homeschool during lockdown

Enjoying ‘homeschool’ with your treasures, during Lockdown.

Homeschool during Lockdown?

Many of us are parents, and we are facing weeks at home with our children.  And we feel we are facing ‘homeschool’ during lockdown.  We’ve all be plunged into a situation we thought inconceivable not very long ago.  I don’t want to use the word, ‘surviving’, and ‘thriving’ is laced with hard work, so I’m going to focus on ‘enjoying’ this unique time with our tamariki.  

When level 4 restrictions, including school closures, were announced, I saw a flurry of online whispers and exclamations around ‘homeschool’.  I even saw one post where a parent proudly posted her children’s STRICT timetable which included a 9-4.30pm schedule! I strongly disagree that now is the time to enforce social and educational expectations on our children.  We don’t even know what we are educating them for, the post Covid19 world may look different to the one we’ve been occupying.

Think Differently

I am not a trained education specialist, and I’m speaking from a place where knowledge and wisdom, plus gut instinct intersect.   I have been gifted with three boys who are all dyslexic – and between them also have the added bonuses of ADHD, processing issues and giftedness. These profound differences in how they learn have forced me to look at the world of education differently.  Because they think different.  So, I had to. They run on feelings, they ask questions, they have incredible insights that when laid bare, are so damn simple. So, from my experience of parenting, ‘homeschooling’ and hours of research to find answers, here’s my enjoyment guide for emjoying your children in lockdown: homeschool during lockdown

  • Have a family schedule – plan your days – write it up on a big piece of paper.  Use as a guide to get towards the end of every day. It could focus on household chore time, exercise/outing time and time for some focused kids activities. As well as Freeplay!  Use it as a guide, and don’t be to strict about it. 

 

  • Embrace ‘freeplay’. There is clear scientific evidence that promotes freeplay as the best way for kids to learn and grow – as well as gain the skills they need to become successful world citizens – and by successful, we’re talking, developing resilience, team work, kindness, sharing, collaboration.  Letting the imagination run free has countless benefits on brain development.  

 

  • Get the kids involved in DYI – those projects you never got a chance to complete – now is the time to teach the kids practical skills – start with basic things such as sanding, painting or even just cleaning up around the section.  

 

  • Now is also a fantastic time for getting into the backyard (if you are lucky enough to have one)  and be with the kids. Teach them about soil (use You Tube vids like this one to help), planting and pruning.  If you can’t access veggie seedlings, just prepare the bed for planting, and if you don’t have a veggie patch yet, start one!  Dig and look at ways to cultivate the soil. The gift of gardening skills, will last a lifetime and is fundamental to their futures.  
  • Exercise!  Grab those rusty bikes and get on them, do kids yoga, walk around the block and find leaves.  

 

  • Cook!  If you have older kids, now is the time for them to step up and do some family meals.  And younger ones, there’s baking and then the science of baking. There are so many videos online, such as this one that will support you in developing their knowledge!
  • Now is the time to seize your children strengths!  What are they interested in? How many cool videos can you find to watch their interests?  Can you do a passion project about their interests – draw up a pictogram and answer the WHAT, WHERE, WHY, WHO AND HOW questions.  

 

Anything you do with your kids now, from board games to cooking to walking the block is increasing their experience of this world – they are naturally doing maths, literacy and science as they go.  And some days – nothing will go to plan and they will amble around all day, or have far too much screen time.  This is especially true if you also have a paid job to do at home now too!   Make time for yourself to do your job – don’t forget about a bit of self care too.   Now, isn’t the time to worry about too many screens or reading levels. Now is the time to protect them from the scary happenings in the world and to cuddle, talk and embrace.  They may have set schoolwork, make a time each day to devote to this, and if it doesn’t go as planned, help them, sit and do it with them. I don’t think it is wise to stress about it, and I’m sure educators want calm, happy children back after lockdown, and would prefer you to be kind in your expectations.  Every child in Aotearoa is affected right now and it’s not the time to be too obsessed with academic scores.  Some days we will feel like we are failing, like nothing went to plan – but take a breath and go back over the day – you’ll be surprised at the little opportunities and time yo are giving to their development.  And never forget, Happy Parents, Happy Children, so take the pressure off yourself, we have have enough to deal with right now.  

homeschool in lockdown

Jo Broughton 2014 at Tongaporutu Beach, Taranaki.

