My husband and I were having a chat the other day about stocking stuffers and Christmas. He was a bit stumped for ideas because he never grew up with stockings as a Christmas tradition.
In America, stockings are A THING. Sometimes they even house the best presents. My family, Mom in particular, always finds the best, most thoughtful stocking stuffers.
I've decided to help you guys out and share a few of my favourite, eco-friendly stocking stuffers, for you, or to gift our loved ones.
HOT TIP: There are lots of things on this list that would work for your mates, work colleagues, or anyone else you might be needing a gift for.
3. Ever Eco Bamboo Cutlery
A great idea for the guy or gal who is always on the go, loves camping, or wants to be more thoughtful about how they eat their take away lunches at work.
4. Grant's Bamboo Toothbrush
I love their ergonomic design and they last so long! They are under $5, made of environmentally sustainable bamboo and are 100% biodegradable. So, when you are done with it, just bury it in your backyard, or use it as a labeled stick in your veggie patch after removing the bristles (like this).
The have kid's options, adult soft and adult medium bristles as well.
5. Ever Eco's stainless steel straws
I love these stainless steel straws for everything from drinking water to devouring smoothies on the go. They are super easy to clean and are reusable, keeping single use plastic straws out of landfill and sea creature's precious bodies!
There are tons of options to check out:
Well, that's it! What are you hoping to have in your stocking?
I have received a ton of questions on Instagram about natural deodorant, so I thought I'd do a blog post addressing some of the most FAQ's.
I'll be answering in regard to what I use currently, which is Black Chicken Remedies Axilla barrier boost deodorant paste. If you want to read other people's reviews as well, there are a whopping 922 reviews on their axilla deodorant alone.
1. Does it actually work?
Just because it's made of natural ingredients doesn't mean you won't get results!
2. How long does it take to work?
I went through a little bit of a detox period. I'd call this a transition phase as I made the switch from chemically dense, aluminum products to an all natural alternative. It took me about 2-3 weeks to purge all the toxins from my body, so I just weathered through the detox, or reapplied the paste around midday if it seemed fitting. My husband had a similar transition, but from memory his lasted a week or so. He plays sport professionally, and uses the deodorant paste daily with great results.
3. Can I shave before using it?
I find that my skin is a bit sensitive, so if I applied the Axilla Deodorant immediately after shaving, I would feel a bit of a burn (do to the sodium bi carb). I switched to the Barrier Boost sensitive skin formula, and have had no issues since. I can apply it to my underarms as soon as I'm out of the shower after shaving.
4. If it doesn't have aluminum in it, how does it work?
It's not an antiperspirant, so keep that in mind! It's job is to neutralise odours, not to avoid sweating. Sweating is natural body reaction - you shouldn't apply anything to stop that from happening!
A few key ingredients in the Axilla Paste:
Organic coconut oil: acts as an antibacterial agent and neutralises odours
Sodium Bicarbonate: neutralises odours
Arrowroot: absorbs moisture
Kaolin Clay: absorbs moisture and increases blood circulation
Organic Camellia tea oil and Vitamin E: soothes skin irritations
A few key ingredients in the Axilla Barrier Boost Paste (sensitive skin formula):
Magnesium hydroxide: acts as an antibacterial and helps to detoxify the skin
Organic shea butter: soothes skin and is also an anti-inflammatory
Diatomaceous Earth: ph neutral, rich in silica and an antimicrobial agent
Tapioca: absorbs moisture
*Sodium Bicarb free
HOT TIP: The signature blends in both of these products have antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties.
5. Does it have a smell? If so, what makes it smell good?
Yes, it smells nice. It isn't odorless. Black Chicken uses essential oils to make their products smell next level nice. A few of the essentials oils they use are: pink grapefruit, mandarin, geranium bourbon, ylang ylang, cedarwood, lime, and lavender.
