Collaboration with Bambaw

Bambaw kindly sent this bamboo cutlery set to me to try out and review! It’s such a handy thing to have for travelling & summer bbq’s or picnics. You can even get this if you’re moving house and need to buy new cutlery.

Contents:

  • Spoon
  • Knife
  • Fork
  • Straw
  • Straw Cleaner

This is all contained within a roll up cotton sleeve for easy storage. The cotton sleeve is washable and reusable!

The great thing about Bambaw as a company is that they’ve thought everything through – they’re plastic free, zero waste, aiming to be carbon neutral, ethically source their bamboo and even work with environmental projects in Malawi.

Because they are based in Belgium, if you’re from Europe the products don’t need to travel far to get to you. All production and transport is carbon neutral and this is certified by the Carbon Trust Label!

Bamboo products have become really popular in the past few years because of it’s sustainability, no pesticides are needed to make it grow and it is compostable. This means when the cutlery set above reaches the end of it’s life it can be safely composted (unlike metal cutlery which could end up in a landfill or the ocean for 1000s of years).

Bambaw also sell bamboo safety razors, reuseable wash pads and water bottles along with other useful and sustainable products! Check out their website http://www.bambaw.com to see their full selection 😊.

I’ll be taking this everywhere with me and really recommend this if you’re travelling lots during summer! It can save you using a few disposable forks/straws which is a great step to becoming zero-waste!

Please leave a comment below if you use bamboo cutlery / straws now 😛

Homemade Deodorant!

So I made moisturiser and now onto deodorant since I ran out!! I’ve never really been a fan of deodorant in the first place, I’m not sure why but blocking your sweat glands doesn’t sound that healthy?? Maybe because I’m from a colder country it hasn’t been a priority. But thought I’d give homemade deodorant a go as it’s natural, cheaper and less waste is involved!

To make it all you need to do is melt a few tablespoons of coconut oil in a pan, add a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and a few tablespoons of cornflour! Apparently the bicarb of soda is the most important ingredient. Then I just scooped it all into an old Lush container and that was it. Application wise I sort of just put it on like cream but I reckon you could get it into an old roll on deodorant package somehow. I’m not sure if this is what the consistency is meant to be like but it works so I won’t complain! Give it a try if you’re looking to reduce waste and have more natural products filling up your cupboards! Xx

Hungry Squirrel Nut Butter

I’m on a mission to eat more local and organic food. It’s not always possible for me but when I can I’ll pay the extra few £s because I’d rather help local businesses than the big brands you see being sold in the supermarkets.

I found this nut butter at a little health food shop in Aberdeen and was really excited to see that it was made just down the road. There are a variety of flavours but I chose the abc nut butter (almond, brazil nut and cashew with a hint of sea salt). They also have a cashew cookie one which I’m going to try the next time.

This nut butter is all natural ingredients with nothing unnecessary in there. It goes really well in porridge, on toast and I’m going to try making some brownies or something with it! Just wanted to let anyone near the Aberdeen area know that this is available in some smaller shops and it’s totally worth it of you’re thinking of trying it out!

5 Affordable Ways to be Eco-Friendly

My video on 5 ways to be eco-friendly!

I made the above YouTube video on this recently – I feel like it can be overwhelming with all of the information out there on how we can reduce our environmental impact. That’s why I made the video, to show that even the smallest things we do can help. Here are the tips in written format:

  1. Use a bamboo toothbrush instead of a plastic one. My personal favourite brand is the Humble Co. They are a Scandanavian based company and all of their products are eco-friendly and mostly recyclable. The bristles on this toothbrush are made of natural products and the whole bamboo part biodegrades quickly plus it isn’t harmful to the environment. You can get them in loads of different colours so I would really recommend getting one!
  2. Spend less time in the shower in the morning! I aim for 5 minutes or less. I know in the winter this can be challenging but just think of the people who don’t even get to have daily showers/or don’t have access to clean or hot water! It’s a privilege and we should use it wisely.
  3. Buy your clothes from thrift or charity shops when possible! You can find some great bargains there. I know it’s nice to buy new things every so often, or for things like gym clothes where you wouldn’t really want to be wearing someone’s old stuff. But just have a look, you can find things which have hardly been worn and save an absolute fortune!
  4. Keep jars and containers to reuse & fill up with things from the supermarket e.g. oats, nuts, muesli. I haven’t fully explored supermarkets in the UK since coming back but I know in Australia and New Zealand some of the supermarkets have areas where you can fill up your own containers. This means less waste for you to have to deal with and you’re really making an impact on the energy going into the recycling process of these products.
  5. Buy bamboo cotton buds instead of plastic ones! Again the Humble Co. sell these. The middle part of a cotton bud is plastic and to think one of our cotton buds could outlive us is a scary thought. It’s a really easy swap to make but you’re making such a difference by doing so!

