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Lifestyle

Birde – Smart media player for kids

I don’t know about you guys but I’m always looking for ways to reduce Gracie’s screen/tech time.  Unfortunately with the world we’re living in today our children are very much growing up in a digital age.

So when I was approached by Birde to review their interactive media player I jumped at the chance.

Birde Media Player

Birde was created by two Aussie parents who were looking for a positive way for toddlers and preschoolers to learn without needing a screen, keyboard, mouse or remote control.

Birde includes a high quality speaker that can be paired with a compatible smart TV or used on it’s own.  The content includes music, audiobooks and videos.

Not only does Birde look super cool, it’s also wireless and has more than 8 hours of battery life before needing to be recharged (great for taking out on road trips!), it’s also waterproof, washable and if it gets dropped no issues because  it’s been made to withstand little hands!

Birde Media Player

We received a lovely starter pack (worth $60) which includes music, audiobooks and videos + a bonus Funky Chicken Seed Pack (valued at $14.95).  You are able to purchase more of the seeds via the app or purchasing Birde Seeds.

Gracie absolutely loves the fact that she can control the function, she’s not stopped playing with it since we got it and Noah has been joining in to have a little bop with her and I don’t have to worry about it breaking!!

 

 

Birde have kindly given my community $100 off a Birde Bundle.  The code is: MEL100 and expires 30th April 2019

 

Please note this product was gifted but all opinions are of my own.

Lifestyle

Coles Back To School Lunchboxes and Accessories Review

I hope the first few weeks have gone smoothly for everyone and for the families who’s kids are starting school they’ve transitioned well.  Gracie is absolutely loving Pre-School, she’s settled in well and says she only misses me a little bit 🙁

With starting school comes all the fun of working out what lunchbox and drink bottle would be suitable for your child! I don’t know about you, but I actually find this whole process a headache in itself!  I tend to be an over-packer when it comes to food and I find some of the lunchboxes look way too small and Gracie would be complaining about being hungry!  I do not want a HANGRY Gracie at all costs ha!

Smash have set me an array of lunchboxes, bottles and cool bags for me to review and share my thoughts with, all these products you can purchase at Coles.

The two lunchboxes I was sent were the Bento Switch-up and Bento Bite 

The Bento Bite:

  • Has six sections which are spill proofBag and Bento Bite
  • Removable custom ice brick
  • Removable inner tray
  • Removable leak proof Snack Pot

Gracie loved the look of this lunchbox, especially with its funky colours.  From a mum perspective I find it slightly stiff to open and close – however this could loosen up with use.  I also found it overall to be a slightly heavier/bulkier lunchbox, so might not be as suitable for much younger children.

 

 

 

Bento Switch-up

  • Has removable and adjustable dividers to create 2,3 or 4 compartments.
  • Has a funky Cool Skin base that protects the box
  • Two silicone edged dividers

I have to say out of the two this was my favourite, I love the look of it and I thought it was the perfect size for Gracie lunch.  I also thought this would be a great size lunchbox for a parent to take to work as well.

Bento Switch-up

Switch up

 

Bottles:

Glitter Bottle

Both Gracie and I loved this bottle as who doesn’t love a bit of bling.  On a practical note, Gracie felt that it was too heavy for her before it held the water, which I agree with.  I feel this bottle would be suitable for an older child or for a Mum like me who loves sparkle!

Glow Bottle

A bottle that Glows in the dark for up to 6 hours!!  This one definitely got Gracie’s attention.

  • Twin wall insulated featuring fashion prints with GLOW IN THE DARK technology. Glows for up to 6 hours!
  • It’s lightweight and squeezable for fast hydration with a wide opening for easy cleaning.
  • Illumination provides comfort and helps children locate water in the night.
  • Perfect 420ml size

 

 

Selection of cool bags

I received a colourful array of cool bags, I love that each one has their ‘Blue IQ’ antimicrobial lining which inhibits the growth of uncontrolled bacteria, mould, and mildew.  My pick of the bunch that I was sent has to be The Fridge.

The Fridge cool bag keeps lunchboxes cool for up to seven hours.  It has 2 large removable gel ice, so you can pop them in your freezer! It’s designed to fit the Bento Bite, The Bento Switch Up and the Rubbish Free Lunch Box.

 

 

 

Overall a great selection at a reasonable priced and all can be purchased at Coles.

 

Please note these were gifted to me by SMASH Enterprises but all opinions are of my own.

