Zero Waste Periods : Cloth Pad Review – Bloom and Nora

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In the UK alone, we use about 4.3 billion single use sanitary products a year. An individual will be using around 11,000 disposable sanitary pads in her lifetime. And an estimated 1.3 million pads get flushed down the toilet, costing millions in clearing blocked drains. These plastic pads not only sit in the landfills for years (around 500 years), but the toxins used in these pads are polluting our oceans, thereby endangering the great marine life. The dioxins and carcinogens that are in these pads, enter our bodies through contact and can be literally deadly. So what is the solution?

Switch To More Sustainable and Healthier Options – Resuseable Cloth Pads

I have been using a menstruation cup for years now after having experienced terrible rashes from disposable pads and extreme dryness from tampons. But I could not go zero waste with my period right away. The cup is not the most convenient thing to empty, wash and insert back in in public washrooms. And I go on long walks which again makes cleaning after a few hours a difficult job, so I always used a sanitary pad to go with my menstruation cup. I might have cut down my use of disposable sanitary products by 90% but not completely.

Enter Bloom and Nora Cloth Pads

Bloom and Nora sent me their trail pack of sanitary pads made with 100% natural fibres. It was an opportunity for me to go zero waste in the red zone area, and I couldn’t have been more delighted.

I was sent a trail kit with two blooms and two Nora pads ranging between their four available sizes. I have used them over the past three cycle and I think I have enough experience to share my thoughts with you.

Blooms are basically made of bamboo core making it extremely soft against your skin and super duper absorbent. My baby uses bamboo nappies and I always thought he is so lucky to have something so cushy against his bits. Now I know how good it actually feels!!

Nora’s are known for it’s stay dry technology and stain proof quality and I have to say, after three cycles they still look as pearly as new.

Performance

In terms of performance, they get five stars from me. Not only are they soft but also leak proof. The outer PUL protects the clothing from getting wet and the leak proof edges prevents blood from seeping out.

The Nora Maxi and Bloom Mighty were the perfect team for the first day and night which is when my flow is the heaviest.

And Midi and Mini have performed excellently paired with my menstruation cup on long hikes and walks where there was no access to private toilet or cleaning facility. These pads successfully held any leaks from the overflowing cups and kept me dry and comfortable enough to finish my journey.

Life changer

One thing that I love about cloth pad is the fact that I don’t get any rashes. Disposables have the quality of drying out the skin which often left me with a rash. So not only did I have to go through the cycle (which in itself is an inconvenience) but also suffer in agony days after my period was over.

Washing

As a cloth nappy mama, it was no science for me know how this stuff worked, but for noobs I would recommended atleast three washes (no soap required) before use. This helps with the absorbency. You will see the absorbency improve with use.

After use, wash the blood off with cold tap water and put it either in your laundry basket or in the bathroom bag by Bloom and Nora, which is perfect to keep all the soiled pads together.

When ready, wash it on 40 degrees with a non-bio detergent. No need to tumble dry. Honestly, these pads dry in a flash and tumble drying may not damage the pads right away but will take away a few years of performance from it.

Price

Each one of the pads are less than a tenner and you will need about 10 to 12 pads each cycle. Less if you wash them more regularly. So a £100 for the next 5 years seems like a reasonable investment. That is less than £1.80 a month towards your period.

Conclusion

After having used both Bloom and Nora Pads, my favourites have to the bamboo Bloom pads. It felt the softest and most comfortable against my skin and felt light but sturdy. Nora had no performance issue but my skin was not necessary always happy with it. I felt the urge to change more frequently with Nora than in Blooms.

Also absolutely loved the poppers unlike the sticky wings of the disposables (often tore my knickers). They held the pads in place for hours and the wings were wide enough to prevent leaks but slim enough for comfort.

I also prefer Bloom for it’s colours, they suit my personality bold and bright.

Bloom and Nora is inspired by the daredevil feminist Amelia Bloomer who once said, “When you find a burden in belief or apparel, cast it off”

Disposable pads put a lot of burden on our environment and health, I think it is time we cast it off too. What do you think??

