This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
As I started to create a list for this week’s top products that we call Lifestyle Essentials, I suddenly realised that there was a theme: they were all either for the house or the garden. I gather that since we have been spending so much time in our houses and now, as the weather has improved, in the garden, we have all been thinking about them more than usual. For these past 18 months, they have become our haven from the outside world. So whilst we may not be spending so much money on our clothes as we don’t have parties or offices to go to we have concentrated on where we live.
So here are a few things that, whilst they may not all be considered lifestyle essentials, will enhance your life.
WOOL LAUNDRY BALLS
I recently went to stay with my brother and sister-in-law in Devon, and she and I often share recipes and lifestyle tips. This visit she told me about two companies. The first one was LITTLE BEAU SHEEP, producing a unique range of hand-made laundry and body care products. I fell in love with their signature wool laundry dryer balls as they look so cute and do the job. Pop them in your tumble dryer with your laundry, and they reduce the creases. I found them really good with bedlinen and towels – no ironing necessary. Being made out of 100% pure British wool, laundry dryer balls gently absorb excess moisture as they take a tumble with your clothes, bed linen and towels. The result is naturally softer, fluffier laundry with fewer creases. I don’t need to tell you how much better they are for the environment than plastic dryer balls – also no more need for fabric conditioner or dryer sheets.
These laundry balls have definitely become lifestyle essentials in my home. So just browse the flock and choose your sheep from Shetland, Jacob or Herdwick. They even have a sheepdog!
LITTLE BEAU SHEEP also produce a range of felted wool soaps (Lanolin soap bar and flannel in one, naturally exfoliating and antibacterial) and laundry fragrances. Everything they produce makes cleaning more fun and pleasurable.
KATIE HIPWELL is an independent print designer based in London. She has worked with renowned brands such as Cath Kidston, Osborne & Little and Boden. However, she has now developed her own brand from her home studio and partners closely with a small range of bespoke UK printers. This ensures that every piece is of the highest standard, ready to be treasured for years to come.
I came across her when I was looking for floral cushions. She also does a wonderful range for childrens’ bedrooms, including dinosaurs and the planets, amongst many others. She also accepts commissions. Please have a look at her range as she makes lampshades, wallpaper and other homewares.
The next recommendation for lifestyle essentials is not for either home or garden, but I have included it here because it is another of my sister-in-law’s recommendations – Pit-Tastic. This is a range of natural deodorants that actually work. Their statements for July is ~
“We’re on a mission. It is Plastic Free July, and we don’t use plastic in our products. In fact, we don’t use anything we don’t need to. We are Naked, Zero Waste, 100% biodegradable, all-natural. We will be harping on about this for the next few weeks: we have to stick to our morals, beliefs and values. There is a reason I (Alice) created this bar in the first place…to be as kind to the planet as I can be. We haven’t created a holder/applicator for the bar, as quite simply, it is not needed. We just all need to get our head around small changes, little actions every day which mean everything to us all.”
So many people want to ditch the bottles and tubes to ensure our seas are cleaner but still want great products that work for everyday uses. Pit-Tastic today is highly recommended by many people ranging from breastfeeding mothers, sports people, Menopausal women, those who travel (no need for liquids!) and just about anyone who desires fresh armpits without the nasty ingredients on their body.
Pop to the Pit-Tastic website and choose a deodorant for yourself.
WHO DOESN’T LOVE A BASKET…..
I love a basket, and in these days of being encouraged not to use plastic carrier bags, I find a basket so useful. So I was thrilled to come across BasketBasket.
BasketBasket is a family run business based in northeast Hampshire. Having lived in France, owner Virginia fell in love with baskets but could never find them in the UK. They started selling a small selection of the traditional couffin style baskets in January 2007 and expanded the range with the launch of BasketBasket in October 2008. Their main aim was to offer an eco-friendly alternative to the plastic shopping bag, as all the baskets are made with natural and sustainable materials.
The handmade woven ranges come directly from Madagascar, Morocco, and Ghana, following fair trade principles for all. Over the years, they have established strong relationships with their suppliers, ensuring these talented artisans can continue their ancient crafts whilst being paid a fair wage. As the climate change crisis affects their farming needs, earning a regular income from making our products is vital to their families.
If you love a basket, visit the BasketBasket website, as there are many to choose from.
I recently saw this Plant Ladder at a friend’s house. It was so pretty, and she said she moves it inside in the winter as she does not have much room on window sills for house plants, so this ladder is space-saving.
There is a 4-step ladder made out of Eucalyptus wood available at John Lewis; click HERE.
SOLAR LIGHTS FOR THE GARDEN
As the nights draw in, but you still want to be in the garden in the evening enjoying the peace, then why not indulge in some solar lights. I found Lumina of London, who sell lanterns and Robins (yes, a Robin light), Dandelions, Star bursts, and so many more innovative ideas. They are connected to a solar panel that you can place in direct sunlight, and they have a rechargeable battery, so they are ready to glow as the sun goes down.
These could definitely become lifestyle essentials as they will extend the time you can spend in your garden.
AND FOR YOUR HOT DRINK IN THE GARDEN
I found this enamel mug with a lid on the Rolfe & Wills website. I love it when I am in the garden; it keeps my cup of coffee warm and bug-free! I think it would make a great gift for many of my gardening girlfriends. This ‘Wild Flowers’ design is one of five in the full ‘Foraging’ collection along with ‘Tree ID’, ‘Wild Foods’, ‘Mushrooms’, and ‘Berries’. As a rustic collection, all hand-illustrated and made individually, these mugs sometimes have an occasional lump or bump, which all just adds to their charm and uniqueness.
As I write this article, I sit in my garden and everywhere is quiet and peaceful. Our garden has become an extension of our house, and we have found so many places to sit and be calm since this pandemic began. The pandemic has taught me to appreciate our home and garden far more, so I have enjoyed finding lifestyle essentials to make them even more special.