Back from our camping trip!

Our camping holiday was such a blast! We really had such an incredible time as a family. Of course, the old camp site has changed slightly from what I remember when dad used to take us there as kids. But it still kept its appeal and the boys loved it. I’m just glad we prepared so well!

That was the final site we visited on our trip. The first two, the wooded area and the beach were also impressive and as I said we would, we kept everything strictly eco-friendly.

tents in wooded camp site

A baby blanket at a campsite?

It was while we were setting up camp at our first location in the wooded area campsite that I heard her… and did we all hear her! It was a cry so loud that it would have woken the forest spirits! In fact, I am sure it did.

A few sites down from us was a small orange tent. The sound was coming from inside. I went to investigate, being curious and all. I found a mother and her small baby. The mother was beside herself with the babies crying. I quickly asked if I could help. The mother explained that the poor child would just not eat, and hadn’t for a few hours. She had no idea why, but the baby (who I later found out was called Charlie) just would spit out the bottle or any milk that she managed to get into her mouth. As a mother, I knew the feeling of helplessness when things like this happen, but I reckoned I knew what was wrong.

Charlie was covered in a beautiful baby blanket, which seemed to be made of natural materials. I asked if I could try to help and quickly scooped her up. I proceeded to try and wind her as I was sure that she had wind stuck which was probably sour. After ten minutes of my best winding technique, Charlie let out a massive burp and wow, it certainly was sour. Almost immediately, she started laughing!

Hemp baby blanket with fingers pulling at it

Her mother, Anna was so incredibly happy to see her baby girl laugh that she just burst out into tears. Now that the drama was over, I started to study Charlie’s blanket. It seemed to be made of hemp. I ask Anna about it and she told me that her husband runs a store that produces clothes, blankets, throws and curtains from natural products. In fact, she had quite a few of them. She could see that I was really intrigued by the blanket, so she quickly went back into the tent and brought out a brand new one, wrapped in plastic. She gave it to me as a gift and at first, I really didn’t want to take it but Anna insisted.

So now, I have this beautiful baby blanket that will always remind me of Charlie and Anna and the day I helped them at the campsite. I use it to cover my legs when I am sitting outside at night, looking up at the beautiful heavens!

Decorating your bedroom in an eco-friendly style

Further to our series on decorating your home while remaining eco-friendly, let’s take a look at decorating your bedroom.

Bed in room of wooden furnitureAround a month after we returned from our camping trip, I decided that I wanted to change things up a little bit. My bedroom had not been redecorated since just before my youngest was born. So it was in real need of a good spruce up. Of course, that would mean keeping things eco-friendly, but just like with my other decorating, that would be the top of my list.

So I made a note of the things that I wanted to change. First would be the bed. Now I am going to tell you a little secret here. My bed is just a normal bed and base set bought at a bed shop. I am not particularly proud that it is not the most eco-friendly it can be, but hey, I was about to change that all.

A bed with cushions… it’s a good start, right?

cushions arranged on bedSince we spend around a third of our lives sleeping, getting an eco-friendly mattress that was comfortable was imperative, especially with my notoriously bad back. I spent a lot of time doing my research and came up with a few eco-friendly and organic examples that would be perfect. There are a couple of things to look for when deciding on an eco-friendly mattress.

  • It should be made from all natural wool that has not been treated in any way. Don’t worry, this wool is naturally dust mite resistant. Try to buy one that is labelled “Pure Grow Wool” as this means that the sheep giving up its coat has been organically raised and humanely treated.
  • All the stitching should be done with organic cotton. Note as cotton is not fire-resistant, it is probably wrapped in layers of wool for fire retardation.
  • Lastly, check that any latex used in the mattress is derived naturally from rubber trees.

After taking all of that into consideration, I ordered my mattress along with a bunch of matching eco-friendly cushions online at to go with it. They are handmade and truly stunning. Best yet, they are some of the most comfortable cushions I have ever had.

Collection of colourful cushions

The base of the bed I had constructed out of tree logs by a friend of our family, who is a carpenter. He did a great job and the base is really sturdy. Not only that but it looks so imposing. I am pretty sure the way it looks helps me to sleep better! I don’t think it would shift during an earthquake!

