Author Archives: Lisa Shambrook

About Lisa Shambrook

An author and dreamer who loves dragons... Author www.lisashambrook.com and owner Amaranth Alchemy on Etsy etsy.com/uk/shop/AmaranthAlchemy

Amaranth Alchemy – Beautiful Gifts from Broken Books

If you love art, jewellery, craft, and books you will appreciate the
time, energy, love, and passion that goes into creating something magical.
This is how you can pay it back and forward…

Amaranth Alchemy – Beautiful Gifts from Broken Books

Matching in with my Reviews post – support local and creative businesses this year.
The sales creatives make during November and December make all the difference.
Take a look at crafters, jewellers, artists, and authors…

Photograph of gifts by Amaranth Alchemy on Etsy: Potion bottle necklaces, book page bookmarks, book spine bookmarks, tie bars and frames.

Amaranth Alchemy gifts

It’s difficult to sustain a craft business all year round, so we often concentrate on Spring and Winter seasons, and make probably the lion’s share of our sales in lead up to Christmas. To be honest, it makes sense, I do most of my year’s buying in October and November too.

Think about spending your hard earned money locally, ethically, and with small independent businesses. Large conglomerates will usually keep going without your purchase, but we, small crafters, totally depend on your trade. Our winter sales will keep us going, encourage us, and make us deliriously happy.

Ocean Dreams and Neptune's Night-tide Potion Bottles by Amaranth Alchemy

Amaranth Alchemy Potion Bottles

My own Etsy store, Amaranth Alchemy is restocked each September, but this year has seen many of us with the least amount of disposable cash ever and sales have been poor. Watching large stores like Mothercare, and in previous years BHS etc, go to the wall worry the little fish in the ocean like me, is there still space for us? I say, yes, because we offer something the big stores don’t – a personal touch and originality.

I’m also working to be ethically and environmentally sound, reusing packaging and envelopes, and crafting with items that would have gone to landfill if they hadn’t been rescued.

Photos of parcels in brown paper and recycled packaging from Amaranth Alchemy

Parcels from Amaranth Alchemy

I make gifts using old, damaged, lost and ruined books, breathing new life into old pages. I make bookmarks from books that have lost pages, been torn, and ripped apart. I rescue spines and pages to make classic bookmarks and wall hanging plaques, I have peg magnets – perfect for keeping those notes and lists on your fridge or freezer, necklaces with dictionary words, and potion bottle necklaces with names from a forsaken and broken poetry book.

Photograph of gifts by Amaranth Alchemy on Etsy: Potion bottle necklaces, book page bookmarks, book spine bookmarks, tie bars and frames.

Amaranth Alchemy gifts

Gems caught up with faery song in a tiny glass vial, enchanting sand from Neptune’s night tide, and precious lightning crystals. Keep them safe as you wear them about your neck.

Photograph of gifts by Amaranth Alchemy on Etsy: Potion bottle necklaces - Lightning crystals with glass crystals, A Faery's Song with peridot gems, Amethyst Dreams with purple glitter, Ocean Dreams and Neptune's NIght-tide with sand, Winter Forests with moss and leaves.

Potion Bottle necklaces

As an added bonus you’ll find all my books in my shop too, signed copies at a cheaper price than bookstores.

A Symphony of Dragons, Human 76, Beneath the Rainbow, Beneath the Old Oak, and Beneath the Distant Star by Lisa Shambrook

My Books

The postage time has passed for many overseas sales, but if you’re in the UK, see what I and many others on Etsy and their own websites have to offer. Find your one-of-a-kind gift and support buying small and local this year.

Amaranth Alchemy products

Amaranth Alchemy on Etsy © Lisa Shambrook

Many thanks for all the sales I’ve had over the years. I love buying from real people who put their heart and soul into their work, and most of my Christmas shopping has been via Etsy and other small businesses. It’s a pleasure to support them, and in so doing I want to support another friend with her own Etsy store… Take a look at Aureliola’s jewellery and see if she’s made something you or a loved one would adore too.

photos of Aureliola's jewellery on Etsy: Mermaid, polar bear, fairy, fairy wings, mermaid, flowers

Aureliola – winter collection

We work hard to try and make original and different gifts
and every sale makes us smile and lifts our heart! 

