Living Zero Waste & Eco- Friendly in a Big City

I live in Glasgow – the biggest city in Scotland and in my opinion one of the most interesting & vibrant. There are so many things to see and do, many of them free. From musesums, to shows and literally any kind of restaurant or cafΓ© you can think of (including many vegan ones) it is the ideal place to base yourself in Scotland. There are even some zero-waste shops here (which I am going to write a post on shortly!) and there is usually always some sort of vegan festival or event happening here. But coming from a suburb in the outskirts of Aberdeen where it seems to be a lot easier to recycle things I’m going to go through some main points here on how we can do better to live zero-waste in bigger cities.

green trash bin on green grass field
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Go out of your way to find zero-waste products

This is definitely easier said than done and I completely acknowledge that, however it’s kind of what comes with going zero-waste and trying to buy more responsibly. It’s just a fact that supermarkets don’t have a huge range of unpackaged food yet so it’s inevitable that going out of your way to do shopping is going to happen.

A quick Google search (or Ecosia if you want to plant trees each time you search!) can lead you to many interesting shops, farmers markets and events where you can buy zero-waste produce. In Glasgow there are loads of farmers markets, mostly on weekends, where you can go and buy in season fruit & veg plus loads of other things. I bet every big city has one so have a browse on the internet to see if you can find anything!

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Going out of your way to recycle…

Yep, this is a sad but true fact! Who would of thought it would be sooo difficult to recycle when you live in a city centre? I have lived in 2 flats where recycle bins weren’t even available anywhere near us and would have required a car to take the recycling to the nearest bin. We spent over 2 years not really recycling and felt sooo guilty about it, we even got onto the council a few times but nothing was done. I can’t believe that in one of the busiest cities in the UK that recycling would be so hard. Although the flat I’m in now does accept recycling, they don’t accept glass bottles or jars and there’s no way for us to get those to a recycling bin without a car. So I’ve planned to buy as little glass as possible and reuse any glass I do have, it’ll be challenging but life is all about adapting to new situations!

Making others aware of the options that we have for zero-waste and eco-friendly shopping!

Because I’m really into the environmentally friendly/zero-waste lifestyle I sometimes forget that other people haven’t really been exposed to it. Remember to be kind when you’re reminding someone of how they can live in a way where they’re minimising their impact on the environment. Leading by example is definitely an effective way to do things, when people see you doing new things they often ask questions which can bring up the subject and allow you to educate others on important issues in a friendly way. There is no need to be condescending about things!

Ditch the car if you can!

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I decided not to take a car with me to Glasgow… the pollution is already prominent enough that I don’t think it needs another diesel car contributing to it. There’s really no need for a car unless you’re work is in an awkward location or you go away a lot (which I do, but I have friends who can usually take me). If you can’t entirely ditch your car at least try to car share when possible! It’s also fun to take the train and bus to new places as you often get to see a new landscape… aaaaand you don’t have to worry about having a drink when you’re out!

That’s all my tips done for just now, but I’ll probably think of more later! Check out my other sustainability posts such as reducing your carbon footprint & 5 affordable things to know before living a sustainable lifestyle! Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions for other ways to live more eco-friendly or zero waste in the city or if you can help me with my recycling problem!

Ailsa xxx


Volunteering Ideas To Boost Your Health & Help the Environment

I’m literally SUCH an advocate for physical exercise & the outdoors – the main reason being how good I feel mentally during & afterwards. How funny is it that the thought of exercising can actually be stressful and we can’t be bothered to do it a lot of the time, but then literally the first few movements you make in a workout or an outdoors walk and those feelings normally vanish. But why not combine physical exercise & the outdoors with volunteering?! It’s such a feel good combination, you’re doing not only yourself a favour but the planet and local communities/organisations.

