Three ways to save money on couriers

Here we are, with fuel prices at a record high, and courier fees rising every two months. What does that mean for online shopping? How can you get hold of your favourite Mrs Martin’s products without paying too much for delivery?

We all know there is no such thing as free shipping. No courier works for nothing. When you order below a certain amount, we ask you to pay for the courier. When you order over a certain amount, we call it ‘free shipping’, but in actual fact it is just free for you, the buyer. We, the seller, pay full price. We do so gladly, because we really apprectiate your business.

So in order NOT to pay extra for courier fees, your aim should always be to order for more than R900. That is a lot of money. Perhaps even more soap than you need. How now?

Order in bulk

Did you know that using our concentrate and refill options are more economical by far? Take the savings even further by ordering enough to last you three months. That should bring your order to a total above the free shipping threshold, which means you do not pay extra for delivery.

Create a delivery ‘lift club’

Convince your responsible friends or family to order together! Give one delivery address and collect your products from there when they arrive. No extra courier fee!

Ask your local sustainable living store to stock us

We would love to be in every shop in South Africa! Approach the shop you love to support, and ask them to contact me. Who knows, perhaps we can strike a deal and have your favourite products on their shelves in no time. Since you visit that shop anyway, it would cost you nothing more to get a hold of our products.

In a way, having to think about one’s courier fees actually makes one more responsible as a consumer. Instead of sending the couriers every month for smaller orders, one plans now and sends the courier once in three months, for example. That creates far less carbon emissions and makes the foorprint of our product smaller.

Thank you for being on this journey with us. We look forward to packing your next order!

Cheerio

Why must I pay to return empty containers?

Because we are mainly an online shop, everything we offer involves couriers. Unfortunately couriers charge per weight or volume, depending on which is bigger. That means they charge a full courier fee for picking up the containers even if it is light, because it is large.

We try to arrange that they pick up the parcel when they deliver your order, this way we try to minimise unnecessary carbon emissions. Also, if they can complete the delivery and pick up in one trip, we might one day be able to negotiate a discount on the fees. Very often however, lines get crossed and the courier arrives at your door twice. Please do pardon the inefficiency and know that we are working to educate all parties regarding small footprints and such.

We hope that as our delivery volume picks up we can negotiate better rates in the future, but for now we pay a full courier fee to have your containers collected. In order to keep this service sustainable, we ask you to pay a portion thereof.

Thank you from all of us for being a responsible, intelligent consumer. May you reap the rewards.

“Hey! Don’t You Dare Throw Out That Strong, Light Container!”

Do you feel that horrible niggle when you throw ‘away’ your fourth yoghurt tub and another empty milk bottle in just one week? I do!

I’m not an activist and I do not live in constant fear of annihilation. But running my household in a responsible and intelligent way is important to me. Throwing ‘away’ a fantastically light and strong container that was USED ONLY ONCE does not seem to be either.

Mrs Martin

The way we see it, plastic is a great material because it is light and strong. It is exactly the kind of material that should be used over and over again, for years. After that, it can be recycled once or twice. True, by that time it will end up in landfill, but it would have saved so much energy during its working life, that the net impact is favourable.

Just imagine: we transport your soap to you in a 5l PET bottle. The fact that the bottle is strong means the courier drives less, because it does not break along the way. The fact that the bottle is very light means the courier can carry more product in one trip, so he makes less trips! Over several years, the delivery of your product creates a smaller footprint, and if you send back five empty 5l bottles every year, you have kept a whole lot of plastic off landfill!

That’s why we accept your used containers and really use them again. Visit our website to see how you can do it.

That’s also why we offer concentrate refills and bulk buying options for thicker soap that cannot be concentrated. We take the single use plastic problem off your shoulders and offer you a chance at a clean conscience.

A clean conscience? That’s worth a whole lot!