Finally, all the finishing touches to the room were sourced from eco-friendly vendors. I threw out most of my old furniture and replaced it with various wooden pieces. Again, all of these were made out of sustainable wood sources. In fact, for each tree cut down to make a piece of furniture, three were replanted in its place! Now that’s eco-friendly.

Spreading the eco-friendly way!

So a few of my friends have really started to take an interest in an eco-friendly way of life. I want to try and help them begin to change their way of life around, putting the earth first and really thinking in an eco-friendly way with everything they do.

lush green grass and girl with balloon

So I had a little brainwave! People like to meet for various reasons, don’t they? I mean, things like book clubs are popular. Why not have a weekly meeting where we can discuss topics about eco-friendliness – over a good glass of organic wine of course!

Let the meeting begin!

I spoke to my good friend Beth about it. She thought it was a great idea, but I suspect that might have been because there would be wine involved. Shame, let me not be too harsh on poor Beth. Over the years she has certainly had to put up with all my ideas and to be fair, she lives a fairly eco-friendly existence.

So the plan was as follows. My immediate group of friends (six of us in total) would all attend the first meeting but we all had to bring someone with us. We scheduled the first Eco Warriors meeting for the next Wednesday.bottles of wine

I spent most of that day making nice treats for my guests. A few finger snacks, some beautiful wine and lastly, a lip-smacking almond tart. At 7pm the guests began to arrive. Although I knew mostly everyone, Beth had brought her sister-in-law who had only recently come to town. What a great person Tracey turned out to be. She already was into the eco way of life and actually had some great suggestions.

She wore this incredible brooch that really stood out for me. It was made from a piece of wood taken from loggers in the Amazon. What an incredible statement that made. It just makes me mad to think that people can destroy a habitat like that without any consequences.

The brooch itself was then sanded down into the shape of the amazon rain forest. The areas where intense logging takes place were marked with red paint, which really stood out from the bark. I really love brooches but this one especially because it is a real conversation piece. In fact, Tracey wears it every day just so people can ask her about it, which due to its uniqueness, they always do.

wooden brooch showing amazon

We spent the night deciding how to guide the beginner eco-warriors in the group to start out in their quest helping Mother Nature. We had a lot of great examples of simple things that can be done in this regard. For example, starting by using eco-friendly cleaning products as well as beauty products.

Naturally, the wine flowed and by the course of the evening, we allocated Mary, who doesn’t drink as the person to produce some notes, just in case we forgot all the important points. Our next meeting is in a week’s time. For now, I’m off to find one of those amazing brooches so I can share that story!

Preparing for a camping holiday

Finally it is almost holiday time!  The kids are really looking forward to a break from school work and I am as well!

I want to keep costs as low as possible for this year’s holiday so we have decided to stay local and to make our holiday a camping one.  Not only will it be a cheaper option, but it gives the kids the freedom of the outdoors on our own terms.  What could be better than that!


Before we go anywhere however, there is plenty of planning to do.  I want a new passport holder to keep all our documents that we might need on the trip.  Things like my driver’s licence, booking confirmations for the camping site, car registration papers and of course our holiday cash.  The wallet really needs to be eco-friendly as well.  It took some time, but I managed to find a really nice travel wallet and I have placed an order.  It will arrive the week before we leave.

Camping is a great holiday idea

I want to make the holiday fun.  One thing that I thought would be different would be to have a picnic every day.  I told the kids about my picnic plan and they loved it.  It will also allow us to explore the natural surroundings where ever we choose to have our picnics.  I remember when I was a child; picnics were never only about the food, but about exploration of your surroundings and I loved taking time to explore the nature around me.  I think that is how I learnt to love nature so much.


We just need a nice large eco-friendly ground covering for our picnics and general camp site area. I recently found a great selection of picnic rugs from a company called Bask and I’m keen to find out how environmentally friendly their materials are. They focus their products on living life outdoors which I love so I’ll have to investigate some more.