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So what volunteering options do you have? (UK Based)

First of all – decide on your personal interests! I’m really into the outdoors & conservation work, so I actually volunteer with the national trust for Scotland conservation volunteers. There are groups all over the UK for national trustΒ  volunteering.Β 

Conservation volunteering is literally sooo varied! You could be weeding, removing invasive species, doing some gardening, raking up leaves & even repairing or making paths on popular walks.

I know that in Scotland Friends of Nevis and the John Muir trust have regular conservation work parties up Ben Nevis (the highest mountain in the UK!) which could be really interesting if you’re into climbing and learning about geology.

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Physical activity equals healthy & happy mind!

The reason why I absolutely LOVE this kind of volunteering is because you don’t even realise you’re exercising but you are definitely a good tired at the end of the day. It’s also an amazing social thing and you can actually make long term friends from these kinds of groups, you have a shared interest and so it’s an amazing thing to do! You’re also doing really valuable work, which otherwise wouldn’t get done at all and so it’s extremely rewarding. You might not be getting physical money from it but I think the physical, environmental & mental benefits from volunteering are totally worth it.

Conservation Volunteer Groups

There’s also a group throughout the UK called The Conservation Volunteers, which have many options for either weekend or during the week volunteering. This could be good for people who are retired, maybe mums or dads who want to do something while the kids are at school or people who want to get into a career to do with conservation!

Now, if you’re not able to do really intense physical exercise there are always plenty of other options! You can volunteer with charities at various events to raise money for them, work in a charity shop or even just volunteer on your own terms by carrying out wildlife surveys in your own back garden (such as the butterfly survey-this can take as little as 15 minutes).

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New Skills!

Volunteering gives you many amazing new skills which are soo desirable on your CV as well. Some of these are working in a team, using your initiative, being resourceful and following instructions. If you’ve been out of work for a while, or you’re really young and haven’t had a job yet then volunteering is definitely a route you can think about! It gives you skills you will need in a paid job role and companies will definitely see this as a positive thing when you do get to the stage where you want to look for a paid job.

Getting back into the workforce

As for getting back into the workforce volunteering is a really great thing to do for yourself. It can get you back into a routine, help you to make connections and it shows you’re self motivated and you get yourself out there even when you’re not being paid for it. This could lead to meeting someone who might know where you can find a paid job!

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How does this all relate to sustainability?

In my personal opinion, connecting with the outdoors is key for the education of conservation & sustainability issues. Personally, I find the more time I spend in the outdoors, the more aware I am of these issues and the more I care about trying to help fix them. You learn so much through outdoor volunteering that you never would had you not taking the precious time to do something so helpful.

If you’re interested in living a sustainable lifestyle check out my post on things you should know before embarking on a sustainable lifestyle journey. You can also check out my post on how to reduce your carbon footprint!

Thanks and let me know if you have any questions about volunteering!

Ailsa xxx

A Zero Waste Skincare Routine You Can Try Out!

Although I’ve established a zero-waste skincare routine recently, byy no means am I a skincare expert. I’ve never had more than 2 or 3 steps to my actual morning or evening skincare routine. However at the age of 24 now (still very young) I’m realising how important looking after your skin even from a young age is. I still don’t use any SPF however I do plan to start when I can find a natural or sustainable product (please hit me up in the comments or by email if you know of any!).

*I do use affiliate links in my posts, but ONLY for products I’ve purchased myself and I actually like!*

Step 1)

I wash my face in the morning with some cold water to wake myself up, I just run the tap for a little bit and literally just splash my face! Nothing fancy here but I believe doing so can improve the circulation in your face. So of course apart from using up a bit of water, this step is most definitely zero-waste!!

Step 2)

Now I cleanse my face with my homemade cleanser! The main component of this is tea tree oil – which I believe helps to reduce acne (if used in small amounts), can also reduce the oil levels in the skin and soothes dry skin! You can read more about the effects of tea tree oil on the skin in this 2016 article: Journal of Dermatology Research and Therapy.

