DIY Day Spa for Your Pooch

We love our pets and spending quality time with them is a great way to show our appreciation for all the unconditional love they give us.  Clear your diary and reserve a special day for your best friend on a regular basis – dogs love nothing more than getting their owners’ undivided attention.  What we have in mind is something the whole family can get involved in.  Why not turn the tired old chore of washing the dog into something a little more exciting at your house? So round up the kids and get ready for some healthy clean fun.

Re-creating the Day Spa experience at home for your pooch is easy with the great, fresh-smelling organic products we have for you.  John Masters’ organic shampoo for dogs, aptly called DogPoo Dogwash, is an amazing all-rounder shampoo for dogs.  It is especially formulated with the wonderful aromatic oils of Citronella, Neem, Eucalytus and Tea Tree to ward off those pesky parasites like ticks and fleas.  Best of all, it contains a host of other alluring essential oils such as Lavender, Sage and Mint to relax your special customer.  Plant-derived extracts of Vitamins A, B5, D and E help to nourish your dog’s skin and coat.  All you need to do is lather up your pooch and massage all that goodness in.

Massage is well known for its therapeutic properties in humans, but did you know that it is equally as beneficial for pets as well?  Older animals tend to suffer from ailments just as we do.  Depending on their breed, dogs, and other animals, can get a range of diseases and debilitating conditions which require special treatment for a better quality of life.  Massage is one such treatment which does not require a trip to the Vet.  If your dog suffers from mobility troubles, a warm bath and a thorough massage on a regular basis can help to ease the pain and stiffness in their joints.

Next in line for the special doggie day spa treatment is more heavenly pampering.  How does a relaxing brushing sound?  Aubrey Organics is a leader in the world of organic products and their Organimals line is very affordable and simply divine.  Your dog will love their Organimals Dog Grooming Spray.  It is mildly scented and has great conditioning properties for your dog’s skin and coat.  Brush through after a bath or in-between shampoos to maintain freshness, moisture and to keep unpleasant odors at bay.

To enhance your dog’s day spa experience, Spot Organics has a selection of very exclusive products specifically designed to decrease anxiety and increase inner calm in dogs with the use of aromatherapy.  The Spot Organics Happy Dog Spray or their Chill – Dog Anxiety and Calming Spray is an ideal way to complete the whole spa process.  There are no chemicals and nothing artificial in these products, so you can use them as often as you like whenever stressful situations arise and know that your dog is getting wholesome goodness from the sprays.

The very last item on our list of spa treatments for your dog is a good spritz of the Spot Organics Peppermint Dog Breath Spray.  It aids in controlling bacteria in the mouth which can cause the dreaded ‘doggie-breath’ – an essential addition to your dog’s grooming at any time.

A clean pet is always a pleasure to have around and with so many fantastic natural and organic products available, it is easier than ever to care for your four-legged friends and they will thank you for it in their own special way.

When the Clouds Part, the Sun Shines Through


This post is the second of two posts focused on seeking and finding life balance.   In our first post, we asked “what is life about?” and discussed why it is important to create a healthy balance in life.  In today’s post,  we focus on the value and benefits of living life in balance.  Be sure to read the first post, What is Life Really About?

Once you decide to enjoy life more, something very exciting starts to occur.  Your outlook on life in general seems more optimistic and there’s a spring in your step.  You smile more and notice that others smile back.  Life tastes sweeter and takes on a more appealing direction.  When you make the conscious decision to attract positive changes in your life, you open the door to infinite possibilities.

The mind is a sly thing.  It plays the trickiest games and conjures up devious scenarios of the worst kinds – but only if we allow it to; because you see, as well as being quite crafty at pulling at our strings of misery, the mind is also our gateway to sublime happiness.  You only need the will to invite it in to be on your way to a healthier state of mind and being.

Life is really complicated, there’s no doubt about it.  Some people do it really tough and living through each day takes true strength of character and effort; somehow though, they pull themselves through their circumstances and emerge on the other side victorious.  Hope is a powerful source of strength which motivates us to seek alternatives for a better outcome.  Somewhere inside, we all strive for better and when we assess our own personal situations, we find that there is always room for improvement; but that is where most of us get stuck – how do we go about making these positive changes?