 

Home is a place to be nurtured.  It is not a school. We are our children’s most valuable educational assets, and it’s our job to empower them to learn, to ask questions, and to develop soft skills (such as problem solving, team work, creativity, adaptability and resilience). We need to send them into the world prepared.  This lockdown shouldn’t change that.  Home is safety, security and comfort, not timetables, and expectations. They won’t be disadvantaged for a few weeks being wrapped up at home.  Now is not the time to   

Finally, check out this awesome advice from Psychologist, Nigel Latta – he will set your mind at ease for coping for the next few weeks.  homeschool during lockdown.

liquid castile soap

All New Line Up!

Welcome to the our Liquid Castile Soap Line Up!

We’ve worked with Razz Print, a local Taranaki business to bring a new fresh look to our old favourites, and some new exciting products.  We love the new labels in the glass flagons!  We chose the flagons because they will be sent back to us for refills!  Yay for zero waste!

We are encouraging people to buy a glass bottle of soap – along with a foaming bottle – which you can refill again and again.  Eventually, we will have listings on our website for refills of the glass flagons too!  In the meantime, check out the new household range of pure, safe, simple natural liquid soaps.

Sweet Orange and Lavender

Lime and Peppermint

Unscented

Household Cleaning Soap – Peppermint & Eucalyptus.

It’s All Good

There’s nothing in our liquid soap that you wouldn’t want touching your skin, and everything you do! Handmade in small batches, we use our secret family recipe to make the purest natural castile soap you’ll ever use. Made with only the highest quality ingredients we source personally, your skin will fall in love with you all over again.

Our family soap making business uses organic ingredients where possible, and we’re proud to say you’ll never find palm oil or toxic ingredients in our soaps.

Clean, Smooth & Buttery Soft Skin

To achieve the skin of your dreams is easy with Be Natural Liquid Soap. The added coconut and avocado oils provide the effective yet gentle cleaning your skin deserves. The antioxidants, along with Vitamins A & E deliver your skin a conditioning treatment so gorgeous, it’ll beg for more!

You can use your Be Natural Liquid Soap as a hand or body soap, dispersed through a foaming dispenser. It can also be used as a cleaner, either neat or diluted in hot water around your home. Or to give your clothes a treat, add 1-2 tablespoons into the washing machine.

 

New Zealand Suicide

Why Are We Failing with Suicide?

This is not your everyday small soap business blog.  I’ve decided to publish it here so that it can be read by people.  It is a social issue affecting us all – and my own mental health is one of the reasons I’ve decided to pursue this little business over other options available to me.  My whanau is the most important thing in my world, hands down, and I can balance my own passions and my tamariki through Be Natural.  I think its time we sat and reflected on what drives us as individuals, and as communities and look into where we could get off the roundabout, seek practical solutions and move forward as happier people.  We cannot continue to ignore this epidemic and we have a collective responsibility to face up to our demons in this country.


New Zealand Leading the World in our Suicide Stats

Not long ago I learned that New Zealand’s suicide rate had increased.  It is now at its highest since records began 12 years ago.  We also still hold the title of highest Youth Suicide in the OECD.  I was shocked and appalled that in our small country, we had nearly 700 people who couldn’t see the point in life anymore. 

But wait, haven’t we been having a conversation about suicide for years now?  Don’t we all know that we need to urgently work towards ensuring the rate comes down?  Why has nothing changed?  Why the hell has it got worse?

Radio pundits were discussing this problem on the radio as I cooked tea.  Time and again they referred to the ‘suicide prevention office’ set up by the government and the underfunding of mental health services.  They discussed the mental health budget and recent increases to this.  They discussed money and where its spent.  The discussed pressure on youth.  They discussed other countries who have ‘suicide prevention’ government ministers.  But there was so much they didn’t damn well discuss. 

They didn’t acknowledge that no amount of money will provide a big enough band aid to stop people committing suicide.  They didn’t discuss that you can’t simply throw money into clinical services, encased in concrete and steel buildings, placed far away from peoples home, and expect that to save lives.  Why are we even letting people get so ill that they need this dehumanized and clinical approach?

Up to 20% of Kiwis will experience mental distress and will seek professional intervention or support. Of this, 5% suffer from a serious mental disorder. 

