Arashel Shampoo Bar Review

Just recently I discovered the existence of shampoo bars. For those of you who don’t know, they are essentially hair shampoo conveniently contained in the form of a bar of soap! Even better for me, it turns out there is a lady living about half an hour away who makes them (and other products), using “natural and organic ingredients…free from chemicals, sulphates, parabens, alcohol, detergents or surfactants”(Arashel Facebook page). So, I decided to road test one for the viewers playing along at home, and here are my thoughts…

  • Cost

$8 per bar, which is comparable to other shampoos in the supermarket, but more than what I would usually pay. I am keeping track of how many washes I get out of it, though I must admit I am not entirely sure how many we would get from a bottle. All in all, I don’t mind paying a little more to support a local business and to use less harsh chemicals and plastics.

  • Ease of use / Convenience

Just like lathering up to wash your hands or body, so really easy. For the kids, it was faster than using bottled shampoo. For me, it took a bit longer as my hair needed more shampoo. The sticking point is storage, as you really don’t want it getting hit by the shower water and washing away, or being mistaken for body soap. At the moment I am popping it back in its cardboard sleeve after my shower, but I might keep thinking about a suitable alternative (happy for suggestions in the comments).

  • Smell

The bars are available in a few different scents. The one I have is quite a nice fragrance, similar to a GroVia Magic Stick.

  • Feel

This is where it gets a little tricky. What feels okay or nice to one person can be very different for someone else. For me, I am not a big fan of the “squeaky clean” soap feel where I can’t move my hand along my hair: I find it hard to really work the shampoo into the roots because of it. Without conditioner it felt fine when dry, but was very knotty and not as smooth as I am used to, so I am not quite ready to part with old-faithful yet.

  • Look

Left my hair looking shiny and clean with the little wave I always get after it has been wet. As good as, or better than, bottled shampoo.

After using Arashel Shampoo Bar, before brushing. Excuse the PJs. 😉
After using Arashel Shampoo Bar, after brushing. Very happy with the result.
  • Environmental impact

The maker of the shampoo bar lives locally so there is barely any transporting of the product to me. It is made from natural ingredients (including sustainably sourced palm oil) and wrapped in a cute little cardboard sleeve. Loving the lack of plastic bottles and nasty chemicals.

  • Would I use it again / recommend it?

Absolutely! I think it is great that we have something like this available to us and it is a step towards healthier, more sustainable living. If you have tried a shampoo bar (or another fabulous product I may not have discovered), I would love to hear your experience.

 

Vote to Win in the 2017 Cloth Nappy Awards!

Do you love cloth nappies? Love spreading the word about them? Love to support small business and help other parents make informed choices?
Then you need to vote in the Australian Nappy Association’s 2017 Cloth Nappy Awards!

cloth nappy awards

The 2017 Cloth Nappy Awards is an industry-wide, consumer focused awards specifically designed for the cloth nappy community across Australia. The awards encompass cloth nappies, skin care products and nappy accessories.

It is an opportunity for cloth nappy retailers and manufacturers to be recognised and rewarded for their outstanding products and industry excellence… and an awesome opportunity for you to have your say in which products YOU think deserve to be rewarded!

This year, Tots and Toddlers has been nominated in the category of best customer service. If you have had a great experience with us, please share the love by voting. Apart from the fun of getting to vote for all your favourite products and brands, you also have a chance to win from a prize pool worth over $6,000!!
How awesome is that?! Simply by voting for your favourite cloth nappies and accessories during July 2017, you’re in with a chance to win 1 of 6 Major Prize packs worth over $1000 each!CNABestcustomerserviceNominationBadge2017copy

So what are you waiting for? Head here to cast your vote and enter the Cloth Nappy Awards fabulous prize draw.

10 ways children can help care for the environment

Happy Earth Day!

