Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Earth Friendly Baby Review

This one is for all the mama's out there. Since Ollie was born 13 months ago I have been searching for a suitable shampoo and skincare range to use on his delicate skin. With newborns, their skin is so sensitive and fragile that it is recommended to use purely natural products for cleaning baby. For the first few weeks I was using pure water and cotton wool on his bottom and Olive oil as a moisturiser and for nappy rash, as recommended by my midwife. However this wasn't very practical for me long term and I found certain baby skincare ranges and products too harsh for Ollie. 

If you have ever gone to use a baby wipe to remove your make up you can feel how harsh they are on your skin. They leave my face bright red. I once went to wipe Ollie's breakfast mess off the kitchen wall and it stripped the paint clean off the wall! It got me thinking as to what was actually in the products I was using on my baby.

So I was on the hunt for a nice, gentle baby skincare range. I usually bath him in the evenings as part of his bedtime routine and love the smell of lavender which helps him get into sleepy mode. I have tried many and finally I feel that my quest has come to end! 

And enter, Earth Friendly Baby Shampoo and Bodywash.

This is my absolute favorite to use at bath-time. I use the lavender scented wash but it is also available in Soothing Chamomile or Happy Mandarin. It foams up brilliantly, can be used to wash top-to-toe, and the tiniest squirt goes a long way. The product uses natural botanicals and organic lavender. 

They are also free from:

  • SlS(Sodium- Laureth Sulfate) and Parabens which are common skin irritants.
  • Artificial fragrances or colourings
  • No animal testing
and it gets the seal of approval from Vegan societies! It is suitable for the most sensitive of baby (and grown ups) skin. If you suffer from eczema or dry itchy skin I would definitely recommend trying this out.  I will be definitely be keeping an eye out for more from this range next time I'm in the supermarket.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Talk to the Palm

Palm Oil is used in everything from food to cosmetics to detergent. It is in hundreds of everyday product that you may not even realise. Products like shampoo, lipstick, noodles, bread, washing detergent, butter and hundreds more. The main reason we are so oblivious to palm oil is that it is disguised under many different names on packaging

Palm oil can appear under any of the following names and more:

Vegetable Oil, Palm Kernal, Palm kernal Oil, Glyceryl, Strerate, Sodium Laurel Sulphate and many more.

I first became aware of palm oil when I was living in Australia. On random ingredients checks I would find it in so many things and upon researching I found that in Australia 50% of the packaged food in supermarkets contain Palm Oil. Anti-palm oil groups are alot more vocal down under too. It is also the most widely used vegetable oil on earth with 85% being produced in Malaysia and Indonesia. 

Ok, So whats the big deal With Palm Oil?

Palm Oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree which grows in tropical countries, mainly Malaysia and Indonesia. It is mass produced and highly productive as a lot of oil can be derived from a small amount of crop. The mass production creates jobs and income in rural and impoverished communities in these countries. However the impact the mass production of this crop has on the environment is huge. Endangered species, mainly oorangutans are killed, sold or driven from their homes. Alot of native people also loose there homes as machines take over there land. The deforestation of the tropical rainforest also has a huge impact on global warming!

palm oil deforestation
Elephants, rhinos and orangutans are already endangered

So what can I do?

Choose wisely! Familiarise yourself with the typical names it can be disguised as on your shopping list. It can be quite daunting when you see just how much in your home can contain this one ingredient. Try to choose products that contain "certified sustainable palm oil". This way the economy doesn't suffer in these poorer countries but then neither do the animals. Don't beat yourself up if you purchase something and realise it does contain it, this is merely so you can make an informed choice. The following link is for a petition for sustainable palm oil there is also plenty more info there too!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Happy Diwali!

Diwali is the festival of light. It celebrates light over darkness or good over evil. During this festival wealth, health and good fortune are celebrated and also prayed for the coming year. It is spread over 4 days, each day is significant to one god or  legend. 

Day 1: This day celebrates Lord Krishna 
Day 2: Today special attention is payed to Lakshmi (The goddess of wealth)
Day 3: Lord Vishnu banished a tyrant "Bali" to hell allowing him to return to earth once per year to light millions of lamps and dispel darkness and evil.
Day 4: On this day sisters invite their brothers to there home for a blessing.

During the 4 days of celebration there are parties held, special prayers (puja) at the temples and every inch of the place is decorated with colourful lights and flowers, Playing cards is also a popular pastime during Diwali!