Support those who create the art that allows you to escape into adventures
and other worlds, and those who give you beauty to enrich your lives.

 

Rusty, Misty, and Raven…

Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes.
Because for those who love with heart and soul,
there is no such thing as separation – Rumi.

Rusty - ginger cat, Misty - grey cat, and Raven - black cat

Twenty-eight years ago, just after Vince and I got married, we rescued Rusty, a skinny five-month-old kitten, living wild under my in-laws’ garden shed. We took him home and discovered he was literally a week or so away from death. He had skinned pads on his paws, half a tail, and was severely malnourished. We loved him for twelve years. Four months after losing Rusty, we took our children to pick up Misty, a five-week-old grey kitten. At the farm, the farmer (inundated with cats and kittens) shrewdly placed the tiniest black kitten, Raven, of the same litter in my ten-year-old daughter’s hands. We went home with two cats. Last month and this month, after fifteen-and-a-half years, we said goodbye to both cats with heavy hearts.

We have been extremely blessed by all three cats, and as Charles Dickens said – What greater gift than the love of a cat. Cats love because they want to and when you have the love of a cat you truly have a gift.

I want to remember my cats and how their little paws have stamped themselves right into my heart.

four photos of Rusty ginger cat. ONe on bricks, one asleep on bed, one in a tree, one in snow.

Rusty © Lisa Shambrook

Rusty stole my heart, my little orange tiger, and my shadow. Wherever I went Rusty followed. He’d accompany me in the garden, sunning himself amongst the catmint while I gardened, he’d sit beside me as I wrote on my laptop pushing his head under my arm, and when my lap was empty he’d cuddle up on it.

Rusty was adorable, had the softest snow white and golden ginger fur, and the brightest amber and green eyes. He was the sweetest cat in the world, loving unconditionally like a puppy!

Rusty was also the clumsiest cat I’ve ever known, missing half his tail seemed to affect his balance and spacial awareness, making him a cat who’d jump up onto a table and knock everything off it in the process! He even got lost when we moved to Wales getting shut in a neighbour’s garage overnight. Then another time he disappeared and failed to come when he was called. We found him around the corner mewing piteously at a neighbour’s identical front door. He was my world when we had no other pets and a young family. He was gentle and playful and all the children adored him. He passed away at twelve-years-old after kidney failure from an infected cat bite.

It was April 2004, and I missed Rusty so bad that we decided to find another cat, and Vince knew a friend with a farm full of cats, and we went to collect Misty. The farmer was canny and when Raven was placed in Bekah’s hands there was no going back and one cat became two.

Though sisters, Misty and Raven were so different. Misty was grey and white like the early morning mist, and she purred quietly, was gentle, loved her food, and didn’t stray far from the house. Raven, as black and sleek as midnight, purred like a motorbike, was fierce, adventurous, and a true explorer. Misty loved bathing in the sun close to the house, probably so she could easily hear food being put out… and Raven would disappear for hours and hours, traipsing through the forests and coming back whenever she fancied.

four photos of Misty grey cat - one stretching on bed, one in a box, one with a daisy, one with pumpkin

Misty © Lisa Shambrook

Misty and Raven spent their whole lives ignoring each other, as siblings often do – you never found them together, they wouldn’t sleep on the same bed during the day, and up until their last year they hissed at each other whenever they met in the house! However, if one was in distress, they joined forces and fought for each other.