Like anything in life, positive change must start with a positive attitude and a plan for change.  If we liken change to a chocolate cake, then we would need to start with really good basic ingredients and build it up step by step, until we can finally put a luscious chocolate ganache on top.  Then all we need to do is serve ourselves a big slice and savour its awesomeness.  Yes, things take time and sometimes progress is slow, but if you are willing to move forward, life will be a lot more delicious.

Self-contentment evades us sometimes – such is life, but it is important not to lose sight of the destination.  Keeping a clear goal in mind and re-affirming your chosen path over and over will keep you focusing on the task ahead.  Go on, live.  Do what makes you happy for a change. Why not try something new? Wear your hair differently, learn to dance the tango, take up French lessons, plant a garden, pay someone a compliment, pick up the phone and make that call, opt for eco-friendly products, complain less, donate to charity, say ‘no’ once in a while – anything that you wish, but make it a positive contribution to your life and to others’ lives.  Doing what you truly love releases your inner-self and when free, it soars high and shows in your smile.

Do you ever notice the parallels between nature and humans?  Plant a seed in fertile soil and it will grow tall.  Starve it of light and water and it will wither away, but with a little sun and moisture, it becomes stronger than ever and eventually blossom into a beautiful flower.  Our soul needs nourishment also and we should nurture it just like a delicate bloom.  Feed your ambitions, fuel your passions, fire up the hearth of your soul and open up those dark shutters.  Allow your emotions to cleanse the doubts you have about yourself.  Only you know you best, and therefore you are the only one in charge of your destiny.  The choices you make every step of the way will determine the outcome.  For those of us fortunate enough to have good friends and people we can count on, decisions come a little easier.  Having those we love and respect around us promotes our sense of self-worth and happiness and we must also nurture these relationships.

Though we may feel as if we are caught up in an awful storm, remember; when the rain finally stops, the clouds will part and you will once again feel the warmth of the sunshine on your face; and that warmth is the hope you carried in your heart all along.

What is Life Really About?


This post is the first of two posts focused on seeking and finding life balance.   Today we ask “what is life about?” and discuss why it is important to create a healthy balance in life.  In our next article, we focus on the value and benefits of living life in balance.

When the culminations of our busy lives converge into one monstrous overwhelming force, it can throw us off course for a little while.  The barriers of control crack and our aching minds go into overload.  How we long for a single moment’s peace.  Stress – you can feel it rising within with every pounding heartbeat, waiting to burst out in a loud cry saying “enough is enough!”  What are we so preoccupied with that we cannot spare a moment for ourselves?  Why is it that there is never enough time in the day to do all that we want to do?  We take on so much and give so much of ourselves that eventually, we feel like empty shells.  How did life get so complicated?

Dividing time between work, family life, friends, pets, exercise, caring for others and other commitments means that there is no slice of the pie left for us and inevitably, we miss out on our personal needs.  We shrug it all off and promise that we will take some time out ‘next time’, but it never happens.  All the while, your mind quietly continues to crave for some sweet tranquillity until it simply cannot stand it anymore, and it crumbles a little bit each day.  If we search inside, we may find that what we want from life may be different from what we need from life; and this eternal quest brings us to the question: What is it exactly that we need to live healthy, happy and fulfilled lives?

Most of us are bound by a common thread which is often a heavy load to bear – having to ‘work for a living’ or should it be ‘living well in order to work’? For without a healthy mind and body, everything else fades into non-existence.  We get caught up in daily life mostly in preparation for the future, so that when we get there one day, it will all be ready for us to simply lay back and relax.  We fastidiously plan, organise our finances, commit to huge mortgages, save for that special holiday or car – we want to do and experience it all; and while we are doing so, time ticks away.  Years pass sometimes as if we were in a dream and still we feel like we are not doing enough.  The truth is the only true existence is right now.  It is where you are and where you are meant to be, for at some point in time, the clock will stop to tick and all the plans will cease to be.

Creating a healthy balance in life is the key to our emotional and psychological well-being.  A strong mind will tackle problems like a good quarterback – slam ‘em down as they appear.  Part of that balance is to reconnect with the physical and spiritual world around us.  Being out and about in nature makes us feel connected to the earth because it is where we come from.  Wide open spaces make us feel free.  Vivid colours revive our tired eyes and bring about a sense of joy and love.  Enjoyment of life is about surrounding ourselves with people and the comforts which make us happy.  Grab a friend and go for a walk, feast your eyes on the beauty that is Mother Nature.  Regain that sense of curiosity and wonderment you once had when you were a child, like looking up at the sky, imagining dragons and elephants made of cotton clouds, or the sweet ephemeral scent of a garden in bloom.  Feel the rush of fresh air filling your lungs with every breath and the worries of the world easing away slowly.