Ses nommer nipper aanlyn geskenkidees

Hoekom ek ‘n lysie  van nommer nipper geskenkidees moes maak

Ek is altyd laat. Ek besef dis erg. Dis verskriklik. Dit wys vir ander jy respekteer nie hulle tyd nie. Dit maak jou man kwaad. Dit maak dat jy altyd ‘n bietjie windverwaaid op ‘n plek aankom. Dis aaklig.

Maar jy kry darem daai laaste bondel wasgoed in die masjien…

Ek moes veertig word voor ek kon verstaan hoekom ek altyd laat is: ek haat rondsit. Jy wat my ken sal weet ek hou van doeltreffendheid (efficiency, man). Om tien minute in die teater te sit en wag vir die konsert, is super ondoeltreffend (so loop die gesprek onbewus in my kop). Dis sieldodend. Jy kry niks uitgerig nie, en dit terwyl die huis wat jy so lank gelede agtergelaat het, op sy kop staan. Jy kon net sowel tien minute later gery het en nog ‘n bietjie skoongemaak het! So daarom maak ek nog ‘n bietjie skoon, ry vyftien minute later en kom laat aan. Elke. Liewe. Keer. Daar ken jy nou een van my groot karakterfoute.

Alweer laat

So hier is ons, drie slapies voor Oukersaand en vier slapies voor Kersdag. En ek het nog nie geskenke vir almal nie. Ek is laat.

In plaas daarvan om by Crazy Store in te storm, het ek aanlyn rondgesnuffel vir geskenke wat onmiddelik opdaag. Die wonderlike ding van kitsaanlyngeskenke is dat dit gewoonlik nul vullis is (zero waste, man).

En omdat ek nie kan glo dat ek die enigste een is wat laat is nie, deel ek graag my vondse met jou. Terloops, niemand betaal my niks hiervoor nie.

Ses nommer nipper geskenkidees wat sommer ook nul vullis is

1. Teken haar in op ‘n lekker tydskrif

Wie hou nie daarvan om op die rusbank/langs die swembad te le met ‘n pragtige tydskrif nie? Betaal die intekenfooi namens jou vriendin en siedaar! Jou Kersgeskenk word elke maand afgelaai by jou vriendin se huis, en sy sal ‘n jaar lank dankbaar wees. As jy regtig ernstig is oor nul vullis kan jy natuurlik ook die digitale weergawe kies. Vir tussen R360 (digitale weergawe) en R480 (drukweergawe) kan jy ‘n tydskrif uitkies waarvan sy sal hou. Ons is mal oor Weg! Platteland. En hierdie maand se somerkersfeesartikel in LIG was pragtig (plus hulle gee tans 40% afslag op die intekenfooi).

2. Maak haar ‘n Friend of the National Zoo

Pretoria het ‘n fantastiese dieretuin. Ons kinders kan nie genoeg kry van die dieretuin nie. Dit is reusagtig, dis oud, en elke keer wat ‘n mens gaan is die atmosfeer anders omdat dit buite is. As jy vir ‘n spesiale kind (R125) of selfs ‘n gesinnetjie (R300) betaal om Friends of the National Zoo te word, kry hulle afslag op die gereelde Fun Walks wat ‘n 5km vroegoggendstappie deur die dieretuin is. Hulle kan ook tweemaal verniet ingaan by die dieretuin! Gee ‘n ervaring eerder as ‘n ding. En watter beter ervaring as die dieretuin?

3. Koop haar ‘n Wild Card

As jou vriendin nie in Pretoria woon nie of die dieretuin nou al genoeg gesien het, kan jy die ervaring wat jy gee aansienlik opgradeer na ‘n Wild Card. Dis nou ‘n geskenk. Dis beslis die goedkoopste manier om Suid-Afrika se fantastiese parke te verken. Jy sal vir tussen R640 en R1300 regkom, afhangende van watter kluster jy kies en of dit vir een mens, ‘n paartjie of ‘n gesinnetjie is. Jou vriendin sal vir ‘n jaar alle deelnemende parke in die kluster verniet kan besoek as dagbesoeker. Sy sal boon-op afslag kry op verblyf, ingeteken word vir die WILD tydskrif en verwittig word van eksklusiewe promosies en kompetisies.