I use my new reusable face pads, which I got from a company on Amazon. The link is below if you’d like to have a look! They are washable and come with a mini bag which you can wash them in (in the washing machine) and 2 free boxes of bamboo cotton buds! A brilliant zero waste option for taking off make up and cleaning your skin, since single use face wipes will most certainly end up in the sea or in a landfill :(.

So basically I put a few drops of my homemade cleanser onto the reusable make-up wipe, then I just gently rub my face all over to get my pores clean. It’s important not to be rough with your skin especially around the eye area which is really delicate.

Here is the recipe for my homemade skin cleanser, it’s very easy!!

  • 1 table spoon tea tree essential oils
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil/ any other oil really

This cleanser is so effective for removing all of your makeup, including your mascara and eyeliner. I’d really recommend trying it out to see if it works for you!

Step 3)

Last up for my skincare routine, I moisturise using my homemade moisturiser! It’s brilliant because it’s so easy to make and contains all natural ingredients, plus you can vary the fragrance of it/or make it fragrance free if you prefer that πŸ™‚ I opt for germanium essentail oils to make it smell nice!

I also exfoliate my skin about once or twice a week with my homemade coffee scrub. This makes your skin soooo smooth and is literally so simple to make, with 3 ingredients from your kitchen cupboard. The fact that coffee contains antioxidants which are good for your skin is a plus.

I just put a little bit of the coffee scrub onto my hands and spread it out on my face, like you would a normal face mask. I leave it for about 10 minutes then wash off with warm water.

The brilliant thing about my skincare routine is that you can just fill up old jars or moisturiser pots with all of the homemade products that you make! So it vastly reduces your waste plus makes you a little more creative, even if you’re not a natural at making products from scratch (like me).

If you want to find out more about making homemade beauty products or living more sustainably, check out these posts which might help you with a couple of ideas:

Natural Deodorant

Eco-Friendly Period Products

Please let me know if you have any questions or need any help with getting started with your eco-friendly/zero waste journey!


Scots Firm Develop Biodegradable Packaging Made From Langoustines β€” Bioplastics News

Scottish company CuanTec is a startup which has produced new biological methods for extracting a chemical called Chitin from langoustine shells, a big contributor to food waste in Scotland & the UK. These biological methods are less harsh than previous chemical extraction methods.

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5 Things You Should Know Before Living A Sustainable Lifestyle…


“Climate change is the single biggest thing that humans have ever done on this planet. The one thing that needs to be bigger is our movement to stop it.” Bill McKibben

I’ve learnt a lot on my journey to becoming more environmentally aware/conscious… It started from a place of desperation- realising I wasn’t doing enough to help the planet and I wanted to change immediately. I think a lot of people can relate to this, so please let me know in the comments if this is something that sounds familiar to you?

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However, 2 years in and some things have come to light which I wish I’d known before starting and I’m going to write them here to hopefully help others who are looking to make drastic changes in life to help both the environment and themselves.


This is literally so important, I started off my journey from a place of depression & sadness. This mindset thing was not good, it sort of made me spiral into a black hole of realising there was so much more to be done and that I still wasn’t doing enough. Add that with all of the negative headlines we see in the news regarding “climate crisis” “environmental emergency” etc and you can actually end up feeling really quite helpless and depressed if you’re prone to those sorts of thoughts anyway. It’s taken a few years, a year of travelling and lots of motivational videos on YouTube etc for me to realise this is just not the right way to go about making a fundamental lifestyle change.

You need to go in with a positive mindset, of course there’s always more to be done, but even just starting out is amazing. That first tiny decision you make e.g. buying the organic version of something, choosing a plant based meal over a meat one or anything is SO important and you should be proud of yourself. Think positive and don’t let people tell you you aren’t doing enough, which leads me onto the next point.

