How to Give Up Single Use Plastic Bags + My Favourite Alternatives

In light of the changes big supermarkets are making to rid their businesses of single use plastic bags at the checkout, I thought I would do a dedicated blog post to this topic as it’s something I have been passionate about for a long time.

It’s very rare that you will catch me with a plastic bag of any kind in my hand. The amount of times I say no to store owners and carry my goods by hand, is every single time that I don’t have my reusable shopping bags on hand. I don’t care if people see me carrying, for example, time of month ‘things’ even, as for me that’s better than people seeing me carry a plastic bag, that’s how passionate I am about this topic, and this is just part of my zero waste journey which I’m continually working on and cannot wait to share more about with you in the future.

Where the big supermarkets are at currently..

Aldi – Aldi have been single use plastic bag free since they opened here in Australia. There are many reasons why Aldi can get their prices so low, and this is one of them. At Aldi you can either bring your own bags, or I know some Aldi’s actually keep cardboard boxes from the products they stock at the front of the store, of which you can use to take your groceries home in too.

Woolworths – On 20 June 2018 Woolworths went checkout single use plastic bag free. At this stage they are keeping single use plastic bags for fresh veggies etc., but to me it’s still a start in the right direction for this big supermarket influencer.

Update: Woolworths have gone back on their word and are lifting their checkout single use plastic bag ban until 8 June 2018 (hopefully they can stick to their guns this time because otherwise how will people ever learn..).

Coles – Coles will be ridding their supermarkets of checkout single use plastic bags too from 1 July 2018. To be honest I’m not sure why they didn’t follow suit with Woolworths, perhaps they wanted to get more plastic bag loving customers for a week longer than Woolies (yes I’m being cheeky), or perhaps it’s just what they are doing to begin plastic free July with a lot of others, as I believe that Woolworths starting theirs on 20 June (even though they advertised it) actually left a lot of people not knowing it was happening and rocking up to the supermarket ‘bag’ empty handed (not a bad way to learn a lesson though).

Where to buy quality reusable shopping bags..

You can get reusable shopping bags from your local supermarket yes, which I do have some of myself from the beginning of my zero waste journey, but if you want to get serious about it I recommend investing in quality resoluble shopping bags that will last years, because at the end of the day, and I know a lot of us on a zero waste journey know this deep down, that some of those cheaper alternatives will end up in landfill eventually anyway, so by investing in quality you will help prevent this too.

  • Op shop’s – There is also absolutely nothing wrong with heading to your local op shop to pick up second hand reusable bags. I have a few myself and absolutely love them (you will be surprised what quality reusable shopping bags you might find). By not buying ‘new’ you are contributing even more to less waste when giving a new home to something pre-loved/second hand, as you’ve saved it from possible landfill if it were to not find a home eventually.
  • Your home – I bet there are already some reusable shopping bags lying around your home that you have completely forgotten about, have a look first before you buy more.

What are the best reusable shopping bags to buy/key materials..

These fibres and materials can come in the form of drawstring, totes, baskets and more.

  • cotton
  • canvas
  • linen
  • jute
  • cane
  • seaweed
  • made from recycled materials
  • made from biodegradable materials
  • machine washable material
  • pre-loved/second hand (even if not made from the above materials – you are still making a difference to the planet)

This is my (very loved) ChicoBag rePETE shopping bag, one of my most favourite reusable shopping bags, which is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.
(read my review in a previous blog post here)

Where to keep your reusable shopping bags (so that you remember them)..

  • back of/near your front door, or wherever you keep your keys
  • handbag
  • car boot
  • car glovebox
  • drawer at work

I always keep one in my handbag that I take with me everyday to work, but keep most of mine in the back of my car so I have them with me whenever I shop.

How to care for your reusable shopping bags..

  • Wash – I mention this above as it’s one of the most important factors for me when choosing a reusable shopping bag are that it must be machine washable. This is so that I can keep my bags fresh and clean and of course, extend their usage life. I don’t wash them after every use, but common sense will tell you when they need it. I would wash the bags that I put fresh, unpackaged food in more often (extra tip: add a splash of vinegar to your bag wash for extra freshness).
  • Sun/air dry – After you wash them hang them on the line just as you would your everyday washing. Another tip is that the sun’s rays kills germs, so even if you don’t wash your bag but feel it needs a little freshening up, you can still hang it on the line just the same. If you don’t wash it and are opting to air dry it I would recommend turning it inside out to get the best result.

