Archive for December, 2009

A recent study from Bionsen found that the average woman applies 515 chemicals to her face a day.

The study revealed that the typical woman uses about 13 different beauty products a day. Most of these products contain at least 20 ingredients and additives, many of which can have a detrimental effect on the body and skin. Perfumes alone were found to contain up to 400 different ingredients.

Additionally, in 2006 a survey by New Woman magazine revealed that British women spend £3,000 a year on beauty products and treatments, with 81 per cent of women wearing make-up every day. According to analysts Mintel, British women are the largest users of make-up in Europe so this is a big issue.

Top-selling perfume Chanel No5 has 250 additives and the best-selling foundation, Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse, lists 24 ingredients.

The most popular nail varnish, Rimmel, is mixed from 31 components while the top-selling body lotion Nivea Rich Nourishing Body Lotion has 32.

Other products that were tested include lipstick, body lotions and mascara which contained an average of 30 ingredients each. Aside from aluminum, many of these products contain other harmful ingredients like synthetic dyes, fragrances, and parabens. When applied continually, the many beauty products that women use are exposing them to wide range of carcinogens.

Click here for our recent guide on making your own toxin free beauty products.

For more information on this subject click here


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Eugenie Harvey from 1010My resolution is to get involved in something locally – if you’re a mum with children at school, make it the PTA. PTA’s are the backbone of school communities and they are usually run by a very small group of dedicated mums who are desperate for support and help.  Plus they’re great fun and help you make really good friends and widen your support network.  But if not the PTA, do something else.  The strong, safe, happy communities that we all want to live in don’t happen on their own.

2. Chris Goodall from Carbon Commentary and author of Ten Technologies to Save the Planet – One of the big challenges the rich world faces is finding out how to reduce the temptation on all of us to buy more stuff rather than get more use out of what we already own. My resolution this year is learn how to repair –  clothes, bicycles, tools, home appliances –  in order to make things last longer.

Dr. Matt Prescott environmental consultant and founder of E-Day 2009 – The resolution I would recommend is that people look into whether their house is suitable for solar hot water. This costs £3000 – £4000 to install and pay back within about 3-4 years, then provides free hot water for 20+ years

Dalziel Douglas from The Black DouglasMy resolution is to really get the most out of seasonal food and exploit what is on our doorsteps. Game is in season between now and February,  it is not intensively farmed or slaughtered in an an abattoir. Stock up the freezer while you can and enjoy it.

Paul Allen – former editor of BBC Green and the author of Your Ethical Business.  I’ve been alarmed this year at how many people believe that man-made global warming is a myth. They regurgitate long disproved arguments, but I don’t always have the science immediately to mind to counter them. So next year, my resolution is to re-read the science. The first place I’ll start is Real Climate, which is written by working climate scientists and has a section devoted to debunking the most common climate change misconceptions. There is no debate among the world’s most credible scientists, but we all need to understand the issues if we’re to debunk myths and silence skeptics.

Jim Watt OBE – mumzine energy expert – Turn it off or at least down.  Heating the house is always way out in front as the biggest energy user/waster in the home.  The boiler uses tens of KiloWatts whereas the radiant heaters or electric warm air blowers use very little.  My resolution is to go to bed with some extra layers on and turn the heating off for a few nights a week in the winter.

Alice from Alice and Emma – The Alice and Emma resolution is to make 2010 the year of craft and upcycling, to buy less and make more.

Margherita PR Manager and founder of mumzine – Give some time to a cause you feel passionately about. I have just started to do this with 2 charities I really care about it makes me feel great for all sorts of reasons.  You get to know different kinds of people, learn new things and realise what a difference a bit of your time can make.

Michelle – homeopath and co-founder of mumzine – Next year I want to enrol in an upholstery course. It’s something I’ve been interested for a while and I’ve got 2 chairs dying for a face lift. Also my husband and I have decided that 2010 is the year of dating again. One date a month and taking turns in planning it. We deserve some ‘us’ time. Find an upholstery course near you.

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Most of us use many beauty products on a daily basis, often containing toxic chemicals.  Although the chemicals in any one product are unlikely to cause harm, think about how many products you use in a day, year, and over a lifetime. Small amounts of toxic chemicals add up and accumulate in our bodies through cosmetics and through other chemical exposures in food, water and air.

