‘What’s nature bathing?’ I hear you say. Well, very simpley it’s: being in nature, and it has some good research to show that it’s really good for us! On this basis, I think its a good thing and so I had a look at it as an experience and concept. I’ve been practising it for some months and really enjoy it and the sense of wellbeing it brings – also it’s VERY eco-friendly, so I wanted to share it with you.
Nature bathing is all about spending quality time in a natural environment. It’s a little bit more than a quick stroll around your park or garden, but, it can be acheived in most environments. The benefits to your health and wellbeing have been researched and they’re real and significant. We can all do it, so here’s the 5 easy steps to getting the most out of your nature bathing.
Find or create a natural environment. Ideally, the deeper the natural environment the better, but, that being said, many of us live in urban environments and don’t have easy access to the countryside. The important aspect is that you can access the sights, sounds, smells and sensations of nature, so a woodland, the seaside, the countryside, local park, garden, backyard, balcony or even an open window can all work for your nature bathing.
Get yourself into your ‘natural environment’ If you’re in a confined space position yourself so you can seeas many plants and sky as possible.
Now get bathing! This means being in your natural environment, without distracting yourself with other things. It’s best to avoid, all devices, no coffee, no excercising, no chatting – just be in your natural environment.
Get comfy – stand, sit, lie down, stroll or even a very gentle jog are all good, and it’s fine to change position during your nature bathing time.
Here’s the really important part: pay attention. Notice and experience each of the different aspects of your natural environment. Take some time to really enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of the natural environment. Engage with the ‘big picture’ experience and also take notice of the tiny details within the environment. If your natural environment is limited try to guide your attention towards the aspects that are natural, so that you’re not distracted by the none natural elements. For example: if you’ve got traffic noise, take your attention to the colours and textures of the plants, watch the movement in the sky. Finally, engage with your naturing bathing as often as you can and for as long as feels natural – Relax & Enjoy!
Spring has finally sprung, even here in Yorkshire! To celebrate the longer days and better weather I’m having a good Spring Clean and getting some stuff sorted – Including looking at ways we can be a little kinder to the environment. I have to admit to being really quite lazy, so I’ve found that if I want my new eco-habits to stick then they need to be easy to do and keep up with. So, I’m going to share some of my super-easy eco-friendly living ideas to make your Spring a little greener!
Turn off the lights – as the days are longer, make sure that everyone in your house got the memo that we do not need to replicate Blackpool Illuminations and that natural light is best – the lights stay off! You’ll save loads of energy and money too!
Get an Eco-egg! A what now? I hear you yell! An eco-egg is a small egg shaped thingy that you put in your washer, it contains two types of environmentally friendly minerals that when in contact with water create oxygenation in the water and all the little air bubbles losen and help remove the dirt! It is so easy to use just fill it and it can be re-used again and and again and again! By using an eco-egg you can eliminate a HUGE amount of chemical & soap based pollution, no to mention all the plastic containers and it is mcuh more economical that detergents, so you’ll save some money too – bonus! Eco-egg can be refilled and re-used almost indefinately and it washes well for a standard wash (I have been using one for a couple of years). For help getting really dirty clothes or stains clean, eco-egg also do a booster gel. A super-easy way of making the laundry a bit quicker for you and cleaner for the environment.
Put a re-useable bag in you coat pocket and bag, so you never need to buy a plastic bag again.
A tumble dryer is tempting if you live in a climate like the one we enjoy here in Yorkshire – we get ALOT of rain, but, they really guzzle energy and all the hard-earned pennies that costs, so get some ecozone dry cubes! They reduce drying time for clothes in a tumble dryer, soften clothes without needing chemicals or single use dryer sheets and reduce wrinkles and creases, meaning less ironing. All resulting in less energy usage, chemicals, products and cost!
A washing line or airer in your garden, on a balcony or in a sunny window, can save a massive amount of energy and money and it also means you don’t need to find the cash and space for a dryer. An airer will last for many years and it folds down to nothing when not in use.
I use this plastic free solid conditioner bar by alternative, it smells great and works really well, also I have sensitive skin and this does not irritate it – which is good. The conditioner bar lasts about 4 months (I store it in an aluminium tin, which is rust free, in the shower). So it’s really economical and eco-friendly!
Put a recycle bin upstairs – it’s a forgotten recycling goldmine. It’s amazing how much we can recycle from upstairs. Plastic bottle and containers from toiletries and cosmetics, cardboard loo rolls, waste paper.
As the warm sunny days return, it’s time to bust out the picnic gear, for Picnics and BBQs save your money and the environment – stop buying single use plates and cutlery. Invest in some cute eco-friendly bamboo based reusable picnic-ware, the planet will thank you. It’s much more stylish and who really wants to eat with bendy plastic forks and soggy paper plates?