Kyk net hoe baie parke het ons eintlik in Suid-Afrika!
Wild Card klusters

4. Sluit haar aan by die Botanical Society

Hoekom?! vra jy.  Sodat sy vir die hele jaar verniet by al tien SANBI Nasionale Botaniese Tuine in Suid-Afrika kan ingaan! Ja, ons het tien Nasionale Botaniese Tuine: Kirstenbosch (Kaapstad), Harold Porter (Bettiesbaai), Karoo Desert (Worcester), KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg), Vrystaat (Bloemfontein), Laeveld (Nelspruit), Pretoria, Hantam (Nieuwoudtville), Walter Sisulu (Krugersdorp) en Kwalera (Oos-Kaap). Ons gesin sou ons elke Sondag op Pretoria se Botaniese Tuine se grasperk gaan neervly het as dit nie geld gekos het nie. Om van die broeipaar witkruisarende by Walter Sisulu nie te praat nie! Vir tussen R500 en R900 (afhangende van enkel- of gesinslidmaatskap) kan jou vriendin vir een jaar enige tyd verniet ingaan by enige tuin, en sy sal ook ingeteken word op die oulike tydskrif Veld & Flora.

5. Koop haar ‘n geskenkaart

Ek sal altyd ‘n iTunes geskenkkaart met ope arms verwelkom! Jy kan boeke, films, musiek of apps koop. Hoe nul vullis is dit? Hoe luuks? En hoe kits?! Gaan na jou iTunes account, kies die Store tab regs bo (as jy dit van die desk top af doen) of die Send Gift knoppie heel, heel onder (as jy dit van die iTunes app op jou foon doen). Vul jou vriendin se eposadres in, skryf ‘n boodskap en kies ‘n bedrag!

Kies die store tab regs bo en jy kry hierdie skerm.
iTunes op my desktop

En dan moet ek darem ook ons eie Mrs Martin’s gift cards noem want miskien weet jy nie eers dat jy intelligente, verantwoordelike, veilige seep aan jou vriendin per epos kan stuur nie!!

Geseende Kersfees!

Ek hoop jy geniet jou aanlyn inkopies. En nog meer as dit: geniet ‘n rustige, geseende Kersfees.

 

 

Ons maak self huis skoon, en dis nie vir sissies nie

Martin en ek en ons drie kinders maak self ons huis skoon. Ons het nie hulp nie.

‘n Dekade gelede sou dit baie vreemd gewees het vir ‘n middelklas wit familie om self in die huis te werk. Ek het al vertel hoe ek na matriek die eerste keer vloer gewas het. Skoonmaak (en veral hoe die bediende nie daarin slaag nie) was in die ou dae ‘n ding waaroor Ma met Tannie Martie oor die muur staan en gesels het. Niemand anders in die huis het tweemaal daaraan gedink nie…(behalwe natuurlik as die bediende die dag nie opgedaag het nie!)

Maar gelukkig het die lewe ‘n manier om mens wakker te skud. My twee sussies was o, so verontwaardig jare gelede toe hulle in Skotland ‘n gapjaar gaan vat, en ‘n ander tiener se bed moes opmaak! Terwyl genoemde tiener haarself voor die TV uitvlei, moes my sus nederig vra dat sy haar bene optel sodat sy die mat kon suig. Volle sirkel.

Ek kry die gevoel dat al hoe meer Suid-Afrikaanse gesinne vandag ‘kies’ om self skoon te maak.

My oudste maak die stoof skoon

Óns kies dit beslis nie omdat ons wil snaaks wees of omdat ons so mal is oor huisskoonmaak nie, hoor! Ons het ander redes.