Of course camping is the perfect eco-friendly holiday which keeps in with how I want to live my life and how I want to bring up my children to respect nature.  For that reason we will be camping at three different campsites.  One is near a wooded area, one near a beach and one is right on a river.  Three different forms of nature for the kids to enjoy themselves in… perfect!   They really need the break; school has been extremely busy for them this year.  If I am to guess, I really think they will enjoy the beach the most.  They both love swimming and it is on a very quite piece of coastline where the seas are pretty calm.  I am also packing in some fishing rods, so hopefully we can catch a few fish as well.

The camping site by the river is a personal favourite of mine.  It is where my father used to bring us to camp.  There always was a little boat tied up that you could use on the river.  I hope it is still there, the kids will love rowing up and down.

I really can’t wait; I hope these last few days fly by!

Top tips for eco-friendly and sustainable style for your home

Who says you can’t decorate your home and be eco-friendly at the same time? Nowadays, there are several ways to spruce up your home in a sustainable, yet chic way. You don’t even have to search everywhere to find a variety of good options, as more and more businesses are creating environmentally conscious products.

espresso coffee tableHow can you tell if a product is eco-friendly? Other than those that are tagged or certified as such, it’s important to know which materials are better options… just like checking a food’s ingredient list to know if it’s healthy for you. A few eco-friendly materials are bamboo, hemp, plastics made from plant cellulose, and anything made with a large portion of recycled or repurposed materials. Companies are aware that consumers want to have more sustainable options to choose from, so it’s in their best interest to create eco-friendly lines…and many companies do! Not to say you should simply trust a tag without evaluating what any given product is made with; instead, use it as a guide.

bliss bedside tablesOne of the most challenging materials to feel confident trusting is wood.  With so much illegal and unsustainable logging occurring around the globe, it’s important to buy furniture and other products that commit to using sustainably sourced wood. The following types of wood are typically grown in a more responsible and sustainable fashion, though not in every part of the world: bamboo, beech, ash, pine, or oak. Try to avoid “old growth” (more endangered) and threatened types of wood such as mahogany, teak, and merbau. Bamboo is often toted as the most sustainable option, because it grows quickly, has a high yield, is incredibly durable, and can be used for several purposes.

Other than wood, try to avoid purchasing items made of plastic. Luckily, you can often find types of plastic products made from plant cellulose! Not only do they look and feel just like conventional products, but they decompose faster in landfills.

Products made from recycled materials are also ways to avoid sending useful materials directly in the trash. They’re also usually quite interesting or thought provoking, like handbags made from old car seatbelts, wallets made from plastic bottles, or model airplanes made from soda cans. Check out your local fair-trade store- they often have neat products made all across the world from recycled materials.

redecorate eco friendly

A fun way to redecorate your house is to shop in thrift stores or go antiquing. Not only can you often find one-of-a-kind items, but you’ll breathe new life into something that would otherwise be left unused.  It might be faster to run into your local department store to buy a new rug or dresser, but handpicking a vintage piece is way more fun and rewarding. Each item has its own story and preservation of history. They are often made of better materials too, making them more durable and long lasting. It’s fun and gratifying to reuse materials in creative ways. Try using old bottles for vases, old tins for toys or crayons, vintage fabric for making beautiful curtains or hand towels, or old picture frames for family portraits.

Nothing adds a more calming and rejuvenating feel to your home than indoor plants. No matter how much care you’re interested in providing, there are several types of houseplants that will enhance your indoor space. Having more greenery in your home can increase your family’s appreciation of nature. After all, it’s not just about buying “green” products that will make you eco-friendly, but having a sense of respect and appreciation for the environment as well. If you buy sustainable products, practise energy saving tips and use friendly cleaning products then you are definitely on your way to creating an friendly household!

Tips for energy saving in your home

With energy prices on the rise, it’s no surprise that most people are looking for ways to use less energy and reduce their utility bills.  The benefit of choosing to live more sustainably not only saves you money, but also reduces your environmental impact. Our ever-growing usage of energy is inherently illusory: the Earth simply can’t support it forever. It’s no lie that we are extremely accustomed to a standard of living that requires a good deal of energy to maintain. The good news is: you don’t have to make huge changes to your daily life to be more sustainable… you just have to be more conscious of it and make it a greater priority. Doing so will reduce your carbon footprint, save you money, and help society evolve into responsible energy users.