Can the ‘mental health crisis’ that leads to suicide ever be dealt with by clinical services in flash buildings.  So far, its failed.  So far it ignores people.  Only the clinicians and the academics are getting any airtime on this terrible epidemic.

We need to take a good look at how we live as New Zealanders.  We have so much work to do, in all areas of our economy, communitites and government to overcome the appalling rates of mental distress.

Why has it got this bad?

We’ve designed a society which doesn’t cater for our human needs.  Things are shaped around productivity, achievement and a blurred representation of ‘success’.  We’ve ignored not only ourselves, but the precious environment we inhabit.  We’ve forgotten that we are part of a whole ecosystem, and it that needs resilience at its core to thrive and to be healthy.  Without resilience, we have nothing.

Are we too busy?

We throw our tamariki into childcare from young ages, ignoring their needs for attachment and security.  This can have lifelong detrimental effects on health and wellbeing, for both parents and children.  The research on this is clear and unequivocal.  Babies needs their main caregiver for the first 1000 days for their brains to develop into healthy brains.  So many of our tamariki do not get this.  We stay busy while raising our children, always on the go, with money to earn and activities to complete.  Do we have enough time to just be with our children?

We like compliance

Our children are forced into square holes, even when they are round.  The needs of a myriad of children in our education system are ignored. Especially children with neurodiverse conditions (ADHD etc) who constantly hear things from a perspective that doesn’t resonate with them.  We tell them, you’re flawed, get in that hole, act different, conform!  And they can’t, we haven’t given them the tools or the environment to do that.  We need to adapt the system to cater to their needs. Their wonderful qualities should be embraced, but in fact, we haven’t given them the tools to thrive.  We ignore them because its too hard, too expensive.  Schools are left hanging, finding inventive and cost free ways to deal with these kids.  Many leave school leave school early with little to no education. 

We tell kids that success is in competition, and we turn every aspect of their week into a competition.  From the constant testing and spelling bee mentality in school, to parents yelling from the sport sideline every weekend, kids learn that competition is important and that it’s healthy to beat down your fellow competitor. Kids learn that going faster, being stronger, and getting straight A’s will give you success.  This distorts success from a notion of contentment to one of attainment.

We Don’t know Ourselves

In New Zealand we have never told our youth our honest story.  We glide through childhood and adulthood with a disconnect from our shared history.  We haven’t faced up to the good, the bad and the ugly of colonisation.  We ignore the terrible impact this has on Maori.  Pakeha glide through with their blinkers shading their vision, keeping things settled and comfortable.  While Maori face the stark realities of colonisation, which include loss of language, loss of land, poverty of economic base, poverty of spirit.  We don’t face up to our past.  We ignore it.  Because that easier for some of us.  And those left over?  Well, they just need to move on don’t they?

Imagine suffering the effects of colonisation, not fitting in at school because you have dyslexia and being disconnected from your caregiver because they have to work three jobs to pay the bills?  The future ain’t looking that bright is it?

Our Justice System is flawed

We shove people in jail in this country with no plan to turn them out healed.  The prison system is still based on punishment rather than rehabilitation and we don’t even let Maori self determine their own way of dealing with offenders.  This means our prison rate will never go down.  And as our population increases, we will need to keep building prisons.  This impacts all of us and contributes to our resilience and wellness.

The economy only serves those at the Top.

We’ve also created an economy based on greed.  We’ve invented a system of ME instead of WE.  We prize growth over all else, which has destructive consequences for papatuanuku.  We’ve lost the connection to the land, plants and animals that surround us – that breath life into us – because we’re all too busy chasing ‘success’.   Economics indicators are easy to measure and apparently they tell us how well we are doing.  Wellness indicators are left off – it’s too expensive and too hard to measure.

Our economy is based on competition and is now so unequal that even with hard work and determination, it is still your birth situation that impacts more than anything on your life.  As the rich have become richer, society has become more unequal, and everyone knows that unequal societies do not create wellness.  Inequality causes deprivation and debt which can increase suicide risk.  Financial instability and poverty means suicide is a major inequality issue.  We know this, but we don’t deal it with.  

There are a multitude of other complex issues at play here – the ones listed are just the tip of the iceberg.  We have so much to face up to as a nation.  

Mental Wellness is achievable!