Sizakele was die beste

Sizakele was deel van die gesin.

 

Sy was skaam maar uiters betroubaar.

Vir jare het ons die beste huishulp op aarde gehad. Sizakele se hand het vir niks verkeerd gestaan nie. Sy was my kinders se mamcane. En my beste vriendin – nie net omdat sy my so ongelooflik gehelp het in die huis en my werk by die skool moontlik gemaak het nie, maar ook omdat sy so baie goed soos ek gesien het. Maar met ons groot omwenteling byna twee jaar gelede, moes ons Sizakele groet. Oor die trane wil ek nie hier praat nie. Se maar net daar was geen lus in my om ‘n nuwe huishulp te soek nie. Niemand kon haar ooit ‘vervang’ nie, het ons gevoel.

Ook kan ons eintlik nie ‘n huishulp bekostig nie. Enigeen wat wetsgehoorsaam wil wees en ‘n gemiddelde inkomste het, sal weet wat ek bedoel.

Ons wil ons kinders iets leer

En ons wil graag ons kinders leer om verantwoordelikheid te neem vir hulle eie gemorse. ‘n Mens leef nogal anders as jy weet jy gaan self skoonmaak waar jy vuilgemaak het. Jy drink jou tweede koffie uit net-nou se koppie, en koop minder ‘stuff’ wat rondsit en afgestof moet word. Self skoonmaak dwing jou om te dink oor wat jy doen, en ons hou daarvan.

Laastens voel ons sterk daaroor dat skoonmaak ‘n vaardigheid is wat mens eendag op ‘n heel konkrete manier kan help.

  • Dit kan jou gemoed oplig. ‘n Opgemaakte bed is belangriker vir ‘n suksesvolle dag as wat mens besef. Om soggens in ‘n skoon kombuis in te stap gee jou sommer krag vir die dag.
  • Dit kan jou geld spaar. Jou huis moet skoongemaak word. As jy dit self doen, kan jy die geld op ‘n motorpaaiement spandeer!
  • Dit kan selfs vir jou geld inbring, as jy daarvan n besigheid maak. Ons lewe van mattewas en seep verkoop!

En dis nie vir sissies nie

Dit het maande geneem om gewoond te raak daaraan dat Sizakele nie meer ongemerk alles gaan regmaak wat in die huis verkeerd staan nie. Om te besef, ‘the buck stops here’. Daar is eenvoudig geen engel meer nie. As ek die besmeerde eierpan van ontbyt op die stoof los om ‘n klient se oproep te antwoord, bly hy daar tot vanmiddag 13:00 wanneer ek weer in die kombuis instorm om ‘n volgende ete reg te kry. Ek kon die wasgoed nog skoon kry, maar gestryk? Chaos loer gedurig om die hoekie.

Hoe ons kop bo water hou, vertel ek volgende keer.

All the stuff we gather

On Saturday we will celebrate one year in our new home. I chatted in this post about how we arrived in Pretoria with precious few possessions. And how rapidly we managed to change that situation. Without even trying. Here are some of the highlights of the year.

The happy day when our first products arrived from the labs!

Loose rugs are often washed in my lounge… grin and bear it… it doesn’t last forever. We are thankful for the work!

And some recent pictures of the lounge.

This is what a lounge is for! Mom’s old bed, aunt’s old curtains, Tannie Cecile’s old throw… and one brand new cushion from Mr Price Home 😉

Although we are still waiting for a rug, curtains already make the space more cosy.

We came from a tiny rondawel where we had learnt to make do with SO few things. We hung our clothes from a railing in the cone thatch. What could not fit onto that railing, had to go. It was that simple. Which meant of course there was only one Sunday suit. And one coat. And that I did laundry every single day of my life! But we had clothes on our backs and the semblance of order in our bedroom. The kids quickly learnt that for every toy that came in, one had to go. We shared with our neighbours. They all had children, little money and less storage space. We were all in the same boat.