2. Stay in your own lane

What I mean by this is that don’t take any notice of what others might say about you. Yes, look to others for inspiration and motivation but remember you’re not where they are on their journey, and they’re not where you are. When I first started out I was constantly comparing myself to others and this just isn’t the way to go about things. Stay on your on path, and whenever you feel yourself drifting away remember why you started in the first place (see point 3 for an expansion on that).

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5 Amazing Books On The Environment/Sustainability

I’ve always been a massive bookworm and pretty happy to read books on any subject, but as I’ve become more interested in environmental issues & the outdoor world I’ve been reading more on those kinds of topics. Varying from books about wildlife & plants, to sustainable cities and ethical businesses – here are 5 books I’ve read (some a few times) and that I would totally recommend reading.


*The following links are affiliate links, meaning if you purchase anything from them I do get commission. But considering I’d promote these anyway I think it’s fair for me to do that! It means I can keep my blog up and running if anyone clicks & buys!*

1. Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees by Thor Hanson

This book really astounded me, as oblivious as I was to how important bees were for the planet I really didn’t know whether this was going to be an interesting read or not. As a matter of fact I couldn’t actually put this book down, it’s really engaging throughout and the author doesn’t go into too much detail about actual bee species so it’s literally suitable for anybody.

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3 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Household Waste

If you’re looking into a zero-waste lifestyle but you don’t know where to start then I have some really easy tips for you! Don’t be overwhelmed by trying to go zero-waste, it’s an amazing thing to do and you’re definitely on the right path by even considering it. I’m not fully zero-waste but I do try my best. So here are 5 ways you can start out with and I hope these are helpful to you!

1. Find a minimal packaging shop near you!

A shop such as wholefoods, bin inn or little independent farm shops often have zero-waste areas where we can fill up our containers with certain kinds of food such as

  • Porridge oats
  • Cereal
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Raisins/other dried fruit

The list actually goes on! Just give a wee google for shops like this in your surrounding area, then find some old jars or plastic containers in your house and start using these instead of buying new boxes of food all the time! This really reduces your household waste, can be cheaper and is way better for the environment.

2. Use reusable face pads instead of single use face wipes!

We can’t flush facial wipes down the toilet – which I know a lot of people still do – but this is so bad for the planet, since it probably goes straight to the sea. It’s also not great to throw face wipes in the bin since they aren’t even recyclable.

Instead, you can use reusable face-pads or a muslin cloth. You can easily buy these off of Amazon or other zero-waste websites. Just use hot water and soap to take off your make-up, or you can buy a natural cleanser as well to help get your skin really clean.

3. Grow your own herbs!

I’ve started to grow my own herbs in the garden. The plastic packaging on herbs in the supermarket isn’t actually necessary when you can just buy seeds from your local garden centre in a paper package instead. It’s usually cheaper or around the same price anyway, but you’ll get more for your money since you can keep growing them outside. It’s an amazing thing to start doing because you can dry the herbs or keep them fresh depending on what you’d like to do with them. I really recommend growing your favourite herbs, you can even do it inside as long as you put them near a window so they’re getting enough sunlight. Also when you buy herbs in plastic packaging I find you end up not using all of it up before it goes off!

So there you have 3 simple ways you can get started with reducing your food waste! Let me know if you do any of these or if you plan to start!

Coffee & Vanilla Body Scrub

I’ve recently been making my own beauty products & this is the newest one I’ve tried. Coffee body scrub is so easy & cheap to make and it leaves your skin feeling really smooth – I think the coconut oil is to thank for that. It’s perfect for exfoliating your skin before applying tan or moisturiser & works just as well as the shop bought stuff!

If you’re on a zero-waste journey I really recommend trying to make your own beauty products, you can avoid lots of unnecessary plastic packaging by doing this! It’s also quite fun and can be satisfying knowing you made it yourself.

It literally takes 10 minutes to make – less time than it would to go to the shop & buy body scrub! So it’s really worth it.