 

Lifestyle

Our Pre-School Journey

Gracie ready for school

The time is fast approaching, my baby girl who’s been my shadow for over 4.5 years is starting her educational journey and starting Pre-School at the beginning of February.  I’m super relieved that she got into our first choice as its a relatively small place and very nurturing.

We have a busy couple of weeks, with a parents evening to go through everything one more time and the chance to meet other parents whose kids are starting at the same time as well as a final playdate before she officially starts.

I’m feeling slightly flappy and emotional as my husband will be overseas for this period of time! I’m also feeling nervous about getting there on time and juggling with baby Noah needing his first nap around the same-time we need to be in the car etc…I have a feeling I will be doing lots of car naps in the first couple of months!

Because she’s never been in any form of care I’ve had to get a few bits to ensure a smooth transition which I wanted to share with you guys, plus I’ve been given some discount codes to share with you all!

 

Planetrover Lunchbox

 

Lunchbox and Bottle

Biome

PlanetBox Rover and Thermos FUNtainer

The PlanetBox Rover has pretty much been on my wish list for the past few years for Gracie.  I know quite a few people that have had theirs for years and it’s looking just as good, which was a huge plus for me.

Planetbox Rover

It is a more expensive box than the others on the market, but it’s 100% Stainless Steel and no chance of Gracie loosing the lid as it’s attached.

Gracie already has a Thermos FUNTainer and loves it.  It has a handy handle, spill proof and is double walled so keeps drinks cooler for longer.

 

 

LunchPunch

Sandwich Cutters and Stix

Lunchpunch do a cute range of sandwich cutters to jazz up your kids sandwiches and do little stix, which I like popping fruit and veggies on.

Sandwich cutter

 

 

Bright Star Kids

The backpack and pencil case she will be taking are from Bright Star Kids.  I love that you’re able to personalise these back packs – Gracie loves that it has her name on it!  The back pack has two main compartments and a large front pocket.  There is also a mesh drink bottle pocket at the side of the bag.

 

Backpack

 

 

Discount Codes:

LUNCH PUNCH

Use the code ‘GRACIE’ for 10% off.

 

BIOME:

Discount: Receive $15 off when you spend $40 in one transaction.

Code: BES201

Expiry:  28 February 2019

Terms and Conditions: $40 in one transaction. One use per person. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

Use: Simply add the code to the code voucher box at checkout and click apply.

 

BRIGHT STAR KIDS:

Use code:FRIEND and get 15% off, no minimum spend needed and expires 30th April 2019.

 

Please note some items in this blog post were gifted to me, but all opinions are of my own.  This blog post contains affiliate links at no further cost to yourself.

 

If you’re looking for some lunchbox inspiration, check out these fab IG accounts:

Lifestyle

How I create a healthy sleep environment in the home

Mattress protector

Lets talk about sleep baby, let’s talk about sleep….

As parents we try our best to assist our children in anyway we can to have good naps and a good night’s sleep.

Noah mattress protector

The problem is, there can be soooo many factors that affect a good nights sleep, especially when it comes to our precious children.  From my own personal experience of having a child who is what you would call ‘not a great sleeper’, I’ve had to assess every facet of her sleeping environment to try and improve her sleep.

Unfortunately, Grace our daughter who is nearly 4.5 years suffers from very sensitive skin, eczema and rhinitis and Noah, who is nearly six months has recently developed eczema too.   Grace recently had allergy testing and I was convinced that she had a dust mite allergy as she had all the symptoms, but it came back negative!  Although the testing came back negative, I’m still trying to minimise the amount of dust mites that might be lurking in our home for good measure. 

Mattress protectors

I’ve recently taken some proactive steps to try and create a more healthy sleep environment in our home, this is what I have done:

    • Regularly vacuum the carpets and dust surfaces
    • Yearly dust mite extraction on all mattresses
    • Placed a Dyson air purifier in the master bedroom where the air quality was captured as the worst
    • Infuse oils in both bedrooms for naps and bedtime (I love Lavender Peace by DoTerra)
  • Protect our beds with Protect-a-bed mattress protectors 

I was recently gifted Protect-a-bed mattress protectors for our bed, Gracie’s single bed and Noah’s cot.  It was a no brainer to try their TENCEL® Signature range as we’ve been using this brand for years already as they’re such good quality.   What I love is that they are designed to protect against dust mites present in mattresses.  They’re also approved by the National Asthma Council Australia Sensitive Choice Program and the Eczema Association as Sensitive Skin Tried and Tested.