Clearing the clutter of our minds is so important to maintain clear focus on the really essential things in life – family, friends, love and general personal contentment.  Ambition brings about a different type of happiness.  Though you feel your life may not be too bad at the moment, do you find yourself yearning for something more?  So many ‘if only’ moments plague our minds, draining our hearts of hope.  It needn’t be so.  There truly is something mysteriously magical when you are one with Mother Nature.  Walking and thinking whilst enjoying everything she has on offer seems to evaporate those niggling troubles which we give so much importance to and re-organise our priorities.

Why not plan a day out somewhere you have not been to before.  Feel the excitement of living again and do so often.  Let nature be your refuge when the human world gets too much to deal with and discover what living a simple and happy life is really about.

Terrific Grandparents Deserve Recognition

by Veronique Casse

When I was four, I accidentally set fire to a bunch of dried flowers in our lounge room and nearly burnt the house down.  We had guests over for dinner and mum and dad were entertaining in the dining room. Left to my own devices while my parents were busy, I came upon a shiny cigarette lighter on a side table.  Like any curious four-year old, I struck it and a tall flame shot out, burning my little thumb and setting alight the floral arrangement on the table.  What ensued was complete chaos!  It was a blur of red hot flames creeping along the ceiling and everybody screaming.  Fortunately the fire was quickly brought under control and though shocked, everybody was ok.  Needless to say, the evening ended prematurely.  I had single-handedly ruined the party, the wall, the ceiling and mum’s beloved vase.  After a stern lecture, I went to my room in tears.  Shortly after, there was a soft knock on my door.  It was my grandfather.  He came in to see how I was.  He stayed with me, quietly sitting on the edge of my bed and patted my shoulder. “It’s all ok now” he said “you must have been really scared” and then proceeded to give me a mint candy to cheer me up.  Even though I had been terrible, the love and support he showed me on that day and at many other times throughout my life still bring tears to my eyes.

Grandparents can have that magical effect on a child.  They wrap you up in their soft arms to give warm snugly hugs and love you even when you are less than perfect.  “You’re getting so tall” they say or “you are so clever” simply puffs you up with pride, and it is those kind words and tender moments which stay with you forever.

The role of the modern grandparent is evolving and is helping to shape the next generation in a positive way.  The stereotypical ideas of grandmas and grandpas are no longer that of white-haired folks sitting in their rocking chairs, listening to the wireless, sipping cups of tea and snacking on shortbreads.  Many grandparents are fit, young and energetic.  They enjoy being a pro-active part of their grandchildren’s lives and take pleasure in re-living the hands-on experience of caring for a child once again.  They revel in seeing the grandkids and showering them with all sorts of goodies, selectively overlooking the parents’ furrowed frowns when chocolates and lollies are being dished out by the handful.  To the kids, grandparents are wise owls who never judge and always care.

Most grandparents bear their title proudly and many take their role very seriously.  Having amassed a lifetime’s worth of experience, they see their purpose as life educators and their advice as being just as important as that of the parents’.  This can often cause dissension in families and even if they are right, it is a battle grandparents often lose.  The interest of the child/children must always come first.  Regardless of the dynamics of our own relationship with our parents, our children deserve to know their grandparents and experience that special bond for themselves – grandparents are not here forever.

Working longer hours, commuting further away, shift-work commitments and the ever-increasing cost of childcare are resulting in many parents turning to grandparents to care for their kids as an agreeable alternative. When these arrangements are well-sorted, they benefit all parties involved.  It is common to see children accompanying their grandparents to do the shopping or being picked up after school.  Parents can rest assured that their child/children are safe and well cared for; and that peace of mind is priceless.  For many retired grandparents, life can become somewhat dull and idle.  They often find a renewed objective in life when they are offered such an opportunity and this can positively impact on their physical and mental health.  More importantly though, it brings all the members of the family closer.  Regular interaction and communication strengthens relationships and can reinforce fragile ones.