 

 

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The No-Poo Method

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Hair is quite often referred to as a woman’s jewel in a lot of Indian poems. And yet, we put our beautiful mane go through endless torture and abuse. If exposure to sunshine and pollution wasn’t enough, we kill the life out of our hair by shampooing it endlessly.

As a kid, I always shampoo’d my hair once a week. I had luscious long hair all the way up to my knees. I was very proud of my hair. When I became a teenager, the rebel in me wanted to care for my own hair. I cut it shorter, I coloured it and ironed it flat. Results were great and I enjoyed the look for a year that it lasted but as soon as the colour wore off and I lost the straightened hair, I realised the damage all that had caused. My hair was left lifeless. I had frizz and my hair was so badly damaged that I could not simply wash and air dry my hair anymore. I had to blow dry and straighten it every time to avoid frizz. Rain became my enemy. I could not just enjoy going for a swim in the sea unless the plan was to head straight back home after the swim. I tried all sorts of shampoos and conditioning/masks to repair my hair but to no avail!

Why stop shampooing?

Shampooing our hair regularly is actually pretty harmful for us. The chemicals in the shampoos not only strip off our hair and make it dull, they totally dry out our hair which confuses our system and thus, our scalp produces a lot more oil to compensate the loss of moisture. In order to get rid of the excess oil we shampoo a bit more. It is a vicious circle. Not only that, but every time we shampoo and rinse our hair we pass on the chemicals into our water sources causing enormous amount of damage to our marine life. And lets not forget the plastic waste!

After giving birth to Baby Roshan, I became very conscious of my use of chemicals. I did not want to wear, consume or promote the use of so much chemically rich products into my life. I wanted to go the natural parenting ways and live a natural lifestyle too. I started boycotting a lot of cosmetics products that were full of harmful chemicals. One of which was my shampoo and conditioner.

Another reason to ditch my shampooing routine was the lack of time. After having a baby, long showers became a luxury. For the first 8 months, I hadn’t had a shower without an interruption from the baby. Since my hair needed immediate blowdrying and straightening in order to prevent it from getting frizzy and dull, my hair care routine became a liability with a baby on toe. So the first thing I did was to cut my hair short.

I loved my long hair. I have always had beautifully thick black hair. Cutting them short was a big emotional decision. I chose to send it to a charity that makes pretty wigs for little princesses with cancer. That way, I felt less bad about cutting my long mane shorter.

Now that I had short hair, I thought it would be a perfect time to try out the No-poo method for my hair care routine.

No-Poo Method:

No-Poo method simply means reducing or boycotting the use of shampoo altogether. I chose to go all out and give up shampoo completely.  For the past six months, I haven’t used any shampoo in my hair and I have to say it works. My hair is clean, healthy and smells of nothing but hair! It does not stink nor does it smell of any artificial perfume.

My hair care routine:

I started off by using bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar.

Now it is important to note that initially your hair will feel very greasy even after washes. But trust me, stick to it and be patient. It really works.

What you need to realise is that all those years of shampooing has resulted in an unimaginably excessive amount of oil secretion from your scalp. It will take a while for the scalp to realise that you don’t need so much oil for your hair. So I would say it can take anywhere from a month to six weeks for the hair to feel less greasy after a wash. In fact, the first few washes, the hair will seem very very greasy and oily. almost yucky!

After three weeks, I almost gave up because my hair did not feel clean. It constantly looked greasy. I also realised diluting the bicarb and vinegar wasn’t working for me. So I took the risk of using it directly.

I washed my hair once every three days with bicarb and vinegar!

My current routine

So after rinsing my hair with water, I use a table spoon of bicarb and massaged it into my scalp. I leave it in for 2 minutes before washing it off.

I would then use the white vinegar as a conditioner. I use about two to three tablespoons of vinegar and massage it into my hair.

It is important to rinse the vinegar off with luke warm water and not hot water. This helps to lock in the moisture and gives the hair a luscious and glossy look.

It has been six months, and I am thoroughly convinced with my no poo method. It gives me such a pleasure to think how much I save on shampoos and conditioners and how naturally clean my hair is. It does not smell, it is clean and it is shiny.