Raven got into trouble, a lot. She was tiny, skinny, and passionate, but she attracted trouble like a magnet, costing us hundreds in vet visits to treat the wounds she sustained from other neighbourhood cats. Misty would sit on our flat extension roof and when other cats came by with threats Raven would rock up and rescue her. As they got older though, more cats appeared in the locality and they found it harder to hold their own against the younger cats. A few years ago, a family of six cats showed up and ours found it hard. When Raven went missing for three days, and finally turned up stressed and perturbed, we decided to make them house cats. Misty accepted it easily, having never gone far from home, Raven though found it much harder, but it worked out and they became happy indoor cats.

four photos of Raven black cat - one curled up, one looking stately, one with a daisy, one with pumpkins

Raven © Lisa Shambrook

Misty slept with Cait, and Raven cuddled up to Bekah every night, enjoying the convenience of our beds and ignoring any cat beds we ever provided. When Bekah moved out Raven chose my bed, and stalked in every night after being fed. She’d sit on my pillow while Vince and I hugged, then she’d mew when she decided it was bed time, and push between us to claim the centre of the bed!

We now have our beds back to ourselves, and that’s probably when I miss them the most. It’s nice to cuddle my husband without interruption, but I used to love going to sleep with a warm furry body curled up against my shoulder.

When you needed a hug Misty and Raven would be there, snuggling close, pushing their head against you, purring and loving. After fifteen years their health mirrored each other and they slipped downhill with old age and common cat issues. Misty developed hyperthyroidism and then kidney failure, and Raven was thwarted by liver tumours, and they passed away within a month of each other.

Rusty - ginger cat, Misty - grey cat, and Raven - black cat

Rusty, Misty, Raven © Lisa Shambrook

Like I said, echoing Dickens, what greater gift than the love of a cat.
We had one of the greatest gifts, three times over.

To Rusty, Misty, and Raven…

Colours to Inspire – Metallic – What’s Your Favourite?

I’ve blogged about my favourite jewel colours and neutrals,
so today I’m looking metals…

Collage of photos depicting silver, gold, brass and copper photos for Colours to Inspire - Metallics, for The Last Krystallos blog

Metallic colours are striking, bright, crisp, and shiny. Any colour can be metallic, but I’m sticking with traditional colours of metals – silver, gold, brass, and copper. Bronze and brass are both alloys of copper, brass is copper and zinc and has a more yellow colour, and bronze is primarily copper with stronger reddish tones. I have a love of antiqued jewellery, or silver with a patina, and I love how these colours are rich and diverse, and as accessible in the natural world as they are in sleek modernity.

Silver photos: the moon, fog, silver spoon, silver topaz jewellery, frost heart, grey cat, frost, dragon tail necklace, silver fairy, for the last krystallos blog

Sterling Silver © Lisa Shambrook

Silver is my colour of choice for metals, and not just because I’m embracing going grey!
I love silver jewellery, and enjoy wearing greys, pewter, slate, and silver colours.
Silver is enchanting, magical, mystical, and sophisticated…

gold photos: gold herkimer diamond jewellery, yellow forest, fireworks, yellow rose, gold wall with Love quote, fairy lights, lemon amber bead, daffodil, citrine stone for The Last Krystallos blog

Glowing Gold © Lisa Shambrook

Gold is the colour of warmth, not one I wear often,
but it embraces the sun and everything that glitters and reminds me of heat and wealth.
Gold is regal, expensive, prosperous, and successful…

brass photos - yellow leaves, fairy lights, brass necklace, yellow leaf, steampunk bumblebee, russet apple, oak leaf, fairy lights in bottle, river bed in sunlight, for The Last Krystallos blog

Beautiful Brass © Lisa Shambrook

Brass, strangely, for a metal, brass feels soft to me, warm and soft.
The colour of dropping autumn leaves and sculptures.
Brass is warm, welcoming, autumnal, and happy…

copper photos - copper metal bookmark, sunset, copper red leaves, High Brown Fritillary Butterfly, leaves, squirrel necklace, copper leaves, red squirrel, leaves, for The Last Krystallos blog

Crisp Copper © Lisa Shambrook

Copper always brings images of red squirrels, butterflies, and pipes,
not the smoking ones, but plumbing ones.
Another metal that is autumnal and warm.
Copper is fun, bright, friendly, and down-to-earth…  

What’s your favourite metallic colour and what does it mean to you?