Veronique Casse is a freelance creative writer/ghostwriter for various online companies and is a regular guest blogger for Charlestonnaturally.com.  Veronique lives in a quiet, lush suburb of Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two children and is a firm advocate of all things natural concerning mind, body and soul.  She is also a regular contributor for ‘Suite101.com’ where her articles are geared towards health, nutrition and natural therapies.  You can reach Veronique and view her full profile at www.suite101.com/profile.cfm/veroniquecasse

Kids in the Kitchen – A Healthy way to Keep Kids Busy

Similar to the famous shower scene from “Psycho”, the three little words which send shivers down parents’ spine are “I’m so bored!” usually followed by a chilling “there’s nothing to do!” It can drive anyone bonkers when, regardless of their mountains of toys and gadgets, children constantly complain that they have absolutely nothing to do.  A great way to keep them entertained for a good amount of time is to get them involved in the kitchen.  It is an ideal activity which can involve many children at a time, in a controlled environment.  Most kids are very interested in cooking and find it really fun and fascinating.  They enjoy the tactile hands-on experience of cutting, mixing, rolling and best of all eating the fruits of their labour. Cooking is a perfect way for mums, dads or even grandparents to spend some quality time with their children/grandchildren, doing something constructive and educational.  Here are some great tips to get them motivated and successfully engage their enthusiasm:

External distractions – Turn off the television, the video games, the ipods etc. to direct all their attention to the task at hand.

Good hygiene – Food poisoning can be a nasty consequence of bad hygiene/sanitation in the kitchen, so please ensure that you have:

  • A clean workspace, clean utensils, washed hands, tied long hair, clean towels

Safety is paramount – Teaching children the value of safety in the kitchen early is a life-long asset to their health and safety. Here are some precautions to consider:

  • Stable chair or stool for the little ones to stand on.
  • Avoid glass bowls, they can be heavy to handle and if dropped can shatter into dangerous shards.  A safer option is to use unbreakables such as the Bambu Coconut Bowls for mashing or mixing.  They come in a delicious range of natural colours of Mango, Basil, Cayenne and Spearmint and add a splash of colour to your kitchen.   The full range of wooden bowls, plates, cooking utensils and cutlery from Bambu are ideal for little hands to handle  easily and safely.
  • Keep children away from sharp objects, electrical appliances such as blenders, liquidisers etc…and anything heat-related – steamers, open flames, hot ovens etc.  These appliances should only be used by the supervising adult.
  • An apron/smock will keep their clothes clean and provide some protection in case of a hot spill.

Kids love to be involved and with proper direction, they can become quite the little master-chefs.  Give them age-appropriate tasks, such as sifting the flour, mixing the batter, whisking the eggs, rolling out the dough, even chopping if they are old enough.  Involve them to make them feel a valued part of the cooking process.  It is simply delightful to see their little faces light up with pride when you congratulate them on a job well done.

With practice, children will enjoy helping out in the kitchen on a regular basis.  Baking a cake or making cookies occasionally is a nice treat, but taking them through the steps of making a healthy lunch or nutritious snack is even better.  Here is a great fresh recipe from www.fruitandveggieguru.com that kids can enjoy at any time of the day.  This recipe is perfect for young children to prepare as there is no cutting required.

Layered Blueberry Breakfast Parfaits – Serves 4

  • 4 champagne glasses or small, clear juice glasses
  • 2 cups Cheerios cereal
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 2 8-ounce containers blueberry yogurt (low-fat if possible)
  1. Rinse and dry blueberries.
  2. Spoon ¼ cup yogurt into bottom of each glass.
  3. Add ¼ cup blueberries and top with ¼ cup cereal in each.
  4. Repeat layers.
  5. Serve immediately.

**Tip: Use sliced strawberries with strawberry yogurt or sliced peaches with peach yogurt for variation.

For older children who can handle a little more responsibility, the following recipe from www.kidshealth.org makes for a satisfying snack anytime.

Berry Tasty Muffins – Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup blueberries, washed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • Non-stick cooking spray/muffin liners

Utensils:

  • oven (requires adult supervision)
  • mixing spoon
  • 2 large bowls
  • fork
  • muffin/cupcake tin
  • paper muffin/cupcake liners
  • wire rack for cooling muffins
  • measuring cups and spoons

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oatmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Mix in blueberries.
  4. In another bowl, break the egg and use a fork to beat it just a little bit. Then add the milk and vegetable oil, and mix.
  5. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl.
  6. Using a mixing spoon, mix about 25 or 30 times. Don’t mix too much! Your muffin mixture should be lumpy, not smooth.
  7. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or lightly spray with non-stick spray. Spoon in the muffin mix. Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 of the way up.
  8. Bake for about 18 minutes.
  9. When muffins are finished baking, remove from muffin tin and cool them on a wire rack.