As we always try and buy the best mattresses we can afford, I always try and buy the best protectors, especially now we have children.  These protectors do an amazing job in shielding them from accidents, spills and bacteria!  They’re also fitted with a ‘miracle layer’ that provides the ultimate waterproof, silent and breathable skin.

What are your tips for creating a healthy sleep environment in your home?

protect-a-bed mattress protectors

Please note:  I was gifted the Protect-a-bed mattress protectors, however all opinions are of my own.

Lifestyle

Meal Preparation tips

Sarina of Fit Family Sydney, is mum to two beautiful children, her family own JAI Martial Arts in Maroubra, Sydney and at the weekend’s Sarina runs their Kinder Kicks classes.  She is also a fantastic cook and a ninja at meal preparation!

Recently I was chatting to Sarina about my concerns of being able to feed everyone once the baby is born, I’ve never been into meal preparation but I feel like this might need to change very soon!!

Sarina has kindly offered to share her amazing meal preparation tips:

One of the things that new mum’s worry about with the arrival of a new baby is the overwhelming feeling of meal times! I have to say that because of my experience with my son who was a very unsettled newborn for the first few months, I remember thinking during my second pregnancy “What am I going to do if my daughter is like that too?” How am I going to manage to prepare meals for my family if I have a rather unsettled newborn again?!?!”

My 1st born would cry non stop from around 1pm- 9pm every single day. My second didn’t cry as much however still wanted to be carried constantly. You can guess how I was cooking most days! She was in the baby bjorn carrier! I learn’t after that first week, something has to give and so I became quite proficient in meal preparation and years on, it has become second nature to me.

If you are reading this thinking how do I get started? My first advice is this: Now is not the time to create new recipes, to experiment or get pulled into this whole “healthy diet” strategies because you want to loose weight. There is one word I want you to focus on: “Wholesome” keep it BASIC and SIMPLE. I am going to share with you my top 10 tips that will hopefully help you to feed the family in the least amount of time and also help to inspire you, just remember you totally GOT THIS!

 

Lasagne

Sarina’s famous lasagne

  1. Before the baby is born get food into your freezer. My top ideas would be sauces, broths, crumbed meats and meatballs/veggie balls. If you can fit some ready made meals like pies, cooked lentils and bean soups that will be useful. As you batch cook, replenish your freezer stock.
  2. Work out a weekly schedule with your partner and practice tag teaming. I remember my husband cutting back on training and some private classes initially to help me re-group both times round.  Don’t feel guilty asking your partner for assistance, home life is a full time 15 hour a day job in itself and stay at home Mum’s need some help. When he was home on a Sunday, he would look after the kid’s whilst I batch cooked 2-3 dishes. We would always order takeaway on a Sunday night too, that way I didn’t have to worry about dinner on that day.  It actually became a bit of a ritual, as I was nearly finished with all the cooking he would go out and get me coffee and a cup cake and I knew he would organise dinner for us. It was my silver lining every Sunday and I urge you all to do something similar! Least you know the food you prepare will take you all the way to Thursday!
  3. Avoid meals that involve having to prepare different elements or where you need to chop up so many different vegetables. As nice as taco nights and poke bowls are give them a miss for now. When I had to baby wear, cutting up a lot of vegetables with a crying baby attached to me was not much fun.  Remember, you are looking for simplicity in the beginning, dishes like, roast meat with roughly cut up veg, one pot pasta, cottage pie with either meat or legumes are all big winners and leave a lot of left overs for future meals! But best of all is one pot/pan meals!
  4. Cook today for tomorrow! Get in the habit of whenever you roast meat, to roast double the amount! So don’t roast only 1 whole chicken, get 2 into the oven! So many things can be done with the left overs. Think a quick chicken soup with that handy broth you have in the freezer, chicken wraps or chicken stir-fry.
  5. Invest in a slow cooker.  What I love about slow cookers is all the beautiful soups and stews you can prepare and just leave it be!  If you can get into the habit of cooking soup you have to blend, you don’t have to worry about how you chop the veggies! WINNING! Think tomato, pumpkin, potato, parsnip and spinach and lentil soup!Veggies
  6. Use aluminium roasting trays, now before anyone says “It is not environmentally friendly” I totally agree BUT hear me out, I am 100% into reusable cookware however reducing your workload is a priority at the moment. New mum’s would agree if you have a newborn that needs to be cuddled a lot, that cluster feeds etc, washing up and scrubbing roasting trays is so tedious. I remember leaving them to soak and then dealing with all that grease in the morning. Second time around I used  aluminium trays for all those tedious dishes like pork shoulder, pasta and rice bakes, lasagna – basically food you know that will stick to the tray! Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for cutting corners initially, this is short term only so don’t beat yourself up.
  7. Online shop! Gosh I have said this to so many people it isn’t funny! With some stores, you have to kind of get over the whole delivery in plastic bags for the sake of your sanity. Ladies who have had a caesarian that care for their child with no unassisted help would benefit from home delivery services. I always say that mental health is the most important thing and at the end of the day this is all temporary. Some stores like Harris Farm do place all your items in a box for you which is great, but if they don’t, they don’t. Ease your stress levels and just do it!
  8. Ok so we know the advice “Eat the Rainbow” when it comes to fruit and veg consumption. Sometimes I feel it actually puts pressure on families that they need to eat this huge variety of veggies every day, so this advice might challenge that a little. When you have a newborn, you are stripping everything back to basics! For example lets not worry about filling your fridge with: Kale, English Spinach, Silverbeet, Chard, Mustard Greens etc etc etc,  you know where I am going with this. Every week decide on a few veg of each colour you are going to have in the kitchen. One week you may focus on some Asian Greens, the next week you may select some mediterranean ones.  Just keep them rotating so you are consuming a nice variety throughout the week, but don’t feel like every single day you need new vegetables.
  9. Canned veggies and frozen veggies are ok to use! Don’t feel guilty if you make a pasta bake with canned peas and corn, it still has nutrients, it is still good to use. If you are worried about BPA, there are actually a few brands on the market that are BPA free too. Again, do your research and stock up before bubs arrives.
  10. It is ok to eat takeaway! Pick up a roast chicken and have it with a simple salad, there are so many great options for takeaway nowadays. Even stores like Harris Farm have such great ready made meals. You are no less of a Mum for buying pre crumbed chicken, good quality fish fingers or ready made lasagna. My biggest advice is to make the best decision based on the nutritional panel of WHAT there is AVAILABLE.  Take note of any non ‘whole food’ ingredients, salt and sugar content and again make the best decision of what there is.