If you want to side-step some of this and/or save money, here are some natural toxin-free products you can make yourself.  There are no preservatives in these recipes so use within two weeks, and store in your fridge.  If you fancy giving it a go Baldwins (UK’s leading supplier of natural remedies, essential oils and other natural products) is a good place to get some of the ingredients.

Frozen egg & honey mask: Recommended for dry skin, this is particularly soothing on sunburned skin.


  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (manuka if you can stretch to it)
  • 1 cardboard loo roll

Instructions: Beat the egg until frothy. Slowly add the liquid coconut oil and honey, beating until your mask is the consistency of mayonnaise. Take the loo roll and strand it up in a clean bowl. Spoon mixture into the loo roll. Place tube, in the bowl, in the freezer overnight. To use, peel away just the top of the cardboard roll and smooth the frozen stick over your face (think of it as a push-up lolly). Leave on for 5-10 mins, then rinse off with warm water. Return the cream stick covered with plastic wrap and freeze between uses. Keeps indefinitely.

Silky Clay Mask for all skin types


  • 1½ teaspoons green clay (French is preferred)
  • ½ teaspoon kaolin clay
  • 1½ tablespoons aloe vera gel
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater
  • 2 drops rose essential oil

Instructions: Mix clays together. Add aloe vera gel, rosewater and oils. Leave your mask on for 5-10 mns, then rinse off with warm water. Refrigerate mixture for up to four weeks.

Baking Soda Mask to fight acne: This is easy to make and can work wonders.


  • 1 tablespoon baking soda (NOT baking powder)
  • 1-2 tablespoon water

Instructions: Mix a little together in your hands after washing your face and apply gently to your skin. Once you’ve coated your face with the baking soda/water mix, leave for 10 minutes. Rinse the mask off your face and feel how soft and clear it feels.

Banana Mask for oily skin


  • 1 banana, preferably ripe (You can keep ripe bananas in the freezer. Let it thaw before using.)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (manuka if you can stretch)
  • 1 orange or a lemon

Instructions: Mix the banana and honey together. Add a few drops of juice from an orange or a lemon. Apply to face for 15 mins before rinsing with a flannel.

Orange Ginger Warming Foot Scrub

This warming foot scrub is great for the winter, and leaves your feet feeling soft and relaxed.


  • 1/4 cup sugar (white or brown)
  • 1/4 cup sweet almond oil
  • 6 drops orange essential oil
  • 2 drops ginger essential oil
  • 1 level teaspoon powdered cayenne pepper

Instructions: In a plastic bowl, mix together the sugar and almond oil. Add the essential oils and stir. Add the cayenne pepper last and stir well to mix. This is a scrub to do over the bath rather than in it – you don’t want a soak in cayenne pepper! Scoop up a handful of the scrub for each foot and massage vigorously.

Grapefruit Sugar Scrub


  • 1-1/2 cups white table sugar
  • 8 drops grapefruit essential oil
  • 1/4 cup jojoba oil
  • 1/4 cup liquid castile soap

Instructions: Place sugar into a large bowl and stir to break up any clumps. Add the essential oil. Add the jojoba oil and castile soap next, a little at a time stirring each time. Mix well and pour into clean container. To use, stand in the bath or shower and massage the sugar scrub onto your body.

Softening Body Oil

Before taking a shower, brush your skin gently. This will stimulate blood circulation and aid absorption. For best results, apply oil while your skin is still moist after a shower.


  • 1 cup (237 ml) sweet almond oil
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) jojoba or hazelnut oil (or combination of the two)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) apricot kernel oil
  • Essential oil (optional) For an uplifting experience, try 3 drops of ylang ylang, 2 drops geranium and 3 drops orange or bergamot. For an exotic experience, try 3 drops ylang ylang, 2 drops rose, 1 drop patchouli and 1 drop geranium.

Instructions: Combine the oils in a sealed bottle and gently turn it several times to mix. Apply as needed.