We gained from living lightly. We had a sense of community. I got training in organising (while my natural tendency is towards chaotic creativity) and decluttering (while I am actually a hoarder) simply because the household could not function with the one kitchen counter groaning under keys, or the receipt for the faulty toaster lost under a bed.

And yet, when we started packing for the move, we could not believe what came out of that rondawel! It felt like every single hole oozed stuff. Over the years we had accumulated more than we had ever imagined. Because it was all so neatly packed way, we had no clue that we were the owners of so much. Stunning. Mind boggling. Crazy.

The painful process of pruning started again because we did the move ourselves and could take only essentials. The truth is us humans can survive with very little. But we need a lot of stuff to live ‘respectably’. Then comes the paraphernalia of hobbies. Sport. Fancy ways of cooking. Entertaining. And your house overflows again! So many items are used once or twice and then sit in a dark corner until years later it gets thrown ‘away’.

I firmly believe a man’s life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. That is why I did not buy a single thing this Black Friday. Our shop also did not offer any discounts (have you noticed?) We chose to focus on zero waste options for gifts, decorating and cleaning. Besides, creating excites me far more than consuming.

A humble kitchen is more beautiful with a handmade tea towel and bamboo clothy!

Don’t you agree? I refuse to forget all the benefits of living lightly. I kick against being assimilated into the rush to own more. How do you manage to create rather than consume today? I’d love to know.

House vs Rondawel – What We Love About Our Move

The house is bigger...

Which pros transpired from our recent move from midlands meandering to sectional title suburbanism? Well, shops are closer. And our house is bigger.

The house we left in the hills is a rondawel, a round hut among all the other round huts on the hills. Initially the hut had a ground floor only, but as the family grew it got a second storey. Have you ever seen a double storey rondawel?

Triple bunker for the children. Our bed was right behind the dry wall.
The play area in the children’s room was very small but well utilised!

All five of us would sleep upstairs in the cone thatched roof, basically, and clamber down a ladder every morning to the living area.

The ‘living area’ was kitchen, lounge and dining room, PLUS bathroom, all in one circle of 28 square meter. My three darling children grew up ascetic, see?

Yet the moment they set foot in a shop, they would come alive to all the brilliant possibilities of the stuff around them, and turn into relentless consumers. No-one taught them this. It just happened. And I find that although I am generally very good at saying no, I get tired and lose focus if every minute is filled with at least six “Please buy…” requests.

...and the shops are closer

So that is why shops should not be close, right? No! Living in the sticks means going shopping is a whole day’s affair and everyone tags along. I could never nip out to anywhere. It had to be planned, and prepped, and packed. After fifty minutes of horrendous mountain driving and many car sick groans we would eventually hit the coast and high way. Twenty minutes after that we would all peel out of the car, sticky and in need of the loo. Then we would be starting to look for a place to have the next meal – hey, the one we had before we left is already more than an hour ago and the kiddos are niggly. Hubby spent umpteen glorious mornings in Wimpy with a glazed over look on his face and a mega coffee in hand, while the children careened on the jungle gyms and I ran through the shops trying to tick something, SOMETHING off my list.

This time it seems he did not even get a coffee, but he is making the best of it!

Now I pop in and I pop out and by the time they realise I have gone I’m back with the goods. Painless.

A bigger house needs more furniture of course

About the bigger house. We still have a modest home. Three bedrooms two bathrooms isn’t massive for five people. But in the beginning it was absolutely cavernous for us. We all slept in the same room on Night One, huddling together a bit like sheep out in the open would. And like I told you previously we had precious few possessions with which to fill the space.

No curtains, nothing on the walls… and such a tiny couch!

I speak in past tense, however, because seven months down the line we shake our heads at everything we have already hoarded and how we have already, in several unguarded moments, dared to say the house was too small. Consumers!

But that is a story for another time.

Cheerio!