It has been a while since I have written a blog post here at Tots and Toddlers, and I thought, what better day than today to share some tips for encouraging children to look after our planet?Image result for earth day image

As adults, we often struggle to think ofways to “do our bit” for the environment, so it isn’t surprising to think that most parents are not sure where to start when it comes to introducing the concept to their children. Today, I have put together 10 ideas to get you started.

  1. Use bins. Keeping litter off the ground and out of waterways helps protect animals, and even young children can be taught to put rubbish in the bin. As children get older, you can introduce the concept of recycling and compost.
  2. Respect nature. It is amazing to watch a butterfly on a leaf or peek into a bird’s nest, but touching can cause all sorts of problems. Teach children about safe and respectful ways of appreciating nature.
  3. Plant trees. Most children love to get outside and get messy. Digging, planting and watering are fun activities that you can do together, and you will have also played your part in replacing some of the many trees cut down each year for our use.Image result for earth day image
  4. Save energy (and water). Turning off lights, TVs and taps when they are not in use is a skill that can take a while to learn, but also one that is worth teaching. Sometimes role modelling yourself is all a child needs in order to pick it up, but a gentle reminder can help, too.
  5. Choose cloth nappies. I know you may think of this as not being the child’s choice. However, as they get older, children become more 

    independent and like to have a say in what they do and wear. Allowing children to choose gives them a sense of agency and builds their self-esteem, and giving them the information to make that choice sets them up for the future. Having a chat about reusing things (like nappies, for example) can lead to them making positive choices about sustainability as they grow up.Image result for seedling baby nappy

  6. Recycle bits and pieces for craft. Cardboard boxes, straws, bottle lids, Easter egg wrappers, greeting cards and ribbons are just some ideas of things that could be reused rather than thrown out.
  7. Set up some water catchments outside. Please note, this will require supervision for young children, as there is a drowning risk. Set up containers outside to catch rain water. They can serve as drinking water for animals outside, and can be used to water plants when needed.
  8. Create a worm farm. Your child can empty food scraps into it, collect the “juice” and help to water the plants with it (once it is diluted – they will probably need help form you for this).
  9. Repair things. Instead of throwing out broken toys, torn clothes, etc., see if they can be mended or turned into something new. Give children some tools to work with, teach them some basic skills if you are able, and watch them go!bike-325104_640
  10. Teach and learn. Read books about the Earth, sustainability and the environment (there are some really great ones out there, both fiction and non-fiction). Talk about shopping local; recycling; saving energy; the environment; animals; people (and their different situations and ideas); walking rather than driving; the world; the past and the future. Discuss how things work and what could be changed. Empower children to make a difference. (Did you know that a 16-year-old girl from Egypt discovered a way to turn waster plastic into fuel?)

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel in order to help your child learn about their world. Often, role modelling is the best way to learn, so be mindful of your own choices, and be ready to answer questions (and look for answers, if need be) as they arise. Schools and Early Childhood Education services incorporate sustainability into their curriculum these days, so by opening up discussion you may even find yourself getting a lesson or two! Best of luck!

Cloth Nappy Awards

Do you love cloth nappies? Love spreading the word about them?
Love to support small business and help other parents make
informed choices?
Then you need to vote in the Australian Nappy Association’s 2016
Cloth Nappy Awards!
The 2016 inaugural Cloth Nappy Awards is the first industry-wide,
consumer focused awards specifically designed for the cloth nappy
community across Australia. The awards encompass cloth nappies,
skin care products and nappy accessories.
It is an opportunity for cloth nappy retailers and manufacturers to be
recognised and rewarded for their outstanding products and
industry excellence… and an awesome opportunity for you to have
your say in which products YOU think deserve to be rewarded!
Apart from the fun of getting to vote for all your favourite products
and brands, you also have a chance to win from a $10,000 prize
pool!!
How awesome is that?! Simply by voting for your favourite cloth
nappies and accessories during October 2016, you’re in with a
chance to win 1 of 2 major prize packs worth $1500 each or 1 of 10
prize packs worth around $700 each!
So what are you waiting for? Head here to cast your vote and enter
the Cloth Nappy Awards fabulous prize draw.