So, is Suicide a Mental Health Issue?  Yes it is – but it’s also so much more!  We’ve got it wrong. We’ve missed the boat as humans living alongside each other.  Our suicide rate is our temperature gauge telling us how we are doing.  Guess what?  Its red hot.  It’s telling us to cool down.  It’s telling us to stop, examine, and find ways to fundamentally and thoroughly change our system. 

Why do we force ourselves into pressure cooker situations of growth and success based on competition, when we could choose to slowly and carefully curate a society based on fairness and trust.  A society that embraces equality, and gives everyone a chance to fit in.  A society where we have an economy that pays our government to look after us.  We are tettering on the edge of massive technological shifts in the way we live our lives, its time to shake off the old ways and go forward with a new vision.  What we’ve been doing isn’t working.  Our increasing suicide rate tells us this.  It’s time to stop talking about money and mental health and start talking about the essential changes needed to increase wellness in all forms, across our population.  We’ve missed the boat.  Let us build a new Waka. 

Our Zero Waste Journey

Is there such a thing as Zero Waste?  What is zero waste anyway?

Zero Waste is a set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages reusing all products.  The goal is for no rubbish to be sent to landfillsincinerators, or the ocean.

Zero Waste compliments our drive to provide natural and safe soap products to our customers – so its something we’ve been looking into for years.  When we first started we made the conscious decision to use only paper labels for our solid soap.   Once we started using paper tape (from Wishy Washi) our solid soaps became zero waste – as you can compost the label and tape.  We only buy tape that has a cardboard centre, so even that gets composted. 

Of course, the act of making soap means there is going to be production waste – and this compromises our soaps being zero waste – so what do we do to try to counter this?

  • We reuse boxes sent to us by our suppliers, using them to resend soap or in the compost.
  • We wash and giveaway food safe gerry cans to workplaces, individuals and other businesses.
  • We use metal olive oil containers as planter boxes – and we give away or recycle the rest.
  • We only use paper towels or teatowels in the soap kitchen and these get composted or washed.
  • We shop at op-shops to buy soap making equipment and only buy new when necessary.
  • We always write notes to our suppliers asking for no plastic wrapping where possible.
  • We wash out and reuse bottles for bottling liquid soap.
  • We take packaging from other businesses and reuse it to send out our shipments.
  • We use rainwater from our very own rainwater tank in production.

Of course, there is some waste we can’t reuse – so we recycle that.  The very few plastic bottles we do end up with are washed and recycled.  Occasionally we also need to recycle glass bottles where we can’t find homes for them.  Our recycling means we are not strictly a zero waste business, but we are well on the way and determined to work harder towards ensuring we are as sustainable as possible. 

Currently we are looking at additional ways to become zero waste:  Our liquid soap brand is getting a new look and along with that we are finding ways of doing way with plastic. We have shifted all of our liquid soap bottles to 1 litre glass refills.   We are also hoping to stock stainless steel foaming soap dispensers which means it should last years not months. 

We have also recently opened a Sustainable Home & Living section on our website, which gives you the choice to change everyday home and living objects from plastic to biodegradable options.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below – and watch this space for further improvements along the way to Zero Waste by Be Natural.

plastic free living

Plastic Problem?

Giving Up Plastic in The Home – Plastic Free Living

There’s a lot of concern about the use of plastic because we use so much of it. Here in Aotearoa , hundreds of thousands of plastic bags, trays, cups, wrappers and other single use items are used everyday! We use plastic in so many different products and all of this plastic is causing a lot of problems in our oceans, waterways, landfills, wildlife and environment. Ultimately, plastic pollution is coming back to haunt us as it enters our foodchain! We should all be concerned about the unabating use of plastic – and we all need to start taking measures to stop it in its tracks. Here are some ways that you can start to give up plastic in your home, so you are more environmentally friendly. Start plastic free living today!

Ditch shopping bags

Perhaps one of the easiest things you can do for plastic free living is to stop your use of plastic shopping bags. Thankfully, all major supermarkets have been banned from issuing free plastic bags. You still need to refuse plastic at other smaller retailers however! You can buy quality shopping bags at the store for just a few dollars and these will last a long time. Even better, use paper bags as often as possible. It doesn’t make much sense to use plastic bags when there’s so many other bags available that are more environmentally friendly. Just by giving up shopping bags, you take a huge amount of plastic out of landfills, waterways, and off the streets of our towns and cities. And dont forget to invest in some cloth vege bags while you’re at it!

plastic pollution

No Bottled Water

You can buy a high-quality water bottle that will last a long time. There’s no need to use plastic water bottles when you want a drink of water. Many locations are now offering fillable water at water fountains. This is a great way to reduce plastic in landfills and waterways because water bottles are another huge source of plastic pollution. You can also avoid the use of plastic by taking your own mug when you go out for a cup of coffee. More and more fast food restaurants will be more than happy to fill up your refillable cup as they get more on board with plastic free living.

