Laura Fitzpatrick


We’ve all taken steps to improve our health and detoxify ourselves. We go to the gym, cut back or eliminate sugar from our diets, stop eating processed foods, and invest in purchasing organic foods, such as produce, milk, and eggs. While we think about our bodies, though, how many of us take a step back and think about our homes? There are toxins lurking everywhere, from flooring to cleaning products.

If you want to take your health initiatives another step forward, why not lessen your exposure to the toxins and chemicals so often found throughout the home? Granted, if you live in an apartment, you won’t have control over certain things such as flooring, but there are plenty of things you can take command of to improve your quality of living. Here are five easy ways to detoxify your apartment.

1. Remove shoes at the door

This is the easiest of steps. Simply take off your shoes when you get home. When you think about the fact you really have no idea who or what has passed through an area before you walked through it — and how many areas you walk through in a single day — there is a certain “ick factor” to consider in these situations:

  • Public bathrooms contain biological waste, paper waste, and chemicals.
  • The curb is where people walk their dogs (and, we hope, pick up after them).
  • Many apartment buildings, homeowners, and HOA organizations use pesticides in public spaces.
  • Who knows what else?!

You don’t want to track any nasty stuff into your home. According to one study published earlier this year, 40 percent of shoes tested had Clostridium difficile (aka “C.diff”) on the soles, a very serious and nasty bacterium.

2. Use water filters

The bottled beverage industry tends to promote fresh water collected from idyllic mountain streams in beautifully clean environments. The reality is that there could be pollutants in bottled water, including microplastics and other pollutants. Water utilities are required to routinely test their water and show more transparency, but the bottled water industry is under no such requirements. Ditch the bottle and use filters instead. Your health, wallet, and the environment will thank you.

3. Eliminate dust mites

Dust mites are microscopic pests that nestle in beds, pillows, carpets, and furniture. Dust mite allergens are a big problem for many people, especially those with asthma. You’ll want to eliminate this trigger because it can affect anyone. Solutions include:

  • Putting dust mite-certified and zipped covers on mattresses and pillows
  • Washing bedding in hot water once a week
  • Routinely vacuuming carpets and furniture
  • Getting rid of clutter
  • Mopping floors often
  • Reducing humidity in the home

4. Use green cleaning products

Many cleaning products may smell pretty, but they are full of toxins, such as VOCs. These are harmful to both people and the environment. By making the transition to green cleaning products made with alternative and non-chemical ingredients — and knowing the correct ways to store them safely — you’ll keep your family and pets safer and healthier.

5. Open windows frequently

Did you know the air inside your home is five times more polluted than the air outside? According to at least one source, poor air quality is linked to many illnesses and diseases. Apartment living often includes shared ventilation, which brings additional challenges because you have no control over your neighbors’ living habits. Yet by simply opening your windows on a regular basis, you can significantly reduce these health risks. Even 15 minutes a day can do wonders for indoor air quality.

Other easy healthy habits you can incorporate into your lifestyle include:

  • Replacing plastic food containers with glass
  • Avoiding scented candles and plugins
  • Using plants as decoration (they help purify the air!)
  • Removing plastic wrap from dry cleaning before bringing it inside
  • Installing carbon monoxide detectors
  • Immediately notifying your landlord of any mold, moisture, or insects found in your apartment

By incorporating these suggestions and more into your daily routines, you’ll make big strides in detoxing your apartment and taking your healthy living habits to a whole new level.

By Jackie Nunes,

As the long, hot summer fades and the autumn gets ready to step in with its free display of stunning colours across our woodlands, countryside and gardens, the retailer’s displays have already been transformed. Barbeques, garden furniture, summer dresses and beachwear have now been replaced with festive teasers. Shelves are stacked with Christmas tableware, decorations, and kids’ toys.

We took a lot of time deciding on our summer holiday this year, leaving it to the final moment because of our amazing UK heatwave! In a last minute fizzling out of our delightful weather, we opted for a short flight to Mallorca – an island we’ve never been to but would satisfy our sun, sea, sand and kite surfing requirements! 

Selecting a hotel isn’t always an easy task, the filters don’t allow you to request ‘green’ hotels on mass, or find a hotel without any large pink inflatable flamingos (don’t get me started on the unicorns!) After a good bit of research we went with the Iberostar Playa De Muro – a hotel with a mission to reduce single use plastic. 

Sat right on the beach front of the Playa De Muro coastline, this hotel was a perfect location for a family holiday. The sea is a beautiful turquoise and you can walk out for what seems forever without it getting very deep which was great for our five year old. The sea was typically flat in the morning, allowing us to paddle board and as the wind picked up in the afternoon it became ideal for the other half to go wind surfing at the local windsurf school down the beach.

The hotel itself has been recently renovated to a high standard – the first room we were given was little bigger than a shoe box, but after a word with reception, we were kindly moved to a more suitable room that would accommodate both adults and a child, oh and our bags of luggage of course!

