A Natural Skincare Routine

If you’re anything like me, you get to the bathroom to clean your teeth at the later end of the evening, stare at yourself and your bedraggled hair in the mirror and think, I should wash my face and do all those things that other people do to look after the face that is going to be on the front of my head for my entire life. Then you spit your toothpaste out and go to bed. I don’t wear makeup often which helps to encourage this c’est la vie, shrug-of-the-shoulders kind of attitude.

Part of my skincare dilemma is finding products that fit with my ethos. I don’t use any products tested on animals, I like to avoid palm oil and I don’t like using products with nasty things in them. Sometimes I have bought things from local markets and so on, only to find that stall is not there the next time I need the product. So more often than not I’ve thrown up my hands and put skincare in the too-hard basket. And gone to bed.

When I was offered some products from biome* recently, and knew it was my chance. I have been an affiliate for biome for a number of years, and continue to be impressed. They have recently declared themselves to be palm oil free and have written a post* explaining the truths behind the use of palm oil (and its so-called ‘sustainable’ derivatives). Initially, I thought about choosing cleaning products (as you do) but then, after careful consideration I decided, to hell with it, I’m going all out for me and my face.

I chose*:

// cedar + stone hemp and rose foaming cleanser

// clay face block

// vegan skin food moisturiser

// tinderbox orange flower toner

I’ve spent the last couple of months using these products and getting a feel for them, and I am genuinely happy with all of them. I absolutely love the vegan skin food in particular, but it is quite heavy, which I like as I feel as though it is really nourishing my skin, however if a thick moisturiser isn’t for you, you could try another from their moisturiser range*. The foaming cleanser is beautiful and fresh feeling, and the clay face block (of which I wasn’t sure what to except) is surprisingly easy on the skin, leaving my face feeling revitalised. I often grab the orange flower toner throughout the day, when I need a bit of a pep up. It’s safe to say I’m now someone who has a solid morning and evening skin care routine! It has only taken me 35 years…

I want to mention that I am regularly offered products for trial, from linen to books to gift vouchers and so on. I think in all the years I have been blogging I have said yes to three things, these products from biome* being one. I strongly believe in biome products and this is the only reason I accepted their offer. I am not interested in spending time blogging about products I don’t personally find value in, and which don’t fit with my ethical beliefs.I will  absolutely be purchasing all of the items I trialled once mine have run out. Phew, political statement over!

If you’re looking for a new skin care range for yourself, or a little eco-friendly something for Christmas gifts (books, lunch boxes, drink bottles, the list goes on), I would highly recommend you have a look at biome* and see what you think.

*If you purchase something using my affiliate links I will earn a small commission. I will only ever use affiliate links for things I use and enjoy myself in my own home, for my own family. Thank you so much for your support. 

Weekend Bounty

Today was a hard slog, after spending the weekend in beautiful South Gippy. I ran a squillion errands, did the food shop, bought vata-reducing tea (!), dropped kids here there and everywhere, drove around so the baby could have a sleep (seeing as she refuses to sleep anywhere else in the day time anymore), went to Spotlight (that is a story in itself), washed dishes, put a load of clothes in the wash, put my pyjamas on at 3.45pm and closed all the curtains in case someone walked past, then got dressed again at 4pm because I felt slovenly. Then I started on dinner (think I’ve finally nailed a veggie bolognese sauce with sweet potato and lentils).

We brought back mountains of homegrown food: broadbeans, lemons (lots), broccoli, cabbage and various herbs. This week I have to decide what to do with it all. We ate all the broadbeans and broccoli last night, lightly blanched with roasted sweet potato, hommus, avocado and a jasmine rice/quinoa blend. The perfect throw together meal. The cabbage and herbs will get thrown in amongst other veg and eaten over the next couple of days.