Bringing your baby home is such a life changing moment. It is especially more dauting when you bring a 2nd or 3rd baby home as unlike a 1st baby, you do have to feed and care for your older children too.  Honestly if you just want to make cheese and tomato toasted sandwiches with some avocado and spinach inside for everyone DO IT. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are cutting corners or not doing the best you can. The important things is getting full tummies! especially your’s Mum!

 

 

 

Sarina Kinder Kicks

Miss Sarina in action at her Kinder Kicks class

 

Socials:

Fit Family Sydney Instagram

www.fitfamilysydney.com

JAI Martial Arts Instagram

www.jaimartialarts.com

 

 

Lifestyle

Get Ready For School Australia Review

t Ready For School Australia

I can’t believe how quickly time is flying, not only will Gracie be four in June but next year she will be starting pre-school.  I had been looking around for something to help ease the transition to pre-school and came across Get Ready for School Australia.

What I like about about Get Ready for School Australia is that their home program aligns to the Australian Curriculum.  The ‘how-to’ books have been cleverly written for Aussie parents to digest and use on their child’s learning and their printable materials use Australian School Fonts and are re-printable.

We were kindly gifted:  The Complete School Readiness Kit

 

 

 

What we received:

– A laminated Personalised Name Writing Set containing 6 write on and wipe off pages. 

– The book ‘How to Get Ready for English’ containing 70 simple, trialed fun activities.

– The book ‘How to Get Ready for Maths’ containing 97 simple, trialed, fun activities.

– The book ‘How to Get Ready for Science’ containing 36 simple, trialed, fun activities.

These How To guides are written specifically for Australian parents by an Australian Educator. They align to the Australian Curriculum and are parent friendly and easy to use. They act as a guide and journal for you to monitor where you child is at, and gather ideas of what you are going to do as a parent to support their next steps in learning at home.

– A printed Exploring Letters and Sounds Workbook in your State or Territory’s font.

– A printed Numeral Formation Workbook in your State or Territory’s font.

– A laminated Early Learning Sticker Chart for you to display on your fridge, or somewhere in your home, to monitor your child’s learning and celebrate their development.

