A greener way of life

Welcome to my interview series, “A greener way of life”, in which I talk to fellow green lifestyle & beauty bloggers to find out more about how, on a day-to-day basis, they manage to lead a green lifestyle. From making more ethical shopping choices, ditching plastic, to growing their own veg, these uber-conscious bloggers can teach all of us a thing or two about making a positive contribution not only to our planet but also to those around us. They say that ‘grass is greener on the other side’ and in the case of these lifestyle bloggers, it probably is 🙂

A greener way of life

This week, I’m chatting to one of my favourite green beauty bloggers, Ana from Ana Goes Green.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your blog.

I have always been a lover of beauty products, whilst my friends could be found shopping for clothes, I could be found on the make-up and skincare counters. When I got pregnant with my first son nine years ago, I started to take an interest in ingredient labels and natural beauty. The industry was still in its infancy then and the quality and quantity of brands available was small. At the time I was reading lots of beauty blogs and I decided to create my own to talk about natural beauty and share my experiences of the brands I was trying. That’s how Ana goes Green was born, the name itself is a play on words, because Green is my married name. Because I had an interest in green beauty and ethical living the name just seemed to fit!

Although keeping a blog going for over five years is a lot of hard work, I absolutely love the whole creative process. It predominantly covers natural, organic and free from beauty options, but I also cover cloth nappies, reusable sanitary products or any other green living topic that interests me. My favourite thing about blogging is connecting with other like-minded people on social media, I am constantly inspired and constantly learning which is just amazing!

What does a ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ lifestyle mean to you?

Such a difficult and complicated question because the definition of green and sustainable is in constant flux with the goal posts changing as things evolve. I think taking it very much back to basics, a greener lifestyle means a more conscious lifestyle and is about progress rather than perfection. We are all faced with lots of choices daily; whether it be the food we buy, how we dispose of our rubbish or what we put on our skin. For me, it has been a joy finding options that were better for my family and the planet. We are nowhere near perfect, there is always more to do, but the journey has been so far, a brilliant one.

In terms of sustainability, I think there is a lot that can be done on a personal level and by businesses. I think consumers have become much more aware of the impact of our choices on the environment, animals and the workers that produce the products themselves. Waste was never something that concerned me before, now I consider the lifespan of everything I buy, how long it will last and where it will end up when I have finished with it.

Why is it important to you?

When it comes to the environment, the impact we have had in just the last fifty years is shocking. When I look at my children, I hope that any steps we can take now will make their future better. It is also about valuing what we have; valuing resources, valuing people and valuing ourselves enough to consciously make the best choices we can.

What everyday actions do you currently take to help you achieve that sort of lifestyle?

For me progress and not perfection sums up our personal approach. The whole family is on board, but everyone has different priorities and I think that is OK. We have two children and one still in nappies, so using cloth nappies, wipes and other reusable items where possible helps to cut down on the piles of waste that children can generate. My husband is always willing to give something a try and has never grumbled about my efforts to make our house a greener less wasteful one. He recently converted to using a safety razor for example.

We try and buy as much as possible second hand especially toys and clothes and if I am buying new things for the children I love buying from ethical and organic cotton brands for clothes and choosing classic wooden toys that will last.

I use castile soap for cleaning and soap nuts or an eco-egg for laundry, we also source toilet rolls without plastic. A lot of the changes we have made have actually simplified things in many ways, as we buy a lot in bulk meaning less trips to the shops. We try and buy as much food unpackaged as possible, this is area that gives us the most headaches but we do the best we can!

What other green initiatives would you like to implement in your household?

I have been on a bit of mission to cut our household waste down even further. We currently create half of the waste as a family of four that we once did as a family of two, but I would like to halve that again!

We love to grow our own fruits and veggies, but sadly haven’t had much time with a new baby, so it would be great to great growing again next year.

How do you teach your children about looking after the environment or leading a greener kind of lifestyle? 

I think children are incredibly smart and switched on, they see rubbish everywhere and they understand that it is a bad thing. My son takes a natural interest in the environment, but like most children often forgets simple things like turning off lights and appliances so we keep having conversations about why we need to do these things. I think there is a lot to be said for leading by example when it comes to kids, so hopefully some of what we do as a family will rub off on them as adults!

What 5 top tips would you give to someone who wants to lead a more conscious, greener and zero-waste lifestyle?

  1. My first tip would be to do a life audit and try and identify easy changes you could make to a greener life. Look at the contents of your bins, think about your lifestyle and then make a manageable plan.
  2. My second to tip would be to get inspiration and ideas from the internet. There is a wealth of information out there, blogs, online magazines covering green living and sites like Pinterest are a great way to get informed and inspired!
  3. My third tip is to make changes in a slow and manageable way. We found that for changes to really stick we had to integrate them in to our lives in a way we could sustain. People tend to want to change everything at once and end up giving up as they are so overwhelmed!
  4. Swapping disposable items for good quality reusable ones that will last is a great way to save money and generate less waste. It also makes life a lot simpler as you aren’t constantly having to replace items that are cheap and designed to have a short life.
  5. Lastly shopping for items that are second hand, swapping items with friends that you no longer want or reclaiming items that would otherwise go to waste are all great ways to use resources that already exist. There are so many great ways to shop secondhand now, including Facebook and Ebay.

How would you define your natural skincare/ beauty routine?

I have a real passion for great quality natural skincare, body care and make up. I would describe my routine as varied, because I am constantly trying new brands and products. On the other hand, over the years I found that I am drawn to similar products, I love an oil based serum, a floral water toner and nourishing body oil.

Who do you look up for advice?

I try and read lots of green beauty and zero waste/green living blogs. I think that being part of a community of like-minded people is one of the best things about blogging. Tamsin from Eco Fluffy Mama does a great job at creating interesting and varied content, she inspired me to try cloth sanitary pads and a menstrual cup. Also, Heather from A Reusable Life is a constant inspiration for all things eco parenting and cloth nappies.

What are your 3 natural skincare/ beauty must-haves?

  • I couldn’t be without a good quality cleanser, I love a thick and gentle cream like the Pai Camelia and Rose cleanser. I favour a cream as I find it perfect for removing make up and using morning and evening.
  • For make-up I use a mineral powder foundation, as I love the coverage and how it looks. My favourite is the Inika foundation as it’s gentle on sensitive skin.
  • Lastly I love an oil based serum to nourish the skin , I have tried a lot over the years and it is hard to narrow down a favourite but the Desert Rose face oil from Bodhi and Birch is brilliant for dry skin!

Apart from her blog, you can also find Ana on social media: Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

A huge thanks to Ana for sharing her views and tips. And what’s YOUR top tip for leading a greener way of life?

If you’re a green lifestyle and/or beauty blogger and you’re interested in being featured in my interview series, then please email me at alex@thatbutterflyeffect.com