My main challenge now is the lemons. I’ll make lemon bliss balls (always with oats instead of cashews due to no nut policies at school), lemon cake (maybe this one). I’ll have lemons every day in hot water, lemon juice on untraditional dahl, lemon in our hommus, and I’ll still have so many left over – if you know me and want some, please let me know! One of the things I love most about eating seasonally is discovering new recipes and planning out what to do with a glut of various things. Yesterday before we came home Mum cooked up a huge bowlful of artichokes, freshly picked from the garden an hour prior. They. Were. Delicious. We had to google how to prepare them, and now I know for next time!

Today I was feeling good while I moved through the morning tasks, but this afternoon my mood dipped a bit. I already miss the hills from the weekend. The quiet, the space. The familiar holiday come down, even though we were only gone five days. I opened our backdoor and tried to emulate the feeling, the flowing movement from in to out and out to in as the girls donned their gumboots and traipsed around the garden and came and went as they pleased. I know people say you can live a life connected to nature in the suburbs, and I believe to an extent this is absolutely true, but it is definitely not the same as life outside the city where you have to work with nature in order to survive. Here, if we ignore nature, nothing really happens that is drastic enough to impact our day to day life. There, the garden would swallow you in an instant if left untended.

Do you know what I mean?

A Slow Start

It’s Wednesday yet it feels distinctly like a Monday. With school holidays, three weeks off work due to the uni break, Easter, an operation, three trips in and out of Melbourne (for fun) and a seasonal change to boot, the last month has seemed like a circus. A mainly good and fun and happy circus, but a circus nonetheless.

Bird went to school for one day after Easter before having grommets in and adenoids out last week. A big week but overall, a success. That afternoon as we sat in recovery she looked at me and said, “Mum, everything is so loud!” After five years of hearing and congestion difficulties, I breathed a sigh of relief. For all the anxiety that had come in making that decision, will we, won’t we, will we, won’t we; in that moment, it was worth it.

She went back to school today and I’m back to teaching tomorrow and kinder is back and KB is at work and, as such, our life will start to resemble normality once again. No more late nights, dinner when we feel like it, pyjama days or nicking off to the country… at least, not during the week for the time being. Weekends are another story.

Last night I lay in bed as the night folded around us. I heard the flow of gentle breath coming in waves from all except me. My breath was full and awake at the midnight hour, though in the daylight, I long for sleep.

And such is motherhood, flowing from one moment to the next, the uncertainty coming in ebbs and flows, the solidity of our day to day routines seemingly fluid yet always constant and neverending.

Today, we took things slowly on our first morning back. We hung around at school chatting to parents, and worked our way back home to a hot cup of coffee, babycinos and a moment around the table cutting out pictures of dragons and making people out of toilet rolls with sticky taped wool for hair. We are heading off to swimming lessons now.

Even though the routine is back and a rhythm will once again be in place, I welcome it. Sometimes it’s nice to have something to rely on.

(Oh, and I baked a cake… this simple, delicious, refined sugar and dairy free orange blossom cake.)

Over the Weekend

It’s Monday and we had the most glorious weekend. It started when I was presented with a hot coffee first thing and told to drink it in bed. I opened the curtain and let the light stream in and sat with Birdie curled up next to me and slowly sipped.

I spent five hours in the kitchen with my three little helpers yesterday afternoon, and I feel so organised for the week. I made tamari trail mix, raw trail mix, salted caramel bliss balls (with nuts for those eating at home), coconut cacao bliss balls (with seeds for those taking to work/school), sneaky veg muffins, sweet potato and lentil frittata, and a giant batch of kitchari (a traditional Ayurvedic recipe which is gentle on tummies and great to eat during the change of season into Autumn. I made enough for a family meal + five adult lunches). I was planning on making red kidney bean bolognese sauce as well for one of our dinners this week but we ran out of time, I will make that in the next few days. The girls donned their aprons (the baby joined us with a rusk and contributed with some squeals here and there) and helped to pour, mix, roll, chop and grate. Things are slower with them in the kitchen and I have to make a conscious effort to include them and allow things to go at a slower pace.

