Tag Archives: sustainable

How to be an awesome human this winter

One of my least favourite days of the month, is the day I (okay fine, hubby and I) get that bill from the City of Cape Town telling me how much we’ve spent on ‘living’. Oh rates and taxes, water, electricity and garbage disposal. You cost me a small fortune.

If you’re living in Cape Town (like I am), surely you’ve already whittled down your water useage. But now that we’re mid winter and it’s FREEZING, is it possible to save money on electricity as well? Well of course it is!

Obviously, it’s not all about saving money – it’s about considering our (often unknown and unintentional) abuse of our environment. Here are a couple ideas, to make your home more cost-efficient and eco-aware this winter.

Use existing insulation

As soon as the sun begins setting, close curtains and blinds to keep warmth inside your bedrooms and living spaces. It will mean your interior stays warmer for longer and you’ll only have to switch on heaters if it is essential. Or install a fireplace… (bucket list!)

Replace and switch off

Replace all light bulbs with LED. Turn off lights, plugs and especially electric blankets and heaters when not using them. Just these few things can reduce your home’s electricity consumption by 15%. Last night I woke up to my scale beeping (weird, I know) and saw hubby’s side of our electric blanket was still on. He got a scathing reprimand at midnight.

Fill it up

Run full loads in your washing machine or dishwasher. And use the eco/short cycles.

Off at the wall

What sits on standby? TV/Wifi/chargers etc. By turning off appliances or electronics which sit on standby for hours on end, you can save up to 6% of your electric bill.

Lose 1 degree

While going solar is the gold-star goal, turning your geyser down by 1 degree and switching it off during the middle of the day can really make a difference. This can provide estimated savings of around R100 a week. We recently bought a geyser blanket but are interested in installing a timer too.

Consider buying a Spindel

As a family of 5, we can’t live without our tumble dryer. I cringe every time we put it on, because I feel like it takes foreverrrrr to dry our clothes and the electricity it uses is nausea-worthy. My recommendation: only wash what is in desperate need of a wash, and investigate using a Spindel (esp if your washing machine is not a super fancy pants one – which ours is not).

If you’ve never heard of it before – a Spindel is an innovative dryer that uses spin power instead of heat to remove up to 80% of the leftover moisture from clothes. On average – one load in a spindel draws out around 1 cup of water from my washing (and it takes only 3 min to do so!). If I need to pop my clothes in the tumble drier, it takes a fraction of the time to dry completely, after being ‘spindeled’. A Spindel saves TONS of time and electricity.

Inspired? What else do you to save money, electricity and the environment? I’d love to know.

Happy end of winter all xxx

The Newest Essential for your Diaper Bag

Brace yourselves for a conversation about boobs, breastfeeding and breast milk – that precious, golden liquid. Forewarning: words like nipple, boob, suction and stimulate have been used in this post.

Here’s the irony.

I’m genuinely ANGRY I have only found this product now. After using and understanding Hey Kiwi‘s HaaKaa Silicone Breast Pump, you wonder why this kind of pump has never been thought of before. It is such a simple concept with such an effective outcome.

With babies #1 and #2, my breast milk supply was off.the.charts. I even donated breast milk to the Vancouver Milk Bank because I had such a huge supply. To my surprise, my milk supply was much lower with #3. It should have been more obvious that with the chaos of 3 kids, heading back to work at 4 months and just not stopping in general (in life) that my breast milk supply would be compromised.

So back to the pump – let me explain the concept: It is all about suction. Simply put, you suction the pump to your breast and let the pump do the work for you. It draws your milk out of your breast using suction. That’s it? Yip, really, that’s it.

To stimulate let down – you can ‘pump-the-pump’ by squeezing and releasing the breast pump a few times while on your boob. It’s funny, your boob kinda bounces in and out of the pump. But it works!

Here’s the HOW TO, from Hey Kiwi‘s website:

  1. After you have sterilized your pump, place top of pump over your nipple (make sure your nipple is in the neck of the pump and comfortable).
  2. Apply suction – you may need to adjust a couple of times. Once the pump is secure and comfortable you can squeeze the base of the pump (not interfering with the top/suction) to create some movement.
  3. A warm flannel on top of your breast is also a great tip and gently massage the top of your breast.
  4. Once milk begins to flow simply leave the pump alone to do its thing.
  5. Once the pump becomes full empty into a glass storage bottle and reposition.