This method not only prevents the use of chemical to clean your hair but the use of bicarb and vinegar is good cure for dandruffs too. Who would have thought!

Give it a go. What is to lose? If it doesn’t work for you, you can always go back to shampooing. There are so many herbal shampoos with less chemicals to choose from too.

Tips:

Frangrance

Now, if you are wondering that vinegar would leave your hair smelling all vinegary you are wrong. It does not smell of vinegar once washed thoroughly, but if you want to be extra sure, you could dilute some essential oil in a mug of water and rinse your hair with it. I use lavender oil or rose oil.

Coconut Oil

I use coconut oil as a serum to tame the frizz or flyaways. Once a month I also massage my hair with coconut oil and leave it on over night. I wash it off in the morning. This helps the hair gain some volume and repairs any damage.

Let me know what you think of No-Poo Method?

My Newborn Wishlist

Having a baby is very exciting! But having your first baby is also very daunting! I am 34 weeks pregnant, and although I look and act very calm, I do get nervous about the birth from time to time. The best way to distract and relax myself is NOT always yoga or hynotherapy or a bath but a bit of online window shopping for the baby and moi!

Given we are only couple of weeks away from being full term, and Braxton Hicks are getting more frequent and sharp, we have done most of our shopping in terms of baby essentials like cots, nappies, clothes, car seats etc. But there are always those little things that one either doesn’t think of or wouldn’t bother buying either because one can do without them or simply because of budget issues. With a 9 year old and a 7 year old, their VERY expensive music lessons and other extra-cirricular activities, we are a bit tight on budget. So here are a list of things I would like for my bub but they aren’t essential and baby will grow fine without them. But every now and then I will come back to this list when I have a bit of cash in hand and perhaps get one thing at a time.

  1. Ewan the Sheep: This is the sort of thing I would have to make cute faces at my husband to get and hence, it obviously wasn’t in the list of essentials. But I have heard rave reviews about it and how it helps infants find comfort in the world that is not their mothers womb.ewanthesheep
  2. Gro Swaddle Blanket: Although I plan to swaddle my baby in my grandma and mother’s old cotton sarees, this burrito style blanket is perfect for outdoors and for a fancy visit to a friends which my spring/summer baby will be doing a lot. woodland_friends_gro-swaddle_1
  3. KinderGlo Light: I have raised two toddlers who were scared of the dark and I have only just managed to sleep train them. At the age of 9 and 7 years, they have finally learnt the beauty of sleeping in lesser bright environment by using iKea’s Spoka light that turns itself off. But I don’t want to spend another 9 years sleep training this one and so I plan to train this baby to sleep in complete darkness. Having said that I will need a night light to change nappies and for those precious feeding hours. Now what I like about this one is that it has a nice red light which apparently is ideal for babies, suggested by Sarah Ockwell-Smith in her book, The Gentle Parenting Book. But with delivery, it will cost me almost £100 which is too much for a night light. Hence, it is in this list!kinderglo
  4. Babymoov Monitor : We live in a massive house with three storeys. We will need a baby audio monitor, although I have no intention of leaving my baby alone. This one can wait a few months.expert-care-baby-monitor
  5. Sheepskin Rug: Sheepskin blankets and rugs are perfect to adjust the body temperature of the baby, also very safe for the babies if they puke and roll on it accidentally. It has a tendency of soaking things up very easily leaving your baby warm and dry. We have wooden polished floors and this would be perfect for some floor time with the baby. But an ethically sourced one does not come cheap and it has to be sourced properly.Mimosa-Baby-Sheepskin-Rug-Ivory-initialZoom
  6. Little Green Sheep blanket and bed sheets: I have a snuzpod for my baby but I am yet to buy some spare bedding for the cot. Little Green Sheep has a great range of pure cotton and organic bedding sets that are ethically produced and how I would love to own some of them 🙂Organic-Crib-Bedding-Set-initialZoom
  7. BabyMel Grace Changing Bag: Pure luxury! I plan to babywear, in which case, I will need a rucksack for a changing bag but if I wanted something fancy and for days like attending a wedding or a party, this one would be perfect. Again, it is very dear price wise but I am sure, totally worth it!babymel-grace-tote-diaper-bag-tan-10

What is in your newborn wishlist?