Bath Biscuits


  • 2 cups finely ground sea salt
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • 2 tablespoons light oil
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
  • 2 eggs 5-6 drops essential oil of your choice

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Combine all the listed ingredients and form into a dough. Roll it gently in the palm of your hand until it forms a ball (one-teaspoon ball size) and put them on grease proof paper. You can sprinkle the balls with herbs, flower petals, cloves, citrus zest and similar aromatic ingredients. Bake your bath cookies for 10 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Do not over-bake. Allow the bath biscuits to cool completely. To use, drop 1 or 2 into a warm bath and allow to dissolve.

Source – Campaign for Safe CosmeticsThe Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is working to protect your health by eliminating the use of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems.

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Crafting is officially everywhere, and if you have caught the bug you may have come across etsy. But for those who haven’t its a dream if you either make handmade goods, vintage items and craft supplies or are looking to buy them.

The genius bit is that if you also want to cut down air miles and keep money in your community you can choose to shop locally, choosing either country or your area.

I have been learning how to make hats so have aspirations to put them on here one day but while I improve here is a lovely one local to me from unseencolours.

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Land a few dodgy xmas presents? Can’t face taking them to the second hand shop or worse still binning them?  Your in luck! Save it for the first ever international day of swishing on 9th January (Click here for details of the UK event in London). Swishing (clothes swapping) is a way of re-gifting on a big scale. But the organisers do specify that you should bring “fabulous” items and that may exclude nastier examples.

There will be music, alcohol, fabulous people and fabulous clothes. As well as being able to upgrade your wardrobe without risking the chaos of January sales, you will also be able to relax and enjoy one of London’s most exclusive venues.

The event is free of charge.

Doors will open at 3.00pm and Swishers will have an hour and a half to drop off clothes and relax with a cocktail.

If you can’t make the swish there are other ways to get rid of those pressies.  I have got rid of all sorts of stuff through Freecycle or there is a specific xmas re-gifting forum set up at Nigel’s Ecostore.

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Dalziel Douglas of The Black Douglas Coffee House introduces us to her ever popular Parsnip, Apple and Celeriac Soup.

“This a really popular soup at The Black Douglas at this time of year because the organic parsnips are SO GOOD! Serve with a glass of  good apple juice or a glass of dry white wine and some crusty sour dough bread.


  • 6 large organic parsnips
  • 3 organic apples (any kind, bramleys will give a sharper taste)
  • 1/2 a organic celeriac
  • 1/3 pack of butter
  • 1 desert spoon of honey
  • thyme leaves
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Peel, rinse, core and chop the ingredients.

Cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender (for approx. 30 mins).

Add the of butter and a soup spoon of honey and blend.

Before adding the seasoning you can remove some of the soup into ice cube trays and freeze for baby.

Add Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with fresh thyme to serve.

If you can use organic vegetables the soup will taste better than if you don’t. Organic vegetables are generally cheaper and higher quality if you can buy from farm shops.  To find local producers in your area click here

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Here are a whole load of discount codes for ethical and green products.  Great for very last minute xmas presents.


  • Free organic skincare when you subscribe to The Green Parent magazine – it only costs £19.99 for a year and you get a free gift worth £19.99! 15% off gentle fresh skincare – code: GP31
  • £5 off organic beauty gifts at Green People – code: GP14195588
  • £5 gift voucher to spend on natural beauty products or treatments – code: GP09104
  • 10% off organic skincare, soaps and candles – code: Parent
  • 5% off natural menstrual products – code: Green


  • 20% off organic products for family wellbeing at Pitta Patta – code: Greenparent
  • 10% off beanbags for pregnant mums – code: BUYABEANBAG10
  • 5% off organic toiletries, real nappies and more – code: GP02


  1. 5% off a stay on an organic farm in West Wales – code: Green Parent


  1. 15% off fairtrade, organic and handmade clothing for kids – code: GP10
  2. 15% off ethically produced childrenswear – code: GreenParent09
  3. 10% off eco clothing for boys and girls – code: greenparent
  4. 10% off organic cotton t-shirts – code: greenparent


  • 10% off wonderful wooden toys – code: GP10
  • 10% off natural toys – code: NEWGTH
  • 5% off wooden treehouses for elves – code: GP01

10% off beautiful, unusual gifts – code: GP1201

Source – Green Parent Magazine

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