We went to a local native plant sale, met some friends and took turns minding children and wandering around. We bought some natives for our garden and even found time to plant a few.

On Saturday KB took all three girls out and I stayed at home for the whole morning cleaning the house, I think this was a major contributing factor to the calm flow that followed us throughout the remainder of our weekend. It took about four hours, but oh! What a difference it made to our attitudes and our time spent at home over the weekend, without falling over things and each other. Now we just have to try to maintain our sense of order, for a little while at least.

It’s weekends like these I like best, with time to think and potter and make. I hope you had a wonderful one too, wherever you may be.

In General

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2016-04-04 16.11.15It’s late afternoon and the sun is streaming through my back door into the kitchen. Lentil and red kidney bean soup is being heated on the stove, fruit is being stewed to add to yoghurt and probiotics for a snuffly baby for dinner, cacao nib cookies have been cooked for school and kinder lunches, and honey ambrosia has been made to dollop on porridge in the early mornings. I’ve also got a batch of gelatine-based jelly setting in the fridge which I am hoping the big two will be happy enough to eat (it doesn’t taste quite like the jelly they get at the Nana’s houses!) The baby is playing on her mat while I busy myself in the kitchen and the older two are planting some seedlings with KB out the back. I can feel that lightness that comes with a baby becoming more independent, when they are able to entertain themselves for a while on the floor with a pile of blocks or some kitchen spoons or a rusk. The days of constant holding and cradling have, once again, come to an end. She is ten months old tomorrow.

Today I’ve been busy trying to prepare us for the school routine. School holidays have also come to an end, although the idea of school every day is one that still seems foreign to me, it’s going to take a while to get used to the monotony of it all (for many years to come).

Over the holidays we’ve baked bread, we’ve gone walking, we’ve made easter crowns, we’ve sewed, we’ve crafted, we’ve cooked, we’ve cleaned, we’ve celebrated Bird’s sixth birthday. We have done a lot of work around the house and in our garden and it feels great (I won’t mention the overflowing washing basket, the clothes unfolded or the state of our bedroom). We’ve planted out some seedlings for a (very) small Autumn harvest; we are still learning and feeling our way with the veggie patch. We’ve moved upwards, to one large apple crate and a few smaller veg crates and pots dotted with basil, strawberries, brocolli, bok choy, and beetroot. It was an Epic Fail for us with our tomatoes over summer (seriously, tomatoes and yoghurt are two things I just cannot get a handle on) but we had a few delicious rounds of crispy, sweet snow peas which made us feel better.

We reviewed our budget so that I can continue to do minimal and short term work, rather than going back to work permanently just at the moment. Oh boy, it’s tight! But with three kids it becomes both incredibly difficult to arrange childcare, and also the preciousness of this time becomes abundantly clear with each child shooting up and up and off and off. With the decision that I’ll be home longer, we’re also thinking about giving up the Pixie’s day at childcare which we have been hanging onto for dear life – our centre doesn’t even keep a waiting list any more as they are so full and in demand. When I returned to work last time it was near impossible to get the two girls in on the same day, I think I changed my working days two or three times to compensate. It’s a tough decision to let it go, as we also highly value consistency for the girls and I don’t want to chop and change, but the savings we will make as a result will surely be worth it.

Speaking of savings, these holidays we also found out we have a saver and a spender (what is done with easter eggs says a lot about a person). Friends, I’m sure you won’t need long to figure out which is Bird and which is Pixie…

My feet hurt from the last three hours spent in the kitchen. I think it’s time for a shower, some hot soup and crusty bread for dinner and an early night.

A big week awaits.

de ja vu

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This afternoon we arrived home from the beach, once again, for the final time this month. We’ve spent the last four days back on the coast, pretending that holidays last for ever and ever and that we don’t have any responsibilities or plans or commitments or anything else to do other than wander to the beach each morning via our favourite little coastal coffee van and play with the girls on their scooters and eat sandwiches and grapefruits and in the evenings: icecream.

