Green body care.  Nope, I haven’t developed a green body (could you achieve an emerald glow if you lived on a diet of peas & spinach I wonder…?) but I have finally taken the plunge, stopped using ‘beauty products’ and decided to care for my body and the environment, without the artificial additives.  ‘Naturally wrapped’ is the Camp Full Monte slogan, so better practise more of what I preach and start treating my physical ‘wrappings’ (skin & hair) naturally.

It all began with a visit to my mate Fran during our Christmas break in the UK.  She was on month 2 or 3 of not washing her hair with shampoo and raving about the benefits.  To be fair, the environmental argument didn’t interest her as much as how much money she was saving and how great her hair felt.  Fran has really thin hair and not a lot of it but was thrilled to hear people comment on how much thicker it looked – all those nasty chemicals had been stripping her already apologetic hair.

She introduced me to this fabulous book: Happy Hair by Lucy Aitken Read which I read in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed.  Armed with this and Fran’s anecdotal comments about what worked for her and what supplies I’d need, I prepared to begin the detox programme for my hair.  It seemed inevitable that a few weeks into weaning my locks off the ‘poo (yep, they Americans call such people – of which I am now one – the No Pooers!) my hair would have a freak out before “normalising”.  Most probably I (& more importantly the participants at my skills development workshops) would be faced with a greasy, unappealing mop.  The thought of being in front of a class full of eager students with ‘tramp hair’ was a bit disturbing.  But what the heck.

So, a month ago these became my hair’s new best friends:

Eco beauty 1

Eco hair products


The key cleaning agent is bicarbonate of soda.  I mix it with the boiled water (we have a lot of limescale in our water & apparently boiling it first helps when making the hair wash).  And a couple of days after using the bicarb, I ‘condition’ my hair with cider vinegar diluted in boiled water (with a few drops of lavender to make it smell a little better), or lemon juice.  Fran, like me, used to wash her hair every day so decided to give up the shampoo gradually.  Me, I went cold turkey.

I haven’t washed my hair with shampoo for 4 weeks now &  I haven’t had a greasy episode yet.  Probably because I’m currently omitting a key operation in the whole process: brushing my hair regularly.  I need a boar bristle brush and I have one on order from the UK so within the fortnight I’ll be brushing like crazy and spreading the natural sebum throughout my locks.  Which incidentally, are getting blonder by the day as the products I’m using are natural lighteners.  An added bonus, I say.  Though Steve has pointed out that I am more of a brunette than a blonde these days.  I may end up with ‘Light Mouse’ as my defining colour…

I’ve yet to treat myself to an egg on my head.  Yep, apparently it’s a great conditioner, though not to be used on hot hair unless you want someone eating their breakfast off your noddle!  So, I’m still experimenting and I know my hair has the potential to look more lustrous than it currently does but it hasn’t been a disaster, I have kicked the shampoo habit and am excited by the future cost savings.  The half a kilo bag of bicarb of soda costs 0.70 cents here.  Lemons are free and in abundance right now & when they run out I’ll use the lemon/ chamomile essential oil I have (and an occasional spoonful of honey or coconut oil) and I’ll spend 0.20 cents a month on an egg.  And not only am I saving myself & the environment from all the nasty chemicals in commercial ‘beauty’ products but I’m also minimising packaging waste.  The apple vinegar bottles I re-use as plant pots.

Almost immediately I stopped using shampoo, I became acutely aware of the other gunk I was using.  It seemed bonkers to be treating my hair naturally and not my skin.  Surely there were more opportunities to save money and minimise waste in the skin care department too…?

Not much of a cliff-hanger, but find out in Part 2.

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The month in which…

… we had play time with good friends.  What a great start to the year to be with best buddy Anita & her daughter on New Year’s Day and finally see her ‘new’ house:

Xmas 17

Playing ‘Settlers of Catan’ with Neets & Cathy

And on our return to Monte, dear friends Katie & Fi were celebrating birthdays so we organised an evening with mates at Muo.  We played ‘Cards Against Humanity’ around the table laden with delicious food & laughed until we were helpless.

We welcomed Blazo & fiance Maja back to the Boka mid January.  More game playing (Tac Tic this time) and plenty of wine & rakija.  Blazo’s Slava (family Saint’s day) the following week left us wrecked with over-indulgence.

And we weren’t the only ones in the household with play dates.  Milky, the Hare-Brown’s naughty & excitable puppy came to stay for a couple of nights.  After an initial tense half hour, the 2 mongrels got on fine and enjoyed some fun frolicking about together.  Here’s Milky, the midget dog ‘hiding’ under the table:

Jan - Milky

Do you like my wooden hat?!


…we toasted the eves of Orthodox Christmas & New Year with Nik, who met us in Herceg Novi, Belavista Square where a bonfire raged outside the church on both nights.   On Badnjak Dan (Christmas Eve), a small crowd gathered to throw Badnjak logs onto the flames & devour the priganice (small, sweet, fried dough balls) & kuvanje vino (hot wine) provided by the Church and choirs of children & adults sang ‘a cappella’.