From my experience: It took me a few tries to learn to apply the suction properly – but when it is on, it’s very comfortable and does not pinch. I did have to apply some massage (because my boobs were not full)! Had I used this when my milk came in, oh boy. I could have saved Cape Town’s drought with the amount this beautiful thing would have caught. Sigh.)

Once the milk begins to flow – HEY MAN – it’s INCREDIBLE. You can actually see streams of milk coming from your nipple. The plastic milky neck of other pumps I’d used never showed me that. I found it quite mesmerizing.

Here are my MAJOR (and unexpected) PROS:

  • It does not make a noise. So it doesn’t wake a sleeping baby. Hallelujah.
  • It is CORDLESS/does not need batteries. (When we were renovating, there was one spot in the house I could sit – in full view – and pump because I needed to plug it in. This is a game changer). This also makes it fully portable.
  • The base of the 100/150ml Pump creates a suction when you push it on a flat surface. My hard-earned milk is SAFE. If you’ve ever spilled breast milk – you’ll know that urge to break down and sob. Like a baby, without its milk.
  • I cannot personally vouch for this while breastfeeding a 9 month old but, I can confidently say that if one is struggling with engorged boobs, OR needs to express milk while nursing on the one side – this is the PERFECT gizmo to use. It allows you to quickly and easily pump for relief from engorgement, as well as collect milk from the side bubs is not latched on.
  • It’s SUPER easy to clean. Not like all the bits and pieces with ordinary machine pumps. This is a ONE piece item, (two if you have the stopper). Nothing fidgety about it. You can even pop it in the dishwasher.
  • 100% eco-friendly and safe for mom, baby and our environment.
  • It is less than 1/3rd of the price of any electric pump. (R450-R500 for pump and stopper)
  • You can pump hands-free. Once that thing is suctioned properly, sure, you can’t be doing the haka in your bedroom, but you can let it suction without needing to hold it. WHAT?!
  • It is just EASY TO USE. No fuss. Really.

Some of my most favorite people in the world are from New Zealand, so I’m a firm believer that things that come out of NZ are almost guaranteed to be RAD. I’m a total HaaKaa convert. I highly recommend giving this a go.

Want to know more? Contact Hey Kiwi onlineFacebook and Instagram. they also sell lots of other super cute goodies on their site here.


R3000 Challenge: I’m in trouble… 

YOI! I’m in trouble. I did a quick shop yesterday. (I’m surprised at how often I need to go to the shops, as it turns out – 5ppl can eat quite a lot).

I spent another R300, which, in my vague calculation (still unsure of total GFC order) leaves me around R600 for the rest of the month. 😳 I have meat, and staples. But today my confidence may have superseded the reality of my situation because I might have made some rash decisions.

I bought 2 x 3kg bags of butternut. Why 2? Did I need 2? I’m not so sure. I also needed tea. So I bought a box, of 107 teabags. Do I need all 107 teabags? Can I even drink that much in 15 more days? Not a chance. But the bulk buyer in me came to the party.

The saver came to the party too and I couldn’t refuse the Jungle Oats on sale, nor the Bubbly chocolate. If Bubbly is ever on sale, it’s almost sinful to say no. Surely? So I caved, and as I grabbed two slabs off the shelf I thought twice about my budget. And naively took the hit. 

I seeeeeeriously need to tighten the purse strings. Because I have a birthday boy coming up, and cake (and school party treats) will be a necessity shortly.

RIGHT! Two points that have been raised by numerous readers: FREEZING GLASS JARS.

Yes, I too believed one could never freeze glass, but, it turns out you can. A friend showed me or else I would’ve been way too scared to try. They must be decent glass jars and you must be sensible. Don’t freeze HOT food, straight from the oven into the freezer, and take care when defrosting. Don’t take it from the freezer and pop it straight in the microwave/oven. Go easy on your glass.

I buy my glass jars from Bonpak in Prime Park, Diep River. They’re the same size and shape as the Oh Mega Nut Butter jars.


A friend messaged me today, and she was reading my mind. Her message was as follows:

I love the challenge blah blah because… you “buy what you need, no need to overdo elaborate meals EVERY night, good for the hips, good for the world / enviro (cause not over consuming in this consumer crazy society etc etc). Every time I have made my “normal” purchases I think of you and how you’re exercising such restraint and it makes me see the “normal” purchase as a super spoil.”

Someone else (talking about something similar but different) spoke of our consumer culture like this: shopping (unnecessarily, in our case maybe for food/eating) is a way of “filling voids, eradicating boredom, fostering laziness, thwarting creativity, not to mention draining our bottom line“.