The Greeench Deodorant Powder by Lush

Copyrights: Jen Wright

Copyrights: Jen Wright

I am, generally, a naturally fragrant person. There are no deodorants on my shelves. But hormones can do funny things during pregnancy. Mine makes me a bit smelly! Hmmpff I tried different roll ons etc whilst looking out for something that is natural, ethically produced, durable and one that works!

And, although I like to keep a partial distance from any supply chains like the Body Shop or Lush. They do offer a range of products that suits my needs and isn’t very heavy on the pocket. The Greeench Deodorant Powder is one of them!

Now, before I review the product, let me tell you how helpful the sales associates in Lush were. When I explained to them that I need something to ease of the body odour during my pregnancy, they explained to me why I must not use an anti-perspirant but a deodorant. Antiperspirant contain aluminium which block the sweat glands from releasing toxins which are essential for our well-being. Now deodorants contain parabens which aren’t good for us either but The Greeench Deodorant Powder is paraben free, thus making it absolutely natural and safe to use during and after pregnancy.

It smells of sage, rosemary and tea tree oil. It has a very neutral smell for both genders. It is easy to apply by just rubbing the powder in your palms and applying under your arms but the sales associate suggested I use a powder puff which makes it easier. The Greeench doesn’t stop you from sweating (sweating is a natural process of getting rid of toxins), but you will notice it does help you smell less. In my case, it makes me smell nice. It is like applying talcum, it gives you the same sensation of dryness and smoothness. I apply it under my arms after a shower in the morning and it last me a good few hours. I do have to re-apply in the evening if I am to pop out of the house to carry on some outdoor activities.

I also did a little test on my poor husband. I popped some on him before he went for his run and noticed although really sweaty and ofcourse a bit smelly, it wasn’t so bad that I had to send him straight int to the shower!

I am very impressed with this product so far. I think it is a 75ml bottle and costs £6.50 which is not very expensive. It lasts a very long time as well. Logically speaking, if you are an antiperspirant or roll on user, it might take a week or so for this product to show it’s full effect, because your body will stop storing the toxins and start releasing them which helps with your Ph balance. Once that is in place, The Greeench will show you all it’s love it has to offer! (Don’t quote me on that though).

 

Beautiful Pregnant Body Box From Natalia Vital Touch

Copyrights: beachwalkmuse

Copyrights: beachwalkmuse

Pregnancy is miraculous and it makes you realise what a wonderful thing, this body of yours is! This body is not just yours but is also sustaining another living being inside of you. Every step of the way in your pregnancy, you realise the wonders of human anatomy and you come face to face with the baffling changes your body and skin goes through. It is one of the most wonderful yet indescribable experiences of one’s life!

What one doesn’t realise is that behind all that pregnancy glow, there is secret dire journey of itchy, scaly skin one has to endure as the baby grows inside of you. And if you have hypermesis like me, that glow you see is not completely baby’s glory. I was devastatingly dehydrated. My skin, normally very healthy, took a real toll. As I started to grow in my second trimester, my boobs got really really itchy and dry, I started to develop scratch marks on them and the belly? Oh god, the only way I could fall asleep was if my husband tickled it ever so gently until I actually fell asleep.

Beautiful Pregnant Body Box came just in time to my rescue! Vital Touch were so kind to send me a box of just the right goodies. All the products in the box are organic and made with various aromatherapy blends of oils to care for your skin the right way during pregnancy. What I also like about the products is that it is not only completely natural but is alsocruelty free. No animals were harmed in the process and that makes me happy.  I was so impressed with the box that I brought a box of goodies for my friend’s baby shower and she has been devouring it just like me.

So let me unleash the box for you. It comes with a Prenatal Leg Refresher, Body Scrub, Belly Butter, a Step By Step Pregnancy and Labour Massage Guide (which my husband found very useful) and a Cotton Flannel (which I am saving for the baby, I think).

