Tag Archives: Organic

My latest Little Green Box treat!

It’s been a while since I posted about a beauty review – and whoa, do I have a cracker for you! Recently I went to my fave little eco salon (The Little Green Box), which, if you’re concerned about chemicals on your skin at any beauty therapist – you don’t need to worry here! I was treated to the NEW Esse Age Defying Facial. Yes. Please.

If you haven’t read previous experiences that I’ve had with Peta, you can do so here and here (she is so very wonderful, and sooooo much in line with how I think and what I love). She is an Esse expert and beams organic, wholesome, holistic and non-judgemental light as soon as you walk into her space. She also told me I had little live friendly pac-man type creatures crawling all over my skin during the exfoliation… intrigued? Read on…

EVERY TIME I have a facial I think I need more facials because they are so goooood for my skin.

Here is a little about the facial itself: 

Esse products are (in my opinion) some of the best natural products out there. Formulated under incredible minds, these products are creme de la creme.

Esse is USP certified organic, they use natural and organic ingredients as well as live probiotics, and is considered a cosmeceutical (because of the delivery system and how the ingredients penetrate the cellular membrane). No nonsense here guys…

Probiotics are for the skin, like water is for a thirsty soul! They protect, hydrate, improve barrier function, skin firmness, slow the rate of aging and detoxify. Esse’s philosophy includes providing skincare that is ethical and sustainable. They care about being carbon neutral, committed to the Fairtrade movement and are Phytrotrade Africa accredited which monitors plant diversity. Esse are also cruelty free, and vegan.


Have you heard of the Human Microbiome Project? Basically it will challenge everything you thought about healthy bacteria and (extreme) cleanliness, and how desperately our skin microbiome needs attention.

In 2013, the Human Microbiome Project concluded that “microbes contribute more genes essential for human survival than humans do”.

What is the Microbiome?

The Microbiome is the sum total of all the microbes in and on your body.

What is a Microbe? 

A Microbe is a single celled organism.

What is a Probiotic?

Probiotics are beneficial microbes.

What is a Prebiotic?

Prebiotics are food sources for beneficial microbes. By giving them food, they proliferate and thrive thereby excluding the pathogenic (harmful) ones.

Microbes are essential for health. Esse treats the skin as an ecosystem, and every ingredient is carefully considered for its impact on the microbiome. Back in 2015, Esse launched their revolutionary Probiotic Serum. This serum contains 3 species of lactobacillus microbes. These probiotics are only activated on contact with water on the skin. They then seed the skin with billions of live probiotics which help to rectify imbalances in the skin as well as repair barrier function for a firmer, fuller and more radiant skin.

Sooooooo, back to where my experience came in… Peta gave me Esse’s Age Defy Facial (because I’m no spring chicken anymore guys, and well, my cross-face lines, they’re sinking in deep…).

The Age Defy Facial by Esse Organic Skincare:

  • It enhances preservation from probiotic and botanical actives, restores the skins vitality and promotes collagen and elastic formation (so, you see, those cross-lines are a goner).
  • It also boasts an advances skin smoothing mask with muscle relaxing properties.

A few things to note from the facial:

The Beta Hydroxy Exfoliation:

  • This is a light peel for getting skin back on track
  • Gently dissolves (Peta described this as little pac-man friends eating away at my old, dead skin and) the ‘cement’ that binds skin together.
  • It is very gentle. Not a ‘scrub-type’ exfoliation.

The Intensity Mask: 

  • This is a skin smoothing mask contains Marfane Extract – this is the crucial main ingredient. Considered as a natural alternative to botox (YES please!), it has a strong relaxing effect on muscles and takes 2hrs to activate.
  • It also gives an intense moisture boost.

We took before and after photos (but my phone died a slow and painful (for me) death and had to be wiped clean, l so I can’t show you the final result) but I dared to go out to do the school run with my naked face and felt amazing. It was soft and plump and healthy-looking. I will absolutely be back for another treatment!

I am constantly amazed at the current and on-going advancements in technology when it comes to organic skincare and how THIS is where significant discoveries are being made (such as the importance of our microbiome, keeping the skin of the pH accurate and feeding it, as opposed to scrubbing, smothering and simply ‘cleaning’ it).

Peta is a wealth of knowledge, (she clearly LOVES this stuff) and I’d highly encourage you contact her if you have ANY questions about any skin concerns. She has numerous facial options for those wanting age-defying, or a hydrating, or a intense facial treatment.

The Little Green Box has become such an obvious spot to stop for any skincare need, as well as for gifts and gift vouchers (ask my friends). Besides all this, vote with your money. Support small, ethical, local business. Always (okay, or as much as you can…)

Check out the full The Little Green Box Price List and don’t forget that Gift Vouchers and Spa Packages are also available. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter for updates and more info.

Contact Details:

41 Meadow Way, Constantia Meadows.

Tel: 074 816 7794 (or whatsapp)
Email: littlegreenboxskincare@gmail.com
Web: www.greenboxskincare.co.za

The Little Green Box – Eco Skincare 

Monday to Friday: 08:30 – 16:00
Saturday: 08:30 – 13:00
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays

My Organic Spray Tan Experience

Don’t judge me. I used to lie on a sunbed. Yes, in my ignorant pre-green days. GAH! I shudder at the thougth now. SHUDDER. Damn you Virgin Active Westville – for having such a cool (influencial and on-trend) gym with a sunbed. Which reminds me, I need to book an appointment with a dermatologist to get my moles checked. Note to self.