6. How long does it last?
I wasn’t sure if this question was meant about daily product results or monthly consumption of Axilla, so:
A. It lasts all day, no need to reapply it.
B. A tub of the paste lasts us between 2-4 months (depends if my husband and I are sharing!)
7. How do you apply it if it's a paste?
Place a small amount between your fingers and rub them together, gently warming up the paste. Rub on both armpits, and voilà! Or, you can just watch this watch this 28 second clip on YouTube.
Still have questions?
Email me or comment below!
The bad news: Two in three Australians will develop skin cancer before the age of 70.
The good news: 95% of skin cancers can be successfully treated IF detected early.
Sunscreen. It's an absolute necessity.
Coming from a girl who has A LOT of freckles, listen to me when I say.... you need to wear it. I was relatively sun smart as a kid playing soccer for many, many hours a week in the California heat. A smear on the shoulders and the cheeks always seemed to suffice. However, it wasn't until I was in college that I started to wear sunscreen regularly on my face as a preventative measure. On my body? Sure, but only when I was lying out by the pool.
If you live in Australia you'd know the expression "Slip, Slop, Slap" by heart. I'd obviously never heard of it before moving here, but it's a really easy way to remember sun safety. It is also a requirement for children to follow when attending school if they want to play outside!
Slip on a shirt
Slop on some sunscreen and
Slap on a hat.
Australia has the world's highest rate of skin cancer... Eek! Beach culture is quintessential to living that Aussie lifestyle, but we must look after our skin to prevent harmful melanomas, keep our skin healthy and the added bonus of a youthful complexion doesn't hurt!
I've made a list of my favourite sunscreens, (and I tell you why I love them), as well as what part of the body to use them on. Couldn't spell it out any clearer.... Let's dive in shall we?
And there you have it! If you have any questions, comment below or send me an email so I can help you out.
Snacks. Snacks. Snacks.
How many times have they utterly saved the day when you're with your kids at the grocery store... running errands.... during an agonizing road trip?
I get loads of DM's on Instagram about snack ideas for kids, so I thought I'd share a quick and easy blog post sharing what we have been loving lately.
Here are our latest on-the-go favs:
Gimme all the collagen! I'm officially closer to middle age (as of September) and I find myself lusting after my daughter's collagen rich skin more frequently.
All jokes aside, I'm just starting to really look toward, what I call, skin repairing now. I've been on the prevention path for a while, but the time has come for lots of TLC and repair. I think that's part and parcel of becoming a mum and running on less sleep and longer days.
So what two things have I been doing to warrant my latest barrage of complexion compliments?
1. Using Mukti's microneedle derma roller twice a week. The needles create micro channels in the skin which help your skin to absorb the products you already use more efficiently.
2. Using Black Chicken Remedies newest Nocturnalist Night Serum nightly. This new, uniquely formulated serum rejuvenates skin cells during our sleep cycle, so it does all the heavy lifting while you catch up on your much needed Zzz's.
During the day our skin tries to stay hydrated and protected from the elements. However, during the nighttime, our skin goes into recovery mode, much like humans actually. This serum is designed to assist in your skin's recovery, hydrate and reduce oxidation and inflammation.
Directions: Before going to bed, I apply 3-5 drops to clean skin and massage it well into my cheeks, forehead and neckline.
HOT TIP: If I'm doing a little extra for Self Care Sunday, then I Gua Sha immediately after applying the serum.
What are the active ingredients you ask?
Prickly Pear: is rich in amino acids and encourages collagen production and elasticity to brighten + tighten pores
Lemon: is loaded with Vitamin C. It's also one of the best-known anti-aging agents
Frankincense: helps promote healthy circulation and reduces the appearance of sun spots
Geranium Bourbon: helps with cellular regeneration
Neroli: boosts luminosity and helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles
Myrrh: rejuvenates aging skin
Cypress: has antimicrobial properties that help remove toxins from the skin
I love how thick and nourishing the serum is and it smells so bloody good. You can tell they spared no expense sourcing the best of the best ingredients. My favourite part is that this serum is 100% natural, completely free of chemicals, toxins, preservatives and Australian-made. It's totes a necessity in every "30- something year old's" medicine cabinet!
What does your night time routine look like? Tell me in the comments below.
