Baking soda is the bomb

For a few years now my husband has been telling me we should clean with baking soda and vinegar. He has always hated the commercial sprays and thinks I am heavy handed with them. Fair call, I am – at least, I was. Since we were newly married (9 years ago!) I remember him saying he didn’t think it was a good idea spraying all of those chemicals in the air.

Wise man! If only I listened. There was me happily spraying “Spray and Wipe” everywhere like I was in an American commercial.

Fast forward to 2016.

I am feeling pretty happy with my DIY spray I made the other day using Dr Bronner’s, water & lavender oil.

The bathroom:
Yesterday I made a bathroom spray which is made up of 50/50 water and vinegar with a few drops of tea tree oil. I cleaned the bathroom with this yesterday and it worked well. The toilet needed a clean so I shook some baking soda into it, sprayed the water/vinegar solution into the toilet which reacted with the baking soda, then scrubbed with the toilet brush. I sprayed the rest of the toilet with the water/vinegar solution and wiped it off. I was left with a nice clean toilet.

I must add, my husband got home and asked “why does the bathroom smell of vinegar?” Alas, better vinegar than bleach, right?

The kitchen:
I have a shelf in the kitchen where I keep various bottles of oil and vinegar. This shelf is forever getting leftover oil residue on it from the bottom of the bottles. I have sprayed that shelf using commercial sprays, used ajax to try and lift the grease – nothing works easily.

Lo and behold the dirty cupboard:


Gross! Yesterday I mixed a paste of baking soda and water, wiped it on/off and look what instantly happened:


I just posted the world’s most boring picture! However I’m beyond impressed with how well that mixture worked. The nerd in me is beyond excited about how well baking soda works as a cleaner!

Next up:
Making a good DIY floor cleaner. I used this mixture the other day:

1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup washing soda
1 TBS dish soap
8 Litres Hot Water

It cleaned my floors well and took off a lot of dirt. However left my floors with a white powdery residue. I might need to use a vinegar solution next time!

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Perfect Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

When baking cookies with almond meal, coconut flour or buckwheat flour, my husband often says that while he loves healthy cookies, they always come out a little dry. I’m inclined to agree, despite using ample coconut oil in lieu of butter.

I have found a fix though. I freeze my cookies. This may sound like a strange concept. Freezing freshly made cookies? Who does that? Alas it works. Out of the freezer comes a nice crunchy cookie!

Last night I made these Perfect Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies and they came out tasting good, but again a little dry. Froze them and they are fantastic! Sometimes I go into the freezer a week later looking for a cookie and they have mysteriously disappeared!



These cookies look a little different to the original recipe. This is because I used a cacao almond butter I bought from About Life a couple of months back, but didn’t love. I didn’t want it to go to waste, so am using it for baking. The bitterness in the cacao is perfect in a sweet chocolate chip cookie. I used 1/2 cup coconut sugar instead of 3/4 of a cup. Personally I found 1/2 cup sugar to be ample. I only used 100g of 85% dark lindt chocolate. These cookies are paleo, grain and dairy free. This recipe made 27 smaller cookies for me.

One thing I have learnt from cooking with coconut sugar is that it burns easily. Coconut sugar has a caramel’y’ taste which is different, but I quite like it. This was my first attempt at cooking with coconut sugar. Next time I’ll take the cookies out of the oven before they look “done”.

Finally, at the end of the day isn’t coconut sugar just… sugar? It is. I have read that it has a lower glycemic index  and doesn’t spike one’s blood sugar as quickly as regular white sugar. It is also meant to be higher in minerals. However the studies do not seem to be well referenced, so I’m not sure how I feel about coconut sugar, other than…

everyone likes a treat now and & then!

I would recommend this recipe and will be using it again.


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DIY Household Cleaning Products

So along with having a greener, healthier beauty routine, I am also looking at ways I can make safe cleaning agents for the home. I have been scouring the internet for recipes and found a couple to try.