I sometimes imagine asking someone from the early 1900’s to watch our western culture. And I wonder how sensible popping into the same shop every 2nd day would seem? Especially in today’s unbelievably demanding lifestyle, when we don’t actually have the time to spare? Does buying a takeaway coffee look cool, indulgent or irresponsible? Is it a prerequisite to your morning? (Coffee is ABSOLUTELY a prerequisite to mine, and I thank the Good Lord for the creamy sweet nectar every morning as I sip it). Pre-cooked meals? Are they convenient, or necessary, or have we barely stopped to consider the joy and creativity involved in cooking we’re blindly robbing ourselves of? Nooooooo judgement here guys – I’m asking myself these exact questions… (and I could’ve fueled a small country on the amount of take away coffee I had last month…)

What is food? What have we made it? Where have we been sold a lemon by society? I’m ALL about good food. I’ve said this already. I love what it represents; different textures and colours, what humans are able to create with micro greens and edible flowers, the complexity of flavours and beauty and satisfaction in a delicately prepared meal. But when did we put it on autopilot?

Not to terrify you but…

Sometimes I think that other moms must look at me all like “she’s so overboard on her stainless steel sippy cups, and her glass mason jars and her kids’ fabric snack bags, and her vegan nailpolish”, and sometimes, I wonder if I’m a little over the top myself. Then I read something like this (below) and I’m reminded that I’m NOT and that in fact, there is MORE I can do. Yes. I know. Because while, yeah, this requires extra thought, time, patience, and energy – I’m driven. I’m inspired, I want to do this.

kids sitting on beach

The world is changing (hellllooooo, Trump is in office?) and we are changing too. We are evolving, and not in the right way. We’ve all heard of BPA and phthalates and their dangers, but really… we don’t all have time to consider those things and their negative consequences with the millions of thoughts running through our heads on a minute by minute basis… It takes serious conviction and intentionality.

The more research I do, the more I learn, the more important it is. The way the world is changing is bringing with it terrifying truths such as hormone disruption in kids. Now, I could say that my journey towards green-ness came from my concern for the environment, but I’d be lying. It all happened after I had kids. And that is why THIS scares me so much.

Read the full article here – this calls for change.

Avoiding Hormone-Disrupting Substances is Crucial for Children and Adults Alike:

While young girls may show obvious signs of exposure to hormone-disrupting substances via early puberty, other signals are more insidious and may not show up until a disease is already present. Here are 11 measures you can implement right away to help protect yourself and your children from common toxic substances that could cause precocious puberty and other long-term health problems:

1. As much as possible, buy and eat organic produce and free-range, organic meats to reduce your exposure to added hormones, pesticides and fertilizers. Also avoid milk and other dairy products that contain the genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST)

2. Eat mostly raw, fresh foods (helllooooo paleo). Processed, prepackaged foods (of all kinds) are a major source of soy and chemicals such as BPA and phthalates.

3. Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap and canned foods (which are often lined with BPA-containing liners).

4. Use glass baby bottles and BPA-free sippy cups for your little ones. (I stick with glass or stainless steel).

5. Make sure your baby’s toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething rings and anything your child may be prone to suck on.

6. Only use natural cleaning products in your home to avoid phthalates. (You can even make them yourself).

7. Switch over to natural brands of toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group has a great safety guide to help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates, parabens and other potentially dangerous chemicals. BAHHHH!!! THIS! This is where so much of where my mind is at, and which is why I love Pure Beginnings so much.

8. Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances, many of which can also disrupt your hormone balance. (Stick with organic essential oils!)

9. Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware.

10. When redoing your home, look for “green,” toxin-free alternatives in lieu of regular paint and vinyl floor coverings.

11. Replace your vinyl shower curtain with one made of fabric.

12. Avoid non-fermented soy, especially if you’re pregnant and in infant formula.

Theo Colburn’s book Our Stolen Future is a great source for further investigation as it identifies the numerous ways in which environmental pollutants are disrupting human reproductive patterns.

I’ll leave it right there. A LOT of food for thought. You don’t need to overhaul everything. Just pick a few which are manageable and go for it.

With love, from my family to yours xxx

New to South Africa, NAK Aromas Haircare

Who doesn’t love a little pamper? Oh man. Any chance I get to kiss my little monsters goodbye and walk out the door guilt free on my way to some kind of spoil, I’ll take.

