Sarah Short Circuit

Heal, Nourish, Nurture

Tag: Low-Tox (page 2 of 2)

Wipe Out

At a recent birthday celebration my son managed to spread icing down his pants while eating a cup cake. Being at someone’s else home I hesitated at first on how to deal with the mess. ‘Go grab a baby wipe from inside’ someone suggested. Now that our kids are getting older and are all out of nappies I would never have thought to go get a baby wipe. I quickly went inside and grabbed a wipe. Opening the packet took my breath away with the overpowering, fake fragrance. The baby wipe was great to clean up the icing but I thought to myself how can anyone use these on their children with all those chemicals in it?

You know you're a mom when you use baby wipes

Baby wipes are an essential item for parents and tend to be used for everything, not just on babies bottoms. However, people are starting to become more aware of the hidden nasties lurking in seeming innocent products like baby wipes. The latest headline “The South Australian Government said national figures showed 15 per cent of people tested this year had reacted to the preservative Methylisothiazolinone (MI), which is used in some brands of wipes.”. I have heard numerous stories of children developing a rash around their mouth from their parents using baby wipes to wipe their faces. This preservative MI was reported last year to being linked in an increase in allergic reactions and dermatitis and was what prompted me to look at the ingredients listed on the baby wipes I was using at the time as my son had a bad case of nappy rash. Jo at Down to Earth mother has recently blogged a great post on 10 ingredients to look out for in baby wipes.

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My cloth wipes and Wot Not wipes

As I learnt more about the chemical toxins in our personal care products, as well as the issue of the fatberg in our sewers, I phased out conventional baby wipes. Being a cloth nappy family we used cloth wipes with a splash of water at home rather than baby wipes. Our family found that cloth wipes tend to get most poo-namis cleaned up using a 2-3 wipes rather 10 or more baby wipes that you feel are smearing everywhere. Husband tends to still prefer the cloth wipes even now we are in the toilet training phase as the cloth wipes are even better than toilet paper. Cloth wipes are also a more frugal alternative to conventional baby wipes. If we happened to need a baby wipe while out and about or for use at Day Care I have a packet of Wot Not baby wipes. Wot Nots contain no parabens, 100% chlorine free, no synthetic fragrances, organic as well as an Australian product.

Have you had an allergic reaction to baby wipes? Have you thought about what is in the products, like baby wipes, that you are using on your children every day?



Did you know that if you rub garlic on your feet that you will taste garlic in 30 minutes? This is a cool fact I learnt in Twenty8 Health and Lifestyle Educator Program (HLE).

A few months ago I noticed a red, raised, rash-like patch the size of 20 cents on my armpit. I had no idea what it could be and it proceeded to get extremely hot, irritated and itchy especially being located in my already hot, sweaty armpit. It only got worse as rashes to began to appear on my other arm pit as well.

At first I thought it might have been an unusual way of detoxing as lymph nodes, which are part of your immune systems that help fight infection and disease, are found in the arm pit area as well as many other areas in your body. Then I saw on a low-tox Facebook group a number of other people were asking about rashes in their arm pits. I was not alone! However, it turned out that most of these people had made a recent switch to natural deodorant like Black Chicken. In my case I had made the switch to a natural deodorant months prior and it didn’t contain bicarb.

Not knowing what I had I asked my Mother-in-law. One look and she said ‘ringworm’. Great I have worms! Actually I had a fungus tinea also known as athletes foot. Ringworm thrives in wet, moist areas, particularly if you sweat a lot, and is highly contagious. Ringworm, like candida, may be caused by my ongoing issues with gut dysbiosis. One Google search mentioned “GAPS Diet along with antifungal herbs, supps would be great help. Fungal infections also are indicators of low immunity. According to Dr. Natasha Campbell, fungus overgrowth wouldn’t clear up until mercury/heavy metals are gone from the body. She says fungus is there to protect you from heavy metals. …B vitamin deficiencies, zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, C, E, D all are immune boosters. When they are low, body won’t function the way it should.” This particularly interesting as healing my gut is a work in progress. After the MINDD Forum listening to Dr Natasha in person I am looking into GAPS and I am currently getting tested by a holistic doctor following up some of ahas about my health, particularly around vitamin deficiencies and heavy metals levels.

