Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Aubrey Organics RAVE!

I just have to take a moment to rave on how amazing this company "Aubrey Organics" is for a moment.  First of all: SO impressed by their commitment for over 40 years to producing 100% safe products without compromise - they were doing this before it was trendy!  
Secondly: their customer service is outstanding.  This is the type of company I don't hesitate in recommending based on the knowledge of their commitment to quality and true safety of products and on their loyalty to their customers.  

One disclaimer is I do notice they use alcohol in some of their products which can be drying to the skin. This is not a biggie for me but something to be aware of.

I contacted them via their Facebook page recently to enquire about a price change on the Rosa Mosqueta Conditioner. I have been buying it for over a year at the same store for the same price and all of a sudden it went up by $10!  I got a prompt reply that they would look into it and they also asked for my address to send me some more for the inconvenience.  I received a full size Rosa Mosqueta Shampoo and Conditioner, a full size Chia Mousse, Chia Hairspray and Chia Salt Spray along with a selection of skin care products I have reviewed earlier.  I was amazed at the generosity of this company sending me so many full size products for free as they didn't know I have a blog either!  Then when I went to use two of them they had faulty sprays and Aubrey insisted on sending replacement products to ensure I could try those products.  WOW.

The Chia Salt Spray has quite a strong smell but seemed to work well giving the textured salt spray look.  It says 'Protein Rich Color Care' on it and also 'instant volume' stating that it protects natural and color treated hair from heat damage so I imagine this would also be great to use prior to heat styling irons etc for that extra protection too.  The second ingredient listed after water is alcohol denat and lists other things like lemon peel oil, lavender oil and rosemary. For a full ingredient listing check their website. The bottle size is 118ml/ 4 FL OZ and it has a pump spray cap.

The Chia Mousse is very light and not sticky at all to touch and has a lemongrass fragrance.  Since my hair is really long I am probably not the best person to test this as the weight of my hair negates anything the mousse is intended to do. It is listed as 'Smoothing for Medium/Thick hair'.  Like the Salt Spray it is also listed as protecting natural and color treated hair from heat which makes it a great product from those of you using heat styling products.  The mousse is also listed as helping to control frizz and add shine.

The Rosa Mosqueta Shampoo and Conditioner have a really nice light sweet fruity type fragrance. I find they clean decently but like others I've noticed they have thinned out a lot recently and don't seem as good.  According to Aubrey's response on the website I've seen to others they had to make slight changes to the formulations recently in order to get a new organic certification they were wanting.  I'm not sure what they are going to do as they do seem to have a lot of loyal customers, some using the products for over 20 years, that are discontinuing use due to these changes to the products.  I really hope they can get the original formulations back quickly to regain their loyal customer base and continue to add to it because the negative press of disgruntled customers doesn't help.  They are a great company and I hope they can sort this out in a way that works for all.

For me I recommend them as a company, for all they stand for including against animal testing however right now to be really honest I haven't been wowed by any of their products. I really wanted to be as they are so kind sending me the samples etc but I'm open to trying more in the future - particularly if I hear that they bring the old formulations back for sure!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Introducing Neals Yard Organic - now available in the US!

I'm so excited to introduce you to an all organic 100% safe, chemical free brand I have known about for the last 20 years - Neals Yard Organics. I first discovered it myself when I lived in the U.K and was drawn into the gorgeous little store in Oxford where I lived.  It was an amazing experience - with the aromas of essential oils and so many interesting products all in beautiful glass blue bottles.  A friend gave me a gift pack for my birthday and it was an absolute treat. I also tried their deodorant too as I was looking for something safe and found it worked well.  Anyway I left UK and therefore hadn't heard much about Neals Yard until recently when I discovered that they are now in the USA where I am living. They are operating differently here, they are probably not going to have the beautiful stores like they have in UK, they are mostly operating by having representatives called independent consultants who sell their products for them through direct sales.

They had an offer recently that was too good to pass by with $99 for I think it's over 20 products - some of them, like the Frankincense line, being over $100 individually!  I signed up!  So the good news is I now can purchase the products myself with $25 discount! Excited about that! This offer does come up now and then.