First up I made an all-purpose cleaning spray using a recipe I found from Lisa Bronner’s website – Going Green with a Bronner Mom. I had all of the ingredients and liked the recipe. Other websites suggest adding white vinegar to this mix, however I’ve read on other sites that vinegar and Dr Bronner’s soap do not mix well together, and instead curdle. So glad I read that before making a cleaning spray!

Since my spray bottle isn’t large, I halved the recipe amount suggested by Lisa Bronner instead using 30ml of Dr Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap, 500ml water and 15 drops of tea tree oil, which should help in disinfecting. The tip to put the water in first was very useful:


I used the Castile Cleaning Spray to clean the stovetop this morning. It seemed to remove grease with ease, without any nasty chemical smells and toxins! Very happy! Price? Mere cents!

Next up I made a powder laundry detergent. I’m yet to try this out, but it makes sense that we should use a more natural laundry detergent. If I’m taking such care to use more natural beauty products and eat organic foods, then it does no good wearing clothing washed in heavy chemicals.

I used this DIY powder laundry detergent recipe from Mommy Potamus. It is a recipe that doesn’t use borax. The jury is out on the safety of borax, so for now I’ve made a detergent that is super safe. I used 1 x 140g bar of Dr Bronner’s All in One Pure-Castile Bar Soap and 2 cups Washing Soda. Before making a big batch of this, I wanted to make sure it works well.

First up I finally grated the bar soap:




I put the grated bar soap and 2 cups washing soda into my food processor and whizzed up until the texture was fine:


Voila! DIY powdered laundry detergent. I’ll update in the next week to let you know what I think of it! I’ll probably add a drop or two of lavender oil to each wash for a nice smell.

Price? $7.40 for 650g DIY powdered laundry detergent – this is $11.38/kg.

Vs $32.90 for a box of 10kg Cold Powder from Costco which works out at $3.29/kg.

Wallet: Ouch.

Conscience: Priceless.

Verdict: I need to find a cheaper bar of soap.


Update: this DIY powdered laundry detergent works well! I washed a load of white towels using this detergent and added a few drops of lavender oil to the load – brilliant!

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Chemicals, Parabens and more. How I’m changing my beauty routine.

What is that on your face?

January this year I bought a couple of products from RMS. I had seen one of these products on a Lisa Eldridge video featuring Sophie Dahl, who has similar colourings to me. I went ahead and bought Lip2Cheek by RMS in demure at Mecca Cosmetica and loved it. While there I checked out other RMS products and loved the range, so bought an eye polish.

Two months later and I got to thinking about my diet. I put a lot of effort into eating real food most of the time. I make most of my meals from scratch and enjoy being healthy. I had an epiphany – I put really good food into my body, but what about all of the chemicals that i put onto my body every day?

While thinking about this, I heard on the news that Johnson & Johnson, a trusted brand in the beauty industry, was ordered to pay $72M to the victim of ovarian cancer. The talcum baby powder was found to be the cause of this poor woman’s cancer. I did a bunch of research which taught me about all of the chemicals in our every day products and how beauty products are not well regulated! This shocked me. I’ve never thought about it. Now I realise how dangerous regular beauty products are – I can’t go back. This realisation led me to this…

The chuck out.

There are a lot of products in this bag, dry shampoos, olay moisturisers, neutrogena cleansers, hair spray. You name it, its in this bag. My husband hasn’t seen this. He is an accountant, and the amount I am throwing away just might make him cry:


Its hard saying goodbye to these luscious products. Sigh. None of these products rate well in the safety ranks… so off they go. I don’t do anything 50%:


Replacing my bath gels with Dr Bronner’s! So far so good. I bought a large one of these. I like it!



