Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chemical Free Cleaning with Enjo: A Natural Challenge

 

Welcome to the June 2013 Natural Living Blog Carnival: A Natural Challenge. This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month, our members took 1-2 weeks to explore a natural practice that they had yet to try. Today, they're going to tell you about their experience! Hopefully, you'll find some inspiration to try something new on one or more of the posts.
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I mentioned a few weeks ago my re commitment to living a more natural life, and the recent asthma attacks in the family reconfirmed how important that is. Two separate hospital visits meant that I needed to seriously look at the chemicals that were still floating around our house, and my housecleaning was one of the last areas where I was still using some pretty heavy stuff. I've considered Enjo cleaning products for a while, so this was the perfect time for me to make the leap.

In the past I have toyed with making my own natural cleaning products, and while they worked wonderfully and were very frugal, they were much more time consuming to use than regular chemical laden products. So, they tended to get used a couple of time, then discarded. Enjo appealed to me because the makers claim that they are just as easy to use, and often quicker, that regular products.

For those of you that don't know, Enjo is made with micro fibre technology, and you literally just use them with water to do your cleaning. Unlike other micro fibre cloths, you need different ones for different areas of the house, and this does push up the cost. I started with a mid-range bundle, which included kitchen, bathroom and floor cloths. I have now been using them for the past month (they have a 30 day, full money back guarantee) and I am so impressed!


The bathroom fibre is what made me a true convert. One side is for more delicate surfaces, like mirrors and chrome, while the other is for tougher grime, especially lime scale and mould. This is the perfect fibre to test out Enjo's claims, since we have a lot of lime in our water here and nothing has ever been able to get rid of the buildup on our shower screens. After just one clean with the bathroom fibre, and just a little elbow grease on the particularly bad spots, the screen looked almost brand new, and I think in a few more cleans, it will look brand new. The best thing is that the system is so easy even the kids can do it, and since it is literally just water, I have no problems with them cleaning unsupervised. In fact, they often fight over who gets to clean the shower screens - I can only hope this lasts through to the teenage years!


I still harboured a few doubts about needing the different cloths for different areas, but after seeing them all in action, I am a completely convinced. While the bathroom one made quick work of the lime scale, the kitchen cloth looked and felt completely different, and worked wonders on not only my benches but also my greasy stove top and range hood (there is one side for general grime, and one side specifically for grease). Again, it took no more effort than wiping over the surfaces, just like you would with a regular sponge and cleanser. 

The best bit is that you can throw the lot into your washing machine (on cold, not hot, and no fabric softener) with your regular stuff, so cleaning them is very convenient. Unfortunately, we are not completely chemical free yet - I haven't been able to bring myself to use them on our toilets and I'm still using disposable disinfectant wipes for that job - but at least we are almost there, and without any pain or trauma!! After just a month, it's too early to say whether switching to chemical free cleaning is helped with our asthma - my son's has improved but mine is still pretty bad - but even if it doesn't, it can only be a good thing for us as a family, and the environment in general, to reduce our chemical exposure.

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PS: this is not a sponsored post, and I am in no way involved with Enjo.  I have purchased all of the products mentioned.
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Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival! Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Strawberry Chia Pudding



I've been experimenting with chia puddings lately as a healthy breakfast option, and this Strawberry Chia Pudding is delish. Chia seeds are an incredibly healthy superfood, full of fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein, and have been shown to have blood sugar stabilising benefits as well.  Because the strawberries are the only flavouring here, they need to be really tasty. If the fresh ones on hand are a bit tasteless, then substitute frozen ones - you don't need to defrost them first.

Strawberry Chia Pudding



1 cup chopped strawberries
1 cup almond milk
1-2 tablespoons brown rice syrup or honey
1/2 cup chia seeds

  1. Combine first three ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour over the chia seeds in a small bowl, and stir well.
  3. Stand for 4 hours, stirring every now and then.
  4. Serve with extra chopped strawberries.
Makes 2-3 servings, and keeps well for a few days in the fridge.