Encouraging kids to cook is an easy feat when there are scrumptious delights to enjoy at the end.  Go shopping together and let them choose fresh ingredients, adding new taste sensations to their repertoire each time.  Keep an open mind and they will too – even if you are not keen on certain fresh fruits or vegetables, allow your children the chance to experience them for themselves.  Give them ownership of cooking for themselves by providing them their own apron and utensils, oven mitts, their own children’s cookbook and so on.

Let’s put a fresh spin on the old adage and say “A family who cooks healthily, eats healthily and lives healthily happily”.


Go Green! Easy Tips for a Sustainable and Lush Backyard

Green thumbs will tell you that gardening is one of the most rewarding hobbies or occupations in the world. To see pretty flowers in bloom with busy bees going about their business or to lie lazily on a soft leafy lawn are the reasons why many gardeners are opting for a more eco-friendly approach to looking after their gardens.  More people are cottoning onto the principle that a flourishing garden need not be at the expense of our health or the health of our pets.  Using toxic pesticides and herbicides tend to upset the natural order of things.  Destabilising the intricate but delicate balance of nature can drive away the many creatures which call the outdoors home and help to keep pests at bay.

Solar Power

Apollo, Ra, Surya are some of the many names of Sun Gods worshipped by ancient civilizations.  They understood the fundamental connection between the sun and life on earth.  Today, technological advancements allow us to harness this power as a clean energy source to use in and around our homes.  There are many great garden accessories available with in-built solar panels to beautify our outdoor living space. They are cordless, will never require batteries and can be placed anywhere you like around your backyard.  A display of soft glowing lights creates a relaxing ambience and is an attractive way to decorate your garden. Place them along a footpath or near a step for better visibility.  Solar powered accessories are widely available, come in a range of shapes and sizes, are inexpensive and better yet, will not add to your electricity bill.

Cooking outdoors

The alluring smell of a barbecue often has hungry neighbours salivating and peeking over the fence.  Cooking outdoors tends to draw people together and is a great way to relax after a long day or week.  Firing up the grill or barbeque is a healthy way of preparing food and a good way to cook for many at a time.  Give your stove and oven a break as often as you can and save on energy by preparing lunch or dinner outside in the fresh air.

Choosing natural materials for your outdoor space

If you are considering building or renovating an outdoor area, there are some important things to consider. For good looks, strength and durability, you simply cannot go past hardwoods and bamboo.  Bamboo is an extremely tough material which will not rot, does not require coats of paint or varnish, and will last you decades.  It is harder than hardwood and is ideal for fences, flooring and outdoor furniture.  Bamboo is an environmentally sustainable product, comes in short/long lengths and is very affordable.  It is available in a variety of attractive natural colours and grains and is proving a winner in the eco-friendly resource market.  Cedar/Red Cedar is also a fantastic natural product ideal for beams, decks and patios.  It is a sustainable hardwood but will require a coat of oil every few years to rejuvenate the wood grain and colour, if heavily exposed to sun and rain.

The right products = less maintenance and more relaxation time

Turning your backyard into your private sanctuary is easy – here are some handy hints:

  • Water-saving plants such as succulents or local evergreen plants will be well-suited to your climate and require very little of your time.
  • Choosing a soft but robust lawn such as Buffalo grass is pleasing to the eye and will keep mowing to a minimum
  • Pick shrubs/fruit trees which attract bees, birds and butterflies.  They help to pollinate your flowers and keep insects such as spiders under control.
  • Planting edible plants and herbs such as Thyme or Rosemary is an ideal way to perfume your garden. Save money and harvest your own organic produce as you need it.

Keeping your lawn lush and green

The greenest lawn is not always the healthiest lawn.  As with other plants, grass can be affected by heat and excessive rain.  A resilient lawn starts from the bottom up – with fertile soil. Organic fertilisers come in pellet form or in a liquid concentrate which is diluted and sprayed onto the lawn. They contain essential trace elements and nutrients to nourish the soil and encourage strong growth.  Long gone are the days of liberally spraying a cloud of toxic pesticides and herbicides to maintain our gardens.  Those practices are not recommended as they pose serious health risks to ourselves, young children, pets and often destroy the ‘good’ bugs in your garden’s eco-system.