Yes, that’s a macaron you’re looking at…


And so I was really excited to be invited to a launch by a new hair care brand called NAK. (Can I also add that the invite arrived with edible sweetness and was printed on Growing Paper? You’ve won me over already…). I was excited to have my hair washed and blow dried (more excited for the head massage as we always are, right?), but MOST excited that more hair care companies are thinking deeper about creating a product that is safer for us and the environment.

222A3191Style Bar_2

So let me introduce you: NAK meet us South Africans, South Africans meet NAK. NAK is an all Australian haircare company passionate about creating innovative and versatile haircare products for the professional hairdressing industry, salons, stylists and people like me, you know, us run-of-the-mill type.

Inspired by their unique location and Australian lifestyle (think summer, beach, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef island holiday vibes), and influenced by their sun-drenched environment, surrounding oceans and majestic landscapes (which is a lot like Cape Town) NAK is launching 3 new ranges in South Africa in 2016. So for all of you thinking ‘should I move to Aussie?’… don’t worry – they’ve brought the good stuff to us.

We explored the AROMAS range which has 4 sub-ranges within it – blonde, curl, smooth and colour depending on your hair type and what you’re trying to achieve/enhance. Can you believe it, I went with the curl – something I’ve been fighting my whole life: the curl! And it was wonderful. ‘Curl’ and ‘wonderful’ in the same sentence – yep. I’ll admit it, I said it.

222A3178Style Bar_2

And before this sounds like a total la la la (blah blah blah) about them and why I love the product… Let’s look at what really matters (to me anyways):

222A3179Style Bar_2

NAK Aromas is sulphate free – their advanced formulations feature the latest in surfactant technology: ISELUX®. This delivers a gentle cleanse, is kinder to the skin and less likely to induce skin irritations.

It contains no parabens – ‘parabens’ is that sneaky little word that one needs to keep an eye out for on ingredient lists. It’s no good.

They are environmentally conscious and use vegan-friendly formulations, and use a beautiful blend of essential oils including lavender, patchouli and geranium. The hair care is enriched with ancient Moroccan Argan Oil and Almond milk proteins.

“AROMAS LUXE BOTANICALS bestows harmony and well-being to all hair types. A thoughtfully considered, environmentally conscious, vegan-friendly haircare range, where nature and science combine perfectly to naturally protect hair and skin”.

222A3221Style Bar_3

While admittedly they are not organic, this is a fantastic range if you want to make better choices in the hair care department, but find the extremely green, eco, organic shampoos and conditioners a little much. I know some people struggle with them (I’ve struggled with a few I’ve tried), but NAK is a beautiful combo of a haircare range making wonderful strides to BE more environmentally friendly, and remove some nonsense from their ingredient list, but still gives that glossy, healthy, smooth look and feel we all love.

The shampoos and conditioners cost R320 per bottle (for 275ml), and each range comes with its own extras. From oil sprays to blond end therapy, curl creme, curl serum, ends therapy, hydra therapy and smooth straightening creme – there are so many options to choose from.

NAK is now available in selected salons and on www.retailbox.co.za. For any further queries please contact nicole@nakhair.co.za. Find them on Facebook or Instagram for news and updates.

Image credits: www.maurimoncadaphotography.com and myself.

Teething woes? Here’s my suggestion…

Teething. Gives you the shivers right? Is it not just a big, fat guessing game? I mean who really knows when their little one is teething? Sure, when your little one has BRIGHT RED cheeks, bad nappy rash, is drooling up a flood and desperately chewing on anything they can grab with their overly chubbed up hand, it’s one thing, but the very next day they can be happy-as, with no ‘typical’ signs of teething. So what do you?

I distinctly remember (when I presumed my infant was teething) not wanting to use an amber necklace – for no founded or credible reason other than I freaked out at the thought of something around my little ones neck (entirely a personal opinion). And so I got those water filled gummy chewy things which you keep in the fridge, and then I froze wet facecloths for him to chew on and then I would go the shop to find a homeopathic or medicinal answer. And then I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to buy it. Because, I mean, is he really teething? And should I spend THAT amount of money on something I don’t even know really works? I don’t want to give him anything if he’s not actually teething.

And so then at the next ‘sign of teething’ I’d freeze carrots and give that to him to chew on, or rub his gums really hard and and and, and it.was.exhausting.

Yes, maybe I was overthinking it (who doesn’t as a new mom) but having recently had this new and profound entry into the world of all-things-natural, I reeeeeeally didn’t want to give my kid anything if a) he wasn’t actually teething (just growing and wriggling and fussing and being a preeeeetty normal 6 month old) and b) it was not going to work, and c) it was full of medicinal *stuff*. I’m a bit like that. If I have a niggling headache I prefer to leave it until it goes away, before I pop the pills.

