is one of ancestral health. Of realigning our bodies and lifestyles with the natural rhythms, foods, medicines and movement patterns that we evolved to thrive on. While most of them have products to sell they make it clear that what you chose to leave behind adds as much value to your health and happiness as what habits, ideas and products you take on.

What makes these modern bohemians so appealing? I think I’ve worked out their secret. Hippies have leant to market themselves! Finally those who shun the mainstream and face ridicule for rejecting the status quo are cool. They still eschew gyms, prioritise organic, experiment with mind altering substances, forgo deodorant, prioritise the environment over wealth, replace painkillers with caffeine and refuse to sit in chairs. They still preach the practice of “making love not war.” They still encourage meditation, free thinking and the accumulation of experience over material possessions. Bloody hippies!  

But the modern day hippie gurus have the bodies of fitness models and the inner glow of deities. They move with the grace of leopards, and communicate with the ease of the very best public speakers. They invest in ethical enterprise and make life-changing health information freely available via the Internet. They speak of science and innovation with bulletpoints and references. Talk about re-branding!

Yep, the hippies had a makeover and I think they’re taking over! I’m signing up for the journey. You coming?