Relax with the soothing sounds of water

Close your eyes and imagine the trickling sounds a gentle flowing stream.  Your mind is transported somewhere else, perhaps in a cool rainforest or a Japanese garden in bloom in Tokyo, but you are right there in your comfy chair, in your own special corner of the world – your backyard.  Let all the stresses of life roll off your shoulders and just be still. Installing a water-tank allows you the freedom to do so much more than just washing your car.  Water your plants at will or install a water-feature for a calming atmosphere.  A water tank is a smart investment for a greener future and will add value to your home.

Other ideas to consider for an enjoyable backyard

Selecting the right pieces of furniture or garden décor can make an immense difference to how you relate to your outdoor space.  Create an area which you personally feel comfortable in and is pleasant for your family and friends to spend time in.  Consider the size of the space and choose furniture which will easily fit within it.  Invest in furniture made of durable and sustainable materials as they will last for a long time.  Products made from recycled materials which would otherwise end up in land-fill are another great green option.  Put in a porch swing under your pergola just for fun or introduce interesting garden ornaments such as a birdbath or statues.  Bring your garden to life and make it a place you feel happy to live in.

Remember the two ‘R”s

If you want ‘rest and relaxation’ in your backyard, then it is important to choose items which you can ‘repair and re-decorate’.  Natural wooden materials can be sanded down and oiled for a fresher look as opposed to plastic materials which need to be thrown away, as they weaken and crack when exposed to UV.  Aluminium furniture can be durable but is prone to dents, scratches and because it is a light material, chairs and tables often get blown around on windy days. Wood has a beautiful, enduring quality which will never go out of style.  Purchasing sustainable, eco-friendly products are the only smart choice for a greener planet.

About the author

Jay Chua is the founder of www.porchswingsets.com. Based in Vancouver, Jay and his lovely wife Deisy are keen gardeners and fervent advocates of living greenly.  Their philosophy is echoed in everything they do and they both enjoy relaxing in their backyard from the cosy comfort of their porch swing whilst looking out to their many wonderful organic fruit trees

Organic Power – Why Smart Women are Insisting on Natural Products


There are many times in a woman’s life when crossroads inevitably present themselves.  In retrospect, we all wished that we had made different choices at particular times in our lives, but modern life is complicated.  Young women everywhere are faced with various conundrums on how best to look after themselves but conflicting arguments make it almost impossible to make any decisions at all.  Somehow, we move forward and hope for the best.  At some point though, we all encounter issues which are imperative to our greatest asset – our health and well-being.  That crossroad is one which we cannot afford to take shortcuts on; education and being well-informed will ultimately be our best guide.

Something miraculous happens to a woman when she is faced with the possibility of bearing and raising children.  We re-evaluate ourselves deep within and question who we are and the grand meaning of our place in the world.  Giving birth and raising children is one of those life-changing events in every mother’s life which is constantly evolving, challenging us daily.  A new baby represents hope and instinctively makes us want to be better people and live better lives.

For millions of women, going green and using natural and organic products is a lifestyle choice they take very seriously when they have a baby.  Providing well for their beloved children and families means living free of chemical radicals which plague modern society.  They prefer getting back to basics by consciously choosing products with ‘real’ ingredients such as locally grown fresh foods free of pesticides, clothes made of natural fibers free of synthetic dyes or processes, and using natural and organic toiletries such as natural soaps, herbal toothpastes, and holistic personal beauty products.  Once they see the benefits and great results, they become advocates of living greenly for the rest of their lives, thus passing on this magnificent legacy onto their children.  This virtuous philosophy is often shunned by many a ‘doubting Thomas’ who do not understand its true value, but are converted when they experience the power of natural products for themselves.

For far too long, we have been subjected to synthetic products claiming to be good for us.  The evidence though speaks otherwise – increased occurrences of Asthma, Eczema, Psoriasis, and other debilitating conditions and diseases are some of the side-effects of the presence of toxic chemicals in our bodies.  Smart mums have cottoned onto this and are saying ‘no more’ by purchasing natural and organic items to care for their families.

Out of ideas for an upcoming birthday or celebration? Offering a gorgeous hamper of natural body products or organic baby gifts is a simple and ideal way of showing your affection for family and friends and will be well-received.  Natural products are easy to shop for, are inexpensive and work hard to nourish every part of the body.  The USDA Certified Organic logo means that you can be sure the raw ingredients in the products were grown organically – the way Mother Nature had always intended it to be.  There is something truly beautiful about being one with nature and you do feel better inside and out.  At Charleston Naturally, we source and stock the best natural products and organic baby gifts for you and for those you love.