The ingredients you’ll need to make it are:

  • Coffee Grounds
  • Coconut Oil
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Sugar


  1. Get half a cup of used coffee grounds & mix this in with half a cup of sugar.
  2. Melt half a cup of coconut oil in a pan (you can use the normal or odourless stuff, it doesn’t matter!)
  3. Pour this in with the coffee & sugar and mix it up.
  4. Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix together
  5. Put it in an old glass/plastic jar or container & keep sealed!


It’s important to store homemade beauty products properly to increase their shelf-life. Obviously there are no additives so the shelf life might be shorter than that of a shop bought product. Therefore I recommend just making as much as you need and keeping things in a sealed container away from direct sunlight!

Check out my other homemade beauty posts too here

If you try this out let me know if you like it/it worked for you! πŸ™‚

Ditch Fast Fashion & Rent a Pair of Jeans

The best thing about being on an eco-friendly/sustainability journey is the fact that you can actually save a lot of money. By making a bit of extra effort to do things in a more environmentally conscious way you can actually make things easier & more enjoyable for yourself with the wee bit of spare cash you end up having…

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Mud Jeans

Did you know you can actually rent a pair of jeans? I haven’t actually got round to doing this yet but if you’re in need of a new pair and not sure where to buy them, have a look at a website called My sister recently starting renting a pair of jeans for Β£7.50 a month! This isn’t sponsored or anything I just want to pass this info on for people who aren’t aware.

Why would you rent a pair of jeans??

Well first of all on this website the denim is made from a mixture of recycled & organic cotton. This is great because if we were to buy our jeans from a high street store the likelihood of the denim being organic/recycled would be very slim, therefore contributing to the fast fashion industry.

two hanged blue stonewash and blue jeans
Photo by Mica Asato on

This company also offer a repair service for jeans if you’re leasing them, and you can return them when you no longer want them for a new pair of jeans! They will recycle the old ones too πŸ™‚ I think this is an amazing idea especially since jeans can be really expensive if you need to pay for them in one go.

The company are very honest about who they work with for the manufacturing of the jeans which is ideal because sometimes this information isn’t really available.

Check out their FAQ on the website to learn more! I know I’ll be getting a pair soon:

Let me know in the comments if you’ve done this before from this website or any other website! I’m interested to know how it went for other people & if the quality of the organic cotton jeans is just the same πŸ™‚

Veganism – Is It As Sustainable As We Think?

First of all I’d like to clarify I’m not an expert on this topic, however I have been doing a lot of research on this lately and so just want to put my views across – this is my personal opinion and feel free to comment on this if you feel differently! I also don’t want this to make anyone feel bad, it’s just to add a new angle on current issues!



The Increasing Trend of Veganism

In recent years, veganism has taken off and is pretty much on an exponential increase in the UK. In my opinion overall this is an amazing thing to be happening – why? Because it raises awareness of the environmental, ethical & health issues arising from eating factory farmed meat and dairy products in people who otherwise wouldn’t be interested. More and more people are transitioning to plant-based milks, cheese and meat instead of the real thing because they now realise the damage these huge industrial farms are causing. However, after being vegan for quite a while myself (I’m not anymore) I started to notice things that personally I wasn’t happy with.

Processed Vegan Products

I noticed that being so dedicated to veganism was actually making me eat more processed food than I would have prior to going vegan. A lot of the meat substitutes in supermarkets have a lot of added stabilisers & flavourings, and although it is possible to just go for dried or tinned legumes & tofu – can we thrive off of these whilst getting everything we need in? Obviously this is on a case by case basis, whilst veganism might work for one person, it might not work for another. I think it would just be unrealistic to say that everybody should be vegan though. For example, women who suffer from anaemia around the time of their period?

Haem & Non-Haem Iron

The iron in plants (non-haem) is said to not be as easily absorbed as the iron in meat products (haem). So women who are suffering from this health problem might actually benefit from eating red meat – maybe grass fed beef – around this time. Now I’m not saying that we should all be eating red meat, but I think it’s important to put your health first & foremost and then your beliefs second. How are we going to make a difference if we can’t function physically & mentally as human beings?