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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday

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Back again for another What I Wore Wednesday! We have been having my favourite kind of weather lately - nice and cool, but gloriously sunny - it really has been perfect over the past week! It was a mixed bag of outfits this week - some good, some that could do with improvement - and a few that really highlighted a gap in my wardrobe.


This top from Eileen Fisher is one of the most versatile pieces of clothing I've ever bought. I can literally wear it all year round - either on its own in summer, or layered over a long sleeved tee in winter - and the linen jersey just gets softer with each wear. I used to think that Eileen Fisher was just for "older ladies" but I am finding that I am slowly adding more and more of her pieces to my wardrobe, since I appreciate not only their style, but also their quality and ethos of the company.

Black linen jersey tunic: Eileen Fisher
Black long sleeve tee: TS14+
Skinny jeans: Belle Curve

Black, white & aqua scarf: Witchery
Black heels: Wittner
 

Here is another Eileen Fisher piece that I found on ebay. It's loose and comfy, and in person the draping and movement of the top is just amazing. But, the shorter proportions of the top means that I need to wear high heels with the outfit, so this is not one for running errands all day!

Grey jersey poncho: Eileen Fisher
Black tank: Flower Clothing
Skinny jeans: Belle Curve
Black horn cuff: Etsy
Silver necklace: Coldwater Creek
Black boots: Mimco


This CAbi tunic is really a summer item (made from chiffon), but I love it so much, and the deeper colours suit winter, so I am continuing to wear it, layered over a tee. I didn't realize until just the other day how perfect this wool scarf was for this top, but the swirls of colour are just perfect!

Print tunic: CAbi
Black long sleeve tee: TS14+
Boot cut jeans: Gap
Black wedges: Wittner
Resin bangle: Myer
Wool scarf: Sportscraft



Seeing this pic made me see that I really need to find a pair of slim cut, not skinny, jeans for my wardrobe. I think this outfit would've looked so much better with slim jeans.

Black jacket: CAbi
Print wrap blouse: CAbi
Skinny jeans: Belle Curve
Black horn cuff: Etsy
Black wedges: Wittner




Again, I think this outfit would have looked a thousand times better with slim fit jeans - they have definitely been added to my wardrobe wish list. Every time I wear this coat, I think of Once Upon A Time - can't you just imagine Mary Margaret/Snow wearing one just like it?!
Blue boucle coat: Basque
Camel knit: Ann Taylor
Skinny jeans: Belle Curve
Silk corsage: Etsy
Black wedges: Wittner


Burgundy poncho: Jane Lamerton
Purple tee: TS14+
Skinny jeans: Belle Curve
Black wedges: Wittner


See you all next week!!

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Natural Cold and Flu Prevention


 Winter has arrived with a vengeance here in Perth, and the sudden change in weather from super hot, to super cold (by Perth standards, anyway!), can wreak havoc with your health. After a bad start from Stephen, I am really stepping up our natural prevention methods, to try and stave off any further episodes of illness.

The first thing I've done is really refocus on having the family eat more nutrient dense foods, lots of garlic and ginger, and lots of vitamin C-containing fruits and veg, such as oranges, strawberries, blueberries and red capsicum. Smoothies are an easy way to accomplish this, as are stir-fries, and both of these are hits with the kids. I am still drinking my hot ginger tea at least once a day, and so far, so good! I am trying to make sure the kids are really well hydrated, as this has also been shown to help the immune system function properly.

Secondly, I'm reminding the kids about proper hygiene and making sure they wash their hands more frequently throughout the day. The cold virus can live for a reasonable length of time outside of the body, especially on hard surfaces like door handles and desks, so washing your hands more often is a proven way of reducing your exposure. I don't believe in "anti-bacterial" hand wash (regular soap and washing properly is just as effective and doesn't contribute to antibiotic resistance) but I do always carry a natural hand sanitizer in my bag for when I can't get to a bathroom. 