I started treating the ringworm with over the counter anti-fungal creams, the heavy duty strength version where they recommend no longer that 2 weeks usage. Not particularly encouraging to use especially when you are applying this to your highly absorbent arm-pit area. I even tried a natural version of a over the counter anti-fungal cream. Creams didn’t really have an effect.

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Twenty8 Lavender

Dr Google wasn’t much help as there as so many ways people recommend to treat ringworm, some even saying its difficult to treat or incurable despite it being so common. I was confused on what to do and reluctant to go to the doctor to get prescription medication. So I turned to my trusty essential oils. Lavender and Tea tree essentials oils have great anti-fungal, anti-microbial properties and these two oils in particular are safe to apply directly to the skin. Not having a pure therapeutic grade tea tree essential oil that I could trust I used my Twenty8 Lavender essential oil. Every first aid kid should contain Lavender.

Over the next few weeks the redness and itchiness subsided and the initial patch began to heal. But other rashes persisted and were starting to drive me bonkers. In my Twenty8 HLE course I started to learn the different properties of essential oils. I thought a synergistic effect of a combination of anti-fungal oils would be more effective than Lavender alone. I started to do a mini-massage on my arm pits with half a teaspoon of sweet almond oil and 1 drop of Twenty8 Immune Boost. This had the desired effect and slowly my arm pits started to recover slightly, but the ringworm still persisted. The tea tree oil I did have on hand I used as an anti-fungal laundry rinse aid by adding a few drops (or perhaps a drizzle) to each load of laundry as ringworm can be extremely contagious and spread easily in a household. Tea Tree essential oil certainly made our clothes, sheets and towels smell amazing!

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Calm Kids by Jennifer Jefferies

I was at the stage of seeking medical advice to combat the ringworm that had plagued me for months now. I had hoped with the advent of the winter months and the cooler weather this would help settle down my skin. I was sick and tired of having itchy, irritated armpits. Whilst reading Calm Kids book (recommended reading in Twenty8 HLE) I read that garlic can be used on older children to treat ringworm.

I decided to try the garlic option as it seemed easy enough. A sliver of raw garlic rubbed directly onto the skin. You may experience a slightly burning sensation if you get the garlic on unaffected skin, but the relief from the itchiness is almost instant. Its the caprylic acid in garlic that is anti-fungal and which is also found in coconut oil, another recommended option to treat ringworm. What I discovered after the fact was that it should have disclaimer on the numerous sites claiming garlic is an effective treatment. After I treated myself with garlic I Googled an explanation as to why I became so ill. A side effect of garlic can be diarrhoea, stomach issues, nausea, gas in some individuals like this and this website mentions. I got all these symptoms in spades along with loss of appetite not surprisingly, and this was most likely caused by the toxins excreted from the fungal die-off.

However, within three applications of raw garlic onto my armpits over three days my ringworm has almost cleared completely. It took over a week to start to feel like my stomach was happy with me again and to be able to eat without wanting to gag. I continue to apply the anti-fungal creams and essential oils now that the ringworm appears to under control.

Have you tried any natural remedies for ringworm? Or a natural treatment for skin conditions?

Towards slowing down

Last couple of weeks I have been listening to the new podcast The Slow Home by one of my favourite bloggers Brooke at Slow Your Home. I loved episode 6 with Cybele Masterman; really needed to hear this lately. Brooke and Cybele discussed shifting your thought process during making something and stop feeling resentful, rather, think I am choosing to make it because I want to. I make the choice to live this way, I can enjoy the process of making it and that act benefits me. So felt this the other night making home-made yoghurt! Be in the moment, choose to view it differently. It’s ok to be content. Be mindful of what you include in your life, create space and time to things that bring you joy. To me this is what living a slow life is all about. My daily motivation for continuing to declutter is Brooke’s facebook group where members post about the highlights and the challenges they face in working towards living a slow life, filled with lots of support and encouragement. It is a continual journey slowing down my home.

