The Two Ducks Guide to Simplifying Life, Part 1: Living More Sustainably

We love engaging with the subjects that matter most to our customers, and over the past year we’ve noticed a big shift towards people wanting to pare back and simplify their lives. Running a small business can be really stressful, so it’s something we can definitely get on board with too! So welcome to our first in a series of two posts aimed at helping you to embrace a simpler, easier and hopefully calmer way of life. In our next post we’ll tackle mindfulness, but first we’re looking at how we can all take steps to remember the planet we live in, and adopt a more environmentally sustainable way of life… 🌍

You may have seen in our last newsletter, but we’re delighted to have teamed up with new Woking-based business Bare + Fair – run by local sustainability superstar Mel Hemmings. We’re the first business to trial some of her eco-friendly household products – and the verdict so far? They work just as well as chemical-based alternatives, hurrah! We thought we’d take this opportunity to catch up with Mel…

Bare + Fair

Hi Mel, please tell us a little about yourself!

I grew up in Woking! I moved away for university but came back, met my husband and we now live here with our 3 children. I’ve spent the last 6 years being stay-at-home mum, and prior to that I worked as a teaching assistant.

Have you always followed an environmentally sustainable way of life?

I’ve always had a general concern about what is happening to the planet, but didn’t think there was much I could personally do until last year when I went to a talk at the WWF Living Planet Centre about how small changes can collectively make a huge difference. It opened with a statistic that 42% of the UK’s carbon emissions are a direct result of how we live and travel – so I couldn’t believe that I couldn’t make a difference any more! I was also introduced to the ‘Zero Waste’ movement, where people try to reduce their waste to an absolute minimum, and I was seriously impressed by what they’d achieved!

What inspired you to start Bare + Fair and how’s it going so far?

Over the last year my family have halved our household waste and it wasn’t even that difficult! The most time-consuming thing was researching alternatives to common household disposables so I started an Instagram feed (@waste_less_woking) to share ideas and local information, and found myself having more conversations with people about living sustainably.

I also visited ‘Zero Waste’ shops in other areas and found myself thinking ‘Why isn’t there something like this in Woking?’, so started making plans for Bare + Fair. We launched in February and have been incredibly well received. I knew Woking was ready for this, but to have had so many messages of support and people turning up at the stall to thank us has been wonderful!

My hope is to make it as easy as possible for people in Woking to live more sustainably and reduce their household waste. We sell eco-friendly, largely plastic-free alternatives to a lot of common household disposables (e.g. bamboo toothbrushes, reusable kitchen roll, safety razors, bar soaps etc.) plus refills of household cleaners, laundry detergents, hair care and beauty products. Customers can bring their empties to refill and save the plastic packaging. We love it when people have questions about sustainable living too!

I’m also very excited to be trialling our cleaning products with Two Ducks. My hope is to roll this out to more local businesses, helping them to go green and cut their waste too.

What are your top tips for families wanting to live more sustainably?

There are lots of little changes busy families can make that add up to a big difference. Have a look at what you are constantly throwing in the bin – things like baby wipes, disposable razors, plastic food wrap, disposable cups and bottles can all be easily replaced with plastic-free or reusable options. Food shopping is a huge source of waste, so take your own bags for loose produce and boxes for meat, fish and cheese. Also choose cardboard or glass packaging over plastic. On carbon emissions, switching to a green energy supplier is easier than you think and will make a huge difference to your home’s carbon footprint.

Aside from saving the planet, what are the day-to-day benefits of this way of life?

As a family we spend less time food shopping – partly because I don’t buy disposable things over and over again, and partly because shopping for more sustainably-packaged items means I can walk past huge sections of the supermarket! Cooking in season and from scratch means we all appreciate our food more too.

I also love how it’s connected us with local people and business (like Two Ducks!) who want to take action. Seeing what it means for our children is so inspiring too. I know I’m doing what I can to leave the planet in a decent state for my children, and they feel empowered to spread the word about plastic waste to their friends and teachers.

Thanks for your time Mel!

If you’d like to visit Bare + Fair, the stall is situated in Mercia Walk, outside Wolsey Place shopping centre in Woking, every Saturday from 9am – 4pm. Join the conversation on Instagram @bareandfair.co and Facebook @bareandfair too! ♻️ 😁

Bare & Fair3

Here at Two Ducks we’ve also been making more conscious choices about the products and brands we bring you.

Thought is a really popular fashion brand that we’re so pleased to stock. Not only does it design gorgeous keep-forever pieces, but everything is sustainably-made from organic, natural fibres that are kind to the skin and last wash after wash.

Thought Clothing

As well as clothing, we also stock Thought‘s cotton string bags – a stylish way to ditch the plastic altogether on your weekly shop!

Our bodycare range continues to grow and this year we’ve embraced soaps! They’re such an easy way to reduce plastic waste, plus with fab designs and delicious scents from the likes of Nuddy and Arthouse Unlimited, what more could you want?