So there you go – 5 affordable ways to be eco-friendly, almost everyone I know can do this and even though it may require a bit of extra effort in the beginning soon these things will just be a habit! xxx

The Orang Asli People of Peninsular Malaysia

Welcome to my first post!

One of the elder & much respected orang-asli members of the Bateq tribe

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I had two different experiences of two very different orang-asli tribes whilst travelling around Malaysia. The first of which while I was volunteering in the rainforest in the centre of the peninsula, the nearest big town being Gua Musang. I was a conservation volunteer helping to set animal sensors up to catch images of endangered species such as sun bears, Asian elephants and wild boar. I also took part in jungle treks, led by a member of the Bateq tribe, to see if we could see any signs of poaching, logging & snares – which are all still huge problem in this part of the world.

I spent a few nights camping in the jungle with this tribe, they taught us how to cook meals in bamboo (not as easy as it sounds). They took us through the whole process of gathering the bamboo from the forest, washing it out, and cooking rice and vegetables inside leaves (I’m not sure which kind of leaves – but this tribe know exactly what they were doing so we just followed them). The thing that I noticed most whilst spending some amount of time with this tribe was their heightened sensory perceptions. I noticed them reacting to noises which I almost couldn’t hear, and they could see animals in the trees which a person from an urban environment would never notice.

The Bateq tribe speak their own language (Batek) as do many of the different tribes living around Malaysia. A lot of them can speak some Malay & depending on which tribe some can also speak a bit of English if they’ve been exposed to tourists. In this particular Bateq village some members from a group called Fuze Ecoteer hold optional English classes for the kids, this is to help in the future as they can interact with volunteers coming to their village which is also a source of income for them. The orang-asli population is around 150,000 and 80% of these people are below the national poverty line. This particular tribe are now semi-nomadic due to the government providing them with permanent huts to live in, but the majority of the Bateq still go into the jungle for days at a time to hunt there.

I did a bit of research about the orang-asli, they haven’t always lived in extreme poverty because about 50 years ago the rainforest was still abundant with everything they needed to survive from. However, deforestation started to happen so as to make room for palm-oil trees and other exports. Now some tribes are actually competing for resources with elephants, because so much of the forest has been taken away that the elephants needed to move to find more food. They are surviving off of the banana trees and other crops in villages that the orang asli live in. The elephants remember where to go to find the food and so it’s becoming an increasing problem for the orang-asli.

The government provide permanent infrastructure for these communities so they can access healthcare & schools, which in a way is great as they can learn about important matters such as personal hygiene etc. On the other hand, because they’ve moved the villages to certain areas, resources are not as abundant and overcrowding is becoming an issue. Some of the elder members of these villages feel it might have been better for them had they just been left alone.

My experience with the Bateq tribe was unforgettable, waking up in a campsite in the middle of the jungle to the sounds of all sorts of wildlife and the elder members of the tribe laughing and joking with eachother was an amazing experience and one in which most people will never encounter. The skills they have are unmatchable, overnight it rained so much that we were trapped at one side of a very deep and fast flowing river, and the two 80+ year old women were carrying almost all of the equipment across and laughing at my friend and I (both in our 20s) because we were struggling so much to keep up with them!

The second experience I had living in an orang-asli village (Peretak village) was about 1 hour away from Kuala Lumpur, near a small town called Kuala Kubu Bharu. The Temuan tribe live here in permanent government housing near the . I was volunteering in a small guesthouse which a man called Antares had built, he is Malay and married to a woman from the Temuan tribe called Anoora. These houses were much bigger than the houses the other tribe had, which I later found out was because this tribe had been relocated due to a huge dam the government had built to reduce flooding in the area. Their original village is now under the water. I didn’t interact as much with this tribe but I think some of them seemed to have jobs in the local town. They also make a bit of income from charging tourists 1 ringgit to go down to the river.

Some of this tribe still go into the jungle to hunt for resources, and they do all of their washing down by the river which is a really interesting thing to see happening. I loved how relaxed everybody in the village seems and how friendly everyone was. I noticed that some of them were wearing headscarves and found it quite unusual, so I asked Antares why this was the case. In Malaysia, the government actually give Muslim men 10,000 ringgit if they marry a member of the orang-asli. Which then obviously means the woman becomes Muslim by marriage. I know to be legally classed as “Malay” you need to follow Islam but not fully aware of the ins and outs of why this deal exists.

Peretak village was a magical place and I would recommend anybody who needs to recharge their batteries to go and stay at Fusion Longhouse. You will meet the most interesting and entertaining character ever (Antares), he is open to talking about anything and definitely has a lot of jokes and wisdom to share with you! I left after 2 weeks and wish I could have stayed longer, I most certainly will be back there in the future.