Last month I had a freak out moment. I went to a concert and went to our spot where I keep tickets to realise that the next shows tickets were not there. Since my episode of Postpartum Psychosis I have this annoying tendency to move things in tidying up and not remember moving it. Luckily I have gotten on top of my paper piles so double checking everything was a 15 minute task and not a weeks job. Husband thought it was unusual for me not to put tickets in its spot. I had the ticket invoice filed easily in my email so I called the box office & the tickets were not posted out, hence why we couldn’t find them. Crisis averted! Grateful for a decluttered slow home.

Over the Easter long weekend I thought is was a great idea to pull apart all my wardrobe and drawers full of clothes and sort through it all. Not a fun task when you have a toddler jumping around pulling things out too! The bed looked like Mount Everest with clothes piled high. Though I haven’t read the book (waiting to borrow it from the library), this method of pulling everything out in piles is the ‘Konmari’ method based on the popular book, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art Of Decluttering And Organizing. However, my motivation was to go through my clothes, particularly stuff to wear for winter as it has turned cooler and see what now fits after losing 30kgs to date. After sifting through all my clothes I rearranged my piles to better suit the space, and was able to part with two bags of clothes to charity that either no longer sparked joy or no longer fit. Another bag of clothes was put aside as rags, lots of old t-shirts especially. I have the vision of turning the t-shirts into a rag rug one day soon. My absolute favourite pair of track pants came to the end of their life as I cut it up for rags, it was sad day for me but they have gone on to another life.

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Goodbye favourite pants!

Decluttering doesn’t have to be a mammoth task all jam packed into a day. All it takes is 10 minutes a day and pick a simple, small, manageable task. Like the other day while waiting for dinner simmering on the stove I pulled apart my tupperware cupboard (I have done this several times before over the past 18 months so there was no avalanche of containers). I made sure each of the containers had a matching lid and that is still functional. I pulled out a entertainment serving ware set still in its box and popped in the charity donation bag. I have plenty of other plates that can serve as suitable entertainment ware rather than hang onto something that would only get used less than monthly at best.

Lurking at the back of the tupperware cupboard was a pasta serving set that we had received as a wedding present and I don’t think we have used as I had been saving it for a ‘special occasion’. Why wait when every day is a special occasion! I had been thinking of getting some more bowls for the family for a while as all our plates and bowls are hand-me-downs from husband’s bachelor pad days with the bowls limited in number unlike the forty thousand plates we seem to have. Now I have four beautiful bowls I can use everyday.

Late last year I purchased new low-tox pots and pans and the order came with a free Scanpan steak knife. I had held onto it till now, even still in the packaging, thinking to myself but is was free! I reasoned with myself that someone else would make better use of it so popped it into the donation bag. One can only own so many kitchen knives and husband has his favourite knife that he uses all the time so it tends to be the knife of choice in our kitchen.

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My cook books new home.

Making rice for dinner during the week I noticed that our rice cooker had started to flake and peel. Not wanting to think about the possibility of ingesting flakes of Teflon, the rice cooker left the building. With me not being a cook I am hoping that cooking rice on the stove is as easy as it looks on River Cottage. The space vacated by the rice cooker has given me a easy to access space for my cook books to live. This is the third rearrangement of my cook books as they originally started off living in the laundry kitchen as there was no room in the kitchen cupboards. I love the new home for my cook books. Now looking at the cupboard that steam machine cleaner’s days are numbered.

Are you working towards slowing your home? Decluttered anything recently?


DIY Lunch Bags

In a way to reduce the amount of plastic we use around the home I have been looking at ways to swap from the plastic zip lock lunch bags to a more environmentally friendly option. Our first step was to reuse the plastic bags where possible by washing them, not always a fun task. Another option was switching to the humble brown paper bag, however this was still a disposable alternative. I was wanting a reuseable product that was easy to use. I had my eye on the Biome sandwich wraps and have popped a few on my wish list.

