Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 613

18 AUGUST 202 2 5 NEWS&VI EWS ANNA SHEPARD MY WEEK Alvin Hall WEEK 31: TRYING DIY DEODORANT It’s a particularly warmweek when we decide tomake our own deodorant. Using a recipe by low-waste living experts Fairyland Cottage, wemixmelted coconut oil with cornflour and bicarb and drops of lavender essential oil. It then hardens in a jam jar in the fridge. It’s a fa applying it with your finger, reports my teenager, but it smells decent. The bicarb neutralises odour and coconut oil is antibacterial. Although the hot weather provides a challenging test environment, trips to our local lido onmost days takes the pressure o our concoction. We find it holds back odour, but doesn’t stop you sweating. For holidays, or quiet days at home, I’d use it – but I’mnot chucking out my shopbought roll-on just yet. Going froma spray to a roll-on is an easier shift, and an important one, according to a newUniversity of York study. While harmful chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are no longer used in aerosols, these have been replaced with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as propane and butane, which contribute to indoor pollution. “The widespread switching of aerosols to non-VOC alternatives would lead to potentiallymeaningful reductions in air pollution,” says Alastair Lewis, science director at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science. “Making small changes in what we buy could have amajor impact on both outdoor and indoor air quality.” For a vegan and aluminium-free option, I likeMitchumPowder deodorant. For less packaging, the Natural Deodorant Company o ers balms in glass jars. Another (cheaper) way to lower your deodorant’s environmental impact is to just use it less, but that would mean several showers a day to stay fresh. My year of living sustainably These past few days have workedmy last good nerve. I am currently living inmy bedroom, with only a narrow path to the bed. I’m surrounded by stacks of art books, cookbooks, biographies, anthologies and fiction. Totemic African sculptures, ceramics and decorative objects are crowded together onmy dresser, nightstands and every flat surface. Chairs, lamps and taborets are geometrically arranged next to and on top of each other in di erent ways – all to get as many pieces in the roomas possible. And there’s dust everywhere, even though I keep the bedroomdoor closed. Before I get into bed at night, I want to shake o the sheets. When I wake, my first instinct is to shake the dust o my body, but I’mafraid of knocking something over and breaking it. I amhavingmy apartment painted, a process that always seems to fall in the ‘be careful what you wish for’ column. At the end of June, I decided to refreshmy place as a birthday present tomyself. It was the beginning of a new decade inmy life. It felt like the perfect time for new colours, a new installation of art, and a simplified furniture arrangement. I knewmy spirits would be lifted each day just walking into the freshened rooms. At the start of the week, the painter discoveredmore cracks in the plaster walls that need repair. This means the painting is likely to take longer – a lot longer – and cost more. When I heard his every word, I just had to sit down, but there was no chair in that room. Since then, I findmyself thinking about an old friend who toldme that she’d rather move than have her apartment painted. At the time, I thought she was being dramatic. However, when her place eventually became an unsightlymess of unpainted patches from repairs, with sheets of cracked and peeling paint dangling from the ceiling, she sold the place as is and bought a freshly painted, new place that she wouldn’t have to decorate for at least 10 years. I remember the happiness and relief she radiated when shemoved in. Whilemy apartment is not nearly as bad as hers was, it needed freshening. During lockdown, my neighbours above me retreated to their country house. Unfortunately, during a heavy rainstorm, their terrace drains failed. The water collected and overflowed intomy apartment, causing leaks in the ceiling and walls in almost every roomof my place. More than a year ago, after everything dried out, I had the damage repaired and plastered, but I delayed having the areas painted. This week’s realisation is that I failed to fully anticipate how time-consuming, emotion-consuming, and crazy-making the process would be. It has slowed to the point of feeling torturous. Because of the rules of my apartment building, the painter can work only from9am to 5pmon weekdays, and never on weekends or holidays. I have come to view every full-day break in his schedule as a gift. I spend time alone in my apartment dusting and cleaning. I know it is fruitless, but it makes me feel better. I told the painter, who is meticulous, that I needed one room that is in perfect order, so I can remember why I was going through this stressful mess. So, he beautifully completed the smallest bathroom. I keep it spotless. It is my beaming light at the end of the tunnel. I retreat there with copies of TheWorld of Interiors to calmmyself, to remindmyself of the reward that awaits me... whenever that may be! Life is full of trials and decorating your home is definitely up there Illustration: Amelia Flower/Folioart Illustration: Alex Green/Folioart