How to be an awesome human this winter

One of my least favourite days of the month, is the day I (okay fine, hubby and I) get that bill from the City of Cape Town telling me how much we’ve spent on ‘living’. Oh rates and taxes, water, electricity and garbage disposal. You cost me a small fortune.

If you’re living in Cape Town (like I am), surely you’ve already whittled down your water useage. But now that we’re mid winter and it’s FREEZING, is it possible to save money on electricity as well? Well of course it is!

Obviously, it’s not all about saving money – it’s about considering our (often unknown and unintentional) abuse of our environment. Here are a couple ideas, to make your home more cost-efficient and eco-aware this winter.

Use existing insulation

As soon as the sun begins setting, close curtains and blinds to keep warmth inside your bedrooms and living spaces. It will mean your interior stays warmer for longer and you’ll only have to switch on heaters if it is essential. Or install a fireplace… (bucket list!)

Replace and switch off

Replace all light bulbs with LED. Turn off lights, plugs and especially electric blankets and heaters when not using them. Just these few things can reduce your home’s electricity consumption by 15%. Last night I woke up to my scale beeping (weird, I know) and saw hubby’s side of our electric blanket was still on. He got a scathing reprimand at midnight.

Fill it up

Run full loads in your washing machine or dishwasher. And use the eco/short cycles.

Off at the wall

What sits on standby? TV/Wifi/chargers etc. By turning off appliances or electronics which sit on standby for hours on end, you can save up to 6% of your electric bill.

Lose 1 degree

While going solar is the gold-star goal, turning your geyser down by 1 degree and switching it off during the middle of the day can really make a difference. This can provide estimated savings of around R100 a week. We recently bought a geyser blanket but are interested in installing a timer too.

Consider buying a Spindel

As a family of 5, we can’t live without our tumble dryer. I cringe every time we put it on, because I feel like it takes foreverrrrr to dry our clothes and the electricity it uses is nausea-worthy. My recommendation: only wash what is in desperate need of a wash, and investigate using a Spindel (esp if your washing machine is not a super fancy pants one – which ours is not).

If you’ve never heard of it before – a Spindel is an innovative dryer that uses spin power instead of heat to remove up to 80% of the leftover moisture from clothes. On average – one load in a spindel draws out around 1 cup of water from my washing (and it takes only 3 min to do so!). If I need to pop my clothes in the tumble drier, it takes a fraction of the time to dry completely, after being ‘spindeled’. A Spindel saves TONS of time and electricity.

Inspired? What else do you to save money, electricity and the environment? I’d love to know.

Happy end of winter all xxx

My Honest Ecoegg Review

As a nerd of all things green, I was super excited to see the launch of Ecoegg South Africa. Chocolate, wine, natural toothpaste, menstrual cups & laundry eggs – these kinds of things make me giddy.

If the above quote is true, we need to rethink how we wash our clothes. Laundry detergent has always been a tricky one for me. I’ve bought numerous kinds of eco-natural detergents, and have even made my own. So as soon as I got my hands on the Ecoegg, I threw it in the wash to see it work its magic. “How can this gorgeous-smelling, super-cute-looking, baby pink egg wash all my clothes clean?”, I wondered with innocent, eager and sparkling eyes. And the result… well it’s been a tricky one.

Firstly, WHAT IS IT:

Coined as the ‘natural detergent breakthrough’, the Ecoegg is an award winning laundry egg that acts as a complete replacement for washing detergent. Just pop it in the drum of your washing machine – no powder, liquid, tablets or gels required.

The two types of mineral pellets inside the egg get to work, producing powerful – but natural – cleaning foam which powers through the fibers lifting off the dirt and grime.

The EcoEgg has been independently proven (in a lab) to perform just as well as regular detergent, and is a real alternative to harsh chemicals – giving great results, naturally. Supported by Allergy UK and the National Eczema Society, the Laundry Egg is dermatologically tested and perfect for even the most sensitive skin.

So, that’s all good and well, but did it work? 

It seems like a completely bizarre concept to bypass the usual laundry detergent and throw this ‘plastic looking ball’ into the drum with my clothes. It is a bit of a mind bender.

After alllll of my washing and testing and thinking, here is my honest opinion: I REALLY like this egg – I love the concept, the fact that it is in partnership with the National Eczema Society (my little one has eczema), a natural alternative, it is kind to the environment, saves you money, is easy-to-use and in general, is a very forward thinking product.

I did, however, initially struggle with it. Not the product itself – just the how and what and why and so on. As with most things, when you move from ‘conventional’ towards ‘green’, you need a MINDSET change. Come on Debbie, you should know this by now.

Listen, my circumstances were not ideal. Since our new (God-sent) nanny does 99% of our washing, I wasn’t really there to keep a close eye on things. Between house renovations, and school holidays, meetings and general life with 3 kids (which is HARD-CORE let me tell you), my ability to completely obsess and scrutinise over how clean my clothes were, was well, a non-event.

So when my clothes came out the wash, looking…well… clean… like they usually do (and not brand-spanking-new looking – a tall order from the get-go) I was left wondering what this egg was doing, if anything. I mean, I knew it was doing something, but was it what I imagined? So back and forth and back and forth I chatted with Marcelle, the lovely South African distributor of the Ecoegg.

Some things looked impressively clean, some things were still a little grubby (mainly our 11 month old’s clothes – which should surprise no one). My nanny commented on how nice the clothes smelled – it’s a very subtle fragrance, one I really need a good sniff at to smell. Because maybe I was pinning all my hopes on the egg changing my life, I was a tad confused. The white sleeves which were covered in mud and avo – would ANY detergent have been able to get that out? My suspicion is no. Our washing machine is also not particularly new, nor fancy, so the 30min eco-cycle that I always use, was that enough? Or maybe I was just expecting miracles no detergent would’ve been able to perform…

I’ve come to the conclusion, that this egg WORKS, and it works as well as (if not better than) my current eco-laundry powder does (you can also ask the 800+ people who reviewed the egg on Amazon.uk). Also, there is also no detergent residue left on your clothes. WIN! And so, considering all the benefits above (good for the enviro/no harsh chemicals/ease/price), in my mind it wins the trophy spot on my laundry room shelf. Also, because I think it’s beautiful.

Take a look for yourself: (there are no edits or filters on any of these pics – promise!)

Also, there is no risk in giving it a try – Ecoegg (UK) and SA have a “Love it or return it” guarantee: If you don’t love your purchase, for whatever reason, just return it within 30 days for a full refund – no questions asked.

My recommendations:

    • Detox your machine first with an Ecoegg detox tablet.
    • Clean out your washing machine filter regularly
    • Use a cold 30min cycle (let’s be water and enviro conscious here folks)
    • Use stain remover where necessary (this should’ve been a no brainer for me). Ecoegg have a stain remover. I need to get me some.

How much does it cost (and other related products)?

The Laundry Eggs come in either:

  • 210 washes (1 year for an average family of 4) for R275.00, or
  • 720 washes (3 years for an average family of 4) for R425.00. (Cheap huh!)

They also come in three ‘fragrances’ – Spring Blossom (pink), Fresh Linen (blue) and Fragrance Free (yellow). These are lightly fragranced with essential oils.

They also stock a stain remover at R80 a tube and detox tablets for your machine (for 3 years) for R95.00 – these clear out the junk and build up of detergents.

You want one don’t you? Imagine never buying laundry detergent ever again. Go on, contact Ecoegg:

Facebook, Instagram and email: hello@ecoegg.co.za
Physical Address: 1 Rodgers Ave, Constantia Hills, Constantia.
Web: www.ecoegg.co.za