Swap from single use makeup remover cloths and cotton wool to reusable cotton or bamboo facecloths and make up remover pads. If you find flannels and washcloths too rough or thick, then try using some cotton hankies, they are fine, gentle on the skin, they wash well and they’ll last for years.
It’s salad season, so we’re buying more fruit, veg & salad, but it can go off quite quickly and that’s a massive waste of resources and money. So instead of grabbing random plastic wrapped fruit and veg at the supermarket, why not switch to an organic fruit and veg box from Riverford. They are dedicated to sustainability and have almost no plastic packaging, all their fruit and veg is organically grown and they have loads of delicious recipies ideas to help reduce food waste – great for your tum, pocket & the environment!
Go for a walk, rather than taking the car or bus. As the days are longer and finer, make the most of it and get some fresh air and excercise. Walk or bike to work, it will help keep pollution in check, you’ll be super-fit and it’ll save a bit of cash too!
I hope I’ve given you some ideas to help you do a little more for the environment and it should be also be said that all of these will help you save money too – an added bonus!
Thanks & Enjoy
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I love Whitby Jet – it’s dark, gothic beauty has real character and stories to tell. Over the last 300 years, it has mainly been used for mourning jewellery, especially favoured by the Victorians. Whitby Jet was lightweight and easy to carve, so lent itself perfectly to making jewellery to memorialize lost loved ones. I often use recycled and reclaimed antique Whitby Jet beads for our vintage recycled bead earrings as Whitby Jet jewellery is a lovely thing to collect and wear. So, here’s a few things that are good to know if you want to do that…
What is Whitby Jet?
Whitby Jet is an organic material that is naturally formed from ancient fossilised wood such as the Monkey Puzzle & Chile Pine. Whitby Jet is also know as Black Amber and is 182 Million years old. It is formed when prehistoric wood gets washed up into a body of water and becomes covered by organic sediment. The pressure of the water and sediment over millions of years compacts the wood and slowly transforms it into what we know as Whitby Jet.
The layers of jet are usually trapped deep below the earth’s surface, in the layers of sedimentary rock, but, there are a few, rare places where those layers or seams of jet are found on or near the surface and Whitby is one of them. Jet is also found in small areas in Northern Spain, Poland, Ezurum in Turkey and in the USA in Utah, Colorada and New Mexico.
History of Whitby Jet
Whitby jet was discovered, mined and carved in Britain from the Neolithic period onwards and often appeared as beads and decorations, it was very popular with Romans in the Third centuary who felt it had magical protective & healing properties and used it for a variety of decorative objects, including hair pins.
Whitby Jet fell in and out of fashion, but it’s use continued, mainly as monks rosery beads. In 1808 a boat captain observed two men in Whitby hand carving beads and crosses from Whitby Jet. While the men, John Carter and Robert Jefferson, used files and handmade tools to work Whitby Jet, Captain Tremlett, had experience turning amber on a lathe to produce pieces, wondered if the same could be done with Whitby Jet.
With the help of a turner, Mathew Hill, they successfully lathed Whitby Jet, the Captain hired him as a jet turner and the first jet workshop in Whitby was started. The light-weight nature of Whitby jet and it’s sombre apperence combined with the sadly comon occurance of death meant that the production of mourning jewellery ensured that the industry grew. By 1850, there were more than 50 Jet workshops in Whitby, producing beads, mourning jewellery and other items & The Great Exhibition of 1851 presented Whitby Jet to the world.
In 1861 Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband died and she immersed herself in full, deep mourning, including Whitby Jet mourning jewellery. Immediately, Whitby jet became really fashionable, it was so popular that the demand for it rapidly out-stripped the limited supply that Whitby could produce.
At one point, Whitby Jet production meant work for over 1,400 people and produced an annual profit of over £100,000, which is approximately three million pounds by today’s standards.
As a result of the sky-rocketing demand, French Jet or Parisian Jet was developed to inexpensively re-produce the exclusive and expensive Whitby Jet, French Jet was Black glass and it allowed the mass-production of mourning jewllery. Whitby Jet & French Jet remained popular until the the 1920’s by which time it was mainly used as beads in flapper necklaces – the long waist-length necklaces worn by flapper girls during the roaring Twenties.
French jet jewellery coming onto the market, combined with cheaper imported Spanish jet, lead to the collapse of the industry by the mid-1900s.
Collecting & Identifying Whitby Jet.
In recent years Whitby Jet has enjoyed renewed interest and there are a number of Jet workshops in Whitby. There is also a strong interest in authentic antique Whitby Jet jewellery – and its substitutes.