– 90 Assorted Star Reward Stickers 

– A Write and Wipe laminated Personalised Name Writing Set

– A Write and Wipe Forming Numerals 0-10 laminated reusable worksheet in your State or Territory’s font.

– A Micador Early Start Safety Marker perfect to use on your laminated name cards.

– A plastic document box to house all of your learning materials

 

What we loved:

What Gracie loves:  The personalised first name writing cards and early learning sticker chart

What I love:  The way the pack has been simplified and created for parents to easily sit down with their child and do various activities.

 

Discount:

Save 10% off storewide by using code ‘LOVE10’ upon checkout

Disclosure: Please note this pack was kindly gifted to me but all opinions on this product are of my own.

 

Socials:

Website:  https://getreadyforschoolaustralia.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/getreadyforschoolaustralia

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/getreadyforschoolaustralia

Lifestyle

My top 10 Instagram favs – Family Dieticians and Nutritionists

I loveeee Instagram, but lets face it, it can be a minefield at times to navigate and find accounts that really resonate with you.  Over the past year or so I’ve been lucky enough to come across these wonderful accounts and can now call some of these wonderful ladies my friend.

I wanted to share with you my top ten instagram picks in the family, dietician and nutritionalist space that I feel are really worth checking out and giving a ‘follow.’

Feel free to share the accounts you love to follow in the comments section to!

Dr Jen Cohen – Jen is based in Australia and mum to two boys.  Her speciality is fussy eaters and shares her real life struggles with her own children’s eating.  Jen also blogs, does periodic amazing facebook lives and runs a wonderful online course.

Wholesome Child – Mandy is a paediatric nutritionalist based in Australia and mum to two.  Mandy shares gorgeous tips and recipes with beautiful photos.  Mandy has recently published an amazing book called ‘Wholesome Child: A complete nutrition guide and cookbook’, she also holds periodic workshops around Sydney.

Veggies and Virtue is jam packed full of tips and you can score some free weekly meal plans!

Motherhood and Meals – Noelle is a registered Dietitian based in Canada and Mum to three gorgeous boys.  Noelle’s account is jam packed full of helpful tips and recipes, from her #toddlertuesday tips to her #fitnessfriday you’ll sure to find something of interest!

Foost – Kate is a family dietitian, mum to four children and based in Australia.  Kate’s mission is to help people eat ‘colourful’ and this is truly reflected in her gorgeous and colourful account.  Kate has also written a few books and has some really cool mealtime products – my favourite pick is the ‘first knife.’

Nutrition by Gina Rose – Gina is a clinical nutritionist, mum to three and based in New Zealand.  Gina’s area of expertise is in women’s health, fertility and infant nutrition.  Amongst her beautiful images she often shares gorgeous recipes and lots of healthy tips.

 

The Nutrition Guru and Chef – Tara is a Nutritionalist (and Jeff is a Chef), mum to one and based in Australia.  Tara has a wonderful no nonsense style of speaking and sharing information.  She has really fab facebook lives with her adorable daughter and shares yummy recipes.

Veggies and Virtue – Ashley is a paediatric dietitian based in the USA and mum to two.  Ashley’s account is lovely and colourful, with lots of tips and hacks.  She’s also big on meal planning and if you sign-up to her mailing list she is sending out weekly menu plans which are family friendly and geared towards picky eaters.

Kids eat in colour – Jennifer is a registered dietician and mum to two based in the USA.  Jennifer has a beautiful and colourful account with Tuesday – Thursday exposure tips and tricks and Fridays are all about food battles.  I’m loving her latest videos and challenge #kidseatincolor where she videos her children eating certain fruit or vegetables.  The idea is that we show this video to our children, then later in the week serve it to them to see if they will try it!

Live Love Nourish Aus – Casey-Lee is a nutritionist and mum to one based in Australia.  Casey-Lee’s account is jam packed full of delicious and healthy recipes (all gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free) as well as sharing lovely giveaways from time to time.

Feeding Littles – Megan is a dietician and Judy is an OT feeding therapist and between them have four children based in the USA.  Their Instagram has heaps of tips, presented in a very clear and visual manner, recipes and lots of funny quotes mixed throughout.

Live Love Nourish has the most gorgeous account.

 

 

 

Disclosure: This post contains  affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link.

Lifestyle

Secrets Organic December Box

I was recently gifted the December Secrets Organic box to trial and I wanted to share with everyone how amazing the goodies were in the box!

I’ve never subscribed to a box before, but I love the idea of trying new things from brands I’ve not heard of before and even better when all the products are Organic.

