I am not dead…

I have been on holiday. Ok, not really.

As much as I wish I could tell you that I have been on a sandy beach somewhere, soaking up UV rays and sipping on something fruity and very alcoholic, alas, tis not so.

In its final weeks, my MA dissertation soundly kicked my butt. I exerted every last ounce of mental, emotional, and physical energy into writing 20,000 words of the most important story I have ever told. Two bouts of bronchitis, one UTI, and a semi mental breakdown later, and I think (fingers crossed) I am finally on the mend. I have been celebrating by sleeping. Move over Rip van Winkle…

Now it’s time to pick myself back up, dust myself off, and get cracking on bright new things ahead. Coming up in the next few weeks is Zoie’s 2nd birthday and party and I have been busy planning away excitedly. I am also on the hunt for some work experience (better put this MA to some use right?) and I have grand plans for this blog as well!

Fun times ahead! So I’m back, and I really hope I can stay this time. ūüôā

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Good to be paraben free? pt. 2 – The haul

Following on from my earlier post on parabens, I decided to see what paraben free products  I could find in my local stores. I love an excuse to go shopping!

So while my aim was to see if I could replace my current products with ones that were paraben¬†free, I decided not to panic if I couldn’t. Lucky for me, I found a wonderful range of paraben free products, brand names included!

Check ’em out:

1.¬† JASON Kid’s Only¬†– Bath Gel & Shampoo – 99p¬†each¬†at my local 99p store

Verdict: These were the bargain of the day and my first purchase. They smell delicious and are also wheat/gluten free. I only wish that the shampoo was a bit more moisturising, but overall a great find!

2. Original Sprout – Natural Curl Calmer & Leave-In Conditioner –¬†¬£10 & ¬†¬£6 from afrotherapy.com but can also be found in John Lewis

Verdict: I love, love, love these products! Like I said before I plan to one day devote an entire post to Original Sprout. Not only are these products paraben¬†free, they are also free of just about every other chemical as well as being vegan! They have a lovely smell and leave my girls’ hair soft and silky – especially the Curl Calmer which is a must for curly-haired kiddies. I use it in my hair too!

3.  Amie РMorning Clear Purifying Facial Wash Р£5 from Waitrose

Verdict: Amie is a range of products¬†formulated especially for pre-teen and teenage skin. I thought what better way to keep my face looking youthful? Haha. This face wash¬†was creamy, moisturising, and a scrummy¬†cotton candy pink color. I’ve been using it for 2 weeks now and I have to say my skin is completely glowing! Can’t fault it at all. It is also free of mineral oils, sodium laureth sulphate, GM ingredients, and is vegan.

4.  Mixed Chicks Kids РLeave-In Conditioner Р£9.95 from afrotherapy.com

Verdict:¬†I haven’t actually purchased this product but I wanted to include it nonetheless. After discovering that my favorite hair styling product Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner¬†was chock full of parabens, I was thrilled to see that their kids version is completely paraben, alcohol, and fragrance free! Win!

5. Nature Baby Care РECO Sensitive Wipes w/ Aloe Р£2.55 from Boots

Verdict: A good, strong wipe. Not as thick as the Huggies wipes I used to use and not as moist. They are fragrance free, chlorine free, paraben free, and biodegradable. I have to honestly say I much prefer the Huggies wipes to these and will probably be looking for an alternative brand to this one.

6. Sanex Zero % РDry Skin Shower Gel Р£1.30 from Waitrose

Verdict: Awesome shower gel. Really delicate almost citrus scent and left my skin feeling clean and smooth. It is paraben, phthalate, and color free. It is also eco-friendly and has a biodegradable formulation. Very good price too!

7.¬†Tresemme¬†Naturals¬†– Nourishing Moisture Conditioner –¬†¬£5.50 at Superdrug

Verdict: The conditioner of the gods! Seriously. No other conditioner makes my super curly hair as soft, moisturised, and silky as this bottle of creamy goodness. Smells great, contains organic aloe and avocado oil,  and is paraben and silicone free!

Good to be paraben free?

Well I’ve wanted to do this post for a while now, especially after I stumbled across this report¬†which made me raise an eyebrow. It’s about parabens. Big word there. Here’s a definition:

Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives by cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries

– thank you Wikipedia

My first reaction after reading the article¬†was “great just one more thing that’ll kill us, just like all the cell phone waves that are turning our brains to jelly”. But then I remembered those three little anklebiters that call me “mum” and I that¬†thought if I could possibly do my part to expose them to a few less chemicals, where is the harm in that?

Mind you this was also following on the back of the revelation that the red stuff my mom used to paint on my scraped knees back in the ’80’s (called Mercurochrome) actually contained mercury. Yeah. True story.

So, armed with the knowledge that I had managed to cheat a mercury-induced death (I was a real tomboy) I started to Google around the place looking for more info on these parabens. I found a couple of interesting articles:

What Are Parabens and Why You Should Avoid Them

Paraben Free Products

These articles (as you may have guessed)¬†are in support of avoiding parabens, if you can, on the basis of “why risk it?” This is pretty much my stance on the matter. To gain a balanced view, however, I found some articles that stated that the¬†concentration of parabens¬†that are used in various products are of such a low level they are unlikely to be harmful to humans. Here is one mainly for concerned parents:

Parabens

I had a gander at the FDA website and they state that:

FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. However, the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area.

FDA.gov

However, I did note that the paraben¬†page on the FDA site hadn’t been updated since 2007.¬† So what was I going to do about all this mild paraben¬†panic? Well I decided to inspect¬†my cosmetics, toiletries, and those that I used for the kids. Imagine my complete lack of surprise when I found that just about everything I owned contained these preservatives. Even my super expensive Dermalogica face products. Great. Just my luck.

My plan of action? Simple. Throw them out. Seriously. I just binned¬†it all. Most of the products were down to the last drops of liquid anyhow —¬†things like the kids’ L’oreal shampoo and my Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner (man I was pissed). The hair products I used for the girls were already paraben¬†free (Original Little¬†Sprout – omg, I could do an entire post on them!) as were a decent amount of other products I use like my Dove Invisible Dry deodorant.

The next day I went shopping. A little experiment to see just what kind of products I could find that were paraben free.

Stay tuned for the details of what I found!