Lastly, I've just made another batch of my Elderberry Syrup, and I'm giving the kids a teaspoon a day (2 for me) as a general immune booster. This syrup will last for 2 months in the fridge, so this batch should last me through most of winter. If you can't make it yourself, there are a few good commercial ones available at the chemist or health food store. I've been using Sambucol (which is finally available here in Australia) for the past two weeks while I was trying to find some time to make my own.

And just in case you do get struck down with the lurgy, here are three more things that I use frequently:

Homemade Decongestant Balm (Vaporub)
Normal vaporub is made with a petroleum jelly base which I try to avoid, so this is a good, and effective, substitute. You could also use the same essential oils in an oil burner.

Honey
Honey has been clinically proven to be just as effective as soothing a cough as cough medicine, and is much gentler. Plus, it is naturally antiseptic, and it tastes better!

Elder, Mint & Thyme Cough Lollies
I haven't had time to make a batch of these this year, but they really work, so they are definitely on my to-do list.

Sore Throat Tea
If your throat is bothering you, make up a cup of my hot ginger tea, but add in a teaspoon each of fresh chopped sage and thyme. Let stand for 10 minutes (I make it in a thermos so it stays piping hot), then add the juice of half a lemon and sip slowly.

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Disclaimer: All content on the Chic Mummy blog is for general information purposes only. The information on the Chic Mummy blog is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Guest Post: Travel Light, Travel Safe with your Family!

For those of you in the northern hemisphere, summer break is coming and with that many families start thinking about taking holidays and trips with their families. Today, I am bring you a guest post from Kendra Thornton, a mummy of 3 who used to be the Orbitz Director of Communications, giving her a unique perspective on travelling the world!

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Travel Light, Travel Safe With Your Family!



When the summer rolls around, I love the chance to hit the road with my family in tow! As a full time mom, I know what it takes to get the show on the road when the warm months hit, and what I've learned over the last several years is that I just need to let the little stuff go.


Tip 1: Feed Them First


The thing that we as parents need to keep in mind is that our kids are little powerhouses of energy, and that means that they need calories to function. If you are wading into the theme park crowds, make sure that you feed them something before you go in. This also prevents you from dealing with those exorbitant prices for food at the theme park!

Tip 2: The Burning Sunday


Repeat after me: SPF 15 every two hours. This is the bare minimum of what your kids need to avoid getting roasted. Keep the sunblock on you, and use it regularly.

Tip 3: Pad the End


If you're like me, you definitely experience a bit of a sigh when you get back. Well, you're definitely not alone, and there are plenty of kids that get a bit sad, upset and antsy when they have to go back to school. Consider making sure that your family has a day to lie around the house and just recuperate after you get back. This puts everyone in a much better temper!

Keep in mind also that when you are on your trip most Orlando hotels, a popular family destination, ensures a quiet hours policy at many of their locations. This helps kids get a solid night’s rest to avoid the crankiness from lack of sleep while you on your trip and keeps them fresh and back on schedule for when you get home.

Tip 4: Dress Light


Unless you are headed out to ski, remember that light clothing is going to serve you and your kids well. Most places are warmer than they are cold, and if your kids are sitting there in clothes that are too warm, you cannot blame them for getting fussy! Choose clothes that are lightweight and which will dry quickly, as you never know when you are going to get caught in a summer or spring storm!

Tip 5: Bottled Only, Please!


I don't like to be a worrier, but I don't let my family drink anything but bottled water on airplanes. The EPA has been reviewing the water tanks on airplanes for E. coli for the last six years, and some planes fill their water tanks in countries with sanitation standards that are different from what we are used to.


There's some real magic to be found on vacation, and you won't find it by over-planning and worrying yourself down to a frazzle. You can kick back, relax and still stay healthy with these great tips!


 

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