Archives for posts with tag: lifestyle

You may remember that I posted recently about my own drive to use as few and as natural beauty and hygiene products as possible, and I’m really happy with the way that has gone, despite taking a couple of years to put into place. I try to approach simple living in a way that does not impact on my family too much; I’ve come to realise that doing is generally far more effective than telling. With this in mind, I do try to make purchases for our daughter that are well-researched and intentional, based on the principles of as natural as possible, and as sustainable as possible – but at the same time not compromising on quality and ease of use. So when I was approached by a company who have developed child-friendly, non-toxic bath-time products, for once I was curious and happy to take a look.
Paddy’s Bathroom is a new brand created by the team that brought us Ella’s Kitchen – their new range of toiletries is certified organic and contains no SLS, no parabens, no pthalates, no sulphates and no GMO ingredients. They are super gentle and sting-free on little ones’ eyes.
For those reasons alone I was immediately interested. Finding good quality, affordable products for kids on the high street or in the supermarket is harder than you would think.

Leela was very excited to open the parcel, and the packaging was clearly recognisable – the first thing she said was “Ooh can I eat it Mummy? “ Hmm…
Cue a conversation about how this was shampoo/bubble bath and definitely NOT to be eaten/drank (and a minor panic from me as to where I would store it safely just in case). I can see why Paddy’s have chosen to mimic the Ella’s packaging – it was a fantastic selling point for the purees and smoothies, but it does mean that kids instantly associate it with edibles!

The full range of Paddy's Bathroom kids toiletries.

The full range of Paddy’s Bathroom kids toiletries.

Packaging issues aside (and concerns were only about the bubble bath and shiny hair shampoo) I can say that our family have all enjoyed these products. For a start they smell delicious, and Leela loves the foaming texture not only because it’s fun to play with, but also because she could have a go at washing her hair without the shampoo running into her eyes. It was good timing for encouraging independent hand washing too. The brightly coloured bottles are child-friendly, Leela got the hang of the hand pump bottles straight away, while the Squirty Stuff bottles are just the right side of tricky, ie not too easy to get into if you’re three and want to make some kind of George’s Marvellous Medicine while Mum isn’t looking…

Foaming shampoo! Leela loved it...

Foaming shampoo! Leela loved it…

My personal favourite is the squishy mangoes foaming hair and body wash – it just smells SO good, although all the products smell amazing. It retails at £4.49 which is probably more than I would usually pay, but at the same time it seems to last for AGES making it worth the investment in my opinion. I also like that I don’t have to faff around with a lid when hair washing, and on an eco note the bottles are all recycle grade 5 so should be ok to go in most kerbside recycling. In fact, that’s my other issue with the bubble bath pouches – they are a recycle grade 7 which is rarely recycled anywhere, and also contains BPA which I do my utmost to avoid these days. But, in Paddy’s favour – the lack of toxic substances in the product itself means that I would happily purchase the Squirty Stuff hair and body washes again, if only to watch Leela make her hair into a mohawk like her daddy’s…

Just like her Dad! Bathtime is officially fun.

Just like her Dad! Bathtime is officially fun.

For added fun, Paddy’s also have a funky webpage and an app with some cool kids games, and more importantly they also donate to the Drop Buy Drop programme with every purchase, which aims to help kids in Rwanda get access to clean safe water.

Disclaimer – I was sent the Paddy’s Bathroom range free of charge to try out for review purposes, however all thoughts and opinions of the product are my own.

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Essential oils have been used for centuries for their therapeutic qualities and aromas.  They can be used in many ways around the home, but it is important to always follow any safety advice on the label.  Some oils should be avoided completely during pregnancy, others such as citrus oils can cause skin sensitivity/photosensitivity and should not be applied directly to the skin.  Follow the instructions, and if in doubt consult an aromatherapist for advice. Essential oils should never be ingested so keep out of reach of children.

Anyone who has had a chat with me about aromatherapy will have heard me harp on about the benefits of Rosemary essential oil.  One of the things I love the most about it is that you don’t really have to purchase a bottle of the oil in order to reap the benefits – perhaps you or someone you know already has it growing in a pot or in the garden.

Rosemary happily growing in my garden.

Simply rub your hands over its leaves or pick a small sprig and you can get many of the benefits.  It is a potent oil, and should only be used in small amounts, but since it is such a clear and powerful aroma you probably won’t be tempted to overuse it!  Rosemary should be avoided completely in pregnancy (and, I would argue, when you are trying to conceive), and also if you have a history of high blood pressure.

So what to use it for?  My personal favourite use is for clearing my mind and helping me stay alert.  There have been some studies into it’s uses for memory, and my own experience is that it gives me a mental boost when I’m revising or studying for exams.  I’ve also recommended it for clients who regularly work nights shifts as a gentle boost when that 3am slump hits (although I used to experience that as soon as my shift started…)  I actually don’t use the oil directly for this purpose – I rub my hands over a sprig of rosemary and deeply inhale.  Careful though, there’s a chance that it could also remind you of roast dinner!  If you have an aromastone or an oil burner you could try burning a drop, perhaps combined with two drops of marjoram and a couple of drops of lavender – very relaxing but also revitalising.

Another popular use is for relieving the symptoms of cold and flu.  One drop of rosemary added to a steam inhalation (hot water in a bowl, cover head with towel, lean over bowl, breathe in) can be really helpful in relieving congestion and painful sinuses.  Blending it with a drop each of peppermint and eucalyptus makes an even more effective sinus reliever.  It was once used in hospitals in Europe to help cleanse the air, and I can tell why, it definitely has a “clean” smell.  One drop of rosemary and one of eucalyptus used in  vaporiser or oil burner also recreates the smell of a Turkish Spa – bliss.

If you do happen to have your own plant – and it’s well worth getting one – you also have the advantage of being able to add the fresh herb to your meals.  Delicious with chicken and tomato pasta, and way better than the bottles of dried herbs available at the supermarkets.

One of the things I’ve come to realise over the last year or so is that most of us carry a massive amount of guilt over the idea of self-care.  I’m not just talking about putting on make up or a nice outfit – I’m talking about taking the time out to really care for ourselves.  Mothers seem to find it particularly difficult to justify time to themselves, and even if they do take some time, it can be hard to go with the flow. The things I hear people saying are “I can’t switch off”, “my mind is always so busy” and “I find it really hard to relax”.  When we carry around this much busy-ness, when we don’t give our bodies and minds the time to unwind and unload, the result is tension – in our bodies and our minds! Which just adds to the sense of busy-ness and stress… it’s a cycle.

When we do yoga, whether it’s on the mat, or in day to day life, we give ourselves permission to focus on ourselves, even just for five minutes.  I love the moment when I get to my mat, make myself sit still and take a really deep breath – that moment is my self-care, when I’m reminded that by taking those few minutes to nurture myself and my body, I’m recharging and can go and be Mum/Wife/Friend again.  I love that if I don’t focus on what I’m doing on the mat, I will quite literally fall over!  It leaves no space to let my mind wander or race or think about my to do list.  And those five minutes of me-time create a whole load of new, fresh energy for being Mum again.  Five minutes to recharge – take a deep breath and see what happens…