Bexx the found of Secrets Organic box has had a similar journey to myself with her oldest daughter having reactions with her skin and this lead her to research the ingredients in the products she was using to realise the ingredients were not as good as she once thought and this organically lead to Secrets Organic box being born.

 

secret organic box close up

 

What was in the box:

  • Bonsoy Organic Nigari Tofu thats shelf stable
  • Organic times 100% Organic Cocoa Powder
  • Spiral Foods extra virgin unfiltered organic coconut oil
  • Topwil Organic Coconut Cream
  • Happy skincare  pig in mud mineral mask sample
  • Herbalfix Relax – loaded with organic herbs like Valerian, Chamomile and Lemon Balm
  • Barney Butter sample – Honey and Flax
  • Vida Glow, Marine Collagen supplement in Peach and Pineapple flavour
  • Nail at Tiffanys nail polish (Vegan, Cruelty Free & PETA accredited!) – Gracie adored this colour!
  • Heilala Vanilla – Organic vanilla bean paste sample

 

Socials:

Facebook

Instagram

 

Would you like to save some money off your first Secrets Organic Box?  Use the code ‘healinggraciesgut’ upon check-out and you will save $5 off your first box.

 

 

 

Please note Secrets Organic Box was gifted to me. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are my own.

 

 

Lifestyle

Interview – Liezel Barnard Naturopath at Weleda Australia

Liezel Barnard

I’m so excited to bring this interview to you!  I chat all things skin with Weleda Australia’s Naturopath Liezel Barnard.

A large proportion of my community have some sort of skin ailment, are you able to talk us through what the main conditions people suffer from and why you think this is?

Most people who suffer from skin ailments have an underlying genetic susceptibility or weakness which has been triggered into disease manifestation by environmental and lifestyle factors. The three skin ailments I get approached about the most are eczema, psoriasis and acne.

Eczema

A typical western diet with high amounts of sugar and polyunsaturated fatty acids (particularly omega 6), antibiotic exposure during pregnancy and infancy, small family size, urban living and low humidity and sunlight exposure are all contributing factors to eczema. On the other hand, when babies have had exposure to non-pathogenic (harmless) microorganisms from living in rural areas, having older siblings or having pet dogs, their risk of developing eczema decreased. It is thought that a healthy and diverse gut microbiome trains a baby’s immune system to become more tolerant and less allergic.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is another chronic inflammatory skin condition that can be triggered by obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, infections, injury to the skin and severe psychological stress.

Acne

The consumption of dairy (natural hormones in dairy), sugar and omega 6 fatty acids all increase the risk of developing acne.

To summarise, it seems that a typical western diet and lifestyle can increase the risk of immune system dysfunction and inflammation in the skin.

What would be the first thing you’d recommend to a parent who notices a patch of eczema popping up on their child’s skin?

Treat the eczema immediately with an anti-inflammatory cream or ointment. Eczema is usually very itchy and your child will want to scratch the eczema which will cause further inflammation and result in more damage to the skin and the skin barrier.

And the second consideration is to establish what has triggered the eczema and then to try and remove or avoid the trigger.

The most common triggers for eczema in children are:

  • Dry skin
  • Scratching
  • Contact with pollen, mould, dust mites or animals
  • Viral or bacterial infections
  • Temperature changes such as overly heated rooms
  • Exposure to water, soap, perfumes, washing detergents or other chemicals
  • Swimming in chlorinated swimming pools
  • Playing in sand and particularly sandpits
  • Sitting directly on carpets or grass
  • Woollen or synthetic fabrics
  • Psychological stress
  • Food allergies

Take note that you don’t have to avoid all the triggers listed, only the triggers that are relevant to your child.

Can you recommend some of your favourite go to Weleda products you would recommend for supporting a child’s skin?

The Weleda White Mallow Body Lotion is one of my favourite products for children because we get such great feedback on it from our customers. We use the gel from the white mallow root (also called marshmallow) which helps to relieve itchy skin. The product also contain plant oils rich in precious fatty acids that will absorb into the deeper skin layers and soften and soothe skin. In addition, we add ingredients that will form a protective layer on top of the skin and slow down moisture evaporation such as beeswax, coconut oil and cacao butter.

The Weleda Skin Food is another go-to product for children with dry and sensitive skin. This a very thick cream, closer to an ointment really. It contains extracts of calendula, chamomile and pansy to help soothe inflammation and strengthen the skin’s natural functions. One of the other key ingredients is hypoallergenic lanolin, which has this wonderful ability to trap moisture in the skin, with long-lasting results.