Amaranth Alchemy 20% Off Everything SALE

I’m having a 20% off everything sale in my Etsy shop – Amaranth Alchemy

20 off Everything at Amaranth Alchemy on Etsy Christmas 2019

I specialise in bookpage gifts created from damaged and ruined books. I only use books that have been lost and abandoned and broken – breathing new life into old books.

You can find Bookpage Bookmarks, Book Spine Bookmarks, Quote Art, Christmas Gifts, Necklaces, Tie Pins, and my new range of Magical Potion Bottle Necklaces. My Books are also on sale, you can buy Signed Paperbacks at a great price!

Come and have a look and see what might be perfect for the Bookworm in your life!

Or treat yourself.

** Great items for stocking fillers and it’s only 7 weeks til Christmas **

20% off everything from 4th to 18th November 2019

Amaranth Alchemy

Reviews – Why they mean so much to Authors and Artists

Review: to think again. It’s about considering, assessing, and to offer an opinion, and how many of us love offering an opinion? Social media is all about reviews… we’re posting about our lives, reviewing what we’ve done, where we’ve been, and sharing our thoughts about it. These days, reviewing is just another part of our life.

Reviews - Why they mean so much to Authors and Artists - The Last Krystallos

So, since we’re doing it all the time, how about taking a few minutes – the time to write a status update – to offer a review to those who need them?

It’s my birthday week this week and when I’m asked “What would you like?” – right now, I’d just love a review.

Not a review of me, I think I’m open enough for everyone to know who I am, and I don’t need a rate! I’d love a book review or an Amaranth Alchemy Etsy review.

If you love and buy books, art, and jewellery you will appreciate the time, energy,
love, and passion that goes into writing a book or creating something magical.
This is how you can pay it back and forward…

small advertising photos of the Surviving Hope novels by Lisa Shambrook

The Suviving Hope Novels © Lisa Shambrook

Add to that list angst, frustration, low financial reward, and you’ve got what it means to be an author or an artist. There’s plenty of love and passion, days of writing and sculpting, or painting and crafting, with your muse whispering in your ear and the true wonder of watching a story, an adventure, unfold, or creating an item of beauty beneath your fingertips, but there are days and weeks when your muse goes AWOL, when your fingers bleed (figuratively), and you hate everything you write or create. Novel writing and art is not easy, but it is extremely rewarding.

You will have heard how writers and artists don’t have a choice in their craft, it’s intrinsic, it’s a part of us and we have to do it. Escaping into a world of writing or of intricate design is just what we do to survive. The wonder of it is that we end up with something beautiful and we can’t wait to share it with the world. Whether it’s a novel, or a painting, or sculpted silver, glass, or a piece of jewellery to treasure, we want to share our skills and talents with you.

Time is money, it’s a necessary evil, and we can’t give our talents away for free. Most eBooks are the price of a coffee and they last… your coffee is satisfying and gone within half an hour, but a book can satisfy for years for the same price. Books are significantly cheaper than video games, and comparable with your monthly payment to Netflix or Prime – create a literary library as well as a streaming library.

Review books - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Most authors and artists are introverts, we love hiding away writing and creating, but we also know that to sell our wares we need to market them. Marketing doesn’t come naturally to those of us who prefer to squirrel ourselves away and just create. Our publishers help, but many authors are independent – doing it all on their own – artists too, and we need help to promote our work. Even with a publisher, unless you are one of the very few who have huge Big Five Publisher budgets and promotion, you’ll be doing most of it yourself.