Summary: Follow my ‘SIMPLE’ way to stop using single use plastic bags..

  • S SAY NO to plastic bags at the checkout in stores that still have them (don’t be lazy).
  • I INVEST in quality reusable shopping bags.
  • M MAKE an effort to source reusable shopping bags that are sustainable too.
  • P PLACE your reusable shopping bags where you will see them.
  • L LOOK AFTER your reusable shopping bags so they will last even longer.
  • E EVERY TIME you shop without single use plastic bags you are making a difference.

I hope you found some useful information and tips and tricks for your own zero waste journey within this blog post. I would love to know what your plan is moving forward to go single use plastic bag free, or if you are already, what you have done to do so in the comments below.

All my love,

Healthy Cacao Hot Chocolate


Being healthy isn’t about giving up everything you love to indulge in, it’s about making healthier choices, and sometimes healthier alternatives of the things that you love. I know personally that it’s harder in Winter to always make healthier choices due to our bodies craving, 
well, a lot more than usual as a natural response when it’s cold, which is why I thought I would share with you one of my favourite healthy Winter alternatives, my go-to healthy hot choc recipe.

This hot chocolate is sure to curb some of those sweet evening cravings, whilst also nourishing you and warming you up from the inside out. This hot chocolate is also dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar free. I hope you love it as much as I do.

You will need.. small saucepan + spoon + measuring cups + measuring spoons

Ingredients

1 cup almond milk (I use unsweetened)

1 tbsp cacao powder, sifted

1/2 tsp stevia (or sweetener of choice)

pinch ground cinnamon, sifted

1/2 tsp coconut oil

Method

Heat almond milk in saucepan over low to medium heat, stirring gently until you see steam coming from the milk.

Remove from heat while you add in remaining ingredients, cacao powder, stevia, ground cinnamon and coconut oil.

Return to heat, stir until combined and smooth, or until coconut oil has melted.

Pour into favourite mug.

Best enjoyed hot.

Makes approx. 1 serve

Time approx. 10 minutes

If you make this I would absolutely love to know what you think in the comments below, and if you take a photo please share it on Instagram and tag @sparkleondarling so I can see. I cannot wait for you to try this. Make sure to subscribe to SPARKLE on darling back on the home page to ensure you don’t miss the next recipe.

All my love,

My Winter Health Tips + Staying Motivated

Winter seems to be a time where all we humans want to do is retreat, stay warm, stay inside and nourish our souls, but what our body is really wanting is for us to nourish our body inside and out even more than usual.

I was recently listening to one of my favourite podcasts and they spoke about how when we are cold (or hot) these days we more often than not use artificial heating (or cooling) to fix the situation, but really what we should be doing is moving our body to warm up, or eat warming foods. Feeling ‘cold’ is our bodies way of saying ok we need to heat up this vessel, and for obvious reasons heaters don’t exactly have the same effect, because they aren’t circulating blood, or oxygen, they aren’t really warming us up from the inside out at all. Though a heater or a blanket may make us feel warm, our body is craving some form of movement, or warming foods, and I believe the benefits of listening to that are more than worthwhile.

My health tips that help me get through Winter..

  • If you feel cold try moving your body instead of heating it artificially, whether it’s a quick walk around the block or simply some basic stretching at home in your lounge room, your body will thank you so much more.
  • Choose warming foods like soup or hot cooked meals. Soups are a known Winter food for a reason, they warm you from the inside out during the cooler days and can also be hydrating.
  • Keep a water bottle with you at all times. During Winter we are less likely to drink as much water as we do in Summer, commit to making it a habit to drink it whenever you find yourself in a spare moment rather than waiting until you are thirsty.
  • Regarding hydration, invest in some beautiful natural teas to further work on warming your body up from the inside out and hydrating your body. Your skin will love you for this also.
  • Staying healthy isn’t just about your fitness or what you eat, during Winter I take extra care of my skin too. I make an effort to moisturise my body daily, exfoliate at least once a week to increase circulation and try to spend a few minutes in the sunshine wherever possible. Who said you can’t come out the end of Winter glowing.

How I stay motivated..