You know where I’m headed right? An answer to all of your teething problems? Really? Surely it’s not that easy? Well, I do have an answer and yes, I used this product on my second child after we returned to SA (lucky thing – who says middle children get the raw deal?) and I already have a tube stocked up for my (currently unpacked) baby bag.

Ta daaaaa: Pure Beginnings’ Soothing Teething Gel with Organic Liquorice and Marshmallow.

PB Teething Gel

“The product is a result of in-depth research into the natural ingredients available, which are highly effective in relieving the symptoms associated with teething pain. The non-medicated formula’s key active ingredients include Organic Liquorice root extract and Organic Marshmallow extract. Both of these ingredients demonstrate strong natural anti-inflammatory properties, thereby reducing swelling, inflammation and the corresponding pain associated with inflamed gums. Organic Liquorice also acts as a mucoprotective agent i.e. it creates a soothing film over the gum, relieving pain and inflammation of the effected area. The product also contains Chamomile, a natural anti-inflammatory which has been used for centuries, to naturally reduce swelling and to soothe and calm the inflamed gums. Xylitol is included for its ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria that leads to tooth decay. This cocktail of potent offerings from nature, effectively relieve pain and other symptoms associated with teething, while ensuring your baby is not exposed to any harsh chemicals or other ingredients that have shown to be harmful to both short term, and long term health”. 

You can find the comprehensive list of ingredients here. It retails for R47.50 (which I genuinely think is a really good price, considering that the flat white and croissant at Vida just cost you R51).

Organic Liquorice Root Extract – temporarily soothes and relieves pain and discomfort.

bowl of maca powder

Organic Marshmallow Extract – naturally reduces the pain and discomfort associated with teething.

Xylitol on birch background

Xylitol: Endorsed by many dental associations worldwide for its ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay.

So here’s how you can be guilt and anxious-free around teething, be it genuine teething or not. Grab yourself a tube of Pure Beginnings’ Teething Gel and use it confidently – knowing it works, it’s safe, and it’s one less thing to think about.

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.


Spring Cleaning with Better Earth & GIVEAWAY!

So, I presume you’re all done with your spring cleaning right? Wait… No?

Well if you haven’t started (and we’re almost mid way through Spring) then don’t feel bad. Neither have I, which is strange because I love cleaning… when I’m in the mood. I think maybe it is because I haven’t had the right goodies in my hands and I’m not up for making my own cleaning products quite yet. I’m trying my hand at making things slowly, and well… I’m sure I’ll get to the bicarb of soda/lemon juice/vinegar mix soon enough, but for now I’m going with local, trusted well known brands, such as Better Earth, a homegrown family company based in Muizenberg.


A while back I read a post by Wellness Mama stating that our homes are often our most toxic environments. It stuck with me.

Two experts Leslie Reichert, author of “Joy of Green Cleaning,” and Sara Snow, author of “Sara Snow’s Fresh Living,” share the reasons why people should make the switch to green cleaning products.

1. Healthier Home
If you go green, “No longer will there be chemicals absorbed into the skin or breathed in by the person cleaning,” Reichert says. Health benefits extend to family members who are no longer breathing in cleaners lingering in the air and sitting on surfaces. Studies have shown that using a household cleaning spray, even as little as once a week, raises the risk of developing asthma. Snow says that using green cleaning products can reduce the chances of developing asthma, which “today is the most common chronic illness and the leading cause of school absences due to chronic illness across the country.”

2. Purer Environment
When you use many cleaning products, “harmful chemicals are being released into the environment,” says Reichert. Not great for you and the people around you to breathe in. Changing to greener methods, “helps reduce pollution to our waterways and the air and it minimizes your impact on ozone depletion and global climate change with fewer smog-producing chemicals,” advises Snow. Many green products also use recyclable packaging which minimizes waste.

3. Safer Products
Conventional cleaning products pose risks such as chemical burns to the cleaner’s skin and eyes. Green cleaners aren’t corrosive and meet strict standards regarding inhalation toxicity, combustibility and skin absorption.

4. Better Air Quality
As with most people, Snow can’t stand the “stench of strong chemical odours.” Many green cleaning products — including store bought and ones you can make at home — include pleasant natural essential oils. Reichert even refers to cleaning with these products as her “aromatherapy.”

5. Less Expensive
“For home cleaning, vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, etc. can do the trick for pennies on the dollar, compared to buying conventional cleaning products,” Snow says. Why go out and buy products when you can use things you already have in your pantry?