We can shout from the rooftops about our books and art, but visibility is key. If our work isn’t visible, no one knows it’s out there. Reviews on Amazon, Good Reads, Etsy, Ebay, and Blogs, or Facebook and Twitter statuses, photos on Instagram – they all help and offer visibility. The more reviews we garner on Amazon, for instance, will change algorithms and our books will be promoted more. You don’t have to like Amazon, but we have to deal with them, so any help is appreciated – more than you could ever know. On Etsy and other craft sites it’s important to share and help others decide if our products are worth purchasing.

advertising photos of A Symphony of Dragons and Human 76 books by Lisa Shambrook

A Symphony of Dragons and Human 76 © Lisa Shambrook

This is where YOU come in. If you buy our book, and read it, and you love it – or you buy our art, and display it and love it every day – or you buy and wear our jewellery, then the best way you can thank us for those days, months, or years of hard work is to write a review. Let the world know that the book or art is out there, that you loved it, and why you loved it.

You don’t have to write much, literally, just a sentence or two is worth everything to an author. Just award your stars and say what you loved. That works. Or you can write a paragraph or an essay, it’s up to you!

Amaranth Alchemy products

Amaranth Alchemy on Etsy © Lisa Shambrook

Over the last few years I’ve bought lots of glass beads and jewellery from Etsy and Ebay, the reviews I leave help those artisans to continue and to sell more. I tend to leave photos of pieces so other prospective customers can see them in a different setting too. I also have an Etsy shop Amaranth Alchemy and I know just how important reviews are to new customers.

Books I've read and reviewed: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss, Of Lies and Zombies by Angela Lynn, Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall, Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin, The Raven's Wing by Michael Wombat, Dead Sea Games by J Whitworth Hazzard, The Reaper's Bride by A J Richmond

Books I’ve read and reviewed: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss, Of Lies and Zombies by Angela Lynn, Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall, Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin, The Raven’s Wing by Michael Wombat, Dead Sea Games by J Whitworth Hazzard, The Reaper’s Bride by A J Richmond © Lisa Shambrook

I have read a lovely selection of books and part of my reading process is to leave a review for the authors on the platforms used to sell. I have written blog posts celebrating wonderful books and stories and I am so glad that I can help promote wonderful people sharing their amazing talents.

So, like I said, it’s my birthday week, and all I want is a review…

I know my book sales figures, but the number of reviews I have pales in comparison to the sales. Of course, not everyone who’s bought my books will have read them – I have hundreds of books at home and it’ll take years to read them all, but if you’ve bought and read one of mine, then a sentence shared on Amazon or Good Reads is a gift for me that I will appreciate forever!

Reviews and why they are impostant to Authors and Artists - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Support those who create the art that allows you to escape into adventures
and other worlds, and those who give you beauty to enrich your lives.

Take a moment, just ten minutes, to leave a review for a struggling author or artist
– it will mean the world to them.

Enchanting October…

October – my favourite month – darker nights, cosy blankets, thick socks, long boots, black cats, any cat, pumpkins, soup, apples, autumn colours, falling leaves, cooler weather, jackets, hats, scarves, gloves, hot chocolate, acorns, conkers, candles, frost, squirrels, bats, toadstools, mushrooms, magic, Halloween, and more… 

Enchanting October - Autumn - the last krystallos

What do you love about October?

Narberth Book Fair 2019

This weekend sees the annual Book Fair at Narberth, West Wales.
It’s also the same weekend as the Narberth Food Fair,
so if you’re looking for something to do…
kill two birds with one stone and find food for your belly and food for your mind.

Narberth Book Fair poster 2019It’s less than 100 days ’til Christmas, so this is the ideal place to find books for the Bookworms in your life. Signed novels as stocking fillers, what could be better?

The postcode for the venue, Queens Hall, is SA67 7AS, and is half an hour or so from Carmarthen. We have Free entry to the Book Fair, so if you’ve paid for the food fair, get a bit more value for your money and pop next door to us too!

There will be 50+ authors, competitions, workshops, and lots more. I will be there on Saturday 28th September, sharing a table with Thérésa Hedges-Webb, and you’ll find us with plenty to offer you. Between us you’ll find YA, contemporary, short stories, dragons, vampires, sci-fi, and more.

Thérésa Hedges-Webb and Lisa Shambrook 2018

Thérésa Hedges-Webb and Lisa Shambrook 2018

Here’s an interview with ThérésaCheck out the Narberth Book Fair website and find out about our authors, here’s my page. And you can read an interview with me here. Narberth Book Fair has its own blog with interviews and posts about our authors and books.