These following photos are compliments of Billy's family in Nepal.
 Beautiful flower petals are used to decorate as a tribute to Godess Lakshmi
 Fireworks and crackers can be seen and heard over the 4 days as the festival of "Light" takes place
During the biggest Hindu festival of the year, houses are decorated with colourful light much like the equivalent to Christmas.

With light and love, Rachael x

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Hello Hydration!

Dehydration of the skin is, by far, the most common skin condition I see in my line of work. It affects a majority of people to some degree. You can suffer from dehydration no matter what skin type you have. A condition of the skin is different to skin type. A condition being dehydration/sensitivity/ageing. A skin type could be oily/ dry/normal. Whenever I have a client come to me concerned with dryness of the skin I generally find the real problem is dehydration. 

Dehydration makes your skin feel dry. It may also feel tight and appear dull with fine line, especially around the eyes. If you wear make up or foundation you may find that after a few hours it disappears, looks dry or flaky or just doesn't "sit right". This is caused as your skin is yearning for hydration and so is taking the moisture from your foundation and leaving the dry ingredients sitting on your skin. This is essentially why most women will think they have dry skin. Another indication that your skin is dehydrated is after showering if it feels extremely tight. Hydrated skin is smooth, glowing and make up lasts all day.

The main factors that will dehydrate your skin are 

  • Over-exposure to the sun
  • Incorrect skin care
  • Smoking/Alcohol/Caffeine
  • Diet
  • Prolonged exposure to Air-conditioning
  • Exercising: Sweating and not replacing lost water. Chlorine from swimming is also extremely dehydrating.

If this sounds like you then there are a number of ways to counteract or prevent dehydrating your skin.

1. If your skin is excessively dehydrated I would recommend to start with a hydrating facial from a professional therapist, who can help to point you in the right direction.
2. Start a good quality skincare routine and stick to it! I will be posting my top recommendations later!
3. Drink water! (might sound boring but it works)
4. Avoid excessive caffeine or alcohol intake, instead drink herbal or fruit teas or water. Coconut water is an extremely hydrating  and refreshing alternative to water! 
5. Use an SPF in your daily skincare and try limit your exposure to air conditioning. (If you work in an office where you can't avoid air con, fill up a small spritz bottle with water and a few drops of water to replace lost moisture throughout the day)

When it comes to make up a flawless foundation starts with great skin. No matter how good or expensive your foundation is if your skin is dehydrated you wont get the most out of it!  

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Asian Persuasion!

When I was  little girl I was obsessed with being a princess! I so badly wanted to be a princess that I used to get genuinely upset at the fact that I was just an ordinary girl and not princess Jasmine or the like, so much so that one day my mum sat me down and told me that I was in fact a princess. She told me that my real father was an Indian prince but that he had wanted me to live in India and she had wanted to stay in Ireland. Well, the next day I strolled into class and announced to everyone that they were, in fact, in the presence of royalty! This fantasy was over as quickly as it had begun and obviously my mum's little joke was taken way to seriously by me. Although my time as an Indian princess was short lived my fascination with India and all the magic that goes along with it was far from over.

Now Billy is from Nepal, not India. Although they are neighboring countries and have many similarities.They both have a kind of magical mystery that's completely alien to us in Ireland. The main religion in both is Hinduism. This religion has a strong influence on the culture and daily lives of both Indian and Nepalese people. From what they eat to what they wear, the language they speak and the many gods they worship and all their wonderful colourful holidays. Buddha was also born in Nepal ( although Indians will dispute this). Nepal is such an interesting country with so much culture and incredible history.

 So I am on a journey now to learn as much as possible about Nepal and everything there is to go with it. Ollie is half Nepalese and I want him to grow up knowing every inch of his being. I think it would be such a shame for him to grow up not knowing his language, his history or his religion. So here I go on my journey of discover the magic and mystery of this far away land. I will be adding to this post frequently ( I hope) as I learn and discover more about the culture of Nepal and everything that goes with it!

Facts about Nepal

  1. Nepal's flag is the only flag in the world that does not have 4 sides. The 2 triangles represent the Himalaya peaks and the 2 major religions (Hinduism and Buddhism). It has an image of a sun and a moon on it.
2. With 8 of the highest peaks in the world, including Mount Everest, which the Nepalese people call Sagarmatha which means "goddess of the skies".
3. Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Limbini is a pilgrimage for many Buddhists and tourists. 