Arthouse Unlimited Soaps
Who doesn’t love the warm glow and gentle aroma of a scented candle in the evening? But having learnt that some candles can contain damaging toxins, we’re making an effort to stock cleaner alternatives. Naturally-made candles from Melt and Parkminster look and smell wonderful without releasing nasty particles into the air – better for you and the planet.

Parkminster Products - Small Votive Candle Triple PackThe massive amount of waste caused by disposable coffee cups and drinks bottles has been a major talking-point these past few years, so last year we introduced a fantastic range of reusable drinks flasks from S’ip by S’well. Not only will they keep your drink hot or cold, they come in some really fun designs.

S'ip by S'well bottles

We’re also stocking Jen Chillingsworth’s fantastic book ‘Live Green’, which offers 52 steps for a more sustainable lifestyle. Jen encourages us to live more thoughtfully, and we absolutely love her mantra: Less buying, more doing; less wanting, more enjoying.

Live Green Book

Beautifully written and illustrated, we thought we’d share some of our favourite tips:

Bring the outside in. Like us, Jen fully appreciates the pleasure a well-tended house plant can bring. We’re huge fans of adding greenery to our interior schemes, but did you know that certain varieties can help purify the air too? Some of the best toxin-busting varieties include ivy, peace lilies and ferns. Healthier air AND beautiful botanicals? Yes please!

Meal planning. Taking the time to create a weekly meal plan and write a shopping list is beneficial for so many reasons. Not only does it reduce food waste, it can help to save money and time. Try to get input from the whole family so that everyone has a particular meal they look forward to – and even better, can help prepare!

Reduce plastic wrap. Many of us reach for the cling-film to wrap packed lunches or leftovers, but it’s not a recyclable product. Instead, try reusable boxes or, better still, cover a bowl of leftovers with an upturned plate. Lunches are trickier, but there are eco-friendly options around, like recycled foil, grease-proof paper and wax wraps (which you can make at home yourself).

Eat seasonally and locally. It’ll make such a difference to the environment if we can reduce how many miles our food travels. Because we’ve become accustomed to their all-year-round availability, we see apples from South Africa and blueberries from Peru..! Around Woking there are plenty of farm shops that supply seasonal, local goods; or alternatively, check out Market Walk in the town centre, where there’s a huge range of fresh and varied produce available.

Create a capsule wardrobe. If you have the discipline, editing your wardrobe down to what you truly need is so worthwhile. Not only does it save on space and time, but you won’t be tempted to splurge on items impulsively. You’ll also end up with clothes that you love, suit your style and fit you well.

At Two Ducks we love our fashion collections, and always try to buy pieces that encourage long-term wear. We hope that you’re happy to pay a little bit more knowing that our fashion isn’t mass-produced, but is instead made to last and provide timeless style. If you like the sound of creating a capsule wardrobe – perhaps for summer – pop in and let us help you define your personal style.

Fashion Collection

Now it’s over to you! We hope this has inspired you to think about living and consuming more consciously, however you can, and would love to open up the conversation. Let us know your top tip for achieving a more sustainable life. It doesn’t have to be a huge shift – as Mel said, even the smallest changes can go a long way.

Tell us yours either in the comments below or on our Facebook page (@TwoDucksLifestyle), and we’ll share our favourites in the next blog post! 😁

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5 thoughts on “The Two Ducks Guide to Simplifying Life, Part 1: Living More Sustainably

  1. Having my reusable coffee takeaway cup has completely stopped me having any takeaway coffee cups so far this year… the key for me is that it’s collapsible and lightweight, which means I keep it in my handbag at all times and is there whenever I need a coffee fix when I’m out!

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  2. As above, my reusable coffee cup and water bottle make a huge difference. I also buy fruit and veg from Boz’s in Woking which is almost all packaging free. In terms of fashion, I’m trying to follow the ‘buy less, choose well, make it last’ mantra.
    And absolutely loving products from Bare + Fair, already replaced endless plastic bottles of handwash with bar soap, shampoo with bar shampoo, refills of laundry detergent and washing up liquid and reusable makeup remover pads. All these changes were super easy to implement and I’m determined to continue further.

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  3. I have started buying soap from Bare & Fair and planning to buy their shampoo as well. Over the last year I have become very conscious when it comes to buying new clothes or shoes. I would rather spend more money on quality things knowing that they will last for years. Also the biggest new adjustment is not buying ready Macaroni cheese meal for my son( I used buy one once a week when we were home late after swimming). I make it myself now and my son Oliver loves helping with the cooking. Our bit saving on black non recyclable containers 😃

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  4. My S’well bottle and coffee cup are two items that I use everyday – I can’t bear to buy a bottle of water now. Having lived in Oz for the last few years they are better set up for this; water fountains are all over the place so you can just top up. The other really useful item is a soda stream. We were wasting so much plastic having fizzy water when the soda stream does the job – and in a reusable bottle! 🙂

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  5. A soda stream! We were going through so much plastic waste with fizzy water – this solves the problem. And on the plus side, no lugging heavy bottles home from the shops!

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