My bathroom essentials. I had accumulated too much over the years, as you do. To be fair (to me!) I have been using dermaviduals cleanser and moisturiser for years – no parabens etc in dermaviduals, and it is wonderful for my rosacea. In my cabinet: (left to right) Dr Bronner’s lavender soap (I use this for hand soap), Springfield’s hand moisturiser, Dermaviduals, Springfield’s serum and oil, Weleda Wild Rose deodorant (this actually works!), Jason’s deodorant. Jason deodorant is free of the nasties. I started using natural toothpastes years ago due to an SLS allergy. I used to get chronic ulcers in my mouth (sometimes up to 6 at a time), did some research and decided to try a toothpaste without SLS in it. Voila! No more ulcers! Biologika lavender deodorant – this I fear is better on a day when I’m home or not active. However it has no alcohol in it, so it does have its place in my cabinet for those quieter days! Whatnot SPF30 – this is a little greasy, so I won’t be repurchasing:



My makeup purchases, all from Mecca Cosmetica. (left to right): RMS un-done concealer, RMS lip2cheek in demure, Josie Maran Argan Serum Matchmaker Foundation, Ilia mascara, RMS eye polish in Solar, RMS lip shine in sacred, Ilia lip crayon in “call me”:



Here is the Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker serum. It comes out of the bottle looking white, but you mix it up and it matches to your skin. I have been using this every day for over a week and am loving it. It is more like a tinted moisturiser vs a foundation, but I don’t feel like I need heavy coverage from day to day, so this is good. I’m looking at 100% pure foundation in “creme” as something heavier for going out.


Yet to buy: face powder (I have been getting samples from Mecca trying to decide which I like), eyeliner and perhaps another eyeshadow. I’m quite impressed with the range from 100% pure and will probably end up buying a few things from that line. Springfield’s body butter.

I do want to keep my routine simple. Its so easy to get sucked into the trap of consumerism. I think these are great items and I’ve made some good changes.

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I’ll Try Anything Once

Vegan month is over. What a lot of thoughts. I had intentions of blogging week by week. Sorry about that. I did keep notes and my feelings burn brightly in my memory. A lot of excitement went with my first week. I like food challenges. I like a bit of denial. It felt so easy initially. Breakfasts quickly became a rhythm of toast with either cashew cheese and tomato and sometimes avocado. Other times it was peanut butter and rice syrup. More often than not I went down the sweet path.

The first week especially I mostly craved sweet things. I think it went hand in hand with my increased carb diet. Lunches remained with my usual salads. I added sweet potato to make them more filling, instead of the usual tinned tuna. I was surprised to find I got sick of salad before too long. I craved cooked food. In the evenings of the first week I made three mains and completely filled my fridge. A red lentil stew. An eggplant and pumpkin curry. And my favourite – the mushroom curry where the sauce was thickened with blended carrots. I had big helpings with brown rice mostly. That first week I honestly debated if I would ever go back to meat. I didn’t miss it. Even though my brother cooked bacon and steaks around me. I only craved yoghurt. I toyed with the idea of being vegetarian. But week two, that desire ended.

So what happened? Maybe the gloss of newness of the path wore off. There was a few dinner parties during the month where I had to sit down next to carnivores and eat and enjoy my lentil patties with tahini dressing. The last dinner with friends almost tipped me over the edge. But I held firm. And half-heartedly ate a fantastic laksa with firm tofu.

I do have to divulge I did break – once intentionally. And once unintentionally. I wanted to keep eating the bread I have always ate – Sol Bread Mega Grain. But they use honey. I kept on with that. I did notice that later in the month they changed it up to rice syrup instead, so that was a bonus. The second time I bought some coconut icecream that is sugar free and amazing and the flavours I have bought in the past have all been vegan too. But this time I accidentally bought some pecan honey flavour (note: it is amazing, buy it!).

From a dietary standpoint I did appreciate being forced into eating more veggies and in a form I don’t normally – with lots of lentils and chickpeas. I made super easy pastas – the sauces were creamy avocado with basil, or a mind-blowing one which was tomatoes two ways (tinned and sundried), walnuts and chilli powder. It actually looked like bolognaise and tasted far far better than I thought it would.

I will take things away from my time. I will now eat tofu in day to day life. Especially in soups. I will try and incorporate a meat-free day into my week. I will probably never be vegan indefinitely, at least not at this point, but I am very glad I gave this challenge a go. Maybe it will be Vegan February annually.

Ps. Yes I’m back to eating butter and meat and I’ve been loving it.