There are a few things in the green-eco space which I LOVE. One of them, is finding Ecocert certified products (like Pure Beginnings and Woolies Organic Coffee Beans). I’ve gone on and on about Ecocert before, but they are an AMAZING international certification body and you can’t get a sneaky whiff of nasty-anything past them. You can’t green-wash when it comes to Ecocert. This is the label I’m referring to:

So you won’t believe my excitement when I found an Ecocert certified SPRAY TAN. Hellllooooooo!!! Are you kidding me? A COMPLETELY organic, non-toxic tan? Say hello to Vita Liberata – the world’s first non-toxic and organic spray tan, free from parabens, perfume and alcohol.

Vita Liberata – Luxury Skin

“A Vita Liberata tan is the purest in the tanning world. Made using natural, certified organic and Ecocert ingredients, Vita Liberata tans nourishes the skin, ensuring your glow looks radiant and fades patch-free, just like a natural suntan. With zero parabens, preservatives or other chemical nasties that can dry out your skin, Vita Liberata tans give you a 100% healthy and completely natural glow, all year round.

So I did my pre-spray tan oil-free exfoliation (with epsom salts) focussing on ankles, elbows, colar bones, wrists etc. and off I went. Fortunately having given birth three times, I’m not skaam about getting naked infront of strangers (not something I do on a regaular basis mind you). I put on my stylin’ paper g-string and got sprayed!

I GENUINELY felt like a Greek goddess after. Had you given me some oversized wings I could have walked straight onto a Victoria’s Secret catwalk. I felt like this:

Of course I didn’t LOOK like that, but I sure FELT like it. Overall self esteem boost to the max.

Post tan: I didn’t touch much. I slept on a towel (our linen is white), and didn’t shower for 12ish hours. When I did shower, I felt like I was washing hair dye out of my hair with lots of colour coming off – which I must be honest was a bit of a relief seeing as I felt unusually brown (not a BAD brown, but this was all new to me).

The next morning (post shower) I went straight to an Adventure Boot Camp and worked my ass off feeling all glamorous and golden. Beverley Hills here I come.

I was really, really happy, and REALLY impressed with the tan. My tan lasted longer than 2 weeks – and felt SO natural and wonderful. In fact, I bumped into a school-mom at the shops (post school holidays) and she said “Ah, have you been away?” Honestly – no word of a lie.

Price point? You will pay from R400 for a Vita Liberata spray tan. The ‘sprayers’ are all professionally trained to give you a ‘healthy bronzed glow’.

How Vita Liberata differs to usual spray tans (besides it being organic and non-toxic of course):

  • Skin Colour: The intention of the tan is not to make the natural skin colour darker (per se), but rather to enhance your skin colour by bringing out it’s natural beauty by bronzing & illuminating it. The formulation works with the melanin in your skin to give it that glow. So you’re not painted orange. Your result is almost ‘tailored’ to your natural skin tone.
  • Hydrates skin: Dark skin, like white skin, can look dry, dull and particularly ashen if not regularly exfoliated or correctly hydrated. Vita Liberata contain a patented 72 hour moisture lock which keeps moisture in the skinand nourishes the skin.
  • Anti-oxidants: All skin responds to the absorption of anti-oxidants which hydrate, heal, feed and prevent free radicals which are aging to all skin colours. Vita Liberata products are intensely rich in anti-oxidants as ingredients like liquorice, lychee, melon & raspberries all are naturally & inherently high in ant-oxidants.

That tan line along my hip (from the paper g-string) is 9 days post tan. Impressive. 

Finer details for those ingredient watchers out there:

What Natural Ingredients go into a Vita Liberata tan?

Aloe Vera – The extract from this plant is full of vitamins C and E and has a host of skin benefits including anti-ageing properties that improve the skin’s firmness. It also hydrates, moisturises, conditions to give you a softer, younger looking skin.

Cucumber – Cucumbers are rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that protects skin from damaging free radicals and helps fight premature ageing. Cucumber extract also contains vitamin B-5, a compound that helps your skin to retain moisture, helping to keep skin hydrated and maintain your glow for longer!

Lychee – Lychee extract is a great source of vitamins B & C which both have powerful antioxidant and anti-ageing qualities. Vitamin C helps boost collagen production, meaning plumper, more youthful looking skin, and Vitamin B helps skin retain moisture to help your glow fade naturally.

Pomegranate – This vibrant red superfood contains anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Packed full of powerful antioxidants, the extract helps to neutralize free radicals, helping your skin resist the ageing process caused by every day pollutants.

Melon – This extract is a wonderful source of vitamins A&C and offers a wide range of antioxidant benefits. Vitamin A is also known as retinol, an extremely effective cell-communicating ingredient, which means it can connect to almost any skin cell and tell it to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell. This super smart vitamin helps prevent wrinkling and increases collagen production.

Papaya – Papaya extract is bursting with Vitamin C, our favourite source of antioxidants, and a must-have for helping build and produce collagen – the natural way to firmer, plumper looking skin.

Raspberry – This little berry has powerful skin conditioning benefits and is packed full of antioxidants – it ranks among the highest fruits for its antioxidant strength. Thanks to this there are many repairing, conditioning and moisturising qualities associated with this this super berry. Think younger, brighter looking skin and a natural glowing tan.

So it’s pretty much like having a fruit salad sprayed onto your skin, resulting in health, happiness and broze-goddess-ness. Who loses? No one! Get brozed safely, and naturally with Vita Liberata.

You can find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Also, check them out Onlinewww.vitaliberata.co.za

For a list of Mobile Tanners and stockists in other areas check out: http://www.vitaliberata.co.za/vita-liberata-stockist/

Stressed? Yeah me too… 

Stress, stress, stress. Can I just move to an island and grow my own food and let my kids run wild… and not watch them fight over the ipad, or who wore the other ones socks, of whether or not I remembered to pay the rates bill, or fix the doorbell, or clean the potty OR spray stain remover on the kids’ clothes? Every morning, we go from the breakfast table/floor/kitchen counter to the slog of dressing (when noooo ooooone wants to remove pj’s), to nappies to noise to lunch boxes and school bags and lost water bottles, trying to remember to pack swimming togs and food for extra play and whether or today is a Fit Kids t-shirt wearing day and and aaaaaaaaand.

