SOAP NUTS – A NATURAL DETERGENT

Good morning beautiful souls,

Today I thought I would tackle the next change on my plant based eco journey, namely switching to a low impact laundry detergent. As with many household items we are just so used to seeing them stacked in single use containers along the supermarket aisles that we don’t stop to consider the impact they have anymore or what less harmful & low impact alternatives might be out there. Most laundry detergents are packaged in plastic, tested on animals and of course contain many chemicals which especially for sensitive skins aren’t often great. However there are some great alternatives out there (for example my cousin washes her clothes with walnuts which contain a natural soap element – who knew!?!) all you need to do is set aside a little time to have a browse to see what works best for you. Now I can’t speak for all alternatives as I’ve personally only tried one so far, but I am so happy with the results of this swap that I had to share it with you.

I have swapped form the usual detergent culprits such as Persil to using Soapnuts – a natural, organic, biodegradable, vegan, ethical & sustainable laundry detergent (now you can’t get more eco-friendly than that can you!?!).

Soapnuts or Soapberries are dried fruit shells which contain real natural soap and are 100% completely natural. They are a vegan friendly, non-polluting, compostable, alternative to conventional laundry detergents and synthetic soaps. No fillers, foaming agents, bleach, phthalates, phosphates or parabens. The Soapberries contain a natural soap called saponin, which is released when they come into contact with water and thus they wash your laundry as good as any other conventional detergent.

There are a couple of ways to use the soap nuts; you can soak them in water to release the detergent and then pour the liquid into your washing machine as you would other laundry detergents, or you can pop a couple of soapnuts into the muslin bag provided and then pop that into the washing machine with your laundry. I use the latter method.

In our day and age we are so used to freshly washed clothes smelling “clean” because of all the chemical scents added to detergents. Soapnuts don’t really release a scent, so you won’t get that “clean” smell; however you can add a scent to your laundry by using an essential oil. One of my favourite oils to use is lavender; I put about 10 drops onto the muslin bag containing the soapnuts and then pop it into the wash – and voila out come your clothes with a fresh scent of lavender – the results are great!

I really cannot recommend this natural vegan biodegradable laundry detergent enough and urge you all to try it! They sell starter packs (a great way to give soapnuts a trial) which contain soapnuts, a stain remover bar, soda crystals and an essential oil. The small starter pack costs £14.70 which admittedly you might first think sounds expensive, but let me assure you, the sopanuts go a long way – one filled muslin bag can be used for about 3 washes until all the soap has been released.

(the starter pack pictured in my photos is a large)

The Living Naturally Soapnut Company also not only sell laundry detergent but have haircare and skincare products on offer too. I have yet to try these but if the laundry detergent is anything to go by, I know I’ll love these products too.

So I hope I have given you something to think about. Again, I can’t recommend these highly enough and would love to know – do you think this is a change/a swap you would be willing to try?! I’d love to hear some of you giving soapnuts a go! If you’d like to inform yourselves more on the products available and further benefits of soapnuts go have a look on their website here.

Until next time lovelies ❤

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I’M BACK!

Good evening beautiful souls,

Have you missed me?!

In case you’ve been wondering where I had disappeared to, I decided to take a little break from blogging! Before I left for my holiday in Germany I was stuck in a bit of a rut. I was continually feeling stressed about never seeming to have enough time to complete everything I wanted to get done especially when it came to blogging. I kept having to remind myself that this blog is only a hobby and not a job, and thus it should be fun and I shouldn’t feel like a failure if I didn’t succeed in posting often enough or regularly. It was ok if my blog posts flowed as and when I felt like writing and sharing my journey. So I eventually managed to come to terms with the fact that it was ok to take a step back from blogging and take a break for a while.

I have to admit it did me good not stressing about uploading posts on time and having a picture up on Instagram every day; it’s been peaceful. However, I don’t want to drag this break on forever and the itch to get connecting again with all you lovely lot keeps growing so here I am again – I am back and ready to get stuck into blogging again.