What would be your top tips for parents to help reduce the risk of their child/children developing over sensitive skin?
Moisturise, moisturise and moisturise!

Protect and maintain your child’s natural oily skin barrier. The skin barrier prevents irritants and allergens from penetrating the skin and causing inflammation in the skin. It also slows down moisture from escaping from the skin thus keeping the skin moist and supple.

A randomised controlled trial have shown a 50% reduction in the risk of developing eczema in high-risk babies (with one parent or sibling having eczema, asthma or hayfever) when their whole bodies were moisturised once a day for the first 6 months of life. (i)

For children who already suffer from dry skin or eczema, it is advisable to moisturise their skin as frequently as possible (2-3 times per day) and always after a shower or bath.  Parents often underestimate the amount of moisturiser needed for children with dry or eczema-prone skin. Experts recommend using at least 250g of moisturiser per week on children with eczema! (ii)

Avoid products and activities that will dry out or irritate the skin

Soap and bubble baths damage and dry out the skin, with sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) being one of the main culprits. Use soap-free washes or oils when bathing your child to keep the skin barrier intact. And babies and small children don’t need to be bathed every day as they don’t secrete much sweat or sebum yet. Just wipe their little faces and hands and feet when needed.

I’ve read that you’ve suffered from your own skin issues in the past, do you mind telling us about your own journey?

I have been suffering from blepharitis (inflammation of the eye lids) since I was 16 years old. My eyes are also very dry and sensitive. I visited a quite few eye specialists and tried their suggestions, including washing the eye lids with baby shampoo, taking long-term oral antibiotics and also cortisone eye drops. I experimented with countless herbal and nutritional supplements, herbal eye baths, exclusion diets and homeopathy. My condition started improving about 10 years ago when I weaned myself off cortisone eye drops and I was also taking a double dose of grapeseed extract at the time. These days my eyes seem to be coping well if I stay away from any triggers such as eye make-up, contact lenses and chlorinated and sea water.

I also have acne rosacea and generally a dry and sensitive skin which I manage to keep happy with our beautiful Weleda products.

What’s your thoughts on the connection between eczema and food allergies? And how can diet affect our skin?

Food allergies play a role in about 30% of cases where there is an early and severe onset of eczema in babies, however it has a much smaller role to play in mildly affected babies or older children and adults. Aside from food allergies, what you eat can either encourage inflammatory or anti-inflammatory pathways in your body which will ultimately affect the health of your skin.

We talk increasingly about the need to encourage and maintain good gut flora but can you tell us more about skin flora?

Just like gut flora, everyone’s population of skin flora is unique. The beneficial or harmless microorganisms compete for space on the skin with the more harmful microorganisms, so it’s a good idea to keep the skin flora healthy by not harming them with excessive washing or harsh soaps and chemicals. We also know that eczema sufferers have a less diverse skin microbiome, with a relative abundance of Staphylococcus aureus (golden staph) compared to those with healthy skin.

I’ve read that genetics can play a role in certain skin issues developing, what are your thoughts around this?

Yes, the strongest risk factor for developing eczema is a family history of eczema, asthma or hayfever. The strongest known genetic risk factor is a mutation in the filaggrin gene which causes a reduced barrier function in the skin making it prone to dryness and hypersensitivity.

Genetics have some role to play in other skin issues such as psoriasis and acne, but not as decisively as compared to eczema.

Footnotes:

(i) Simpson EL, Chalmers JR, Hanifin JM, Thomas KS, Cork MJ, McLean WH. Emollient enhancement of the skin barrier from birth offers effective atopic dermatitis prevention. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014 Oct;134(4):818-23.

(ii) Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA). ASCIA Action Plan for Eczema. 2013.

 

You can find out more about Weleda and their wonderful products here

Lifestyle

Biome Eco Stores – Tracey Bailey Interview

You may have seen me mention Biome Eco Stores before over on my social media channels, the wonderful eco-friendly store with heart.

I recently connected with Tracey Bailey the founder of Biome Eco Stores to find out more about herself and her wonderful store.

How did Biome come about?