Once I have lost almost every ounce of patience, self control, and brain space, I make a mad dash into work, realize I left my lunch at home, forgot to give my kid a ‘show and tell’ item, and then see that there is dried oats on my pants.

Not stressed at all.

Enter – stress relieving essential oils. Ahhhhh. Essential oils. If you aren’t quite clued in, essential oils are the highly concentrated fragrant essences found in plants. The leaves, flowers, fruits or roots of the plants are usually steam distilled or cold pressed to extract this aromatic liquid.

I love SOiL Essential Oils because they are organic and Ecocert certified. This means that the herbs, shrubs and other plants that provide the oils are grown on land that is not exposed to herbicides, pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Winning all round.

I feel like essential oils are a bit like the ocean. Strange comparison – but stick with me here. When I look at the ocean (from, say, the top of Chapman’s Peak), I see this beautiful vast gorgeous sheet of water, but only when I have a chance to stop and think, can I begin to imagine the intricate ecosystem below, its vast depth; from the tiniest fish and piece of coral to the hugest and most majestic blue whale.

Essential oils are the same (kinda). They look cute in their neat little bottles and smell nice when opened, but once you dig deeper, those powerful little drops of oil can greatly contribution to ones life, health, healing, and restoration.

Here are the top 6 essential oils for stress relief:


Frankincense, also known as Olibanum, is obtained from steam distillation of the gum resin. It has been used for 1000’s of years as incense in religious ceremonies. I know of Frankincense from the birth of Jesus :). Its centering aroma slows the nervous system and promotes a feeling of calm and introspection (Mary probably needed it), and a few drops in an essential oil burner can aid concentration and meditation. R100.00 (5ml)

Safety Information: Do not use during pregnancy.

*Frankincense smells similar to eucalyptus to me. I love the ancient heritage and how it can contribute to effective mindfulness.* 

Rose Geranium

Geraniums originate from South Africa and were introduced into Europe in the 17thC. The essential oil is distilled from the leaves and branches of the plant. Geranium is known to lift the spirit and relieve anxiety. It is useful in treating PMS and menopausal problems. R115.00 (10ml)

Safety Information: May cause skin irritation in some individuals


Lavender is the most popular and versatile oil in aromatherapy. It’s a must for the first aid box – a great oil for skin conditions where there is inflammation, burns, scarring etc. Lavender is also well known for its relaxing, antidepressant and calming properties, and for treating headaches and insomnia as well as benefiting throat infections, colds and flu. R70.00 (10ml)

*I love Lavender – it is SO versatile! I literally keep a bottle in my bag and give it a sniff when I need to chill out. This is my go-to in my home diffuser.*

Ylang Ylang

Originating from South-East Asia, Cananga odorata is a fast-growing, tall evergreen tree, which produces large yellow-green, strongly scented flowers. Ylang Ylang has an intoxicating floral aroma. It is calming and soothes mentally, physically and emotionally. Traditionally used as an aphrodisiac. R80.00 (10ml)

Safety Information: Excessive use may cause nausea or headache are must be taken to always keep the oil away from children.


Melissa oil is steam-distilled from the leaves and flowering tops of the plant. It is sometimes referred to as the bee balm. It has anti-depressant properties and is indicated for insomnia, hysteria and irritability. It is also an anti-spasmodic and is reputed to regulate the digestive system, relieving stomach cramps and nausea.  R220.00 (2.5ml)

Contraindications: A possible sensitizer and dermal irritant


Vetiver is a tall grass, native to India. It is sometimes used to prevent soil erosion due to its network of roots. It is these fibrous roots which are cleaned, dried and distilled to produce the sweet earthy smelling oil. Vetiver is often used in perfumery and is a valuable oil for relieving anxiety and depression due to its grounding nature. It is suggested as a good oil to strengthen the skin as well as being beneficial to the musculo-skeletal system due to its ability to promote blood flow. R150.00 (10ml)

*Vetiver caught me off guard with its potent peppery/earthy scent*.

Book a massage, grab your oils, take some time out, diffuse, sniff and relax.

*If you are not sure about certain oils or have not used them before, please contact your health practitioner before use. Please be smart and educate yourselves on the dangers of essential oils before using them. Using essential oils in conjunction with carrier oils is encouraged.

*Essentail oils are not recommended for pregnant or nursing mums, or on sensitive skins such as babies’ skin. All preggos must be very careful when using essential oils. 

*If you are not keen on using an undiluted essential oil directly on your skin (which many aren’t), you can dilute it with a carrier oil – such as almond, apricot kernel, grape seed, rose hip etc. 

Feaured image: www.aromasense.co.nz

Aluminium under your armpits, anyone?

There was this amazing underarm I used to buy overseas. It was made by a popular store brought brand, and it smelled like watermelon. I LOVE anything watermelon and so this had my name all over it. With coupon culture as it goes in North America, I often used to get it half price, so… I was stocked up, on watermelon underarm.

I must now ask myself a few questions:

  1. WHY ON EARTH would I want my underarms smelling like watermelon?
  2. Surely there is nothing attractive about watermelon smelling underarms.
  3. (The glitzy sticker on the tube should’ve given that away)
  4. There is nothing normal about ones underarms smelling like watermelon.
  5. Oh, and… aluminium.

I will extend myself some grace as a then-ignorant-20-something, who just loved all things watermelon. But really, wow, how I’ve grown.

I had no idea that 99% of underarm/roll on/deodorants (call them what you will) have aluminium in them. Aluminium. ALU-MINIUM. Did you know this?