Cedar + Stone is a 100% plant based vegan skincare company based in the Currumbin Valley, Australia.
The company was founded by Kate and Anna, two sisters that were tired of shopping at organic health shops only to find that many skincare products still had unnecessary chemicals. The sister duo decided to whip up some homemade alternatives, and Cedar + Stone was born.
Their line of skincare products are proudly cruelty free, gluten free, paraben free, sulphate and SLS free.
My Latest Haul from Cedar + Stone:
If you sign up for Cedar + Stone's newsletter, they will email you a voucher for $20 off your next purchase.
Also, you'll get free shipping on orders over $100
So, long story short, I haven't purchased make up for many, many years.
When I started my low-tox lifestyle transition after my daughter's birth, I threw out make up I'd held on to for years (as in 5+ years old). Shock horror, am I right! GROSS.
I've been wearing sunscreen and mascara, or a simple BB cream for years now with the occasional eyeliner when I needed to really spruce up.
My daughter is now 18 months old and I'm quickly approaching my mid 30's. The last few months, I've felt as if BB cream isn't cutting it. Don't get me wrong, I'm obsessed with my La Mav BB cream and tell everyone about it. I just felt like it was finally time to simply add something to the mix and help this tired mama perk up her appearance just a bit.
But where to start?
What are those puffy egg looking things used for anyway?
I had no clue, but I decided to see what had happened within the beauty world the last decade.
I'd recently seen Mon from The Beauty Journal feature some clean beauty items on her instagram that peaked my interest. I wanted them to be cruelty free, non-toxic and "clean" because it would be pretty pointless to lead a low-tox life in every aspect except what went directly on my skin.
I decided to check some products out online from Conscious Kin. If you live in Brisbane, I highly recommend visiting their stunning shop which is tucked away on the gorgeous James Street. They also just opened a new shop in the Gold Coast as well if that is closer to you. If you're looking to make some clean beauty swaps, Conscious Kin is a great place/website to start your journey.
What are your favourite clean beauty brands? Tell me in the comments below!
She is also the founder of Love Mae, which is one of my all time favourite brands that I came across as a new mum myself. As some of you may have seen on my Instagram, I adore their bio-degradable, non-toxic, plastic free, bamboo dinnerware which we use daily for my daughter. I didn't know that their range is actually a lot more broad, including; lunch boxes, stickers, wall decals and kid's room decorations.
I wanted to know more about this ambitious Mumprenuer in Byron Bay, and I want you to know more about her as well!
WELCOME Peta!!!!! SO happy to have you!
A lot of people might not know that you used to be a photographer and a chef before starting Love Mae in 2008. What did you learn most about yourself when you were in these professions?
I learned early on that you can do anything if someone gives you the chance…. and that I work well under pressure. The pressure makes me tap into this "can do" space in my brain and all the noise of failure and insecurity disappears. At that point I can just do what needs to be done. It’s such an empowering feeling, and these days I feel like I can tap into that space whenever I like. My brain is wired to achieve.... some days that is good…. and others it is just purely annoying! he he
What's your house like in Byron Bay? Is it as perfect and whimsical as your designs?
Actually I think I’m a little in between styles at the moment. We moved from our renovated hinterland cottage about three years ago and headed back to the beach… worst house, best location kinda situation. I live about 15 minutes north of Byron in an old holiday house, that is small and desperately in need of a makeover. I’m not too precious though and I can easily wait while we work on the plans. Meanwhile, we can hear the waves and we’ve made it comfortable with relaxed furniture and landscaped the backyard. We spend our time on our large back deck where there is a huge table for hanging out with friends, as well as a lounge area for lazing…. although being winter we spend more time around the fire pit than anywhere else.
My favourite restaurant in Byron is Folk. What's yours?
Oh I love Folk, I could live there… quite literally. It’s hard to talk favourites… do you mind if I give you my Top 5? For lunch, they would be 100 Mile Table (The Best!), The Farm, Luscious, Barrio and the pop up Japanese that you’ll find in a caravan Tuesday to Friday out the front of the surf shop. We are spoiled for choice and that is not even taking into account the cafes and restaurants in the town centre of Byron.