This year, Tots and Toddlers is nominated in the Best Customer Service category, so if you have had a great experience with my little biz, I would love you to cast a vote my way. There are also some fantastic brands nominated that are well-deserving of recognition – you may even discover your new favourite product while scrolling through them! It only takes a few minutes, but voting closes on the 31st of October so lock your vote in now.

Melbourne Essential Baby and Toddler Show Wrap-Up

The Australian Nappy Association stand at the Essential Baby and Toddler show was well attended by people with varying experiences, including new and expectant parents, current cloth nappy users and other stallholders, to name a few. As such, it was a great opportunity for Tots and Toddlers to be able to represent the ANA yesterday (Saturday the 2nd of April 2016) alongside Baby Beehinds consultant, Hayley, and share our passion for cloth nappies.

Not the best pic, but we hardly had time to stop! 😉

For many people, the opportunity to see cloth nappies “in real life”, touch them and explore how they work was of huge value to them, having only seen them online beforehand. Hayley and I were able to show a range of nappies from the Get Into Cloth Kit and briefly describe each one’s features to lots of interested people, including those who already use cloth nappies; those who used traditional cloth nappies in the past; those who have been wanting to know more about cloth nappies; and those who had never seen or heard of them before, other than traditional terry flats.

Baby Beehinds consultant, Hayley

Discussions about the ANA’s role and the resources available on the ANA website (such as wash instructions, fitting tips and the Cloth in Childcare Ambassador Pack) were a major focus of our day, with us giving out many fliers containing details about the Australian Nappy Association over the course of the day. We also had the opportunity to offer advice, bust myths, share stories and spruik about the benefits of using cloth nappies which, all in all, made for a fantastic day!

Thanks for the good times, Melbourne!

Cloth Nappying at Christmas Time

Cloth Nappying at Christmas Time

So, you have a busy Christmas period ahead of you. What are you going to do about nappies? Can you still use cloth, or are you going to have to make that dreaded trip to the supermarket (along with 30,000 other people who are all doing the “last minute rush” to get everything they need) for disposables?
Fear not. Taking cloth nappies with you when you head out is not as hard as it my seem. Here are some handy hints to see you through:

1. Pack more nappies than you think you will need.
A good rule of thumb, I find, is one nappy for every 2 hours, 1 for each nap and 1 extra (plus night nappies, if needed). If you are going to be away overnight, consider whether you will have access to washing facilities and how long it will take to get your nappies washed, dried and back in rotation.

2. Have 2 bags.
* A go-to bag (eg. nappy bag) that has the amount of nappies you are likely to need before going for supplies (so, if you are out for 5 hours and you change every 2-3 hours, you might only have 2-3 nappies).This bag should be somewhere readily available.
* A back up (or restocking) bag that has your spares and any things you may not need immediately, but are handy to have somewhere. This larger  bag could be in your car or in a room somewhere so that you can get to it if needed but it is not in the way.

3. Don’t forget the supplies!
Remember to pack plenty of wetbags and wipes. Wetbags are not only handy for your wet or soiled nappies, but can also be used for dirty clothes, snacks, keeping small pieces of presents contained and many other things. If you will have access to water, don’t pack a separate wipes wash, as it will just take up valuable space in your bag.

4. Consider the available facilities.
Do you need to include a changemat could one of your wetbags or wipes do the trick? Will you need to wash or dry your nappies (i.e. will you need to bring detergent,  a clothesline or an airer, and do you need to think about which nappies will dry more quickly)? Are you likely to need to do quick changes? What sort of nappies will be easiest to use?
If you need lots of changes, but will be short on space, perhaps a few covers with plenty of inserts might be the best option.

5. Most importantly, relax!
Christmas is about family, friends and fun, so enjoy it! Chances are, your most important nappy-related thoughts will be how cute that festive little cloth bum looks!