Most antiperspirant concerns center around the active ingredient – an aluminum-based compound that temporarily plugs the sweat ducts and prevents you from perspiring. Typically, antiperspirants are coupled with a deodorant, which contains the pleasant scent that stops you from smelling.

That pleasant fragrance comes with it’s problems too – often accompanied by the endocrine disrupting phthalates. A number of studies in recent years have clearly linked aluminum-based antiperspirants with the increase the risk for breast cancer. Source

Right then. Fresh perspective. We need an alternative. We need to be more careful.

Here is it. Pure Beginnings have 4 different natural deodorants which do not contain aluminium. Their amazing different scents include Monsoon, Forest, Sahara and Fragrance Free (for super sensitive skins).

These eco-deo’s are awesome. They are safe, natural and smell amazing. While I do still perspire when I use it, I’m okay sweating. I know it is our bodies’ natural way to cool ourselves down. What makes me more concerned is when I don’t sweat. And so this deo ticks all the boxes for me.

Give it a go, and tell me what you think? You can order it online here and it retails for only R59.85.

Let’s Talk Baby Food: Part 2

Here we are – the much anticipated Part 2 of Let’s Talk Baby Food with Deidre Lindeque, who is a Nutripaeds Dietitian and Lactation Consultant, (check them out on Facebook here). If you haven’t seen Part 1, you can find it here.

I promised we’d tackle the topics of Baby Led Weaning and the The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. Grab a coffee – it’s another long one. Let’s dive straight in!

Baby Led Weaning:

(Personally I did ‘normal’ weaning for my first (you know, it felt like I was ‘sticking with the rules’), and then significantly more baby led weaning with my second. I’m imagining continuing the baby led weaning with number 3 – almost more for ease of eating times than anything else…)

Many moms ask if they should do “baby led weaning” or “normal weaning” – and Nutripaeds does not believe that one should practice one OR the other but ideally an amalgamation of both. For soft foods e.g. yoghurt, oats, nut butters etc. spoon feed as you would be eating such things in the same manner as an adult. Important however is not to underestimate an infant’s ability to self feed non-pureed foods much earlier than what was commonly practiced, so there is no problem with incorporating principles and ideas of Baby-led weaning into “traditional” weaning routines.

baby food yoghurt berry

Baby-led weaning is, it must be said, a somewhat cheesy term for just letting your infant self-feed. You cut food up into manageable sticks and offer it, they eat. It’s really pretty simple.

The key difference between BLW and traditional weaning, when you think about it, is in the order that children learn to eat. With a puree, they learn to swallow first and then chew, which works fine until they meet a lump. With BLW, the babies learn to chew first and swallowing might come sometime later.

It’s ‘baby-led’ in the sense that you let them do what they need to do while they’re learning, and as the parent you resist the urge to get wound up in knots about how much they’re eating, whether they like the food you thought they’d like and whether it’s mashed into the nearest carpet. The main thing is… it’s all good clean (messy) fun.

Some Simple tips for getting started: (How great is this advice?)

  • Forget ‘baby food’. Food is food – as long as you’re not adding salt and sugar. To start off with, think chip-sized because it’s an easy shape for little 6-month- olds to grip, but you’ll soon move on to smaller pieces as it’s more interesting for a child developing a pincer grip.
  • No bowls, they’re just asking to be flung heavenwards. Put the food on the highchair tray or table and remember, it’s all a learning experience for the baby at this point.
  • There will be mess! If you are weaning in summer don’t be afraid to eat outside or semi-naked. For winter invest in a great cover-all and pelican bib.
  • Putting a wipe-clean tablecloth under the highchair is a good idea if you have carpets and some people find that a crinkle cutter is handy to make food extra-‘grippable’.
  • Experience suggests that the more effort you put into making something special for the baby, the less likely they are to eat it 😉 Give them what you’re having. If they hate it, that’s okay, they’re getting their calories from milk anyway.
  • Of course it would be perfect if we ate every meal as a family but this isn’t always possible. Try to keep your ‘social activity’ head on, though, even if it’s just you and your baby sharing a sandwich at lunch. Keep smiling, keep enjoying, keep paying attention. It’s just good manners at the end of the day, something it’s never too early for a child to learn.
  • Don’t get too hung up on three meals a day, it may take a while to work up to that. Whatever’s convenient and enjoyable for you is best.
  • And don’t put too much on the highchair tray at the one time, just a couple of pieces of food will stop them feeling overwhelmed.
  • Actual hunger can be frustrating for the babies when they’re still getting to grips (quite literally) with things. Timing ‘meals’ to between milk feeds seems to be best, and because it’s just finger food you aren’t limited to staying in. There’s no reason why you can’t pack a wee Tupperware with some carrot or cucumber, buy a banana when you’re out or just pull some bits out of an undressed salad.
  • Never put food into a child’s mouth, let them put it in by themselves so that they can control it as it moves backwards.
  • Nappies and their contents will soon fascinate you in ways you never thought possible. Raisins re-hydrate, little pieces of still-green broccoli sneak through the digestive system and bananas produce poo with strange black threads.
  • Have a camera ready to capture those first gummy, carroty smiles because as daunting as it may seem, weaning is a very short time in your child’s life. So remember to enjoy it…

Finger Food Ideas:

  • Steamed (or lightly broiled) whole vegetables such as green beans, baby sweetcorn, mange-tout/sugar-snap peas).
  • Steamed or lightly broiled florets of broccoli or cauliflower.
  • Steamed, roasted or stir fried vegetable sticks such as carrot, pumpkin, butternut, potato, aubergine, sweet potato, parsnip.
  • Raw sticks of cucumber (great when straight from fridge to ease the gums of teething babies).
  • Thick slices of avocado (not over-ripe and they become very soft and squishy)
  • Fruit such as pear, apple, banana, peach, nectarine, halved grapes, pawpaw, mango – either whole or as sticks.
  • Cheese – sticks of firm cheese e.g. cheddar or gouda and well as cubes/triangles of full fat cream cheese.
  • Dried fruits such as mango strips. Baby sweet corn and fingers of peeled cucumber and avocado are all yummy and easy.
  • Starchy foods are nice ways to incorporate energy especially into fussy eaters, some fun finger starchy include: balls made of cooked rice or quinoa and small pieces of toast fingers.
  • Rice cakes, rusks and dry breakfast cereals such as all bran flakes and multigrain oatees.
  • Mini brown bread sandwiches cut into triangles, fingers or squares – suitable fillings include mashed banana, hummus, grated cheese, cream cheese, mashed avocado, nut butters.
  • Falafels, lentil balls and mini meatballs – beef, chicken, ostrich and lamb mince variants – one can also cook it as a meatloaf.
  • Cubes of firm cooked fish, fish balls made with minced fish.
  • Cubes of tofu, slices or quarters of hard boiled eggs or strips of well cooked omelette.
  • Fishcakes or fish fingers (not processed variants).

NB: You do not need to use recipes designed especially for babies – just keep salt and sugar (and heavy spice) to a minimum.

Don’t be fearful of choking, as long as you are always present when your child is eating and as long as food is soft and pieces are small, your child will learn to chew and navigate his way through his finger snacks. Remember practice makes perfect and if you never allow your baby to practice with new foods and foods that need to be chewed then he won’t become an expert at chewing and he will be a choking risk. So relax and keep it simple and nutritious and watch as your baby enjoys this new feeding experience.



The dirty dozen and the clean 15 refer respectively to the fruits and vegetables that are the most and least contaminated by pesticide use, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Why do we care? Pesticides are toxic by design! Different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including hormone disruption, cancer and brain toxicity (and many, many more). But for most people, switching to organic produce is a gradual process. Because organic foods tend to be more expensive than their counterparts, making informed choices in the produce aisle helps minimize pesticide consumption while keeping the budget in check!

Should you avoid the dirty dozen? Absolutely not! Fresh fruits and vegetables are always a healthier choice than processed foods. Besides, non-organic processed foods are sure to contain loads of chemicals too. Instead, let the guide dictate your allocation of organic vs. non-organic purchases.

Why eat organic food? All of this opens up a bigger discussion about the choice to eat organic food — and the reasons that not everyone does. Often, the decision comes down to bottom line. Non-organic foods usually cost less money. But there are other costs — hidden costs — that have to be considered too. These include abstract factors like the cost of demanding more from the earth than it can produce and the long-term health costs associated with ingesting chemicals.

There are also ways to offset the increased out-of-pocket expenses incurred by prioritizing organic foods.

Committing to cooking whole foods from scratch – alongside careful meal planning, home gardening and food preservation – can largely counteract the cost of organic food purchases. The process is gradual. Change takes time. And all of us have to work within our budgets.

Which is where the dirty dozen and the clean 15 come into play. The list is a resource to help you make the best choices for your health and for the earth, whatever your current budget or state of ‘greenness’. If eating from the dirty dozen list (non-organic) be sure to wash the fruit and vegetables well before consumption. (Find my handmade fruit and veggie wash here)…

The Dirty Dozen (in order of contamination)


1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Sweet bell peppers
4. Peaches
5. Strawberries
6. Nectarines
7. Grapes
8. Spinach
9. Lettuce
10. Cucumbers
11. Blueberries
12. Potatoes

The Clean Fifteen (in order of least contamination)

1. Onions
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Cabbage
6. Sweet peas
7. Asparagus
8. Mangoes
9. Eggplant
10. Kiwi
11. Cantaloupe
12. Sweet potatoes
13. Grapefruit
14. Watermelon
15. Mushrooms


…and that’s a wrap – WOW! Be sure to screen shot the dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists for next you visit your local grocery store – or you can use this information to inspire a fresh change, and find a Good Food Club/Organic Drop off/Collection food system (such as Think Organic) in your area. I’m finally in the groove of ordering all my animal products (dairy/meat etc.) from local farmers and so bub number 3 is in for a treat.

Please don’t feel overwhelmed by all this info – one small change is how everyone starts, and often leads to the next small change and before you know it, life is looking a little different. Encourage the change, prioritize and go for it! Good Luck.

A HUGE HUGE thank you to Deidre and the Nutripaeds Team. They are fantastic and so inspiring! Visit them on Facebook here and online here and please give them some love.



Homemade Fruit & Veggie Wash

I recently read this article about how our ancestors wouldn’t recognise some of the fruit and veggies we eat nowadays because of how humans have altered them over the years and it got me thinking.

It made me aware… again… of how quick we are to give ourselves a pat on the back or a noddy badge for bulk buying *healthy* fruits and veggies for our families but how healthy is healthy?

Yesterday I bought a punnet of seedless grapes (…hang on… how do they produce ‘seedless’ grapes I wonder) and it clearly said on the box ‘preserved with sulphur dioxide’. That doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies – not sure about you.


Apparently “sulphur dioxide is a poisonous gas which is sprayed on fruit, and acts as a preservative, enhancing its color and preventing mold.  Airborne inhalation of this chemical has lead to a rash of breathing problems, premature birth and premature death.” Source: Living Pure and Simple Blogspot.

Soooo… how’s about we try do something about this.

First prize we buy local and organic. If you can’t do both, first go local. A lot of the reason we have chemical preservatives on our food is because our food needs to travel from far away to get to our table. The whole farm-to-table idea. Having said that, it’s not always possible.