Prenatal Leg Refresher is exactly what it says. It comes in this little bottle, which makes you think, “oh this is tinsy?” but trust me you need a really small pea sized little droplets in your palms, rub your palms together and apply on your legs gently. It has a pleasant astringent quality to it like a toner (just doesn’t burn like so). You literally have to apply it, and before you massage it in properly your legs start to feel relaxed. There are two sensory explosions that take place. A cooling and relaxing effect (must be the Aloe) on your legs, that suffers a lot of ache and swelling during pregnancy. I, for one, as a dog walker, really enjoy a leg massage or anything nice done to my legs and feet. The second explosion is the gentle yet refreshing scent of Geranium, Lemon and Crypress.

Next in the box is the Prenatal Anti-Stretch Butter. This one, I was addicted to; hence the picture of an empty jar unfortunately! I have been super itchy around my belly, so much so that you can see a white marks if you even gently draw a line on it with your fingernails. It was so dry until I started using the belly butter. It is super absorbent. The Shea Butter is such that when you apply it on your skin, the body heat melts it instantly like butter in a pan. “It is quite an amazing experience to rub it in”, says my husband who has dedicated himself to rubbing me with oils and blends everyday before bedtime. So far, the skin has shown no signs of stretch marks (I won’t be surprised if they do appear later on, I am prone to them) but for now I am enjoying the heavenly smell of the product and being more than appreciative of the fact that it takes away my itchiness and helps me settle in bed easily at night time.

Now my favourite of all, the Prenatal Beautiful Body Scrub. Oh my goodness! I cannot rave about it enough. I have been itching to write about this particular product. The area around my areola has been very dry and scaly. I was really worried about it, because I do plan to breastfeed and if my boobs were already suffering so much, I wasn’t sure what would breastfeeding do to it. But this Body Butter is miraculous. I cannot think of my showers without it. It worked soon after the first wash. My scaly skin disappeared the very next day and I am less itchy too. When you first apply the product on your very dry skin, the Sea Salt burns your skin. It burns, in a nice way, when you know something is going to work, all those dead cells are being destroyed. But then when you wash it off, the coconut oil leaves your skin very well moisturised and smooth. And it is true, that you don’t have to moisturise your skin after your shower. Oh and the fragrance, it is indeed heavenly with Geranium, Sweet Orange and Patchouli. Vital Touch, has made me fall in love with the smell of Geranium. It was a nice change from the same old smell of Lavender used by most companies. It is so over-used that this pregnancy, I couldn’t find comfort in Lavender strangely but Geranium has been a hit!

The Vital Touch Natalia Beautiful Pregnant Body Box’s retail price is £34.50, which seems a lot and it is, especially if you plan to use all the products throughout your pregnancy. But on the other hand, when you compare it to the cost of other high end organic and cruelty free brands, a box with a full massage guide and a cotton flannel, it isn’t so bad! They have a range of products you can buy separately, outside the box that will last you a long time. For instant, the Leg Refresher is not something one uses on a daily basis. Similarly the body scrub is something you can use as and when your skin feels dry given it’s quick results. The one thing that does go easily is the lovely anti-stretch butter. But then that is something one has to simply put up with and for only a few months, afterall. The flannel is going to also last you for ages.

I think the products make for a very good present for friends and family. Don’t forget to checkout Vital Touch Products and Gift Boxes, carefully selected for pregnancy, new mums and newborns.

They are now, also launching their new face care range which I can’t wait to get hold off. Stay tuned for the next review!

 

 

The Body Shops Warming Mineral Mask Review

Copyrights: Bysushi

Copyrights: Bysushi

I have been blessed with a very healthy skin. So it doesn’t require much looking after. My make-up only involves a moisturiser and some highlights with a lipstick and a kohl liner. That’s that!