I then stumbled across Frugal and Thriving’s two posts (here and here) on free bag making tutorials. I spotted the Sandwich bag tutorial and thought to myself I can do that. Mum had some fabric I could use including some rubber backed upholstery fabric swatches. Over the next two hours I whipped up a very impressive DIY lunch bag.

You will need cotton fabric for the outer material, nylon fabric for the lining, and a sewing machine plus sewing accessories.

1. Cut a rectangle from both the cotton and the nylon fabric.

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Step 1

2. Fold cotton fabric right sides together. On one side mark from the top approx. of third of the way down. Sew from this mark down towards the middle fold. Repeat for the other side. Repeat process on nylon fabric.

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Step 2

3. Create a box corners on both the cotton and nylon fabric by folding each corner into a 90 degree triangle and sewing across the tip. Cut off the excess leaving a seam allowance.

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Step 3

4. Turn the nylon bag now right side out and insert into the cotton bag so that right sides are together.

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Step 4

5. Sew around one one flap starting from divide around to the other divide, leaving an opening in one spot.

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Step 5

6. Turn the bags right side out ensuring the nylon fabric is turned to the inside as the lining.

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Step 6

7. Top stitch around both flaps.

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Step 7

8. Fold one flap down and sew this down through the side seams, reinforcing at the join points (areas of stress).

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Step 8

9. To close the bag, flip the folded flap over the upper flap

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Finished product!

I did not follow the dimensions in the tutorial as my size was dictated by the size of the pre-cut swatches I had for the inner lining. Note to self: rubber backed fabric is difficult to work with, especially if you are new to using a sewing machine. Husband was so keen to use them after they were made I had not even had a chance to pre-wash them (don’t worry I didn’t let him use it till it was washed). Please remember these bags are not watertight or waterproof.

Now all I have to do is make a few more lunch bags and perhaps play around with the dimensions to create different sizes. I still have some rubber backed swatches so I may go looking for the Green Lifestyle Magazine I have somewhere with the bowl covers tutorial. Keep you posted if I find it!


Investment in myself

As part of my journey in health I am investing in myself and in a months time I will begin the Twenty8 Health and Lifestyle Education (HLE) Program by the amazing Kim Morrison. The Twenty8 HLE Program is a nationwide training program aimed at improving the health and wellness of the individual, their family and community through the use of essential oils and ritualised aromatherapy practices.

At the Awaken the Change Within retreat 2014 I came away feeling empowered. I love everything about Twenty8 and Kim’s philosophy about self-care and rituals with essential oils. At ATCW retreat I was entranced by Kim’s passion for wholistic wellness, and her ability to talk endlessly about the benefits of essential oils and chemical free living. One of the sessions got me really thinking, invest in my self. Don’t make excuses like “I don’t have the time” or “I don’t have the money”, just make the decision and the universal business will sort out the rest. If you want to change careers, do it. If you want to go back to school and study, do it. If you want to start your own business, do it. I really wanted to be apart of the HLE program so that weekend I signed up on the spot.

In preparation for the start of the HLE program in March 2015, I recently received my parcels of Twenty8 goodness, beautifully wrapped and smelling divine with Immune Boost essential oil.

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Twenty8 parcels delivered to my door

  • Complete set of essential oil synergy blends
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Twenty8 Synergy Blends

  • Complete Age-Defying Skincare Kit
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Twenty8 Skincare Kit

  • Complete Body Boost Pack
  • Oil Vaporiser
  • Like Chocolate for Women top selling book

I am so excited to be learning and growing more and to be joining the fantastic Twenty8 team!


Declutter frenzy

It’s great to look back and see what I have achieved. After coming across Slow Your Home blog, I was inspired by the philosophy of minimalism. I had never considered it as I thought minimalism was all about owning very little, stark white walls and basically doing without. I have since seen that minimalism is what you make of it, living a simple life that suits your family.