Seek Alternatives!  Think about the options available….

Its time for us all to start thinking outside the box. By spending some time thinking about alternatives we can come up with plastic free solutions. For example, you can save a lot of plastic waste by no longer using disposable razors. Think of how many disposable razors you would use in any given year and how much you could save by buying one electric razor or one high-quality regular razor and then just buying razor blades for it. This is a simple but an effective way to reduce your own plastic footprint.

One really effective way of eliminating plastic bottles from the bathroom, is making the switch to a solid shampoo – there are dozens of suppliers and maker around – find a bar that suits your hair get into it. You will find more natural hair, that needs less washing and no waste! Plastic free living at its best!

solid shampoo bar

If you have little children in the house and babies. You go through a lot of nappies. It’s easy to switch to cloth nappies. The plastic ones are a huge source of pollution and you can easily reduce your plastic footprint by switching to cloth diapers.

Need a new dish brush or toilet brush? Don’t just buy a new one at the supermarket – look around and find a small business that sells a quality timber brush! We have a great range of timber brushware where at Be Natural – check it out!

If you head out for sushi – take your own containers – every little bit helps.

Rethink school lunches! Visit a wholesaler of packaging solutions and grab yourself 1000 small paper bags. Use them instead of wrap and plastic zip locks. They compost easily and do not linger in the environment.

How about investing in honey wraps instead of plastic containers and plastic wrap – which is a true curse on the environment! Checkout how this small business is revolutionising the way we store food! Beeswax wraps work really well in school lunch boxes, and to store bread, cheese and a host of other things.

Think Global, act in your own home!

You can look to other ways in your home to reduce your plastic footprint. We all should do our part to reduce our plastic usage because it is a catastrophic problem. It’s a huge source of lingering pollution that is going to take years to clean up! It’s time to rid ourselves of plastic and look to other alternatives because we need to protect and look after our environment. These are some simple ways to reduce your plastic footprint, so you can do your part in the preservation of our most sacred resources.

plastic free living
Taken by Sarah at Kaupokonui Beach Summer 2018
antibacterial soap

Antibacterial soap – Skip It!

Why You Should Stay Away From Antibacterial Soap (And Use Natural Soap Instead)

We all want to live safe and healthy lives, and the personal hygiene and cleaning products we select for ourselves and our loved ones indisputably play a role in that. But sometimes certain products, like antibacterial soap and even some hand sanitizers, can do more harm than good. In many cases, traditional soap is proven to be more effective than antibacterial soaps.

And while antibacterial soap sounds like a good idea at first, especially with its reputation for killing germs, it might actually be putting you more at risk.

One relatively simple (but still very dangerous) risk involves a key ingredient that can be found in much antibacterial soap: triclosan. Triclosan has been considered potentially hazardous by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration of the United States) since the late 1970s, due in no small part to the fact that when triclosan comes into contact with chlorinated water (which can be found in a wide variety of places these days) it has a chemical reaction that produces chloroform, a compound that is considered a carcinogen and known to be toxic and dangerous. In fact, the FDA has enacted a ban on triclosan in recent years, forbidding its use in many products such as hand soaps and body washes due to all the potential hazards it presents. Unfortunately, this ban is not universal and some products still contain triclosan.

Antibiotic resistance – Scary!

Another main risk factor (and perhaps the most concerning one) associated with antibacterial soaps is one that is becoming increasingly more important and talked about, and that is the rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

It’s becoming more widely known that the overuse or improper use of antibiotic medicine (and any product with antibacterial or anti-fungal properties) can result in the creation and evolution of more resilient bacteria. These bacteria, commonly called “super-bugs”, have adapted to be resistant to antibiotics and anti-bacterial products. In many cases, these mutated super-bugs are resistant to triclosan specifically. In general, this resistance to antibiotics means that some bacteria remain alive and unharmed by antibacterial products including it even while other more susceptible germs are killed.