Having said that I do like to indulge in pampering my facial skin with a face mask from time to time. As a teenager I used fruit peel masks widely popular in India, where I grew up. But as I grew older, I started enjoying clay masks. During this on going pregnancy, I threw up so much that I can feel the dehydration on my skin everyday. I can sense the need to exfoliate and massage my face from time to time. I usually use a homemade blend of double cream, turmeric and honey but I am a bit bored of that so when I went to The Body Shop recently, I picked up this mineral mask.

The Body Shops Mineral Mask is self warming perfect for winter time. As soon as you rub it in, it starts warming up and feels very comforting to the skin unlike clay masks which can feel chilly in winter. The texture is very creamy, unlike a clay mask that cakes up as it dries. I waited more than the recommended 5 minutes hoping it would dry and start cracking – a sign that it is time to wash it off. But then, I quickly realised that it is a mineral mask  and that it won’t dry out like a clay mask. Anyhow, I washed my face with luke warm water and I felt so gorgeous. My skin had an instant glow and felt so smooth.

I would as a tip suggest, that you wash your face first, and exfoliate with either a Konjac Sponge or any product that your fancy. Then apply the mask on wet skin and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before washing it. Do not apply any soap for atleast 12 to 24 hours. Apply either some almond oil or your favourite night cream afterwards for full result.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the skin did not feel dry at all even after washing off the mask. One of my kids in bed was calling out for me, so I had to rush into their bedroom after washing my face. It took me about 15 to 20 minutes before I could apply any moisturiser on my face and in that time, I never once felt my skin tightening up or drying out as it does with clay masks sometimes, especially in cold weather.

I give it 5 stars and highly recommend it. I love it’s magical warming sensation!

Konjac Sponge – Review

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Konjac Sponge is very commonly used in East Asia and is picking up on popularity in other western countries. I heard about it through another blogger and loved the idea of daily exfoliation.

If we think about it, skin is the largest organ in our body and yet we are so reckless with it. It is exposed to pollution and dirt and it needs looking after. Daily exfoliation is one way to go about it. I grew up scrubbing my whole body with various sponges and brushes. I have a distinct memory of my dad scrubbing himself till he went pink and you could tell that those dead cells are all gone. But face is an altogether a different story!

The skin on our face is so sensitive and so delicate that over indulging it with make-up or cleansing can dry it out and cause more harm than benefit it. So when I heard of Konjac Sponge that is being used widely around the other side of the world, I thought of giving it a go. I have been using it for almost a year now and I have to say I am impressed. I have not washed my face with soap in a long time. That is the benefit of using Konjac Sponge. It exfoliates, cleanses, tones and helps release natural oils essential for keeping the skin supple and naturally moisturised.

The best thing about Konjac sponge is that it is hardly a sponge. It is made out of a root vegetable making it 100% natural and eco-friendly. Konjac has 97% water, rich in minerals and is PH neutral making it perfectly suitable and alkaline to balance the skin cells.

I use it daily in the shower to remove make-up and to clean up excess debris off my face. If I have layers of make-up, the most I do is rub my face with avacado oil and wipe it off with some cotton balls (same for eye make-up removal as well), followed by Konjac sponge scrubbing.

It is very easy to use as well. All you have to do is, soak it for 10 to 15 minutes in warm water for it to soften up and as it absorbs all the water, it doubles up in size. Once ready, squeeze out all the excess water and exfoliate to your delight and then simply rinse off your face. Wash the sponge and leave it to dry. It is easy to carry with you on your travels and requires minimum maintainence. One sponge will last you for months. I brought two and after almost 8 months it is only now, that I am thinking of replacing the old with the new. For about £9 for almost years usage, it is a bargain.

Please try it out for yourself and let me know your thoughts on it.  I shall wait eagerly to hear your opinions on it.

 

P.S: This post was not sponsored. Also, a last minute addition to this post is the link to the one I brought from Amazon (the link might be inactive if the manufacturer decides to remove it but if so, order one that says 100% vegetable fibre with no colouring) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ora-Natural-Japanese-Facial-Vegetable/dp/B011STO9GW/ref=sr_1_10/275-7076527-8272337?ie=UTF8&qid=1452504637&sr=8-10&keywords=charcoal+konjac+sponge