(Side thought… Micheal Pollan has written some EXCELLENT books on this matter – including The Omnivores Dilemma, In Defense of Food and a great quick read/conversation starter Food Rules. Food Rules was the catalyst for a stimulating discussion of 5 new-to-Vancouver-and-Regent friends (now close as family) on a road trip from Vancouver to San Fran and back again). 

The next step we can take is in our own kitchens. Can we wash our foods in such a way that it minimises the nonsense that has been sprayed/fed/forced onto our delicious food. Well yes, there is.

Thanks to Wellness Mamahere is what she has suggested. And no surprises here, the DIY homemade wash – includes… our old and underrated friend, white vinegar.

Wellness Mama says: “Organic or not, if I didn’t grow the produce myself or get it from family friends who are trusted farmers, I always make sure to carefully wash all produce that we eat. This is especially important with non-organic produce, but I even wash organic store-bought produce as well.” Isn’t she inspiring?

apples in buckets

Different fruits and veggies are treated differently on farms. The Clean 15, Dirty Dozen list is a good benchmark to use when thinking about what to buy organic and what you can wash at home. Screen print this baby for quick access when out shopping.

Fresh market fruits and vegetables

Store Bought Wash?

The University of Maine studied the most popular store bought fruit and vegetable wash brands (in the US) and found that not only did many of them contain chlorine (to kill bacteria on the produce), but in lab testing, they were no more effective than using distilled water. That’s distressing. 

Unfortunately, neither commercial washes or distilled vinegar completely removed waxes, pesticides, and other residue from produce.

The Solution?

Homemade fruit and vegetable washes are effective at removing residue from produce and also help preserve the fridge-life of these foods since bacteria that may cause decay is removed.

To be most effective, different vegetables call for different methods of washing, but three simple and inexpensive recipes will clean virtually every type of produce.

Here is how Wellness Mama does it (and I’m hoping to follow suit):

1. How to Wash Most Fruits and Vegetables: The simplest and least expensive natural produce cleaner is plain white vinegar. For most produce with a skin, this is all I use. I’ll place the fruits and veggies in a freshly cleaned kitchen sink (or a large bowl), fill with water,  and add 1 cup of white vinegar.

I let soak for up to an hour, scrub gently and rinse. To prevent decay, I let dry fully before returning to the fridge.


2. How to Wash Lettuces and Greens: Lettuces and greens are more delicate and more difficult to wash. They also are more likely to contain insects or other little visitors.

For greens, I dissolve 2 tablespoons of salt in 2 cups of water and add the juice of one lemon. I spray this on the greens, let sit for about a minute, and then add them to a sink of diluted vinegar water. I soak for about 15 minutes, rinse in cool water and dry completely (a salad spinner helps), before putting in the fridge.

Growing greens

How to Wash Berries: Berries are perhaps the most difficult to clean because they are so delicate and take on the flavor of anything they come in contact with (vinegar flavored blueberries anyone?).

I use diluted fresh lemon juice to clean berries. I mix 2 cups of water with 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and spray on the berries. I make sure the berries are well coated and then soak in fresh water for about 15 minutes. Dry completely before storing in the fridge!


Shoooweeee. This does seem like a lot of work – but I guess your conviction will lead you to do what you must. Green Goods also sells Triple Oranges’ Fruit and Veg Wash (500g) for R57.00 if you would like to try the ready-made option.

Picture credit: wallpaperbeta.comwww.goodfruitandvegetables.com.auwww.vermontvacation.comwww.npr.orgwww.destinyhoperose.comwww.activevegetarian.com

Celebrating Soil Day with Soil for Life 

Did you know that the 5th of December was World Soil Day? Well the team at Soil for Life did, and there was some serious celebrating!


If you’ve never been there – you must! Soil for Life is situated on Brounger Road, off Spaanschemaat River Road, in Constantia, Cape Town.




We recently meandered Soil for Life’s beautiful organic gardens. This working garden is an ideal environment to experience the abundance of a healthy soil. We watched a compost making demonstration, toured the gardens and bought some vegetables to plant as well as rich, living compost. Yes please. Be inspired by how this pioneering non-profit uses waste and everyday items to build a beautiful, productive garden. Really – it’s quite incredible.



I was also thrilled to see the GROWbags available for sale – (profit, but also) proceeds of which go to Soil for Life, and help educate people on how to live sustainably when it comes to growing their own food. I love GROWbags. Read my blog post about them here.


My littlie, keen on getting these green goodies…

Riding the tractor. Very cool wooden sculptures…

This is Soil for Life’s mission. To teach people how to grow nutritious food at their homes, using low-cost, earth-friendly methods. They believe that everyone has the potential to grow healthy food, whether they live in a leafy suburb or an impoverished township. They run regular courses at their training centre in Constantia as well as teaching individual home food gardeners in resource-poor communities. To date Soil for Life has helped more than 1,600 people create home food gardens at their homes in Delft, Khayelitsha, Philippi and other areas on the Cape Flats.

soil for life township

All the profits from Soil for Life’s Open Garden is ploughed back into their development work, to help provide the training and tools that enable families to grow their own food. Green living and sustainable food sources is how we can aleviate poverty – one small step at a time.

Soil for Life’s gardens and training center is situated just off Brounger Road, (off Spaanschemaat River Road), Constantia, Cape Town (behind the Constantia Waldorf School and Peddlars).

So, pop in, get your green-finger goodies, support a good cause and then hop over the Peddlars for a drink after. Win win.

Keep updated with their goings on, on their WebsiteTwitter, Facebook and Instagram. For further information contact 021 794 4982 or email them at info@soilforlife.co.za.


Six Soil Facts for World Soil Day:

• Healthy soils are the basis for healthy food production.

• Soils are the foundation for vegetation which is cultivated or managed for feed, fiber, fuel and medicinal products.

• Soils support our planet’s biodiversity and they host a quarter of the total.

• Soils help to combat and adapt to climate change by playing a key role in the carbon cycle.