And because these antibiotic-resistant bacteria are usually the primary survivors, that resistance grows and spreads, causing an increased risk for illnesses that cannot be treated with antibiotics. And if an illness cannot be treated in a timely manner (or treated at all, in some cases) the patient’s condition will only grow worse over time, both from the original illness as well as from the myriad of complications that can follow.

MRSA

Some bacteria, such as the notorious MRSA (which has the full designation of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) have even become resistant to numerous types of antibiotics, making it a bacterial strain that is incredibly difficult to treat.

In some cases, MRSA can lead to infections of the bloodstream, pneumonia, sepsis, and even death. And while accurately tracking the number of MRSA cases is currently quite difficult, it’s estimated that over a million people in the United States contract MRSA per year. The number of fatal cases has decreased recently due to efforts made by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the WHO (World Health Organization) but antibiotic-resistant bacteria remain a serious problem that is enabled by products like antibacterial soaps and washes. Therefore, it’s important to not become over-reliant on these types of products; they must be used cautiously and in moderation.

Natural Soaps have benefits

Additionally, natural soaps are actually quite beneficial to you. Handmade soaps, in particular, can be very hydrating for your skin, thanks to the glycerin they contain (which is a byproduct of the soap-making process). This glycerin can also result in softer and smoother skin. Read our previous blog on this topic!

Normal non-antibacterial soap is also better for you because they contain fewer artificial ingredients. Many artificial chemicals that can be found in certain soaps (especially antibacterial ones) are potentially harmful to not just your skin but your overall health as well; some of these chemicals can even aggravate existing allergic conditions or cause skin conditions like rashes or eczema, making more natural soaps a much better option by comparison.

All in all, while the decision for whether or not to use antibacterial soaps is ultimately up to you, we sincerely hope that you consider the information we’ve shared here with you.

shea butter soap

All About Shea Butter!

Shea Butter 101

Shea Butter is becoming more widely known as a fantastic addition to soap and body balms.  This is because of the calming and nourishing effect it has on problem skin.  It can even be used alone, simply rubbed onto dry or sensitive skin.  Lets find out a little more about this amazing natural vegetable butter.

Shea has had a long history as a precious commodity that can be traced back to Ancient Egypt, where it continues to be used to protect the hair and skin in the fierce sun and the hot dry winds of African deserts.  Nuts from shea trees (Vitellaria paradoxa) are the source of shea butter, and they grow in a narrow belt of fertile soils in the savannah stretching from West Africa to East Africa.  The trees become fertile at around 20 years and keep producing for up to 200 years!

soap shea butterThe best shea butter to buy is unrefined, fair trade and organic if possible.  This means that the farmers have been paid a fair price for the work involved in producing shea.  If you buy organic then the farmers are far less likely to have been exposed to nasty toxic chemicals and sprays.

How is shea butter made?

The shea butter is extracted by cracking the nuts and pounding them into small pieces.  The small pieces are then slowly roasted, water is added and the paste is then whipped.  The paste is then purified over fire, so that the fats rise to the top, and the oil settles below.  The final step is to skim off the fat and let the oil settle at the bottom.  The final stage involves slowly boiling the fat and squeezing out of any remaining water.

Shea butter in Soap

Shea  is excellent in soap – as it has many skin healing and care properties.  In addition to this, the butter is a complex fat that is mostly nonsaponfiable.  When soap is made, fats and oils are mixed with a strong alkaline which in turn saponifies the fats and oils and turns them into soap.  Shea however, cannot be fully converted into soap (the other oils in the soap will be saponified however), because of its acid profile.  To cut a long story short, this means that a soap with shea butter will be ‘super fatted’, meaning you’ll find the soap incredibly moisturising and nourishing.

handmade organic soap shea butterWhy is shea butter great for our skin?

Shea butter is a skin superfood.  This is because it is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F.  Amazingly, it offers UV protection (it is SPF ~6 – often found in natural sunscreens) and provides the skin with essential fatty acids necessary for collagen production. Shea butter has been used in Africa for years to improve skin and hair.  The benefits of shea include:

**  Moisturising – the natural fatty acids and vitamins are readily and easily absorbed by the skin.  Shea helps protect dry skin.

**  Reduces Inflammation – studies have concluded that shea butter can reduce skin inflammation and even help with skin mutations.  It is great for people with acne.