For a lot of people, the biggest hurdle is stomaching the notion that by retrofitting your house with energy saving methods now, you will save money in the long term. Whether you can afford to make small changes or comprehensive modifications to your home, there are options for every budget:

Energy efficient lighting

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs) or LED lights. Both varieties use less energy and last way longer than your average incandescent. Though they are more expensive to purchase (but getting cheaper), CFLs can last up to 10 years, LEDs up to 23 years!
  • Replace your light switches with dimmers. You can then use less light and less energy…. Not to mention how relaxing it is to have dimmer lights at nighttime.
  • Use automatic sensors to trigger lights to come on when you enter a room, and off when you leave.
  • Find some fixtures for pendant lights that will accommodate your new sustainable light bulbs!

Energy efficient lighting

Automatic on & off timers

  • If you have electronics that you utilize at specific times of day, or those that you consistently forget to unplug, automatic timers will do the job for you.
  • Many people like to use timers on their lighting to take control of how much energy they are using. These days there is a huge range of chic floor lamps and other lights that include timers making it even easier.

Using appliances during non-peak hours

  • Most people tend to use the most energy at the same time, in the early evening.
  • Several utility providers offer rebates for using more energy during off-peak hours (i.e. doing your laundry or using the dishwasher in the afternoon or at night time).

 Mimic your grandparents: do more by hand and use common sense!

  • If washing your laundry by hand is out of the question (can’t blame you, but use cold water!), attempt to air-dry your clothing rather than using the dryer. Though clotheslines are great for quickly drying clothes outdoors in warmer months, standing drying racks can be used year round!
  • Same goes for the dishes. Wash your dishes using eco-friendly products and use a towel to dry them! It can be wonderfully relaxing.
  • Keep doors to unoccupied rooms closed, reducing what you need to heat/cool.
  • Wear warm layers before turning the heat up.
  • Be conscious of when to leave blinds/curtains open- warm your house directly from the sun!
  • Avoid running the AC on cool nights or breezy days by keeping your windows open. 

Grandma washing clothes

Develop stricter energy rules:

  • Make it known that irresponsible energy usage is not acceptable in your home! Though it’s hard to change habits, try using post-its to encourage turning the lights off or unplugging electronics that are not in use.
  • Remember…behavior change takes time; do your best to set a good precedence.

 Renewable Energy

  • Companies all over the country provide renewable energy alternatives. Find out who is in your region and make the switch! The more people that switch to renewable energy, the more competitively priced it will become (though it’s typically not much more expensive than providers supplying conventional energy).

 Get an energy audit

  • Most utility companies also offer free energy audits- a home visit from a company representative who will evaluate your house and inform you how to reduce your energy bill.

Retrofit your house

  • If you have the financial means to do so, you can make several structural changes to your home to reduce your energy usage.
  • These changes include: adding better insulation (keeping your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter), patch up drafty spots, replace windows with better insulating double-paned windows.

Replace appliances w/ Energy Star appliances

  • Most new appliances are regulated to abide by higher energy efficiency standards, known as “energy stars”. Replacing your appliances with these appliances will use less energy and save you money.

Though it might seem like a costly or time-consuming endeavor to make all of these modifications, pick the ones that seem most realistic to focus on now, and create a plan to accomplish the rest. After all, most of these changes are less about what you will save in the short-term, and more about what you will save in the long-term.

Decorating your Kids Bedroom with Eco-friendly Style

Children pick a lot of things more than we usually know or acknowledge. This is because kids learn a lot through observation. Because of this children learn more from people they spend most time with and it is parents that they spend more time with during their formative age. Parents are therefore the kid’s first and best teachers. It’s then important for you to recognize that every time you spend with your kid is a learning process for that kid.

Your actions around your kid are lessons that he/she quickly picks and this starts right from birth. You should therefore strive to be a good role model because the character that your kid picks from you at that early age will shape that kid adult life. You should strive to lay a good and strong foundation for your kid’s future.