• Soils store and filter water, improving our resilience to floods and droughts.

• Soil is a non-renewable resource; its preservation is essential for food security and our sustainable future.

WIN with Green GoodsAgricare:

To CELEBRATE World Soil Day and to help you get the most out of your soil, Green Goods has one of the brand new Agricare Organic Booster Boxes (worth R175) to give away to one lucky reader. To enter follow this link.


The Purest of Beginnings

It feels like we went overseas, came back, and everything was different. BOS iced tea is like the new ‘it’ drink and is available in every corner cafe and, much to my delight, Pure Beginnings Organic Skincare is available… every-where!

Having been attacked by mozzies upon our return to SA in mid-summer, I sent my hubby out to find a natural mozzie repellent, and voia la – we were officially introduced to the Pure Beginnings brand.

PB Insect repellant

As with all reviews, there is a plethora of overly-shmoozy things I could say about Pure Beginnings. I could say I love them because they’re EcoCert certified (so they cannot include any baddies such as propylene glycol/PPG/PEG, petrolatum, mineral oil, parabens, sulphated surfactants (SLS/SLES), DEA (Diethanolamine) / TEA (trethanolamine), phthalathes, DEP, DBP, DEHP, aluminium, fluoride, synthetic colourants & fragrances) or because they support African Communities and Biodiversity Conservation through fair trade and ethical sourcing (I love ethical). I could also say I love them because they use recyclable packaging and use only ingredients that are biodegradable and are approved by the Vegan Society, Beauty without Cruelty and Phytotrade Africa. It could also be because they have a good understanding of healthy (vs. bad) bacteria and consider optimising the beneficial bacteria in ones ‘body-ecosystem’. It really could be because of any of the above, right? Pssst… I like this last healthy bacteria bit in particular and it’s why I drink kombucha.

PB Eco Cert Certified

Buuuut, let’s pretend I didn’t say any of the above. I met them. In the flesh. So you can take my gushyness of Pure Beginnings to heart. They are RAD, they are trying to find better ways of doing things for you and your family, and they care.

Pure Beginnings genuinely believes in keeping your skin as pure as the day you were born by creating high quality, effective, organic skin care products that care for you and your family’s skin (and that are not harmful to the environment). Again, if you’ve read the post on why we cloth diaper, you’ll know this ‘skin as pure as the day you were born’ stuff was where I had my ah’ha moment, which has since changed everything.

Bum Cream

Pure Beginnings started out in 2007 with their focus being specifically Organic Baby and Organic Kids ranges and has since, expanded into a skin care brand for the whole family. Do I hear a ‘hoorah’? Since then Pure Beginnings has been the leading and most trusted baby and kids organic skin care brand in South Africa. Over these past 8 years, this family owned and run business has worked closely with mothers, midwives and child birth educators (and doulas!!) to develop a skin care range that meets the needs of babies and kids using the purest and safest natural and organic ingredients.

Surely you’ve seen these gorgeous products with the super adorbs child friendly characters…

Ollie the Owl

Max and Minky

…looky here! There’s a new addition to the troop (more info coming soon!)

Ruby the Rhino

The ranges are comprehensive. And there is a product for preeeeetty much everything you need. (I even used the baby bum cream to moisturize my dry, sniffly nose this winter)…

Organic Baby Care Range:

Within the Organic Baby Care range you’ll find: Baby Bum Cream, Berry Toothpaste, Bamboo Baby Wipes, Natural Aqueous Cream, Baby Lotion, Baby Wash & Shampoo, Teething Gel, 100% Natural Insect Repellent and a gorgeous Organic Baby Gift Set.

PB organic Baby care

My faves: No doubt the Berry Toothpaste is on my shopping list about once a month (my little one looooves teeth-brushing time!!). The Baby Wipes are fantastic and are my backup in case I run out of my homemade wipes. The Teething Gel sits on my night stand in case bubs gets fussy in the night. We also love the Bum Cream and the Insect Repellent. (The stick container makes it so easy to apply) .

Organic Kids Range:

Within the Organic Kids Care range you’ll find: Fun Time Bubble Bath, Fun Time Kids Wash, Kids Hygiene Hand Wash, Vanilla Mint Toothpaste and 100% Natural Insect Repellent.

My faves: The Bubble Bath is just the best (ask my kids!), as well as the toothpaste (again, we don’t have to fight over teeth-brushing time).

Organic Care Range:

And in the Organic (Family) Care range you’ll find: Deodorant, Shampoo and Conditioner, Shaving Cream, Body Lotion, Body Wash and Fresh Mint Toothpaste (and of course… the good old trusty insect repellent).

My faves: Fresh Mint Toothpaste! While my hubby is not sold on my homemade kind, this is what he always asks for. My dad also loves the shaving cream!

Pure Beginnings Body Wash

Please. Do yourself and your family a favour and get onto the Pure Beginnings bandwagon. You can find all of their stockists here (there are HEAPS so no excuses), and take a peek at the latest news on their blog, facebook and twitter pages. Prices of products range from R35 – R115, and it’s money well spent.

Whether we think about it all that much, we vote with our money. Just like the food we eat either helps or harms us, how we spend our money directly influences which companies thrive and which suffer. Let’s please choose WISELY as to how we spend our money and support local businesses. Let’s join together and support those who are making it easier for us to care for our families and for our environment.

Coconut Oil, Coconut Oil Everywhere

When I first embarked on this green life about 3 years ago, coconut oil popped up every-where. It’s like I couldn’t get away from the stuff – and for good reason.

1L oil

If you spend 7 seconds browsing Pinterest you’ll see literally thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of posts about coconut oil, the benefits, the uses, the recipes, the health properties, and on and on it goes. It seems coconut oil really is one of the most versatile and healthy MUST-HAVES in your pantry, bathroom, bedroom, kids room, ANY-room.