I could have never imagined sitting in a lecture room full of people from different walks of life listening to two young American men of similar age to me talking about how they were living the American Dream and were drowning in stuff, debt and unhappiness. I went along to The Minimalists Everything That Remains Tour 2014 at the University of Sydney on 10th November where Ryan and Joshua chatted (not lectured) on how they wanted happiness and found through poignant life events that  made them question everything led them to discover minimalism. They chatted with the ideas of holding a packing party, that you don’t need to hold onto things ‘just in case’, and it is ok to let go of stuff, it’s ok to change. The room was filled with a energy of change, of everyday people looking for ways to declutter and live a simple life.

I got a few ahas from the night especially the ‘just in case‘ concept, and I was ok not having to buy a memento to signify the event I had just been to (resisted the urge to buy the book!). I also go to meet Brooke from Slow your Home!

This spurred me on to focus on decluttering more than what I had been prior. I was motivated by the simplicity and the memory of being surround by stuff, piles and clutter whilst being a home with our new baby in 2012. I had gradually gone through the paper and slowly gotten rid of a few things here and there over the past months but now I felt almost compelled to declutter. I wrote this post in Facebook group I am part of:

“15 November 2014

Hi all, I have recently joined the group and was wanting to share my happy dance with you. I have been slowly simplifying the past 18 months, clearing clutter, unused items and reducing the dreaded piles especially paper. I have been motivated the past month by doing Alexx Stuart’s low tox living ecourse and seeing The Minimalists in Sydney. In the past week I have achieved

1) tidy toddlers bedroom put toys away, reorganised bookcase to accommodate toys and cleared out his baby items into storage. Donated a garbage bag of stuffed toys.
2) moved a small book case out of toddlers room into hallway to create more space in his room as it used to be our spare room. Decluttered the baskets and put all paraffin candles in one place so they are used up to make way for low tox beeswax candles.
3) decluttered office desk drawers and put all like items together. I have life time supply of pens and postage stamps. Bundled up excess pens and sent them to husbands work (Cafe)
4) decluttered dining table storage drawers (we have the Ikea flip out table and it is a clutter magnet), found more pens.
5) tossed excess foam pillows, bought new organic tetra tea tree pillows for family
6) decluttered kitchen cupboard, donated excess cookware, plastic electric kettle and Teflon pans to make room for my new cast iron cookware.
7) decluttered pantry including swapping plastic containers over to glass jars. Will gradually phase out plastic containers from freezer to pyrex glass containers.
8) cleared top of fridge, putting everything back in its home or creating new homes or toss. This clutter has been bugging me for so long.
9) sorted toddlers hand me downs that were given to us in sizes he doesn’t fit into yet, created a Evernote note for each size with photos so I know what he has and so I don’t buy double ups/excess. Packed into storage for later.
10) created digital photo books of toddler and had them printed as keepsakes. Created 2 smash journals of my mementos and important photos from past 5 years. Still working on backlog of scrap booking projects.
Plan to replace our old large lounge for 2 simple armchairs, declutter a book case and donate it, and rearrange the living room to create more space. Plan to fix toddlers wardrobe, add shelving and sort through unused items. Then to tackle the garage (again).
Feels good to write it down and see what I have achieved!”

DSC_0478 Lounge

Our lounge area

I look back now and the lounge went not long after this post in November as did the bookcase, the living room was rearranged and wardrobe was fixed all whilst I was away at Awaken the Change Within Retreat (thank you husband!). We had been wanting to do this since 2012 but I couldn’t get my head around it. I couldn’t let go of the lounge even though I really wanted the Ikea arm chairs. I didn’t know how to start and how to tackle clutter before I found the philosophy of minimalism.

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Our dining area

We have our lovely antique lounge that now fits perfectly in our lounge room rather than squashed in the dining area. The bookcase from our son’s room works beautifully in the dining area and has a place to store my papers out of sight rather than piling up on a bench, table or bookshelf. Our unit now seems a lot larger and lighter with less furniture and less clutter. I am more content being at home and have stopped searching through real estate looking for the perfect house with more space and storage, realising the beauty and value with what we already have, that our unit is perfect for our family. Yet to work on the garage!

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Our son’s room

What is one thing that you can do to simplify your life? Can you declutter one drawer? Or rearrange the furniture? Or donate a couple of unused items? It doesn’t have to be big, just simple.


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