Friday, 31 January 2014
I first started taking more notice of the products I was using on my hair and skin when I was pregnant for the first time. Before that my basic purchasing criteria was along the lines of...Will it make me look significantly better? Does it smell lovely and have nicely designed packaging? I can't remember exactly where I first heard or read about parabens, petrochemicals, sulphates and the other chemicals present in the majority of products on the market, but as soon as I did a little research it worried me and the implications of what these nasties may possibly be doing to my baby was enough to make me sit up and decide to make some changes.
I figured that if you're going to be careful about most of the food you put into your mouth then it makes sense to do the same for what you apply to your skin and the rest of your body. Questioning what's really in it and where it's come from, then making better choices without of course taking it to extremes and sucking out every last bit of joy from life. I firmly believe life needs joy, and if that happens to comes in say the form of a pot of lovely non-natural body lotion every now and then, so be it. I've always been careful to choose chemical free toiletries and products wherever possible for my children and I'd like to say I kept this change up for myself too. However once each of my little ones has been born I've fallen back into my old habits, seduced into trying the latest, hyped-up creams or products which promise (and sometimes do deliver) wonderful results, or fallen back on tried and tested classics and favourites.
I can say with hand on heart that there's no way I could ever be a fully committed, doused-in- patchouli-oil hippy that has eschewed shampoo in favor of dreadlocks and completely ditched make-up for a strictly all-natural warts 'n' all approach. The lure of a select few luxurious, beautiful products such as the treat of a divine bottle of fragrance on top of my dressing table or a gorgeous nail polish colour will always be my downfall. They are such happy makers and surely one of the great advantages of being born a woman is the prerogative to indulge in a little pampering, not to mention the joys of a great lipstick and the transformative effects of a lightly flushed cheek or well defined eyebrow. But I decided when I fell pregnant this time around that I would find some really awesome, effective natural products that I would actually commit to carry on using for the long haul.
In general, Australia seems to be a good place to be when embarking on this quest. I'd say it's a pretty health conscious, eco-aware nation which has an impressive selection and choice of natural ranges that don't take much leg work to seek out. Of course it requires a little label sleuthing as you can't take anything with the words organic and natural plastered over the packaging at face value. Some of the brands that I've tried so far and loved include Trilogy - their Rosehip facial oil is a game-changer and the Everything Balm smells wonderful and can be used as everything from a lip balm to treatment of insect bites and for softening patched of dry skin. The Natural Instinct range has the body wash, body lotion and hair care categories covered and I've been impressed with the performance of the ones I've tried so far. Going into to the territory of natural deodorants seems a lot more of a serious commitment and one that I've not been tempted to venture into yet on the grounds that is there any chance that they could actually work effectively? The hygiene factor and distinct possibility of stinking out everyone within a ten metre radius is surely a sacrifice too far, though having said that, I have heard some amazingly good things about this product.
Financially there was no way I could afford to do a complete overnight overhaul of most of my toiletries so I've been waiting until something runs out before replacing it with a chemical free alternative. Natural, especially organic ranges usually come with a higher price tag, though I've learned that a big tub/jar of raw, unrefined coconut oil can do wonderful things in the field of beauty as well as cooking. Google it if you want to know more, but it can be used as a highly beneficial cleanser/make-up remover, skin moisturiser and hair conditioner. That kind of multi tasker has to be a winner in anyones book, just think of the amount of other bottles and clutter it can eliminate in the bathroom. If going natural takes a little more effort and means saving up for a few better products instead of a cabinet full of chemicals but doesn't have to involve sacrificing results then count me in. Next on my wish list is a bottle of this, a carcinogen-free nail polish that doesn't scrimp on style.
Thursday, 9 January 2014
Another year ticked off, the last few months of which raced by in a blur of crippling morning sickness followed by the inevitably frantic calendar of events which make up the festive season. The past couple of weeks have finally allowed some time to breathe and think about what has passed and what 2014 might have in store. A new baby girl for one (due to make her appearance in early May) to complete the family. I am giddy with excitement at the prospect of my three little girls, but also overwhelmed by the responsibilities that lie ahead in raising them all into them into smart, strong and kind women. I wonder if anyone ever really feels qualified for that job. I can only follow my instincts, keep everything crossed and hope that with a dash of luck and support from our extended families that we will manage to set them on the right path.
A couple of other highlights ahead include a long awaited month long trip back to the UK, my parents and our family home at the end of June with my sister and all our children. Also a newly begun freelance writing gig for which I'm looking forward to getting lost down a rabbit hole of words and crafting sentences, researching and sourcing images. Worthy of a mention too is the fact that in few short weeks I will be waving my first born off at the gates as she begins primary school. A whole new chapter in her life and mine. A time of great excitement but also the bittersweet reminder that she went from being a tiny newborn to a school girl in what feels like little more than the blink of an eye. She also lost her first tooth last week, a milestone I (probably naively) wasn't prepared for or expecting for at least 12 months yet. Just slow down already young lady, while I get my head wrapped around all of this.
The year just departed was on the whole a good one. We settled into our new home and surroundings, managed to grow some food and flowers in our patch of earth, made friends in the community and connections with our neighbours and added two new members to the family- our backyard chickens Daisy and Evelyn. There was also a long awaited and well deserved promotion at work for my better half which has taken a little bit of pressure off the question of how will we manage to raise and support three children?
I suspect we'll get along somehow as best we can. I know now- one of the redeeming aspects of tuning 30 I think- that life suddenly gets a whole lot easier and more enjoyable when you let go of the pressures bearing down from every direction. These and pointless comparisons that urge us to carry on spending and accumulating, keeping up with anyone that seems to be more together and having and doing it all better. One of my goals this past year was to simplify life, whittle down what we own, think more carefully about what we bring into our home and generally just spend less time worrying about what we don't have and more of it doing what we love and is important us. This is a journey which I want to continue and I look forward to more creating, adventuring and memory making in the upcoming months. Also spending time with our dear friends and family and making and eating a whole lot of good food. And with that, welcome 2014.