**  Skin soothing – long term use helps with skin softening, and strengthening as well as wrinkle reduction (:-0)

Be Natural Shea Butter Soap Line Up

Two of our own soaps contain a proportion of shea butter.  Be Rosy is one of our most popular soaps – it is hard and long lasting and is packed full of real red rose petals.  It has a large proportion of shea – in addition to coconut, olive, rice bran and alomond oils.   Be Divine remind people of perfume!  It is loaded with essential oils of Ylang Ylang, Jasmine and Neroli and also has a high proportion of shea butter!  recently, we’ve also added shea to our Be Lathered Beer and Honey Soap.  Check these soaps out in our online soap

We also custom make healing balms and include shea in those.  The shea butter we use is organic – have a look at Lotus Oils – that’s where we purchase it.  You can purchase it in small quantities and make your own balms, or even just use it straight on your tired skin.  Shea butter has also been heralded as being excellent for treating eczema.

So there you have it – that’s why we use this amazing nutritious butter in our soapmaking.  Try one of the shea soaps today and discover the difference!

 

 

Why you should be looking to ‘shop small’ this Christmas.

Christmas gifts – time for a rethink?

Christmas is almost upon us – time to think about all the little christmas gifts you need for family, friends, co-workers and your great aunt.  We have all spent time driving to the mall, scouting for a car park along with hundreds of others, and then spent the next three hours desperately trying to find a long list of christmas gifts for family and friends.  This is fine if you want generic gifts over-wrapped in plastic and cellophane – but what if you are looking for something just a bit different?  Have you thought about how your purchasing impacts on our landfills, or our precious sea-life?  Maybe this year, think just a bit out of the box and try to ‘shop small’.

christmas gifts

Mass consumerism is characterised by plastic, mega corporations and more plastic.  But, have a think about the multitude of small local businesses around you.  These small business located in homes, and in small high street shops make a small profit every time you purchase something from them (and some small business owners even do a little happy dance every time they make a sale!).  That profit goes straight back into their back pocket – not the pocket of shareholders living in the south of France, but into the pocket of a mum hoping to take her kids to Kelly Taltons after the Christmas rush.  Shops in amongst our small towns and suburbs are the life blood of the economy and help create a vibrant healthy place for us all to live.

christmas gift

Be Natural orders can be picked up, delivered locally or sent by post!

Let’s consider some of the benefits you bring when you ‘shop small’ for christmas gifts.

You’ll help the local and ‘small’ economy

When you buy small and local, more money stays in the community. Studies have found that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remains, while only $43 of $100 remains locally if spent at a large or multinational retailer.  Local businesses also tend to work together and support one another, making the whole community more resilient.

You’ll discover the real people behind the product or service!

Small shops have actual real people behind them.  Many of the products are services are the brainchildren of our small shop owners.  Often they are unique and you can enjoy a connection with not only everyday products, but the uniqueness of the people behind the business.

You’ll help keep your community and New Zealand/Aotearoa unique!

Shopping small and local helps give a community its flavour. Towns across New Zealand have similar restaurants, grocery and retail stores but your local fish and chip restaurant or soap manufacturer is unique and brings flavour. The combined presence of your town’s many local businesses makes it different from every other place in the world. By supporting those businesses instead of larger chain stores, you ensure that uniqueness is preserved as a part of your community.

Finally, you will receive great personalised customer service and a quality product or service.

Small local shops and services usually have a high degree of customer service, and subsequent satisfaction.  When you shop small and local, there is more emphasis on the business owner to get it right and if you are not satisfied, it is much easier to get things rectified.  Often, products are handmade and are better quality than mass produced items.  Small and local businesses often take time to provide fair-trade, organic or ethical options, meaning your purchase is better for you and the earth.  I know, as a small soap manufacturer, we want to get it right 100% of the time, and if we don’t, we always make it up to our customers!

So this Christmas, consider the multitude of small shops around you, online, on the main street and tucked away down cul-de-sacs.  By spending some time visiting workshops, studios and small online stores, you will cut down on waste, meet new people and collect some unique meaningful Christmas gifts along the way!  You can start your journey by having a look at the great selection of christmas gifts we have on offer at BE NATURAL SOAP!  We will post fully gift wrapped and ready to pop under the tree. X

natural lip balm

Natural Lip Balm Benefits

Natural Organic Lip Balm

Here at Be Natural, we are pretty particular about what we put on our own skin, and therefore only make products which contain the best quality organic ingredients.  Many people started asking us about organic lip balm and after some experimenting, we settled on a formula which nourishes and repairs lips, without introducing nasty chemical or petroleum.