As I said previously, I’m not at the point of making my own cleaning goodies yet (and I know many of you feel the same way) and I have zero conviction about it because there are a number of really good brands on the shelves that are not bank-breaking and which work really well.

Kerry, the brains behind Better Earth is a lover of all things natural – including what is safest for ourselves and our environment. “I’m passionate about making sure that what we use in our homes for cleaning has the least possible effect on water and the environment down the line.” Better Earth’s products are free of ethoxylated ingredients, sulphated surfactants, parabens, animal products, colourants and synthetic fragrance. The products are kept simple while still being effective, and are never tested on animals. Music to my ears.

Recently I tried out three of her popular products, the Better Earth Laundry Gel with Fabric Conditioner (Fairlady Consumer Awards Finalist 2012), Better Earth Bathroom and Toilet Cleaner (Fairlady Consumer Awards Finalist 2011) and the Better Earth Natural Cleaning Spray (a fantastic gentle cleaner you can use on just about anything).

I loved using these products. They smell amazing, are fresh, they look great and simply put – they are a fantastic (and necessary) addition to my home. I love that I can be confident knowing my kids can lick the syrup off the floor, suck the bovril drops off their clothing and that my now toilet-trained-toddler (can I hear an AMEN!) can safely touch, climb on and wiggle all over the toilet.

Keen to try these products in your home? I thought so. Well lucky for you, Better Earth and Our Greenish Life are giving each of them to one lucky reader! This prize is valued at over R200!

Enter here:

  • Like Our Greenish Life on Facebook
  • Share the competition on Facebook
  • Tell us in the comments below: If you chose to go green with one cleaning product, which one would it be? (i.e Toilet and Bathroom/Dishashing Liquid etc.)
  • Tag a friend for an extra entry.

Thanks for entering. Good Luck!

Contact Better Earth
Tel: +27 (0)72 662 2107
Fax: +27 (0)86 612 6911
email: info@betterearth.co.za

Terms and Conditions

The competition runs from Saturday 17 October – Monday 26 October 2015.
This competition is open to Cape Town residents only.
The winner will be chosen randomly and contacted via email.
Winner will be announced on the Our Greenish Life website and social media channels on Monday 26 October.

Featured Pic Credit: imgkid.com

THIS COMPETITION IS CLOSED. Congrats to Valerie Duffield Anderson who won this awesome compo.

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.

I love glass


I love glass. I love every.single.thing about it EXCEPT that when it breaks it’s a blimmin mission to clean with little blissfully unaware feet stomping the ground. But regardless, it’s a beaut.

I’m on a mission, slowly, and sometimes unsuccessfully, to move towards an all glass/stainless steel life and eliminate plastic. I’m not binary, I’m not so black and white that I’ll stick my nose up to your plastic (un-biodegradable) cutlery when you hand it to me (I’d rather be your friend enjoying a picnic together however it goes down) but for myself and my family, this is something we’re rethinking.

If you’d like to read up on the dangers of plastic, you can do so here. Besides the hidden chemicals and the difficulty to recycle, there is automated ignorance around how much waste we are producing (and therefore polluting). We are also wasting money by how much we mindlessly purchase and re-purchase.

And so slowly, in different areas where possible, we’re moving towards a plastic free life. I still love Tupperware and Lego, and always will. We’ve replaced plastic water bottles with glass bottles (which never hold a odor), and we use glass for our homemade kombucha, natural baby products, sippy cups and bokashi juice (for the garden). We store food in glass mason jars, both in our pantry and the fridge. We like to decant milk sachets into vintage milk bottles, store our homemade yoghurt, jam and salad dressing in rustic old-school jars, and our toothpaste and mouthwash in glass ‘click’ jars. Mason jars are easily available and cheaper by the dozen overseas, so it’s a no brainer using them. I’m thinking about investing shares in Consol because – well, how rad is their new solar power glass lantern?

Not only is glass cool, and we’ll think you’re lank trendy if you make the move across, but glass bottles are begging for some creative flair. You can literally let you imagine run wild – and if you’re feeling creatively-lethargic, browse my Pinterest board here.

Think about it. What are you using right now, that you can replace with a better material? Buying one product is better than nothing.

Boycott ziplocks and replace them with reusable material snack bags. Stop buying plastic water bottles and carry a permanent (preferably glass) one around with you. Plastic bags? Are you kidding! Fabric grocery bags are available EVERYWHERE.

Start small, think it through – and GO.