If you’re cocooning or housebound at the present time, but would still like to actively contribute to the livelihood of small Irish food growers and producers, we highly recommend NeighbourFood. NeighbourFood is an amazing new online platform that allows customers to buy their food directly from producers.
If you have to buy them bath stuff, make it lovely stuff with a story…
This time a year or two ago, one of the lovely things I was busy with was making upcycled notebooks and customised notebooks with any text you wanted printed on the front. The funniest and best request I got for one was from a friend of mine who asked for one with ‘Better Than a Soap Set’ printed on the cover to give to someone as a gift. This followed into a series then of ‘Better Than a Box of Roses’ and ‘Better Than Socks’ and so on. But sometimes, bath stuff and soaps and smelly things are a perfect gift. One thing I would ask myself before buying them for someone however is, is this something the person is going to use? Or is it just going to take up space on a shelf. I like having as few things as possible so I would hate to be the cause of unnecessary ‘stuff” in someone else’s home. But if you decide yes it’s going to be used, or yes you want to be the cause of stuff in someone’s home, these are my recommended favourites. And if you do give them to someone, tell them the story of them too. In some ways that’s the nicest thing about them. Soap is just soap after all.
Dr. Bronner’s are famous for their 18 in 1 soaps. You can use them for everything from normal hand washing, to laundry, to brushing your teeth with the stuff – a friend has used their peppermint one for this. I was treated to a few of their products to review them a while back and tried them out for lots of their uses. They didn’t suit my hair type for shampoo but other people I talked to used them for that and it worked perfectly (the people in question had dark short hair, and dark hair with very tight curls. My hair is fine and long ish and even with their conditioning rinse, it didn’t enjoy it at all.) The rose scented one is divine, you’ll feel and smell like a prince or princess from somewhere very exotic and wonderful. If you buy this one for someone, tell them to use it as their laundry detergent at least once. I swoon thinking of the smell of that batch of laundry, though it would be a little pricey to use it for that all the time. In saying that though, it only takes a very small amount to get sudsy, so that’s good.
Now, the interesting stuff. I have done no investigative journalistic adventures into what the company website says, so I’m taking them at their word, but if it’s all true, my goodness they’re lovely. And maybe numerous companies are that lovely and if you are, put that information up somewhere easy to find because I think consumers really do consider where their money is going more and more often.
“At Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, we believe that Corporate Social Responsibility is more than just a buzzword. From the products we make, throughout our supply chains, to our dedicated activism and our charitable giving, to our relationships with employees, we are committed to progressive values in every aspect of our business.
The total compensation of our highest-paid employees and executives is capped at five times that of the lowest-paid position. Our employees receive 15% of their salary paid annually into a retirement/profit-sharing plan, up to 25% of their salary as a bonus, and a no-deductible PPO health insurance plan for themselves and their families. We implement programs within our workplace to encourage personal growth and development, and we strive to create a healthy environment for workers to thrive and take pride in their contributions to the broader world community through their work at Dr. Bronner’s.
All profits not needed for business priorities are fully dedicated to the charitable and activist causes we support – they are not kicked back as windfall bonuses or distributions to executives or owners.”
Sound. So what are their charitable causes and activism?
- Organic integrity in personal care
- Promotion of authentic Fair Trade
- Re-commercialization of industrial hemp in the U.S.
- Labeling genetically engineered foods (those containing GMOs)
- Animal rights and protection
- Other areas of concern include environmental protection, youth support programs, peace and human rights campaigns, anti-poverty initiatives, and generally promoting social justice and equality at home and abroad.
As well as this, they publish information on where each of their ingredients are sourced. They also have information on their various projects and causes and how they implement their values. The products are organic and vegan friendly. Maybe if you’re stuck for something to write in the card going with the gift, find out about one of their projects that fits with a passion or interest the person you’re giving it to has, and tell them a bit about it. It’s nice to know nice things like that and will get you off the hook for just buying them soap.
I’ve written about what a lovely company Voya are before here. They are an Irish family business who have produced such great stuff (that works), with environmentally considerate processes, that now it’s hard to even get a hold of some of their products. I imagine it’s difficult to produce stuff at the quantity now in demand while still maintaining the integrity of their production methods, so if you do have to go on a waiting list for their much sought after moisturisers or eye creams, take it as an opportunity for learning extra patience and a moment to enjoy something in life that is slower and not instantly gratifying. Then it’s two gifts in one already.
They’ve also very recently launched a new product, a massage and body oil called ‘Angelicus Serratus’, a name taken from the main seaweed ingredient I believe and meaning ‘kisses from the sea’. If you’re buying this as a gift, and the lovely glass bottle makes it a very high end gift even on its own, but I’d also recommend maybe finding a nice exfoliant if you want to give them two things. (Aren’t you generous? This person must have been really lovely to you. That’s nice.) The reason I say this is because it actually works so amazingly well when used in conjunction with some exfoliating that you or the person you’re treating will be stroking their own skin in shock the next day. Sometimes I’m of the opinion that I can’t possibly actually need moisturising, my skin seems completely fine without it, but my gosh, the silky smoothness. On top of that, using a body oil after a bath or shower is a lovely way to take extra time to be sort of doing nothing but pampering yourself. Or massaging it onto another person deserving of pampering. Either way, it gets top marks for luxury moment. You can read another review of it here also.
Best best for getting your hands on either of these brands around the country are health food stores and some pharmacies. It’s a bit late for online purchases but you will find them online too, if you want to gift your loved ones a lesson in patience or a nice surprise in January when they’d given up any hope of you getting them anything at all.