Have a look at the Book Fair’s Facebook page to find out about all the attending authors. There’ll be someone to suit you and your reading tastes.

I will be showcasing my new covers since becoming published by BHC Press and check out my Special Offers, only available at Narberth this weekend. Come and see us and tell us what you love to read!

Book Fair Special Offers AD for Insta

Surviving Hope trilogy, A Symphony of Dragons, and Human76 by Lisa Shambrook

Surviving Hope trilogy, A Symphony of Dragons, and Human76 by Lisa Shambrook

 Come and see us, find your new favourite book and meet the author.

Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September 2019

10am to 4pm – Free Entry.

Narberth Book Fair

Book Spine Poetry

Sometimes when you’re feeling tired or uninspired and you need to
find your creativity, you can find it in unexpected places…

A few years ago I discovered Book Spine Poetry and had a go. This week, after meltdowns and shutdowns I needed to recover my imagination and found it on my bookshelves!

Poems can be long or short – whatever you choose – just grab a few titles and see what you can conjure up.

Bookspine poetry - An Inspector Calls - Love in the Present Tense - Reasons to Stay Alive - The Last Krystallos

An inspector calls love in the present tense,
reasons to stay alive.

(J.B. Priestley, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Matt Haig)

Bookspine poetry - Across the Wall - I Capture the Castle - The Castle of Adventure - The Last Krystallos

Across the wall – I capture the castle,
the castle of adventure.

(Garth Nix, Dodie Smith, Enid Blyton)

Bookspine Poetry - How to Stop Time - Just One Look - Second Star - Hat Full Sky - Slow Regard Silent - Linger - Hold Tight

How to stop time, 
just one look, second star to the right, 
and a Hatfull of Sky.
The slow regard of silent things, linger…
Hold tight.

(Matt Haig, Harlan Coben, Deborah Hautzig, Terry Pratchett, Patrick Rothfuss, Maggie Stiefvater, Harlan Coben)

Bookspine Poetry - Snow Sisters - Linger - Before I Die - The Last Krystallos

Snow sisters linger, before I die…

(Carol Lovekin, Maggie Stiefvater, Jenny Downham)

Bookspine Poetry - The Ice Dragon - Catching Fire - Falling - Across the Wall - Looking for Alaska - The Last Krystallos

The ice dragon,
catching fire,

falling across the wall,
looking for Alaska…

(G.R.R. Martin, Suzanne Collins, Sharon Dogar, Garth Nix, John Green)

Bookspine Poetry - If I Stay - Tell No One - The Last Krystallos

If I stay…
Tell no one.

(Gayle Forman, Harlan Coben)

0000. Divider

Tell me what’s on your bookshelves and make poetry…

Give it a go.

 

Plastic-Free and Eco-Friendly – From Liquids to Bars and Solids – Should You Switch?

Switching from liquid, aerosol, and plastic-packaged products
has never been easier as we move into new markets for soaps,
shampoos, and deodorants. What do you use?

Plastic-free and Eco-Friendly - From Liquids to Bars and Solids – Should You Switch - The Last Krystallos

We live in a society of excess plastic, and packaging is a huge problem these days as we try to be more environmentally conscious. The books I’m currently writing are set well into a future that has abandoned plastic, and along with the vast amount of scientific evidence revealing the damage we’re doing to our planet right now, it’s inspired me to change my ways.  Reducing the use of plastic has become a big motivation to change many of the products I use.

There is no Planet B - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

I talk about plastic, its origins, and its future in my blog post Plastic – Polluting our Oceans – and we need to change. I also, touched on several ways to become more environmentally friendly in our lives in How to be Greener – and Save our Planet. We can all do something, even if it’s something small, and the most important thing is to recognise we need to change and begin.