When therefore you set to decorate your kids’ room with an eco-friendly style it’s important that you involve them in the process so that they learn from it. The way you make your eco-friendly choices gives them important lessons in living an eco-friendly life. Decorating your kids’ bedroom is also significant because the environment in the bedroom has a huge impact on the quality and quantity of sleep they will have.

eco friendly kids room

Eco-Friendly Home Decorating

Your decoration cannot start until you have been able to source and buy eco-friendly items needed for the exercise.

  • First look for eco-friendly wall art. An easy way to find eco-friendly wall art is by searching for items made from bamboo. Wall clocks are a quick and easy option and you can find an extensive range of wall clocks at this online store:
  • The most important item in the bedroom is the bed itself. This is why the next attention after sourcing for wall art is the bed. Sprucing up the bed with bright cushions would have a huge impact on the look of your kid’s bed and will give them enough comfort and sleep. There are several eco-friendly inserts that you can use such as corn fibre and pet fibre. To see a wide range of cushions online check out this store:
  • For tips on adding eco-friendly lighting, check out this post.

Once you’ve done away with sourcing of wall art, and spruced up the bed, the style you’re setting for your kids’ sleep sanctuary would have started taking shape. Now is the time to roll up sleeves and get down to decorating. Bathe the walls with colors that create harmony and balance in your kids’ room. Start with the basics such as deciding on the color theme and palette, and the pattern.

Eco-friendly paint

This is because eco-friendly paints have several advantages and benefits. Unlike the traditional paints that use a lot of chemical components leading to several ill effects such as burning eyes, nose and throat, skin irritation, minor skin burns, headaches and dizziness; and sometimes severe cases such as migraine, skin cancer, kidney damage and asthma, eco-friendly paints do not put you and your kids at such a risk because eco-friendly paints are mostly water based.

Traditional paints also contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which are emitted when used to paint walls. Chemical waste left behind by VOCs is also non biodegradable and cannot be recycled; meaning VOCs leave behind harmful footprints. Studies have shown that people who’re continually exposed to VOCs are prone to lung cancer. Components in eco-friendly paints on the other hand, are natural and biodegradable.

You may however, find eco-friendly paints more costly than chemical based paints. But there is nothing costly when it comes to the health of your kids. It’s even more crucial when it’s your kids’ bedroom you’d be painting and decorating.

And finally, a thought about style…

Also ensure that the décor reflects the taste and personality that you would want your children to have. This is the place they retire too in the evening and wake up in the morning. The taste and personality in the bedroom will have a strong impact on their’ tastes and personalities as well.

All kids love drawing. You would therefore raise their excitement by keeping one wall in the room where you can make them experiment with drawing using eco-friendly chalk-board paint. Make sure that you guide them to hone in their taste, style and desires in the chalk-board décor.

At the end of the day you will find decorating your kids’ room an exciting exercise and a good learning process for your children.


blackboard paint in bedroom

Our recycled home bar project

record playerMy husband loves listening to old rock music, and has been collecting vinyl records since we were teenagers. For his last birthday, I went to and bought him a brand new record player… which he loves! While we were sitting around listening to the Rolling Stones, we began talking about how nice it would be to invite our friends over…have some cocktails and flip a few records. We have a few bars and pubs that we frequent, but we’ve always dreamed of having a nice place to entertain at home. I could hardly remember the last time we had people over!

With the decision set to design our own bar, we didn’t want it to look like anyone else’s, or anything conventional…we wanted one with a beautiful, aged look.  That’s how we decided to use reclaimed wood to construct our new home bar. Not only would it be more durable, of higher quality, and more sustainable than brand new wood- it would be a work of art. I couldn’t wait to start working on it.

Building with reclaimed wood isn’t a novel idea; there’s plenty of literature out there to assist with the process. Most importantly… the wood! An antique store referred us to someone selling pieces of wood from an old barn that had been recently torn down. When it arrived, it was so beautiful that I could hardly believe my eyes! A local carpenter helped us piece it together and finish the project. What would a bar be without bar stools? I found a beautiful set here:

reclaimed wood bar stools

It feels great to have a new and inviting space in my home to entertain guests. Everyone loves the look of our bar; in fact, most of my friends can’t stop complimenting it! Though it took a bit more effort to find good quality materials, choosing to use reclaimed wood is truly the sustainable choice. And we intend to use eco-friendly cleaning products to keep it sparkling!. With kids in the house, it’s a wonderful way to educate them about how we make decisions that preserve our environment, especially the rainforests.