The organic revolution is well underway and smart consumers are opting for products which will help them and not harm them in the long run.  Many mums who already use natural and organic products would not even consider using anything else on their babies.  Children are precious and we need to improve on our mistakes of the past for their sake.  Perhaps it is time to take a peek into our own cupboards and cabinets and rid our lives of all the chemical products we have accumulated.  It is never too early or too late to make the right choice – go on, live naturally.

Viva Erbaviva! Great natural and Organic Skincare for Your Baby

Erbaviva’s story is an inspirational one which stems from the love of two parents for their child.  Like any good parents, Chris Brown and his wife Anna Cirronis wanted to provide their beautiful baby with the very best that money could buy.  However, they were quickly disheartened at the rows of chemical-filled products on the supermarket shelves; and to their amazement they could not find anything which did not contain any synthetic materials.  Out of necessity, they started creating their own concoctions with natural essential oils to care for their baby’s sensitive skin.

Fifteen years on, Erbaviva has become a household name and is a worthy success story.  Their range of fabulous organic baby products has gone from strength to strength.  They have a following of devoted mums and dads who cannot sing their praises enough, because Erbaviva’s products deliver what they promise.  If the best advertisement is word of mouth then a lot of people worldwide have been using Erbaviva’s products and talking about the fantastic results.  All of their products are ideal for all skin types and it is refreshing to see a list of ingredients you actually know such as Lavender Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, and Chamomile.  They proudly wear the USDA Certified Organic logo on their label and seek only the purest natural ingredients to care for all babies.

Erbaviva’s assortment of products for sweet little munchkins makes the perfect organic baby gifts.  Putting a selection of various products together as a ‘starter baby hamper’ is a thoughtful and caring gift for a friend and their precious little one.  Organic baby gifts of course are not limited to only newborn babies; they make wonderful birthday gifts or Christmas gifts and are great at any stage of a child’s life.  At Charleston Naturally, you will find lots of interesting things to add to your hamper such as cute toys made of natural fibre, books, and other exclusive items.

Erbaviva’s philosophy of embracing all that is completely natural and renouncing all that is remotely synthetic has resonated with millions of people everywhere.  A thriving company which started out as two ordinary people with a dream of caring for kids everywhere is proof that the demand for natural and organic products is higher than ever.  Erbaviva operates as an eco-friendly company and their manufacturing plant runs on a renewable power source; their trucks use bio-diesel to minimize their carbon footprints.  As an ethical company they also believe in giving back to the community.  Fifteen percent of sales from their selected products are donated to the ‘Worldwide Orphans Foundation’ – a non-profit organization assisting orphans around the world with education, building of schools and providing social support networks in their community.  This great organization also assists orphans living with HIV to receive care and medical treatment.

So you see, using Erbaviva products gives you much more than just fantastic clean and fresh skin care or great organic baby gifts.  They represent something much nobler.  Your happy baby will look and feel great on the outside and you will feel good on the inside that you are making a difference in the life of a less fortunate child somewhere else in our world.  As with other great natural and organic companies, Erbaviva’s range is constantly improving and evolving to provide their consumers with optimum products.  Make a better choice for your baby today and he/she will enjoy the immense health benefits in the future.

What to Wear on an Urban Excursion

Urban Excursion

Cities are often referred to as concrete jungles and I think the analogy is spot on.  They are places where ominous buildings of dark glistening glass are akin to the tall imposing trees of the forest, and where the undergrowth is a constant hub of life.  Direct your eyes upwards and you will see the fleeting glimpses of sunshine dancing amongst the canopy.

If you are heading for a day out in the big smoke, it is safe to leave your safari suit at home – the urban jungle calls for a different approach altogether.  The important thing is to be comfortable.  It is a good idea to check what the weather will be like on the day as this will determine what type of clothes to wear.  Sensible shoes are an absolute must if you will be trekking through the harsh concrete landscape.  You can do all of this without compromising on your fashion style.  Find a happy medium and you will enjoy your day without searing blisters or discomfort.