But as we all know well enough, holidays come to an end. And here we are. At home. Again. Feeling the quiet rumble of anxiety in the pit of my stomach, all those icky things-coming-to-an-end type feels. KB is working the next couple of days, doing some training before the school term begins again; we will tag team this week so that I can get some work done too.

Since arriving home late this afternoon we’ve checked on our plants (yet another fern has come to a dismal end under my amateur care), picked some snowpeas, cooked some beetroot, roasted all our remaining veg from the week (pumpkin, capsicum – red and yellow, carrots, and garlic) jumbled together with cheese, leftover rice and sun dried tomatoes for an easy summer dinner, made bliss balls for snacks tomorrow, mixed some oats and chia seeds together with almond milk for breakky, milled some brown rice and put it aside to soak overnight for baby, done our veg box order for this week, paid a bill and hung out the washing. After dinner we played on the back deck as the sun went down.

Tomorrow the new week will begin, and I’m determined to stay cool and not get frazzled with the daily grind of washing, mess, toys, meals, nappies. I’m going to keep reminding myself of my goals this year. (One of which I have already knocked off yesterday by doing an 8km hike with Peachy babe on my back and KB by my side – first long walk since she was born. Yes, yeah, hooray, fist pump! Officially addicted to kicking goals! Yippee! Etc.)

It’s going to be a hot one here. Stay cool (physically, metaphorically, emotionally), wherever you are.

P.S. Have you read this blog? It’s just the sort of fun reading I like to do when I’m getting all motivated and outdoorsy and loving summer. You might like it too.

homecoming

2015-12-27 15.35.18It’s always a strange thing, walking into your house after you’ve been away. Everything is still. When we arrived home from the beach a few days ago there was some folded washing on the table and a discarded toy near a doorway; quiet remnants of us. It’s especially strange coming home after Christmas when there are new things in the house. These days it is mainly new toys that greet us; Bird spent a good 45 minutes on her top bunk absorbed with new books and little knick knacks while I made an attempt at pulling dinner together out of the things we brought home (sweet potato chips, almonds, avocado, sliced cucumbers, a bowl each of rice with butter and garlic, and some fruit: slightly strange mix but surprisingly satisfying).

A couple of days later some of the washing has been done, some of the clothes unpacked and a small sense of rhythm has returned to our days. We plan to get some things done around the house this week and head back to the coast next week to make the most of the warmer weather.

This morning I stayed home while the others went to the park, and did some writing and other admin for a new project I have been lucky enough to be hired for. It’s a short term community consultation project for a not-for-profit which I can do from home and on weekends – I can’t actually believe my luck!

Other than that we spent a good couple of hours soaking up some sunshine and drinking coffee with our notebooks, dreaming up some goals and plans for 2016. I feel like we’ve turned to a new page, we’ve been down in the lovely, intense and deep trenches of pregnancy, birth and babies for over six years, and now we are slowly emerging, all five of us, new and evolved and ready for the next phase of our lives. I can feel it in my bones, in the way I lift my face towards the light and see the possibilities ahead.

Tomorrow, on the new moon, I’m going to share some of my goals for this year. What about you, do you have any ideas for this new and fresh year? What inspirations are you chasing?

remembering myself

We had to make a trip to the shopping centre earlier today. Going up the lift, all five of us: pram, baby in arms, bags, holding hands. An elderly man entered the lift. We stood silently for a moment.

You’ve got your hands full, he said, looking at the children.

Yes! We smiled.

Silence.

Silence.

We looked around politely trying to avoid each others’ reflection in the elevator mirrors.

It beeped and the doors opened.

We had six! He said. Then smiled and walked away.

I watched him with his sports bag, heading towards the swimming centre and imagined him doing a few slow laps up and down the pool. Turning his head to breathe. Pulling his arm through the thickness of the water and perhaps pausing every now and then at the end to clean his goggles or check the time. I imagined his six children, grown up and moved out and on and with families of their own.