Why use a natural organic lip balm?

If it is going on your lips, you are going to consume it.  Would you eat synthetic waxes, petrochemicals, silicon dioxide, and other manufactured chemicals?  Probably not right?  So make sure when you buy a lip balm, it only contains edible ingredients.  More and more research is backing wisdom that if you wouldn’t eat it, you shouldn’t be putting it on your skin.  Everything applied to the skin, enters the bloodstream within minutes.  Purity and quality are the most important factors in choosing how to nourish your  skin and lips.

A truly natural lip balm will be devoid of any nasty synthetic chemicals.  Here at Be Natural, we choose to include Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Coconut Oil, Taranaki Beeswax, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Sweet Almond Oil, Taranaki Manuka Honey and Organic Essential Oils in our lip balms.  All of these ingredients are not only safe to consume, they are good for you too!

The Organic Cocoa Butter provides moisturising healing effects and a tasty fragrance.  We included Organic Jojoba oil as it is the super oil for skin care – it closely resemnatural lip balmbles sebum, the waxy substance produced by our own bodies, and it is an amazing skin protectant.  Perfect for lips in the New Zealand summer.

We are fortunate to have a wonderful supply of locally harvested Manuka honey and beeswax.  We include beeswax in our lip balms, as it ensures a long lasting application, while the Manuka honey heals, is antibacterial and soothing.  A truly wonderful natural ingredient, which also gives the lip balm a lovely sweet aroma and taste.

Sweet almond oil is well renowned for its incredible properties – It owes its benefits to the generous amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, potassium, proteins, zinc, and a number of other vitamins and minerals.  Perfect yet again as an ingredient for protective natural lip balm.

So, always read the labels when it comes to lip balm and if you wouldnt eat it, don’t put it on your lips!  x

 

Ps, go check out our amazing lip balms while you’re here!  🙂

 

foaming castile soap

Natural Liquid Soap – why is it beneficial?

Natural Liquid Soap

 

Be Natural’s Organic Liquid Soap is a pure castile natural liquid soap that you can use in many different ways, including as a hand soap.  It is made with organic oils of coconut, New Zealand Avocado and essential oils of Sweet Orange and Lavender – which makes a rich lather and prevents drying the skin. As for preservatives, we use none – the essential oils maintain the self life of the soap. Be Natural Liquid Soap is highly concentrated, which makes it great value.  Make sure that you use this natural liquid soap in a foaming dispenser; otherwise, it will be really hard to use and you will waste a lot of soap.  The number one reason to use a natural liquid soap is to lessen your exposure to nasty toxic chemicals that are in many of the supermarket branded liquid soaps.  Marketed as soap, these concoctions are in fact detergents, and contain thickeners, colours and parabens.  Most of the ingredients in these so called soaps are not even there to help clean you – they are there to maintain shelf life, colour the product and thicken it.  Our soap is pure soap – and every drop of it will cleanse and nourish your skin.  Did you know that when you apply something to your skin, that it is absorbed to your blood stream within 30 seconds?  If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth – don’t put it on your skin!

Being organic and pure, it won’t strip the skin of vital oils, and leaves it soft and clean.  It can be used as a top to toe wash – great for hair, body and face.  Kids love it as it foams and they can easily wash themselves.  It is septic tank friendly, easily breaking down in both regular and eco systems.  Our soap can be used for a variety of purposes too!  I use it as a window cleaner, floor cleaner, spot cleaner, vanity and shower cleaner, foot soak, car wash, laundry handwash and sometimes I add it to the washing machine and dishwasher dispensers!  My husband even uses it as a shaving foam!  Be Natural has recently released 1 and 2 litre containers, available through the website or through direct contact, use these to top up your existing foaming soap dispensers!  Make sure that you use this natural liquid soap in a foaming dispenser; otherwise, it will be really hard to use and you will waste a lot of soap.Great value, less chemicals!  Shop online today for this fantastic product at

Organic Sweet Orange & Lavender Liquid Castile Soap

 

In our next blog we’ll show you some photos of our liquid soap production process, then you can see clearly the natural and pure ingredients that go into our soap!