Neals Yard Remedies Organic (or NYR Organic) has been around for 30 years committed to organic, high quality pure products.  These products are all handmade by 6 people in the UK.  The more I find out about them the more excited I feel as FINALLY there is a company that actually is organic and safe. I get sick of finding out supposedly organic products have questionable ingredients still in them or having to check ingredients lists in every product in a range because some are safe and some not.  This is not the case with NYR Organic. They are all safe, they are committed to that. Not only are they committed to the non toxic, organic, 100% safe but they also recently scored 100/100 for their ethical standards. Pretty impressive.

Anyway if you would like to have a look feel free to browse the website and check out the products for yourself.  I have linked it throughout or click here. If you have any questions please do ask! These products are luxurious and highly coveted in UK - it's a high end brand that is already established and proven in it's field.  I can also get hold of samples for you if you'd like to try some products too - just let me know.

So excited to share these with you! I'm pretty sure you will love them too!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Review of some Aubrey Cosmetics Skincare Product Samples

I recently got the opportunity to try some Aubrey Cosmetics Skincare Product samples which was completely new to me.  I've been using their Rosa Mosqueta Shampoo and Conditioner for about a year now so that has been the limit of my knowledge of this brand up until now.  The Rosa Mosqueta Shampoo and Conditioner has changed with the latest bottles I've been using so I won't be continuing using it unfortunately. I guess they changed the recipe or something as in particular the conditioner feels very watery now on my hair.

To be honest these skincare samples are just okay for me.  I haven't noticed any dramatic differences in the appearance of my skin during the time I've been using them.  I'm not a fan of the smell, it reminds me of celery or something along those lines.  I probably won't purchase these as full size products however I'm grateful for the opportunity to try them all the same.

I do very much appreciate companies like Aubrey, however, with their commitment to keeping the nasty chemicals and questionable contents out of their products and will continue to try other products of theirs as I have opportunity as I also realize different things work for different people.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Introducing ABEEGO!!!

So I haven't posted in a while - my apologies - however I have a new discovery to share in the non toxic world of essentials and that is: ABEEGO!  Not sure how I found them but Abeego is a company based in Canada that makes food coverings that are completely non toxic - also called beeswax wrap.  They had a sale so I thought I would go ahead and try them and I got the pack with three different sizes.  My first impression is how amazing it smells when you take them out of the packaging - that delightful honey/beeswax smell!!  Love the design of them too.

I've been looking for alternatives to using cling film/wrap for a while but to be honest there's not much that can take it's place for convenience and usability.  Enter Abeego!  I love these wraps!  I haven't got rid of my cling film just yet because I don't have enough Abeegos yet to go 100% but I plan on doing that knowing how bad the cling film is with phthalates in particular.   I read loads of reviews on Abeego and read through their website to ensure I knew how to use it first.

So far I've used it for covering foods - even raw onions and it doesn't pick up the scent! Amazing huh!  I've wrapped fresh bread or baguettes in it and the next day the bread is still soft - which never happens otherwise in my experience.  I wrap the cheese in it once we've opened it and it keeps very well - had no mold growing on the cheese at all while its wrapped in Abeego.  These are just a few of the things I've tried so far and been impressed with the results.

It shapes with the warmth of your hands, so keep in mind if you take something out of the fridge with abeego wrap on it,  and you want to put the abeego on a different shape you will need to press it down to the new shape gently and the warmth of your hands will reform it.

To wash them you need to take care. I just wipe mine down with a clean wet cloth.  They recommend you use an eco dish liquid if you need a bit of soap for them and to treat them like a plate not a piece of fabric - this way they will last a lot longer.

I love these wraps and will continue to buy more as I can as I would love to get cling film free completely.  So glad there's people out there creating safe alternatives!!Also I must add their customer service is amazing!  Keep an eye on their Facebook page as they do deals from time to time that are a great opportunity to try them out for yourself!  I highly recommend them and just for the record I'm not paid by them nor have they given me anything free to say this!

Photos courtesy of Abeego web and Facebook page.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Non Toxic Ant Killer

I spent christmas with my family in Australia and they were experiencing a plague of ants, and in Australia the ants bite just to add to the problem further. I'd remembered seeing posts on Pinterest so we tried a recipe that is a mixture of borax and water and sugar and you dip a cotton bud in it and then put it in the line of ants.  It worked every time! Was very impressed! This recipe as I said, isn't mine but I'll share it with you since it truly does work.