You can read up more about their vast number of benefits and uses here and here. Below I’m highlighting three products in particular that I’ve found to fit into my day to day.

I have kids, am faaaaaairly addicted to sugar and love good skin. So, when Jenna from Coconut Connection, a local company, offered some product to try I grabbed the Baby Care, Organic Coconut Sugar and the Coconut Body Scrub.

Now, if you’re new to this, it’s good to know that coconut oil is an OIL. So it’s oily. Got it? I know a few people whose sensory vibes don’t dig the oil factor and so if that’s the case this might not be for you. But, as for the rest of you, let’s get greasy.

Oh wait, another thing. Coconut oil solidifies in cool temperatures, so, in colder climates it might need a slight warm up before use (like dipping the jar in warm water), and in hotter climates, if you don’t want to dip your fingers into runny oil, then keep it in a cool dry place, out of the sunlight.

Ready? Let’s go.

Coconut Connection’s Organic Baby Care:

Smothering my kidlets with coconut oil comes as NO surprise to me. From the very beginning, I ditched all the fancy branded creams (which had plenty of unknown ingredients) and went al-natural with the littlies using a single ingredient – Organic Coconut Oil. In fact when my second was born, his skin looked like it was almost cracking on his feet and hands and I lathered him up goooood and proper with the stuff. Within days, his skin was plump and juicy. And its a huge money saver as a little goes a very looooong way.

Uses: Can be used to treat baby acne, cradle cap, croup, nappy rash, ear infections, massage, bath oil and as a moisturiser.

Liven up your little ones bath time routine by running a warm bath, dim the lights, cuddle up your littlie in a towel, put on some relaxing music, drop some lavender essential oil in the diffuser and enjoy bonding time together involving some baby massage.

Clayden skin 2

Coconut Connection’s Coconut Sugar:

I didn’t even know there was such a thing. Stevia, yes, Xylitol, yes… But coconut sugar?

Coconut sugar is made from the coconut flower, where the sap is removed and heated and you’re left with a sugary substance which leaves a caramelly aftertaste in your mouth. Whoooooaaaaaa, it is delicious. I can eat this stuff by the teaspoonful. In fact, if I’m honest, I do.

Compared to Xylitol, coconut sugar has a milder taste and flavour. When added to coffee, it knocks that bitter taste off, or adds a slight sweetness to tea. My rooibos addicted toddler loves coconut sugar in his morning tea and I way prefer using this than any other sweetener. Win.

Uses: you can use coconut sugar in many different sweet and savoury recipes. It is safe for diabetics and has a low GI of 35.


Coconut Connection’s Body Scrub:

I like things with as few ingredients as possible, and this scrub has 2. Coconut Oil and Sugar. So it’s a scrub, aaaand a dessert (almost).

Since my scrub had hardened, I warmed it up (you can pop the bottom of the jar in the bath) and gave it a stir to distribute the oil and sugar evenly (as the sugar had settled at the bottom of the jar). I quite like the oil-on-oil method of cleaning and so for me personally I like oil based scrubs. This scrub has a neutral smell and so if you don’t have a high sensitivity to essential oils, you could add a couple drops to your bath depending on what mood you’re in. Being oily, its quite nice to just give yourself a little neck massage while you’re at it. Well that’s what I do anyway.

Coconut Connection have a whole range of products, including coconut oil for cooking (or DIY-ing), toothpaste (similar to my homemade recipe), lip balm and much more.

What have you made recently that has coconut oil as a main ingredient?

Be inspired at Cape Town’s Oranjezicht Famers Market

This world of green, organic, natural goodness is inspiring. And closer than you think – it’s in Zille’s back garden!

Having recently moved back to South Africa after numerous years abroad, I’m still getting into my groove with the ‘what’s on’ calendar of Cape Town. And so a fair few weeks back, I grabbed my tribe and we hit the Oranjezicht City Organic Farmers Market at Premier Helen Zille’s residence. Truth be told I was more excited about seeing Zille wave to us from out her bedroom window than I was about the market itself (and this was our last shot – after this particular week the market was to move to Granger Bay for the winter), but she was quickly forgotten about once we arrived.

The rolling hills of fresh green lawn, a backdrop of our spectacular mountain, and water features most likely pulled off the set of Downton Abbey take your breath away. Then, you notice you’re walking to the sound of music, and you’re taken by the smell of good (as opposed to bad) coffee, fresh farm food and all around you are people of every kind… your early morning farmers-market types, (some with their soil covered hands, dogs by their sides and carrying well-worn produce baskets) to the German tourist, the local Cape Townian dressed in her Hunters boots and the young family on a Saturday morning outing – just lapping up the local flavour. The experience is literally a feast for all your senses.

You can find everything from bonsais, paleo marshmallows and sweet local majool dates to creamy flat whites, eggs benny on potato bread and bun-less burgers. Organic veggies of all variety are on offer, next to an array of orchards, free range eggs, raw milk, honey, milk kefir and kombucha. My senses were on overload.

Admittedly, in denial of winter approaching I had worn the incorrect shoes, my kids got a bit (a lot) muddy, and my toddler drank his ‘Bean There’ babychino too quickly so lost the plot in his realization he wasn’t getting any more, but otherwise it was a splendid morning outing.

What inspired me more is that people really do think like us and they are living like those choosing different ways of doing things and encouraging others to do the same. I LOVE that raw milk is available, that fermented drinks are celebrated (and normal) and soil covered veggies are desired, if not praised.

*The OZCF Market Day recently received the South African Heritage Award in the 2014 Eat Out Zonneblom Produce Awards.

Check out the Oranjezicht City Farmers Market every Saturday morning at Granger Bay from 9am – 2pm. For more info, visit the webiste here