How to make your own eco-friendly cleaning products

green household There’s no better way to have a clean and healthy home than by making your own eco-friendly cleaning products. Most popular sprays, wipes, laundry detergents, and other cleaners are chock full of dangerous chemicals, which can cause adverse health effects for your family.

A lot of large corporations who produce household cleaners often use chemicals that are untested or unregulated. That means that there’s no guarantee that what’s in these products has been thoroughly evaluated for potential dangers.  Making your own all-natural recipes will give you the peace of mind that your home is clean and that your family’s health is safe from toxic ingredients. In addition, you will have less of a negative environmental impact on your community, as toxic cleaning products inevitably wind up in our waters.

Did I mention that you’ll save money too? The best part of making your own eco-friendly cleaners is that you can often use a few simple and affordable ingredients for several different recipes (many of which you probably already have!). These are ingredients that we are all familiar with: baking soda, vinegar, lemon, olive oil, hydrogen peroxide, water, etc.
Cleaning a green globe
One might say, “but what about mold, or messes that are truly so disgusting that only bleach could do the job?” – I hear you. Sometimes it feels like certain situations necessitate the use of strong chemicals to get the job done; however, it’s simply not necessary, once you discover alternative all-natural methods that truly work!

  • Vinegar: used for its natural and powerful disinfecting and deodorizing properties, as well as its quickly dissipating scent.
  • Baking soda: also a natural deodorizer (that’s why people often pop one in the refrigerator), but abrasive enough to clear away grime.
  • Lemon/other citrus fruits: their high acidity makes them antibacterial and antiseptic, not to mention their pleasant scent!

Here are a few recipes for the most common cleaning products: all purpose spray, toilet cleaner, and disinfectant. 

All purpose cleaner:

  • Combine equal parts white vinegar + water in a spray bottle, and voila!
  • If you’d like, add a few splashes of lemon, grapefruit, or lime juice for a fresh scent to accompany your new favorite all-purpose cleaner.
  • If you need a bit more muscle to clear away caked up grime, add enough baking soda to your spray to transform it into a paste. Using this with a Brillo pad will make your life easier too!
  • Excellent for use on bedrooms or even a home bar!

Toilet Cleaner:

  • Just like your all-purpose cleaner, white vinegar + baking soda work great together to clean your toilet.
  • Simply add a few tablespoons of baking soda and about a 1/4 cup of vinegar directly into your toilet, and scrub with your toilet wand. You could even spray your all-purpose cleaner into the toilet too (rather than straight vinegar), if you prefer.


  • Using plain old hydrogen peroxide will thoroughly disinfect your surfaces.

Green cleaning productsThe Internet is full of DIY cleaning recipes. No matter what type of cleanup you have,there is a healthier and less toxic method out there. There are also plenty of books that provide great recipes and overviews of natural cleaners.

Your cleaning products aren’t the only potential dangers lurking in your cabinets- cosmetics, lawn sprays, and even the food we eat can be full of chemicals. Take some time to do an inventory of your home, and get rid of dangerous products. Make it a safe and healthy place for yourself, your family, and even your pets!

green bucket of products

The best source for eco-friendly product reviews and information is coming soon!

That’s right, ‘Discovery Forest’ will be launching very soon and promises to be the best place on the web for detailed, candid and informative reviews of all the latest eco-friendly products for your home.

Your home is said to be a reflection of yourself, and if you are a discerning, environmentally-aware consumer than we can help you make informed decisions about the contents and products suitable for your home.

In the coming weeks, we will be exploring a number of cost saving, eco-friendly products and providing useful information on how you can do your bit to help keep our planet green and healthy for generations to come.

In the meantime, we’d like to share with you this amazing video as a prelude for what is to come.  If you want to get in touch ahead of time, visit our contact page.

We look forward to having you on board as a regular reader!