Whether your planned trip falls on a sunny day or not, it is necessary to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.  In order to maximize protection, there are a few helpful details to consider.  Wearing a hat, such as the cleverly designed Coolibar sun hat will allow your scalp to breathe whilst providing your face and ears with great shade.  Bringing along a pair of polarized sunglasses is also very crucial.  Glare reflecting off buildings and car windows can produce an intense blinding light which can impair your eyesight.  Polarized sunglasses are the only type of lenses which can effectively diffuse high concentrations of sun light, as well as providing you with excellent UVA & UVB protection.

Wherever you go, whether it is to the city or your backyard, protecting your skin is definitely one of the most important things you can do for yourself and others.  Using a natural and organic sunscreen should be a daily routine, just like brushing your teeth.  Being outdoors means exposure to UV radiation.  For too long now, people have been neglecting their skin and downplaying the real need to shield themselves from it.  The reality is that millions of people worldwide suffer and can succumb to skin cancer and this frightening number is on the rise.  Making a smart choice is easy with the great range of organic sunscreens available from COOLA,  for example. They have designed a total natural selection of Certified Organic sunscreens for babies and adults alike, offering great SPF 15 to SPF 45 protection. John Masters Organics Mineral Organic Sunscreen with SPF 30 is compact and ideal when traveling.  It has a small nozzle for dispensing just the right amount as needed.  Natural and organic sunscreens contain a variety of other ingredients which work harmoniously to nourish as well as protect your skin, and this is why they are a cut above the rest.  Hydrating elements such as Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Lavender Oil, Orange Oil, Sweet Almond Oil and much more, soak deep down into the dermis to repair and nurture your skin.  Keeping your body hydrated on your expedition with lots of water is also very helpful.

Carry all that you require, like water, sunscreen, fruits and other needful things in one of our great shoulder tote bags – so chic, so urban, so practical and at unbelievable prices only at CharlestonNaturally.com, and remember explorers, planning ahead will make for a great experience on your urban excursion.  Get out there and enjoy life!

Great Organic Hair Care Products for Men

Young Man with Short Haircut

Long gone are the days of rubbing in the Brylcreem and splashing on the Old Spice for those special occasions.  Modern times have shaped the modern man to pay close attention to their health and well-being.  There always has been great allure with a well-groomed man and there is an assortment of fantastic organic hair products on the market at your disposal to look your very best.

“Just the usual” at the local barber shop is rare to hear nowadays, with unusual and funky hairstyles fast becoming the center of attention for a lot of men.  It’s all about individuality and feeling good in your own skin. Maintaining that great haircut is easy with the right organic hair products.  Apply it and let all the natural nutrients in the product sink into your hair and scalp to care for it deep within.

For men with medium to short hair, there are many products designed just for you.  John Masters Organics has a great range of organic hair products to suit all hair types.  The Bourbon Vanilla and Tangerine Texturizer is perfect for that special spiky look and will not leave any sticky residue behind; or the John Masters Hair Pomade is also very effective in taming unruly curls or smoothing the hair.   If you suffer from a flaky or itchy scalp John Masters has a Zinc and Sage Shampoo with Conditioner to minimize the symptoms.

Intelligent Nutrients is another amazing brand whose sole aim is to bring you effective organic hair products full of nature’s goodness.  Intelligent Nutrients’ hair care range includes completely natural Perfect Hold or Volumizing hairsprays, a Hair Balm for medium hold and a healthy shine, or if you seek a slick, smooth finish, the Finishing Gloss is exactly what you need.  Intelligent Nutrients does exactly as the name suggests and that is to deliver smart nourishment to your hair and scalp for long-lasting, healthy hair.

Aubrey Organics has an impressive variety of organic grooming products just for men.  Similarly to John Masters and Intelligent Nutrients, Aubrey Organics is also free of synthetic chemicals which often cause a Ph imbalance in our skin.  All of the products are formulated to nurture our bodies instead of polluting our system with harmful substances. Aubrey Organics Hair Tonic with Ginseng and the Hair Repair with Ginseng are designed to strengthen and revitalize deep inside the hair follicles and is particularly good for thin or thinning hair, whilst providing volume on the outside.  Aubrey Organics Hair Gel is a popular item, producing a firm hold for styling your hair however you want.

Hair of course is unisex and universal, there has even been a musical written about it.  As humans we simply adore our hair, we cherish it and are forever trying to make it look as attractive as possible.  Healthy hair which has life, bounce and shine is now very achievable with the wonderful array of totally natural and organic hair products available.  For naturally beautiful hair, only organic hair products will do, for they truly care for your hair.