A Note on Borax - while it is naturally derived and considered non toxic and safe around pets and children, I would still keep it high above so children can't get into it and keep them away from the cotton balls.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Non Toxic Baby! Steps I've taken to create a safe environment

Since my last post I have had my first child!  That has brought a whole new lot of challenges in my goal of avoiding chemicals/plastics etc.  There is a lot already around the internet on this so I won't reinvent the wheel but these are some of the things we have done with our new baby:

Changing Station:  It took us a while to figure out what worked best for us but in the end we set up in the second bathroom on the counter.  We put a towel there and lay the baby on the counter and change him there. It's great as we can use fabric cloths or flannels and clean up all the messes with water and have eliminated the need mostly for wipes.  I love this setup.  However now our baby is nearly four months he is starting to get too big for this arrangement and he's wanting to roll over. I'll let you know what we come up with next as our solution to this once we have it!

While I'm talking about this I want to recommend some AMAZING organic cloth wipes from this company. I actually bought them from Earthfare for a lot cheaper than they sell them on their website. At Earthfare they are $12.99 at the moment but usually out of stock.  Popular I guess! They are super soft!!

Diapers/Nappies:  Well I had every good intention of cloth diapering from the start, however the reality of sleepless nights, meconium and constant dirty nappies forced me to put that on hold.  I tried him in cloth nappies a few weeks in and they looked so ridiculous on his tiny little body that I have held off so far.  What have I been using? I've actually been using Honest diapers and find them really good. Zulily often has them for a really good price and you can buy them on their website without doing the monthly thing.  I love the patterns on them also

I tried GDiapers but found that the velcro on the sides cut into my baby's tummy and left huge red welts so have discontinued using them. Also with GDiapers, I think it's a bit of a gimmick as in theory you just change the insert and put another in but my baby's explosions meant I had to clean the shell every time too meaning I may as well just use a disposable then I dont have to wash as well.

My mother-in-law bought some chlorine free, non toxic diapers from BJ's called 'Generation Earth'.  I tried them and found though they feel very thin, they hold a lot and are actually really good! The price on them is excellent - unbeatable really!

In all this, however, I will be going back to cloth diaper in the day times at home as they are the safest thing to use and also help with elimination communication - which I hope to do also.  Now we're not getting as many dirty nappies and things have settled down more I feel the timing is about right to go back to them.

I will continue to use nontoxic/chlorine free disposables for when we go out.  Also I use the Honest Wipes and keep a pack in the diaper bag - they are great and nothing harmful in them at all.

Car Seat:  I researched and researched this one - spending literally hours!  In the end though, there is no car seat 100% chemical free for children to date.  A brand called Orbit does have oeko tex certification on their fabrics but still have the flame retardants doused in their foam as every car seat has.  In the end I went with a Diono Radian RXT as it's a very strong safe baby carseat. It's convertible so can be used all the way through. Much of it is a steel frame design so minimal plastic.  I found a lady who makes new covers for it, I got organic fabric and organic batting and she made it up for $50!  She is based in Ozark, Missouri and at the time we lived in Branson so I just met up with her and saved on shipping fees which helped too! I recommend her! She did a great job.

To be honest, our newborn was so tiny in this big seat.  Our midwife saw it and went out and bought us a Graco infant seat.  I thought I didn't need one of them but now I wonder how we could have survived without it. It's so convenient to be able to put the baby in the seat while in the house then just click the whole thing into the car. It's convenient for shopping and restaurants, so yes, I am thankful for her purchasing that for us.  I did take out all the padding and made my own organic padding etc for it with the same fabric and batting used for the Radian. It's a basic job as I'm no seamstress but it has done the job.

Bassinet:  I was fortunate to find a baby bassinet for $50 handmade and just raw wood with no varnish or anything on it.  The craftsman selling it was embarrassed that it wasn't finished with paint but for me it was just what I was looking for!  I wasn't going to get a bassinet but with living in a tiny apartment and finding this, we got it.  I bought a Naturepedic bassinet mattress for it and then, to be safe, according to the research on Dr J Sprott on SIDS being linked to molds etc in mattresses I got a babesafe mattress cover.  Then as per instructions from Sprott I put an organic towel down and then an organic sheet over top and that was what our little one slept on.  I actually discovered King size organic pillowcases fit over that bassinet mattress so used them which saved me buying sheets for a bassinet which had a limited timeframe for use.