Xmas place 6

Belavista Square on Christmas Eve


On New Year’s Eve, there was singing, live music from a Gypsy band and once the priests had completed their blessings & officially proclaimed ‘Srecna Nova Godina’, the bangers & hand-held ‘fireworks’ began.

… I embarked on a period of detox to counteract the excesses & adopted a new body care regime that’s both good for me & good for the environment.  More of this to follow in a separate post!  But I will tell you about getting a massage, after recovering from back pain after too many hours stuck in a sitting position on our return flight.  Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, I’m now a client of Sonja – a fabulous massage therapist in Tivat who makes her own St John’s Wort massage oil, has all kinds of gadgets & devices to loosen & stretch muscle and makes me feel amazing.

… we visited the campsite to check everything was intact & found that many plants had suffered due to very cold temperatures the Bay had experienced in our absence.  Good job I took cuttings from the geraniums last month as the flowers in the beds don’t look like they’ll recover.  Despite me wrapping the bougainvillea in fleece in December, it really doesn’t look very well:

Jan - Bourganvil

Duncan’s lovely gift to us may not make it to Spring…

Sticky the insect was hanging about:

Jan - stick insect

What a weirdo!

but not much else to report.  The caravan was still intact and no discernible issues with water ingress anywhere.  Steve visited at the end of the month & took this photo:

Jan - campsite

Empty & wintry…

… the gardening process began for 2015!  We planned the use of the beds for this season and what would go where: last year’s bean bed will support this year’s tomatoes (which will love the added nitrogen); last year’s salad crop bed will support the 2nd bed of tomatoes (salads are not hungry plants so with a little extra fertilizer, this will be a good bed for the fruit with the bigger appetite);  root crops replace last year’s tomatoes; beans will grow where last year’s root crops grew and hopefully salad will thrive in place of last year’s onions & carrots.

I sowed the first of the flower seeds: cosmos, zinnia, marigolds (4 different varieties), pansy, mesembryanthemum, stock, alyssum, petunia, lobelia; and new for this year: ammi visnaga, verbena & hibiscus (saved seed from passionate gardener Camilla).  I potted up the few petunias and lobelia that made it through the winter.

Jan - nursery 1

First seedlings & last year’s petunias

A couple of weeks later it was already time to pot on the cosmos & marigolds!

Jan - potting on

Flower seedlings potted on

I also sowed the first lettuce and tomatoes of the season and Steve is trying to grow almond trees.

… we were overrun with lemons,

Jan - lemons

13 kilos of lemons from the trees in our garden

which Steve turned into lemon sok (syrup)

Jan - lemon sok

When life gives you lemons…


and marmalade.  Here’s an arty shot of lemon marmalade in the making:

Jan - lemon marmalade

What’s harder – capturing the moment on camera or pouring boiling jam into hot jars without making a mess??

In the photo you can see the extent of Steve’s toil.  Orange jelly marmalade (with just a few wisps of finely cut rind) was made from a bag of wild oranges donated by a friend. Lemon is on the right of the picture.  As ever, click on the image to see it full-size and you’ll notice an unmarked jar in front.  This was Lemon Marmalade #1 – a gorgeous colour but way too sloppy.  So Steve re-boiled most jars and see how dark the preserve is now!  It’s a great consistency tho and a super zingy taste!

Jan - marmalade

The buttered toast is very excited by this photo!

My contribution to the lemon-a-thon, was Lemon Pickle.  At first all the ingredients took up a couple of jars:

Jan - lemon pickle 1

Lemons, salt, lemon juice, sugar, ground spices and chilli powder

but by the next day the lemons had already started to break down and I squeezed everything into a single big kilner jar.

Jan - lemon pickle 2

It now has to ‘cook’ in the sun for 2-3 months

… I made kiwi chutney after an appeal for kiwis finally got me a bag full to preserve.  The full low-down on the recipe to follow soon.

Jan - kiwi chutney 5

Indian-style Kiwi Chutney

… I got a belated Christmas gift which has revolutionised my peeling & shredding efforts (it made short work of the tough kiwi skin!):

Jan - peeler & shredder

A min mandolin-type tool – see here with shredded cabbage!

… I got busy again with ‘work’.  The last half of the month was taken up with designing skills workshops, attending planning meetings, holding coaching sessions and running workshops.  Word is getting out & I’m being approached by other organisations and individuals to work with them too.  Hurrah for a plan coming together!

… and I read the second book from the talented Swedish author, Jonasson.  This is a romping good tale, if a little rambling at times, brimming with delightful characters not least the heroine Nombeko.  The author pokes fun & challenges stereotypes all over the place.  The writing is funny, clever and very accessible.  A thoroughly enjoyable read, but slightly less satisfying that “The Hundred Year Old Man…”

Jonas Jonasson book

Jonas Jonasson’s engaging & funny novel


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