Why did you choose bamboo for the dinnerware range?
We originally used to make our dinnerware in melamine. It took a lot of time to allow myself to free the guilt from producing something so disastrous for the planet and it’s oceans. That stuff will never break down, and I still cringe a little that we did it. When I went looking for an alternative, bamboo was the one that stood out for us because it ticked all the right boxes. What a brilliant thing that these sets will not cause the troubles that melamine and other products do.
What's the very first thing you do every morning?
Meditate…. it’s the only way my brain won’t self destruct. ;-)
Childbirth: Traumatic, transformative or ___________?
Interesting… slightly questionable that it needs to be like that (he he)…. but in the end, amazing! Nothing beats that moment of the last push and the sound of your baby realising they are filling their lungs with air.
My favourite time of day is….
This is hard, I love so many parts of the day. At a push my favourite part is my swim in the ocean. I swim almost every day of the year… including winter. Nothing beats the rush in winter and in summer it’s just pure weightless bliss.
The best thing about being a small business owner…..
Giving a shit about everything… employees, customers, products… even the layout and look of the studio. It feels so good to care and to ride the ups and downs of your own decisions. It’s not like I ever feel in control, but if I lean enough in a certain direction it steers the ship and that feels great.
The worst thing about being a small business owner….
I find hiring and firing very painful. I get so nervous interviewing and need help throughout the whole process. I’m a bit awkward at the best of times and in that situation I’m a mess. As for firing…. no words needed! No one enjoys that process and I’m lucky it's so rare I don’t usually have to worry about it.
How do you practice self care?
Every morning I rise before anyone in my house and sit still for 15 - 20 minutes (meditate), then exercise and finish off with a swim. I’ve only just gotten back to the exercise bit, and I’ve sworn to my body to never give it up…. even when I get back to fitting into my clothes!
Recently I fell off the wagon and it wasn’t pretty. I now find the strength to get up every morning and show the body and mind complete respect.
What’s the best book you have have ever read?
Again I’m sorry…. it’s too much pressure for something I have such passion for… I LOVE reading! Here’s my Top 5.
Aztec, by Gary Jennings (History is so disturbing and intense and this is not for the feint hearted!)
Education of Little Tree, by Forrest Carter (my kind of bible)
The Signature of all Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Mallawindy, by Joy Dettman
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.
I know that as soon as I press send I’ll think of another 5 books I wish I had of put here. I love books so much.
In your opinion, what determines success?
Perseverance and endurance. You need to wholeheartedly want to complete things no matter the odds. Admittedly, sometimes the stars need to align and I have all sorts of personal theories on that. The important things it to know how to get things done and keep at it no matter how rough the road may seem.
Your work culture at Love Mae is “Family First,” which I love. Over the last ten years, has it been difficult to put your family first juggling life, work and two daughters?
In all honesty, it is easy to create that ethos for everyone that works here, but for me it’s the hardest thing ever. The assembly performance coincides with deadlines for the new range, or the NY trade show falls on my husband's birthday, my girls are sick when I’ve got meetings that took months to get… the list goes on, but I just take each day as it comes. I hope that my girls have memories of my being there for them despite the fact that sometimes I cannot.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to our readers who are new to the War On Waste
This shit needs to be taken seriously….. start making changes! There is so much more we could be doing. And why isn’t unnecessary packaging controlled? Imagine how many plastic containers are being opened right now, whether it be toys or fruit and veg, that are immediately put in the landfill bin. It's insane!
As a mum to two girls, what are your aspirations for them as young women?
I’m not sure this is my biggest aspiration, but it’s a theme in our house at the moment.
We are working on taking responsibility for our own reactions as no-one can make you feel anything unless you give them permission. Sometimes a tilt of the head, a smile on your face and a feeling of curiosity can get you through the most hurtful situations. When people hurt others, it’s because they are hurting. We can help make them feel better if we just know how to forgive and not take things personally. Concentrate on the good of a person and hopefully they will give you that same grace when you are having a bad day. Anything can be turned into a positive if we just leave our defensive responses aside.