4.The Gurkha are the legendary warriors of Nepal. While surrounding India and China were ruled by foreign powers, no one could take over Nepal. The Gurka's are extremely brave, courageous and great leaders. They have been recruited for the front line of many major armies. A famous quote about them:
"If a man says he is not afraid of dying he is either lying, or he is Gurka"
5. Nepal is becoming increasingly westernized with a huge surge in tourism to the country. The traditional dress for Hindu women are beautiful ornate saree's. These are usually kept for special occasions or religious holidays. 

6. The Cow is considered a sacred animal to Hindus. Devout Hindu's do not eat beef. In India and Nepal cows roam free. There excrement is considered holy too and helps protect against evil. There is a logical reason behind this as it has anti-bacterial properties!

7. Hindus celebrate many holidays. The main one's are Diwali and Holi. Holi is the festival of colour where coloured powder is thrown over eachother. Diwali is the national Nepalese holiday.

8.Hindu's worship one god, but there are many different forms of the one god. Or that the all supreme god created many demi-gods. Some of the main gods are Krishna, Ganesh and Godess Laxmi.

9.Nepal has many different terrains from mountainous areas to valleys and flat terrains. The roads that wind around the mountainous areas are some of the most dangerous roads in the world.
10. The near extinct bengal tiger and snow leapord can be found in Nepal. Along with many other exotic creatures. 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

W7 Cosmetics Review!

W7 is the new cosmetics range taking Ireland by storm and it's not hard to see why. I had seen the cosmetics stand in the local pharmacy and instantly was drawn to it. There is no denying the similarity to some higher end brands but even though the products are super affordable, the quality is amazing and packaging it good quality. I will definitely be going back for more... after all who doesn't love a make up splurge! 

In The Nude Eye shadow palette.

These are so similar to the Urban Decay Naked palettes but at a fraction of the cost. Similar to Naked 1,2 and 3 there are 3 palettes "In the Nude", "In the Buff" and "In the Night". I picked up "In the Nude" which I would compare to Naked 3 palette. This palette contains a mix of matte, satin and shimmer finish from light to dark. The texture, quality and colour pay-off of these shadows is really good. 

The Honey Queen Honeycomb Blusher.

This blush instantly reminded me of Benefits box o' powder Sugerbomb blush. For only a few euro the quality of the packaging is great and it comes with a mini blush brush too. It's a very subtle colour with a lovely peachy gold shimmer. 

Brow Bar Eyebrow Kit.

I was surprisingly impressed by this kit. A handy pocket-sized compact comes with 2 angled brushes and a brow comb/brush. The compact itself comes with 3 different brow powders in light, medium and dark and a brow highlighter. I used the lightest brow powder which I found was a good match as I like a more natural look . The darkest brow powder would be perfect for someone with black hair. The pack also comes with brow stencils which, although I would not be a fan, I can see how they could be handy for someone with no brow shape to follow or a complete beginner at filling in brows. One important thing to remember ladies is the more natural the better, a handy tip is to use the brow brush included to brush out excess powder! 

Naked Nudes Eyeshadow Palette:

This small compact contains 4 natural nude shadows perfect for every day wear. It is also a great size to carry around in your make up bag. Can't wait to get my hands on some more w7 products to try out

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Nuts about Coconuts!

I love coconut oil and use it almost daily. It's extremely versatile but it's important to make sure you buy the right type. Organic refined coconut oil has a coconut smell and taste and is the best as it is not chemically processed and in its most natural form. 

Here is a list of some of the MANY uses of coconut oil;
  • As a hair treatment mask. It nourishes hair and helps with breakage and split ends. Apply for an hour or so and shampoo as normal.
  • For baking as a replacement for eggs in cakes, bread, pastry etc
  • Massage into dry cuticles and nails
  • Use as a lip balm.
  • To clean around the house
  • Eat a teaspoon for a boost of energy. (They contain medium chain triglycerides which are easily absorbed into the blood stream)
  • Use as a cleanser to remove make up.
  • It is great at removing even waterproof mascara
  • Apply a tiny amount as to hair as a finishing product, it smooths fly-aways and leaves hair shiny
  • Oil Pulling: Swishing a spoonful of oil around your mouth for 5 minutes every morning (or as often as you can be bothered), it is great for drawing out toxins and deep cleansing the mouth. Brush as normal after.
  • Apply a thin layer on skin overnight to nourish and hydrate skin.
  • Smooth over dry skin on your feet and apply socks then leave them on overnight leaves your feet super smooth! 
  • Has natural sunscreen properties.
  • Use as a body moisturiser
  • Or mix equel parts with sugar as a body scrub
  • To prevent and fade stretchmarks and age spots
  • Use to prevent and treat nappy rash
And there are many many more...