When collecting jet it’s useful to know exactly what you’re buying, especially as antique Whitby Jet pieces can hold their value quite well, but, only if they are actually Whitby Jet. So the question is how do identify Whitby Jet.
Whitby Jet is a deep Black colour, it is light weight and warm-ish to the touch, it is shiney, glossy and smooth. The microstructure of Whitby Jet, resembles the original wood, and this can be seen under 120× or greater magnification. The detailing carved into the piece can help identify if it is genuine jet. Whitby Jet usually has shallow relief, simple carved details, such as straight carved lines, as it can shatter when the detailing is too fine. Whitby Jet will also either float or sink slowly when placed in water.
One great way to identify Whitby Jet is being to clearly identify when a piece is not Whitby Jet and what it might be.
Modern Plastic – will be very glossy, very light weight and it may have seams and creases from the pressing process. Pieces of imitation jet in plastic are often very intricate with very fine detailing – rarely seen in genuine Whitby Jet as it fractures when it is carved into very fine details.
Spanish (soft) Jet – quite a lot of soft jet was imported into the UK during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. However, as is was softer than Whitby Jet much of it has cracked and broken over the years and so it is rare to find it. Soft jet will have a cracked or crackled appearance.
Black glass – known as French Jet, Parisian Jet or Vauxhall Glass was commonly used as a Whitby Jet substitute during the peak of jet’s popularity. Glass feels heavy and cool to the touch and Whitby Jet is not, so if the piece is slightly weighty and cool to the touch it is French Jet (glass) not Whitby Jet. Also, if you carefully tap a piece of Whitby Jet against your teeth you’ll hear a soft tap, but if tap French jet or other glass beads against your teeth you’ll feel or hear a sharped, harder sound (please be very gentle).
Ebonite or Vulcanite (an early type of rubber) was also used as a Whitby Jet substitute and it looks and feels very similar to jet, but, it fades and loses its shine over time, so if you piece is not Jet Black and shiney (yes, this is where that phrase comes from) then it’s not Whitby Jet.
Anthracite (hard coal) is similar to Whitby Jet, and has been used to imitate it. When rubbed against unglazed porcelain, Anthracite will leave a Black mark and Whitby Jet will leave a chocolate Brown mark.
Bog Oak can be easily mistaken for Whitby Jet, but, Bog Oak has a visable wood grain when you look closely and the surface won’t be very polished, unlike the smooth, lustrous appearance of Whitby Jet.
Carved horn can be also look very similar in Whitby Jet. It also feels smooth and lightweight too. However, dyed horn, will appear slightly translucent along its edges when held up to the light.
Also, in some cases Whitby Jet off-cuts were mixed with glue and molded into jewellery but Whitby Jet is smooth and shiney, so if the piece is dulled, rough, mottled or fragmented in appearence, it is not solid Whitby jet.
Caring for Whitby Jet.
Whitby Jet is beautiful to collect and wear and keeping it looking lovely is easy. To clean Whitby Jet, simply wash carefully with warm water and a mild detergent, (don’t soak the piece in water), rinse with fresh water and pat dry with a soft towel and leave to air dry fully. Once it’s dry, give it a gentle wipe with a tiny amount baby oil on a piece of cotton wool, to bring back its high polish. Don’t forget to store your Whitby Jet jewellery separately from other items, so that it doesn’t get scratched or damaged.
Want to Know More About Whitby Jet?
I hope you find this information useful and it’s a good starting point for learning about Whitby Jet and if you’d like to find out more then this book is a great read.
Thank you, have a lovely day & enjoy!
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Besides being an avid fan of vintage literarture (Jane Austen, The Bronte Sisters, Wilkie Collins, Dickens, Sir Arther Colan-Doyle Agatha Christie and many more) I love creating things and recycling things. I believe that creating is vital to our wellbeing and so most days I try to make something (some days it’s just a sandwich!)
I also love the idea of recycling and consuming in a way that is responsible and environmentally friendly. Reclaiming old, unused things, upcycling and recycling to create something new that can be used and treasured and given an new life and purpose is a joyful & eco-friendly experience!
I really love beads and buttons and it’s always been a massive treat when my dad brought me a tin of old beads and buttons home from the carboot sale. I can lose hours rummaging and sorting through them and basking in their faded beauty!
My love of all things antique and vintage lead me to start Revive Vintage Design: making jewellery, accessories and homewares from reclaimed and recycled retro, vintage and antique materials.
At present there is a range of found objects jewellery and accessories. Keyrings or bag charms made from the ecelectic, pretty, vintage objets found in the bead and button tins over the years. Also, some sweet cushion covers made from recycled and reclaimed vintage and antique fabrics, hand-embroidered linens and patchwork pieces.