Another fine week at the Q


I can’t believe the 100th day of the year has come …and gone! Things are moving at a hectic pace. A great week at the Q with our Diamonique Day on Thursday (I love the sparkle and glamour). It was nice to work with Michelle Mone again. We go way back and first met when she was about 15, when we were both working in Glasgow in the fashion scene. She’s an amazing women and I’m sure an inspiration for many.

I worked with another amazing woman on Wednesday… Anne Dortington! She has been bringing incredible things to the Q for about 20 years and one of our collective favourite ranges is from Ecozone. We have a Big Deal this week in the form of the Ecoball, which is a wash ball for your washing machine that does away with the need for detergent powders and liquids for up to 1000 washes (that could be four years of washing).

Now, I am very keen on anything that helps me protect the environment and I have been very impressed with Ecozone’s other products, especially their washing machine and dishwasher cleaner so I had to check this out.

First question was whether or not it go my clothes clean. Well, I’m happy to report that it did and thoroughly clean at that. The first load I put through was a dark load of jeans and sweatshirts and they are out like new and smelling delicately of fresh linen ( there are three options; unfragranced, blossom and fresh linen).

So being a scientist I had to look into what was going on. The ball is refillable with little mineral balls and there are two types. You get one bag of brown balls and eight bags of white ones. The brown balls last the lifetime of the eight white balls and are designed to increase the pH of the water. The white are the natural, plant-based detergents. It all makes sense when you think about it. Hard water never washes clothes as well as soft water (I used to live in Edinburgh where the water was beautifully soft), so reduce the hardness or increase the pH, and the clothes wash better.

However, the science behind great washing is more complicated. Most soaps are alkaline in nature – we perceive alkaline things as feeling slippery or smooth. Part of your detergent’s job is to raise the pH of the water so that grease saponifies, or breaks down. Leaving a layer of alkaline detergent on clothing is likely to irritate skin, especially of people with sensitive skin. You don’t have to be allergic to be irritated. Now some chemicals are allergens, but a chemical doesn’t have to be an allergen to be an irritant. Make sense?

With Ecoballs, you do away with the chemical detergents and increase the pH with natural minerals so the clothes wash well and our skin is not irritated. Jobs a good ‘un! But there’s more; because the Ecoballs work so efficiently, they use less energy (they work at lower temps), you don’t need a rinse cycle (because you’re not trying to rinse way all those nasty alkaline detergents) so you are saving water, and because you are not using detergents, there is nothing to gum up your machine or to be left behind to decompose and smell.

Oh, and by the way, as the Ecoball could last you up to 1,000 washes, we could save some serious money.

According to the ONS, the average family puts their washing machine on about 260 times a year and in the UK we have about 6.8 billion wash loads a year. Think of the pollution, the energy and the recycling (all that cardboard and plastic from washing powers and liquids) that we could be saving….. if only we had the balls! You might, like me, be a bit skeptical perhaps having tried something similar in the past that was rather underwhelming, but this was the first product Ecozone produced over 20 years ago and it really has been perfected. Anyway they are a Big Deal on the web or on QVC Extra until Sunday 5th May.

I’ve also being fixing up the patio for summer. Done a bit of weeding and also assembled and tried out Lucy Piper’s innovators folding cocoon chair.

I first saw this a month ago and thought what an innovative solution for someone who wants this type of chair but doesn’t have space to store it when not in use. The chair part collapses so can be stored so easily. It may have been on at the weekend when Richard Jackson’s Weedkiller TSV was aired so you may have seen it, but you won’t have been able to try it’s comfort. Well, it’s AMAZOIR! It only took about 10 minutes to put together and it was really easy (but I did have some help).

When it was up I had to fight the kids and my wife to get the chance to relax in it as everyone wanted to be the lucky one. It’s so easy to put up and while it is very sturdy, the cocoon chair is quite light and easy to unhook and collapse to put in the shed for those less summery days. I think the ‘egg chair’ as it has been christened will be THE place for relaxing this summer…. although we may have to draw up a rota to see who gets it when!

The solar lights I got last weekend really help to finish off the look, and you can find out more about them here.

I hope you enjoyed the Easter holidays!

Simon x


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