You can buy organic virgin coconut oil in Health food stores or most supermarkets.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Time for tea!

Whilst living in Australia I became extremely fond of drinking coffee. Maybe it was the amount of coffee shops or the city life that pulled me in but I found myself having a few take away cups a day! It was such a bad habit to get into, it seriously dehydrates your skin and gives you a false sense of energy leaving you going back for more. 

As soon as I fell pregnant with Ollie though the mere smell of a cappuccino had my stomach turning so that was the end of that! Nowadays I only have the odd cup as even after all this time I still find that if I have too much caffeine of a really strong coffee it leaves me queasy and sickly feeling. There is nothing nicer than curling up with a nice warm mug on a cold evening, or a hot drink to pull you out of bed in the mornings so now I have a real aversion to herbal or fruit teas. I try to opt for the naturally caffeine free varieties and the benefits of drinking herbal teas are amazing for your body, mind and skin!

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Peppermint tea; refreshing, great for your digestive system, or after a meal as a nice alternative to gum or sugary mints!
  • Chamomile Tea: A lovely tea for in the evenings before bed as it is naturally caffeine free. A light floral drink, leaves you feeling calm and relaxed.
  • Lavender and Echinacea: Lavender is great for digestion and also naturally really hydrating for the body and skin. Echinacea can help boost your immune system. This tea has a floral berry-ish taste to it ( think warm Ribena, yum! )
  • Lemon myrtle and Milk thistle: This is my fave tea to have in the mornings as its super refreshing and detoxing. It contains antioxidants which are great for killing the free radicals that damage our cells.
  • Green Tea with lemon or vanilla: A twist on an old time faveourite! 
It is super easy to make your own herbal or fruit tea's at home too. If you are lucky enough to have the fresh ingredients growing nearby just dry and brew with hot water! 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


To end the night on a positive note, Ollie took his first steps today. Can't believe how big he is getting. Such a blessing to watch him grow!

Water, water everywhere!

Here we all are, nearing the end of the first day with the water tax in force! Well, if you are in Ireland anyway that is. Although not many people ever really took it for granted it has now become a precious liquid gold and not a drop to be wasted.

A 5 minute shower will cost about 17 cent, a bath 40 cent, these numbers whiz around my head every time I turn the tap on! I know many people have valiantly protested the tax, we all would love to see a U-turn happen but for now my thoughts are turning to stopping all our money going down the drain... conserving water! In the days up to the enforcement piles of laundry was washed, patios were power-hosed, cars washed and long hot baths were on everyone's list as they are now a luxury we simply cannot afford to do. From October 1st showering at the gym will be taken to the next level and many power-hoses retired for water butts. It got me thinking what are the simple quick ways we can save water and thus save money?

I need to run a bath frequently for Ollie, this cannot be avoided really and although its only ever a shallow bath (30 cent?) it all adds up so tonight, as we neared the end of day 1 of watergate, I used Ollie's bathwater to wash myself ( save 17 cent on a shower!) and then to do some laundry. Albeit it was laundry which just needed freshening up, it was a half load (save 20 cent???). So after scrubbing and wringing, my back was aching and spirits were low so I think its time for a large glass of wine (conserving water of course). 

Any other ideas or tips on how to save water or use it more efficiently?

might come in handy ...

Mayalu: To love or adore.


My name is Rachael, I'm twenty-four years old and a mother of one little boy. I'm not exactly what you would call a teen mom but as every new mother will say, you can never prepare for how much motherhood changes your life. 

As I try to find my place in the world as a mother hen, I have decided to write a blog. In a whirlwind 3 years, I left home for Australia, a care free 21-year-old on a snap decision to buy a one way ticket down under. I traveled the country and loved every minute, drank goon till I was sick, picked tomatoes for a living, met my other half, Billy, and the rest is history. Or the rest is my 1 year old son Ollie.

So now the whirlwind has slowed to more of a steady breeze. Life is settled. I have a job that I love and a son that I adore. I'm not a care free twenty-something year old any more but at the same time I don't feel like I'm ready to plant my roots just yet. 

So here I am trying to figure it all out; mother, girlfriend, explorer, positive thinker and dreamer. Can they all be rolled into one? The following posts will have snippets from all aspects of my life. Follow my journey and lets see where we end up.