Earth Conscious Grapefruit and Lemon Natural Deodorant - The Last Krystallos

Earth Conscious Grapefruit and Lemon Natural Deodorant © Lisa Shambrook

One of the things I was determined to change was my use of antiperspirant. I’ve used Dove’s solid antiperspirant for years and didn’t want to change – I struggle with change – but I wanted to be rid of the plastic container. Natural alternatives are deodorant, not antiperspirant, so it requires a change that can take time for your body to get used to.

I discovered creams in tins and solid deodorants in cardboard push up packaging. Due to sensory issues I chose the cardboard push up option, and bought Grapefruit and Lemon Natural Deodorant from Earth Conscious, a small business based on the Isle of Wight. I loved it, and it smelled heavenly. On the expensive side, £7 plus postage, rather than around £3 for my usual supermarket Dove, but prices are more likely drop when products become more mainstream. It worked well, but needed reapplying on hot sweaty days, which was to be expected, as deodorants work differently to antiperspirants.

The thing you need to be aware of when switching to a natural deodorant is that it takes time for your body chemistry to change. The two products antiperspirant and deodorant work in different ways and your body may react to a new product within a few weeks. After three weeks of easy use I got a slight red underarm rash, I stopped using the deodorant letting the rash clear up, and within another three weeks, I could use it again with no problems. Don’t go back to your old product, but let your body adjust. I read two great blog posts from Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve which explained the whole process and made the transition to natural deodorant easy to understand – Transitioning to Natural Deodorant Part I and Part 2. You will also find you need to use less than you think, and the smaller weights will actually last much longer.       

Seanik Shampoo Bar Lush Tin - The Last Krystallos

Seanik Shampoo Bar from Lush © Lisa Shambrook

I’ve been using a shampoo barno plastic bottle, no parabens, silicones, and additives – for many years now, and my preferred bar is Seanik from Lush. My hair is thin and bottled shampoos were heavy leaving my hair limp and dull from additives. Using a natural bar has lifted my hair, encouraged less frequent washing, and is the best for my hair. I’m currently going grey and embracing my silver, and a shampoo bar still works beautifully. Shampoo bars are well known for lasting much longer than a bottle of shampoo, and are easily kept in a tin or soap dish by your bath.

Bio2You Lemon Soap Bar - The Last Krystallos

Bio2You Lemon Soap Bar © Lisa Shambrook

We’ve also recently switched from bottles of liquid soap to old-fashioned soap bars. It took a while for me to embrace this change, concerned about pH values and sensitive skin. I found a great article from Lisa Bronner Skin Health, pH, and Dr. Bronner’s Soap. She does the science and even water alters the pH balance when you wash your hands. We tested out soaps in bar form and it hasn’t affected eczema or dried out our skin. My current favourite is a lemon soap from Bio2You, which I bought at discount from TKMaxx. It smells delicious!

So what else can you switch? Try moisturising Bars – instead of hand creams etc in plastic dispenser bottles – try Lush or Etsy or local handmade bars mine is Turkish Delight from Naked Sister. I recently bought Lush’s Each Peach (and two’s a pair) massage bar and its citrus scent is beautifully invigorating! I’ve also used Soft Coeur too, which is lovely.

Moisturising Bar, Massage Bar, Lip Salve, Solid Perfume

Moisturising Bar, Massage Bar, Lip Salve, Solid Perfume © Lisa Shambrook

Lip balms are often packed into tins these days, Nivea Lip Butter is my favourite with Vanilla and Macadamia, and Blueberry Blush, but several other brands also do this.

I’ve been using The Body Shop’s Love Etc solid perfume for years too, but I haven’t seen any new ones lately, and I don’t think it’s still available, which is something I believe they should rethink. Solid perfumes are great to carry in tins, just like lip salves.

Lush Seanick Shampoo Bar, Naked Sister Moisturising Bar, Nivea Lip Salve, The Body Shop Solid Perfume, Earth Conscious Natural Deodorant - The Last Krystallos

Nivea Lip Salve, Lush Seanick Shampoo Bar, Naked Sister Moisturising Bar, The Body Shop Solid Perfume, Earth Conscious Natural Deodorant © Lisa Shambrook

It’s important to also add that there are myriad recipes online for botanic and natural soaps, salves, shampoos, deodorants, perfumes etc… you don’t have to buy brands. You can try to make your own, or buy from experts on Etsy or at your local craft fair. Give it a try.