After about two and a half months our baby was too big for this bassinet anyway and was banging his arms constantly on the sides and getting his legs stuck through the bars etc.  Since we were in the process of moving interstate we decided to find a pack n play style travel cot to use in the meantime.  So back to the drawing board with research and boy, once again, I was researching for hours to try to get to the bottom of things.  Once again I came to the conclusion that there just aren't any completely safe travel cots, so I had to go with the best for us for this time.  I heard good things about the Baby Bjorn light however I dont like the shape of it and I dont like that it means your baby sleeps on the floor with dust and who knows what - especially when in hotels and travelling etc.  I'd prefer one with legs that had the baby off the floor.  I ended up going with the Nuna Sena travel cot and love it. I love the styling of it and the bassinet layer has been perfect. I've only just recently removed it as it's only for use till your child hits 15lbs.  It is really easy and quick to put up and take down too.  Nuna Sena isn't perfect in terms of toxicity. Their fabrics that touch the baby are all oeko tex certified though.  I aired the mattress out in the sun for a while before putting our baby on it.  Ideally I would like to get a babesafe cover for that too - although it is so thin it hardly feels like a mattress.

We are travelling again to visit my family in Australia soon so have put off getting his crib and will just use the travel cot for now until we settle down into our own place again next year.

Clothing/Miscellaneous:  In terms of clothing I was able to get quite a bit of well priced organic clothes from zulily and other such deal websites.  Though organic is my preference I have been given non organic items and purchased non organic items and always just wash them first in my soap nuts!

I absolutely love Aden and Anais' muslin swaddles and use them daily. (Prince George was wrapped in an A&A swaddle when he left the hospital) I tried Bambinoland - which are organic and they just aren't the same quality as the Aden and Anais and I found they looked worn after the first wash.  I also have some 'Luna Lullaby' swaddles and they are a lot finer which I use when it's hotter as the A&A ones are thicker.  Also I have some 'Basic Grey' which are really nice and holding up well too. All of these swaddles I have purchased through Babysteals as they have come up as a daily deal.

Bathtime: I have an organic hooded towel from Under The Nile which has been fantastic and also an organic one from Giggle.  Love the hooded towels to really wrap him up in.  We've been using 'California Baby' lavendar baby wash and also 'Mambino' baby wash and love both of them - both are 100% non toxic and safe!  The Mambino one is actually a foaming one and has a really yummy orange smell.  I always put a shake of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) into the bath before putting baby in to neutralise the chlorine (see previous post here) I use Aden and Anais baby cloths to wash his face etc.

We just bath him in the big bath and have done since his first bath.  He loves it and that's where we got his first smile!  I didn't want any of the plastic baths etc and this works out really well anyway.

So there's some of the things we've been doing so far!  It's a constant challenge though, for example our pediatrician recommended Vitamin D for him and the one she gave us was the Enfamil brand full of all sorts of stuff including sugars, caramel coloring etc.  I threw it out and ordered some Carlsons Infant Vitamin D drops as they only have Vit D3 and Coconut Oil in them.

So much more I could say but will stop for now. Any questions? Please ask and would love to hear your comments tho, so feel free!

Enjoy your week!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

How To Protect Yourself From Chlorinated Swimming Pools?

Just to quickly follow on from the last post where I talked about how to neutralise chlorinated water in your home - I wanted to address this separately.  As a child I grew up near the beach so we were always there, but there were many occasions when we would swim in chlorinated pools - be it for school swimming lessons, the neighbours pool etc. With this information on how harmful chlorine is, it causes a conflict because swimming pools are so much fun especially for kids - I have so many memories of basically living in the pool as a child and I wouldn't want to take that away from my children.  So what to do?

Well the first and best option is always the beach, lakes, rivers etc.  The next best option is a salt water pool.  Finally with chlorinated pools the best option is outdoor pools rather than indoor as at least the harmful chlorine vapors are dissipated into the fresh air.

I came across a blog about this that I wanted to share with you as this lady shares some great info on how to protect yourself and children if you/they swim in a chlorinated pool.  She also utilises vitamin c putting it in a spray bottle as part of the protocol, great ideas... but I'll let you read it yourself

Four Cheap and Easy Ways to Protect Against Swimming Pool Chemicals

Hope that helps!