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 have the pleasure of speaking to Lily from the Australian blog Riatta.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your blog.

Before I launched Riatta, I was a corporate accountant working in Sydney. My husband and I bought some land north of the city and moved out here for a better work life balance and I left the corporate world. I have been loving living here ever since!

While I had slowly been making healthier and greener choices for us before we moved, this was where I truly dove into green living. My blog came about not long after. In fact, I named my blog after our property. I had been so amazed and inspired by our new home, the community here and everything I have learnt, I wanted to help simplify it for others, and encourage and support them on their own green journeys.

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

Living a greener lifestyle for me means living more holistically. It means having a greater consideration for how our everyday habits and choices impact our overall well-being and the flow on effect they may have as part of the bigger picture. This bigger picture includes our impact on the planet and our fellow human beings.

Why is it important to you?

The most important thing to me when first I started my green journey was my personal health and the health of my family. I was concerned about the food we were eating in terms of how it was grown and processed, and how the chemicals in products we were using day to day might be affecting us. That is still very important to me as our health can have a huge impact on our happiness and quality of life. It is what first led me to look for green alternatives to many products I use. 

Since beginning my green journey, I have also been inspired to take on a greater sense of personal accountability for the impact I have on the planet and others. I challenge myself to not just make healthy and natural choices for my family but choices that are ethical, sustainable and eco-friendly. This is important to me as I want to do more good than harm for the planet and others while I am here.

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

Most recently I have been working on reducing the amount of waste produced in my household, particularly plastic waste. I have found some fantastic ways to replace different typically plastic products but I still have a long way to go before I am completely plastic free. The convenience of using plastic can be hard to get past but the statistics are just so staggering I can’t justify contributing to it anymore. 

I also put a bit of extra time and effort into planning meals for the week and food prep to cut out the amount of processed foods we fall back on eating. I also shop organic and buy from local farmers markets where I can. 

In terms of personal care and household products, I have now long switched over to natural alternatives. Most of which are available online but not locally. This does mean I need to stay on top of reordering before they start to run low as I can’t just pop to the local shops to pick another one.

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

I want to work on making my wardrobe more ethical and sustainable. It is hard because I don’t like shopping online for clothes which is where I have come across a lot of ethical clothing labels. Changing over my wardrobe is also something that is best done over time as I naturally discard things, it is not something I can realistically do all at once. 

Starting a veggie patch is also something I would love to do when I have the time. For now, I am happy with my small herb garden.

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

The biggest thing for me is leading by example and setting into place good habits as early as possible so being environmentally conscious becomes the default. I try to engage them in the process rather than just doing it for them, for example making them turn off the TV or a light they left on instead of turning it off myself after they have walked away. I just treat it like teaching them any other behaviour is good or bad and as they grow they should come to understand the why. There are some great kids books and TV shows that have strong environmental messages that can also help. I personally love the Lorax By Dr Seuss.

Lily - Riatta

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

1.Start will small steps and just keep taking small steps. There is a lot you can do to try and live a greener lifestyle. If you try and do it all at once you will overwhelm yourself, burn out and any progress you have made will stall. Start by making small changes and focus on one thing before moving onto another. 

2. Be open to giving different approaches to green living an honest try but go with what is right for you. You don’t want to count anything out before you have tried it but at the same time if something isn’t right for you, there are always other options to explore.

3. Get involved in your local green scene. The encouragement and support I have found in various green communities has been paramount in getting me as far as I have come today. 

4. Reflect on why living greener and more sustainable is important to you, the answer is different for everyone. What excites you or derives you or what do you find most satisfying in terms of green living? You are more likely to be consistent and successful reaching your green living goals if you have a strong reason driving you. Use that and keep it in the front of your mind if you ever feel discouraged.  

5. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect, especially while adjusting to new changes you are trying to make. If you try and be too strict on yourself with no leeway, you are more likely to give up and go back to what you were doing before. Being perfect at anything is hard, if not impossible. Just make sure that falling back into old habits is the exception and doesn’t become the standard again. For example, forgetting your grocery bags and using plastic bags once or twice is better than using plastic bags all the time so don’t give up if you have trouble remembering reusable bags at first.

How would you define your natural skincare/ beauty routine?

I would define my skincare and beauty routine as a bit hectic and ever changing with a few staples. This is because I am always trying out new natural products and different ethical and eco-friendly approaches.

In general, I am not one to fix a full face of makeup every day although I enjoy it when I do! I try and keep my skin looking its best with a modest skincare routine. This mainly involves using a facial oil or other moisturiser regularly and the occasional serum treatment. Otherwise my skin can get quite dry. A facial sunscreen is a must when I am heading out.

Who do you look up for advice?

That’s a tough one. Most advice I consider I get from engaging with other beauty bloggers and beauty enthusiasts in social media communities. I like seeing multiple points of views and coming to conclusions on my own and am passionate about trying out products for myself. There are so many great natural skincare and beauty products and advice out there, I couldn’t narrow it down or single any one out.

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

I absolutely love jojoba oil. I use it as a moisturiser for my hair and face, and I find it just so beautifully nourishing. It also never really feels out of place on my skin as jojoba closely resembles our natural skin oils. My bottle of jojoba oil is never far from reach.

Recently I have also been loving Noosa Basics Sea Spray. It helps give my hair natural looking beautiful beachy waves without making my hair look or feel sticky or crunchy or using a curler. It is particularly effective for straight or slightly wavy hair and super quick and convenient.

For me another must have heading into summer is my Face Tan Water by Eco Tan. It is a very natural, simple and effective way to tan my face without tanning my skin. It applies easily just like you would a toner. You can also control how tanned you want to go by how many applications you use. 

Apart from her blog, you can also find Lily on social media: FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lily. 

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.