  • I try my best to continue to meal prep to help keep me on track with my food intake as it can be easy to overdo it in Winter. Working out what foods you can pre-make to warm you up can be a little harder (I know from personal experience soups are a hard food to take on a commute), but continuing to eat home cooked meals will always pay off above and beyond, it’s always worth the effort and time. I’ve written a dedicated meal prep blog post series, ‘Meal Prep by Clo‘, if you are looking for some meal prep inspiration and motivation.
  • Each night before I have an early morning gym session I lay out my activewear ready to put on (and pre-pack my gym bag too).
  • I’ve started seeing a personal trainer two times a week which keeps me consistent with my training (read it here – ‘Why I Love Having a Personal Trainer‘).
  • During my work lunch breaks I swap lunch time reading, social media scrolling or the occasional shopping down the mall for a walk around the city instead after I eat (this is great for the budget too).
  • I write down my health and fitness goals for Winter. Writing things down is so powerful, especially goals. Put them where you can see them and refer to them on a daily basis to help you remember your ‘why’.

All of the above is from my own personal experience, so at the end of the day you need to ‘do you’ and what works for you personally too, but getting through Winter does take a little extra work (and love), so I hope I’ve helped to inspire and motivate you to make the most of this Winter too, and come out the end of it sparkling.

If you have any Winter health tips or motivational tricks, or already do any of the above, leave them or tell me about your experience in the comments below. Let’s get through these cooler months together.

All my love,

Learn to Back Yourself (No Matter How Small Your Beginning)

I may not be getting thousands of views on a daily basis here on SPARKLE on darling, but I am getting views often from all over the world, and regular visits from my growing community, and each and every one means the absolute world to me and my passion project.

Earlier this year I decided to invest in my own business cards (pictured above), because as much as I have an online identity, right now I’m wanting to come back to reality more and more, and build in person connections as well. So creating my own business cards for my blog, of which I could give out when asked what I do, what my blog is called, or simply, who am I, was the best way I could easily connect with people in person in a way that they would remember me, or have something to take away to remember me by.

My little logo, the jar of hearts (the origin story of the jar to come in a future blog post), for those who don’t know was created entirely by me from scratch, as was the entire design of my business cards. I am so proud of my logo and the branding of SPARKLE on darling in general, that to see it on something hard copy, that I could hold in my hands, was really something special. These business cards are also made from 100% recycled cotton T’s (something I’m also extremely proud of). I’ve of late been dreaming of creating more hard copy, hold-in-your-hand,  SPARKLE on darling branded pieces to add to my site for my sparkling readers to have (and to hold), so stay tuned for these future dream projects of mine. For now though, these little business cards are a beautiful start.

When I first started SPARKLE on darling, most thought it was just a ‘hobby’, but to me it’s so much more than that. I’ve said it before, but it’s literally everything to me. The amount of love that has gone into every single design process, blog post, photograph, and well, I’ve lost count of how much time has gone into it, but my blog is nearly 1 year old and I’ve put a lot into it, more ‘me’ than I’ve ever put into anything else.

Creating a business card was my way of backing myself and how I feel about this passion project of mine, it is my way of saying this is what I love to do, this is what I’m good at, watch out world.. I’m here for the long haul. I had someone from my little community say (kindly), that they thought you would have to be ‘bigger’ to have something like a business card. This in the moment flawed me, as I did not for one second during the design process of the business cards think that I wasn’t ‘big’ enough online to have one, that I didn’t deserve to have one, I simply thought that this was a great opportunity for me to create something memorable for people that meet me to have.

I recently let go of a large social media account (read it here – ‘Let Go to Move Forward‘), which goes against so much of societies ‘online’ expectations, but followers and likes don’t and will never dictate my worth, followers and likes aren’t the height of my identity, I know what I’m worth, and finally I am starting to know who I am, without the numbers, and I love it. Sure I created these business cards when I had that larger social media following, but even now I’m still so proud every time I give them out, because they are me, on a little card, they are my heart and soul, they are the path for others to find and see into my soul too. When I created them I also never put any social handles on there (eg. Instagram usernames), I didn’t really know why it didn’t feel right to do so at the time, but now I do, because I want to be known for my true passions, my writing and my creativity. These little business cards are me, this is me finally owning my identity.

To anyone out there on an online journey doubting that they aren’t ‘big’ enough or ‘well known’ enough to do something, throw that idealism out the window, because if you don’t do what you want to do, you won’t change the lives of those that you would if you did do it. From my blog perspective, one singular reader or a thousand readers, each blog post read, even once, is worth more than a thousand readers if I inspire just one person. Everyone starts small (everyone), small waves still create change. Back yourself, darling, at every stage of your journey. Invest and nurture your dreams no matter how big, or small. You, and only you, are the true owner of your identity.

All my love,