PGM 15 | Living with Less & Loving It with Madeleine Somerville

Mar 17 2015

This week we're talking with Madeleine Somerville, blogger over at Sweet Madeleine and author of a crazy good book called All you Need is Less. Her book is aimed mostly at those just starting out in making changes, it still has so much to offer to everyone. It's full of funny anecdotes and it does a fantastic job of reminding us that we all start somewhere, which is exactly what we cover in this episode. Madeleine celebrates baby steps but makes sure you know the reasons why you need to keep going with bigger and bigger steps. She shares an awesome recipe for making your own shampoo (which we HAVE to try) and a whole bunch of fantastic tips. And it's all done without any guilt trips. There's enough literature and material out there scaring us out of our pants. Or making us feel guilty, or that we're not doing enough. But here's the thing: Madeleine and I both feel that guilt or fear are actually barriers to change, and the surest way to ensure that heads are stuck in the sand. We both feel equally passionate about this, and we're desperate to see our society make major changes, but we've chosen to simplify things in an effort to reach more people. We want to empower, inspire and excite people. That's where all the fun is, and THAT is the pathway to change. If you ask us, anyway. In the episode we talk about all the whys, about Madeleine's journey, and she throws down some really great, actionable advice. Even if you're not a novice at this, she's just a pleasure to listen to. She feels like a friend.

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Click to Tweet: "Enact the change you can at the level you can & then keep going from there." @madeleineSix today on PGMpodcast

And as promised, Madeleine's magical two ingredient shampoo & conditioner:


Mix 1 cup warm water with 1 TBSP baking soda. Stir until dissolved and pour over wet hair. Give yourself a relaxing scalp massage, concentrating on the hairline and the crown of your head if you tend to have oily hair. Rinse well.


Mix 1 cup warm water with 1-2 TBSP apple cider vinegar OR LEMON JUICE! (!). Typically I’d use 1 TBSP if you have oily hair, 2 if your hair tends to be dry. Pour over shampooed and rinsed hair, massage into scalp and let sit for a few moments while you tackle the onerous task of finally shaving your winter-legs, exfoliating your elbows or what have you. Rinse well.

Read Madeleine's post about it

Show Notes & Main Themes

  • How Madeleine’s new puppy spawned her “eco-awakening” 3:08
  • Where she first began implementing change 7:10
  • The simplicity of making your own household products 9:36
  • Why Madeleine was inspired to write a book about eco-living 16:44
  • “You don’t have to be rich to be eco-friendly” -18:20
  • The homemade shampoo recipe that changed her perspective on eco-living 21:23
  • “We can create this stuff, we don’t need to buy it” - on the barrier that stands in peoples way of understanding what is in their products  27:35
  • Madeleine’s perspective on finding a middle ground with eco-living and taking baby steps 28:32
  • “Guilt is not motivating”- 31:58
  • “Even if you aren’t doing everything, it doesn’t negate the impact of the things you are doing”- 32:18
  • Her belief that awareness and small changes truly lead to a bigger shift 34:11
  • “You have to enact the change you can at the level you can and then keep going from there”- 36:58
  • Why she chose to use a humorous approach in her book 37:02
  • How reducing can be ignored in the conversation of eco-living because of our capitalist society and why that is detrimental 41:00
  • “Instead of buying all these things, you’re just choosing not to … and that has a huge impact on your life as an individual … and the environment”- 43:02
  • “Possessions are responsibilities”- 43:09
  • How strongly we identify with our possessions and why transitioning to eco-living doesn’t mean buying new things 45:15
  • How to consider the life cycle of a product and understanding what that means 48:33
  • The importance of differentiating between our wants and needs 49:09
  • The four questions she goes through before she buys something new: Do I need it? Can I make it? Can I buy it second-hand? How can I buy the best quality? 49:47
  • Her tips on making your own home cleaning supplies with a handful of ingredients 60:00
  • Madeleine's recommendation for making your own  body care products 65:00
  • Madeleine's recipe for a 3-ingredient, homemade body lotion
  • The importance of sharing products with your community and why beg, borrow, and barter should be the new "Eat, Pray, Love" 69:02
  • "You don't have to own everything you need" 71:32
  • How to create community through sharing, asking for help, and connecting with each other 75:45
  • Her advice for people who want to include their family and loved ones in their lifestyle 77:06
  • "Decide what you want to do and just do it"- on including those people without forcing upon them 78:55