In the room, glass bottled water was provided as well as soap wrapped in paper. Shower gel, shampoo etc in packing branded as 40% less waste, but as waste nonetheless we didn’t open these and used what we’d brought with us.

Pool and beach towels were provided and it was made trickier to change them by taking them back to a towel reception between certain times. Hopefully this reduces resources by preventing people from simply ditching the towels in their rooms and picking up new ones each day. 

After a long day at the beach and pool we were thankful for the beautifully positioned Dunas bar, overlooking the sea. A perfect spot for a cocktail. Night one I almost let out a shriek when my mojito came with a plastic straw wrapped in plastic packaging! Nooo!!! There was actually a sign at the bar detailing their environmental campaign to reduce single use plastic (should’ve taken a picture) and drinks were arriving with a single use straw. Total fail! Interestingly by day 5 of our stay all drinks were being served with paper straws – I hope this is continuing! 

What we would’ve liked to have been told on arrival is that there is an area for left beach toys; from inflatables to buckets and spades – guests would really benefit from making use of what has been left by others rather than purchasing more single use plastic on mass from the shops across the road! 

Overall, this large hotel is making more bold moves towards reducing single use plastic and we hope to see them continue this into the future. Good luck! 

When it comes to festivals and being sustainable, we have a long way to go. So much plastic, from drinks through to food vendors is rife and when you’re locked in a festival environment for the weekend, there’s often few alternatives out there. So, when Deer Shed announced that they were getting #DrasticOnPlastic at this year’s festival, we travelled down to Thirsk in Yorkshire to see what it’s all about.

We can’t wait to celebrate the start of the school holidays with a family friendly festival tucked away in Yorkshire. In its 9th year, Deer Shed hits the mark for family fun – from music, to theatre and adventures in the woodland, there’s no better place to start the summer season!

What we absolutely LOVE about this festival is that is it taking a very bold step of banning the sale of single-use plastic bottles and straws for 2018! BOOM! They are investing in better recycling infrastructure and pledging to become a completely single-use plastic free festival by 2021.

So what else can you expect from this festival, taking place in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire from 20th-22nd July? Music, theatre, science, arts and of course, adventures.

Timber Festival is a brand new, independent festival set in the National Forest and it’s taking place this weekend… 6-8 July… we can’t wait to get back to nature and reconnect as a family. Here’s our Top 10 things to do if you’re heading there this weekend

  1. Take a journey into the heart of the forest at dusk in the English festivalpremiere of Tree and Wood, a new interactive performance exploring our relationship to trees and forests by leading artist and producer Jony Easterby, with a team of international artists, musicians, performers and forestersTree and Wood explores our relationship with the trees and woods we depend on for our survival both past and present through a journey through a series of installations, movement, song and music. Known for his dynamic and immersive sound and light works across the world, Jony Easterby’s recent immersive night time adventure For The Birds has wowed audiences across the UK.  
  2. Explore all the sides of the moon in the greenfield festival premiere of Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon – an incredible seven metre moon sculpture featuring detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface and sound by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award winning composer Dan Jones.
  3. Join composer and sound-artist Jason Singh on a special listening walkexploring voice and technology to mimic nature and birdsong.  Gather sounds and create instruments from ‘found’ nature such stones, twigs, leaves and soil. Discover how Jason uses plants and plant data to create music.
  4. Take part in a very special Masked Ball.
  5. Witness an enthralling fire-gardencreated especially for Timber Festival by leading artists, sculptors, designers and technicians pa-BOOM.
  6. Look out for thrilling aerial acrobatics in the trees, bringing ancient tales to life from Whispering Woods and magical Dream Antelopes who will be roaming the site.
  7. Take part in tree climbing, slacklining, leaf art and mask making workshops. Join Responsible Fishing to create some seemingly impossible stone sculpturesand beautiful geometric land art
  8. Have some buzzing adventures with Beekeeping experiences with The Bee Farmerand  interactive theatre show Bee Cart from Sheffield’s Pif Paf Theatre. Meet Bee Guides Bombus and Borage for much Bee wisdom and surreal fun. Delve into the world of Bees, learn the pollen packing dance and the waggle dance. Try out their Buzz Pollenator, and maybe even get your nose pollinated.
  9. Take part in natural wellbeing therapy Forest Bathing
  10. Don’t miss out on the music too! Headliners include Jane Weaver(performing songs from new album Modern Kosmology), This Is The Kit (performing compelling Alt Folk from new album Moonshine Freeze) and the energetic and joyful Hope & Social.

For information and tickets visit

Follow news of Timber on social:  

Facebook: TimberFestivalUK. Instagram: @timberfestival. Twitter:@timber_festival

We are very excited and pleased to hear that by 2020, IKEA will be banning all of its single use plastic.

The plastic ban will take place across all its stores and restaurants, and includes products such as plastic straws, plates, cups, freezer bags, bin bags, and plastic-coated paper plates and cups.

Here’s hoping more retailers follow suite… #notosingleuseplastic

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