What exciting things can we anticipate for Love Mae in 2018/19?
All going well, new products! You’ve no idea how much I wish I could tell you more…. but I’m seriously very excited about the processes we are going through at the moment to make this happen.
Chey Birch is making waves in the natural beauty community.
Her journey began in 2000 when she started mixing essential oils and botanical extracts in a small bowl with a black chicken painted on it. Black Chicken was hence created, and with it, a philosophy that really stands out. They don't make skincare with the intent to make people look, smell or feel good. Their skincare line is actually created to nurture the whole person and make a difference on a physical, mental and emotional level.
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Black Chicken. It holds a special place in my heart because it was my first deliberately handpicked non-toxic beauty item that started my family's transition to low-tox living. So, it goes without saying, that I'm also a huge fan of Chey.
Tell us, what was it like studying aromatherapy?
Life changing! I studied it as a hobby and when I learnt of the therapeutic properties of the oils I was hooked. I started making blends to every ailment I could think of! I remember sitting in class one day and the teacher said that Myrrh essential oil can eat puss!! Gross I know but also fascinating in healing wounds!
Who was your biggest supporter of Black Chicken in the early days?
It was actually a store in Jersey in the Chanel Islands in UK! Random I know but the owner of the store Emma absolutely loved everything I created and she sold so much it really helped me get started even before I was well known in Australia.
When did you make the transition to living a low-tox life and what was the catalyst for you to make the change?
It was around 2000. I’d been suffering with irritated skin and sinus problems for years and nothing I tried was helping. I went to see a naturopath and she suggested I take a look at all the toxins I might be unknowingly consuming. I began by looking at my soaps, cleansers, and scrubs. After a whole lot of research I was shocked to find that the ingredients in these household products were synthetic and borderline toxic. I had been covering myself top to toe with these chemicals every day, so of course my body had been trying to tell me something.
What is your most favourite Black Chicken product and why?
It’s a very tough question for me, but I’d probably have to say Cleanse My Face – it’s an oil cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin’s natural oils, it calms and balances your sebum production. Oil dissolves oil! Plus it smells amazing and after a hard day, massaging this into your face is just heaven!
What Black Chicken product was the most challenging to bring to fruition?
Both Axilla Deodorant Pastes took a lot of testing. It took a whole year of research and trialing different recipes before I came to the formula we have today. Then Barrier Booster was a whole other challenge. To create something without bicarb, that can be used on sensitive skin but still works just as well was no easy task.
Your Axilla deodorant paste has made waves in the holistic health community. Why did you choose a paste?
When I created Axilla it was perfect as a paste so I didn’t want to add anything to it to make it a roll on or a stick especially any chemicals so I left it as the most effective I could!
I’m currently working on a stick formula, but I certainly won’t be adding any nasty chemicals - all our products will always be 100% natural!
Essential oils are...
powerful remedial extracts from mother nature!
What's the very first thing you do in the morning and very last thing you do every night?
Haha good question – first thing I do is tongue clean with our copper tongue cleaner and oil pull with our oral swishing oil. The last thing I do is have a cup of sleepy time tea and a sniff of our Slumber nasalette!
Living in Sydney is wonderful because….
I love swimming and the ocean! I swim 1km every day and also paddle board on Sydney Harbour, so there really isn’t any other place like it for me. I have 2 Burmese cats who paddle board with me too sometimes! I know... crazy cat lady!!
One piece of advice for….
Our pregnant readers: There are a lot of fear around the use of essential oils in pregnancy however many can be so beneficial. All of our products are completely safe to use during pregnancy – all quantities of essential oils are way below required amounts deemed safe to use whilst pregnant. If in doubt ask the provider of your products about their essential oil dilutions and if in doubt avoid using them for the first trimester.
Our postnatal readers: Products rich in remedial oils are great to help relieve the skin caused by having a baby. The skin stretches and can also dry out especially as you aren’t the centre of your world any more. OurBalm of Ages is one product that is a multi purpose product. Use it on the baby for rashes and use it on your belly for stretch marks!