I also want to take this new start to slightly redirect my content/the focus of my blog. As most of you know I have been vegan since the beginning of the year and my passion for living a plant based lifestyle keeps growing, along with wanting to reduce my impact on this earth and so I really want to focus my content on plant based and eco friendly living. It will still be a lifestyle blog featuring things from beauty – cooking, but they will all be encouraging a plant based and low impact lifestyle. I look forward to developing my vegan & eco friendly lifestyle niche more and hope you look forward to learning more about these topics.

Lots of Love Carina xo

VEGAN MERINGUES

Good evening beautiful souls,

If you follow me on Instagram (@simplycarinaxo) you will already know that I made vegan meringues the other day!!

If you’re a meringue fan but are like myself a vegan and can’t eat eggs or are allergic to eggs or even just fancy trying something new, then this recipe is for you.

I’ll warn you in advance, although easy it takes almost 3hs to make these meringues, but they are super tasty and so it’s totally worth it!

Now you might be wondering how on earth you can make vegan meringues when one of the main ingredients is egg white. Well I’d heard ages ago that chickpea brine could apparently be used as an egg white replacement and so when I stumbled across this recipe I was eager to test it.

I was a bit skeptic at first but apart from turning out somewhat hollow and crisp rather than chewy, they were very tasty!!

If you’re not drooling already at the thought of a meringue dessert then here’s the recipe for you to test yourself :

Makes 6-8 meringues

  • 400 g can of chickpeas which should yield
  • 100g of aquafaba (brine)
  • 110g of caster sugar
  • Vanilla seeds

Whisk the aquafaba at high speed until stiff white peaks are formed; this will take about 15-20 minutes.

Mix the vanilla seeds into the sugar before adding the mixture to the aquafaba a couple of spoonfuls at a time, making sure the sugar is whisked in properly before adding the next few spoonfuls.

When all the sugar is mixed in and the meringue is thick and glossy, it is ready.

Preheat the oven at 130 degrees centigrade and line two baking trays with grease proof paper.

Spoon the mixture (I’d say a large heaped tbsp) onto the baking tray well apart as the will grow quite a bit.

Now bake for 1 3/4 – 2 hours until the meringues are fairly firm unto and on the base. Take out of oven and leave to cool completely.

Once cool, you can enjoy this delicious treat however you like. I suggest some vegan vanilla ice cream and a fruit compote or fresh berries!

Now enjoy!

If you give these a go do let me know how they turn out!!

Love Carina xo

SAYING GOODBYE

Good evening beautiful souls,

This week although amazing has also been very busy and exhausting. Anthony and Tom, two good friends of Jessica and myself were in Durham this week for their Masters Graduation. As Anthony is from Lebanon and Tom from down south, we won’t get to see much of them especially Anthony, so we made the most we of the short time we had with them. I worked long days Thursday through till Monday and then spent the evenings relaxing with them eating good food, playing games, watching Once Upon A Time and Black mirror and of course enjoying some drinks.

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On Sunday Anthony and Tom cooked a feast for us which was scrumptious and included plenty of Vegan options for me including Ratatouille, a Lebanese aubergine salad, deep fried cauliflower, beetroot risotto and deep fried beetroot risotto balls – mmm… It was all soo tasty! It was nice to be able to relax with the guys and catch up with them fo a couple of days. We played lots of games including our favourite, Settlers of Catan (which I won to Anthony’s annoyance and my delight as even though he kept blocking my every move I still managed to best him hehe) and a new favourite Cluedo.

Last night after a lovely full last day together we settled down to our latest night yet playing another round of Cluedo before binge watching Black Mirror until 3am!

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This morning it was time to say goodbye to Anthony. I hate it when good friends have to leave and who knows when I’ll see them next! I really hope they both receive PhD placements near Durham so that visiting each other won’t be so difficult! I’m really going to miss these too, but thank god for the Internet and Skype, at least keeping in contact won’t be too difficult!

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So after a busy week with very late nights I am now settling down to a quiet evening and some self care time. A bath, an early night and some much needed sleep are in order I believe!

Love Carina xo