Various factors influenced the launch of Biome from my simple upbringing in a small mining town in north Queensland, to my passion and consideration for animals and the environment. Growing up, I spent most of my time outdoors, camping, riding my bike and bush walking with my family. I became a vegetarian as a teenager and then later pursued a career in corporate communications working nationally and abroad with multinational companies. It was during this time I began questioning businesses ethical and sustainable responsibilities, and started to become more sceptical of consumer product marketing.

In 1996, I ventured deep in the Tanjung Puting National Park on Kalimantan, Indonesia, where I experienced a personal encounter with orangutans. This fuelled my passion to do more, and in 2003 I launched Biome, Australia’s first online eco store selling a carefully curated selection of environmentally and socially responsible products.

The purpose of Biome is to be part of the solution to the world’s environmental problems.  I want people to feel empowered about their actions and contributions to the planet no matter how big or small.

What’s your process for choosing what products you choose to stock?

Every brand and product sold at Biome is rigorously assessed to ensure it meets our strict standards before it is offered to our customers. I want our customers to shop with us knowing they are selecting from a range that performs well without sacrificing their health or impacting the planet. Each supplier is verified for truth in labelling, safe ingredients and zero harm to people and animals. This gives our customers peace of mind when shopping at Biome.

Our suppliers meet stringent requirements and are screened for:

  • Organic ingredients
  • Local / Australian made
  • BPA-free Plastic products
  • Palm Oil free
  • Sustainable practises
  • Fair trade
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Cradle to Cradle (End of life) programs
  • Recyclable components or packaging
  • Compostable components or packaging
  • Verified for all claims

You received an International B Corporation Certificate, can you tell us what that is?

B Corporation® certification recognises purpose-driven businesses that run with the highest level of transparency and accountability, and are committed to improving social and environmental conditions for all. B Corporations have one shared vision – to create a global movement using the power of business to drive positive change. They are driven by the value they add to the wider community, not profits, and operate at a higher social and environmental level, considering business impacts and being responsible for them.

Since launching 14 years ago, we have strived to build a sustainable and transparent business that supports employees, suppliers, community and the environment. We spend countless hours questioning other businesses and suppliers about their environmentally and socially responsible practices and values, and I wanted to show our customers we operate by the same principles we set.  I’m proud Biome has passed the rigorous assessment and joins the ranks of world changing brands that work towards creating a global movement using the power of business to drive positive change.

What are your top 3 favourite product picks?

KeepCup – my favourite product pick is my reusable coffee cup. I purchase an average of 1.5 cups of takeaway coffee every day of the year, which means I save over 500 single use disposable coffee cups annually. We recently calculated the waste the Biome community has save over 12 months. By simply using their reusable coffee cups, our community has saved over 2 million single use disposable coffee cups. It’s a simple change that prevents lots of waste. Click here to view the range of KeepCups

DIY skin care ingredients – Making your own natural skin care ingredients is best way to know exactly what you are putting on your skin. We have sourced the highest quality naturally occurring ingredients including activated charcoal, pink clay, bentonite clay and coconut oil. I love whipping up my own range of natural beauty products including toothpaste, deodorant and lip balm. It’s easy, fun and you can tailor the ingredients to suit your personal preference. Click here to view the range of DIY skin care ingredients

Konjac Sponge – Konjac Sponges offer a gentle zero waste way to cleanse your face without the use of additional products. Made from konjac root vegetable, this product is beautiful to use and can be composted at the end of its life. I have used this product for many years and absolutely love it.  Click here to view the range of Konjac Sponges

What inspires you?

I’m constantly inspired by the opportunity to make a positive change in the world, the Biome team, and Biome’s community of conscious consumers. I recently calculated and published Biome’s 12-month purchase and usage figures of reusable water bottles, coffee cups, straws, shopping bags and produce bags.  I uncovered in the last 12 months the Biome community saved over 6.7 million single use plastic items from production and waste. This has not only saved precious non-renewable resources and reduced landfill waste, but has helped our customers understand the true impact of their individual daily actions. I have always believed individual actions have the collective power to create significant change.

What exciting things are you working on at the moment?

As an environmentally friendly store with a strong zero-waste focus, I want Biome customers to be able to reduce their environmental impact as much as possible by offering recycling options they can’t access elsewhere. Currently there is a problem that most skin care, cosmetics and toothpaste plastic containers cannot be recycled through household Council recycling bins. I have just launched a complimentary in store ‘end of life’ recycling program to accept all used product packaging and beauty and cleaning containers, which I will then send to be responsibly recycled through the TerraCycle program.  This program will help to maintain and improve Biome’s and its customer’s environmental impact.

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