And the men and women still using “regular deodorant” : Aluminium is a common active ingredient in many antiperspirants, as it essentially plugs the sweat gland to minimise perspiration. Once in the body aluminium mimics the effects of oestrogen; a hormone that has been found in high concentrations in many breast cancers. Its not worth the risk.
Last month I received a sweet Facebook message from a follower that told me Bea Johnson was coming to Australia. I thought, "Oh yay!" Who is Bea Johnson...
Google Search... bam! Oh... neat, she is all about the War on Waste. She had started a Zero Waste movement that was growing fast. That's cool. I'm trying to learn more about that at the moment. I just so happened to get an email from my local Source Bulk Foods in Bulimba the following day announcing the early bird ticket sales. The event happened to be in Sydney at the Concourse in Chatswood. Hey I'm moving there, I think. It was going to a 2hr seminar, $15 and a 30 minute drive from our new home. I was keen as mustard.
* (I didn't know it when I booked, but The Source Bulk Foods gave everyone a reusable bag as well as a $20 voucher to use at their shop....so impressed).
I knew I would have only lived in Sydney for a few days by the time the event rolled around, so I booked immediately, hoping to go and make some friends, network and learn a bit.
Paul Medeiros the co-founder and owner of The Source Bulk Foods opened up the conversation before handing over the mic to Bea.
Let me be completely candid.
First thing that stuck out to me about her was how she looked.
I caught myself being superficial as I was looking at her thinking; great bod, fab outfit, nice hair ... she looks completely normal. Her clothes in particular stood out right away. "This woman is killing it. Her book has been published in 25 languages. Cha-ching! I bet that outfit cost a mint, she looks fabulous and professional," I thought.
Not long into her powerpoint Bea pointed out that she only shops second hand. Um, what? She added that her chambray top and crisp white skirt were both second hand and her designer (looking) black boots were a whopping $5. Gobsmacked.
Bea and her family moved into an apartment in California and needed to place about 80% of their belongings into storage. After the one year was up on their apartment, they visited their storage unit and quickly realized they had not missed much of anything stored there. They ended up selling most of their possessions and donated the rest. Her family of four (plus one adorable chihuahua), found that they were clutter free, a lot happier and more active. Something had switched, and Bea wanted more.
From there they started to be more aware of their water consumption, and then she proceeded to eliminate harmful toxins in their house, such as cleaning products and plastics. One thing Bea said which really stuck out in my mind was about household cleaning products. She said that these companies have tricked us all into believing that we need different cleaning products for different parts of the house. For example: a certain product to clean glass, another for grout, yet another for mould, another for the showers, bench tops etc. Bea simply uses vinegar and castle soap for all her home cleaning, and her space is spotless!
"Zero Waste helps me to invest in voluntary simplicity, so that my family can have a life based on experiences instead of things. A life based on being instead of having."
But, back to her story! Bea and her family moved again, but this time it was to a place that was more conducive to walking and riding their bikes around. Once again Bea felt inspired to live with even less.
She focused specifically on her family’s waste and here are her 5 R’s:
So to keep it simple, Bea and her family only put into the recycling bin what they cannot refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle or rot. Since plastic can't be reused more than once, (example plastic bottles converted into a park bench), Bea switched to items such as glass, metal, cardboard and wood. Her family of 4 fills ONE glass jar of trash a YEAR. Yes, you read that correctly, a year (see photo at the bottom of this article).
Bea became vigilant when it came to detail. A few things that stand out in my mind are:
All I could think of was:
How satisfying it must be to lead such a rewarding, low-tox, waste free life.
How I personally would find it hard not to buy brand new materialistic temptations.
How liberating it would be to live in a home without papers, clutter and unnecessary items.
And she must have known that most of us were thinking somewhat along these lines because she clued with this:
"Zero Waste helps me to invest in voluntary simplicity, so that my family can have a life based on experiences instead of things. A life based on being instead of having."
Cheers to that Bea!
This little corner of the internet is for non yoga topics like motherhood, low-tox living and products I love.