Sunday, June 30, 2013

Airing our dirty laundry: Why we are chemical free(ish)

A few weeks ago I posted on IG that I was making our washing liquid, cleaning paste and ant killer and I had some requests to share the chemical-free cleaning we do.

As a sufferer of Auto Immune conditions my sensitivities to chemicals has been more and more pronounced in recent years. Not that many years ago I could wear perfume and now if I sit next to someone wearing it smells, to me, like they are wearing the entire bottle.

The same goes for cleaning products. I used them for just a few days when we moved and had strong skin and asthma reactions.

In order to limit my reactions and our kids exposure to chemicals we have implemented some changes in our home. We are not experts and I don't profess to be completely chemical free! We are more like a work in progress.

About three years ago we started making our own washing powder and then I read this book!!

Fabulous book!!  A great read and great recipes. Get it! You won't be disappointed.

We then started making the laundry liquid... the recipe for which you can find here.

We use Dr Bronner's soap (which is a castille soap & I bought it at Bin Inn, you can find it in Organic shops too). Sometimes we add some grated Sard soap if things aren't coming out as white as we like.

Start off by saving your bottles! At the moment we are using washed milk bottles, but I prefer those 3 litre orange juice bottles... but we don't drink it anymore.

We use a big stock pot to make the laundry liquid and make a double batch which probably last us (a family of 5) about 6 weeks. Even hubby makes it now!
and here it is cooling down in the buckets (on the dirty lino!)

We also use the cleaning paste recipe from the same book.

This cleaning paste ROCKS!!!
Seriously, you will never want to stop cleaning, its brilliant.

The ingredients are fairly easy to find
You can grab baking soda and cream of tartar at the supermarket and essential oils at a health/organic shop. I bought my Dr Bronner's Liquid Castille at Bin Inn.

The recipe doesn't include Tea Tree but we add it for its antibacterial properties.

I always make a double or triple batch and store it in an airtight container.

I HATE ants. Fortunately the ants in NZ are smaller, less smelly (seriously) and don't bite (unlike those pesky green ants in Aussie!)

We have been using a small borax/icing sugar mix for ant bait for quite a while now. Since I put her on to it, Mum uses it too and swears by it.
Now, bearing in mind I have school age children, who don't eat from jar lids lying around the place... I would be mindful of keeping those out of reach of inquisitive little ones.

I just grab a jar lid, about a tablespoon of borax and the same of icing sugar and mix it around a bit. The ants go nuts for it and then suddenly... they are GONE! yippee!!
Replace it when you see them coming back again.

I am yet to find a toilet cleaner that will disguise the 'boy factor'. I've tried baking soda, white vinegar etc.. but it just doesn't cut it.

We use a lot of white vinegar and baking soda around the house for cleaning drains, mopping floors etc.

We try to limit the hair and skin products we use too. After all, skin is the largest organ on your body. I read somewhere recently it takes less than 30 seconds for your skin to absorb chemicals! yikes!

We have tried the 'no poo' method with the girls hair (our son does it without asking - ewww! boys!). It is really hard to maintain no poo with long, long hair. We do however limit washing their hair to weekly or longer if possible and instead of conditioner we use Apple Cider Vinegar (Braggs Organic is our preferred choice). For my youngest who has very fine hair is the BEST detangler.

I stopped using moisturiser on my face and skin about 2 years ago and instead have a little pot of coconut oil in the bathroom. I use it on my face and skin... we use it on the kids chapped lips. You can read more about my love affair with coconut oil here.

Tomorrow I am making a rub on deodorant to try. I'll let you know how it works out!

And make sure you visit the Wendyl Nissen website. Awesome recipes, awesome ideas.

I'm no expert, but this is what we do so please don't hesitate to ask me any questions you have!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013


We have now been back in NZ for three months. Back to winter temperatures we {may} have forgotten, condensation we haven't missed and layer upon layer of warm clothes. 

Things have been a little bit tough around here, now the 'honeymoon' period has worn off. 
Apparently I have reverse culture shock and need to 'recalibrate' as a returning migrant.

I'm trying hard to focus on the reasons we came home and just need a little bit extra love and support from those around me as I navigate my way forward.
There have been a lot of tears shed and many a lonely day but at least I know this is a 'normal' response to coming back after years of living away.

The most important thing is our kids are really happy at their new school, hubby loves his new job and we have our own home again. Focus, focus, focus. 

So while my heart is feeling fragile I am crafting those blues away. As you do.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Knitting Ninja

((these awesome words/shapes were made by my girls one rainy afternoon))

I LOVE crochet, for its portability and the speed you can whip up a project, but when winter comes my heart belongs to knitting.

There is something about the clicking of the needles in front of a fire (or heater). I love the look and feel of a finished knitted project.

This winter I have made a good start on my knitting projects

First up I made my third drop stitch scarf... my favourite pattern! You can find it here and it always looks great in a variegated wool.

Although I have been knitting since I was a child I had never used double pointed needles before and last week I made these wrist/arm warmers
with four of these!!!
wrestling those needles makes you look like a knitting ninja!!!

Next up were some arm/wrist warmers for a lovely bloggy friend. My eldest is DESPERATE for me to make her some too....although she was happy to model them for me!

We had lots of laughs taking some photos of them ... 

Joining in with Matariki Crafting
Show and Tell
My creative space

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 I'm a bit late to the party... but as you know Google reader closes in a few days and I really hope you'll still visit my sporadic posts here!!

So please follow me on Bloglovin!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Making ourselves at home

We are two weeks post move into our new home.

What a wonderful feeling to be home owners again.

I even went a little crazy and put picture hooks in the walls!!! I know, I'm such a risk taker (and I apologise to 3M, I hope they survive without my copious purchases of removable hooks).

We are slowly unpacking boxes and revealing hidden treasures.

Two and half years of hidden treasures.

There is still so much to reveal and I know a big cull will also happen. We have everything we need and more (much more). The last two and a half years we've learned to live with so much less and I prefer it that way.

I am loving the fact we are just over the back of school, a three minute walk for the kids, pure and utter luxury for me!

Our new home is like a blank canvas for us. It is pretty much original 1950/60s everything and we have so many plans. You should see my Pinterest board... yikes! ideas galore.

I have already started a few little projects so come by again soon as see what we've been up to!

Thanks for stopping by.

ps. Apologies for not visiting other spaces lately... we have only just got our internet connection...

Please leave a comment, I love comments!