All I want for New Year is...

As I write this I'm keeping my fingers crossed - yes, clever, I know - for something shiny, precious, life changing and delivered in a teeny-weeny box this Christmas. Yes, a new iPhone 4. But that's not the only prezzie on my wish-list.

It will be jolly useful if my nearest and dearest treat me to the eco gifts I've been meaning to buy myself all year. Okay, make that the last three years. Not only would it make my Christmas, it would make meeting my 2011 New Year's resolutions much easier too. These would be the gifts that give back. Hurrah!

For me, 2011 is all about saving stuff. For starters, I want to save energy, water, my skin, my waistline, and a little bit of money too. Oh, erm, and saving the planet would be pretty awesome as well.

Stop wasting the wet stuff

It's such a simple thing, and yet I still haven't done it. No, I'm not talking about sharing the bath water, turning the tap off while brushing my teeth or only washing the baby once a month. I've been doing those for ages already.

I'm talking about getting one of those aerated shower heads. They mix the water with air, meaning you get all of the shower effect with less than half of the water. At about £30, they cost less than a haircut, around my part of town at least, and you can buy its cute little friends to go on your taps too. I know it's not the most glamorous of gifts, but it beats a water butt for sparkle factor and it’s easier to wrap up too.

I once contemplated getting a cutesy animal-shaped shower timer, to help me get in and out in three minutes flat, but instead I had a cutesy human-shaped baby. Granted he is not the cheapest option, but he is without fail the best water-saving device on the planet, given that most days now I don't have a shower and on the days that I do I manage two shampoo lathers, a condition, a brisk soaping and a tidy up in 27.95 seconds.

By the way, one of these water saving tactics above isn't recommended. Sharing a bath can be dangerous if you live with a crocodile.

Less is more

We all need to save energy when we can. There isn't an infinite supply of it, and it's blinking expensive. Plus, Vivienne Westwood told me, on BBC Breakfast this week, that if we don't save energy we will bring the world to the brink of apocalypse. And there's me thinking she’s a fashion designer.

The energy I have mostly been trying to preserve in 2010, to no avail of course, is my own. In 2011 I shall accept the fate of all mums of toddlers and give up on feeling anything less than run over by a (electric) bus, and think instead about saving everyone else's energy.

Here's the rub. Remembering to turn off appliances is harder now that I have less time and more to think about, and finding time to monitor our energy consumption is as likely as finding Matt Cardle in my Christmas stocking. To help me meet my New Year’s resolution, I pray that someone buys me a Wattson energy meter and one of those one-switch-sorts-all standby busters. I pray too for Matt Cardle in my stocking. Oh c'mon girls, who doesn't?

I am not a paper cup

That's right, I am not a paper cup, I am a guilty latte drinker who must have gone through a small forest of paper cups in the last 18 years, since I arrived in London from the North and went all cosmopolitan. I just have to quit with the paper-bound drinks. If someone hasn't bought me a ceramic I Am Not A Paper Cup for Christmas I am going to scream and scream until I'm...in need of another latte and a lie down.

See the light

The shorter days and dark mornings remind me that I want to replace every light bulb in the house with an energy-saving daylight bulb. It will save money, energy (did I mention that?), and help lift the spirits. There is nothing like artificial natural daylight for a feel-good factor, apart from real natural daylight that is. At last count, I had 6374 light bulbs in my mansion. Or was that six light bulbs in my three-up-three-down terrace?

Watch the pennies

I expect you are just like me, in that you have a conscience bigger than your wallet. If money was no object there is no question that I would exclusively buy the best quality natural products, from organic household cleaners through to natural beauty products, organic baby stuff, ethical fashion, energy-efficient cars. I have always prioritised these things, but it can be a little heavy on the budget.

Next year, I'm determined to only buy eco-friendly whenever possible, and to make the most of any available promotions on items that I actually need. They are definitely out there if you know where to look. I've also discovered the benefits of bulk buying too, and sharing the discount with friends. Four-for-the-price-of-three Jason deodorants is a good example. Deodorant is a necessity and, heck, I can find three friends with armpits. Here are some great bulk buy offers, from the Ecover cleaning range to toilet roll. And if anyone tells you they don't need toilet roll you're talking to a bear in a wig.

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