As I type this I’m home alone, KB has taken the girls to the park so I can clean the house, which is our number one priority whenever one of us gets a moment alone. Says me, as I sit at my laptop and type… I have put a few things away (scoffs). As I have moved from one room to another, just me, I’ve felt my feet on the floor, my hands folding linen, my knees as I’ve knelt down to pick up toys and place them in a basket.

Me, just me.

I’m still here, underneath and in amongst and surrounded by this. Patiently waiting: quietly, non-hurriedly.

to screen or not to screen

 

One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. I count my steps as I cradle the baby in my arms and walk from the bathroom, to the hall, to my room. And back again, and back again. I look down at her and her eyes are closed. Then open again. Then closed. All the while I’m pacing and counting and hoping that the tinkering sounds of Peppa Pig and Peter Rabbit coming from the lounge room will lull her to sleep.

I can’t believe there was a time that we were a screen free household. I was very proud of the fact at the time. Now I look back and wonder how that version of me managed it. I can’t get through a week day without the iPad or the TV at the moment. Yes, I have a baby and two small children, I’m not being too hard on myself. But it would be nice to be able to get through the day without relying so heavily on a screen to back me up. One day. We didn’t allow the girls to watch TV until around age two. I just wonder how poor Peachy will fare with two big sisters who love a bit of Octonauts time…

I really admire people who have as many children as me or more who are screen free. What are your thoughts on it?

my year of re-organising, de-cluttering, go-crazying

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Sigh. It’s almost March and my enthusiasm for our great year of de-cluttering and Getting Organised has already landed in a muddle. I am looking around the room at the moment, almost every surface has something on it – something that shouldn’t be there. The pile of papers that I was so dedicated to eradicating in January is soaring to new heights.

Being organised is tiring, right? But I know that it feels so great when I know where things go, I know there things are and I know just what needs to happen each day.

Today, I’m just not feeling it. Prince Charming accidentally took both toddler car seats to work so after lots of emergency calls (to the in-laws), rushing around this morning to make it to an appointment for Pixie and collecting my aunty’s car seat on the way back, I ended up with two screaming girls in the car, finally ready to take Birdie to childcare. One screaming for milk and the other screaming that she didn’t want to go today. I paused, sitting with my hands on the steering wheel and foot on the brake…

By this time it was almost lunch time. I made an executive decision, got back out of the car, got the baby, got the girl. Birdie moped back up the steps, “I’m unhappy,” she said. Oh dear.

We ate lunch, milked the baby and I made another executive decision and put them both to bed after many bed time books and cuddles with Birdie – she very rarely has a day sleep anymore but I think today is the day. It’s very quiet in there, fingers crossed she has a nap and we can turn the afternoon around.

So here I sit, looking around at the clutter and knowing I should be doing something about it, especially in the rare moments when I am actually alone. Problem is all I want to do is curl up in bed and go to sleep. I spend such a huge portion of my time cleaning and tidying, only for it to be in the same disorderly state two hours later… when is there time to de-clutter as well? It’s a full time project, but I know, I just know I need to persist!

I always thought when I was a grown up I would have a grown up house and it would be full of neat grown up things and kept in a respectable grown up manner. I thought I would live in a house that looked like Heather’s house over at beauty that moves. I always read her blog and stare for ages at the photos of her house. I. Am. In. Love. If you came to our house while we were out you might not be able to help wondering if it were two teenagers who lived here with the kids given the dishes in the sink, the unmade beds and the junk on every surface. All we are missing is posters of that channing guy on the walls… or is it one generation or one something or other…?

Please tell me you are grown up too but your house isn’t always kept in a respectable grown up manner? Are you de-cluttering this year? Are you following some sort of process like a book or a blog or just doing it your own way? Where did you start?

Just heard a little “Muuuuumm” from the bedroom. Guess the de-cluttering is on hold for another day!