It’s difficult to radically change our lives, so working on one thing at a time is better than ignoring the peril our planet is in. Generations in our future are depending on us to eradicate excess plastic; they will already need to deal with the fallout from the amount of plastic already here, but we should be trying not to add to it.

Most of us are working on becoming better people – more aware environmentally, socially, and consciously. Becoming environmentally aware and active is a process and every single change for the better is a step in the right direction.

What have you been able to do?

What products have you switched to and can recommend?

Magical Colours of Summer

Though Summer may not be my favourite season, it is still full of magic,
I just have to look for it harder than I do in Autumn and Winter.
In the spirit of embracing Summer, I’m discovering its charm…

Magical Colours of Summer - The Last Krystallos

Summer’s colours are bright and bold, though the ones that enchant me are its blues and softer tones. For me the colour of summer is blue, linked intrinsically to water and clear skies. The sea sparkles with jewel tones. Two years ago we stayed on the north coast of Scotland and visited the most beautiful beach we’ve ever found, and I described the ocean with gem colours: White sand ran from the dunes to the sparkling water, and what water! It merged from every green to every blue you could imagine…from crystal white Quartz froth, to pale Amazonite, and Adventurine, then to Turquoise, and rich Apatite blue, before darkening to the tone of Sodalite. An ocean of jewels!

The sea changes from moment to moment and from seafoam green, to teal blue, to slate grey and myriad more colours. These are my summer tones.

I love how Brighton and Hove’s ocean switches from green to blue by the West Pier. Swgd Eira’s tumultuous waterfall crashes amid diamonds of water and light. Teal-green sea rolls in at Penbryn beach. You can find every blue and green in the sea froth at Staffa. Coldbackie’s jewelled colours spread across the tide. Green is the colour beneath the loch in the Kyle of Lochalsh and in the Isle of Skye’s Fairy Pools. I love the pebbles at Applecross and the blues and greens of Bosherston beach.

Magical Colours of Summer - water - blues - the last krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Then nature and light pick up summer vibes. Early evening sunlight shimmering through cow parsley is pure magic. Summer light sinking through the pines in Brechfa forest creates enchantment within the trees and across the moss. The sun beams from behind the clouds, glistening light can touch on unicorns and shine on daisies. Water sparkles, and late evening castle reflections at Eileen Donan Castle bewitch you. The slate-blue loch at Kylerhea is surrounded by summer’s lush green.

Magical Colours of Summer - light - the last krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Summer then speaks of roses, figuratively and literally, and the pinks of watermelon and bronze sunsets. I’ve sat on Brighton beach watching the sun sink down beneath the horizon, and got up early to witness the sunrise on Dartmoor, and walked the dog through late evening scarlet dusks. Roses bloom with scents and colour: Rhapsody in Blue, and Audrey Wilcox’s blush pink. Purple foxgloves fill the forests, and Sarah Bernhardt peonies, their petals the colour of strawberry milkshakes, flourish.

Magical Colours of Summer - pink - rose - sunset - the last krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

I wear different bracelets in each season; this one representing winter to summer looks great in the hottest season – keeping me cool with its frosty white beads, dark night indigoes, leading to summer sunshine with lemon amber. Strawberries are always a summer favourite, and the flowers that bloom in June and July – lavender, the arum lily, and nigellalove-in-a-mist fill my yard tubs. Butterflies and dragonflies flutter by and my favourite is the peacock butterflyWaterfalls and messing about in rivers will cool you, and rainbows light up the sky in summer showers.

Magical Colours of Summer - summer colours - the last krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

I usually spend summer berating the heat and counting the days ‘til autumn,
but I’m trying to embrace the warmth of the summer sun…

What are your favourite things about Summer?