Another thing I realised is that a lot of the amazing documentaries out there sort of apply mostly to the USA and Australia. I’m from Scotland, and actually if you’re buying organic meat and produce from here, chances are the animals have been treated as well as they possibly could before they are sent for slaughter (in a lot of cases). There is absolutely no excuse for animal abuse and I feel sick at the thought of any animals being treated badly. At the same time – how is this any different to the human beings who work on the soy farms in Asia working long days in the heat, to go home with almost zero cash in their pockets? However I am completely aware of the issues the fishing industry is having on the environment, and the huge amounts of by-catch that happens as a result of the fishing industry. But it’s impossible to cover everything in this one post so I’ll talk about that another time…

Can we win?

My point here is we have to pick our battles, as consumers we have a lot of power. By only demanding ethical (as possible) products then the big businesses need to supply us with that. Already we are seeing big changes with a lot of powerful companies promising to stop animal testing and bring out vegan ranges/products. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and I think we should all just go on our own journeys. One person might want to reduce their plastic waste and not be vegan whilst the other might start growing their own vegetables & herbs in the garden and eat organic meat. This is all okay! Don’t follow something because you feel like you have to, instead do your own research and find out what works best for your lifestyle. I can guarantee it’s making a positive difference and you’re winning with these small changes.

Is it sustainable to be vegan?

It completely depends on what your take on sustainability is… as I said before, if you don’t feel it’s sustainable for you and you’re not functioning properly on a vegan diet then don’t feel you have to do it. If it isn’t sustainable for you, then that’s the first thing you need to take into consideration. In terms of environmental sustainability, it probably is one of the better options but the Mediterranean diet has also been proven to be quite healthy & sustainable. To sum up – going vegan isn’t the ONLY option to becoming more sustainable, if you can’t do it then find other ways that do work for you & your family! Put you first!

Eco-Friendly Period Products in the UK!

**I was gifted these products but am reviewing them because I genuinely love them and know that some of my readers would too

The idea of having an environmentally friendly period sounds a little bit strange, but if you’re an avid user of the leading brand tampons & pads then it’s likely you’re going to use over 10,000 single use period products in your life-time!!

Tampons are made of plastic!

Did you also realise that these leading brands of sanitary products are mostly made of plastic & other synthetic products? The plastic that we know is so damaging to the environment & takes years and years to degrade, but we are continuing to put that in or near one of the most fragile parts of our body? Doesn’t make much sense does it!

The Menstrual Cup

Menstrual cups are one of the best things to solve this problem, there are so many brands out there to try that it can be a bit confusing which to choose!

Also, lots of people haven’t yet transitioned onto a menstrual cup. If you have a heavier period it can be a bit scary trying to use one of these! So another way to change to an eco-friendly alternative is a new brand of premium hygiene sustainable period products in the UK called grace & green.

Grace & Green

Grace & Green is a company based in the UK and is focused on giving women premium period products which are:

  • Organic
  • Very sustainable
  • Ethically made
  • Biodegradable

Here are the products which arrive in a box, to your door! You can order on a one off or monthly/quarterly subscription service. The packaging is gorgeous and discrete making it perfect for carrying around in your bag & travelling with.

Some facts about grace & green

If you look on her website, you can find loads of information about the company & their values. Here are some of the main points which I LOVE about this company:

What I personally like about the products

  1. They are literally as good as other brands which don’t produce environmentally friendly products
  2. The pads & liners are comfy & absorb really well!
  3. Just less waste involved – no plastic applicators and minimal packaging!

So if you’re looking for a new alternative to period products – check out this brand & if you do try it let me know what you think in the comments/if you’re aiming to have a more environmentally friendly period 😁😁 xxx